If you are looking to purchase real estate, whether it’s for your home, or your business, or for any other reason, there are a few things you’ll want to do before you seal the deal. Of course, there are the obvious things, such as having the property inspected for mold, termites or structural issues. However, there are other, less obvious problems that can give you a big headache later.
One of the most important things you will want to do before you buy any kind of real estate is something called a title search (which can be done for New Jersey properties here). A title search involves examining the record of the property’s ownership, including any liens, mortgages, or other possible claims to ownership of the property. Unless otherwise stated, someone selling real estate is supposed to guarantee a “clear title,” meaning that your ownership will be unimpeded and uncontested. You don’t want, for example, to buy a property, and find out later that one of its previous owners left it to a beneficiary in their will, or already sold or transferred the property to someone else.
Aside from that, you will want to be aware of any easements or covenants on the land. An easement is a right of access or use that an easement holder can exercise over another person’s property, usually due to some kind of necessity or an express grant by a previous owner (for example, your neighbor may have an easement to drive on a road across your property because it is the only way to access the main road). A covenant is an agreement, attached to the land, where one property is encumbered by certain restrictions for the benefit of another (for example, agreeing not to build additions that would obstruct airflow or access to water). If you are buying your property, it is good to know if, for example, you will be restricted in your ability to paint your house due to a covenant in favor of, and enforced by, the local Homeowners’ Association.
This is just a small selection of the legal issues that can arise if you are buying real estate. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney assist those are looking to buy or sell real estate. If you are buying or selling real estate in New Jersey, contact our New Jersey real estate lawyers for a consultation at (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form.