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

Selling a Home

The most involved, emotional and financially motivated commitment people generally make is the sale of property.

By the time you have asked me to represent you, you have no doubt entered into a contract to sell your property. You have considered the price and financial terms of the buyer.

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 buyer’s attorney, DO NOT SIGN IT until you and I have had the opportunity to review it.


The Real Estate Sales Agreement or Contract is the basis of the entire transaction. By custom, it is usually prepared by the Real Estate Broker. It is prepared from their viewpoint. It must be reviewed to be sure that it does not omit terms important to you.

I prepare a rider to every contract which incorporates changes/additions/deletions and fine tunes same. I stress that the realtor’s contract is drafted essentially for a single or multi-family home and not a condominium and therefore my rider is more comprehensive for the latter.

You may not be able to negotiate a perfect contract, but at least I will advise you of the business risks you are taking if we know your goals and review the contract with you.


Following Attorney Review, you will be asked to provide a copy of your Deed, survey (or survey certificate if it is a condominium), and title insurance policy to provide to the Buyer, as well as any guaranties and warranties on appliances (if these documents are available).

Also, if your property is a condominium or townhouse, you will be asked to provide contact information for the Community Association, so the Buyer can obtain a copy of the bylaws, financial statements, insurance information and a Closing Statement that will confirm when monthly maintenance is paid through, as well as any move in/out fees.

Depending on the type of property, you or your realtor may be required to provide a Certificate of Occupancy for the property. Also, a Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Certificate will have to be obtained through your local fire department.


You will need to make your home accessible for the buyer to have the inspection and appraisal done. You are also responsible to obtain a smoke detector certificate and carbon monoxide certificate and proof of one fire extinguisher as required for sellers per your municipality. You can contact your municipality or your realtor for assistance regarding the requirements specific for your town, since many towns also require a certificate of occupancy. Make sure you call at least 3-4 weeks before your closing and have the required number of working smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector before your scheduled inspection. It is imperative that you obtain these certificates, as you cannot close on your home without them.

It is helpful if you provide my office a copy of your title policy and survey. This helps speed up the title process and if your survey is recent, may help the buyer avoid the expense of a new survey. The buyer may ask that you sign an affidavit of no change to the property to be submitted with the old survey to his or her lender.

As it gets closer to the closing, it is also your responsibility to order a final water reading, oil tank reading (if applicable) and have your gas and cable company switch the buyer's name as of the date of closing.


The buyer is required to expeditiously apply for the mortgage. I will monitor same to determine if it will be timely issued. The following events would permit the buyer to cancel the contract:

  1. The buyer is denied a mortgage such as due to credit, judgments, bankruptcy, excessive financial obligations, and employment issues. 
  2. The buyer’s lender will conduct an appraisal of the property. In the event the results are less than the contract selling price and you elect not to lower the price.  
  3. The buyer is issued a mortgage commitment, however, one or both of the buyers lose their job (both incomes were required to qualify for the loan) and the lender is accordingly advised of same, the commitment will be withdrawn.  
  4. The buyer fails to obtain a commitment within the time set forth in the contract and neither party agrees to extend the time. You would also have the right to cancel the contract for this reason.


  • Existing Mortgage
    Your biggest closing expense will be paying off any existing mortgages. You will be asked to provide your loan information in order for the Buyer's attorney to pay off your mortgage at closing. 
  • Realtor Services
    If you have used the services of a realtor, the real estate commission will be due at closing and paid out of the proceeds.  
  • New Jersey Transfer Tax
    In the state of New Jersey, unless are you eligible for an exception, every seller must pay a New Jersey Transfer Tax at closing.  
  • Attorney Fees  
  • Other Expenses
    Other expenses which you have paid through a date beyond the closing, such as taxes and sewer, will be pro-rated to you at closing. If you are not current on your taxes and sewer charges, these will be adjusted at closing.


I will hold the deposit in my non-interest bearing attorney Trust Account. It is not released prior to the closing of title unless the contract provides for it. In the event you or the buyer has the legal right to cancel the contract, the deposit is required to be returned to the buyer. However, I will not do same without your written authorization.


The buyer has a limited amount of time to conduct any and all inspections including but not necessarily limited to structural, wood infesting insects, underground oil tank, and radon gas. The contract or the Rider provides the time period.

I suggest you are not home when the buyer conducts the inspections.

If deficiencies are disclosed, the buyer’s attorney will forward me the entire report and a list of the items the buyer would like you to correct or repair. We will discuss same and communicate a response. In the event you decline to address any and all deficiencies, the buyer has the right to cancel the contract.


Do not cancel your homeowner’s insurance till the closing is completed.


All persons on your Deed must execute the Deed into the buyer. However, if you are married and only one spouse is on the Deed but the property is considered the “marital” home, the non-titled spouse must also execute the Deed to relinquish all “marital” rights to the property. This is New Jersey Law.


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. We like to 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 particular day is of extreme importance to you, I should be told, since Time may be made of the Essence in a real estate agreement if same can be negotiated with the buyer and as long as you understand the risks of I doing so for you.

If it is not convenient for you to attend, since you may be busy moving, you can come to my office at an earlier date to sign the necessary documents so that one of my attorneys can appear on your behalf at the closing.

You will need to move out before the closing and the home must be broom-swept clean and emptied of all your possessions. If you need to stay in the home for any days beyond the closing, my office can help you with a Use and Occupancy Agreement, if the Buyer is willing.


You may receive a number of checks at the closing such as my attorney trust account check for the deposit previously paid by the buyer, the buyer’s attorney trust account check for the proceeds due to you at the closing and a realtor’s check for the initial binder paid by the buyer when the contract was initially executed. 

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