New Jersey Real Estate Attorney

Martin Pankiewicz, Esq. focuses his practice primarily in residential real estate closings, including the purchasing of a home, selling a home and/or refinancing a home, the acquisition of multi family residential projects, condominiums as well as negotiating a short sale transaction. He provides his clients with the legal services they require in connection with their real estate closing.

NJ real estate attorney, Linden, NJ NJ real estate attorney, Linden, NJ

Purchasing a Home

The largest, most involved and long term personal financial commitment people generally make is the purchase of real estate.

By the time you have engaged my services, you have no doubt selected the property you wish to purchase. You have considered location, neighborhood, age, type and style of building, school system availabe, cost of purchase, real estate taxes and other costs of the ownership. You have made a cursory inspection of `the home and are satisfied with its over all appearance. You are aware of teh nature of the water supply and the sewerage disposal systems and their limitations.

First, I should see any papers you have signed immediately. A contract drafted by a real estate broker which you may have already signed must contain a three day attorney review provision pursuant to New Jersey Law. If no broker is involved and the contract is drafted by the seller's attorney, do not sign the contract until you and I have had the opportunity to review it. If you are purchasing a unit in a condominium, never previously occupied by an owner, this type of contract is usually drafted by the seller and will contain a 7 to 10 day period for you to cancel the contract.


The Real Estate Sales Agreement or Contract is the basis of the entire transaction. By custom, it is usually prepared by the attorney for the seller, at the seller's cost or by the Real Estate Broker. It must be reviewed to be sure that it does not omit terms important to you.

As I review the contract, I will determine whether or not it provides that you receive clear title that will allow the use of the property as you anticipate. Is the closing scheduled to meet your requirements? If you have not already made arrangements for financing and/or for selling your existing home, have these contingencies been provided for? Does the contract provide you the opportunity to inspect the property with a qualified company? What happens if the building or fences encroach upon property lines? What happens if the seller decided to take the window air conditioner with him which you thought was included in the purchase of the home and was to become yours upon closing of title?


It is customary in the State of New Jersey that the Seller's attorney holds the deposit in an escrow account. It is not released prior to the closing of title unless the contract provides for it.


It is important to know that the time for closing set forth in your contract is not an absolute deadline from the viewpoint of any of the parties to the contract. I refer to it as a target date and acknowledge its flexibility, for a party may find him or herself unable to meet the exact deadline set.

In the event closing of title at a particular time and/or day is of extreme importance to you, I should be told, since Time may be made of the Essence if a closing date can not be negotiated with the seller and as long as you understand the risks of our doing so for you.


The contract will normally require that closing funds be in cash, bank or certified check or attorney trust check. I will have the mortage funds available in satisfactory form. The balance of funds required must be in the form of a wire into my attorney trust account bank, personal certified or bank cashier's check payable to my attorney trust account.


  1. Home Inspection
    A structural home inspection is not required but is generally recommended if you are purchasing a home, as it will provide you the opportunity to accompany the inspector around the property and learn recommended maintenance for your new home. Depending on the age and condition of your building, you may choose to get inspections in the following areas: termite radon, septic, well, home heating oil tank, and/or lead paint. This is an out of pocket expense that you pay directly to the inspector. You will work with your real estate broker and the seller to coordinate this.

    You will generally have between 10-14 days to get the inspection done and submit the results to the Seller.s attorney. You should schedule an appointment with an inspector immediately following attorney review. Any defects will be submitted by your attorney for the Seller.s attorney to address, usually with a credit at closing or a repair of the defect. This firm can provide you with names of licensed home inspectors.
  2. Title Insurance, Title Search & Survey
    You will be required to purchase title insurance for your property, which is an insurance policy that covers your ownership interest and the mortgage interest of your lender. Title insurance prices are state regulated and this firm, as your attorney, will order the insurance in conjunction with the title searches, from a licensed title agency, which will find any judgments against the parties, show any unpaid tax liens and provide a copy of the recorded deed and mortgage for the Seller.

    Your mortgage company will generally require you to have a survey done for the property, which will be ordered by the title company. Title insurance, title searches and the survey costs are paid at closing.
  3. Mortgage Costs
    Mortgage closings costs vary by the mortgage company. You are advised to speak to your mortgage broker about their specific costs/fees. Some companies collect fees upfront and others are paid at closing. It is wise to contact a few mortgage companies to compare rates. This firm can provide you with contacts of reputable mortgage companies.
  4. Homeowner's Insurance
    If you are purchasing a one or two family home (not a condo or townhouse) your mortgage company will require you to purchase a one year policy for homeowner.s insurance and provide a paid receipt. This must be paid prior to closing.
  5. Attorney's Fees
    Attorney's fees are paid at closing.
  6. County Recording Costs
    Recording the Deed, Mortgage and other documents with the Clerk's office of the County in which the property is located as well as filing of Notice of Settlement required by New Jersey State Law.
  7. Condo/Townhouse Move-In Fees
    If you are purchasing a condo or a townhouse, it is customary that approximately 2 months of maintenance/move-in fees are required payable to the Condo Association at closing as well as other association costs such as move-in fees.
  8. Other Fees
    Your lender may require the next quarter property taxes to be paid at closing and will charge you interest on your mortgage from the date of closing to the end of the month.


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