How To Buy A House In NJ

Buyers: How To Buy A House In NJ


Make an appointment with an experienced Buyer's Agent knowledgeable about the towns in which you are looking. You only need one Buyer's Agent in each market area since most properties are multiple listed and can be viewed by any broker. If your town search expands as you look, your primary agent can direct you to other agents in those areas. Your Buyer's Agent will also explain how your best interests are represented and the NJ laws on Agency Representation


Upon finding the "right" home, the next step will be to make an offer to purchase in writing. You will sign a Contract Of Sale that stipulates your offer price, deposit/down payment money, financing terms, your preferred closing date, the time period in which you will complete your home inspections, and any other specific information that you wish to include as part of your offer.

Your written offer should include the following:

  1. A signed Contract Of Sale with your specific terms as described above. (Fax copies are acceptable when you are not available to sign in person).
  2. A check representing your “earnest money” or “good faith deposit”.  This amount varies but is usually a minimum of $1,000.  (Large initial deposits are often made with higher priced homes and in competitive bidding situations) This money is returned to you if your offer is not accepted.  If your offer is accepted, this deposit is held in escrow until closing and is applied toward the purchase price of your home.
  3. Financial information either in the form of a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter from a lender (not just a Pre-Qualification letter) or a bank statement indicating sufficient liquid funds for purchase.  A mortgage Pre-Approval Letter should include a review of your credit and financial ability to pay as well as a specific reference as to whether your purchase is contingent or not contingent upon the sale of any currently owned real estate.
  4. Signed Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement and Lead Paint Addendum when available.



Your signed offer will be presented to the seller's Listing Agent and seller (if possible). A negotiation process begins. If terms are agreed upon, the seller signs the contract and a copy is submitted to both the buyer and seller attorneys to begin Attorney Review.


Attorney Review is the process by which your real estate attorney and that of the sellers, review the contract, make any changes necessary and ultimately come to a legal agreement ending Attorney Review. Once Attorney Review is complete, the contract is binding and considered "Under Contract". In a competitive marketplace, it is good to complete Attorney Review in a timely manner. If neither attorney disapproves the contract i.e. makes changes to the contract, attorney review will end after 3 days and the contract becomes binding.


Meeting your contract Contingencies is the next step.  Each contract varies with the contingencies specified.  The following are examples of typical contract contingencies:

  1. Deposit Money – in addition to your initial “good faith” deposit, your second deposit toward your down payment is typically due 7-10 days after the end of attorney review and also is submitted into an escrow account.  This is usually 10% of your purchase price less the initial good faith deposit amount.  However, each contract varies.
  2. Mortgage Contingency – your contract will likely have a mortgage commitment date specifying when you must have a document confirming that your mortgage is approved for your home purchase.  This averages 30-45 days from the end of attorney review but also varies.  In some competitive bidding situations, a buyer will remove their mortgage contingency to entice the seller to take their offer over another buyer with a contingency.  Inquire about the pros and cons of this with your real estate agent and attorney.
  3. Home Inspection Contingency – Your contract will specify the number of days after attorney review by which you must complete your home inspections: structural, termite, radon, oil, lead, mold, etc.  It will also specify the number of days you have to make requests from a seller for repairs and/or credits.  When significant home inspection issues arise, you and the seller will negotiate a settlement of such issues.  This may include a request of the seller to make repairs, a request of a dollar credit at closing for you to make repairs, and in instances where the issues is so significant, termination of your contract.
  4. Closing Date – Your contract will indicate a specific date on which you are to close.  Closing dates do change as the result of unforeseen circumstances.



Preparing For Closing Day:

Items that you will need to do prior to closing are:

  1. Obtaining Homeowner’s Insurance on your home.  This must be in place and is usually required by your mortgage lender to close.
  2. Utilities should be changed into your name to take effect the day of closing.  
  3. Confirmation with your attorney the funds necessary to bring to closing as part of your final down payment and closing costs.
  4. Confirmation of the closing time and location and then set up a final walk-thru of your new home on or just before the day of closing.



Closing Day:

This is an exciting day on which you will receive the keys to your new home.  You will go to your attorney’s office to sign the mortgage paperwork and deed documents.  Your sellers may or may not be present along with their attorney and the real estate agents. You are officially a homeowner after closing of title with your attorney!


All of the information above is intended to be a guide to help you prepare for the purchase of a property.  Every home purchase is unique and specific to your personal situation and contract specifications.  Communication of your needs and expectations to your real estate agent and your attorney needs to be ongoing and open during your home purchase process.  The above is not intended to be legal advice but merely a description of a typical real estate home purchase.  You should always consult your attorney for review and guidance related to a contract to purchase a home.


"Kim was a pleasure to work with. We had an extremely short time line to find a house and she really understood our sense of urgency. Kim was incredibly
knowledgeable about the towns she covers and really seemed to know where we would enjoy living."
Tim and Joanna R Chatham, NJ
"Kim has extensive knowledge of the local real estate market and is very attentive to your needs. She had great focus on selling our home and did so in a short period of time for a great price. We would recommend and use Kim cannon if we were to sell again."
Elena N Summit, NJ
Kim guided us, explaining the exact steps of a typical transaction, to being there with us at the closing table. Kim has many great strengths—professionalism, knowledge of the market, & ability to explain complicated things in a way that is easy to understand.I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her.
Kristina A.
Kim came highly recommended to us. She took time the time to understand what we were looking for & then was able to help us evaluate homes as we explored the different neighborhoods. She's super savvy about the market & guided us. She was calm, supportive & responsive throughout the process.
Kari S.
Our home sold in 3 days with multiple offers and went for well over asking.  I attribute to Kim's reputation and marketing. In addition, all matters of closing a home...Kim is there...ON IT.  Every phone called returned immediately. Tough, organized and honest.  What a team.  Highly recommend.”
Bob B.
Kim is a highly seasoned real-estate agent with tremendous knowledge & experience in the local markets.She completely understands all of the intricacies, problems& details involved in the process of selling a home. I would highly recommend Kim to anyone contemplating the buying or selling of a home.
Michael A.
Kim has been my real estate broker for several years. She found reliable tenants for my rental property & recently she assisted me in the purchase of another property. I have found all my experiences to be positive, Kim is very professional & knowledgeable. I would highly recommend Kim.
Kelly A.
“Kim helped us buy a complicated investment property, and has worked with us to rent it out ever since. In fact, we have not had a single day of vacancy! We have a longstanding relationship with her and are constantly impressed with her integrity and work ethic.”
Erik H
We were transitioning to the suburbs, we wanted someone that knew the area extremely well & would be a reliable guide for us. Kim was the perfect fit. Kim was a calm & reliable resource when it came to negotiating the price & she helped us navigate the closing process with quality recommendations.
David P.
" agent that is honest, motivated, and extremely helpful. She gave us so much useful information on how to present our house in one of the toughest housing markets and held our hand thru the complete process. I can highly recommend Kim for all your real estate needs."
Karie D
Kim brings a breadth of knowledge and expertise to the table as a seller and buyers' agent. Her negotiation skills are unparalleled and her ability to work with other agents all the while skillfully and passionately representing her sellers' best interests is impressive. Don't wait - just call Kim.
Melissa B
"....displayed a depth of local knowledge with respect to neighborhoods and schools that was very comforting since we were moving cross-country...she gave us excellent advice on the negotiation, inspection and closing process....was extremely accomodating in being present as needed."
Jared G Summit, NJ
I found Kim Cannon through her impressive website. I loved working with her when I purchased in Chatham years ago and wouldn't use anyone else when I was the seller. She is highly competent, honest, proficient and accessible. RUN to her when you need a service.
Pam H.
"Kim was very helpful and knowledgeable with our home search in Summit. She made the process very easy by being accessible and accommodating. Kim has continued to be helpful through our transition to our new town."
Barbara F Summit, NJ
I have worked with Kim when both buying & renting. Kim's years of experience have provided her with a true sense of the market value of homes. She is honest when dealing with clients so they have the best chance of either selling quickly or buying a home. We recommended her to others.
Teresa T.
We solicited three different local agents from three different brokerage firms. We already knew about her reputation and professionalism, so it was an easy decision to hire as a listing agent. Our house was sold and closed within three months from the time we first contacted Kim.
Jennifer M.
We are newcomers to New Jersey and had no familiarity with all the different towns. Kim did an amazing job of learning our style and making sure that we saw a great cross section of home in all the neighboring towns. It's also always nice when you like who you're working with! Kim is fantastic!
Lisa H.
Kim was extremely responsive and sunderstanding in dealing with myself and two siblings as we sold our parent's estate. I would highly recommend her for her professionalism and sensitivity.
Paul H.
Having bought & sold several home, I can say without reservation that Kim was the most capable professional in all transactional areas that I have worked with. She was very accessible, thorough, provided excellent counsel, & brought consistency and calm to what can be an anxiety producing process.
Mark D.
Her inside knowledge & complete honesty made sure we ended up in a home we love. Kim's assistance in the inspection & closing process was top notch. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her services to anyone looking for a true honest professional.
“In selling our home, Kim was on top of every detail, was thoroughly knowledgeable and was always available. Her marketing strategies are highly visible and effective, and in our case resulted in quick multiple offers. We started off with a real estate agent and ended up with a friend."
Therese D Berkeley Heights, NJ
Kim offered excellent marketing strategies, first-hand knowledge of local schools & experience "staging" our home to sell quickly. The response was overwhelming & our home sold within two weeks (w/multiple offers.) We would recommend Kim Cannon & her team, Anne & Sally.
Debbie L.
Kim’s local knowledge, expertise of the process, timing, execution & assistance with negotiations closed the deal for us. She has a full understanding of this process & made it simple on us through a complex transaction. I recommend Kim’s work highly to anyone looking to buy or sell their home!
Dan M.
Kim has been AMAZING! Kim was extremely supportive with negotiations & very responsive & knowledgeable about all of our closing needs. She is kind, patient, trustworthy, reliable & extremely professional. I would highly recommend Kim to any home buyer.
Sarah M.
In 2007 & 2012 I thought I wanted to sell my house. By 2014 I told Kim I wanted to rent the house. Each time Kim was so professional & helpful. She acted quickly & helped me through the process. When the time comes to sell I will not hesitate to call Kim. I would recommend her without reservation.
Roberta L. New Providence, NJ
"Kim is thoroughly professional & makes a science of selling a home. She understands that buying/selling a home is emotional & still able to get everyone to work realistically. I think the biggest advantage is that other agents also respect her skills & judgment......"
Ken C Summit, New Jersey
Kim has been our realtor for the past 9 years and has seen us through 2 purchases & a sale. She is the most faithful, loyal, thorough & competent realtor I have ever used. I do not have enough words to say how fantastic she is. Part of our family now. Love her.
Allison B Summit, NJ
Kim is a consummate professional. She understands the market, the applicable technical aspects of the sales process, seeks input and listens to her clients, and is responsive and thoughtful throughout the process. We highly recommend Kim for your real estate transaction needs.
Leslie C. Summit, NJ

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