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Old 07-30-2012, 11:21 AM
5 posts, read 4,710 times
Reputation: 10


Hello all. I am a young first time home buyer and will be using a VA Loan for a house in NJ. Problem is, my knowledge of the home buying process is severely lacking.

Can you help me (in laymans terms please) understand the process and/or point me in the right direction...where do I start? Should I get a buyers agent? How to figure out comp prices in neighborhood? How to figure out a fair offer? What questions should I be asking the seller? Should I get pre-qualified from lender before looking? All info on the topic is greatly appreciated.

I know this is a very broad question, and I apologize for my ignorance on the topic, but I am trying to learn on the fly here and pull this together in a few months without making any mistakes that me and my family will regret over the years. Thanks for you time.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:38 AM
Location: Chicago
3,260 posts, read 4,509,897 times
Reputation: 3991
I would definitely recommend getting a buyer's agent; their job is to tech you about the process and give you the information you need to make a good decision. If you know other people (friends, coworkers, family) that have purchased a house recently, ask them if they would recommend their agent.

I would also google "Realtor" and your city to see who comes up. Call a few agents and see who you like. Then, pick one and work with them through the process. I would not necessarily pick the first person you see/talk to unless they're highly recommended by people you trust.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:41 AM
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,947 posts, read 18,699,563 times
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First get pre-qualified. Go to any local bank/mortgage company and start the process of learning the steps to getting a loan and what you qualify for. Then find a RE agent.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:43 AM
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 38,320,873 times
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Ask your friends and family for a recommendation for a realtor. Way better than picking out of a phone book.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:46 AM
5 posts, read 4,710 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all. I figured a buyers agent was a good place to start. I do not have any family in this area or any friends that have bought a home. Maybe I could start a post on here for recommendations and see where that gets me. Thanks again.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:07 PM
1,784 posts, read 2,879,110 times
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There are plenty of books and websites out there (e..g Home Buying for Dummies, etc.) that can give you a lot of the content you'll want to familiarize yourself with. It'll be more reading than just soliciting responses on a menage board, but probably will be much more thorough too.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:19 PM
Location: Toledo, OH
1,725 posts, read 2,905,029 times
Reputation: 1270
Absolutely get yourself a good Buyers Agent. If you find a property that you like and call the listing Agent, there job is to get the best price for the seller. They will be polite and all that, but they are working for the SELLER.

Interview prospective Agents. Make sure they meet what you want. If you can only search for properties on Tuesday and Thurdsday from 5:00 PM til 8:00 PM, you want someone that will be available. If you want Daily e-mails of available properties, most Real Estate Agents websites have technology that will do that for you. It is nice to see homes in your e-mail without always having to go to the website.

Getting prequalified is pretty easy, you can go straight to Zillow and get it done. Sometimes local banks don't have the best deals, but there are many companies out there that specialize in VA loans. Rates are GREAT right now.

Don't settle for someone that doesn't give you exactly what you want.
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