131 N.J.L.J. 910
July 20, 1992
SUPPLEMENT TO OPINION 26
Real Estate Closing Practices
Since the Committee issued Opinion 26 on March 16, 1992, numerous public inquiries have been received asking whether the opinion prohibits a buyer or seller from representing himself or herself at closing, without an attorney, when buying or selling real estate or closing a mortgage. Although Opinion 26 is now before the New Jersey Supreme Court on petitions for review, due to the public importance of this issue, the Committee believes it to be in the public interest to publish the response to these issues which the Committee has already made public in its briefs filed with the New Jersey Supreme Court.
In Opinion 26, and in its predecessor Opinion 11, the Committee does not purport to require buyers or sellers to retain attorneys in order to transfer title to real estate. The opinion simply presents buyers and sellers with a clear choice: either retain competent legal counsel, or select your own title insurer, and review the title commitment yourself, accepting the consequences of your choice to proceed to closing without legal advice or assistance with respect to the exceptions appearing therein. As the New Jersey Supreme Court has previously stated:
Real estate title insurance policies, like other aspects of the transfer of real estate are unavoidably technical. That technicality counsels a prudent purchaser to consult qualified experts such as lawyers ...