Real Estate Seller FAQ

As a South Jersey real estate attorney I represent clients as both buyers and sellers of residential real estate throughout South Jersey.   I work hard to protect my client’s interests and to provide them with the best possible experience during the process.  Buying/Selling a home can be among the largest financial transactions you will ever be involved with and having an experienced attorney by your side is the best way to protect your rights.

Below are answers to some common question I get from clients.  For my prior FAQ for real estate buyers click here


Selling a home can be a complicated process.  People sell homes for many different reasons.  These include to help fund the purchase of a new home, fund a couple retiring from a family home to a more manageable empty nester abode, and selling a home as part of an estate in probate.  Whatever your reason for selling your home this firm will help guide you from contract to closing. When a potential buyer puts an offer in writing and you accept it, the signed acceptance becomes the sales contract. Once the real estate agent draws up the initial contract it will be submitted to your attorney to review the contract and protect your interests.

What is attorney review?

Attorney review is the period where your attorney refines the contract of sale.  Both the buyer and the seller have three business days to have their attorney review the contract of sale and prepare a rider or addendum to the contract.  The rider or addendum are changes of terms/additional terms to make the contract of sale appropriate to your specific deal.

These terms will include what is included in the sale price– draperies, carpeting, light fixtures, heating oil, appliances, etc., the amount of the down payment, where the down payment will be deposited, the date of settlement and possession date, contingencies to the sale–inspections or required improvements, and whether the transaction is an “As-Is” deal.

What documents will I have to give to the buyer?

If the property is a condominium, townhouse, or part of a Home Owners Association (HOA) you will required to provide a copy of the Public Offering Statement or Master Deed (comprising of the rules and bylaws for the condominium association) as well as the most recent budget or financial statement for the Association.

For all properties after the closing is scheduled, you will provide a payoff statement showing the balance due on any mortgage you have, to pay the loan in full.

Depending on local laws and the type of property, you may be required to provide a Certificate of Occupancy for the property. Also, a Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Certificate will have to be obtained through your local fire department.

Does selling a home have any tax implications?

 The short answer is yes selling a home can have a major impact on your state and federal tax returns.  When planning for taxes it is always important to consult with your accountant or other tax consultant.  Some factors that can effect your taxes include:

  1. Whether you purchased the home or acquired it by gift or inheritance
  2. Whether you used your home partly for business or rental
  3. Any costs associated with selling your home
  4. Any home improvements or additions, which may help to offset capital gains
  5. The actual sale of your home. In certain cases you can exclude up to $250,000 in gain ($500,000 for married couples filing a joint return) on the sale of property that was your principal residence for at least two years. Generally, you can use this exclusion every two years.

What closing costs is a seller responsible to pay?

The biggest expense a seller has at closing is the pay off of any existing mortgage on the property.  If you have used the services of a realtor, the real estate commission will be due at closing and paid out of the proceeds.  You will also be required to pay the NJ Realty Transfer fee at closing. This fee is imposed upon the recording of a deed, evidencing transfer of title to real property in New Jersey. This fee is always due from the Seller.  Any taxes and condo maintenance will be adjusted at closing.  Finally, you will pay your attorney’s fee from the proceeds of the closing.

All remaining funds at this point will be provided to you.

If you are in the process of selling your home having an attorney early in the process can help the sale go smoothly.  Please contact my office to schedule a free consultation to discuss the sale of your home.