5 Tips for Buying a Home

Now is a great time to buy a home: home prices are low and interest rates are low, but they are climbing steadily. The New Jersey market has seen more home sales and faster selling times, reassuring us that the market is indeed improving. If you don’t want to miss out on this buyer’s market, now is the time to buy a home and lock in low interest rates.

Here are five tips for those who are interested in buying a home.

1. Keep Your Finances Steady

When you apply for a loan, lenders will want to see that you’re reliable and have a good paper trail. Don’t open new credit cards, move money around, buy many big ticket items or accumulate too much debt, or these will be red flags to lenders.

2. Start the Pre-Approval Process

There’s nothing wrong with getting a pre-approval, even if you don’t end up buying a home. Anyone can be pre-approved for a loan, as this means that a lender has looked at your finances and determined that you can afford to make the mortgage payments.

3. Go with Your Instinct

You’ll hear a lot about the market in NJ: it’s slow, it’s competitive, it’s laden with foreclosures. Don’t worry about when the best time is to make your move. Instead, focus on the available properties and what’s right for you. Real estate is always fluctuating.

4. Hire an Inspector

When you find a home that you’re willing to purchase, make sure you hire a home inspector first. It will cost about $200-$300, but it could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector is a third-party who will tell you whether the house is worth buying.

5. Remember Hidden Costs

It’s easy to look at a mortgage payment and assume that you can pay it, but remember that homes come with a lot of hidden costs, otherwise known as “sleeper costs.” These added finances include homeowner’s association fees, utility bills and property taxes. Don’t forget routine maintenance and repairs. If you’re falling short, it’s better to buy a home that is lower priced than stretch yourself too thin.