New Jersey Real Estate Deeds

In order to be valid in New Jersey, a real estate deed must be in writing, subscribed by the grantor, acknowledged or proved, and recorded in the proper county. New Jersey statutes, 46:4-1, provide a short form deed with covenants, but there is no requirement that the statutory forms have to be used in a conveyance of real property in this state. A customary deed in New Jersey is the bargain and sale deed with covenants against the grantor's acts. General warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quitclaim deeds are also in frequent use throughout the state.

Any person in this state who is of legal age and any corporation with the legal authority to enter into a legal contract may own and acquire property in New Jersey; and can therefore also convey property or an interest in property to another person or organization with the legal capacity to receive such property or interest therein. In New Jersey, alien friends have the same rights, powers, and privileges, and are subject to the same burdens, liabilities, and restrictions in respect to real estate situated in the state as native born citizens. An alien friend is defined as the following: Any alien who is domiciled and a resident of the United States and is licensed or permitted by the U.S. government to remain in and engage in business transactions in the United States, and who shall not be arrested or interned or his property taken by the United States (46:3-18). Property can also be owned and conveyed jointly. The manner in which property is held will determine the owner's rights and powers in a conveyance of the property.

A New Jersey real estate deed must be acknowledged or proved by the grantor. To acknowledge a deed, the maker of the instrument should appear before an officer (specified in R.S. 46:14-6.1) and acknowledge that it was executed as the maker's own act. To prove a deed, a subscribing witness shall appear before an officer (as specified in R.S. 46:14-6.1) and swear that he or she witnessed the maker of the instrument execute the instrument as the maker's own act. The officer taking acknowledgment or proof should sign a certificate stating such acknowledgment or proof (46:14-2.1). If a deed affects interest of a spouse in a tenancy by the entirety, either through severance, alienation, or otherwise, the written consent of both spouses must be provided. (46:3-17.4). In addition to other prerequisites for recording, no deed evidencing a transfer of title will be recorded unless it meets the requirements set forth in 46:15-6, as well as any other statutory laws that may apply.

A recorded document affecting the title to real property in New Jersey is, from the time of recording, notice to all subsequent purchasers, mortgagees, and judgment creditors of the execution of the recorded document and its contents. A claim under a recorded document affecting title to real property should not be subject to the effect of a document that was later recorded or was not recorded unless the claimant was on notice of the later recorded or unrecorded document. A deed or other conveyance of an interest in real property will be of no effect against subsequent judgment creditors without notice, and against subsequent bona fide purchasers and mortgagees for valuable consideration without notice and whose conveyance or mortgage is recorded, unless that conveyance is evidenced by a document that is first recorded (46:26A-12). This is known as a race notice recording act. As far as quitclaim deeds are concerned, they are governed by the recording act as follows: Every conveyance or instrument which purports to remise, release, or quitclaim to the grantee any estate or interest in the real estate described therein, which has been acknowledged or proved by the grantor, will be received as evidence in any court of this state, as shall the record thereof, if such conveyance or instrument shall have been first recorded in the office of the county recorder in the county where the property is located; and every such conveyance or instrument shall, until duly recorded or lodged for record, be void and of no effect against subsequent judgment creditors without notice, and against all subsequent bona fide purchasers and mortgagees for valuable consideration, not having notice thereof whose deed or mortgage shall have been first duly recorded, but every such conveyance or instrument will be valid and operative, although not recorded, except as against such judgment creditors, purchasers, and mortgagees (46:5-6).