7 Steps to Buying a Home in Southern New Jersey

Now that you and your family have decided to purchase a home in South Jersey, its important to make sure you are prepared and ready with all the steps along the way.  Of course, there are many professionals in the industry with experience in order to help you with your questions along the way.  Since buying a home is one of the largest investments you will make, and most likely a long term one, you will want to pay close attention to each of the following steps:

1. Decide What you Want:

Since you are in the preliminary stage, now is a good time to consider what your needs are.  Many potential buyers in South Jersey find it helpful to drive through different neighborhoods and communities to get a good feel as to what type of area they would like to live.  Now is a good time to determine a list of needs vs wants.  This will make it easier when you start to narrow down your search to easily rule out the ones that do not have all of your “needs.”

2. Hire a Realtor:

Deciding on which realtor you want to work with is an instrumental part of the buying process.  Many buyers might just call an agent who has a listing of one of the properties that they saw and liked.  Instead, think about what you want in an agent. Do you want someone who is the neighborhood specialist?  Do you prefer working with a realtor who has done business with a friend or family member?  Do you like the personality or what you have heard about them?  Try to take you time in selecting an agent.  It’s important to make sure that you are picking someone who you trust, works well with you and has your best interests in mind.  Calling an agent who just has a property listed is not necessarily the best course of action, since they are also representing the seller.

3. Financing

For many first time home buyers in South Jersey, helping to figure out what you can afford can be an daunting task.  If you have already selected a realtor, chances are he or she can point you in the right direction as to a mortgage company that you can call.  Having a competent and experienced lender makes the process so much easier.  This professional will help you in determining which rate, payment, and loan terms will work best for you.  They may also make suggestions based on your personal situation as to what makes the most sense financially.  As the buyer, the more organized and diligent you can be in getting your lender all the information and documents needed, the smoother your transaction will be.

4. Picking a Home and Making the Offer

At this point, you have selected a realtor and are most likely approved for your mortgage.  You have seen several homes in South Jersey and have narrowed down the selection to that one special home.  Your realtor will help you in providing “comps” or more commonly, recently sold properties in the neighborhood.  This will aide in helping you determine which type of offer you want to make.  Your mortgage professional will also help you in giving you a good faith estimate so that you can have more specific information on what your monthly payments will be and taxes.

5. Contracts and Inspections

Assuming your offer has been accepted, now is the part where you will sign contracts.  As a buyer, you can also have an attorney look at the contracts and make any changes he or she feels necessary for you.  After the attorney review period, you are able to order any inspections that you would like.  Most popular are the termite and a home inspection.  However, you can also order tests for led based paint, radon, mold and many others should you decide.  Keep in mind not to sweat the small stuff.  your inspectors will provide you with a detailed report letting you know all that they have found.  The most important items are things such as foundation and should be priority items whereas the smaller items you may be able to fix on your own.

6. Going to Settlement!

Congrats!  The day is finally here.  You have seen a variety of homes in South Jersey, selected the one you wanted and have all of your financing worked out and are ready to buy your home.  Today is the day that you make it official.  On the day of settlement (and sometimes before) you will do a final walk through to inspect your new South Jersey home.  By doing this, you are making sure that the home is in the same condition that you saw it last.  When you get to settlement, your realtor and sometimes your mortgage lender will be there along with the sellers side and a closing agent or title clerk.  As a buyer, you will have many documents to sign and at this point will be given all copies of the keys, manuals and any other community information (such as condo documents).  This is a great time to ask the previous owners any questions you might have about the home in general.

7.  Moving in an Protecting Your Investment

After moving in and making any changes that you see fit, such as painting or carpet, you will want to protect your investment.  This is a good time to make sure that you store your realtors contact information.  You may need to call them in the future to get “comps” or during tax time for information needed by your accountant.  Throughout the year, you will be making updates or changes and as needed.  As time passes, you will be able to see your investment grow and equity build.  Like most families, you will be living in your South Jersey home, loving your neighborhood and making many memories!


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