Residential Real Estate

Next to the birth of a child, perhaps the greatest joy that a family can share is the purchase of a home. Within these walls, the family will celebrate great moments like graduations and marriages, and little moments like story hour and bedtime - the experiences that add up to life together.

How should you approach this important purchase?

You wouldn't buy a car without studying the buyers' guides and looking into the manufacturer's warranty. You should exercise even greater caution in the purchase of a home. Your realtor gives you information about housing prices, schools, and other neighborhood issues. At the law office of Jennifer D. Armstrong, LLC, we can help you discover whether the house is in good shape through a pre closing inspection, that there are no claims or liens that could surprise you, and that no one has rights that would limit your ownership.

Suggestions if you are purchasing a home

  1. CONTRACT SIGNED BY ALL PARTIES: Before you incur any expenses of inspections or mortgage applications, contact your attorney to verify that the contract and any addendums have been signed by all parties. Tell us of any agreements between you and the sellers regarding personal property, repairs, change of closing dates, or any other matters not contained in the contract.
  2. CONTINGENCY DATES: Diary all contingency dates, such as termite, home inspection, septic inspection, well inspection, and mortgage contingency dates. Communicate with your real estate agent regarding the scheduling of all inspections and mortgage applications. If any of the dates cannot be met, contact your attorney immediately so that they may request an extension. Failure to meet these deadlines may result in a waiver of the contingency.
  3. INSPECTION DEFECTS: If any of the inspections reveal defects, communicate them to your attorney by phone and in writing immediately. Attempt to obtain written estimates for repair of the defective condition(s). Your realtor may be helpful in obtaining estimates. Promptly submit these written estimates to your attorney, so that we may communicate them to the seller's attorney and attempt to resolve who and how much is to be contributed by each party. Your realtor may assist you in negotiating disputed repairs.
  4. UTILITIES: Prior to closing, make arrangements through the realtor to establish utilities in your home.
  5. HOMEOWNER AND FLOOD INSURANCE: Prior to closing, you must obtain a homeowners insurance policy and supply this to your attorney and the lender with a copy of same as well as a one year paid receipt. The legal name and correct address for the lending institution and yourself must appear on the policy. The amount of insurance must be at least equal to the amount borrowed. It is suggested that the insurance be for at least the purchase price or fair market value, whichever is greater. Discuss with your insurance agent additional insurance for your personal property, domestic help, and other insurance needs. Contact your attorney for exact instructions on the homeowners insurance requirements. In the event the property is located in a flood zone, it will also be necessary to obtain a flood evaluation certificate and a flood insurance policy.
  6. REPAIRS: Do not make repairs or move property into your new home until after closing.
  7. TITLE WORK AND SURVEY: Your attorney will order your title work and survey upon receipt of a written mortgage commitment from your lender. Please note that title work can take up to two weeks to be completed so keep in mind that once title work is ordered a closing may occur approximately one month after the date of ordering same. Should you wish to close faster you should forward a written authorization to your attorney authorizing the ordering of your survey and title work, which you will be responsible to pay for should your mortgage commitment not be issued. You will also have to advise your attorney if you would like to have corner markers placed at the property when the survey is done. Please be advised that most surveyors require each buyer to sign a waiver of corner markers in the event you do not wish to have the corners marked by the surveyor.
  8. MORTGAGE COMMITMENT: Upon receipt of your mortgage commitment, please forward a copy to your attorney. Please read your commitment carefully and attend to complying with any conditions that may be contained therein. Closing of Title cannot be scheduled until the mortgage company's requirements have all been met.
  9. CLOSING FUNDS: On the morning of closing, contact your attorney for the amount of funds you will require at the closing. You must bring to the closing a certified, cashier or treasurer's check made payable to the attorney's Trust Account. Please also bring some personal checks for any last minute adjustments that may occur.
  10. WALK-THROUGH: You must make arrangements through the realtor to conduct a final walk-through inspection on the day of the closing. At the time of the walk-through inspection, check all heating, electrical, plumbing, and septic systems, as well as appliances. Please be sure to check for any repairs that were to be done prior to closing. After the closing you cannot complain of defects.
  11. DELAYS: Be prepared for unanticipated delays in closing . It is not unusual for a closing date to be rescheduled due to unanticipated delays.

Suggestions if you are selling your home

  1. FAMILIARIZATION: Familiarize yourself with the above suggestions for purchasing a home.
  2. DOCUMENTS TO BE SUPPLIED: Within one week from the initial conference, supply your attorney with a copy of your deed, survey, title insurance policy, death certificate of deceased joint owner (where applicable), the name, address, and account number of your present mortgage companies. If required by your municipality you must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy, Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Certification and Fire Extinguisher Certificate and/or Well/Septic Certification. Please check with your municipality and provide the same to your attorney as soon as possible prior to closing.
  3. DELAYS: Be prepared for unanticipated delays in closing . It is not unusual for a closing date to be rescheduled due to unanticipated delays.
  4. OIL READING: Obtain an oil reading (where applicable) the day before closing and bring a receipt to the closing.
  5. UTILITIES: Prior to closing, make arrangements through your realtor to schedule final readings for utilities.
  6. PROPERTY CONDITION: Your house must be empty of all furniture and debris and in broom-clean condition at the time of the closing.
  7. KEYS AND TAX BILLS: Bring all keys, garage door openers, and tax bills to the closing.
  8. POST CLOSING: After closing, notify your insurance agent to cancel your homeowners insurance and request a refund of the expired premium, if any.
  9. FHA/VA MORTGAGES: If you have an FHA or VA mortgage, you must notify them in writing thirty days prior to closing or you may be charged an additional month's interest.
  10. ADJOINING PROPERTY: If you or any other owner of the subject property also owns property adjacent to the subject property, please contact your attorney immediately so that we can assert whether the subject properties have been legally merged due to zoning requirements. If you own adjoining property and are selling only a part of said property in this sale, notify your attorney immediately to ensure the correct parcel of land is being transferred.
  11. SELLER FINANCING: If as part of the contract you are holding a mortgage for the purchaser, please be advised that this office in no way can recommend or guarantee that payment will be made in a timely fashion. Please be advised that over the past several years the foreclosure process has become both expensive to prosecute and time consuming. A high down payment is always recommended in these cases if you decide to accept seller financing.
  12. VERIFYING MORTGAGE PAYOFF: It is suggested that three days following the closing, that you as seller, contact the old mortgage company to confirm the payoff of any mortgages that were being paid as part of the mortgage proceeds. This will ensure that payoffs have been received in a timely fashion and have not been misdirected. You should also make sure to provide your former mortgage company with your forwarding address so that they may forward any unused escrows to you.

Contact us for assistance in the purchase, sale, or refinance of your home.