Listed below are answers to questions frequently asked by those considering engaging an attorney.  We welcome any and all questions you may have and firmly believe it is an important part of the process of hiring an attorney.

If there is a question that you do not see answered here? Please feel free to email your question to us and we will answer you as soon as possible.

I’m selling my house and my Realtor is awesome.  Why do I need an attorney?

Most Realtors are indeed awesome, experienced and will keep you well informed through the sale process.  As a NJ licensed Realtor myself, I assure you, there are many highly competent Realtors in our area.  That being said, a Realtor’s duty is quite different from that of your attorney in a real estate transaction.

Realtors are important to moving you through the sale process, but having independent representation provides you with an advocate able to explain the legal implications of the contract, inspection issues, title and settlement. Sellers typically need the most protection at the time the contract is drafted with appropriate protective amendments to the standard NJ form contract, and during the inspection process.  In fact, when a Seller is represented by counsel they do not even need to attend closing.

Having independent representation when selling what is probably your largest asset just seems like good sense.  Ideally your Realtor and lawyer will work hand in hand to get your sale to the settlement table smoothly.

I’m buying a house and my Realtor is awesome.  Why do I need an attorney?

See response to the question above.

In addition, Buyers have unique concerns that an attorney amendment to the standard NJ form contract will provide enhanced protections.  In addition, understanding what a Seller is obligated to fix during inspections can lead to more favorable results. Finally, having an advocate at the settlement table, rather than just your Realtor and title clerk simply walking you through the process can lead to very different results.

For instance, did you know that many insurance companies will not insure a home with a roof approaching the end of its life – and a Seller is not obligated to replace a non-leaking roof approaching the end of its life?  As a buyer without an advocate, you may not learn this until you have closed and then receive a cancellation notice from your insurance company.

Also, if your Seller has unresolved insurance claims, it can place you in a high risk pool or even leave you uninsurable.  Other issues you may not learn until you are too far into the transaction to withdraw.

When you are making one of your largest purchases, you deserve to have an advocate at your side through the settlement process.

I’m caught in a dispute. When should I contact an attorney?

The sooner the better. Taking action quickly ensures that a dispute, which may be resolved quickly, does not rise to a level where parties are entrenched and see no other option but protracted litigation.  When litigation is threatened both parties have legal obligations to protect documents and ensure employees understand their obligations in a business dispute. Of course, a statute of limitations will likely apply to your dispute and understanding all your options and the applicable time-frame for taking action is best to know upfront.

I have decided to purchase and rent out a property to generate additional income and/or plan for retirement. How does it help to consult a lawyer?

Lawyers provide valuable information to help protect investor/landlords in connection with residential lease agreements and acquisition structure. Many landlords enter into the world of investment properties without understanding the laws that apply to them or the best business structure. Bergmann Law provides advice to investor/landlords on all these issues prior to contemplating a transaction; advice which is much less expensive than dealing with an improper business structure or problem tenant down the road.

I am an experienced real estate investor and handle everything on my own. What can a lawyer do for me?

Think about large companies and investors that have in-house counsel on call for any issue that may come up. Now what if you had that same luxury at a fraction of the cost? How many more deals could you do if you didn’t have to handle everything? Bergmann Law represents many investors of all sizes and shapes and acting as “in-house counsel from the outside.” What does this mean? We can take your deal from offer to settlement, including attending settlement while you are out finding more deals and not worrying about the documents and details. It’s less expensive than you think and will free your time to let you do what you do best.

How much do you charge for your services?

Well that depends.  In business and real estate transactions and litigation fees are typically charged at an hourly rate or a flat fee for representation.  The agreed arrangement ultimately depends on what is right for you and the nature of your matter.  In order to determine the best fee arrangement for your case, simply call the Firm to discuss your case.  Some matters require a consultation fee because circumstances may warrant no advice or action beyond the consultation.  If your matter involves litigation, you will be presented with a budget so you understand the implications of moving forward. The facts and circumstances of each case is unique, but I can assure you, you will never be surprised by our fees. The Firm strives to develop long-term relationships and in order to do so there has to be both a reasonable fee structure, and trust between the Firm and you, the client.

If there is a question that you do not see answered here? Please feel free to email your question to us and we will answer you as soon as possible.