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The Process for Buying or Selling a Home

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial decisions that someone will make in their lifetime, which is why it’s imperative that they seek the assistance of an experienced and accessible Realtor.

In my 12 years as a Realtor, I have found that most clients are unfamiliar with the “process” and have no idea what to expect when selling or buying a home. Therefore, I thought that this overview would give future clients an idea of what to expect, when in the “process.”

Although many of the steps are similar for a seller and buyer, there are several different and important tasks that both parties need to be aware of and address, so I decided to list steps for both sides of the transaction.

Selling Your Home:

  • Contact Joe Fisher to complete a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) to determine the current market value for your home.
  • Once the market value is determined, a reasonable sales price is determined, and a marketing strategy is established. Joe may also recommend minor repairs or improvements, if necessary.
  • The listing agreement is reviewed and signed, followed by professional photographs, advertising, and open houses, if desired.
  • Joe will coordinate all showings with the other sales agents and sellers. To make the potential buyer comfortable, I always recommend that the seller leave or step out of the house, while the home is being shown.
  • Negotiating and accepting an offer can be an incredibly stressful time in this process. I always remind my clients that this is business, not personal and that everyone is trying to get the best deal that they can.
  • Once all parties have signed a contract, there is a mandatory (3) day attorney review period. This affords both parties the option to have an attorney review the agreement of sale.
  • Home Inspections:  The buyer is entitled to have a home inspection. If the inspector notes deficiencies in their report, the buyer may ask for repairs or financial compensation. Once again, negotiations may become necessary.
  • Confirm all inspections have been resolved, the home appraisal is completed, and mortgage commitment date is monitored.
  • Prepare for moving and closing date.
  • On closing day, the buyers will complete a pre-closing walk through of the home. Once satisfied, the settlement will follow, and the funds are distributed. Sellers Payday!!!

Buying A Home:

  • Contact Joe Fisher to discuss criteria and affordability.  If financing is needed, Joe can recommend several local lenders.
  • Once pre-approved, the search begins, and showings are scheduled.
  • Once the perfect home has been found an offer is discussed, and an agreement of sale is completed and submitted to the seller’s agent.
  • Wait for the seller’s response and prepare for negotiations.
  • Once all parties come to an agreement and sign the agreement of sale, the (3) attorney review period begins the following day. During this time, home and other necessary inspections are scheduled, along with working with your lender to submit the mortgage application, if financing.
  • Home inspections are completed and are satisfied. Potential negotiations if deficiencies are detected.
  • Home appraisal and mortgage commitment are monitored.
  • On closing day, a pre-closing walk through is completed. Once satisfied, settlement is held, and the transaction is completed. WELCOME HOME!

Note:  After settlement I recommend that the door locks are rekeyed or replaced.

As I mentioned, this is only an overview of a common sales transaction however, other unexpected issues or complications may occur, which is why it is extremely important having an experienced, knowledgeable, and accessible Realtor to guide you through the “process.”

I hope that you found this information helpful, and I look forward to someday assisting you with the sale or purchase of your home.

Joseph Fisher
Salesperson, GRI, ABR, SFR, E-Pro
Homestead Real Estate

Check Out My Newest Listing at:  7 Earl Drive

Cape May Communities Residential Market Stats – 2nd Quarter 2023

Existing-home sales slipped in June, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Sales varied among the four major U.S. regions, with the Northeast experiencing gains, the Midwest holding steady, and the South and West posting decreases. All four regions recorded year-over-year sales declines.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $410,200, the second-highest price of all time and down 0.9% from the record-high of $413,800 in June 2022. The monthly median price surpassed $400,000 for the third time, joining June 2022 and May 2022 ($408,600). 

“The first half of the year was a downer for sure with sales lower by 23%,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Fewer Americans were on the move despite the usual life-changing circumstances. The pent-up demand will surely be realized soon, especially if mortgage rates and inventory move favorably.”

“Home sales fell but home prices have held firm in most parts of the country,” Yun said. “The national median home price in June was slightly less than the record high of nearly $414,000 in June of last year. Limited supply is still leading to multiple-offer situations, with one-third of homes getting sold above the list price in the latest month.”

*Excerpt from article by Troy Green, National Association of Realtors “Existing Home Sales Retreated 3.3% in June: Monthly Median Sales Price Reached Second Highest Amount Ever”

Cape May – 2nd Quarter 2023

  • Number of Transactions: 27
  • Average Sale Price: $1,363,962
  • Average Days on Market: 228   
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $36,826,999

Cape May Point – 2nd Quarter 2023

  • Number of Transactions: 5                     
  • Average Sale Price: $1,642,000
  • Average Days on Market: 374 (1 home was on the market for 1,013 days)           
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $8,210,000     

West Cape May – 2nd Quarter 2023

  • Number of Transactions: 11
  • Average Sale Price: $841,198
  • Average Days on Market: 140
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $9,253,179

Lower Township – 2nd Quarter 2023

  • Number of Transactions: 152     
  • Average Sale Price: $407,202
  • Average Days on Market: 82
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $61,894,750

Data is from the MLS. All information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

Adventures in Cape May Real Estate – The Benefit of Working in an Office of Full Time Professionals

By Jan Conwell

There is an assumption that a real estate agent’s job is easy.  That anyone can be a successful real estate agent.  Even working in the administrative end of real estate before becoming an agent I might have agreed, that is until I became an agent myself.

I thought my real estate career was over with my first sales contract. Fresh out of Real Estate school and having been the bookkeeper for Homestead Real Estate since the day it opened, my self confidence wasn’t lacking. Being married to an attorney that practiced Real Estate law didn’t hurt either… and then my first contract started to go off the rails.

First the property was an estate that had riparian rights issues, and with the home being in an estate, there were estate taxes due. Throw in that the house was in the historic district of Cape May and on an undersized lot, I felt my lack of experience would affect the transaction. My resolve to become an agent began to crack.

Of course my husband was a big help, especially with estate taxes and riparian rights but it was my fellow agents at Homestead and my Broker, Dagmer Chew, that helped me through many of the other issues. Be honest was the best advice she gave me. Dagmer gave me a lot of guidance, things like Tell them you are not sure but will find out and get the answers for themCommunicate… Don’t leave them hanging in limbo.,, Tell them what is happening and how soon you expect to get an answer… Stay in touch… The client is relying on your knowledge and connections in the area to help them accomplish their goals of owning or selling their dream home at the shore.  All great advice for any real estate agent let alone a new agent handling their first contract!

If honesty was the key to communicating with the client, the cooperation between the agents in the office was an overwhelming benefit to me. Homestead is dedicated to hiring full time agents and the benefits that allows. The relationships that the seasoned agents in the office had built over the years, and were willing and able to share with me, were immeasurable in my ability to grow as a well rounded agent. There is no substitute for the experience and information shared between professionals.

From that first contract I wish I could say it was smooth sailing afterwards but as life goes it hasn’t always been calm seas. In the course of my now 20 year career I have had my share of crazy contracts and quirky circumstances. Unfortunately, I have had some unusual circumstances including a Seller who passed away in the middle of a sale, a Buyer pass away, a client whose family member was accused of murder. I have learned all about the varied mortgage options, septic systems and well testing. FHA/USDA qualifications, termites and mold. I’ve even had the adventure of buying and flipping property and owning rental property.

This experience has made me a good agent, but the honesty and cooperation within Homestead has made me Successful. The saying at work is “A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships” and it could not be truer in Real Estate, especially here at Homestead.

When choosing an agent look for one that considers Real Estate their full time career and is ready to assist you on your real estate adventures.


Recently the National Association of Realtors (NAR) published the 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.  The data collected spans from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.  This specific time frame has seen the market change from low interest rates, and low supply with high demand resulting in multiple bid offers to a market with higher interest rates and a continuing low inventory situation.

According to an article written by Jessica Lautz, the Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at NAR, there are multiple takeaways from the report.  We’ve listed a few of Jessica’s takeaways:

First-time buyers drop to an all time low of 26% from 34% just a year ago – potential first time buyers also face a rise in rental costs making it challenging to save for a down payment.

The age of first-time and repeat buyers hit all-time highs – For repeat buyers, the age has risen to 59 years, up from 56 years in last years report.  Americans feel confident taking on a mortgage later in life and purchasing a primary residence.

How far a buyer moved jumped to an all-time high of 50 miles from a range that had been steady between 10 to 15 miles – Another factor is remote and hybrid work settings. In January 2021, many headlines touted that CEOs provided employees with permanent remote work. This allowed buyers to separate themselves from city centers or inner suburbs and migrate to farther areas. 

The share of all-cash repeat buyers jumped from 17% to 27% in the past year – Homeowners have accumulated tremendous housing equity in the last decade and hold about $210,000. This has allowed many to avoid holding a property mortgage and pay all cash for their purchase.

Buyer and Sellers use and want the help and expertise of a real estate agent – Eighty-eight percent of buyers used a real estate agent to purchase their home. Buyers are most satisfied with their agent’s honesty and integrity, and knowledge of the purchase process. For sellers, 86% used an agent to help sell their home. Sixty-three percent of sellers used an agent that they had worked with before or that was referred to them. Sellers most wanted their agent to price the home competitively, help market the home to potential buyers, and sell within a specific time frame.

As we can see from the NAR Profile, and local Cape May Real Estate stats listed below, the market has made a shift however inventory remains low which allows for a continuation of a sellers market without the frenzy of the last two years.

Cape May3rd Quarter 2022

  • Number of Transactions: 38
  • Average Sale Price: $1,248,257
  • Average Days on Market: 154
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $47,433,800

Cape May – 3rd Quarter 2021

  • Number of Transactions: 38
  • Average Sale Price: $1,043,914
  • Average Days on Market: 159
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $39,668,744

Cape May Point3rd Quarter 2022

  • Number of Transactions: 10
  • Average Sale Price: $1,206,899
  • Average Days on Market: 115
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $12,068,999

Cape May Point3rd Quarter 2021

  • Number of Transactions: 9
  • Average Sale Price: $1,007,222
  • Average Days on Market: 187
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $9,695,000

West Cape May3rd Quarter 2022

  • Number of Transactions: 5
  • Average Sale Price: $873,020
  • Average Days on Market: 72
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $4,365,101

West Cape May3rd Quarter 2021

  • Number of Transactions: 4
  • Average Sale Price: $663,250
  • Average Days on Market: 146
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $2,653,000

Lower Township3rd Quarter 2022

  • Number of Transactions: 122
  • Average Sale Price: $443,727
  • Average Days on Market: 88
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $54,134,774

Lower Township3rd Quarter 2021

  • Number of Transactions: 152
  • Average Sale Price: $377,647
  • Average Days on Market: 87
  • Total Value of Real Estate Sold: $57,402,378

Data is from the MLS. All information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

SOLD In-house

See this exclusive in-house deal!

915 Columbia Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204

Sold price: $1,200,000

This lovely, 5 bedroom 3.5 bathroom home located just outside the historic district of downtown Cape May has new ownership! The new owners have fallen in love with the proximity to everything Cape May offers, the granite counters in the kitchen, the large, spacious three-season porch off the back, hardwood flooring throughout and so much more. The property has a narrow but deep 38×266 Irregular lot – with enough ground space to add an in-ground pool! The home is now going to serve as a weekly rental, so be sure to keep your eyes on the rental market for this Cape May gem.

Craig Needles had represented the sellers while Janice Conwell and Annie Mullock had represented the buyers in this dual-disclosure transaction. For more information on the sale, or if you’re interested in listing or selling, give us a call today at 609-884-1888!