Residential Real Estate

For most people, buying or selling a home is usually the biggest financial transaction of their lives.  While the amount of money involved creates its own level of stress, the residential real estate process itself can seem like it was intentionally designed to confuse the average person.

The terms and procedures involved in residential real estate are foreign to most people.  When realtors and mortgage brokers start using terms like TILA, RESPA, TRID, balloons, ARM's, etc., most people just sign on the dotted line.  But these documents and laws all have an impact on how much you'll pay for your residential real estate purchase, and what rights you have after closing.

Here's the secret truth, you don't need an attorney to purchase residential real estate in Pennsylvania or most of New Jersey.  Closings are generally conducted by a title company, who handles the paperwork in exchange for selling insurance to the buyer.  North Jersey uses a slightly different procedure where attorneys still conduct those closings in place of a title company, but the process is similar.  If you know what you're doing, you can get through a residential real estate deal without hiring an attorney.

So why would you want to pay for a lawyer to represent you if it's not required?  There are three scenerio's that usually get us involved:

First time buyers/sellers

If you're a first time buyer or seller of real estate, you may often want someone who's there on your side.  Most realtors we've come across are very professional, but they've got an interest in making sure the deal closes and they get their commission.  Most title companies have lots of experience, but they're insuring the transaction and they have their own interests to protect.  As a first time buyer, it can be helpful to know that you've got an attorney who's done this hundreds of times before, to guide you through the process and point out the potential pitfalls.

Perhaps even more importantly, hiring an attorney with decades of experience in residential real estate means you're getting someone who knows what issues are not that relevant.  When you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for the first time, every little thing can seem overwhelming.  An experienced attorney can help you see the forest from the trees, and identify which issues need to be addressed, and which ones can safely be set aside to not kill the deal.

Construction defects

While residential real estate is the ultimate example of the concept of buyer beware, there are a few protections built into the system for buyers and sellers to protect you from construction defects or failure to disclose problems.  When you purchase an existing home, the seller is required to make disclosures about several types of known issues with the house.  When you're buying new construction, there are limited warranties which apply in most cases to protect you against construction defects.  We've litigated numerous of cases involving both construction defects and a seller's failure to disclosure, and because of our hands on knowledge of construction and building techniques, we can cut through the lingo to very quickly know what the real problems are.  At Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt, we offer a no charge review of the issues with your home.  Since we've represented both buyers and sellers, builders and consumers, we know these cases from both sides and we're prepared to aggressively advocate for you.

For Sale By Owner

Our attorneys have decades of experience handling for sale by owner deals.  Whether you've already found a buyer on your own, or you need advice on the growing resources available to those who can dedicate the time to marketing their home without a realtor, we can guide you through the process from start to finish.  We generally charge a flat fee to handle all the legal paperwork and walk you through the process of buying or selling a for sale by owner home, which can save thousands off the cost of a realtor.