HomeinWallin…, Home Buyer in Brick, NJ

Is it necessary to hire an attorney when buying a short sale condo?

Asked by HomeinWallington, Brick, NJ Tue Mar 20, 2012

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Thomas Lauri…, Agent, Hoboken, NJ
Wed Sep 5, 2012
YES, YES, YES, in Northern and Central NJ it is required, but for short sales you should always be represented by a real estate attorney, who understands the process, and please, [please do not use an attorney who does real estate on the side.. only someone who does real estate full time.

Thomas Laurita
Halstead Property
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Felix Nazario, Agent, Fords, NJ
Fri Mar 23, 2012
As you can see from all of the answers, most Real Estate Agents in NJ will say hire an attorney. I recently had a closing in South Jersey where it's not uncommon for a home buyer or seller to use a title company instead.

What I suggested to them, and I would suggest this to anyone, especially those purchasing a home via short sale, take a look at what a NJ Attorney charges. It's typically around $1,000, maybe $1,500 for some. Considering the complexity of a short sale and the size of the investment, I would strongly consider using a NJ Attorney.

By the way, my South Jersey buyers, when considering the difference in price between a title company and a NJ Lawyer to handle their transaction, they opted for the NJ Lawyer.

All the best!
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Mar 21, 2012
Not required but strongly recommended. Short sales can be far more challenging than traditional deals. Plus, you can bet there will be an attorney on the other side of the transaction.

Recommend you work with both an agent and attorney that has experience with and success in closing short sale deals.

Good luck to you!
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Mar 21, 2012
If you don't hire an attorney, are you prepared to react with any potential legal issues that may arise; hiring an attorney is always highly advisable....
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Marco Gomez &…, Agent, Jackson Heights, NY
Wed Mar 21, 2012
You should always hire an attorney in an attorney state (such as NY) or at the least hire a great title company.
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Marsha Bowen…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
Because most if not all short sales are an "As Is" sale, meaning you are buying the property in the current condition and responsible for any repairs, I highly recommend you have an attorney who is familiar with the short sale process represent you. Other factors to consider is the timeline of a short sale, you will want to be protected just in case.
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Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012

It's not that it's required in New Jersey, but the TYPE of sale (short sale) is complicated at best and there are so many things that can go wrong (with contracts, bank approvals, title issues, liens against the homeowner, inspections, blah blah blah) that NOT having an attorney is not the best way to go. A title company CAN close a house for you, but they have "retainer attorneys" who probably don't know the first thing about handling a short sale and can end up costing you the house or worse.
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HomeinWallin…, Home Buyer, Brick, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
What is it about the process in New Jersey that makes it necessary to have an attorney? I cannot imagine the laws to differ so significantly from, say, California that I could purchase a home in California without an attorney but would need one in New Jersey.
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Amos Elroy, Agent, Bayonne, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
I too completely agree with my colleagues, that employing an attorney is a good idea and critical to the sale.

It is however interesting to note that that the standard practice of using a lawyer in the real estate transaction is geographically biased. Even south Jersey do not necessarily use attorneys in the process, from what I heard.

Granted it would be cent wise and pound stupid not to use an attorney, particularly when is comes top a complex transaction like this.

Amos Elroy, SFR (Short-Sale Specialist Certified)
Residential Real Estate Investment Consultant
Lic. Realtor Associate
EXIT On The Hudson Realty
(888) 462-6573 / (888) HOB-NJRE
FAX (888) 462-6573
Office 201-437-0411

Twitter & Facebook: HobNJRE
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Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
You absolutely should hire an attorney. There are so many things that can go wrong during a short sale , more so than a "regular" sale, that you need not only a good real estate agent who knows the process, (preferable SFR certified) but a good attorney who also can help you with the legal issues that invariably arise during the short sale process.
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Diane Maxon, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
Hi - you'll notice that the only agent who said you don't need an attorney is from Michigan! All my fellow NJ agents have given you the right advice. In New Jersey you are always better served by having an attorney and a short sale is much more problematic than a conventional sale. Generally attorneys charge a flat fee for closings, so you should know at the beginning how much you will pay.
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Suzanne Pari…, Agent, Pompton Plains, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
Absolutely. Do not purchase without an attorney helping you.
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Craig Whitney, Agent, Brighton, MI
Tue Mar 20, 2012
No you don't have to hire an attorney, although most Realtors will suggest you hire one if you ask there opinion. Be sure to get Title insurance on your behalf, as this will insure your ownership.
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David Leonard, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
Only if you want to close. Short sales have a zillion moving parts, and without very, very good people on your side (realtor AND attorney) you'll spend a lot of time and money and likely still be looking for a house six months from now. I've been buying and selling property for over 20 years, and would not buy a home without an attorney - it's all dandy until something goes south, then you'll wish you had a good one. It's a hassle to save a few percentage off FMV, but can be worth it. If. It. Closes.

David Leonard
Weichert Reatlors
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Karina Abad, Agent, Hoboken, NJ
Tue Mar 20, 2012
Hello! Yes absolutely, you must hire an attorney when buying a short sale. And make sure you hire a real estate attorney who has handled many short sales. This will ensure that the contract is prepared to protect you, to give you a timeline of how long you would be locked up during the process of getting the bank approval, so that you could back out if in 6 months the short sale still has not been approved.

The short sale process from a buyer's perspective is very much the same as a traditional sale. You will still be required to sign a contract, enter attorney review, give a deposit to the seller's attorney etc.. the only thing that's really different is the waiting time in a response from bank to accept or counter your offer, and that your offer should be based off of an as-is purchase, since banks do not conduct repairs nor give credits at closing for anything that might come up during the inspection.

Hope that helps!
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