Buying and selling real estate is one of the most important and rewarding situations but also one of the most complicated decisions that one can enter, usually with significant financial implications. In any real estate deal, both Buyer and Seller must review multiple complex documents, including legally binding papers, requiring signatures. As you enter any deal of primary concern beyond the actual real estate itself is to ask; who is looking out for you? Who is explaining your responsibilities as you sign legal documents?
We frequently hear from Buyers and Sellers who feel the one factor missing in their transaction is the peace of mind of understanding what are the responsibilities and ramifications of their deal. They feel that no one has adequately advised them.
Real estate sales professionals can provide sales services but it is against the law for them to provide legal advice. While they are proficient in their field of sales, they are not equipped to guide in the particularities of contract law. Like any sales profession they are motivated by a commission. The same can be said about any non attorneys in the transaction (lenders,inspectors). While they may be well versed in their field, they cannot render legal advice, your legal responsibilities are not their concern.
The simple answer to all of the above is that without an attorney focused in real estate, reviewing and advising you in your deal, inspecting the legalities as they relate to you, no one is providing you a legal inspection. You need a thorough review of your legal responsibilities and how your deal is to take legal structure.
There may be no more important decision in real estate, than at the start of the process, before you put your signature on any document, to have an attorney who focuses on real estate transactions, perform a legal inspection of your documentation; a review of your documents, addressing your questions, and giving you legal guidance through the entire process. Of most importance is retaining a real estate attorney prior to signing an Agreement of Sale. The Agreement of Sale, once signed, is a legally binding contract.
New Jersey is consumer oriented with laws that allow for a brief attorney review period after the signing of a real estate contract. If invoked properly by an attorney licensed in New Jersey, one can disapprove the contract, for any reason, if said attorney does not approve of the language.
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