The closing date for a real estate transaction is typically agreed by the parties and set forth in the contract of sale. Traditionally, that date has been a target date, without any penalty if either party is unable to close title. This allows leeway in the event of a personal emergency such as a hospitalization or last minute business trip.
The concept of merger in real estate law is a tricky one but important for real estate investors to understand. Before the advent of municipal zoning, a property owner could divide a large tract of land into individual lots simply by having an engineer or surveyor prepare a map showing a grid of dividing lines superimposed on the land, and filing that map with the county clerk’s office. This would then enable the owner to sell the individual lots. Many if not most lots in this State were created in just this way.
In a purchase transaction I handled last year, the new survey showed that the house being purchased was more than two feet onto the neighbor’s property. As a condition of proceeding with the closing, I required the seller to obtain a written easement from the neighbor permitting the encroachment to remain, running with the land.
A year after you close title to your new home, a process server delivers a foreclosure complaint to your door. You notice that your name is listed as a defendant as well as the name of your seller. You see that the plaintiff holds a mortgage on your home that is in default but you do not recognize that lender as anyone that you have done business with. You know that you are up to date with your mortgage payments.
New Jersey law requires that the seller of a home obtain a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector inspection and certificate (sometimes called a “fire certificate”). This is initiated by completing a form at the office of the town, city or township where the property is located and paying a fee. An appointment is then scheduled and the municipal inspector checks the home to see that all required detectors are present and in working order.
Since October 2015, American homebuyers have learned about TRID (the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures), a sweeping revision in the way that mortgage lenders make and close loans with their customers. First, the”Loan Estimate” replaces the old initial Truth-in-Lending disclosure & Good Faith Estimate for most closed-end mortgage loans. What’s more, the “Closing Disclosure” replaces the final Truth-in-Lending disclosure and HUD-1 Settlement Statement for most closed-end mortgage loans.
Certain Chapter 13 filers may be able to get rid of a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC) (referred to as “lien stripping”). With the real estate market going down over the past few years, some homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may enable you remove a second mortgage or HELOC lien from your home and reduce the amount that you owe.
Traditionally, a home buyer has obtained a property survey when purchasing a home. This is a drawing of the house on the lot prepared by a licensed surveyor which shows various measurements such as the distance of the house from the surrounding property lines. It will also show for instance if a neighbor’s fence is on the home buyer’s property. However, these days, mortgage lenders in many cases do not require their borrowers to obtain surveys. So the home buyer may say, “Why bother? Let me save that cost”.