Cape May FAQs
Whether you're buying or selling, transferring real estate is a huge decision and it requires skilled guidance. Not sure where to begin? Read through our buying and selling Frequently Asked Questions for the how, the what, and the where to start to get acquainted with the process:
Congrats! You're ready to make the move, and your first step should be deciding on how you will be financing your purchase. Will you be paying cash or getting a mortgage? If you need financing to make your purchase, then you should reach out to a lending institution of your choice to help you become "pre-qualified", meaning the bank has reviewed your financial information and feels you are able to make a home purchase up to a determined sales price. This will give you the ability to ensure you are working within a budget you are comfortable with, help you narrow your search to properties you know you can afford, sparing you the disappointment of seeing homes you will not be able to make an offer on, and have you prepared when it comes time to make an offer. If you are not already working with a lender, take a look at a list of recommended mortgage representatives on our Area Services Page under "Mortgage Consultant".
The great news is that we do not charge the buyer anything! Real Estate agents work on commission, which is typically based on the sales price and is paid by the seller out of the proceeds of the sale.
Yes! As your buyer's agent, your Homestead REALTOR is looking out for YOUR interests. Your buyer's agent will show you homes, help you prepare offers, and guide you through the course of a transaction with their expert advice. In some cases you may find you are intersted in a property that is also listed by Homestead Real Estate, and in this case, Homestead would represent both you AND the seller. In New Jersey this is known as Disclosed Dual Agency if both you and the buyer give consent. For more information on agency and relationships with buyers and sellers, please visit the Consumer Information Statement that dictates who an agent represents in a transaction.
First, find an agent that you are comfortable working with. Now that you are pre-qualified and have a comfortable budget, give your agent a list of criteria for the home you are looking. Your agent will build you a profile in our local Multiple Listing Service that will automatically send you properties that best match your needs as soon as they hit the market. After reviewing these candidates, inform your agent of the homes you would like to see and they arrange appointments to help you make a more informed decision on which home you would like to make an offer on. When scrutinizing prospective properties it is important to remember the "80/20" Rule - if a home has 80% of the things you want and the other 20% are things that you can change or live with then it is a good home to consider!
Not ready to speak with an agent yet? Create an account on our top area search site to search properties, choose and compare favorites, and to create email notifications so you get updates on all of the most recent listings and price changes.
The number of homes a buyer will see varies depending on the season when they are searching, the flexibility in their criteria, and inventory levels of their desired market. Working with a proper and experienced real estate agent will help you to determine your needs, research the areas, and develop a list of properties to see, which should end up being approximately 7 listings.
The negotiation process takes a skilled agent who can formulate a plan to obtain a price that fits comfortably in your budget AND is fair for the market. Your agent should be an expert in the market you desire and create a Comparable Market Analysis to help educate you on the local property values which will aid in determining a market value and a strategic offer to begin a successful purchase.
Before submitting your offer, be sure to have a pre-qualification or approval letter from a reputable bank, if financing, or proof of funds if paying cash. This will show to the seller that you are a qualified buyer. Also, in most transactions a buyer will put down an initial deposit, known as "earnest money", to convey to the seller you are a serious buyer. This initial deposit is held in an escrow account until closing if a successful contract is negotiated or will otherwise be returned to you if a signed contract is not acheived.
There are two items to consider:
- Escrow Deposit (aka "Earnest Money") - this is an amount that you put down in an escrow account that is held until closing. This money will be applied to your purchase at the settlement (and toward the amount you are required for the down payment). The purpose of this is to show the seller that you are a serious buyer and gives the seller assurance that you will not breach the contract, for if you did the seller could potentially keep the deposit.
- Down Payment - this is the amount of money that \ the mortgage company requires you to use in conjunction with the loan to make the purchase. You may put more money down than what is required in order to lower your monthly mortgage payments if you do not need the maximum amount the bank is willing to lend. A conventional loan typically requires 20% of the purchase price as a down payment, but there are other loan programs that require less money down, like an FHA Loan (3.5%), or USDA Rural House Loan (0% for first time home buyers).
Click Here to see a list of mortgage consultants we recommend reaching out to so you may become qualified and learn more about the different mortgage products they offer.
New Jersey, unlike some other states, has what is know as the Attorney Review Period. Every real estate contract (except contracts drawn by an attorney and reviewed by the seller's attorney) has an attorney review period. Here is how this stipulation works and how it effects the timeline of the sale:
- Buyer and Seller have signed the contract and a fully executed copy has been delivered to both parties. The attorney review period begins at midnight that following day. So if it is a Monday, attorney review period begins 12:AM Tuesday.
- The attorney review perios lasts 3 business days and always begins the following business day after the executed contract is delivered to both parties. In the scenario above, attorney review begins 12:AM Tuesday and would expire 12:AM Friday. Weekends and holidays are not counted.
- During the attorney review period, a buyer or seller may have an attorney review the contract and, if desired by their client, cancel the contract. This may happen for a variety of reasons - if a buyer or seller has a change of heart, if another offer is presented that is better than the signed offer, or if the attorney and their client simply wants something changed in the contract.
- After the third day of attorney review has ended the listing is officially "under contract" and the seller and buyer must perform as described barring any contract contingencies.
Click Here for Everything You Need to Know About Buying A Home from the State of NJ website and scroll to page 17 for more information on the attorney review period and other important details you should know when purchasing a home.
If there are issues found during home inspection then the buyer may request those issues be addressed by a qualified and licensed contractor at the seller's expense, may request a credit at closing for the repairs, or accept those issues and move forward with the purchase. Because a seller is not required to make any repairs or give any credits, the home inspection can often lead to another period of negotiation.
If a seller is unwilling to make any concessions to issues a buyer feels must be addressed to move forward with the sale, then the buyer may cancel the contract and have their deposit monies returned. Be sure to review your contract carefully and ask any questions so you are clear on the stipulations and how they effect the transaction before signing.
This will depend on the terms in the contract you sign. The State of NJ Contract does not provide for the buyer to cancel the contract if a seller is willing to fully address issues appropriately, however, be sure to have language added to the contract to ensure this right if such a situation were to occur.
A contract for the sale of real estate typically includes a Mortgage Contingency Clause, which protects the buyer in the event they have made every reasonable effort to acquire their financing but are unable to. In the event this happens, the contract would be terminated and all deposit monies would be returned to the buyer.
There are protections and contingencies built into the contract in the event a buyer cannot move forward with the sale despite their best effort to do so, such as the mortgage contingency clause or the home sale contingency clause. However, if a buyer were to breach other conditions in the contract then a seller may be able collect the deposit monies as damages for the buyer's failure to perform.
Due to changes in Federal regulations in the fall of 2015, a typical home sale where a mortgage is involved usually takes about 60 days, with 45 days for a buyer to obtain a mortgage approval.
If a buyer is using cash to make the purchase, then the settlement may occur much sooner depending on the timelines the buyer and seller need to perform inspections, title searches, etc.
Yes. Due to new regulations that went into effect in October of 2015, a buyer is encouraged to take a walk-through of the home 10 days before settlement to ensure the seller has performed as agreed upon so that if an issue is to arise there may still be time to hold the settlement on the scheduled closing date. A final walk-through on the day of closing may still take place, but if any issues are found settlment could likely be delayed.
Mostly all of the hard work, planning, negotiating, and inspecting takes place prior to settlement, so relax and get ready to sign some paperwork! The settlment is usually a relaxed setting where the buyer and seller have an opportunity to meet while documents are signed, funds are transferred, and the transaction is completed. Congrats!
When you list a property with Homestead you are partnering with the Cape May real estate company that has the BEST SUCCESS RATE for listings sold in the markets we service. We boast a comprehensive listing plan that helps you to prepare your home for listing, marketing & showing and features your property in its best possible light - that's why we're successful in helping you to achieve a quicker sale, a higher price, and the success you're looking for.
When you work with a Homestead agent, we will provide you with a detailed Comparable Market Analysis, also known as a CMA. This report will gather the most relevant comparable homes to have sold in your area so that you have a clear idea of your home's market value. But to determine how much to list your home for, other factors need to be considered. Your agent will help you to determine where to position your home on the market by reviewing the level of inventory, other homes for sale in your area and how it effects your marketing, and factor in other variables such as your motivation for selling. By collaborating with an expert Homestead Real Estate Sales Agent you will have a clear path to a successful transaction.
Depending on the condition of your home, there may a long list or short list of recommended tasks so that your home is most desirable to prospective buyers and to maximize your sale price. Ultimately, it is your decision to decide what will be done, but an expert Homestead agent will give you the tools you need to be as successful as possible. Here is a general list of items to consider addressing before putting your home for sale on the market:
- Declutter - Eliminate excess furniture, knick-knacks, decor, and any other
superflous materials that can be spared during your home’s time on the market.
The goal is to sell. Maximize space and aid the buyer in envisioning the house as
- De-personalize - A buyer needs the ability to conceptualize themself in your
home in order to secure interest after the appointment is scheduled. Remove
personal items, such as family portraits etc. prior to photographing, active
advertising, and espcially, showings.
- Staging - For some homes, staging may be an effective tool in presenting
your home in the best way possible. Akward spaces, unusually shaped rooms, or
small areas can be highlighted with the proper arrangements. Update a space
without breaking the bank by hiring a Home Stager to stage the home during its
time on the market.
- Lighting - An essential aspect of your home’s presentation is after the
appointment is scheduled and during the time a buyer tours your home. Proper
lighting can make or break a buyer’s experience. Expose windows for natural
light and turn on all interior lights to present a bright and welcoming space.
We charge a commission rate of 6% of the sale price. Homestead and your listing agent will split half of this fee (3%), and the other half of the commission is split between the cooperating broker who brings in the buyer and their buyer's agent.
Typically, no commission is paid until closing after a ready, willing, and able buyer has performed and settlment has occurred. The commission is paid out of the proceeds of the sale which is funded by the buyer and/or their lender.
A great question which will require a consultation with one of our full time, expert sales agents to be explained in full detail. At Homestead, we have developed a comprehensive marketing plan that has made us the best listing agents in the area and it includes:
- Closely working with you to prepare your home before putting it on the market
- Creating a first class listing with high quality photographs, superb ad copy, and a carefully constructed presentation of your home to optimize exposure to and interst from prospective buyers.
- Feeding your listing to a littany of online real estate platforms to ensure buyers who are looking for your home are finding your home.
- An adept grasp of social media advertising so that your home is met by the largest online audience possible.
- Safe and secure accessability to your home is provided by our office so that agents have ease of access when showing your listing.
- Print advertising
- A full time support staff working to help get your home sold
And the list goes on. Reach out to a Homestead agent today to take the first step...
No. It is best to step out of the house and run an errand or go for a drive so that the buyer can see your home, accompanied by their agent, in a private setting that allows them to be comfortable when viewing your listing and have the ability to speak about the home in confidence. If you must stay while the showing is happening, be sure to give the buyer and their agent privacy and to be in another part of the house.
Depending on your home and the situation involved, we do not normally recommend a listing agent accompany a buyer and their agent during a showing for the same reasons we recommend a seller leave the home during showings. In order to elicit interest and offers it is best to give a buyer a private setting when viewing your home so they are comfortable and spend more time at the house during the appointment.
Keep in mind that anytime your home is shown, an accountable and state licensed real estate agent will be accompanying any buyers touring your listing.
Here at Homestead we have an advanced appointment and feedback system, controlled by our full time receptionist, that enables us to fully manage showings and automate feedback requests so that you are informed directly from the buyer's agent on what they think of the price, condition, and other comments. This helps to adjust the marketing of your property as necesarry based on what buyers are saying about your listing.
This can vary greatly depending on the condition of your home, the asking price, inventory levels, and other market conditions. Here is a list of our most serviced areas and the average number of days on the market for sold properties in 2015*:
- Cape May - 237 days
- Cape May Beach - 182 days
- Cape May Court House - 213 days
- Cape May Point - 217 days
- Lower Township Area - 159 days
- North Cape May - 149 days
- Townbank - 174 days
- Tranquility - 143 days
- Villas - 158 days
- West Cape May - 211 days
At Homestead, our sellers typically sign a 1 year listing agreement as to give our agents an opporunity to sell the home in every home buying season.
*Data gathered from CMCMLS deemed reliable but not guaranteed