In today’s real estate market, low inventory dominates the real estate headlines in many areas of the country especially here in the New Jersey area. It can often be frustrating to be a home buyer if you aren’t prepared. Finding your dream home is an exciting journey that, at times, can also feel all-consuming. On a good day, it’s fun to swipe through homes on your Ipad and pop through every open house in your area, and perhaps a lost bidding war or two—it can almost make you want to give up. If you sometimes feel like you’re going in circles and wandering aimlessly from home to home, we get it. House hunting breakdowns are real. Fortunately there is plenty of smart ways to give yourself a positive outcome.
Speak with a mortgage lender. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You even Start Your Search. Looking at homes before your preapproved is like going to the mall shopping without your wallet. Doing this 1st will help you in several ways such as narrowing your search criteria for focus areas, give you clarity based on your ideal monthly payments and budget, and give you the freedom to realistically make an offer once you find the home of your dreams. Understanding the different loan options and programs available can save you tons of money. If your serious about buying, this step is critical in achieving your goals.
Make your list and check it twice. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’ Do you really need a chef’s kitchen if you rarely cook to be happy with your home choice? Would a finished basement be a convenience or a necessity? Could the library of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now? Before searching write down the non-negotiable features your new home needs as your ‘Must Haves’, then another list as your ‘Would like to haves’. Making these two lists will allow you to stay focused on what matters to you most in finding your perfect home.
Research and Choose a Neighborhood/Area You Want to Live In. When choosing an area focus on 3-5 neighborhoods that is ideal for your lifestyle including amenities, commute, school district, etc., and then spend a weekend exploring those neighborhoods before committing. Enjoy a meal, do some shopping, ask questions around town. Get a true feeling about the community and you’ll know if it’s the right fit. Every neighborhood has its own charm. Do your research by spending time there, and if it fits your lifestyle then you know it’s an excellent place to call home.
Use technology and take Notes Your Home Visits. When starting to tour homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. A great way to keep yourself organized is to keep your phone handy. Our team loves using the app Evernote where we can take photos of the exterior, interier, and add notes or recordings into the app. When you go home you can review each home more in detail to decide what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.
Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in his or her market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Happy house hunting!
Russo Real Estate Group of Coldwell Banker
Jocelyn P. Russo
242 Bellevue Ave. Montclair, NJ 07043