The New Jersey realty transfer fee (aka the real estate transfer tax) is not always understood by home sellers. It should be explained early on because you can’t get an accurate idea of your net proceeds without it.
This is important because most sellers want an idea of what they’ll net. Homeowners don’t always get this information early on and that’s unfortunate. As a result, the transfer fee can be an unhappy surprise just before the closing.
I blame both agents and attorneys. Since real estate agents don’t set closing costs or do the actual closing, they’re often uncomfortable with this. Closing costs are figured by the bank, title company and attorneys. Real estate agents manage the transaction; lawyers, banks and title companies do the closing.
If a seller uses an attorney I recommend, I defer to that attorney. If not then I do my best to explain closing costs although I’m no substitute for an attorney.
The realty transfer fee is based on the sales price of a home. Here’s an easy calculator for you to use from the NJ Realtor Association. All you have to do is to fill in the price and click on Calculate to get the figure.
The average sales price in Bergen County is around $499,000. If we put that into the calculator, the transfer fee comes to $4,165. If NJ were to apply it’s 7% sales tax the figure would be $34,930. So while it’s not fun it is a whole lot better.
There are some exemptions that reduce the realty transfer fee. You qualify based on senior, disabled or low income status. Discuss this with your attorney because no real estate agent can guide you correctly on this.