The Garden State is a wonderful place to sell your home, but do you really want to handle the transaction as a sale by owner? If you don't know and understand all state and local regulations, you could face costly legal issues. Before selling your home, there are a number of things you should keep in mind.
Do I Want a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent has the tools and knowledge to accurately assess the current value of comparable homes in your area. An agent can also help you effectively market your house.
Where to Locate a New Jersey Real Estate Agent
Locate a licensed New Jersey real estate agent at IQRealEstate.com.
Listing Your House
New Jersey recognizes three kinds of real estate listing agreements.
- Open listing: Owners retain the right to sell the home and they pay no commissions.
- Exclusive agency listing: Owners execute a listing agreement with a broker and pay a commission only if the broker is the cause of the sale.
- Exclusive right to sell listing: The seller pays a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.
How Is the Price Determined?
Your agent determines your home's sales price by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed or sold in your immediate area.
Contents of the Listing Agreement
- Price and commission
- Items included or not included in the sale
- The duties and obligations of both the seller and the agent
New Jersey Seller's Disclosures
The seller must disclose known defects in the home's structure, such as:
- Plumbing, water and sewage issues
- Termites, wood-destroying insects, and dry rot
- Environmental hazards
- Electrical system hazards
Your failure to make the required disclosures can expose you to a lawsuit. New Jersey home sellers generally use the New Jersey Association of Realtors Standard Form of Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement.
I Got an Offer
When a buyer presents an offer, he agrees to pay a certain price for your home based on specified terms and conditions. The offer becomes a legally binding contract when the seller accepts it and notifies the buyer of its acceptance.
A counteroffer rejects the original offer and presents new terms.
After an offer is agreed on, the transaction goes into escrow and the buyer deposits funds into an escrow account.
Contents of the Purchase Agreement
A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract that includes terms and conditions such as:
- The identities of the parties
- Price and financing terms
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
Negotiating Post-Contract Issues
If a home inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist that you pay to remedy them or lower the purchase price accordingly.
Closing of Escrow
At the close of escrow, several events occur, such as:
- The buyer signs a promissory note.
- Costs and fees are paid.
- All documents are signed and transferred.
- The deed is usually recorded on the day escrow closes.
Sellers don't have to be present at the closing if all costs are paid and all documents are signed ahead of time. You must usually turn the keys over to the buyer the same day as the closing if the deed is recorded that day.
Talk to a Lawyer
Every state has its own laws and regulations. Talk to a local real estate attorney before selling your home to ensure proper compliance.