Jersey City, NJ Home Buyers FAQ's
Answering Your Home Buying Questions
Buying a home is both thrilling and a bit scary, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. Both experienced home buyers and first-time buyers alike will benefit from the frequently asked questions below. Before you begin your search, it is recommended that you prepare yourself for the journey by educating yourself. This will ensure you are a knowledgeable home buyer prepared to make a confident home buying decision.
Q - I've never purchased a home before. Where should I begin?
A - Actually, you've already started the process. Fact-finding and reading articles is a great way to become a smart consumer. The highest priorities to focus on before you begin searching for specific areas, neighborhoods, or homes would be to:
· Familiarize yourself with your personal finances.
· Learn about the Jersey City, NJ real estate market.
· Carefully review your budget and begin to eliminate as much debt as possible.
· Have a down payment and earnest money ready when the time comes to act and make your offer.
· Make a preliminary list of your "wants and needs," but expect those to change as we begin our serach. Keep an open mind, so you can find the home of your dreams.
· Set time aside to visit the properties in person, to speak with your mortgage broker and review documents and emails associated with the search.
Q - With all the bad news about mortgage products and home foreclosures, how do I avoid making a big mistake when deciding which type of loan to select?
A - Once we meet and review your finances along with your home buying needs, you should select a lending consultant. I can recommend several trusted lending professionals or you can choose your own. Having upmost confidence in your lender is important. Be sure you feel completely at ease with them. They should speak to you in easy to understand terms. Ask lots of questions and never sign any document until you know what you are signing and feel completely at ease signing it. More and more lending professionals are recommending fixed interest rate loans and interest rates are still very attractive. Of course, the type of loan best for you depends on several factors. Here are just a few:
· How much money do you have for a down payment?
· How long do you plan to live in the home?
· Do you qualify for a FHA or VA loan?
Q - Are there benefits to working with one agent vs multiple agents?
A - In New Jersey, all companies share their listings for sale on a single database (unlike NYC or rental listings), therefore, I have access to any property listed by any other firm on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS.) Developing a loyal and healthy working-relationship with your agent will ensure that you get the best deal possible. It will save you time, money and effort and at times get access to the key information not available to the general public.
Q - Condo vs. Co-op?
A - There are only a few number of co-op buildings in the Jersey City/Hoboken areas and condo is predominant form of ownership. So there are no board approvals, your downpayment is determined by your mortgage broker only and there are fewer restrictions (if any) on renting out your condo, owning pets, or altering your home.
Q - Who pays the broker fee when I purchase a home?
A - Unlike rentals, the listing broker’s firm (or the new construction developer) pays the broker’s commission on the sale of a property. As far as you are concerned, I work for you free of charge. My only fee is for you to refer me to your friends and family :)
Q - How much should I budget for closing costs?
A - Your closing costs will include: First month’s mortgage payment, 2-3 months of maintenance fee contributions to the condo association reserves (if any), real estate taxes escrow (usually 3 months worth) and insurance reserves your bank will require, as well as attorney fee, title insurance and bank fees such as title, application, loan origination and recording. Please contact your attorney for an estimate and break-down of closing costs. You can do a rough estimate yourself by calculating 2%-2.5% of your purchase price. For example: If you purchase a property for $500,000, your closing costs will be around $10,000. Keep in mind that these costs vary greatly from deal to deal based on taxes, monthly maintenance and escrow reserves requirements of your lender.
Q - What do condo maintenance fees usually cover and what about real estate taxes?
A - The condo maintenance fee usually covers the water/sewer charge, maintenance of the common area expense, and the insurance for the entire building. Every building is different and we will go over other amenities this fee could include. Questions on taxes should be address directly to the city’s tax department at 201 547 6928 in Jersey City and (201) 420-2024 in Hoboken. Keep in mind that some condos have a tax abatement (a discount for a number of years), so make sure to ask about how the abatement is structured and when it expires.
Let's Get Started!
Are you ready to schedule your home buying consultation? If so, reach out to me today and together we will review your needs and your budget to help you find the right home for you!