Buying a home involves three parties usually:  the buyer, the seller, and of course the bank.  Even with just those three parties, things can get complex.  Plus, New Jersey law for real estate can make the deal even more complex.  Purchasing a home is arguably the single largest purchase any family will make in their lifetimes and it is always wise to hire an attorney to help you through the process and look out for your interests.

Before you purchase a home, you must sign a real estate purchase agreement with the seller. This is usually done without the assistance of an attorney, but it sets up the general points of the transaction and of course will set the “closing date.” The closing date is the date on which the seller transfers title to the house into your name and you sign a mortgage with your bank.  Getting a mortgage from a bank requires you to meet a number of conditions and complete a large amount of paperwork. It is important to follow all of the guidelines that the Bank asks you to so as not to delay the Closing.

The contract should include language which allows you to conduct a home inspection.  You will be able to hire someone who can find hidden problems you probably won’t notice even if you conduct your own inspection – such as a leaky roof, termites, or a high crime rate in the neighborhood.

Residential property is said to contain a “title defect” if there’s a dispute as to who actually owns the property or if a mortgage or lien exists on the property. If the property has a mortgage, for example, the seller must pay it off before selling the property to you.  An attorney will review a title search and provide you with guidance as to how best to clear any title defects.

There are too many potential problems in purchasing a new home to even list here.  As mentioned above, when purchasing the biggest investment of your family’s collective life, it would be best to seek the advice of an expert.