THE PURCHASE PROCESS
SUBMITTING AN OFFER
SUBMITTING AN OFFER
A complete offer to purchase includes:
-Consumer Information Statement (explains how agency works in NJ)
-Notice to buyer and seller aka opinion 26 (advises buyers and sellers to use an attorney)
-Purchase contract filled out completely and signed.
-Lead paint form where applicable (found in the NJMLS listing)
-Consent to dual agency form where applicable (explains that PPSIR is on both sides of the deal)
-Acknowledgement of receipt of bylaws (for buyers of condos)
-Proof of funds (for cash deals)
-Preapproval letter from a lender (for deals where a mortgage loan is needed)
-(Some people would include a “Good faith deposit” on this list. We don’t do these. It’s a pain in the ass)
The buyer’s agent contacts the lender and asks for a NEW* pre-approval letter based on the offer amount**.
*The buyer should have contacted a lender and obtained and supplied to the buyer’s agent a pre-approval before viewing any properties.
**If the pre-approval shows a price that is less than the buyer is offering, the seller will ask “Is this buyer even qualified to spend the amount they are offering?” The pre-approval price should never be below the offer price.
If the pre-approval shows a price that is more than the buyer is offering, the seller will say “Great! They can afford to come up higher in price! J” This may be helpful in specific situations, but usually it is best for both numbers to be the same.
The buyer’s agent (also known as the “selling agent”) then fills out a purchase contract (and any other required documents***).
The buyers initial and/or sign each page.
The summary should include the following key points: Purchase price, % Down payment, Proposed closing date, Contingencies****, and any special requests.
For example: “They are offering $1.1m with 25% down, 60 day closing. Seller is to finish the basement.”
****Mortgage and Inspection contingencies are standard. If either of these is waived, it makes the offer much stronger. When purchasing land in cash, it is common to waive both if it is known that the property does not have any USTs.
The buyer’s agent should then text message the listing agent. “I just emailed you an offer on (property address). Please confirm receipt.”
We want them to confirm in writing that they have received our offer.
The buyer’s agent should ask the buyer if they have a preferred attorney and recommend using one of our trusted attorneys. If the offer is accepted, this will be needed immediately in order to begin the “attorney review” period.
You can still increase your offer while they are in attorney review. The listing agent is required to present all offers received to the seller; and the seller can accept any new offer that comes in during attorney review.
Likewise a buyer who is in attorney review may cancel the deal at almost any time without consequence. (Even though we are required to know the law, we are not attorneys. When explaining the legal process to a buyer, say “I’m NOT an attorney so you should discuss with your attorney; but here is my understanding…)
YOUR OFFER TO PURCHASE WAS JUST ACCEPTED. NOW WHAT?
Flip the fuck out, celebrate, and go spend the money; this deal is pretty much done.
The purchase contract needs to be signed by all parties. Once fully executed (signed by everyone), the contract is then emailed to the buyers, the buyers’ agent, the buyers’ attorney, the sellers, the listing agent, and the sellers’ attorney all at once in one email that spells out all parties, their role in the transaction, and their contact info. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THIS “INTRODUCTION EMAIL” TO INCLUDE A REQUEST FOR THE ATTORNEYS TO “CC”/INCLUDE THE AGENTS ON ALL CORRESPONDENCES.
Attorney review begins as soon as that email is sent
(Assuming you have the correct email addresses and everyone receives it)
Now the listing agent has to update MLS.
NJMLS listings are updated to ARIP status.
GSMLS listings are updated to ARIP status.
Hudson MLS listings are only updated to DABO (acronym for Deposit Accepted By Owner) if the seller wants to stop showings. If the seller wants to allow showings during the attorney review period, the listing status just remains “active". (There is no ARIP status for Hudson MLS)
Within 24 hours, an attorney review letter/rider should be sent from one attorney to the other. This is when the details of the purchase are clarified. Whether or not the sale includes chandeliers, window treatments, washers, dryers, and anything else disputable. Also the closing dates are decided now, along with anything else…
The buyer’s attorney is usually the one who sends it out. The 2 attorneys will keep going back and forth until the rider as agreeable to both parties. If possible, avoid getting involved in this process. Just advise your client to discuss all concerns regarding the contract and it’s terms with their attorney. We need to know what they decide upon, and sometimes we will weigh in on a decision; but we never give legal advice. Any ideas you have regarding the law should be discussed with the attorney; not the client.
Once the rider is signed by all parties, the attorney review period has ended and you are UNDER CONTRACT
Now the listing agent has to update MLS status to “UC” (Under contract) and this applies to all MLS' that the listing is posted to.
Now is when the inspection, appraisal, and CCO is handled.
As soon as the deal goes under contract, the buyer’s agent has to make sure the buyer is scheduling an inspection as soon as possible. Inspectors are busy and will need a few days advanced notice. Once the buyers schedule an appointment:
The buyer’s agent must immediately tell the listing agent that the inspection has been scheduled and the time and date it will take place. The listing agent has to confirm with the home owner that the scheduled appointment is “ok”. Unless the buyers are requesting to do an inspection at 4am, or on Christmas Eve, the seller should do everything in their power to comply with the request.
The day of the inspection
The buyer’s agent should be present for the inspection. The buyer’s agent should always recommend that the buyer is also present for the inspection; and the buyer should follow the inspector during the inspection. Encourage the buyer to ask the inspector about whatever questions/concerns they have.
The seller is usually not present for the inspection. The listing agent or one of their representatives should be present instead.
After the inspection is completed
The listing agent should call the seller and warn them of any major issues that surfaced. The sellers are usually anxious to know what happened. NEVER TELL THEM THAT NOTHING CAME UP. Inspectors are sometimes quiet about their findings and you wont know about all the problems they find.
When a radon test is done
(optional test and not all buyers agree to spend the extra $100 or so)
The inspector will leave a radon detector in the basement for a few days. During this period, the seller will be instructed NOT to open any windows. Opening windows creates too much ventilation and the detectors cannot collect enough radon to give an accurate reading.
The inspection report
Usually it takes a few days for the buyers to receive a written report from the inspector. The report will list all the problems found within the house. The older the house, the more problems there will be.
Now the buyer has to discuss with their attorney how they would like to proceed. They can move forward with the purchase, they can cancel the purchase, or they can make requests. They can request repairs to be made, or they can request “credits” from the seller so that they can make their own repairs after the closing. Credits are quicker and easier for everyone involved; but some sellers will insist on doing the repairs themselves. To avoid this, a buyer’s attorney will sometimes advise the buyer to request that “all repairs are done by licensed, certified professionals”. The buyer may want to have different contractors come to the property for estimates. This is normal and should be allowed by the seller…
When the buyer makes requests, the seller can either agree, cancel the deal, or attempt to renegotiate.
Once all parties are in agreement, the inspection contingency is over.
THE “ADDITIONAL DEPOSIT”
(Usually) 10 Days after attorney review, the deposit is due. The buyer’s agent should remind the buyer about this well in advance of the deadline.
As soon as the deal goes under contract, the buyer’s agent should ensure that the buyer is moving forward with the loan process. The lender will want a copy of the finalized contract and rider, along with any other paperwork that the buyer has not yet submitted. At this time:
The lender orders an appraisal.
The lender must then contact one of the agents to coordinate a time and day that works.
The listing agent then must confirm with the home owner that this day & time works.
Unless the homeowner does it, one of the agents usually has to be there for the appraisal to let the appraiser in..
Sometimes, the appraiser will ask the agents for help with recent “comparable sales”. Help them when asked.
Sellers need to apply with the town building department for a Certificate of Continued Occupancy. The application usually costs about $100 or so. The town will require the homeowner to close out any open permits before they will issue the CCO.
(CCO is for resale. CO is for new construction. “Smoke cert” is the term they use in Hudson County)
CCO & COMMITMENT REQUIRED
If the buyer has a loan commitment from the bank and all underwriting stipulations have been cleared, the buyer is ready to close (CTC = Clear to close).
If the seller has the CCO in hand and they are ready to vacate, the seller is ready to close.
(There are situations where the seller can close without a CCO but that requires the buyer to acknowledge that they cannot occupy the dwelling until a CCO is obtained. This is a common arrangement when the subject property is a “knock down” house.
If the agent obtains the CCO from the town, the original document usually must be delivered to the buyer’s attorney. Sometimes the bank will request it before they issue a CTC.
The buyer’s agent should always be present. The listing agent’s presence is optional. It’s about 30-60min worth of signing papers in an attorney’s office.
Upon closing 1 of 3 things usually happens.
A) We arrange to be present for the closing so we can grab the check and physically deliver it to our office.
B) We can make arrangements for the attorney’s office to hold our check so that we can go pick it up later that day or the next day.
C) We can make arrangements to have the attorney mail our check directly to our office. This is the easiest but it also takes the longest.