Home Buying in 07093>Question Details

Katie O, Home Buyer in New Jersey

I found a brand new condo by myself & now looking to making an offer on the property. There are a couple of

Asked by Katie O, New Jersey Mon Oct 29, 2007

problems however: A) I don't have a broker/agent & B) I don't have a real estate attorney. How can I find a good & preferably affordable RE attorney in Northern NJ & how do I go about making a formal offer without a broker/agent? Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


If the property is listed w/ a Realtor, then the seller and the Realtor executed a contract that determined the amount the seller would pay the listing agent. That agreement also defined the amount the listing agent would pay to the buyers agent, if a cooperative buyer agent brought the buyer to the property.

The seller generally writes the checks (or his/her attorney does it for him/her) at closing to pay all fees, including Realtor fees. That is what is meant by the cost of the Realtor fee is already built it. If you buy from the lisitng agent, the listing agent would keep the entire commission paid by the seller. If you have your own buyer agent (highly recommended), the listing agent would pay a portion of the commisison to the buyer agent. Whether you used the listing agent or had your own buyer agent would not affect the fees already established between the seller and the listing broker.

In NJ, dual agency is legal. The same agent can represent both the buyer and the seller, as long as both parties are made aware and offer consent. I recommend that you have your own buyer agent.

The reason you get mixed answers about who pays the buyers agent is that it can be argued that the commission is paid by the buyer because a seller does not accept an offer unless the net proceeds after all expenses meet an amount acceptable to the seller.

Buyers sometimes enter buyer agency agreements with their agents who may search for properties that are not listed as well as the listed properties. An offer may be presented to the seller that offers a price for purchase along w/ terms that state the seller will pay the buyer agent fee. So, in that case, who paid the Realtor fee?

It is sort of a matter of looking at it as cup half full or half empty. In that analogy, I am not comparing negative to positive perspective, but there is more than one way of looking at the same picture and seeing different images, both correct.

I generally explain to my clients that the fee is paid by the transaction, if it is commission based. When commission based, no expenses are paid unless there is a successful transaction. Neither buyer or seller are paying unless the total transaction makes sense for them.

About inpsections........ Your contract will contain provisions for you to have inspections within "x" days. That clock starts ticking at the conclusion of attorney review. You and the seller will determine the # of days, and you will have a second chance to review w/ your attorney. If there are defects in the property, you have the right to cancel the contract. Keep in mind that a drippy faucet is not grounds for canceling the contract. After inspection, you have the right to discuss w/ the seller (through your agent and attorney) any credits or repairs needed. Most buyers do not do the inspections until they are out of attorney review and know the deal is a legal binding contract. Otherwise, you would be spending $$ on an inspection without even knowing if the seller was going to proceed to an under contract status.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
Certainly it's POSSIBLE to make an offer on a property without being represented by an agent...and some people make out just fine doing that. However, real estate transactions (and the specifics about properties, areas, values, market conditions, construction, contracts,etc.) are not "simple". Buying a home on your own is not the same thing as buying a car, buying a toaster, buying a dress. The devil IS in the details...and what you don't know CAN hurt you!

You mention you're interested in buying a "brand new condo". Remember, EVERYBODY there REPRESENTS the interests of the builder. Their job is solely to SELL THAT CONDO to you.

What a good agent brings to the table is to help you evaluate that condo pragmatically. How is it "valued" relative to the rest of the market? Just because a builder "prices" their units a certain way (and they will likely appraise out just fine because the BUILDER is setting the prices) doesn't mean the VALUE is there. And you need to KNOW that. You may still want to make the purchase, but remember INFORMED IS EMPOWERED (provided the information is true and accurate!!!)

Remember, what an ATTORNEY does is totally different that want an AGENT does. An attorney will look at a contract to be sure that the content and terms are LEGAL, accurate and enforceable. What they don't do is know market conditions; they don't know market value; they don't generally counsel you regarding financing (and the pitfalls of particular loan components that might be involved); they don't evaluate components of the contract in terms of what is to your benefit and what can come back to bite you. Most builders require you to use THEIR contract forms...and in most cases those contracts are HEAVILY WEIGHTED in the builder's favor. It seems to me it's in YOUR BEST INTEREST to have OBJECTIVE advise regarding all those things...and that's what a quality Realtor can give you. I will say that much of what we do for our buyers, and where our value lies, comes AFTER THE PROPERTY IS SELECTED!

I recently counseled a buyer who was planning to purchase 2 units in a new condo building. One unit was to be his to live in, while the other was being purchased on speculation. The BUILDER had told the buyer that they had no other 1 bedroom units available, that all 1 bedroom units had contracts on them, so his turn around as a speculator was excellent. He had a nice unit, good upgrades, excellent location, etc.

However, in MY evaluation of the property, I discovered that many of those units were actually BACK ON THE MARKET...that the builder was having difficulty selling them because of the current market....that the builder was offering deep discounts on their 1 bedroom units to encourage a quick close. The buyer was supposed to close on his new construction at $355,000. The builder was charging anywhere from $305,000 to $340,000 FOR LARGER units, QUICK CLOSE, excellent locations (similar to this buyer's location). Bottom line...buyer elected not to close...he backed out of the deal, walking away from his $10,000 deposit. His comment to me "I'd rather lose $10,000 now than $50,000 later!!!" By the way, I also reviewed his leasing potential because I do expect the market will bounce back, but he would have needed to rent unit for considerably more than the market would bear. Again, not to his advantage. This is all the kind of information that AN ATTORNEY CANNOT PROVIDE, but a good agent can.

Bottom line...don't risk "shooting yourself in the foot"....what you don't know CAN hurt you!

2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Hello Katie,
1. You do not need a realtor to make an offer for a property that is not listed
2. You must get a qualified buyers agent to make an offer for you if the property is listed as the listing agent represents the interest for the Seller and not the buyer.
3. Look at the asking price and divide it by the sq. ft. of the unit and you will get the Price per Sq. Ft.
example: 250,000 divide by 993 Sq. Ft. = 251.76 dollard per Sq. Ft.
Most one bedroom new construction condo in WNY are selling for more than this price per sq. Ft.
320 62nd Street - 1 BR New Condo Sold in March for 219,000 for 600 Sq. Ft. = 365 per Sq. Ft.

Seller or Developerss asking price has no value. The value for the property comes from what other buyers like yourself are paying for new condo's in WNY and what banks are lending on the appraised value for the same?
In this market the banks are more careful to lend than the buyers are careful to offer. Rest assure you will not over pay in this market if you are getting a mortgage loan. If you are buying cash use the information I provided you and do your research and make an offer.
Remember NJ is one of the few areas in US today that are still holding its prices from last year.
Here are some qualified Vendors to help you with this process.
A) Steven Serna - Real Estate Lawyer (201) 392-0303
B) Maurice Giro - Real Estate Lawyer ( 201) 681-1562
C) Sheetal - Mortgage Specialist (201) 868-RATE (7283)
D) KW VIP TEAM - Real Estate Broker / Consultants (201) 861-4663

Thanks and all the best

Web Reference: http://www.kwVIPteam.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 24, 2008
I am just reading the question and I am glad you have decided to get an agent. If the property is listed, the cost for the agent is already built in. An agent will be able to guide you through the process. Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Is the house currently listed with a Realtor? If so, a local Realtor can represent you. The seller pays for the Realtors commision not you.

If it is not listed ,you need to contact a Local Real Estate Attorney before you make an offer. The attorney can prepare a contract or review the contract the sellers attorney prepared before you sign it.

In addition, I would check with a local realtor even if is it not listed. They will know if you are getting a good
deal on the home. They may even find you a better deal on another home. It is always wise to get the advise of professionals before you make an offer.
Web Reference: http://www.billturano.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Hard questions, you may be able to google some offers, but then if you do not understand what you are signing this may be a problem. I am sure the local bar has RE Attorneys contact info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 14, 2013
Call me I can help connect you with the top attorneys in the area.

Jose Martinez
Sr. Mortgage Consultant
NMLS 307342
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 14, 2013
Call me I can help you through the process.

Jose Martinez
Coldwell Banker Home Loans
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 12, 2012
Happy fifth anniversary! How'd it turn out?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
Call me I can help you find an attorney at a good savings, and get you a pre-approval.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012

Just wanted to see how you made out with the condo. It seems you got some help from many different perspectives. However, if you are still having some difficulty in your condo search, I'd be happy to answer any questions and help you out any way I can!

Christine Markow
ERA Statewide Realty
Office: (908) 874-7797, ext 519
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Wow - those are some convoluted answers to a simple question! The best way to find a good realtor and a good real estate attorney is by recommendation. Talk to people your new neighborhood (or building) and ask them who they used and if they were happy with them. If you don't know anyone, go into a few real estate agencies and ask to speak with the broker. Explain your situation and I'm sure the broker would be happy to recommend someone to work with you. If you don't like the person, go to a different agency and try again. Ask for references if you'd like. (If your property is in Hudson County, I would be happy to work with you). There are many, many realtors and real estate lawyers and many of them are great. It' s just a matter of finding one you trust and are happy with.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2007
Hi Carrie,

When you say the cost of the agent is built in, do you mean the cost to the builder to pay for my agent or their agent or both? I get mixed answers as to who pays for the buyer's agent :-(

I would love to move on this property this week if all goes well. But since it's a new property and all of you suggested getting an inspector, I will also like to do that. So the 2nd part of my question ....do I do that before making an offer? Thanks everyone!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 30, 2007
Thanks for all the responses. The more I think about it, you all are right..I do need to find an agent. I just assumed not having one save me some money. It seems all of you are saying that is not the case. With that said, any help or advice on buyers agent & RE attorneys in NNJ?

As per another question, the property is listed. Thanks again
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Hi Katie

My question is why are you trying to go at it alone if the property is listed you will not save anything by doing this yourself, all you will be doing is cutting out your representation-while the other side is not. As a last note are there other places you may have over looked by avoiding a professional? Is there industry knowledge that you may benifiet from regarding the local inventory? If you are in Northern NJ I do have a few great attorney for you.

Not directing this to you Katie--But I'm not sure why some people avoid a professional when making one of the biggest purchases or sales in of their lives--statictics show there is a benifiet to using a Realtor. I wonder if these people fix their own cars, fill their own cavaties, weave their own blankets etc..
Sometimes, I believe they look at what they don't want someone else to have, as oppossed to what their beniefit is of using a professional. If it is about brokerages fees, they are a relative % of saving or gains you will see, cost of doing business, marketing, risk etc....It is all relative. Being a real estate professional has a very high cost of doing business.
Web Reference: http://www.bparkes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Realtors know who the good real estate attorneys are. Why don't you get an agent to represent you? You will need either an agent or an attorney or a title company to help you from here. You won't pay the agent, the seller does.
Is it a FSBO? Have you talked to the owner, or is the house listed with an agent? If it is listed with an agent, you can go directly to the listing agent who will then become what is known as dual disclosed, representing both buyer and seller.
This is a more complicated process than just writing an offer. You'll need help to negotiate, have an inspection, and deal with any issues that will arise before you close.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
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