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Through the property deed in NJ, a grantor can transfer real estate ownership to a grantee.

At this point, it is necessary to have an experienced New Jersey real estate attorney by your side, as only the attorney can prepare this legal document with all the guarantees. Contact our firm at Curbelo Law today to get this process started.

Everything you should know About a NJ Property Deed In 2022

A New Jersey deed is a written and signed document that allows real estate title to a property to be transferred from a seller to a buyer. 

The deeds are characterized by being the “guarantees” that the assignors makes on their interest in the home and the future “promises” that they will take in the event that their representations are challenged. Such guarantees and promises are known as covenants or clauses.

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Does A Property Deed Need To Be Registered To Be Valid In NJ?

Although a “valid” deed allows ownership to be transferred, validity alone does not protect the grantee’s interests against future claims. Therefore, the deeds must be registered in order to avoid possible claims under the New Jersey Registration Law . 

What Do Property Deeds Tell Us?

Property deeds indicate the name of the buyer and seller, describe the property being transferred, and include the signature of the individual transferring the property. This is an essential legal document when buying and selling a home in New Jersey

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Are you a first time home buyer in New Jersey? Don’t know how to start? Whether it’s your first time or you’ve done it before, it’s important to know what you need to buy a house in NJ so you can find the right home for you and your family. 

Can I Prepare My Own Property Deed In NJ?

The property deed can only be executed by a New Jersey State Attorney. The only exception to this law is that the individual is representing himself.

Why Does An Attorney Have To Prepare A Deed In New Jersey?

By law, only attorneys licensed in the state of New Jersey can prepare a deed (unless you represent yourself). If a real estate agent prepares a contract form, the attorney will be the one to write the amendments (additional clauses) during the review. The contract will not be legally binding until reviewed by an attorney.

Drafting And Review Of Contracts By An Attorney

An attorney can modify real estate contracts to meet the client’s needs and thus strike a fair deal with the other party. These modifications can be:

  • Down Payment. It is the money that the buyer places in deposit at the beginning of the transaction. This deposit demonstrates the “good faith” that the buyer has to finalize the sale. 
  • Inspection period. During the New Jersey home inspection process, attorneys often draft the contract to limit the inspection to functional defects. Once the report is available, the buyer’s attorney will send a letter with all the price adjustments.
  • Appraisal contingency. Allows buyers to renegotiate or cancel the contract if the property is appraised below market value. Lawyers usually eliminate the contingencies of NJ home appraisals or limit them.
  • Clean title. It refers to the purchase without encumbrances, claims by third parties, violations in the code or disputes of usurpations.
  • Legal compliance. The attorneys ensure that the contracts and the sale comply with New Jersey law. For example, the Fair Foreclosure Act .

Are you facing foreclosure? Our real estate expert is also an experienced foreclosure lawyer in New Jersey ready to handle your case. 

New Jersey Property Deed Requirements In 2022

A NJ property deed must comply with the Consumer Fraud Act in order to transfer ownership. Such statutes are:

NJSA 25:1-11(a)(1): The deed is effective for the transfer of property when it is stated in writing:

  • A real estate description or legal description.
  • Transfer events.
  • The nature of the interest. Such as: tenants in common, joint tenants or fee simple.
  • Identity of the grantor and the grantee.
  • The signature of the grantor or on his behalf.

NJSA 25:1-11(a)(2): If the deed has not met the written requirements, the transfer of ownership is valid if the grantor:

  • Placed the transferee in possession of the property as a result of the transaction.
  • The grantee paid all or part of the consideration for the transfer, or reasonably relied on the transfer. 

NJSA 25:1-13(b): If the above two requirements are not met, a transfer may be enforceable as an agreement if one of the parties can show with clear and convincing evidence:

  • An adequate description of the real estate that allows its identification.
  • The interest rate to transfer.
  • The existence of an agreement.
  • Identity of the grantor and the grantee.
requirements for the nj property deed

Aspects To Consider

In addition to the above, the following should be considered:

  • Competence: The grantors must be 18 years old and have the mental capacity to know and reasonably understand the transaction.
  • Transfer time: The property is transferred when the following conditions are met:
    1. The grantor grants and delivers the deed to the grantee.
    2. The grantee accepts the deed.
    3. They have the corresponding intentions to deliver and accept.
  • Incorporation by Reference: The requirements for description may be met by reference to another recorded document describing the property, per Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Louis Cicenia, No. A-2189-16T4. 

Requirements For The Preparation And Registration Of A Property Deed In NJ

There are other requirements for the proper preparation and subsequent registration of a deed, for this:

  • The writing must be prepared in black and legible letters. 
  • It is recommended that the signature is made using blue ink.
  • The seller’s name must be on the first page.
  • Buyer’s name and full mailing address must be on the first page. 
  • If the buyer buys through a mortgage, the names and addresses on the deed must match the mortgage documents.
  • Transfer date must be printed or handwritten on the first page.
  • The amount of the consideration must be on the first page.
  • Printed name of the individual preparing the deed must be on the first page.
  • Tax assessor’s parcel or property identification numbers should be found on the first page.
  • The deed must state how the current owners acquired title to the property and provide the information from the previous deed record. 
  • The deed must describe the property properly so is easy to identify it.
  • The deed must be signed by the grantor in the presence of a notary public.
  • This deed must also contain a certification of the amount of the consideration.
  • The original deed must be sent to the county clerk with the recording fee.

Who Records Deeds In New Jersey? 

The New Jersey Department of State is in charge of registering property deeds. Property buyers and sellers can find the state offices by county through the following link.

How Do I Get A Copy Of A Deed In NJ?

Copies of registered deeds may be obtained from the tax assessor’s office or through the appropriate New Jersey County Clerk’s office. 

How Do I Find My Property Records In New Jersey?

Deed records can usually be obtained from the county clerk, recorder, auditor, or state registry of deeds. These offices allow you to search for a record online. It can also be searched online through NJ Property Records.

Are Deeds Public Records In New Jersey?

Yes, property deeds are available and on file for the public in New Jersey. 

what property deeds show

What Happens If My Writing Does Not Register?

If the property deed is not registered, the following cannot be done:

  1. Sell ​​the property.
  2. Refinance the mortgage.
  3. Run a home equity line of credit.

In addition, if there are no current plans to sell or refinance, failure to record a deed can put you at risk of losing the home or being sued for liens accumulated by the previous owner. 

What Types Of Clauses Are There For A Property Deed In New Jersey?

Current clauses apply to warranties at the time of transfer. In New Jersey the following covenants are included:

  • Against grantor’s acts. The grantor must not have taken any action to encumber the title.
  • Covenant of seizing. The grantor must have absolute and unattachable assets at the time of the transfer with the grantee.
  • Covenant of right to convey. The grantor has a good right, full power and absolute authority to transfer the title of the property with the deed.
  • Freedom from encumbrances. The property being transferred must be free of any prior mortgages, judgments, foreclosures, and any other encumbrances. 
  • For the general guarantee. The grantor promises to guarantee and defend the transferred property against all kinds of claims before the grantee, heirs and representatives.
  • Quiet possession. Grantees and their heirs shall hold and possess the property without legal claim or interruption against the grantee’s title.
  • Covenant of further assurances. Grantors must perform necessary acts or deeds after the transfer to ensure that the property is transferred as intended. 

New Jersey Property Deed Considerations

Below, we will explain some points to take into account about the property deed in Garden State:

  • Estoppel by deed. Grantors who transfer one property to another cannot claim title to that property.
  • Covenant violation. If a grantor breaches the covenant, the grantee has the option to rescind the transfer or sue for monetary, fraud or breach damages. 
  • Merger of the deed. Covenants relating to title in a deed that has been accepted will override and supersede clauses in the purchase agreement. 
  • Bargain and sale deed. It conveys the entire interest of the grantor at the time of transfer. 
  • Forms of ownership. They can be due to marital relationships, transfers on death, number of owners and restrictions on use. 
  • Quitclaim deed. The New Jersey quitclaim deed transfers whatever interest the grantor has in the property. The grantor will not make clauses, promises or guarantees regarding its property.
  • General warranty deed. It provides the grantee with complete protection in the future.
  • Deed of confirmation. They can be used to correct various capacity problems. For example, that the grantor is not of legal age to provide the deed.
  • Deed of correction. Correct a clerical or “simple” error, such as accidental language, incorrect name or address.
  • Deed of dedication. It is the donation of real estate to a government for public use.
  • Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. It is the voluntary and uncoerced transfer from the mortgagee to the mortgage lender of all interests, assets in the property and claims.
  • Sheriff’s deed. This is the deed that grants the rights to the property when purchased at a county sheriff’s sale. 

How Do I Know If My Writing Was Really Registered?

Few individuals are aware that there could be some kind of problem with the deed until they try to sell the house or refinance the mortgage. 

In order to find out if it was actually registered, you can contact a real estate attorney or real estate agent and request a copy of the deed registration page.

The property records page lists the date the deed was recorded, and also records the volume and number of pages where the deed can be found. Most counties provide free online access to real property registration. 

What Should I Do If My Deed Was Not Registered?

If the deed was not recorded, the real estate attorney or title insurance company in New Jersey should be informed immediately. It is also important to let the mortgage lender know as they may be able to help register the deed.

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Do I Need Title Insurance?

Due to New Jersey’s registration law, title insurance is essential to protect buyers of homes or investment properties.

What Can The Real Estate Attorney At Curbelo Law Do For You On A NJ Property Deed?

As we have seen, property deeds must be done by a real estate attorney (unless you represent yourself). In addition, having a lawyer by your side will help you correct mistakes before it is too late, or simply avoid them.

Our attorney Carolina T. Curbelo has more than 10 years of experience helping individuals in Garden State get their home or sell it. The advice of an attorney can be crucial in researching all the necessary requirements for the real estate deal, drafting the deed, and representing you during the closing process. 

Call Curbelo Law or schedule an appointment at the Ridgewood, New Jersey office.