Your Guide to First-Time Home Buying in NJ

Nothing is certain at the moment, no matter where you are. New Jersey in particular has had a rough time over the past few months. Buying a home in NJ right now might feel like taking a massive step into the unknown.

However, this reality also creates opportunities. With few buyers looking for homes in New Jersey, prices have gone down. If you have an appetite for risk, buying a home in 2020 can end up being an incredible investment.

Of course, buying a house is never an easy prospect. It takes time, which will go into preparation and searching for the right option. Right now, it will be difficult if not impossible to view most properties. The first few steps will guide you through the process of preparation.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Many first-time buyers make the mistake of looking for properties before getting pre-approved for a mortgage. They end up overestimating how much they will have to spend, and settle on a dream home outside of their price range.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage puts you in the position of knowing exactly what you can afford. You don’t have to guess. For some, this will save disappointment. For others, it will expand the boundaries they assumed would limit them.

Search properties online

Before going out to look for properties, and even before finding an estate agent, you should spend some time searching for houses online. You can filter your search to find exactly what you are looking for within your price range. Once you have seen which homes you can afford, you can decide to eliminate those in areas you’d rather not stay in. Eventually, you should be left with a handful of great options that you can go see in person when possible.

Consider using a real estate agent

Real estate agents in New Jersey can help you with all the ins-and-outs of purchasing a home. They can help you search for properties that suit your purposes, and will tell you all about the area. Furthermore, they get paid in commission from the seller, so you do not have to worry about paying them.

The one downside to estate agents is that it is in their best interests to sell the home as quickly and at as high a price as possible. While there are many trustworthy realtors, you should be careful to do due diligence and look for second opinions.

Check out your options

When open houses are safe again, go to the various options that you have found and check them out. See if they live up to the pictures and if you can imagine living there. Ultimately, the perfect home is subjective, and what works for someone else may not attract you. Try and suss out any problems with a property before settling on it.

Consider a warranty

There are a number of good options for home warranties in New Jersey. Home warranties cover maintenance issues and repairs that are common when owning a house. Without regular maintenance, your property will see wear-and-tear that will eventually lead to major issues.

A warranty ensures that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for any sudden urgent repairs. It also covers appliances, which are always at risk of breaking down.

Make an offer

When you have found the perfect property, make an offer. Be sure to offer below the asking price, as sellers are willing to negotiate in the current market. Ideally, a realtor will give you an idea of what you can expect to be accepted. Remember that sellers may at first be unwilling to meet your price, but might come around if they realize they can’t expect much more.

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