In order to make an educated decision, the first thing you have to do is gather the information. The tax map, tax records and zoning ordinance information are some of the first items you will want to collect. You’ll want to check the flood maps to make sure the property is not in wetlands. And you will want to see a survey to see the boundaries, any easement or encroachments and if there are any streams or drainage issues.


You’ll need to identify if there are any environmental issues such as oil tanks, or the property having previously been farmland. You will need to do a test boring to determine what type of soil you have. If there is much rock on the property, you may have to excavate. A perc test will tell you if the location is suitable for a septic. You’ll want to know if the property has a well or if it if will have city water. If there is an existing structure that needs to be knocked down, you’ll need to know if there is the presence of asbestos.

You will want to solicit experts from builders and architects to attorneys and engineers to determine what can be built on the site and they will give you feedback on coverage areas, impervious areas, setbacks, side yards, height restrictions, etc.

Due diligence is important and will make the purchasing process much easier.



There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before deciding whether or not to put an addition on your home. First there are building codes to be looked at: setbacks, coverage area restrictions, height restrictions, possible septic expansion issues, etc. You will need to solicit experts such as builders, architects, engineers, attorneys to help you address any concerns.


You also have to take into account the costs to build that addition. As well as the actual building costs, you need to look at items like building permit fees and find out what your tax increase will be. To factor in building costs, you really need to have a set of blueprints to be able to get an exact cost of the addition itself.

Now that you have the total cost to build, you have to determine if it makes sense to put on the addition. Will the house value increase by the same amount that you put into the addition? And in some cases, it makes more sense to buy a larger house rather than to invest in the building addition. Does the addition support the surrounding area and its values, or will you be over-improving?

With the many things needed to be looked at, it is important to have a competent realtor come in and evaluate the home value today and the value after your proposed addition. They will help you make an educated decision as to whether you should move, put the addition on, or wait with the addition.



In a seller’s market, a buyer has to be smart and move quickly.  Here are some tips to help you land that house.


  1. Be sure to get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified, with your lender.  Pre-approval means that the application process is complete, all the documents are collected and the final step is contingent only upon a successful home appraisal.  This will help move the process along.
  2. Focus on just a few towns and know the market and the area so that you are more prepared for house hunting.
  3. Be aggressive in your offering price and move quickly.
  4. Have your agent present the offer in person to the seller and their agent.
  5. Include a deposit check with the offer and possibly put down more to show your level of interest.
  6. Include a summary of who you are to make the offer more personal.
  7. Be sure to pick the right attorney – an attorney who deal with real estate and comes recommended.
  8. And be sure to choose the right broker – someone who will can the market daily for you, someone who will research exclusive listings, FSBO’s and expireds for you.  And make sure your broker is a good negotiator.

For more information and tips on successful home buying, be sure to contact your Abbott & Caserta Realtor.



Article courtesy of Robin Gronsky of Gronsky Law

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It’s almost time for the closing and you discover that your spouse will need to be on a business trip during the time that you are supposed to close on your house purchase.  What do you do?

You can ask the sellers if they would be willing to move the closing to a date that would allow your spouse to be at the closing.  The date that is set in the contract as the “Closing Date” is not set in stone.  It can be pushed forward or back, depending on the needs of the parties.  But, the sellers are not required to agree to a change of the Closing Date.

There is another solution.  Your spouse can sign a Power of Attorney that will allow you to sign on his/her behalf.  The Power of Attorney is prepared by your lawyer and must be approved by your lender and your title agency.  There are specific clauses that must be in the Power of Attorney so it is not a do-it-yourself job.

Once the Power of Attorney has been approved, you will have the ability to sign any document on behalf of your spouse that concerns the purchase of your new home.  It does mean that you will be signing each document twice (and that is a lot of signing).  But it allows you to close on your home without totally inconveniencing everyone.  So, don’t worry if one of you can’t come to the closing.  There are always solutions.

Email Robin Gronsky at Rgronsky@Gronskylaw.com to find out how she can become your trusted legal advisor, helping you when you buy or sell real estate.

Robin M. Gronsky
Attorney at Law
315 North Pleasant Avenue
Ridgewood, New Jersey  07450
(201) 251-8001




Article is courtesy of Thomas W. Randall, Managing Partner at Randall and Randall LLP

As a real estate attorney who also manages a litigation practice, I can attest to the positive and negative trends which have emerged from the real estate market. On the positive side of the ledger there is some optimism that the real estate market has started to turn the corner, with stable prices and predictions of modest growth.

Unfortunately, there is an uptick in litigation. This is not surprising given some buyer’s remorse from the past market and tighter lending conditions. To be proactive, a buyer and seller should follow these steps to help achieve a successful closing:

  • Retain an experienced real estate attorney. Buying or selling a home is a legal transaction and significant financial investment. Retaining a family attorney friend who doesn’t know the difference between a deed and a divorce may create problems resulting in costly litigation later should problems arise. Be certain to retain the services of an attorney who practices real estate law and who can properly guide you through the transaction.
  • Communicate your concerns and goals up front. Many pitfalls can be avoided through proper drafting of the contract of sale. Provide your attorney with essential information to ensure that the final contract documents contain the necessary inspections, contingencies, deadlines, representations, and other protections.
  • Be financially prepared and disclose. If you are buying, be ready to proceed with inspections and financing to meet closing and lending requirements. For sellers, full disclosure of material defects that are known by the seller is critical.

Thomas W. Randall may be reached at:

Randall and Randall LLP
287 Kinderkamack Road Westwood, NJ
(201) 664-0505