Seller disclosure laws in New Jersey require home sellers to reveal a lot of material defects when selling their houses. Disclosures also vary according to the area your property is in, or the type of residence you’re selling. Hence, it’s important to know which disclosures you must provide when selling your own house in New Jersey.
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In addition, you should also have the settlement agent review the paperwork so you cover all bases.
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*Seller disclosures are exclusively the responsibility of a home seller. Regardless of the service, you engage in, you are required to ensure seller disclosures provided by you are complete and accurate to your best knowledge. Houzeo is not a brokerage or a licensed agent. It is a tech platform, and the tips presented here should not be construed as advice for which a real estate or attorney license is required.
» Jump To:
- What Are Seller Disclosures?
- Importance Of Disclosures
- Seller Disclosure Laws In New Jersey
- Penalty For Lying On Seller’s Disclosure
- Most Common Mistakes By FSBO Home Sellers In Disclosures
- Tips To Minimize Problems in Disclosures
- Final Word
What Are Seller Disclosures?
The Seller Disclosure Form NJ (New Jersey) is a kind of standard checklist form containing material defects and features of the property. It provides information about the property that may negatively affect the value of the house.
If there are material defects in a property that may impact the value of the property and the seller is aware of them, the seller must disclose them. However, sellers should report these defects to the best of their knowledge and understanding.
📝 Note: From pest infestation to pending legal issues, you shall disclose any known information about your NJ house. This will help you avoid future disputes.
Usually, the disclosure form is completed along with the listing paperwork – especially in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provided by the listing agent.
Importance Of Seller Disclosures
Sellers’ disclosures serve the following purpose in real estate transactions:
|🔎||Give Complete Information About The Property||Disclosures help communicate the defects present on the property. They ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the transaction are well aware of the property's history.|
|⚖️||Protects Sellers Against Legal Liabilities||Once you disclose all the known defects present in the house or which come to light during the inspection, you may be exempted from any future liability against those defects.|
|👍||Develops Credibility||Honesty, accuracy and transparency are of utmost importance when selling your house. Disclosures are a way of achieving all of these and thereby enhancing your credibility.|
Seller Disclosure Laws In New Jersey
Although home sellers in New Jersey do not necessarily need to complete the seller disclosure form, they are legally required to disclose any material latent defects their property has.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Latent material defects are the ones which are not apparent or visibly recognizable defects, but they significantly affect the value of the property. Generally, these defects pose a threat to the safety or health of the occupants.
The seller only discloses the facts he/she is aware of and understands completely. For facts that are unknown to a seller, it is a buyer’s duty to inspect them.
Ideally, seller disclosures are provided before the closing of the sale contract. If a home seller opts to not submit the Seller Disclosure Form NJ, he/she shall disclose all material defects in writing, as an attachment with the original contract.
New Jersey Real Estate Disclosure Form
In order to standardize the process of disclosures in NJ, the New Jersey Association of Realtors came up with a Standard Form Of Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement.
This form contains all the material aspects related to the property, thereby covering all the basic disclosures which are necessary to be provided to make a fair deal. Any known defects which are not covered in the Standard Disclosure Form can also be mentioned in the Contract for Sale.
The Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement NJ covers the following topics:
|3.||Attic, Basement & Crawlspaces|| |
|4.||Termites/Wood Destroying Insects, Dry Rot, Pests|| |
|5.||Structural Items|| |
|7.||Plumbing, Water & Sewage|| |
|8.||Heating & Air Conditioning|| |
|9.||Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace|| |
|10.||Electrical System|| |
|11.||Land (Soils, Drainage & Boundaries)|| |
|12.||Environmental Hazards|| |
|13.||Deed Restrictions, HOA, Condo Association & Co-Ops|| |
|15.||Radon Gas|| |
|16.||Major Appliances & Other Items|| |
Lead Paint Disclosure NJ
This applies to all homes built before 1978. It is a federal disclosure that all American home sellers are required to furnish. The form acts as disclosure as well as a warning to buyers regarding the hazards associated with lead-based paint.
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Penalty For Lying On Seller’s Disclosure Statement In NJ
A lawsuit against sellers in New Jersey can be brought for lying about ‘material latent defects’ only. A mere defect in an electric switchboard does not give rise to a cause of action against the seller.
In one case the sellers concealed the fact that their property was infested with roaches. As the buyers visited the house only during the daytime, they did not come across this defect until they visited at night. The court held that when a seller suppresses a material fact that he is supposed to disclose, it results in fraudulent conduct. (Weintraub v. Krobatsch, 1974) Consequently, the contract was rescinded and the sellers had to pay damages.
- 👉 Key Takeaway: A suit of fraud by misrepresentation or omission can be brought against a seller who intentionally misrepresents a fact that otherwise would have influenced a buyer adversely.
Most Common Mistakes By FSBO Home Sellers In Disclosures
The main object of disclosures in any area is to give clarity and perspective to a buyer. Buyers who are looking for a home usually have certain criteria in mind before searching for a home. A seller disclosure acts as a bridge to close these doubts, giving buyers a reason to have faith in you and your deal.
- One of the biggest mistakes a seller can make is not giving disclosures at all. The lack of trust between a buyer and seller can demotivate a buyer from considering the property altogether. Hence, it is suggested that sellers complete all disclosure formalities as soon as possible, even though it may not be legally required in your state.
- Likewise, sellers also get an option to mark a point as ‘unknown’ in disclosures. This gives ample opportunities for you to be honest in your disclosures. Also, marking a certain disclosure clause as ‘unknown’ shifts the burden on a buyer to inspect that particular problem. Hence, don’t make the mistake of lying on your disclosures, as that would count as fraudulent misrepresentation and attract a lawsuit.
- Most state laws prescribe that the disclosures should be provided before closing. As an FSBO seller, it is your duty to provide disclosures as soon as possible, since you do not have a real estate agent to do these things for you.
- ✍️ Pro Tip: Sellers who are selling their house the FSBO way are advised to keep their Disclosure Statement ready before listing on the MLS. It increases your credibility and reliability from a buyer’s perspective, as they get an idea of the property’s condition early on.
Tips To Minimize Issues in Disclosure Documents
|Review And Verify||There’s a time allowance (some permit 10 days) to review and verify everything about your Sale & Purchase Agreement—also the square footage, home usage, and marketing.|
|Ask Questions||Ask questions when in doubt. This would help you in avoiding future troubles.|
|Hire A Professional Inspector||A professional inspector can help you gather backup information about the property’s condition. You can also opt for a pre-inspection before listing.|
|Disclose Everything||To avoid problems in your home disclosure statement disclose everything you know honestly. Even though it’s a minor issue, you must disclose it.|
|Get A Licensed Agent Involved||The best way to avoid disclosure issues is to get a licensed real estate agent. Agents can help you manage and assist you in the process along the way.|
» Explore: America’s Top Real Estate Agents
- ✍️ Pro Tip: List Your Property With Houzeo
One of the best ways to minimize problems in your seller’s disclosure is to Purchase the “Contract to Close Upgrade Package”. A Licensed broker will review your paperwork to make sure it is appropriate. In addition, you should also have the settlement agent review the paperwork so you cover all bases.
» More: Start your FREE listing NOW!
Final Word: Complexity Of Sellers Disclosure New Jersey
|Level of Complexity||Average|
|Is New Jersey a Caveat Emptor State? *||No|
|Is New Jersey a Non-Disclosure State? **||No|
*Caveat Emptor Rule means states that it is the buyer’s responsibility to find out if there are major or minor defects with the property. And if he/she does not perform the necessary due diligence to inspect, it’s entirely not the seller’s liability if the property does not meet the expectation.
**In a non-disclosure state, the selling price of a house is not available to the masses on an open source.
To sum it up, completing a New Jersey seller’s disclosure statement is a somewhat complex process.
Selling your house FSBO is usually good but then you have to deal with all the disclosures on your own. This demands you be aware of all the disclosure requirements and even a single mistake can cost you dearly.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Though selling your home yourself on a For Sale By Owner website can save you thousands in commission, we highly recommend you add a Flat Fee MLS listing to your marketing strategy. Check out the best Flat Fee MLS companies in New Jersey.
Dealing with seller disclosure in New Jersey comes with its own set of challenges and can give sellers sleepless nights if not dealt with properly. This is where Houzeo can help you.
By listing your property with Houzeo, you get access to all forms in electronic format. And that too, for FREE! Houzeo has segregated all the disclosures state-wise so that you don’t have to hunt for New Jersey sellers’ disclosure statements separately.
Check out some of the Houzeo reviews and how it has helped customers around the US.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is a sellers disclosure required in NJ?
Although home sellers in New Jersey do not need to submit the disclosure form, they are legally obligated to disclose any material latent defects their property has.
Is a sellers disclosure mandatory in NJ?
Any material latent defects in the property are mandatory to be disclosed to a buyer in New Jersey.
What has to be disclosed when selling a house in NJ?
A seller discloses any material latent defects in the property when selling a house in New Jersey. A seller can submit a Standard Disclosure Form prescribed by the New Jersey Association of Realtors, which covers all the necessary disclosures to be made while making a fair deal. A seller also submits a federal disclosure on lead-based paint, which is mandatory for all home sellers across the US.
Is NJ a non-disclosure state?
No. The selling price of houses in NJ is available to the masses on an open-source.
Can a house be sold as is in NJ?
Yes. But that does not mean a seller can escape the disclosure process. When selling a home as is in New Jersey, a seller is required to provide disclosure that explicitly states any defects the property may have in detail.
Can a buyer sue seller after closing in NJ?
Yes. If a buyer finds out a material defect in the property which was misrepresented in the disclosures, or the seller fraudulently omitted its details, the buyer can sue the seller after the closing.
Do you have to disclose death in a house in NJ?
Although a seller need not mention death on the property in writing as a disclosure, the seller can provide such information if the buyer demands and it is within the seller's knowledge.
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