Helpful Information

Thoughts from Janice's Experiences:

What Every Buyer and Seller Should Know


CHOOSING A REALTOR:  Your realtor is a key facilitator, there to assist you throughout the entire transaction. Take full advantage of the services he or she can offer. There are many fine realtors in the Pascack Valley and neighboring communities.

SELECTING AN ATTORNEY:  People sometimes think that all legal services are the same irrespective of cost. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It pays to have the best representation that you can afford.

- Investigate the municipality and school system before you sign the contract of sale.
- Once the contract is in place, purchasers should take full advantage of all of the various types inspections that are available and that are warranted for your purchase.

Purchasers should remember that the inspection process is there for you to become educated about the home you are purchasing. It is not a vehicle to renegotiate the purchase price. It is not the Seller’s responsibility to provide the Buyer with something brand new if they are not selling a new house. Remember, a 60 year home, may have sixty year old problems. If something is broken – it should be fixed. If something has exceeded it’s useful life expectancy or is an upgrade or routine maintenance item, principles of good faith and fair dealing should prevail.  

Sellers should be mindful not to take the home inspection issues raised by inspectors and Purchasers personally. Remember, home inspectors are hired to find and point out issues, Keep in mind that buying your home is a major financial business transaction for the Purchasers, carrying with it, long term commitments and responsibilities. Notwithstanding the excitement and enthusiasm that they may have about being able to close on the house of their dreams, no Purchaser wants to buy a problem.

THE MORTGAGE APPLICATION/FINANCING PROCESS: It costs money to borrow money. There are a number of standard expenses that are paid out of the loan proceeds: origination fees, if any, which could total up to 3% of the face amount of the loan, interest for the month in which the closing occurs, underwriting expenses, document preparation fees, appraisal or other application costs not paid in advance, mortgage insurance, if required, escrows for real estate taxes and insurance. There may also be fees associated with locking in a rate for a specified period of time. A good rule to remember, “If a loan offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

Choose your mortgage consultant wisely. Be realistic, ask questions. Crunch the numbers early and often. Closing costs vary quite a bit among different lending institutions. Don’t be afraid to compare costs and to see if there is any room for negotiation of the costs offered by different lenders.  

The purpose of title insurance is to protect a buyer from a third party who may claim an interest in the property or who may have a lien against it, such as a bank or creditor. In NJ, the rates of the insurance and costs associated with obtaining title insurance are fixed by State Insurance Commission. The costs are the same for all title insurance providers. Your attorney will usually facilitate obtaining the insurance and coordinating the insurance requirements of your lender.  

A survey is a map, drawing or plot of the boundaries of the property and the buildings located upon it. It is not always mandatory to obtain a new survey. Often, a survey obtained by the seller is used with an affidavit given by the seller that there have been no changes made during the seller’s ownership. Be cautioned, if you don’t hire the person who prepared the survey, you have no recourse if anything contained on the survey is inaccurate. To use an old adage “you get what you pay for.” After closing, you wouldn’t want to find out that the new pool you installed using the seller’s survey, is now on your neighbor’s property.

Once the day finally arrives, all of the preparation and anticipation leading up to it should be behind you. Remember, your attorney or other settlement agent will require “good funds’ on the day of closing. Funds held in a 401k or other investment are not always available upon immediate request. Plan ahead. If you have assembled a good team of professionals to work for and with you, it should be smooth sailing.     

Please keep in mind this site is for general information only. The information on this site should not be seen as legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.