So Nick Sirianni is Taking us Back to the Superbowl, But What Has He Done for the Real Estate Industry?

The Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has much to celebrate. While the coach has been on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer several times this week, and now having secured a return to the Superbowl, the press will continue, but did you know that at the same time, he quietly won a significant victory in a Burlington County Court?

Earlier this month, a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Sirianni and his wife Brett in a court decision holding that home sellers have a duty to disclose if an outside party has a right of first refusal in a real estate sale. Incredibly, it is believed to be the first such ruling in New Jersey.

Sirianni was hired by the Eagles in January 2021. He and his wife Brett then went house hunting and found a home in Moorestown. The Sellers and Siriannis entered into a contract for $2.3 million; however, the property had a right of first refusal not initially disclosed by the seller. The clause, attached to the property by its previous owner, stated that any future agreements for the sale of the house must first be offered to his daughter for purchase under the same terms, then to his son, and if they both declined, to the family’s trust. That right of first refusal would remain with the property if the Siriannis purchased it.

The Siriannis asked the Seller to eliminate the clause, but while the seller and their legal team were able to waive the clause for the Sirianni purchase, it was not permanently removed from the property. As a result, the Siriannis refused to close on the deal and the home was sold to a different buyer for $1.95 million. The Seller then sued the Siriannis for the $350,000 difference.

After nearly two years of litigation, Judge Eric G. Fikry sided with the Eagles coach in the January 6th decision, establishing what appears to be a new legal precedent in the state of New Jersey, with potential nationwide implications.

Specifically, the court held that a seller has a duty to disclose a right of first refusal, or a buyer can terminate the contract.

The Court also ordered the seller to return the Sirianni’s $100,000 deposit and reimburse their costs for the title search, survey and mortgage application fees. A complete legal victory, with clear precedent for the next buyer in similar circumstances.

The timing of the ruling could not be better because, according to the court docket a trial would have started around the time of last week’s game against the New York Giants. Thankfully, Sirianni was able to fully focus on the game.

This decision will have a lasting impact on the New Jersey real estate market, and we can only hope that Sirianni’s winning streak continues with another Eagles Superbowl victory.

Go Birds!  

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.

A Tree Grows Next Door

We have had some pretty serious storms this summer so here at Bergmann Law we wouldn’t blame you for looking twice at your neighbor’s big, beautiful tree. Especially if it has branches hanging over your yard or property.

opened brown wooden gate
Photo by Caio Resende on

The New Jersey Supreme Court holds that tree branches which overhang a property line can constitute a nuisance (Ackerman v. Ellis, 81 N.J.L. 1, 79 A. 883 (Sup. Ct. 1911)), and you have the right to trim any trees or shrubs that extend over into your property, so long as you do not harm or destroy the trees or plants and you only trim up to the property line. (Wegener v. Sugerman, 104 N.J.L. 26, 138 A. 699 (Sup. Ct. 1927)).

The same principal applies to the parts of plants that grow underground, too. If you suspect roots from a neighbor’s tree or other greenery are threatening your property, you have the right to remove those roots from your property as long as it does not harm the tree or plant.

But what if you’re not just worried about a couple of limbs? If the entire tree seems like it might be ready to fall onto your house during the next storm things are a little bit different. If the trunk of the tree is contained in your neighbor’s yard, it is your neighbor’s property and you can’t remove the tree yourself. But you can contact your local government. Most local governments have ordinances that prohibit maintaining any dangerous conditions (like hazardous trees) on private property.

Of course, each situation will be different, and resolving issues with neighbors requires a delicate touch. Let us review the facts and provide information about your specific circumstances and local laws, then come up with a plan that keeps your home safe and your relationship with your neighbor on good terms.