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Does your new home have a party wall agreement?

If you are looking to buy a new home, you are probably no stranger to disappointment. After all, according to reporting from New Jersey 101.5, the red-hot housing market has caused many first-time buyers to get into unwinnable bidding wars.

While many real estate professionals suspect a cooling-off may be on the horizon, you may find better luck purchasing a condo or rowhouse. Many of these, though, have party walls with which you must contend. As a first-time homebuyer, it benefits you to read through the party wall agreement.

Common walls

With most walls inside a home, there is only one owner. That is not the case with party walls, however, as these walls literally straddle property lines. This means you and your next-door neighbor are likely to have an equal ownership interest in the party wall. While you own your side, your neighbor owns the opposite one.

Binding agreements

As you may suspect, having a strong party wall is important to both owners. After all, these walls may provide structural support, prevent fires from spreading or even deaden unwanted sounds. The party wall agreement tells you about your maintenance and repair obligations.

If you and your neighbor have a wall-related dispute, the party wall agreement also may tell you how you must resolve it. That is, the agreement may require mediation or arbitration before you can take the matter to court.

Ultimately, even though you may feel like you already have a great deal on your plate, including a review of the party wall agreement in your due diligence helps you to make a smart purchase.