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Selling a Home

Selling your home can be exciting. You might be moving on to brighter horizons, or you might have ideas for how to use your sale proceeds. Whatever the plan, getting to a closing table takes preparation.

If you intend to sell your home in New Jersey, you are required to disclose known material defects in the property that cannot be easily observed. Your real estate agent should assist you with these disclosures. These disclosures include:

  • The age of your roof and any replacements.
  • Problems with driveways, retaining walls, or other structural components.
  • Issues with plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, and other mechanical systems.
  • Water source and sewage system.
  • Environmental conditions such as pest infestations or the presence of asbestos, radon, methane, or other hazardous materials.
  • Legal issues such as zoning violations, homeowner’s association actions, and relevant building codes
  • Lead-based paint.
  • Other notable details concerning the property.

But the process of selling your home does not stop there. You should hire an attorney to negotiate changes to your contract during the attorney review period. Attorney review is when either the buyer’s or seller’s attorney “disapproves” of the agreement within three days of the last signature on the contract and makes proposed changes to the contract. When all changes are agreed to, attorney review has ended, and the house is under contract. However, either party may cancel the contract without penalty or consequence during attorney review.

Always take the time to re-read your contract and subsequent letters modifying the terms to understand better what is required of you.

It is important to note that closing dates can change. Therefore, if you absolutely must close on a specific date, you must immediately notify your attorney.

What does it mean when you state you are selling your home “as is” in New Jersey?

“As is” means you get only what is there, nothing more or less.  In New Jersey, you might be selling your home “as is,” but the buyer typically has the right to conduct inspections and ask for repairs according to the signed realtor’s contract. Where repairs or credits have been requested, and none agreed to, the buyer can typically cancel the contract.

When selling a home, sellers should consider doing the following:

  1. Obtain and provide your attorney with the pay-off statements for all loans on the subject property.
  2. Provide your attorney with a copy of the back title (the history of the title of the property).
  3. Respond to inspection requests. Consider what you will and will not repair for the buyer and what you will and will not provide a credit for. The buyer might insist that you pay to remedy a defect or lower the purchase price. If you cannot reach an acceptable agreement, the buyer might have the right to back out of the deal.
  4. Close accounts for gas, electric, telephone, cable, and water before closing.
  5. Address any concerns that the buyer’s title company might bring to your attention.
  6. Start packing for your move.

Before closing, your attorney will provide you with the deed and accompanying documents for your signature. Often, the seller is asked to execute a power-of-attorney granting the attorney the power to sign for the seller to close if the seller cannot be in attendance.

At the closing, the buyers will sign the final documents and pick up the keys. The settlement agent will send the new deed to the county to be recorded, release the sale proceeds, and the home will then officially belong to the buyer.

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