1. Receiving An Offer
Agents in New Jersey must use a Broker’s contract which includes the right to consult an attorney. Along with this offer should be the buyer’s mortgage approval and often a copy of the initial deposit check. It can also be that deposit funds come in at the conclusion of Attorney Review. After discussing this with your agent, you send back a reply.
Don’t take it personally – this is a business situation. A buyer may send in a low offer just to see how pliable you are. It’s best to reply in a timely manner – you don’t want a buyer to lose enthusiasm.
Multiple offers don’t allow for negotiation. Ask buyers for their best and highest offer by a specific date and tell them when you’ll respond. This allows you to fully compare offers and determine what’s best for you.
There is an added risk to multiple offers: Buyers might over-extend themselves to get a house. Your agent must handle this for you.
House sales are negotiated much faster than people expect. Usually it only takes one day or two. No one wants this to drag on – and making a buyer wait cools him off.
Once everyone agrees on price and terms, the offer is revised to reflect this and sent to you for your signature. The moment you sign the offer it becomes a contract and Attorney Review begins.
4. Attorney Review
The attorneys now create the final, binding contract. They cancel the contract you signed, make the changes they want and send the revised contract for buyer and seller signatures (unless the attorneys sign for you). Normally this only takes a few days to 1 week.
5. Home Inspection
Typically buyers are given 10 days from the completion of Attorney Review to do the home inspections. Inspections take around 3 hours. Sellers are never at home inspections. Your agent should be there the entire time and report back to you when it’s over.
6. Inspection Negotiations
The unhappy truth is that no home is perfect and even if you want an “as is” sale, buyers have the right to inspect. The buyer’s attorney will send repair requests to your attorney; you’ll go over this with your attorney and I will help as well. Basically this becomes another negotiation.
The next step is the buyer’s written mortgage commitment. The bank sends an appraiser to your home to justify the mortgage – I’ll meet the appraiser. After the commitment is received, the buyer’s attorney orders title and survey if this hasn’t been done already. Then the bank, title company and attorneys prepare closing documents and schedule the closing.
8. New Jersey Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Inspections
New Jersey requires smoke detector and carbon monoxide certifications to close on all 1-2 family homes and condominiums. Your town inspects and issues the compliance certificate. Some have their own additional inspection too.
If you haven’t scheduled this by now, do so immediately. It can take weeks and you need this well before closing. The certificate goes to your attorney but email both a copy. Your agent should help with all of this.
Towns check for open permits when you request this inspection. I hope your agent advised you to do this when you listed your home. You don’t want any unhappy last-minute surprises.
9.Walkthrough and Closing
Buyers do a walk-through inspection to make sure the house is as it should be according to the contract. This usually happens just before closing. Your agent should be there reporting back to you and your attorney.
Because of Covid, only the buyer and their attorney are allowed at the closing. They get the house keys once the closing concludes.
Your attorney explains the closing documents 1-2 days before as you sign them by hand. Banks require hand signatures. This becomes part of the closing package sent to the buyer’s attorney.
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