The Key Elements of a Real Estate Purchase Agreement

One of the biggest reasons to hire a real estate attorney is to ensure you are following the law without leaving out any gaps or loopholes than can leave you vulnerable. The last thing you need is for a court to determine your real estate purchase agreement is void. The contract details the agreed-upon price and terms of purchase for the property in question, including financial issues, important dates, and other mutually accepted details. Here are the five most important aspects of a legally valid real estate purchase agreement and how your real estate attorney can help.

1. Legal Purpose

A contract is invalid if it is intended for an illegal purchase. The details of the contract must be enforceable under current law. For real estate purposes, it is important to make sure the seller is the legal owner, for instance.

2. Competency

It is important to make sure the person signing a real estate purchase agreement with you is allowed to sign a legal contract. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age, of sound mind, and not under the influence of any substances. These rules are in place to protect vulnerable groups like minors and those with disabilities. If there is any doubt in your mind about the capacity of the other party, it is important to do your due diligence in determining competency before you sign anything.

3. Agreement by Offer and Acceptance

In real estate purchase agreements, this is illustrated by an offer of purchase by the buyer and an acceptance of the offer by the seller. The best way to ensure the binding legality of this agreement is to write out all the terms of the purchase agreement in full. If the buyer is offering a price with specific conditions attached, the seller must sign that they accept the price and the conditions. If something is not listed in the purchase agreement, there is no legal standing to enforce that agreement.

4. Consideration

In legal terms, consideration is anything of value that is offered and exchanged in a contract: money, goods, services, etc. Typically with real estate agreements, the consideration is in the form of money. While the down payment and financing details will come at closing, earnest money can be included in the agreement from the beginning.

5. Consent

Both parties in a contract must enter into agreement knowingly and of their own free will. Any fraud, misrepresentation, or duress from any party in the contract will make the agreement null and void. Even a simple mistake can void a contract if it goes against the agreed-upon terms. All parties involved in the signing of a contract must agree to the deal.

Your real estate attorney can ensure the real estate contract you sign is binding, valid, and enforceable under New Jersey law. If you are unsure about the legality of a contract or if your interests are being protected, Veitengruber Law can help.

NJ Real Estate: Hidden Fees and Costs You Need to Know About

nj real estate

Your home is likely to be the most expensive financial investment you will make in your life. Just a few of the “hidden charges” in buying a home include: closing costs, property taxes, home owner’s insurance, and fees charged by a variety of experts throughout the purchasing process. For the unsuspecting home buyer, hidden fees and miscellaneous costs associated with buying a home can come as a big shock. To help you budget for this major purchase, we’ve compiled a descriptive list of some costs you might not be preparing for.

Closing Costs

The time it actually takes to close on a property is typically somewhere between 30 and 60 days. During this time, the sale is considered to be pending as you work out the details with the seller. At the end of the closing process you’ll make a major payment towards your new home in the form of closing costs. Closing costs typically range anywhere from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the home. The charges included in closing costs can include fees for appraisal, wire transfers, credit report assessment, title insurance, document preparation, and many other closing-related processes.

Home Inspection Fees

While a home inspection isn’t a requirement, unless you happen to be an expert real estate inspector, hiring a professional is something you should really consider. You will be able to purchase the home with confidence in its condition or save yourself money in repair costs by alerting to seller to necessary repairs. Putting aside money in your budget for a home inspection can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Home Owner’s Association (HOA) Fees

If your home is located in a gated community, chances are high you will be required to join the HOA. Monthly HOA fees go toward community maintenance and repair of common areas, like sidewalks, entrance-ways, parking areas, and landscaping. Some HOA fees can be surprisingly pricey so it is important to know about them before you sign the dotted line.

Property Taxes

Depending on where you live, property taxes can cost you a lot. New Jersey is well-known for having very high property taxes across the state, but some areas of NJ have more reasonable tax rates. The average property tax bill in NJ ranged from $450 in Walpack Township, Sussex County to nearly $32,000 in Tavistock Borough, Camden County. Pay attention to the property taxes in the area you are looking to buy. It can make a huge difference in your bottom line.

Real Estate Agent Fees

Real estate agents make a living via commission. The average rate of commission in NJ is 5-6% of a home’s sale price. Real estate agents on both sides will be offered part of the commission. Both agents will be paid out by money the buyer gives the seller for the home at the time of closing. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure both agents get their commissions out of this money. The rate of commission is pre-determined and agreed upon by both sides before closing. For instance, if it is decided the seller’s agent will receive a 3% commission and the buyer’s agent will receive a 2.5% commission on the sale of a $210,000 home, the seller’s agent will receive $6,300 and the buyer’s agent will receive $5,250.

These are only some of the hidden costs associated with purchasing a home. You don’t want to be blindsided by financial pitfalls after you find your dream home. If you’re thinking about buying a home, or if you’ve already signed a contract and you’re in the attorney review period, we’re more than happy to look over the contract for you and answer any questions you may have. Visit our website and call us at the location that is most convenient for you – we have offices in Wall, Bordentown, and Metuchen.

What Generation Z is Looking for in NJ Real Estate

nj real estate

The real estate market is gearing up to welcome a new generation of home buyers: Generation Z. This generation, born between 1997 and 2012, are now buying around 2% of homes on the market. That might not sound like much now, but this money-conscious group is poised to become a major NJ real estate purchasing force in the years to come. As the oldest in this group finish college and start jobs, homeownership is the next big move. Here is what Generation Z is looking for in a home.

The big thing to note with this group is that they are interested in single family homes in diverse communities. A survey taken by Homes.com indicated that living in a diverse community was important for 58% of Gen Z survey takers. Instead of condos, townhomes, or apartments, Gen Z largely expects a single family home to be their starter home. Amenities desired by Gen Z included a backyard with a deck or patio, open floor plans, a garage, and hardwood floors.

Something not on their list? Smart home technology. Surprising many real estate experts, smart home tech ranked low on a list of desired amenities, along with eco-friendly appliances.

This generation may be the most informed first time home buyers ever. Being essentially born with smart phones in their hands, this tech savvy group knows more than ever about the home buying process. Even Gen Z buyers new to real estate have likely done some research before approaching a realtor. This also makes them discerning potential buyers: they know what they want and they are willing to spend some time looking for it.

In 2019, Gen Zers were buying starter homes costing on average $160,600, an 11% increase from 2018. This generation, in general, is looking for inexpensive homes in New Jersey towns with strong local economies and low crime rates. Many Gen Zers are looking to settle in the areas around where they went to school, making college and university towns a popular choice.

The financial position of Generation Z may be the only thing holding them back from entering the real estate market. While they tend to be in a better financial position entering their mid-20s than the Millennial generation that came before them, they still have student loan debt to grapple with. With some student loan payments equaling a typical mortgage payment, this is a tall hurdle to jump. On average, Gen Z home buyers are putting only 5% down on real estate purchases, meaning they are likely relying on private mortgage insurance (PMI) to pay for their homes.

Right now, most of the future home buyers in Generation Z are focused on experiences, travel, and paying off their loans instead of purchasing real estate. While they are in no rush to purchase a home right now, this unique demographic of home buyers will be hitting the market before you know it. You can count on them looking for New Jersey communities with easy access to the arts, entertainment, and Instagram-able experiences.

5 Tips for a Successful New Jersey Real Estate Investment Purchase

NJ real estate

It can be difficult for beginners in real estate investing to determine which properties would be a good purchase. You may have a plan, your finances might be stellar, but once it’s time to take action, sometimes even the best laid-plans get derailed. If you are looking to invest in New Jersey real estate, there are some things you should keep in mind as well as specific properties to steer away from as you make your first investment(s). To help get you started on the right foot, we’ve compiled five tips that will guide you toward a successful NJ real estate purchase.

1. Keep an Open Mind

The biggest key to successfully investing in real estate is to remain open to the possibilities around you. Don’t go into your property search looking for anything too specific. Even if you have a mental picture of investing in a residential home to flip – don’t ignore the excellent commercial real estate opportunity down the street. There are so many different types of real estate opportunities available to you! By keeping an open mind, you’ll be less likely to miss out on something great.

2. Be Mindful of Location

You might find a fantastic property and fall in love with it instantly. WARNING! Don’t invest until you have a good, solid understanding of the location. There is a rule in real estate: “A bad house in a great neighborhood is better than a great house in a bad neighborhood.” You can always renovate a property—you can’t give the street a makeover.

3. Prepare for Competition

The popularity of investing in New Jersey real estate is on the rise. Don’t be surprised if you put an offer in on a property only to be outbid. Some of the biggest competition you will likely face will be from all-cash buyers. Many all-cash buyers are offering full price or more in order to secure their investment. Be aware of these competing investors, but don’t be dissuaded if you are outbid a few times. Ask sellers about their goals and see if there is any way you can help them meet those goals.

4. Look Past the Staging

Home staging is an increasingly popular trend for sellers looking to get an edge in the market. And there is a good reason for this: many buyers are more likely to overlook faults with the property if it is staged. Don’t let the aesthetics of staging deter you from asking the important questions about a property. Make sure you move things around, test hardware and appliances, and get to the bones underneath the picture-perfect set up.

5. Know When to Quit

Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and get out if you make a bad investment. Even some experienced investors will stick with a bad investment in a futile effort to recuperate the money they sunk into a property. It’s possible that what seems like a sure bet can take a nosedive and turn out not to be a money-maker. Smart investment behavior includes knowing when to walk away, learn from your mistakes and make better choices next time.

 

Real estate can be a challenging and rewarding opportunity for motivated investors. The sky is the limit when it comes to your real estate goals. If you follow these five tips, you will be on your way to a successful NJ real estate purchase!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mortgage Co-signer vs Co-borrower: What’s the Difference?

mortgage co-signer

If a bank is on the fence about approving a loan, they may ask the borrower if there is anyone who can share responsibility of the loan. Including multiple people on your loan application can increase your chances of getting the loan accepted. While many people think co-signers and co-borrowers are the same thing, these are two very different roles in the eyes of a lender. To decide which option is best for you and those helping you get the loan, it helps to compare the two roles.

A co-signer is someone who guarantees a loan for someone else. This means that the co-signer is agreeing to take responsibility for paying off the loan in the event the primary borrower fails to do so. With more resources available to pay back the loan, the lender will be more confident in receiving payment. A co-signer does not have title or ownership over any items acquired with the loan.

A co-borrower is one of at least two primary borrowers. For example, if a couple is buying a home together, they can apply for a loan as co-borrowers. Like co-signers, co-borrowers are responsible for the loan even if the other primary borrowers do not meet agreed upon payments. Unlike co-signers, a co-borrower will have an ownership interest in the property being purchased.

While both a co-signer and a co-borrower can help you when it comes to qualifying for a loan, there are some differences in the risks associated with the responsibilities of co-borrowers and co-signers.

It is important to understand as a co-signer that you are essentially taking on an all risk, no reward deal in which you could be responsible for paying off a loan with no benefit to yourself. If you co-sign to help someone buy a car, it’s their car—and if they stop paying on the loan, it is your responsibility to pay for their car. More than just paying the loan balance and interest, you can also be charged for late fees and other charges if the primary borrower has stopped making payments. Co-signing can also negatively impact your ability to borrow or your ability to get preferable terms on new lines of credit.

For co-borrowers, the risk is a little more personal. Because you are combining financial resources with someone else, co-borrowing can allow you to get approved for a loan that is much bigger than you could pay by yourself. Tragic accidents, bad break-ups, and any other number of difficult circumstances can leave you with a loan that is outside of your financial capacity. It can be very difficult to remove someone’s name from a loan, forcing you to sell the shared property or go through a time-consuming refinance in order to pay off the loan.

The bottom line is if you need someone to co-sign or co-borrow in order to secure a loan, you need to make sure it is someone you trust. Communicate fully the responsibilities associated with each role and confirm they feel comfortable adding their name onto the loan application. Keeping up regular communication with this person about the status of the loan can ensure you are on the same page, which is important since they are invested in the mortgage, too.

How to Increase Your NJ Property Value with Smart Home Technology

Smart technology is everywhere. From iPhones to cars to household appliances, smart technology has never been more accessible or more affordable. These once futuristic accessories are becoming the norm. Especially as millennials enter the real estate market, adding some smart technology is a great way to get noticed and get better returns on your house. Besides making your property more attractive to potential buyers, smart technology can add a lot of convenience and efficiency to your daily life. Here are some of the latest smart technology upgrades you can make in your home.

1. Smart Thermostat

While programmable thermostats have been around since the 1950s, they can be outdated and lack user accessibility in the era of smart tech. Smart thermostats remove any guesswork from getting the perfect temperature in your home. They can sense when you are home, when you are away, and use this data to adjust the temperature according to your preferences. You can also turn up the heat without leaving your comfy nest of blankets on the couch. Smart thermostats can even save you money by conserving energy when you aren’t home.

2. Smart Smoke Detector

The smart smoke detector could save you money on insurance premiums, but it could also save your life. How many of us have resorted to disabling our smoke detectors to end the constant shrieking from a sensitive detector? With a smart detector you can keep on cooking without interruption. A smart smoke detector can monitor smoke, carbon dioxide, and even the general air quality of your home. If a problem arises, an alert can be sent to your smart phone or tablet so you know the second there is an issue. When it comes to your health, this particular smart tech is essential to improving your home environment.

3. Smart Security

Continuing on the topic of safety, smart security systems are a fantastic addition to any home. Many homebuyers consider safety technology an important aspect of a home’s value. You can sell your home for a premium if it is updated with the latest security technology. Smart security can include: cameras connected to your smart phone, audio/video capable doorbell systems, retina scanning technology, and even facial recognition lock systems. Smart door locks can even be programmed to unlock when you pull in the driveway. These features offer convenience, safety, and peace of mind.

4. Smart Lighting

This is another smart technology option for your home that offers convenience and can save you money. EnergyStar reports that 12% of your annual energy bill goes to lighting. That’s hundreds of dollars a year. Smart lighting sensor systems can turn lights on when you enter a room and turn them off when you leave, ensuring lights are only in use when needed. They can be controlled by your smart phone or programmed to dim and brighten to your preferences. Outdoor lighting with smart technology can also improve the safety of your home.

5. Smart Blinds

Blinds provide privacy, create the perfect nap setting, and help you save money on energy costs. Smart blinds allow you to better regulate how hot or cold your house is based on the amount of light being let in. There is a lot of convenience in being able to open all your blinds with the press of a button. After all, smart blinds rolling up to let in the light of a new day is the epitome of “futuristic” living.

6. Smart Solar Panels

Solar is a great source of clean energy to power your home. It is good for the environment and endlessly renewable. Smart solar panels are the latest in solar panel developments, allowing you to monitor individual panel performance and switch panels off and on as needed. Not only will solar energy save you money on energy expenses, it can also make you eligible for a federal tax credit program.

Your investment in each of these smart technology upgrades will vary depending on your home’s unique specifications, but all of them will undoubtedly increase the value of your home. Smart tech will give your home instant appeal to potential home buyers whenever you choose to sell. In the meantime, you will be able to enjoy the conveniences of these smart technology appliances!

 

NJ Real Estate: Inspection vs Walk Through

The walk-through will come towards the end of the home buying process, often the day before or morning of closing. A walk-through is the final chance for you to make sure you get what you pay for. Your contract will provide a full breakdown of what comes with the property you are purchasing. It will list how many rooms, appliances, and amenities are included in the sale as well as the condition they are in. If a contract states there are X number of bathrooms and X number of toilets, the walk-through ensures the seller is not flubbing on these details.

There is also a standard in New Jersey real estate, as well as in most states, for a property to be presented to the new homeowner as “broom-clean.” While it doesn’t have to be totally spotless, it should be in generally clean condition without any excess belongings left behind. The walk-through is your chance to note any remaining possessions from the previous owner and ask for them to be removed. Likewise, it is a time to notice things that are missing that you expected to be part of the sale. It often happens that buyers assume certain window treatments or light fixtures will be included in the sale only to be disappointed when they are not. If these things were included in the contract, make sure they are still there when you do the walk-through.

While a walk-through is typically done right before closing, in the instance of a condominium where a buyer may not have seen their actual unit up front, a walk-through might be scheduled a few weeks before closing. A condo walk-through normally includes a punch list, or a list of missing or broken items that should be fixed before closing.

During a walk-through, you should note any missing or broken appliances, holes, gaps, or major cracks in the walls or ceiling, and any legally essential safety equipment, like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. If you find anything missing or deficient, this is the last chance you have to bring it to the attention of the seller before closing.

The home inspection will come before the walk-through. The inspection is how the buyer determines the condition of the property to ensure there are no surprise issues or hidden damage. The buyer does not automatically have the right to inspect the property. Most buyers will put an inspection clause in the real estate contract that gives them the right to inspect the house before a sale has been finalized. The purpose of an inspection is not to nitpick over minor blemishes in the appearance of the property, but to uncover any glaring flaws.

Unless you are very experienced in real estate or home construction, you should hire a professional for the inspection. A professional will understand what to look for and will think of things you might not—like checking for a buried oil tank. If there are defects present, the buyer can attempt to negotiate to get these problems fixed. Depending on the way the market is leaning, the seller can decline or accept these terms before agreeing upon the sale. In a seller’s market, a seller can—and often times will—decline to fix even major issues.

If issues arise in negotiations over repairs, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Veitengruber Law can help you through every step of the real estate process. We can help you reach your real estate goals and make sure you are getting the best deal in the process.

NJ Real Estate Market is HOT as Weather Turns Cold

NJ real estate

In general, the real estate market tends to cool off with the weather. New Jersey sees some messy winters and it isn’t uncommon for low temperatures to keep people bundled up in their (current) homes. It’s true that some people looking for real estate in NJ will wait until the warmer months to pursue their real estate goals. But this year might see some atypical market trends emerging during the winter months. Being aware of these trends can help you successfully sell your home even when there’s a chill in the air. Here are some things you can watch for this winter.

1. Fewer Homes on the Market

Most people want to list their homes during the spring and summer months due to the commonly held belief that more potential buyers are house shopping in the warmer seasons. Because buyers know this, some may wait until the chilly season passes to seriously look for their dream home. However, less homes listed for sale doesn’t mean that your home won’t sell. In fact, when there are fewer homes on the market, buyers who are looking will be more inclined to take a second look at what you have to offer.

2. Carryover Into the New Year

Unlike previous years, real estate insiders expect the winter months this year to be busier than normal. Thus far in 2019, there were more people looking for houses than there were homes on the market. Buyers that weren’t able to purchase a home during the popular summer months will still be on the lookout for their dream property. Because of this, the market is rich with buyers and will be well into the winter months. This winter could be very profitable for the seller willing to keep their house open through the colder months.

3. “Interested Parties Only”

While there will be more buyers in this year’s winter market than normal, there are still less interested parties than in the spring and summer months. The holidays and cold weather tend to slow down the market. Buyers who are still looking in the winter are generally more serious about making a move and they know they’ll have less competition for homes during this time of the year.

4. You May Be More Motivated to Accept an Offer

If you have had your home listed for awhile, chances are good that you are eager to get the property sold. The longer a property sits on the market, the more it costs any owner. As your motivation to sell increases, you’ll likely find that you are willing to compromise a little more so that you can ultimately make the sale happen.

5. Real Estate Prices Are Rising

Zillow predicts that NJ home valuations and sale prices will increase another 1% as we round the corner into 2020. Specifically, single family homes will be in hot demand throughout this winter and into the warmer months of this upcoming spring and summer. Because demand looks like it will continue steadily, prices are only expected to rise further as we move through 2020, which is great news for sellers!

Neighborhoods throughout New Jersey are experiencing a hot market for real estate this winter. If you are thinking about buying or selling a property this season, Veitengruber Law has you covered. Your real estate plans don’t have to freeze with the temperatures. When you need us to look over your real estate contract, title paperwork and/or attend closing – we’re here for you no matter how frightful the weather.

Forcing the Sale of Real Estate in New Jersey

real estate in new jersey

When it comes to selling real estate, many problems can arise between the time a property goes on the market and closing. Financing issues, disagreement over the closing date, or discrepancies regarding the condition of the property can cause delays. Most of the time, the buyer and the seller are able to resolve these problems and work towards the mutual goal of a sale, but this isn’t always the case. If a deadlock occurs, either party could incur costs or face a potential lawsuit. If monetary compensation is not sufficient to repay a potential buyer for damages incurred, forcing the sale of real estate to the buyer may be the only way to resolve the issue.

“I don’t want to lose my dream home!”

Because of the unique nature of most real estate, sometimes financial compensation alone is not enough to make up for the loss of a real estate opportunity. If a buyer is attempting to buy their dream home or a uniquely advantaged commercial property and the seller fails to sell the property, this is considered a breach of contract. In this case, the only way to fairly compensate the buyer is to force the sale of the property to the buyer. This is also called specific performance. In New Jersey, specific performance is used to remedy the seller’s breach of contract and repay the buyers monetary damages.

In New Jersey, to establish the right to specific performance, a party must demonstrate three things:

  1. The contract is valid and legal
  2. Terms of the contract are clear enough for the court to determine the responsibilities of each party with reasonable certainty
  3. That an order forcing the sale of a property would not be harsh or oppressive to the seller

A court will look at a situation closely before ordering the sale of a property. Even if a contract is legally enforceable, there are outside circumstances that can impact the reasonableness of the sale of a property. The court will consider whether or not specific performance will unfairly disadvantage the seller or if denying specific performance will deny the buyer adequate compensation. Often, these court proceedings will involve a thorough investigation into the circumstances behind the real estate transaction and why a contract fell through. The court must confirm the buyer acted in a fair and equitable manner and behaved conscientiously in relation to the contract before a force of sale will be considered.

What if I don’t have a written contract in place?

While it is certainly more clear cut with a written contract, you do not have to have a contract to force the sale of real estate. Originally, New Jersey law forbade the enforcement of a contract for the sale of real estate if the contract was not in writing. However, a revision to law now allows for the enforcement of an oral contract in the event that clear and convincing evidence can be presented confirming the validity of a contract. The buyer must present proof that identifies the real estate in question, the names of the parties involved, the nature of the sale, and the existence of a mutual agreement to sell the property.

The forced sale of a property could also happen if a property’s co-owners cannot agree to sell a joint-owned property. In this situation, one co-owner can file a lawsuit against the other co-owner(s) to force the sale of the property. This is called a partition lawsuit. While these lawsuits are certainly a last resort in the eyes of the courts, and can be very costly for those involved, they do happen. The proceeds of the sale of the property will be divided evenly between owners based on established ownership interest percentages. In most cases, all parties involved in a partition lawsuit would net more from a voluntary sale of property than a court-ordered sale after a legal battle. Because of this, forcing the sale of a property with joint-owners should be a last resort.

If you are seeking to force the sale of real estate, you must file with the Chancery Division, General Equity Part of the Superior Court in the county where the real estate in question is located. Forcing the sale of a property can require significant documentation before a court will render judgment. Gathering all documentation required for discovery can be time consuming and confusing. Getting the help of an experienced real estate attorney can increase your chances of success in obtaining a force of sale.

Veitengruber Law is a full service New Jersey real estate team. We can help you navigate the complexities of any real estate contract. Understanding your rights as a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction can ensure you do not miss out on your property dreams. We can help you reach your real estate goals!

 

 

 

Creating a NJ Use and Occupancy Agreement that Works for Buyer and Seller

use and occupancy agreement

“Help! My New Place Isn’t Ready, But My Home’s Buyers Need to Move In!”
How a Use & Occupancy Agreement can keep everyone in a “home sweet home” while all the paperwork is finalized.

Congratulations – you sold your home! And you found your new digs too!

But now you’re in that awkward in-between stage, hammering out the final details of the sales and juggling settlement dates on all the properties. What happens if those dates don’t align, and your buyer needs to move in to your house before you’re ready to move out?

Welcome to the land of Use & Occupancy agreements, where either you or your buyer agree to stay at the home for a set fee and a set time until all the dust settles and the transfer of the properties is legally complete.

What Is a Use & Occupancy Agreement?

A Use & Occupancy agreement – also known as a U&O – grants someone permission to do just that – use (get the benefit of) and occupy (inhabit) a property. No more, no less. For example, it can grant your buyer permission to move in and live at your home, or perhaps just leave a couch, bed, and other personal items there, until ownership is transferred. Or, it can allow you to stay in your home after settlement until your new home’s settlement is also finalized.

Five Tips to Ensuring Your U&O is A-OK

Home buying is stressful enough; follow these tips to keep your U&O agreement stress-free.

  1. Set Term Limits. Confirm the start and end dates, and how to remove the occupant if those dates are not honored.
  2. Show Me the Money. Set a rate that makes everyone comfortable with the compensation for use of the property. Be sure to include who’s responsible for electric, water, wi-fi, cable, telephone, and any other household fees. (It’s not a lease, but it should cover many of the same financial obligations.) Consider the benefits of a daily rate, just in case the agreement needs to be shorter or longer than originally anticipated.
  3. Practice Good Housekeeping. Who will be responsible for liability insurance? Who handles regular maintenance and upkeep? Can the buyer start home renovations during the U&O agreement period? Are you going to establish an escrow account to cover any damages that occur? Work out those details ahead of time.
  4. Take a Walk. Moving day is not the time for surprises. Just as you’d do a walk-through before settlement, make sure you do a walk-through at the start and end of the U&O term so everyone can agree on any changes to the condition of the property, and how to handle the situation if it arises.
  5. Spell it Out. Type it out in Word, hand write it on your favorite stationery, or grab a napkin and scribble it down at your favorite restaurant, but make sure you document all the terms of your U&O, and have both parties sign and date it. And if you’d like help ensuring that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed in your U&O, give us a call at Veitengruber Law. We’ll be glad to help you bridge the gap and keep the property – and everyone in it – happily occupied during the transition.