For many, a real estate transaction represents the most important contract they will ever enter into. It’s critical to understand the legal requirements before entering into negotiations or signing anything relating to a real estate transaction. Put a qualified New Jersey real estate law attorney in your corner as early in the process as you can.
Basic Facts about Real Estate Contract Formation
Contracts for real estate are a legally enforceable agreement between the parties. It’s important that you understand what you are bargaining for before you sign on the dotted line. Real estate contracts have special requirements in order to be enforceable. First and foremost, a binding real estate contract must be in writing. Oral agreements and handshake deals will not likely hold up in court. Also, certain important elements of the contract must be spelled out including:
- the names of the parties;
- the legal description of the real estate to be sold;
- the purchase price;
- any special conditions; and
- the signatures of the parties.
The Negotiation Process
Real estate transactions can often involve lengthy negotiations on price and special terms. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to make an offer that is then countered by the seller. It can feel like a ping pong match between counter offers. This is all part of the process. Parties also negotiate certain terms such as the personal property which may remain with the real property, the closing date, financing terms, special allowances and inspection periods. Your attorney can work closely with you to help ensure that you get the benefit of your bargain. When real estate negotiations become complex, it’s critical that your final contract encompasses all of the changes and additions made during the negotiation process.
Working Toward Closing
Once a contract is signed, the parties will work toward fulfilling the terms of it. For the purchasers, this may include securing financing and conducting inspections. For the seller, this can include responding to any issues revealed through inspection and otherwise.
Closing and Beyond
Your attorney can represent you at the closing, review the title work and purchase contracts and help make sure the other party has met all of its obligations under the contract. After closing, if there are any surprises, your attorney should be consulted as soon as possible. Not every contingency can be foreseen, although having an experienced attorney in your corner from negotiation and beyond can increase the chances of finding problems and addressing them head on. If you have a dispute with a buyer or seller, your attorney can represent you and work toward a resolution.
Sometimes, the best way to prevent future disputes in the real estate arena is to consult with a qualified New Jersey real estate lawyer before you enter into negotiations. To set up an appointment with the offices of Snellings Law LLC, call 973.265.6100.