The thought of owning a home can be overwhelming and even downright scary for the first time home buyer. But, like generations before you and many of your contemporaries, you will find the process and the outcome far less taxing than you anticipate. Because of the plethora of information on the internet finding the right resources to assist you in your home purchase, it has never been easier.
On the other hand there is also SO much information it can get confusing. And that’s where my job comes in. It is my responsibility to coach you through the process providing the best resources for each stage of the transaction. So here are the 6 things first time home buyers need to know.
- Find Out How Much You Can Afford – this is the best first step to take since you will be able to set a comfortable price range for your search and understand all of the types of mortgages you can choose from. Work with a reliable lender who will review your credit score, salary, additional income and debts to determine your price range. Not all lenders offer the same types of mortgages and interest rates will vary. But that doesn’t matter for the initial “pre-approval” letter – only when it is time to obtain the mortgage.
Assistance with Your Down Payment – there are programs that can provide assistance with your down payment. To see if you are eligible just click here
How To Find a Reliable Lender – Approach your current bank where you have your accounts to see if they have a mortgage department, get a recommendation from a colleague or friend or I am happy to recommend Matthew Keane, Branch Manager, VP Lending at Guaranteed Rate. He offers flawless service and will educate you about your mortgage options, and turn the request around for a pre-approval letter within a few hours – 7 days a week at not cost. You can contact him here.
2. Draw a Radius Circle -I coach first time home buyers to draw a circle using mileage as the diameter, around your workplace, family or other destination you frequent. Google Maps is a great resource for doing this. Then you can see which towns north, south, east and west are a comfortable commute to that particular destination.
3. Start Searching – Now that you have a price range and names of towns, you can use the internet to do some research on the towns within your radius. Some suggestions are to find out more about the public transportation available from each town, how the schools are ranked, the average sale prices of homes in each town. These 3 criteria will help you decide which ones to focus on most. Give thought to how long you are willing to commute. Will you be satisfied living in a town spending less /much less than the average sale price ? This means your budget will get you smaller homes in less desirable locations within a specific.
To learn more about the commutes from NJ to New York City you can go to NJtransit.org
To learn more school rankings search on Greatschools.org
Sale prices – you can request them for any towns in NJ here
- Visit Public Open Houses – Plan a Sunday to review open houses in the towns you are most interested in. They are generally open to the public between 1 – 4 PM. You can search for open house on Realtor.com. You will get a good feel for the values in the different towns and what your money can buy.
Hire a Realtor – Once you have narrowed down the towns, its important to find a real estate agent who specializes in them so they can guide you using the most current market conditions and how it is affecting the outcomes of transactions. Find out if it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. This will determine your leverage in the negotiations. It is virtually impossible to find the perfect home without a Realtor and it is absolutely free for the buyer.
Pull the Trigger – Once you have done the necessary research, have a qualified lender, have enough for a down payment, guidance from a respected realtor you should feel well educated and comfortable making an offer to purchase a home.
Once you make an offer here is a timeline of steps you can expect to go through. From acceptance of the offer through the closing should take 60-90 days at most.