Whether you’re downsizing in the same city, retiring to the Jersey Shore, or planning to leave the garden for a new place, now is a great time to sell a home in New Jersey. Data from New Jersey Realtors shows the median sales price for a single-family home is $460,000 — a healthy 9 percent increase in 2021 — and the typical home is 3.5 percent more than the asking price.
However, it’s not as easy as posting your home online and expecting lots of buyers to show up at the door with blank checks. Read on for tips and tricks you need to know about selling a home in New Jersey.
Are you ready to sell?
It’s a great time to sell your home in New Jersey, but that comes with some serious news on the other side of the equation: It’s not a great time to buy a new one. So if you are trying to sell your home while buying another at the same time, you have to think about different situations that can complicate your situation. What if you found your dream home before your current home sold? Can you pay off two loans at once? How much do you need to budget for the cost of living in your new city? Do you have to budget to put your items in storage? Does rising mortgage rates mean you want to wait to list your home until things calm down? Think about your local market, your personal finances, and your plans for the future to make sure now is the right time.
Preparing to sell
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to leave, it’s time to think about three big questions.
1. Is it worth improving your home before selling it?
Probably not. Most major home renovations don’t make up their full value when it’s time to sell. Additionally, hiring a contractor and navigating an ongoing supply chain crisis means your kitchen renovation may take longer than you expect. In the meantime, you may lose your home to potential buyers. And don’t forget that upgrades and renovations are a matter of personal taste; You may absolutely love that new tile backsplash, but you may not be a prospective buyer. Instead of thinking about big improvements, it’s wise to consider quick improvements that can increase the value of your home without breaking the bank.
2. What should you fix before selling your home?
Fix anything obvious that you need fixed before you move in to buy a home. As an owner, consider any issues that may be bothering you — a leaky faucet or a cracked floorboard, for example — and address them before prospective buyers start touring the property. You may also want to consider getting a pre-listing inspection, which is a way to get in front of any problems that a buyer’s inspection may uncover.
3. Should you pay to stage your house?
You don’t have to invest in major repairs or improvements before listing a property. But you might consider throwing in a small amount to tidy up the house. Consider having your home professionally remodeled to give it a move-in-ready look that will appeal to buyers.
When is the best time to sell a home in New Jersey?
The best time to sell a home in New Jersey is the summer trend. According to Redfin, homes typically spend the shortest amount of time on the market in the summer months — just 32 days in June 2022 and 50 days in February.
Regardless of the days on the market, keep in mind that waiting too long will put you in a bad position to sell in some parts of New Jersey. A study from ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm, indicated that assessment reductions are likely to slow in several New Jersey counties close to New York City, including Bergen and Essex. So, don’t let the high price headlines lull you into a false sense of security.
Finding a New Jersey Real Estate Agent
You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Instead, you should find a great real estate agent who can help educate you on the trends that will affect your listing. Although some sellers try to do everything themselves, the reality is that paying commissions to a real estate agent is often a worthwhile expense. The most recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows that agent-assisted sales close by about 18 percent more than FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sales. It’s important to note that in New Jersey, your agent (or a representative of a brokerage firm) may represent a potential buyer of your home. That might sound a little strange, but it’s legal in the state, and it’s called dual agency. If your agent acts as a double agent, they must notify you, and you will need to sign your approval.
Price your home competitively.
Your real estate agent can help you with the most important decision of selling a home in New Jersey or anywhere else: setting an asking price. How much is your house worth? Pricing is an art – you don’t want to go too high so that you don’t attract a buyer, but you also don’t want to go too low so that you miss out on high profit potential. To help you decide, check the comps in your area to see what other similar homes have sold for recently.
Documents and statements in New Jersey
Every seller in New Jersey must fill out a Property Condition Statement, a six-page form to help buyers understand potential defects in the home. From HVAC From system age to termite damage, this document covers everything a buyer needs to know before shelling out big bucks for a piece of property. Also, if your home is part of a homeowners association, be prepared to submit documentation about the association’s financial health.
Want to sell fast? Consider these options
If you can’t afford to be patient, there are ways to speed up the sale of your New Jersey home. However, remember that time is money in this situation – selling fast means selling at a low price.
Companies like Nook and Opendoor are iBuyers, which means they’ll make quick online offers to buy your home. Their offers may be lower than getting bids from more traditional buyers, but the speed — offers can take less than 24 hours — can be worth it if you need to move very quickly.
Sell for cash
You can also compare companies that buy houses for cash. Many real estate investment firms have deep pockets that lead to a quick closing rather than waiting for the buyer to get formal approval for financing. But they typically fix up a house and flip it for a profit, so you can probably get it for less than you could on the open market.
Sell as is
If you choose to list your New Jersey home as-is, you’re sending a simple message to all buyers: you won’t make any repairs, and you won’t negotiate. It’s a quick way to avoid many things that can cause closing delays.
Add curb appeal
A home that makes a good first impression is more likely to get close viewings from potential buyers. So power wash your driveway, do the landscaping, paint the fence – there are many ways to add a quick defense to any home without spending a lot of money on a big project.
Closing a home sale in New Jersey
At the closing table, real estate agents, lender representatives and attorneys handle all closing paperwork and hand keys to the buyer. But you should have a full understanding of what you have to pay.
Home selling prices in New Jersey
Even if you stand to make a good profit, selling a home costs money. If you are still paying off the mortgage on your New Jersey home, some of the proceeds from the sale will go toward paying off the debt. Then you need to pay the commission to your realtor and the buyer’s agent – typically around 3 percent each. So, if you sell your place for $500,000, you might pay $30,000 in realtor fees. In addition to those fees, be sure to budget for other costs involved in selling this home.
Seller’s closing costs
You are selling your house, which means you have to get all your stuff out of it. So don’t forget to budget for a moving company in addition to the typical closing costs listed below.
- Warranty of Ownership: Normally, this cost falls on the seller, but in New Jersey, sellers are out of luck: the buyer pays for title insurance in this state.
- Transfer Taxes: New Jersey sellers pay a 1 percent real estate transfer tax to transfer ownership of the property to the buyer. So, if you sell your place for $900,000, you need to give $9,000 to the state. (Sales over $1 million may incur an additional 1 percent fee, but that is charged to the buyer.)
- Dealer discounts: If the home inspection finds some issues, the buyer can ask for discounts. However, it is up to you whether you are willing to participate here. These offers eat into your profits, so consider whether the buyer will walk away from the deal if they say no.
- Attorney Fees: New Jersey does not legally require sellers to hire an attorney, but it’s still worth paying. A real estate attorney can provide great assurance when reviewing complex contracts and explaining disclosures.
Take the first step
Are you ready to start? Interview a few local real estate agents and don’t be shy about asking questions. How is each approach to selling your home in New Jersey? You will need to sign a contract with the realtor you choose, so make sure you have a good feel for how you will price your property and what you will do to attract buyers.