Financing in 08054>Question Details

Matt, Both Buyer and Seller in Mount Laurel, NJ

I was in talks with an agent in NJ and was looking to make an offer to lease option (rent to own) a condo when

Asked by Matt, Mount Laurel, NJ Fri Aug 22, 2008

she called me back and said the head realtor at her work told her that you cannot do a sandwich lease option (assigning your option to someone at a higher price and pocketing the difference) and/or an assignment in the state of New Jersey. I wanted to know if this is true? Can states limit your ability to assign your contract/option to purchase to someone else? Part of me want to say that this is just some old crusty agent that is just being negative, but a part of me is saying "hey this is Jersey and it could be true". She made it seem like her boss had more of an issue with the assignment portion of the contract. Almost like assigning contracts in NJ is completely illegal if you don't actually purchase the home. I didnt understand how you would differentiate that? If I have a contract stating I have the option to purchase and I have one that I purchased straight up with the ability to assign, it is the same thing. Are assignment/sandwich lease options illegal in NJ?

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You are better off just Renting. I just did a lease/purchase. The tenant/buyer signs 2 contracts. 1 to Rent (for a determined time & price); and signs a contract to purchase. Lease w/ an option to buy appears to be irrelevant?
There is no commitment on either side. No price determined. No time frame. Just Rent. Then when you are ready to purchase, you will have your choice of ALL AVAILABLE HOMES ON THE MARKET that meet your criteria!
And if you want to purchase the condo you are renting, ask the owner @ that time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 18, 2010
Check with a lawyer. I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice. However...

While I don't operate in New Jersey, I have done sandwich lease options and know plenty of other people who do them, including in New Jersey.

Contracts can be assigned unless there's a specific clause forbidding assignment. Even a contract that's silent on the assignability issue can be assigned.

Most contracts used by Realtors (in fact, all contracts, as far as I'm aware) do forbid assignment. So just strike the clause that forbids assignment (in the agreement with the seller). If you weren't using a Realtor, you could more easily use a contract designed for sandwich lease-options.

As you probably know, you should use quite different documents when dealing with the seller than when you're dealing with a tenant-buyer. To oversimplify, the document when dealing with the seller should be a single document, incorporating both the lease and the option. On the other hand, when dealing with the tenant-buyer, it's better to have two separate documents: A lease and an option. Further, while the document with the seller should explicitly permit assignment of the contract, your option agreement with the tenant-buyer should prohibit assignment without your prior permission.

Realtors generally don't like lease-options because they get paid (usually) when the property sells. And lease-options don't always close. Realtors also don't like assignments because while you may be upright, with good credit, etc., the person you're assigning the contract to may not have those same good qualities. (Heck, that's the idea. You're giving someone the option to buy a property that they aren't able to conventionally--possibly because of weak credit, lack of downpayment, etc.)

And when you check with a lawyer, check with a good one who knows lease-options. I once went to a lawyer to have him review my lease-option documents and he informed me that he didn't like lease-options because they're unilateral agreements. They're one-way; the seller is obligated to sell, but the purchaser is not obligated to buy. Well, duh! That's the whole idea. Check with some local investors to get a referral to a good investor-friendly lawyer near where you are.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 16, 2009
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Ask the broker to put their response in writing and see what happens..........

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 16, 2009
You really need to speak to a qualified real estate attorney to get the right information.
Good Luck,
Sharon Kozinn
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 23, 2008
This is a legal matter. An attorney should be the one to advise you. I'm not sure if a contract will be written that way, since the seller may not wish you to substitute a less qualified buyer. Our standard sales contract prevents this practice. Realtors can only use FILL IN THE BLANKS contract forms. They can not practice law and can not develop contracts on their own.

Aside from that, almost any terms that you wish to make should be legal. The more elaborate, the more you need legal advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 22, 2008
Why don't you ask the agent's broker to explain it to you -- or ask your attorney. Assigning real estate contracts in NJ is not common, and, you're right, NJ has some pretty strange laws on the books.

Joan Prout, MBA
Broker Associate
Jersey City, NJ
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 22, 2008
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