Buying a Home

When buying a home for the first or fifth time, there is always a learning curve involved! The work begins with establishing a realistic set of “must haves”, researching various communities and physically getting out seeing houses.  How long will this take? It could be weeks or many months. Establishing a baseline value for what you are looking for is what takes the longest time. The truth is that you will end up with something completely different than what you determined on your initial wish list.

Another important element to a fulfilling and successful home search is to align yourself with a full service, conscientious and knowledgeable sales associate. Along with your attorney and mortgage representative this is your team!

Home Search
Sign up for our Automated Home Search. This fully automated system will furnish you with the most up-to-date listing information: including new listings, price reductions and status changes, all via email.  This is a complimentary service that we proudly offer without any obligation. I am always available to answer any questions.

Presenting an Offer
In New Jersey, all offers must be in writing to be considered by the seller. Understand all contingencies, exclusions and inclusions. A $1,000 check is submitted with the signed Contract of Sale, Seller’s Disclosure, Lead Based Paint Disclosure , Opinion 26, and a copy of the mortgage pre-approval. The purchase offer is prepared and presented to the seller by your sales associate.

Attorney Review
In New Jersey, although not required, it is a prudent, typical practice to hire a real estate attorney. An accepted buyer offer leads to a legally binding purchase contract once the attorney review process is complete. The contract is a signed agreement between the seller and the buyer. Attorney review in the state of New Jersey is typically three business days, but can be extended. During the 1-three-day attorney review, either party can cancel the contract.

The Home Inspection
Once you have an offer in acceptance a Home Inspection is scheduled and carried out usually within ten days of both the buyer & seller receiving signed, executed contracts, with a licensed, ASHI certified home inspector. A home inspector is required by New Jersey State law to be certified and carry an up to date license. One should also verify that the inspector carries errors & omission insurance; this is for your protection. Download a home inspection checklist. During this 3-5-hour process, the inspector identifies structural and operational items that are defective. At the same time the buyer becomes familiar with the systems and how they should be maintained. The home inspection report is then reviewed and your attorney makes written requests for structural repairs. The seller reviews the request and determines how they are to proceed with their attorney. If the seller chooses not to repair any or all of the defects, the buyer’s attorney has 5 calendar days of receipt to cancel the contract in writing. Any agreed upon repairs must be completed prior to the closing.

Other Inspections:

Infestation Inspection: A licensed exterminator inspects the house for wood-boring insects such as carpenter ants, termites, powder post beetles and a plethora of other critters. A Wood-destroying Pest and Dry Rot Report is issued with a copy going to the attorney and one to the mortgage company. Active insect infestation and or damage must be corrected prior to transfer of title or the mortgage monies will not be released.

Lead Paint Inspections are optional to the buyer. Any home built prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Under Title X legislation, homebuyers are entitled to test the home but the homeowner is not required to remediate. The EPA provides a tremendous amount of information on abatement techniques.

Test radon levels, readings of 4 Pico curies per liter (pCi/L) and higher are prevalent in many parts of New Jersey and can be easily remediated.

Buried Oil Tanks For older homes, an oil tank scope is recommended, a simple test that may uncover an abandoned oil tank or a potentially dangerous environmental finding.

Septic Systems are required to be inspected by most municipalities prior to transfer of title.

Private Well Water Testing, mandated by the NJDEP September 2002 is required in order to transfer title. This test carried out by a State approved laboratory cost about $500; results are recorded at the municipality Health Department.

Deposit Monies are held in an escrow account by either broker or attorney. Deposit monies are usually due 10 (calendar) days after attorney review. The buyer is considered in breach of contract if the monies are not deposited on time.

Mortgage Application
Shop aggressively for the best rates; call around to various banks and brokers. Remember to ask for a Good Faith Estimate, this document outlines the loan and all the fees.

Plan Your Move

Moving is the most stressful part of the home buying process. PLAN AHEAD!!! Research moving companies way ahead of time, schedule interviews with school guidance counselors, order change of address, find a gym for your family, and don’t forget about… voter registration .

Order Utilities Buyer and seller coordinate the transfer of cable, alarm system, garbage, electric, gas and water service. Make arrangements for service at least three weeks prior to closing to guarantee timely service activation.

The Final Walkthrough inspection is performed by the buyer on the day of the closing, ensuring that the property is being delivered in good condition.

Closing of Title Time and location are determined by the attorneys. Both buyer and seller are given a settlement statement (HUD 1) before closing outlining exact amounts of deposits, escrow fees, and other closing costs. The buyer brings certified funds to the closing and should receive the exact dollar amounts from the attorney the day of or before the closing.

Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, subject to change without notice, errors and omissions.
©2008 - 2018 - Martha McDonnell - Lois Schneider Realtor / Broker / Sales Associate.
431 Springfield Avenue Summit, NJ 07901 908-277-1398 or 973-885-2074