What are New Jersey Property Records?
New Jersey property records are citizen-generated public documents that state administrators keep and disseminate to interested persons upon request. New Jersey property records provide vital details about New Jersey's lands and any private or public properties built on them. Various documents are classified as property records, including mortgage, survey maps, property tax records, and deeds. Of these property records, the most commonly sought is property deeds, as deeds contain the most comprehensive information.
Different individuals may require NJ property records, including home buyers and sellers, realtors, and property lawyers. In addition, anyone that wants to get New Jersey property records may submit requests at their local county recorder's or tax assessor's office.
Are New Jersey Property Records Public?
According to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, the public can access all proper records New Jersey residents create upon request. New Jersey residents can request property records by visiting their local tax assessor or county recorder's office. Researchers may also look online for NJ property records, as many county offices make their public records available online.
Property records are available for public viewing through government agencies or third-party aggregate websites. Accessing property records through third-party sites is typically straightforward, and the records are not geographically limited. However, because the sites are not government-affiliated and run independently, the information contained in the records may vary. Searching parties should include the following information to obtain complete property records:
- The property's exact location.
- The property owner's details.
What Information is Included in New Jersey Property Records?
The public can find New Jersey property records with different local government bodies. While most people requesting property records require property deeds, property records also include:
- Property Deeds
- Mortgage Records
- Tax Records
- Index Maps
New Jersey Property Deeds
New Jersey property deeds are the most commonly requested property records. These documents declare or authorize property exchanges between a seller and a buyer. They also validate ownership, so if a New Jersey property deed bears an individual's name, they effectively own the property. New Jersey property deeds come in various forms, including:
General Warranty Deeds
These are the most common types of property deeds in New Jersey real estate transactions. General warranty deeds show full ownership of a property and offer the buyer complete protection from any of the previous owners' actions.
Special Warranty Deeds
These are also referred to as grant deeds and offer property buyers protection from the current seller's actions on the property. Special warranty deeds are most commonly used when transferring business properties.
These are documents that authorize the transfer of property ownership between a buyer and a seller. However, unlike special warranty or general warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds do not protect buyers from the previous owner's actions.
Bargain and Sale Deeds
These documents are most commonly used when arranging the purchase of a foreclosed property. Homeowners also use it to keep property ownership in a trust or to transfer it to a family member. Bargain and sale deeds do not prove that the bearer owns the property. They only state that the seller is allowed to sell the property.
New Jersey Mortgage Records
New Jersey mortgage records are public records that disclose a property's financial situation. Mortgage records show whether a homeowner owns a property outright or is still repaying their mortgage loan. They also reveal the property's initial cost and the amount that the mortgage company contributed towards its purchase. Individuals interested in buying a NJ property can look at its mortgage records to learn its past sales prices and to be sure its current price is justified.
New Jersey Index Maps
New Jersey index maps refer to all official maps concerning a particular New Jersey property. Examples of such maps include survey maps (plat maps), parcel maps, assessment maps, and subdivision maps.
Where to Search Public Property Records in New Jersey
In New Jersey, property records are under specific government agencies' purviews. Interested persons may find New Jersey property records at a local county recorder's office. They may also find property records at their county clerk or tax assessor's office.
For example, Ocean County New Jersey property records are available at the Ocean County Clerk's Office. The Clerk's office also provides a searchable online database that the public can use to obtain New Jersey property records online.
How to Do a New Jersey Property Records Search
The New Jersey Open Public Records Act allows New Jersey residents to obtain property records upon request. However, persons interested in performing a New Jersey property records search must know:
- Where the property is situated — requesters must know the street name, the house number, and the county.
- Information about the property's owner, including their full name.
New Jersey citizens that wish to obtain property records may query their county clerk's office. For instance, the Ocean County Clerk's Office is responsible for storing property records in Ocean County, New Jersey. Individuals that wish to obtain Ocean County property records may schedule an appointment to visit the county clerk's office and search for land records via a computer index. If the researcher's efforts yield results, they may view the record or print a copy. The address is below:
Ocean County Clerk
118 Washington Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
The Clerk's Office also offers an Official Records Public Search page that the public may visit to search for property records.
How to Find the Owner of a New Jersey Property Using Public Records
Per the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, New Jersey property records are in the public domain. Thus, anyone can request and access all the details in a property document — including the property owner's details. Anyone interested in finding out who owns a piece of property in New Jersey must know the property's essential details, including its street address and the county where it is located.
After acquiring the information above, the researcher may query their local county clerk's office and request a copy of the property deeds. If a search at the County Clerk's office does not yield results, researchers may query the tax assessor's office in the municipality where the property is situated.
For instance, residents of Sussex County may visit the Sussex County Clerk's office to request Sussex County property deeds. If available, the property deeds will provide a wealth of information about the property, including its owner's details. Interested persons can also search for the names of owners of Sussex County properties on the county clerk's real estate/property records search page. If a request through the county court is not successful, parties should contact the tax assessor's office. All property owners in Sussex County must pay taxes on their property. As such, a property's tax records will bear the owner's name on them. Alternatively, interested persons may search for tax records on the Sussex County Assessment Records Search Page.
If the property is for commercial use, search the New Jersey State Department of State website for business records containing ownership information.
Individuals that wish to know the ownership details for a commercial property may query the New Jersey Department of State by completing a Government Records Request form and mailing it to the following address:
NJ Department of State
P.O. Box 300
Trenton, NJ 08625
What are Property Records Used for in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, residents request property records to access information about private and commercial properties. Requesters use NJ property records for multiple purposes, including:
- For knowledge gathering: When a person is looking to buy a home, they must gather as much information about the property to make an informed decision. New Jersey property records are an excellent source of property information. They tell the buyer how many times a property has been sold, any alterations past owners have made, or about any legal encumbrances the property may have.
- Ownership verification: Ownership disputes are a common occurrence. Without official records, these disputes would be unsolvable. The existence of New Jersey property records allows individuals to verify, without confusion, a property's true owner.
- Market value verification: While a property seller may look to maximize the amount they can receive for a piece of property, buyers will always look to acquire property at lower prices. Property records show the amount that buyers and sellers have agreed upon over time and offer guidance when sellers wish to set a purchase price for their property.
- Conflict resolution: Where multiple properties border each other, conflict may inevitably ensue regarding each person's exact boundaries. With New Jersey property records, property owners can verify their borders and solve disputes.
How to Find New Jersey Property Tax Records
Property taxes are official levies that New Jersey local governments charge property owners in the state. Individuals interested in obtaining New Jersey property tax records may query their county tax assessors. Alternatively, many counties offer interested persons the option to search for property tax records online.
What to Do When You Can't Find New Jersey Property Records
Individuals looking for New Jersey property deeds may query their local county clerk's office. Suppose obtaining property deeds proves difficult. In that case, consider using alternatives like assessment maps, tax records, or mortgage reports. If the researcher is still unable to locate any records related to the desired property, they may contract a real estate lawyer or private investigator to search the court system for existing property records.