Buying a home in South Jersey for the first time can be scary. You can offset the fear by educating yourself on the home buying process. The more you know the less you have to be anxious about. I put together this information so you know what to expect as a first time home buyer in South Jersey. I am a real estate agent in South Jersey and can help you out anywhere you’d like to buy. So please contact me.
I’m sure you have had your eye on the big websites like Zillow and have daydreamed about the many beautiful houses you’ve seen. It’s fun looking at homes! I enjoy it. These big sites are usually not very accurate and saturated with homes that have already been sold. You can search from the NJ MLS here to see available homes in real time. However, when you are ready to purchase such a big investment you will want to put a few things in order.
How Much House can you Afford?
As a first time home buyer you may be shocked at how much it costs to buy a home. You will need money for a down payment. If you get an FHA mortgage the down payment will be at least 3.5% of the purchase price. If you go conventional it is 5%. On a $200,000 house that is $7,000 for FHA or $10,000 for conventional. There are some zero down payment programs that you can discuss with your mortgage lender.
Then there are closing costs. It’s not fully black and white figuring out how much these will be but you should count on at least 3-4% to cover them. There are also things like the home inspection, appraisal, and home warranty if you want one.
Working closely with your real estate agent and mortgage lender can help out. For instance, it’s possible to write an offer on a house and ask the seller to cover your closing costs. That’s a big help and it is pretty common.
I see a lot of ads associated with houses online saying “Get it for only $500/month” or something similar. This figure usually doesn’t include taxes and insurance. With the taxes in New Jersey being as high as they are you really need to consider them and how they will affect your monthly mortgage payment. Insurance means homeowners insurance which is necessary to have. There is also PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) that can get tagged on to your monthly payment if you haven’t made a down payment higher than 20%.
Why Use a Real Estate Agent?
Typically, there are listing agents and buyers agents. The listing agent works with the seller and places the home on the market to sell. The buyers agent works with a buyer to assist them in finding their new home. The buyers agent will represent you, take you through the complicated paperwork, recommend home inspectors, and be there holding your hand every step of the way. There is something called a dual agent where a listing agent represents the buyer as well as the seller. This is a legal practice but it’s frowned upon since the agent’s loyalty is divided between two parties.
If you drive around calling the number on For Sale signs you will be contacting the listing agent. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to find the perfect home by calling on signs. When working with a buyers agent they will set you up with a tight search that will include all the “needs” you have. This will cut out the fluff and make for targeted houses that will work for you. When you find some you like the buyers agent will take you out to view them.
View Some Homes and Make an Offer
This is when you are ready to move forward as a first time home buyer in New Jersey. It’s so much fun to see different houses knowing you will soon be living as a homeowner. You’ll want to make sure the houses have what you need in the way of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
When you find the perfect one you’ll need to make an offer. This needs to be sculpted meticulously. Imagine yourself as the seller and try to make the offer something they would be okay with. If you really love the house and you lowball then your offer may get flat out rejected. If you need the seller to cover your closing costs you might want to adjust the offer price accordingly. There are lots of ways to work the offer to give you the best chance of getting the house. If you know what county you’d like to be in then click here to see homes for sale in South Jersey organized by county. Or let me know and I can set you up with a personalized home search.
First Time Home Buyer in South Jersey
Being a first time home buyer in South Jersey, I can help you through this whole process. Please contact me on the form below…