buying residential property in New Jersey

Buying residential property in New Jersey can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a complex process. From finding the right property to negotiating the terms of the sale, there are many steps involved in buying a home. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

Step 1: Determine your budget

Before you start looking at homes, it’s important to determine your budget. This means figuring out how much you can afford to spend on a home, as well as how much you’re comfortable paying each month for your mortgage. To do this, you’ll need to look at your income, expenses, and credit score. You can also get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will give you a better idea of how much you can borrow.

Step 2: Find a real estate agent

Working with a real estate agent can be helpful when buying a home. A good agent can help you find properties that meet your needs, negotiate with sellers, and guide you through the process. You can search for agents online, ask friends and family for recommendations, or visit open houses to meet agents in person. It is important that your agent be knowledgeable about the neighborhood you are buying into. You want an agent who puts your needs above the benefits of a quick sale.

Step 3: Search for properties

Once you have your budget and your agent, you can start looking for homes that meet your criteria. You can search for properties online, attend open houses, and schedule tours of homes that interest you. Your agent can also help you find properties that meet your needs and negotiate with sellers on your behalf.

Step 4: Make an offer

When you find a home you want to buy, you’ll make an offer to the seller. Your agent can help you with this process, and they’ll negotiate on your behalf to try to get you the best price. Your offer will typically include the purchase price, as well as any contingencies, such as a home inspection or financing. It is a good idea to consult with a real estate attorney before making the offer. Some parts of the offer can be modified during attorney-review, but some parts cannot. Talk with an attorney first, if possible.

Step 5: Contract negotiation and attorney review

Attorney review is a process that takes place after a contract for the sale of real estate is signed in New Jersey. During this period, which typically lasts three business days, both the buyer and the seller have the opportunity to have their attorneys review the contract and propose any changes they deem necessary.

In New Jersey, the attorney review period is required by law and is intended to protect both the buyer and the seller. During this time, either party may choose to cancel the contract without penalty if they are not satisfied with its terms.

Typically, the process works like this: After a contract is signed, the buyer’s attorney will send a letter to the seller’s attorney indicating that the contract is “under review.” The seller’s attorney will then have three business days to review the contract and propose any changes they deem necessary.

If the buyer’s attorney agrees to the proposed changes, they will sign the contract and the attorney review period will end. If the buyer’s attorney does not agree to the changes, they will propose their own revisions, and the seller’s attorney will have an opportunity to respond.

If an agreement cannot be reached during the attorney review period, either party may choose to cancel the contract without penalty. It’s important to note that this period can be extended if both parties agree to an extension.

Step 6: Complete a home inspection

Once your offer is accepted, you’ll typically have a certain number of days to complete a home inspection. 10 to 14 days is common. This is an important step to make sure there are no major issues with the property that could be costly to repair. Your inspector will provide you with a report detailing any issues they find. Depending on how your contract is worded, you may be able to negotiate a credit or price reduction if the inspection uncovers issues with the property.

Step 7: Complete the mortgage application

After the home inspection is complete, you’ll work with your lender to complete the mortgage application process. This will involve providing financial information and documentation to support your application. You’ll also need to have the property appraised to determine its value. Sometimes it is necessary to complete this process before all inspection issues are resolved.

Step 8: Order title insurance

Work with a reputable title insurance company to guarantee that what you are buying is clear and marketable title. Do not except just any document purporting to be a deed. Have all closing documents reviewed by your title company prior to closing.

Buying residential property in New Jersey
Guide to Buying a Home in New Jersey

Step 9: Perform a walk-through

Before closing, make sure to give yourself time to inspect the property a second time to make sure the condition is what you expect. Make sure all repairs have been made, and that the township has issued a certificate of occupancy, if needed. Make sure all major systems that can be operated turn on (e.g. HVAC, air conditioning, plumbing, lights, etc.). If there are major issues, tell your attorney immediately as it may delay closing.

Step 10: Close the sale and enjoy your new home

Once all contingencies are satisfied, you’ll close on the sale of the home. This will involve signing all of the necessary paperwork, paying closing costs, and officially taking ownership of the property. Your attorney will guide you through this process to make sure everything goes smoothly.


Purchasing real estate in New Jersey can be a complex process, but with the right preparation and guidance, it can also be a rewarding one. By determining your budget, finding a good agent, and taking it one step at a time, you can successfully purchase the home of your dreams.