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Old 03-07-2014, 12:47 PM
 
505 posts, read 888,456 times
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We are planning to make our first home (single family) purchase in or around South Bergen county area (namely for NYC and JC commute via NJ transit train to hoboken). I was trying to compile a list of things to have in order before starting the search. How about the below for a start? Any good website you could recommend for home buying process (especially for NJ) ?

* Find a buyer's agent
* Find an attorney
* Get local plumber for checking leaks, basement and other stuff
* Or maybe a professional inspector instead of plumber
* Start comparing mortagage rates from various banks
* List of websites: MLS, realtor, trulia, zillow
* Specific houses: Flood zone, traffic, snow street parking restrictions, title
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Old 03-07-2014, 01:35 PM
 
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Budget: set out a realistic budget for what you can afford using best current/estimated expenses
List of Must Haves and Nice to Haves
Get Pre Approved by a mortgage co: You won't be able to put a bid w/out this

I would recommend maybe driving around a few of the towns you are considering to get a feel for the areas.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:02 PM
 
550 posts, read 919,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJHomebody View Post
Budget: set out a realistic budget for what you can afford using best current/estimated expenses
List of Must Haves and Nice to Haves
Get Pre Approved by a mortgage co: You won't be able to put a bid w/out this

I would recommend maybe driving around a few of the towns you are considering to get a feel for the areas.
Great additional suggestions.

On the expenses/budget, be sure to incorporate taxes.
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:01 PM
 
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I would definitely pick a few towns and drive around them to get the idea. We are planning on buying our first home next year. We did some research on the net about first time home buyers websites and found one. We also researched the area we liked, looked at homes in that area. All of the info you need, is usually on the homes you like on say realtor.com, zillow and such.

Hope this helps you.
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:48 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
2,242 posts, read 4,929,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shet View Post
We are planning to make our first home (single family) purchase in or around South Bergen county area (namely for NYC and JC commute via NJ transit train to hoboken). I was trying to compile a list of things to have in order before starting the search. How about the below for a start? Any good website you could recommend for home buying process (especially for NJ) ?

* Find a buyer's agent
* Find an attorney
* Get local plumber for checking leaks, basement and other stuff
* Or maybe a professional inspector instead of plumber
* Start comparing mortagage rates from various banks
* List of websites: MLS, realtor, trulia, zillow
* Specific houses: Flood zone, traffic, snow street parking restrictions, title
The above are some of the most easiest tasks. The most challenging are finalizing the list of towns based on your need for access to schools, highways/transit stations, etc; understanding what it is that you really want (a 3BR or 4BR, basement, 1 or 2 car garage, etc.), and a realistic budget.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:43 AM
 
1,174 posts, read 1,651,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJHomebody View Post
Budget: set out a realistic budget for what you can afford using best current/estimated expenses
This. Dont just punch info into an online calculator. Open up excel, or do it by hand and write down your net monthly income and all of your monthly expenses (expected ones as well). Include taxes and even account for fun and savings. Dont leave anything out. Planning on having kids? Add that as well. Say you expect to spend $400 a month when you have kids, until that date comes you can save that $400 a month. Come up with the amount you can truly spend on a mortgage and then you can go from there. You will likely get approved for more, however doing the math before hand will be worth it in the long run.

Below is a link to a spreadsheet that can help with tracking this stuff(credit goes to the Personal finance subreddit where i found it).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...0E&pli=1#gid=0
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:42 PM
 
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All good advice so far. You probably don't need a plumber. A home inspector will suffice. Your Realtor will walk you through the entire process. She can provide recommendations for an attorney, home inspector, and loan officer, but it's good to shop around.

There are a lot if real estate sites out there. GSMLS is probably the most comprehensive. Other sites may have fewer pictures and less information. However, the functionality is not as good a site like Zillow.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:21 PM
 
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Thanks to all of you. We have decided to constrain our search to our current town only where we are currently renting. Do we really need a pre-approval to put in a bid? Also, yes, we will be sitting down to figure out the right budget soon.

Also old posts on this website have made me a little wise in the sense that all homes (and especially old homes) have issues and that probably one won't fix up half of those anyway. But what are the issues you feel is a deal breaker for you (though it varies from person to person). The ones that I could think of (for me personally) are flooding and slope/hilly.

Just remembered one more thing. When we were currently searching for our rental house, we (or rather our realtor) had come across a very nice house (with modern kitchen and almost everything modern). The monthly rent was also very reasonable (around $2000). We had also fixed up a date to check it out. Hours before that the very same realtor called and said that 6-7 months back in that house an old lady was killed and her body burnt (thru google of that address, I found that the perpetator was caught later, was somebody she knew). We are still grateful to the realtor otherwise there was no way we would let that house pass. But my question is how does one find these kind of unsavoury past, if any, with any house?
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:39 PM
 
324 posts, read 536,572 times
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Yes, you need pre-approval to put in a bid. It's easy, can be done over the phone, and requires no commitment to use that lender.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Westwood, NJ
774 posts, read 2,265,925 times
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You should get a pre-approval before you even start looking at homes. This way you know that you know that you can qualify for a mortgage and know how much you are approved for. This way you aren't wasting time looking at homes out of your approved price range. When you submit an offer, your agent will need to submit the pre-approval with the offer.

Definitely get a home inspector. You can choose your own or have your buyer's agent give you a list of recommendations to choose from.

You will need a real estate attorney. Either do your own research to find one, have one recommended from a friend, or ask your buyer's agent for a list of recommended attorneys.

When searching for homes online, either use your agent's IDX home search on their website or search directly through the NJMLS.com web site. Zillow and Trulia can be outdated and list homes that are no longer available. Those sites can be good for getting previous sale information, year builts, square footage etc. However, I would not rely on them for accurate valuations on homes.

If you go to the FEMA web site, you can plug in addresses for flood zone maps. Your agent can also check flood maps through their MLS access.

I would only line up a plumber if you suspect some time of plumbing issue that needs a qualified contractor to inspect that is beyond the home inspector's expertise.

Google street view can be an excellent tool if you want to check out a street or neighborhood without actually driving by the house. Its good to check if the house is located on a main road or next to a commercial property.

Hope this helps!
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