While not legally required in New Jersey, earnest money is a two-step process in the state. A smaller deposit will accompany the initial offer, usually around $1000. Once the offer is accepted, a larger deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price is submitted when the purchase agreement is signed. An experienced realtor will be able to advise you on what is appropriate for the current market and the area in which the house is located. What Happens to the Money?