New Jersey's Three Day Attorney Review Period
Whether you're a first time home buyer or a seasoned investor, an investment in real estate is likely one of the most substantial investments you will make. It's always advisable, therefore, to have your real estate contract reviewed by an experienced New Jersey attorney.
When it comes to a sale of a residence in New Jersey, many transactions are initiated by real estate agents. The agents prepare a contract of sale which is signed by both parties prior to review by the parties respective attorneys.
The state of New Jersey provides for a three day review period for residential real estate contracts drafted by agents. During this three day period, you are entitled to have an attorney make changes or cancel the contract. If the contract is not cancelled within three business days, the contract will go into effect as signed. Once the contract is cancelled by an attorney, both sides may negotiate to effect a final agreement. This is normally done through attorney letters.
- On a purchase/sale of real estate, your attorney's representation will normally begin upon the receipt of both: 1. a signed retainer agreement; and 2. a fully executed contract of sale (signed by buyer and seller).
- Even though the contract may be cancelled within the attorney review period, it's a great idea to speak with your attorney to let them know a contract is coming, and to inform the attorney of any unique or special considerations. However, it is normal for your attorney to inform you that their representation will not begin until a signed contract is received.
What to expect from your attorney:
- Your attorney should ask questions about your general and specific expectations with regards to the transaction.
If you're a Buyer, this typically includes questions about the nature of your financing, any contingencies, expectations about the condition of the property, etc.
If you're a Seller, this will include questions about your ownership (including any potential judgments against you, a spouse, or the home), current and past marital status, condition of the home, and expectations as to the closing date, etc. If the property is home to tenants, your lawyer will ask additional questions and may require additional paperwork.
- Your attorney should ask you about any specific expectations or concerns you have about the transaction.
- Your attorney should inform you of a general timeline for the transaction. Real estate can be notoriously unpredictable. This is due to the many factors which are often outside of the parties control (including financing, permitting and various contingencies). The timeline for your transaction may change, and your attorney should advise you of this.
- Your attorney should be willing to speak with your agent and or lender as needed in order to ensure a smooth transaction.
- If the transaction involves a short sale, foreclosure, or bank owned property your attorney should inform you of special timelines and complications that may arise.