Updated on March 17, 2020
Now is a good time to be selling a house in New Jersey! According to Zillow Research, property values in the Garden State rose 1.53% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 4.23% over the next year.
Of course, even the best New Jersey properties will struggle to sell if you don't price the home properly, do a poor job of marketing it, or don't know how to handle the negotiations.
Read on to learn the eight steps to successfully selling your home in New Jersey!
1. Finding a New Jersey realtor
Selling a home isn't easy. It's a high-stakes, complex transaction and requires a considerable amount of time and expertise to get a good outcome. If you're looking to sell your New Jersey home for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — you need to find a top-rated real estate agent in your area.
The best New Jersey listing agents know exactly what local buyers want and how to reach them. They'll offer expert advice, guidance, and support every step of the way, from the initial listing all the way through closing.
In fact, sellers who work with real estate agents net 33% more, on average, than those who list on their own. For a $334,490 home — the median home value in New Jersey, according to Zillow — that's a premium of $110,382. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.
2. Deciding when to sell
In the real estate timing is everything, selling your home at the right time can mean a larger profit and a faster sale. Here's what New Jersey homeowners should know about the best time to sell their home.
Best time to sell a house across the U.S.
Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center
Best time to sell a house in New Jersey for speed
|Best Month to Sell for Speed in New Jersey||July||53 days on market||11 days faster than average|
The best time to sell a New Jersey home for speed is in July. According to Redfin data, New Jersey houses spend an average of 64 days on the market. Homes listed in July, however, spend only 53 days on the market.
However, remember this does not include how long it takes to close; in most cases, it takes an additional 30-40 days to close on a home.
Best time to sell a house in New Jersey for price
|Best Month to Sell for Price in New Jersey||July||$328,000 median sale price||9% more than average|
July is also the best month to list in New Jersey in terms of the sales price. Homes listed in July had a median sales price of $328,000, which is $28,000 more than the state's yearly average.
Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in New Jersey
3. Pricing your home
A comparative market analysis (CMA) takes a look at recently sold homes in your market and uses the data to estimate what your home might sell for. A CMA compares homes that are similar to yours in terms of size, age, condition, and other factors to get an accurate value for your home.
An experienced agent will use a CMA and their experience in the market to determine a pricing strategy that matches your goals. Whether you want to sell quickly, for more money, or both, they'll come up with the perfect listing price.
4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home
Now comes the fun part — listing your home. Your home's listing is one of the most important features of your home sale; it draws buyers in and gets them interested in your home.
Here are a few things to keep in mind after listing your New Jersey home.
Home Staging Works!
Home staging can have a major impact on a home sale. In fact, staged homes spend 86% less time on the market and 48% of seller's agents state that staging increases buyers' offers.
Your agent can provide recommendations about what styles and staging designs will speak to your local buyers. They'll know if, based on your buyer pool, you should stage your extra bedroom as a guest room, a home office, or a nursery.
Craft an Appealing (and Accurate) Listing Description
A listing description is the first impression that a buyer gets of a home. It should feature the specs of your home, including size, number of bedrooms, age, heating system information, and other pertinent information.
However, it should also be fun and interesting. Buyers and their agents crawl through tons of listings, a unique listing will draw their attention. Point out the great features of your home and neighborhood. If you live two blocks from a major public transportation route or from a great public park, let buyers know.
While it's important to draw buyers in with a great listing description, it's equally important to be honest about your home and provide prospective buyers with accurate information.
Misrepresenting your home can result in a lot of wasted time and failed showings. No one wants to come to a home that was listed as having five bedrooms when in reality it has three and two nooks without windows or closets and therefore doesn't qualify as bedrooms.
Marketing Your Home
This is where your agent will shine as they use a variety of strategies to market your home. A real estate agent will get your home listed on the MLS and ensure that the information there is accurate.
An agent will also get your home on major listing sites such as Zillow and Trulia for maximum exposure. They may also provide you with a yard sign to serve as a physical advertisement for your home.
Showings and Open Houses
Once your home is staged, cleaned, and prepped, it's time for showings. Your agent will work with you to conduct showings and open houses around your schedule. However, it's important to be flexible, as the more people who see your home the higher the chances that you'll receive an offer.
5. Fielding offers and negotiations
Once you start receiving offers and accepted one, the negotiation process will begin.
Negotiation can be tough, but if you have an experienced real estate agent on your side, they will negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you get the best deal. Negotiations will cover pretty much every aspect of the home sale including who pays what closing costs, whether or not the buyer will require a home inspection, and when the seller will move out.
Once both the buyer and seller are in agreement, they sign a purchase agreement that outlines the details of the home sale. A purchase agreement covers the terms and conditions of the sale and is legally binding. If one party doesn't adhere to the conditions outlined in the agreement, the sale will fall through and could lead to legal issues.
Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette
6. Appraisal and inspections
Home appraisals are typically ordered by a mortgage lender and are conducted by licensed individuals to evaluate a home's value. Appraisals are used by lenders to determine how much they can approve for a mortgage loan on a certain home. They don't want to lend more money than what the house is worth.
A home inspection is also conducted by a licensed professional who assesses a home's conditions and checks the home's major systems and structure to reveal any defects or issues with the home.
If the appraisal comes in low or the home inspection reveals repairs that will need to be completed, negotiations may recommence. Buyers may ask for sellers to cover more closing costs or lower their asking price in these situations. Again, an agent is your best asset during negotiations as they will work to ensure that you get a fair deal.
7. Paperwork and required New Jersey disclosures
New Jersey home sellers will have to make sure they follow the state's disclosure laws. The seller must let potential buyers know about certain issues prior to signing a purchase agreement. These disclosures are put in place to protect both buyers and sellers during a real estate transaction.
New Jersey's required disclosure laws state that a seller must inform buyers about:
- A home's habitability
- The home's major systems (sewage, HVAC, etc.)
- Zoning ordinances
- Improvements or additions
- Intangible and known defects
Be sure to consult your agent or attorney before signing or filing paperwork. A licensed professional should walk you through all the paperwork and ensure you have everything you need for your situation.
Learn More: Disclosure Requirements in New Jersey
8. The closing process
Closing is the final stage of a home sale, in which the property is officially transferred to its new owners. Closing consists of signing paperwork and the escrow company releasing the funds to the seller.
It's also when both parties will have to cover the expenses that have accrued to ensure the sale is binding and legal (also known as closing costs).
How much are closing costs for New Jersey home sellers?
On average, closing costs for the seller range from 1% - 3% of a home's sale price. According to August 2019 data from Zillow, the median sales price of homes sold in New Jersey was $294,200, making the seller's closing costs up to $8,826.
However, sellers also cover both the buyer's and seller's agent's commission. While these aren't normally considered closing costs, they average 6% in New Jersey and are paid at closing.
Learn More: How Much Are Seller Closing Costs in New Jersey
Next steps: Sell your New Jersey home and save thousands
Whether you're looking to list your New Jersey home immediately or 6-12 months from now, it's never too early to start looking for an agent, getting advice, and making a plan.
Clever is here to help guide you through the home selling process — and save money along the way! In fact, homeowners who list with us save an average of $9,000 on home selling costs.
Top ways to sell your home in New Jersey
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