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Recording a Deed in New Jersey

How to Record a Deed in New Jersey

The recording requirements in New Jersey are the same for all deeds, whether it is a Bargain and Sale Deed or a Quit Claim Deed (often misstated as a “quick claim” deed).

  1. The deed and related documents must be prepared in black, legible type so it can easily be read and scanned or photocopied.
  2. The name of the Grantors (e.g., sellers) as they appeared on the prior deed must be on the first page.
  3. The name and complete mailing address of the Grantees (e.g., buyers) must be on the first page. The address should be the address where you want the County Clerk to return the deed, and the address where you want the township to send the property tax bills.  If there is going to be a mortgage, the names and addresses on the deed must match the mortgage documents.
  4. The effective date of the transfer must be printed/handwritten on the first page. This will usually be the date the deed was signed, but does not have to be. Sometimes the deed is signed ahead of time, and delivered on another date. In that case, the date of delivery would be the effective date and should be the date on the first page of the deed.
  5. The amount of the consideration (e.g., the price paid) must be on the first page. It is recommended, but not required, that it be set forth both in numerals and written out. For example, “Four Hundred Sixty Seven Thousand Dollars ($467,000.00).  Also, see comment number 12, below.
  6. The printed name of the person preparing the deed must be on the first page using the format, “Prepared by Gary F. Woodend”. (The actual signature of the preparer was a requirement up until recently, but is no longer required.) Note that the Grantor may legally prepare his or her own deed, but only an attorney licensed in the State of New Jersey can prepare a deed for someone else. I am often told that the realtor or the title company is going to prepare the deed, but that cannot be true. What is probably happening is that the realtor or the title company is going to sub it out to an attorney they work with on a regular basis, and they will charge you for it.
  7. The municipal tax assessor’s parcel or property identification numbers must be on the first page, i.e., the block, lot, township and county. For example, “Lot 26 of Block 489.01 on the Evesham Township tax map, Burlington County, New Jersey.” I use this example because Evesham uses the Marlton post office. The property is not in Marlton, but in Evesham Township. Another confusing example would be Shamong or Tabernacle or Southampton. Vincentown (08088) is the post office address for all three municipalities,  but there is no Vincentown Township.
  8. The deed must state how the present owners took title to the property and provide the prior deed’s recording information. We call this the “Recital. “For example, “Being the same land and premises conveyed to Susan Louise Cozzie by deed from Gary F. Woodend dated April 1, 2007, recorded with the Burlington County Clerk on April 15, 2007 in Deed Book 4786, Page 92, et seq.”
  9. The deed must describe the property sufficiently to identify it. Note that this is the minimum requirement, but not what I would recommend. The deed really should describe the property by detailed metes and bounds, which are taken from a current survey of the property. Often, the person drafting the deed will use a short-cut and copy the legal description directly from the prior deed. This may or may not be a good idea depending on the circumstances. In other words, it may be ok for a quit claim deed, but not so good for a bargain and sale deed. (As a footnote, a quit claim deed is often used for an intra-family transfers, e.g., husband to wife, parent to child, divorce situations, usually for One Dollar.  That’s why it is also sometimes called a “Dollar Deed.” A bargain and sale deed would be used for an arms length transaction between a seller and buyer.)
  10. The deed must be signed in ink by the Grantors in the presence of a notary public, with the Grantors’ names printed below the signatures. Contrary to popular belief, the Grantors’ signatures do not need to be witnessed (other than by a notary). The deed does not need to be signed by the Grantees (buyers). The ink used for the signatures can be black or blue, or possibly any color. I do not recommend black because it makes it difficult to tell the original from a copy. With signatures in blue ink, that is not a problem.
  11. The notary section must state the State and County where the deed was signed, and the notary’s name must be printed below the signature, and clearly set forth the notary’s commission expiration date. In the alternative, an attorney can take the place of the notary.
  12. The deed must contain a certification as to the amount of the consideration. This is generally included in the notary section. In other words, the Grantor must state under oath how much they are being paid for the property, which is the same figure as appears on the first page. The reason for this is so the county clerk knows how much to charge for the realty transfer tax, and the municipal tax assessor can keep track of how much properties are selling for in the township. In the old days, the parties would put one dollar as the amount paid in order avoid paying any tax. That is not the case any more.
  13. You need to submit the original deed to the county clerk with the recording fee, which is $40 for the first page, and $10 for each additional page. Some counties also charge an additional $3.00 per document for the Homelessness Prevention Trust Fund. Camden and Middlesex Counties, for example.  The county clerk’s office will mail the deed back to the Grantee when they get around to it.  For the most part, the deeds are recorded fairly promptly, but take six to ten weeks to get back a recorded deed from the clerk’s office, so be patient.

If the deed is for more than $1,000, you have to also submit a separate check for the realty transfer fee, made payable to the “___________ County Clerk. “The realty transfer fee calculation is complicated, but there are many web-sites that can calculate it for your.For example, http://www.surety-title.com/#!transfer-tax/c1zs7     or   http://www.infinitytitle.com/component/content/article/66-nj-calculator.html.

  1.   If you are a New Jersey resident, and not moving out of state, you must file a Seller’s Residency Certification (Form NJGIT/REP-3).  If you are moving out of state, you may have to file a different form.  Specifically, Form NJGIT/REP-1 and pay a 2% “Exit Tax“.  (See link for more information on the “Exit Tax” ). See links for these other important forms: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/other_forms/tgi-ee/gitrep1.pdf;  http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/other_forms/tgi-ee/gitrep3.pdf
  2.  If you are are 62 years of age or older and the property was your primary residence, or you are transferring the property for less than $100, you will probably want to file an Affidavit of Exemption which will greatly reduce the amount of Transfer Tax the Grantor has to pay (Form RTF-1).  See link for the proper form: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/other_forms/lpt/rtfexempt.pdf

County Clerk contact information and links to their web sites are set forth below:

Burlington County Clerk
49 Rancocas Road
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060
609-265-5122

Camden County Clerk
Camden County Courthouse
520 Market Street
Camden, NJ 08102
856-225-5300

Ocean County Clerk
118 Washington Street
Toms River, NJ 08754
732-349-4336