When buying or selling real estate, there are many key steps you should take before, during, and after you close on a sale to keep yourself legally protected.

With numerous state laws, federal regulations, financial agreements, and safety considerations for both commercial and residential real estate sales, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or afraid of missing something important. Fortunately, our Freehold real estate lawyers are here to help you during each part of the process. With our successful advocates at your side, we can protect your rights and interests.

Title, Liens, and Encumbrances

A key step in the real estate sales process is to determine the “clarity” of the title. The title is a representation of the property rights being transferred from seller to buyer, while the deed is the physical document that provides evidence of ownership, as per New Jersey Statutes 46 § 15-5(1)(a). A title is “clear” if it can fully provide the buyer with the right to:

  • Both legally and physically possess the property
  • Use, alter, and control the property
  • Enjoy the property without obstruction or interference
  • Transfer or sell the property
  • Decide who may and who may not enter your property

If any of these rights cannot be legally transferred and exercised in full, then the title is not free and clear.


Buyers’ rights could be impacted by liens placed on the property from the sellers’ creditors. It is possible for an existing lien to remain on the property even after ownership has transferred. If the seller does not clear up their debt, the creditor could go after the new owners for the real estate.


Other potential title issues include easements, which give a legal right to limited use of the property to someone other than the owner. Some easements “run with the land” and will continue even after new owners take possession of the property. A neighbor’s right to use a path or private roadway on your land, for example.

There are several types of title encumbrance that could impact the validity of an owner’s claim on their property. A real estate attorney in Freehold can help you take the necessary steps to verify clear title or remedy any barriers to clear title before you finalize on your property.

Contracts and Purchase Agreements

Under N.J.S. 25 § 1-11 and N.J.S. 25 § 1-13, state law has specific requirements to make real estate contracts legally valid. Failure to abide by the state’s specifications could reduce the enforceability of the contract, which could create serious complications if there are any post-sale disputes between you and the other party. Some of these requirements include adequate descriptions of the property, its location, its use, and details about the sale terms and agreements.

Our real estate attorneys can draft and review all the necessary paperwork that goes into commercial and residential property sales and tailor them to your unique needs.

Breach of Contract and Mandatory Disclosures

While we can take the necessary measures to get your paperwork in order, some real estate conflicts that may not be discoverable until after it is all finalized. If these situations arise, you may require legal remedies to protect your assets and ensure you are treated fairly. In some cases, these remedies require mediation, settlement negotiations, or litigation.

A contract, including a purchase agreement, is breached when one party to the contract fails to fulfill their side of the bargain. This can include acts of fraud, which is when a party uses false or misleading information to convince you to make a deal you would not have made if you knew the truth; as well as acts of negligent misrepresentation, where the person who gave false information did not know it was false, but should have known it was if they done their due diligence.

Under N.J.A.C. 13 § 45A-29, sellers must complete a Property Condition Disclosure Form before the sale is finalized. Among the conditions included in this disclosure are:

  • Roof integrity and history of repairs or replacement
  • Basement leaks, dampness, mold, and foundational cracks
  • History of termite damage
  • Additions or renovations made to the property
  • Sewer condition and history of leaks or flooding
  • Electronic wiring capacity

Even after your closing date, we are still here to assist you with any contractual issues that interfere with your ability to use the property as intended.

Let Our Freehold Real Estate Attorney Help You With a Sale or Purchase

Selling or purchasing commercial and residential real estate is a significant commitment. With such a big investment, it is important to make sure the sale is done right and that you have all your legal protections in place.

While there are many kinds of real estate professionals, only attorneys can provide you with direct legal advice, answer legal questions, and represent you in any legal actions related to your sale. Our Freehold real estate lawyers help you achieve your goals and keep your rights protected so that you can safely enjoy the benefits of your real estate transaction. Call us for a free case evaluation today.