New Jersey Department of Health Form Update – Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement

A Seller’s Disclosure is a document that requires sellers to provide previously undisclosed details about the property’s condition that prospective buyers may find useful and often unfavorable. The Disclosure is important for both the buyer and seller. For buyer, the Disclosure provides a clearer picture of the home and its history and allows them to make a more educated decision on whether to purchase the home. For sellers, the Disclosure can and will protect them from future litigation given the information is comprehensive and accurate. In New Jersey, home sellers are not required to fill out this disclosure form – though it is often recommended to ensure that sellers meet the state’s disclosure obligations, which are required.

In April, the New Jersey Department of Health released an updated form for the Seller Property Condition Disclosure Statement, commonly used in real estate transactions. The update to the form “requires that when a seller discloses on the property condition disclosure statement awareness of water leakage, accumulation or dampness, the presence of mold or other similar natural substance, or repairs or other attempts to control any water dampness problem on the property, the real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson shall refer the buyer of the real property to the “Mold Guidelines for New Jersey Residents” pamphlet issued by the New Jersey Department of Health, (, and, if requested, give the buyer a physical copy of the document.”

The New Jersey REALTORS® Seller Property Condition Disclosure, Form #140 has been updated with a new question 126 to reflect the law.

Understanding Different Forms of Residential Real Estate Ownership in New Jersey

Photos by Randen Pederson

In New Jersey, purchasers of real property have different forms of ownership options. There is significance in which option is selected because it will affect multiple things, specifically, the purchasers right to sell the property or leave the property to heirs.

In the case of residential real estate, it is important that all purchasers determine the most appropriate and advantageous form of ownership as either a sole owner, or co-owner.

Sole ownership, as its name implies, is when title is held by one owner. Advantages to being an individual owner include the avoidance of any type of conflict that would arise between multiple owners, as well as the ease in which real property can be transferred and disposed.

Regarding co-ownership, New Jersey recognizes three forms; Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship; Tenancy in common (Tenants in Common); Tenancy by the entirety (Tenancy by the Entirety).

Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship

A joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (commonly referred to as joint tenancy) gives two or more persons an equal and undivided right to use and possess real property. This is most commonly used when individuals who are not married would like rights of survivorship.

Tenants in Common

A tenancy in common gives two or more persons an undivided fractional ownership interest in real property. Each co-owner has an equal right to possess the whole property, but without the right of survivorship. Individuals that own real property as tenants in common may own unequal interests and the percentage interest of each individual co-tenant is determined by the terms of the tenancy. 

Tenancy by the Entirety

A tenancy by the entirety is the tenancy held by a married couple on their joint acquisition of title after marriage. This form of ownership conveys title to the married couple as one person, with title transferred to the other in the entirety on the first death. When real property is conveyed to a married couple, a tenancy by the entirety is automatically formed by default unless the deed specifies another form of ownership (N.J.S.A. 46:3-17.2).

There is much more to the depth and scope of ownership types not included in this article, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.  Selecting the appropriate type for your personal situation is key. If you have additional questions or are currently experiencing real estate ownership issues, we are here to help!

Buying a Home – Considering a Home Inspection? What You Should Know…

Let’s begin with the alarming truth that home inspections are not required in New Jersey. Contrary to what many believe, there is no legal obligation on buyers, sellers, agents or brokers to ensure a home inspection is conducted before the purchase of a home. This follows whether it is new construction or a 100-year-old Victorian.

You may wonder why there is no federal or state guidance in this seemingly important area of the real estate transaction, and a guess could be that caveat emptor or “let the buyer beware” is still firmly rooted in American transactions. Whatever the reason, in today’s world, home buyer’s may still need to beware, but can now be certain: with a simple home inspection. 

For those who think they can “deal with it later” …

By opting not to have a home inspection, you are placing yourself in a position where you will most likely lose the right to make additional requests for repairs that aren’t agreed to at the time of signing the initial purchase contract. This can sometimes come as a shock, but the sales agreement and everything within it will dictate each parties’ rights regarding inspections.

For those looking to save a little money …

Home inspectors are trained to discover defects in a home’s foundation, mold, water damage, and other potentially hazardous conditions. If not discovered, the damage from those defects alone could cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars. So, if you’re looking to save money in the short run, just consider the price you could end up paying in the long run. (Inspections in NJ typically range $357-$582).

For those who believe they are the “home inspector” …

In New Jersey, home inspectors are licensed and strictly regulated by the Home Inspection Advisory Committee under the Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

Unless you can thoroughly inspect and efficiently identify defects in each of the areas below during a routine walk-through, then it is highly recommended that you leave it to the professionals.

  • Exterior of the home
  • Home’s foundation
  • Exterior walls of the home
  • Roof coverings, flashings and gutters
  • Roof support structure
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Quality of insulation
  • Garage
  • Electrical wiring, outlets and breaker
  • Visible interior and exterior plumbing
  • Central air and heating system
  • Overall interior condition of the home

New Jersey Realtors recommends using the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors to begin your search for the right home inspector.