Search Site
Menu
What To Know About NJ Laws When Buying A House

Q: What should I know about New Jersey laws before I purchase a home?

Buying a house in NJ for the first time is a major life milestone. When you buy your first home, it is exciting and can give you a sense of accomplishment. Since purchasing a home is likely one of the largest financial transactions that you have made, it may make sense for you to get a lawyer to buy a house.

An attorney may provide guidance on what to know about NJ laws when buying a house so that you might avoid making costly mistakes. Here are a few laws that can help you to understand what to expect.

NJ Attorney Review Period

New Jersey is one of the attorney review states, which means that a real estate attorney helps to complete the transaction. Once an offer is made and accepted, the attorney review period will begin.

The attorney review period is a 72-hour time period during which the lawyers for the buyers and sellers will review and negotiate the sales contracts.

During this time period, either you or the seller can propose changes to the contract terms.

If you are unable to come to an agreement, you can walk away from the sale without facing a penalty during this 72-hour time period.

Payment Of Deposits

Once the contract is signed and agreed, you will then make a good-faith deposit payable to the seller’s lawyer or broker. The remainder of your earnest money must be paid by the time that is specified in your contract.

Inspections And Disclosures

New Jersey law does not specify that sellers have to make certain disclosures. However, courts have established some obligations in an effort to protect buyers. In New Jersey, sellers are obligated to disclose hidden defects that are material and that the sellers know about.

For example, if a seller knows that the roof leaks during heavy rain, the seller should inform you of this. If a seller makes false statements about the condition of the property, the seller may later be sued.

It is important for you to complete several inspections of the home that you are considering. When your transaction is large, it is not a good idea to simply take the seller’s word at face value.

Your mortgage lender is likely to require a general inspection of the home. You might also want to ask for other inspections, including the following:

  • Termite inspection
  • Asbestos inspection
  • Radon inspection
  • Lead paint inspection

The additional inspections that you might request will depend on the age of the home and its location.

Certifications

You may also need to obtain several certifications from the seller under New Jersey law. These include the following:

  • Well certification for homes with buried wells
  • Buried oil tank certification
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Septic tank certification
  • Flood search

If any of the inspections reveal issues, your attorney can assist you with negotiating for repairs or a corresponding reduction in the price.

Mortgage Process

The mortgage process proceeds at the same time as the other parts of the transaction process. You start by submitting your mortgage application to your lender.

Your lender will give you a good faith estimate of the closing costs within three days. You will then need to send in your financial disclosures. If you are approved, you will receive a loan commitment letter.

The lender will then order an appraisal. If your appraisal is less than the purchase price, the lender may decline your mortgage or require that the purchase price is adjusted down. Finally, you will need to purchase homeowner’s insurance.

The Closing Process

Before the closing, your lawyer to buy a house will conduct a title search. This is to make sure that the title does not have any encumbrances.

If the title is clear, your closing will be scheduled. Your attorney will then prepare the paperwork to change the title of the home to your name as well as title insurance. The final cash amount will be calculated.

Before the closing, you will be able to do a final walkthrough. At the closing, you will sign all of the paperwork, and your attorney will then record your deed and the transaction on your behalf.

Buying a house in NJ for the first time can be exhilarating. To avoid potentially costly issues, you might benefit by consulting with a real estate lawyer.

As always, thank you for following Your Legal Corner! Take a look at our Facebook page for more helpful articles about the law in New Jersey.

Speak to a proven New Jersey attorney now
Call 856.238.5183 or click to schedule your free consultation
  • Posted On Lawyers.com

    "Joe Hoffman is amazing. We came to the office upset, concerned and profoundly unsure of what to do. Mr . Hoffman sat with us, explained options, reassured us and told us he would be there for us. He more than delivered on that commitment . If you are considering an legal firm, go no further, Hoffman-DiMuzio needs to be your choice. We cannot say enough about how well we were treated from the moment we sat down until the positive resolution! Stellar customer experience!"

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Renee Zagarella

    "Wonderful, knowledgeable, kind, and informative! Within days following my free consultation, I was provided with an overview of my appointment with helpful information about my case. I truly appreciate the recommendation I was given at this firm."

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Anita Campana

    "I was so very impressed with Hoffman DiMuzio from the moment I walked in. Everyone I had come across was so professional and courteous."

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Anita Campana

    "I mostly saw Peter who got the best possible results for my case. He was extremely knowledgeable and informative. Jodi was always available to answer my questions if Peter was busy and kept me informed. I would recommend this firm to anyone!"

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Mike W

    "Hoffman DiMuzio is a top notch firm. Their attorneys and staff are extremely knowledgeable and go above and beyond for you. I recommend them to everyone in need of legal service."

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Harry McCormick

    When my significant other was falsely accused of committing a crime, there was only one place to turn. that place was hoffman dimuzio.

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Harry McCormick

    "Joe Hoffman Jr took on our case and fought tooth and nail for us. Exposing the truth and serving justice for us, we felt completely vindicated. For any legal matter, criminal, traffic or otherwise, they gained two very satisfied life long customers! Thank you Mr Hoffman!"

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
Joseph J.  Hoffman, Jr. Attorney Photo
Joseph J. Hoffman, Jr.
Senior Partner

For more than 40 years, Mr. Hoffman has protected the interest of his clients through diligence and hard work on legal matters, both large and small. An honors graduate of Rutgers University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. Hoffman has won numerous accolades for excellence in the practice of law.

Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr. Attorney Photo
Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr.
Senior Partner

An attorney with over 45 years of professional experience, Mr. DiMuzio concentrates his practice on personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. A graduate of Georgetown University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. DiMuzio has been honored time and again for his professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

Ernest L.  Alvino, Jr. Attorney Photo
Ernest L. Alvino, Jr.
Attorney

About Ernest L. Alvino, Jr. concentrates his practice in the area of workplace injuries; construction accidents; product injuries; trucking accidents; auto injuries; medical negligence and crime victim advocacy. Ernie is a lifelong Gloucester County resident, living in Mullica Hill with his wife and children. Ernie worked his way through school as a Teamster and construction…

Jeremiah J. Atkins Attorney Photo
Jeremiah J. Atkins
Attorney

About Mr. Atkins joined the firm of Hoffman DiMuzio in February 2010. Mr. Atkins represents individuals and corporate clients in commercial and employment litigation. Mr. Atkins’ practice covers a wide variety of employment-related matters before New Jersey State and Federal courts, with a focus on discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, family leave and whistleblowing claims. Mr.…

Peter J. Bonfiglio, III Attorney Photo
Peter J. Bonfiglio, III
Attorney

About Mr. Bonfiglio concentrates his practice in the area of municipal court with an emphasis on defense of individuals charged with driving while intoxicated and/or refusal to submit to a breath test. Pete resides in Gloucester Township, Camden County with his wife and two of his three children.  In addition to his law practice, he…

  • Imagine... One law firm, for life.


    New Jersey attorneys for all legal matters

    For all life's stages. For all South Jersey.

Six convenient locations


We'll meet at the office nearest you

  • Franklinville
  • Turnersville
  • Mullica Hill
  • Woodbury
  • Sewell
  • Philadelphia
Take action now by filling out the form below

Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship, but a lawyer from our firm will contact you as soon as possible.

Quick Contact Form