Home Buying in 08226>Question Details

ruthmarie2, Home Seller in Ocean City, NJ

do i need a lawyer to sell condo? I have a realtor

Asked by ruthmarie2, Ocean City, NJ Sun Jul 29, 2012

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The straight up answer is no, you don't need one. That said, though real estate is a routine transaction, you should understand that unless you are schooled in real estate law and the intricacies and possible complexities that can arise in a transaction, I highly recommend that you have someone like an attorney who will PROTECT your interests, particularly if you're buying the property through the listing agent. If you are doing that, you're then in a "Disclosed Dual Agent" situation and basically on your own and can get hosed royally. That kind of situation is like having one attorney representing both parties in the transaction and that can't be done because of conflict of interest. Your realtor is supposed to be your best guide and resource and has a fiduciary responsibility to you. Be guided accordingly. But as I said, if you're buying the property direct from the listing agent, I'd get an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 24, 2013
No Ruthmarie, you do not. If you're confident in your Realtor's expertise - then you're in good hands!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 18, 2013
DO you NEED a lawyer to sell a condo in Ocean City? The simple answer is No. It is always helpful to have a lawyer review any contract of sale you sign, especially if there are any unusual addendum's to the contract,in the interest of making sure the contract is written in such a way to protect your interests.
Beyond that if there are no problems, you should be fine if you are working with an experienced Realtor. Keep in mind a Realtor no matter how good is prevented by law from giving you legal advice.

If I can help you please give me a call!
Joanne Bernardini, SFR,CSSA
Sales Associate
Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors
Ofc- 609-601-1009
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 12, 2012
All real estate contracts in Ocean City have a three day attorney review clause that affords both the buyers and sellers the opportunity to have the contract reviewed by their attorney. If the attorney disapproves the contract for any reason, he follows a set procedure to notify both the seller and their real estate firm within that three day period and and the contract is terminated. Not all buyers feel they need to have an attorney. If there are Addendums written to the contract that cover significant items of importance, I would suggest that the buyers have the contract reviewed to make sure the legal wording of the Addendums are correct and they are protected. The Ocean City Board of Realtors contract has built in protections for both buyers and sellers. It is basically a "boiler plate" contract offering the buyer basic opportunities to exit the contract if:
1) they can't get a mortgage.
2) there are problems uncovered in a home inspection that can not satisfactorily be resolved
between buyer and seller.
3) Significant damages are uncovered in the Termite Inspection (over $2,000) that the seller will not
pay to correct.
4) Seller can not provide clear title to the property.

Always keep in mind no matter how good your realtor is, they can not provide you with legal advice!
Joanne Bernardini
Sales Associate
Certified Short Sale Agent
Coldwell Banker- Casa Bella Realtors
Cell 609-947-2451
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
Our Ocean City contracts have a clause that gives the buyers a couple of weeks to get a home inspection and if issues arise , the realtors work with the buyers and sellers to resolve them. The buyer can get out of the contract with this clause if they are not satisfied with the outcome.
We also have a termite clause and a condo review clause that the buyers can get out of the contract if they are not satisfied with the results of the inspection or the terms of the condo documents. Our board of realtor contracts protect both buyers and sellers and have been used successfully for many years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
Thanks for your clarification Ken!

See - same state - 2 entirely different ways of conducting business!

So.....based on what you shared, and to get a better understanding.....do I assume the 3 day attorney review period simply fades away into the night, and no one changes anything in the wording of the contract?
The standard contingencies for home inspections and mortgage approval timeframes are then enforced?
Who sends the written requests for home inspection repairs? (attorneys handle that where I am)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012

as the saying goes - when in Rome......etc etc.........and, although there are a lot of Italian restaurants here, it''s not Italy.............. we're in New Jersey, so while opinions are wonderful, really helpful advice should be based on what is customary and usual in a specific area.

And, for the record - I think you kind of oversimplified the RE "meltdown" by suggesting attorneys might have helped prevent it by being involved!!!!

There are a lot of people who used attorneys (if you read what I said, we use them routinely in MY part of the state) who still got burned during the imploding RE market for a myriad of reasons.......I don't think attorneys could have prevented all those sub prime loans from being doled out.....nor were they asked to counsel buyers that they were biting off more than they could chew .....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
In Ocean City, we use a contract that was written in simply language by our board of realtors attorney.We have done thousands of sales transactions using this contract where attorneys have not been involved and things run smoothly. The contract states at the very top that the buyers and sellers have the right to get an attorney within a 3 day attorney review period. Most of these contracts go along with out a hitch, but once in a while, someone will breach the contract and at that time, the buyers and sellers can get attorneys involved. It my 14 years, as a top producing realtor in Ocean City, I rarely see attorneys at the closing table, but many clients do have them review the contracts from time to time.
North Jersey operates totally different than Ocean City, because of our many duplex condos. Ocean City has it's own way of doing things. It really gets complicated when buyers use lenders and attorneys that do not understand the way Ocean City operates. Ocean City has it's own board of realtors and is very unique, so if a buyer and a seller want things to go with out a hitch, they need to find a experienced agent with a good track record to guide them through the process.
Seas the Day!
Ken Fowser
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012

Sorry, I beg to differ. It is my Humble Opinion that EVERYONE should use an Attorney when Selling or Buying a home no matter what State you're in. IMHO, one of the many reasons for the Bubble Burst and terrible mortgage meltdown is because Attorneys were not involved in the transactions executed during the BOOM.

Get an Atttorney. I stand by that advice.

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
Trevor, how business is conducted in another state is interesting, but it isn't really relevant to the question, which was asked in regard to a home purchase in southern NJ.

I do have a question for my fellow NJ (southern) agents.............in regard to the attorney review - does the title insurance company have an attorney review the contracts during those initial 3 days?
If not, then who oversees the review?

As a point of information for Ruthmarie - When attorneys are involved, they start off with a letter that officially "cancels" the contract in its current form.......... then state it would be acceptable with the following changes incorporated - their "review letter" would make their changes with the verbiage and also alter anything such as closing dates or fine tune some of the terms. Most real estate attorneys have standard phrasing and changes they incorporate into the contract.

With Opinion 26 (something you will sign along with the contract Ruthmaire), although it states one does not have to obtain an attorney, it is recommended..... and it also clearly states that we, as agents, cannot give legal advice............I would assume that means we cannot or should not make changes to a legal contract.......it always has been a bit confusing to me as to exactly what, if any , legal representation a buyer is getting in the areas of the state where attorneys are not commonly used. .....for example - who steps in if one party breaches the contract?

I suppose if the title company's attorney takes the position as legal advisor, my question is answered!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
Good morning ruthmarie2,

It makes good sense to begin the process of selling your home by protecting yourself by hiring an attorney who specializes in real estate transactions.

It is common here in New York to have attorneys represent Sellers and Buyers in a real estate transaction. I know elsewhere in the country this is not necessarily the case. Frankly, I can’t understand how anyone could proceed with signing important legal documents without an attorney present to review and advise.

Have your attorney on your “team” as early as possible in your sale cycle.

Hope that helps!
Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
The purpose of Attorney Review or hiring an Attorney when selling your home is to protect your rights within the real estate transaction by altering the language within the RE contract and assisting with the contract contingency negotiations like a home inspection.

It's true that in NJ, specifically South Jersey, title companies are hired to prepare and process settlement documents. Your real estate agent regardless of their level of experience is not equipt to give you any legal advice. Nor should they practice law.

Many Realtors and Agents alike will you provide with a standard real estate contract, a template in most cases. Think along the lines of representing yourself in court of home selling versus hiring private council. In this court, who would you rather have advocating for you? Just you or an experienced real estate attorney?

At the very least you should be provided with a disclosure form called opinion 26.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 29, 2012
Most people in South Jersey depend on their realtor and Title Company to handle settlement, but a few people chose to use an attorney also. If you have an experienced realtor represent you , you should have smooth sailing.
Seas the Day!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 29, 2012
Tim Moore gave you the best answer. If you are working with a Realtor he can advise you of the requiremens in your area.
Closings are normally handeled by a title company in South Jersey
Mike Rayno
Prudential Fox & Roach
Ocean City, NJ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 29, 2012
If you have a Realtor then you should be getting advice and guidance from them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 29, 2012
In northern NJ we routinely use attorneys to handle our closings.

Other areas in the state - southern NJ is one - use the Title Companies - check with your agent to see what he or she recommends.

Best wishes..........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 29, 2012
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