If you want to avoid any issues, you may be looking into selling a house as is in New Jersey. Parting with something you’ve had in your life for many years, such as a home, is never easy. There are countless memories that you’ve made in this space and shared with loved ones. Whether this was the home you grew up in or one that you often visited because your grandparents or other family members lived there, it’s quite a big part of you.
Maybe it’s even the house that you bought to raise your children in, but they have since moved out, and now you have an empty nest. If that’s the case, you no longer have to stay put for the kids and can go spend your golden years anywhere you want. After all, you probably don’t need all of that extra space anymore. But can you sell your home in its current condition?
While it has been your abode for many years, it’s likely taken quite a beating since you moved in. There might be critical issues that would cost a lot of money to repair, and even then, you’re still unsure that you could find a buyer. Fortunately, you have the option to sell your home as-is, which means the new owner would be responsible for making any changes or repairs to get it up to par.
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The House Must be Fit to Live in
When selling a house as-is, you run the risk of the property remaining on the market for quite a long time before an interested buyer may come along. To make things easier on yourself and your prospects, you should make a list of any issues your home may have and present them to potential buyers. This will give them an idea of what to expect in terms of the condition of the property so they can make an informed decision.
According to New Jersey’s statutes, there’s no required list of disclosures that a seller needs to make to a buyer. However, the court system has developed a set of rules, known as “common law,” to protect buyers from sellers that may intentionally hide issues plaguing a property.
For example, there was a case in 1974 where an individual attempted to sell their house while intentionally hiding that it was infested by cockroaches. The New Jersey Supreme Court concluded that it is fraudulent for a seller to make an effort to conceal a property’s issues or defects from the buyer.
If you choose to sell your home as-is, you must ensure that the property is habitable. New Jersey courts say that if you are selling a house, you are automatically suggesting it is fit to live in, whether you actually say this or not.
Even when selling a home as-is, you are required to reveal any issues that the house may have. If you fail to do so, you will likely face legal repercussions for misrepresentation or fraud. This situation can be especially serious when it involves failure to disclose health or safety issues such as pest infestations, mold or asbestos, and radon gas radiation.
Asbestos, which was prevalent in houses built before 1980, is a known cause of various breathing complications and other respiratory system diseases. Lead-based paint has been known to slowly poison people that come into contact with it. Lead paint is common in homes built before 1977, and even with a fresh layer of paint added on top of it, there’s the possibility of it flaking off areas such as window sills and door frames.
Radon, a natural byproduct of the breakdown of radioactive metals in the earth, is another contaminant that can cause lung cancer. Before selling a home, extensive radon tests should be conducted to confirm that levels are safe and acceptable.
Suppose you misrepresent your property by leaving out crucial details, whether in writing or conversation, and an individual ends up buying a house rendered uninhabitable or loses significant amounts of money to repair it. In that case, they are completely entitled to bring a lawsuit against you.
The Home Sale Contract
Unless you are a real estate agent yourself, you will likely choose to seek the services of one to help you with the process of selling your home. As part of their duties, they will be responsible for preparing a “home sale contract” to present to potential buyers. This contract will include, among other things, the promises you make regarding the current condition of your property.
As part of this contract, you will ensure the buyer that the house and its elements are in good working order. Appliances and other systems don’t have to be new or recently repaired but must be in good working order. It doesn’t matter when your house was built or when any equipment was replaced.
The home sale contract may also ask you to identify how you have been using the property. Is it a manufacturing plant in a residential zone? You will need to verify whether the property zoning is correct for the use intended and as set out in the zoning laws of that particular location.
The contract will also require you to confirm that you have not made any modifications that go against the area’s laws and that nothing was done against the municipality’s licensing procedures. If you have made any modifications, you will need to stipulate that those changes were done in accordance with the law.
This part of the contract will require you to verify two things. The first is that the changes you made were in accordance with the permit granted to you and that the work was done up to code. The second is that the contract will need you to confirm if the tax on the property includes an assessment done after making any modifications or improvements.
It is common to come across homes where modifications or improvements were made, and local authorities were not notified, nor did they grant any license for these things to be conducted.
If local authorities decide to perform an inspection for the certificate of occupancy and find a seller has made modifications, they will have to pay additional taxes. If this assessment is done long after the house has been sold, the current owner of the property will be responsible for those extra taxes.
For this reason, it’s always wise to hire a real estate agent. They will help you draft a sales agreement that includes all the necessary details that help you avoid getting sued in the future due to any oversight you could make while selling the property.
The “As-Is” Clause
Selling a home as-is is no problem in itself, but the communication between a buyer and seller can make or break a sale. A real estate agent will help you prepare all necessary documents to sell your home with a clause that indicates you are selling the property as-is.
Since you are selling your home as-is, it’s likely that you may not have the money or the time to make repairs yourself before putting it on the market. Your agent will help you come up with a fair price for your home that also takes into account the repairs a buyer may have to make. A prospective buyer has the right to inspect the home and review the disclosure you made.
The documents mentioned above should help them determine whether the property is worth buying and spending any money to repair. The as-is clause will explain that the buyer cannot ask the seller to make any repairs. This clause is typically accompanied by a right to inspect clause, which allows the prospective buyer to inspect the home and cancel the purchase if it is unsatisfactory.
What You Need to Disclose
As a result of the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling in the Weintraub vs. Krobatsch case, it is required that sellers disclose any issues that a property may have. This includes everything, whether visible to the naked eye or not, since some problems show no physical signs and may remain dormant for quite some time. An excellent example is a basement that floods whenever there is heavy rain but shows no evidence of this whenever it is dry.
Issues that you must disclose include:
- Parts of the home that have been known to flood
- Unsafe conditions in any form, i.e., lead paint, asbestos, radon accumulation, and parasite infestations, among others
- Any violations of municipal codes, such as illegal extensions and remodeling of the home
- Potential boundary line disputes with the neighbors
- Material defects in the property, i.e., loose or missing siding, cracked walls, and roof and foundation issues
- Environmental issues such as a build-up of radon in the home or on the property
- Damages or faults with the structure of the property or the systems inside the home
Selling A House As Is In New Jersey
As a homeowner, there are several methods available to you for selling your home as-is in New Jersey.
- Hiring a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is the most common way to sell your home. This s because of the level of service they offer. They will handle listing the property as well as other things like marketing, showing, staging and then handling the negotiations to close the sale.
- For Sale By Owner
If you’d like to save some money and skip hiring a real estate agent, you can choose to sell your home yourself. But, keep in mind that there will be much more work to do on your end, and the process is not easy. You will be the one responsible for investing your time and energy into things like marketing the home and showing it to potential buyers, handling all essential paperwork, and negotiating the final sale price.
- Selling to a Home Buying Company
If you’re looking to cut out the middle man and sell your home fast without lifting a finger, a home buying company can be an excellent option for you. Since a home buying company has capital readily available, you can expect to be paid cash for your property and close the deal quickly. You don’t have to worry about paying commission fees, managing paperwork, or making any repairs.
At Quick Home Buyers NJ we believe in creating win-win situations. If you fill out this form, we’ll be able to give you a cash offer on your home to see if it is a good fit for your situation.