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Top tips for buying real estate

This week Your Legal Corner discusses "Top tips for buying real estate." 

One sure rite of passage that spring is near is the number of "For Sale" signs that pop up on homes throughout area neighborhoods.   Most realtors agree that spring is the busiest time of the year as the weather warms up and families start looking in anticipation of settling into their new home before the start of the next school year.

According to Realtor.com, the number of consumers who plan on purchasing a home is at its highest point in eight years reflecting a strong economy and consumer confidence. Here are some key tips to consider when buying a new home.

 

Hire a lawyer

Buying or selling a home can be a long, complicated process.  For most people, it is one of the biggest financial investments they will make in their lifetime.  Please consider hiring an experienced real estate lawyer to guide you through this process.

The written contract governs the terms of the sale of real estate.  Each contract contains an Attorney Review Period.  This is the three-day period commencing from the last date when the contract is signed in which buyers and sellers can have their contract reviewed by an attorney.  The best practice is to have the contract reviewed by your attorney before it is signed so they can make revisions without a time constraint.

In North Jersey, the seller's attorney is responsible and controls everything that happens at closing.  In South Jersey, the title company is responsible and controls everything that happens at closing.  Regardless of where you live, an experienced real estate lawyer will protect you each step of the way.

 

Get a Home Inspection

Unless you are a home contractor, it is difficult to know about all the items and systems that make up a house.  Please consider the age of the home you are buying.  If it is ten years or older, a home inspector can go over the details and advise of the condition and what items may need to be replaced in the near future.

Just about all residential real estate contracts in New Jersey will have a home inspection contingency clause.  This clause will enable the parties to negotiate what repairs may need to be made as a condition of settlement.  Getting a home inspection will give you the peace of mind of eliminating any surprises in the purchase of a home.

 

Review the Zoning Plan

Often overlooked, a buyer should review the permitted uses for the subject property.  Further, consider the zoning in the surrounding area as well.  Is there any significant development contemplated in the surrounding area?  These issues can impact the value of your home as well as your quality of life.  Traffic, pollution and crime can all result when commercial development occurs near residential areas.

There are numerous issues that can arise during the course of a real estate transaction.  No one can predict what they will be.  Retaining a lawyer will ensure you have an experienced advocate who will be looking after your best interests throughout the course of the real estate transaction.