Property Information Resources for NJ Real Estate Purchasers

Posted on February 28th, 2013

Purchasing real estate in New Jersey can be intimidating.  Despite is nickname as the Garden State, NJ is home to over 10,000 contaminated sites, and to some naturally occurring compounds, that potentially cause some health or financial concerns.  In order to reduce the financial and potential health risks, some due diligence of a Property is a good idea. 

There are a number of publically accessible internet sites where information on current and even historic site activities and conditions, can be found.  This information is easily available, if you know where to look.  This information is used by JMS and other consultants, in addition to other sources, as resource to acquire preliminary information about properties.  Individuals can also use these tools to gather information about properties or neighborhoods where they are looking to purchase or rent a home, build a school or childcare, or purchase property for redevelopment.  All this information is available to assist in making informed decisions to protect your health or your investments.

Historic aerial photographs allow one to view the site as it is now and provides the ability to see what the property looked like in the past, sometimes as far back as the 1930’s to 1940’s.  NJDEP uses a system called Dataminer, which is publically available but works on a database system so sometimes information is a bit difficult to tease out if you are not familiar with the system.  Dataminer, when correct and up to date, can provide information about property history including former operations, compliance with environmental regulations, discharges, permits, types of contamination, stage of remediation, and dates of case closures. The NJDEP also provides a fairly easy to use GIS map application, GeoWeb that does not require one to have specialized mapping programs to use.  Maps can be viewed and data retrieved about environmental conditions, presence of wetlands, at a property or at nearby properties.

There are several naturally occurring compounds in parts of New Jersey that can cause health concerns when present at elevated levels. Maps that show areas where natural arsenic levels in groundwater are potentially dangerously high are available from The United States Geological Survey (USGS) at  The EPA and state agencies have maps and other information on areas where radon potential is present and provide information on how and when to test  

Using these tools can provide information about a property that you may be considering to rent, purchase, or invest.  Not all available information can be found but it may be enough to give you an idea if you need to look at the property more closely with the assistance of professionals prior to your transaction.


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