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Frequently-Asked Questions About Selling A Home In New Jersey

Selling a home is stressful. Our team is here to answer your questions and ease your mind about the process. Learn more on this page, or know that you can contact the team at Mariano & Coiro, P.C. online at any time.

Do I need my attorney to review the contract before I sign it?

It is always a good idea to have your attorney review any and all contracts before you sign them. New Jersey has a three-day review period for any real estate purchase or sale contracts presented by a licensed realtor. In these three days, your lawyer can review the contract and bring anything concerning to your attention. If your real estate transaction does not involve a realtor, you should never sign any documents without having your attorney review them first.

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If we are still in attorney review, can I still proceed to market? Can I show my home?

As long as the review period is in progress, you can continue to market and show your home to buyers. However, you may only do this to secure back-up offers. If you receive a better offer during the review period, notify your attorney immediately. You cannot sign another contract with a different buyer until your lawyer formally terminates the previous contract.

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Will my closing date be the same as the closing date in the contract?

The date listed in your contract is merely an estimate for the date of closing. The buyer or seller has the right to alter this date within 14 days of the contract signing to coordinate closing efforts. In some instances, a contract will stipulate a “time of essence” closing, which is a mandatory closing date. Time of essence closings, though, are very rare.

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When does the attorney review period start and conclude?

Once the sale contract has been executed and delivered, the three-day attorney review period officially begins. The three-day period only takes place on business days. For example, if the contract is executed on a Friday evening, your attorney will have a three-day period beginning Monday to review it. If one of the party’s attorneys submits a letter to the other party’s attorney suggesting a modification to the contract, the review period can extend until the attorneys revise the contract to each party’s satisfaction. Remember, either party has the right to cancel the contract without incurring any penalties as long as they cancel it during the three-day review period.

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What should I know about inspections?

Buyers may pay to conduct inspections of the property. There are several types of inspections, the most common being:

  • Structural and mechanical
  • Termite and wood-destroying insects
  • Radon and environmental

Most lenders require a full inspection of the septic system or pool of any property that has these. New Jersey mandates a full inspection of well water for any property that has a well. Buyers can also complete a walk-through inspection of the property to ensure that the home is in the same condition that it was when the buyer ordered the first inspection.

Generally, buyers have up to two weeks to have an inspection performed. Then, they can provide the seller with a list of flaws, deficiencies or repairs. As the seller, you have the right to negotiate the repair or modification of these issues, especially when it comes to large, expensive repairs.

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Is it necessary to have a certificate of occupancy? Is it necessary to have a smoke detector certification?

In New Jersey, sellers of residential properties must comply with smoke detector, fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide regulations. This involves having an inspection to ensure compliance. Depending on the city and county in which the property is located, you may also have to obtain a certificate of occupancy. You must obtain these by the closing date or you cannot proceed with the closing.

It is crucial to act quickly to obtain these certifications, especially because most municipal inspectors only conduct inspections one or two days per week. If your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors do not work for the inspector, you will have to schedule a reinspection; you should test them yourself first to make sure that they work.

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Before I close, should I make a payment on my existing mortgage? How will I pay off my existing mortgage?

Yes, you should pay your existing mortgage; if you do not pay it by its due date, you may be subject to fees and damage to your credit score. It is best to make any payments as soon as possible instead of trying to time the mortgage payment and the amount due at closing. If there is a remaining balance on your existing mortgage, the closing proceeds will pay it off before your loan is paid off and the mortgage canceled.

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At the closing, what do I need to bring?

When you work with our office, we can have you come to our office and sign all necessary documents for your closing in advance. This way, you do not have to go to the closing in person – no need to take time off work or make child care plans. Please provide the certificate of occupancy, the smoke detector certification, the garage door opener and, most importantly, the keys. Are you selling a condo? Please also provide any public offering statements, maintenance fee coupons and pool badges.

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Does my home need to be in a certain condition when I leave it?

Your home should be in “broom clean” condition. What does this mean? It should be in the same condition that you would expect from a brand-new home. Collect all your personal belongings, thoroughly vacuum and clean all rooms, wipe down appliances and remove any debris. You should also remove any tools, paint cans or other supplies that you believe the new owner may find useful. Though you may believe this is helpful, most buyers do not want the hassle of disposing of these items. It may even cause funds to be withheld from your closing monies. Do not leave garbage or yard waste in the bins on the curb for routine pickup. If it is summer, mow the lawn. In autumn, rake the leaves from the lawn; in the wintertime, shovel all ice and snow from the walkways of the premises.

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What are the closing costs in a sale?

On the closing day, you will pay the realtor’s commission as well as any legal fees; these sums will come from your overall proceeds, as will the payoff from your existing mortgage. The amounts for taxes, water and sewage will be pro-rated from your proceeds as well. Sellers in New Jersey must also pay a realty transfer fee; this is more or less a form of sales tax on the property based on its selling price.

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