Home Buying Advice

How To Make Your Offer Strong And Beat Out Competing Home Buyers

Housing inventory in Central New Jersey, and Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex Counties remains low, making our local residential real estate market a seller’s market. Well-priced homes in desirable locations are selling quickly, and in many instances, receiving multiple offers.

In this climate, making a stronger offer than other buyers will make all the difference. Your agent will guide you through the process and help you create the strongest possible offer within your comfort zone and affordability limits.

To make your offer as strong as possible, and ultimately acceptable to the seller, here are some things to consider:

Why Buying a Home in December is a Smart Move

December is usually when people are looking to deck their own halls—not buy new ones. But buying a home in December can be a smart move.

The holiday season is a 'lull' period in real estate sales, and less buyers shop for homes this time of year. Savvy home buyers should take advantage of this time if they’re serious about buying.

Why?  Here are a few good reasons to purchase your new home before the New Year.

HOME BUYING FEAR FACTOR . . . It’s not as scary as it sounds!

While the idea of buying a home may not be as terrifying as a room full of spiders or meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, it’s certainly a cause for concern for those who are thinking about taking the plunge. Thankfully, we will help debunk some well-known myths that can keep many from packing up that apartment for good.

Fannie Mae Makes Significant Changes To Help People With Student Debt Get Loans

Watch the video and learn about the significant changes announced by Fannie Mae to help people burdened with student debt qualify to get a home mortgage.  In summary:

  • If you can document that someone else is paying your student loan (employer, parent, etc.) it will no longer count against your debt-to-income ratio.
  • If you are on a reduced payment of your student loan through a special program, the full payment amount will no longer be used, the reduced payment will now be used to count against your debt-to-income ratio.
  • The debt-to-income ratio has been increased from 45% to 50% for everyone.

These are all significant changes to Fannie Mae's program, and should help a lot of people now qualify to buy their first home.  Watch the video to get more in-depth information, and contact us to help you get qualified and find the perfect new home.

How Credit Cards and High Debt Ratios Can Keep You From Buying Your Dream Home

We all love to spend money, right?  That’s what it’s for… to spend!  Clothes, cars, etc.  Why work so hard if you can’t enjoy it?  But there’s peril in this if you’re not careful. 

When it comes to buying a home, there are certain factors lenders look at to determine what kind of “risk” you are to them for paying it back.  Two of these factors are effected by your spending habits.  They are called “Debt Ratios”. 

Banks always look at the worst case scenarios when they consider loaning money to someone, so even though you may think every thing is fine, they are thinking about “what if’s” like . . . What if you lose your job . . . What if you get severely ill and can’t work . . . and other morbid and depressing possibilities . . .

This Home Has Flaws! Should I Still Buy It?

It's not your real estate agent's job to pick the house you will buy; however, it is important for your agent to point out any unchangeable adverse features the home may have.  These are features that will cause it to appeal to less buyers resulting in the home taking longer than average to sell, and conditions that will cause the home to sell for less than similar properties.

If the home has any adverse conditions that you can't change, and you still want to buy the home, then your agent should caution you about the effect they may have when it's time for you to sell.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the home.  If you love it, then buy it.  Your goal should be to buy it at below market value, knowing that you will be selling it at below market when that time comes.

When our past clients call and ask us to sell the house we helped them buy, we don’t want them to be surprised by the fact that their home has an adverse condition that will cause it to sell for less money and take more time.  We want them to be fully informed.

So what are some of the possible 'adverse conditions' we're referring to? 

How To Find The Perfect Home For You And Your Family

Want to make the home buying process much more organized and enjoyable?  

It's important to be realistic about what you can afford and what is available in the communities where you want to live.  It's also important to realize that no house is perfect, and you will need to make compromises.  Your goal should be to get a home you really like that fits your needs and your budget. 

Your first step should be to sit down and make a list of what features are in your perfect home and organize the items into 3 main categories:

Do You Love Older Homes? Here Are Some Things To Look For

Are you an old home person?  We love older homes too!  They are often built with high-quality, custom materials and have loads of character . . . one of a kind.  We have many older homes in our area, appreciate them, and are happy to sell them every day. 

If you're planning to purchase an older home, there are some things you should pay attention to.  For starters, you should always attend the home inspection so you can see what the inspector sees, ask questions, and get maintenance tips along the way.  To learn what the experts have to say, read this article by Jay Gregg.

Ask the Expert: What Should I Pay Attention to when Buying an Older Home? - Today’s “Ask the Expert” column features Jay Gregg, the Director of Marketing with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. 

Is It Better To Rent Or Buy?

Rent vs Buy . . . it can be a tough decision and making the right decision depends on your circumstances and lifestyle.  Since for most, buying requires qualifying for a mortgage and a down payment, buying may not always be an option.  But for those who can qualify for a mortgage and have available funds for a down payment, then it may come down to looking at the math.

Of course, how long you are going to be living in the area is a big factor.  Selling after only a short time of owning your home will most likely result in a loss.

Here are a few resources to help you understand the financial pros and cons of renting vs buying:

April is Fair Housing Month - Working to Stop Discrimination

This month marks the 47th anniversary of the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, and HUD is launching an educational campaign to help people recognize and combat housing discrimination.

This quote from HUD Secretary Julián Castro sums it all up. "At the core of everything we do to improve housing opportunities is a firm belief that no family should ever be denied the opportunity to own or rent a home because of what they look like, where they come from, how they get around, how they speak, who they love and other circumstances of life. HUD’s fair housing efforts level the playing field so that folks have a solid foundation upon which they can achieve their dreams and build for the future."

What to do if you believe your rights, or the rights of others, are being violated?  Learn more on HUD's website.