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Old 09-28-2007, 02:25 PM
 
26 posts, read 93,933 times
Reputation: 20

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Hi there,

I'm considering purchasing a home with a mortgage in NJ and was hoping for some links to websites with REAL content and not just other links to scams and/or ads... Web searches seem to only turn up junk

Things I'd like resources about:

1. House hunting
- how to find a trustworthy realtor
- how to figure out if the listed price is in the ballpark
- what sorts of things are negotiable

2. Mortgages
- how to find an honest lender
- how to understand the different types of mortgages and options like paying points, etc.

Thanks!!!

If others are interested, maybe we can make a "trusted links" sticky thread or something? My head aches from all the trash out there!!!
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Old 09-28-2007, 06:30 PM
 
Location: NJ/SC
4,286 posts, read 13,113,982 times
Reputation: 2578
Your best bet to obtain all that info. is find a good agent. They can do a market research for you to answer the question about if the house is priced right. They can also tell you what you can & should negotiate. In addition, they can help answer questions about mortgages & give you a couple lenders you can work with to see what's the best option for you. This is what agents get paid for, so I would suggest mostly working on finding an honest agent that really wants to help you.

How do you do that? Now from a web site but find someone through a referral, preferably through someone you know that has used them before. You can interview the agent and ask all the questions you want until you feel comfortable with them. Posting on boards like this you will probably be flooded with people wanting to help you, just make sure you ask them lots of questions before hiring them. Good luck!
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Old 09-28-2007, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Toms River, NJ
1,106 posts, read 4,364,540 times
Reputation: 652
I can only offer you advice based on what I've learned in the past seven years. I'm not in real estate or finances, so take the advice purely based on someone that's been there done that.

I recommend a bank for mortgage information. I have a relationship with my branch manager and she is very well informed. She provided me with answers about different types of mortgages and an explaination of points. Maybe I was naive but I found a website that was updated daily that listed mortgage rates offered by all the banks that subscribed to the site. I compared them and then started making calls. Once I knew what kind of mortgage I wanted I used the site to shop for rates. I applied at the bank with the lowest rate and locked it in. Now I had good credit so that may have made it easier but I dealt directly with a bank and didn't involve a broker or real estate agency.

Personally I think the only way to know if the listed price is "in the ballpark" is to shop around. Use a website to find houses in your budget that offers the items on your "must have" list and go and see them. Remember, a house is "in the ballpark" as long as someone is willing to pay that price. If you feel that the house is priced too high than either offer what you think it is worth or move on. You are buying a home at a time when prices seem to be coming down. I guess this means that what you pay today you may not have paid 6 months from now but you'd need a crystal ball to be sure. I see every house in my neighborhood has "just reduced" signs hanging from the FOR SALE signs.

One last point, everything is negotiable unless the seller doesn't want to negotiate. When I sold my mother's house I was selling it "As Is" with full disclosure of every problem I knew of and I priced the house to sell. When a buyer came in and tried to negotiate on some items that were disclosed I told my agent I was not going to negotiate. I priced the house with the understanding that the price reflected the current condition. The buyers knew it so in the end they paid asking price. I don't blame them for trying and had they been dealing with one of my brothers they would have gotten what they asked for. For my brother's sake it's a good thing I was executrix:-)

Good luck!
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Old 09-28-2007, 09:28 PM
 
Location: High Bridge
2,736 posts, read 8,545,601 times
Reputation: 665
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
Hi there,

I'm considering purchasing a home with a mortgage in NJ and was hoping for some links to websites with REAL content and not just other links to scams and/or ads... Web searches seem to only turn up junk

Things I'd like resources about:

1. House hunting
- how to find a trustworthy realtor
Interview several, and go with the one you feel comfortable with. There is no science. You can get references if you'd like, know if they do it part time or full time, so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
- how to figure out if the listed price is in the ballpark
Comparables. Your agent will give you a list of properties that are similar, and what they sold for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
- what sorts of things are negotiable
Everything is negotiable. Always. Not everyone is willing to negotiate, it just means anything *can* be negotiated.

2. Mortgages
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
- how to find an honest lender
Go with the big guys, they play fair. Avoid the ones you see in the news for playing the subprime game, and those cutting 99% of their staff. Beware 1% interest rates. Beware anything with an offer thats too good to be true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
- how to understand the different types of mortgages and options like paying points, etc.
A point is one percent. What they give you per point (or fraction of a point) is up to the lender. When you pay points, you may either be asked to pay points to get a rate you'll qualify at, or you may want to "buy down" your rate by paying extra points. This doesn't always pay off. Usually, you don't want to pay more than 2 points if you only plan on living there for a few years. If you plan to be there 30 years, more might be okay.

Its ok to tell them you're not following, or to explain more slowly. If they don't, they just lost a customer. They like to rush it so that its easier to sell, so that you're confused and you just go ahead and sign. However... slow them down. They will if you ask. You can take up as much time as you'd like. Do this at *many* lenders, not just one.

A few things.

Get preapproved.

Have a lawyer.
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:38 AM
 
48 posts, read 147,749 times
Reputation: 15
you can search the MLS on GSMLS that has all the listings in NJ. Then you need a realtor for the mortgage information. You can also search on that site and then send the MLS number to your realtor and they can send you back a page on the listing with more information such as days on the market and taxes. I have a really good honest realtor in the Hunterdon County area as we are in the process of selling. Let me know if you want the info on her.
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:09 PM
 
Location: NJ
9,173 posts, read 20,201,974 times
Reputation: 6225
What part of NJ are you looking to buy in? I can recommend a few local sites but if it's not your area, you want something tailored to that area. I like ReMax, you can visit individual office sites, then look at agent profiles to read about them, making your decision easier. I've been looking for a house since February and find the Remax site the best. Prudential Fox & Roach comes close but it does not let you make folders for saved properties.

If you are looking to buy new homes that's a different story, so let us know that if it applies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
I'm considering purchasing a home with a mortgage in NJ and was hoping for some links to websites with REAL content and not just other links to scams and/or ads... Web searches seem to only turn up junk

Things I'd like resources about:

1. House hunting
- how to find a trustworthy realtor
- how to figure out if the listed price is in the ballpark
- what sorts of things are negotiable

If others are interested, maybe we can make a "trusted links" sticky thread or something? My head aches from all the trash out there!!!
I would go to yahoo.com, then click on real estate, it takes you here. From there look for Find a REALTOR®. Fill in the info, you will get agents that give you info, and you can read feedback from customers. If you have no clue where to start, at least this give you something with customer feedback.

To find an actual house, I will c/p from a post I made to someone else to make it easier on me...

major real estate sites
Realtor.com main search - click advanced search to get more options
Caldwell Banker
Century 21
ReMax NJ
Prudential Fox & Roach
Exit Realty Cherry Hill
Exit Reality main site (broken link)
Weichert
NJ MLS
Yahoo Real estate - even though it is Prudential, you still need to sign up independantly. You can check foreclosures there also. It's a pretty decent list. You can also find an agent through their Home Gain.
NJ Real Estate.com
Garden State MLS

Classifieds
Craigs Lists (http://southjersey.craigslist.org/about/cities.html - broken link) - a "classified ad" site - FSBO use it as well as some of us selling with an agent. South Jersey, is selected for other parts click NJ on the right side.

Home Values
Zillow - for home values (take with a grain of salt as they are on the low side)

Make an account at all of the sites. Put in your search criteria then save the search. You will get emails when new listings come on as well as price drops. Every site is different and in order to find a house, you may have to sign up at all because sites like C21 do not get picked up at other sites, nor do they show anything but their own.

My favorite site is Remax for ease of use. I actually save all homes I'm interested in from other places in my Remax home finder. I will copy the MLS # searching at Remax.


Quote:
Originally Posted by suemaz12 View Post
you can search the MLS on GSMLS that has all the listings in NJ.
Not necessarily, it has North Jersey but not South. I've used this site that pretty much pulls from realtor.com. It has a decent start page, maybe it will help the OP.
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:28 PM
 
Location: NJ
9,173 posts, read 20,201,974 times
Reputation: 6225
Going to reply to these seperatly

Mortgages city data
Real Estate - city data

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
- how to figure out if the listed price is in the ballpark
- what sorts of things are negotiable
You will start getting a feel for the market once you start looking. If you have a price range in mind, get signed up at the sites I posted and start saving what you like. This will allow you to see if prices are going down and if a seller appears motivated (or desperate).

As a buyer myself I am not seeing prices drop as much as I thought they might. People paid a certain amount for their house, either they need to get it back (could be facing foreclosure) or they will hold on to it and wait for things to change. I have seen a house or two drop about $50,000 total but not many.

When searching for houses, you should search a little over just in case. With us, I was looking up to $375k but since there isn't that price option at most sites, I had to go to $400k. If you already have it saved, this will allow you to watch houses just in case they lower into your price range.

If you do decide to buy something, you want to get a home inspection, but remember, you are paying for it so you want to make sure it is the house you want / like. You should look in the basement, attic & crawl space if possible to rule things out. There's a post in a real estate board I go to where the crawl space foundation was being held up by something because it was cracked. Had the checked it out, they would have passed and not bothered paying for an inspection.

When the inspection report comes back, don't expect the seller to fix everything especially if it is cosmetic; most will only fix safety issues. At one place I go to a buyer was going for 100% financing and wanted the seller to replace the fridge & stove because she liked the dishwasher color better (they didn't match). The seller said she might consider changing the face of the dishwasher but not getting a new unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnMyWay View Post
2. Mortgages
- how to find an honest lender
- how to understand the different types of mortgages and options like paying points, etc.
Mortgage Wiki
Realtor.com Mortgage Info
Lending Tree types of mortgages
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Triad, NC
61 posts, read 214,873 times
Reputation: 62
What area are you looking in NJ? As far as lenders, First Capital Mortgage in Flemington is a reputable company. I used them when I lived in Hunterdon County. Bill Maier is the owner and one of the best in the business. Good luck to you.
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:12 PM
 
8 posts, read 34,086 times
Reputation: 12
What counties are you considering? I can recommend three realtors (that I used personally and were all great)- one does NW jersey, one in central, and one down the shore. They are all from different companies. If you narrow it down, I can DM you with name(s) if you like.

I can also give you ones NOT to use. But I'll try to stay on the positive here.
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