How To Buy A Home For The Right Price

This page will guide you to answers to your your important questions and give information you need about buying a home and making best decisions.

Buying A Home

I understand you are looking for a new home, and I would be privileged to be the real estate professional to help you. I work with each of my clients individually, taking the time to understand their unique needs and lifestyle, and giving the opportunity I will do the same for you.

Purchasing a home can be one of the most important decisions of your life, and navigating the real estate market alone can be a frustrating experience.  As a licensed realtor, I work with other agents, financial advisers, and experienced vendors who are well versed in the Ocean Country real estate market.

My website provides demographics on each property you view the details on. I also have a tool called "Lifestyle Finder". You can access this useful tool using the menu tabs on each webpage.

Lifestyle Finder is a tool to provide information on a certain geographic area. There are 4 sections displayed as tabs on the top left of Lifestyle Finder: Schools, Areas, Businesses, Home Values. Each tab has a search field in which the user can input a city, neighborhood, or zip code to find out more information about the area. It also has a "Comparative Analysis" tab that lets you compare information and demographics of one city compared to another.

I do my best to provide you with enough information as possible to help you make the best decisions.

How to find your dream home.

I have a little formula for my clients to help them find homes to consider buying.
dream home formula real estate

This formula is more simple than it looks. To put the formula's images in easy to read text it would look like this:

Choose a real estate agent - to do all the hard work, to answer your questions or for any help you need.

Search for homes - using the MLS and make a list of homes that you're interested in.

Research homes - (1) Use the list of homes you have made and research them in more detail. Use your real estate agent to find out information on home you can't find online. (2) Make appointments and go see the homes (Most if not all real estate agents require you to obtain a mortgage pre-approval letter or mortgage pre-approval before you can take a tour of a property. ) (3) Make notes on each home of everything you like and don't like, or notes about defects or repairs it may need (This info can be used when you make an offer on the home to reduce the price.). (4) Have your agent do a CMA (Comprehensive Market Analysis) on all homes your interested in to get an accurate current market value of the homes.

Compare homes - From the list of researched home. Compare homes to each other to reduce your list further.

Choose the home you love most - From the list of compared homes. Here you can use more of your emotions and how you feel about the home. Choose the home you love the most. In my opinion if you're going to invest in a home with intentions of living there for a very long time. You need to bond to that home, to really love your choice because if you don't it is just a house. But if you love the property then it becomes a "home".

All the steps in the formula before this one you should be "less" emotional and more logical, analytical and smart. Focus on all your needs and desires in a home with your financial limitations. When you reach the "Choose the home you love most" step of the formula. Then you can use more of your emotions with all the information your gathered on the properties in making your choice.

Your Dream Home - Your have found your dream home!!! Now discuss with your agent about making an offer on the home.

Real Estate Agents Home Valuation

My job as a real estate agent for the buyer is not only to assist you in finding the home that meets all your needs. but to also to make sure that you don't pay more than the home is worth, protect your interests and make sure you avoid frustrating situations. I want to make buying a home a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you. One of the many tasks I do is home evaluations for you.

One of the most important tasks of a good Real estate agent for the buyer is to do a "Comparative Market Analysis" on the homes the buyer is interested in. This will help to determine the homes accurate and true worth according to the current market value. The true value of the home is a vital factor in buying a home without paying more than the home is worth.

In order to do a home evaluation I gather all the information from public records, completed sales of similar homes from the past 6-12 months and gather MLS listings data points. As effective and thorough real estate agent I inspecting the homes myself and factoring in the condition, improvements and the pro's and con's of the homes. I use all this information to get a accurate market value of the homes.

As an agent I also have the advantage of knowing the area the home resides in. This is a important factor in determining the value of the home. A home in a 5 block area can have more value than the same home with same factors in the surrounding blocks. Very specific locations are also a critical factor in determining a homes value.

Steps to buying a home you can afford

1. Check your credit score and look at your cash flow.

Start by checking your credit score. The higher your score, the better the interest rate on your mortgage will be. Good credit can mean significantly lower monthly payments, so if your score is not great, consider delaying this big purchase until you've built up your credit rating. As for monthly payments, personal finance experts say a good rule of thumb is to make sure make sure the total monthly payment does not consume more than 30% of your take-home pay.

2. Have cash for a down payment.

Technically, you don't always have to put any money down when financing a home today, but if you can't afford to put at least 10% down, you may want to reconsider buying. Ideally, you should be able to put 20% down — anything lower and you will have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is a safety net for the bank in case you fail to make your payments. PMI can cost between 0.3% and 1.50% of mortgage, depending on the size of your down payment and your credit score.

3. Plan for the surprise expenses.

Even if you can afford the monthly payment, be aware of hidden costs. Buying a home means property taxes, insurance,possible Home Association fees that can add hundreds of dollars per month. You need to consider other costs such as renovations, closing costs, inflation to help you decide if you can comfortably maintain the monthly mortgage. You want a mortgage that will not cause any stress.

4. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Once you figured out your finances and have decided investing in a home, determine how much you can afford to spend and stick to that limit.

I recommend getting a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage lender before house hunting. The reasons real estate agents ask for a pre-qualification letter is for your benefit and for the real estate agents safety.

A pre-qualification letter benefits you by showing, your realtor and more importantly to sellers how much you can afford and that your serious about purchasing a home. Currently not many sellers will even consider request for info or offers with a buyer who has not shown a pre-approval letter.

A pre-qualification letter and other identification benefits a real estate agent in 2 ways. (1) A agent spends time and money helping a buyer find and purchase their dream home and just wants some proof the buyer is serious about buying a home. (2)The more important reason for asking for pre approval and identification is for their own safety. Crimes against agents (Robbery, Murder, Rape) have been on the rise since 2010. Most of these crimes take place while showing a home to a buyer. I am not being over dramatic. See: The-concerning-rise-of-real-estate-agent-attacks and attacks-against-real-estate-professionals-surg.

When considering multiple offers, sellers will likely only consider an offer to those with a pre-qualification letter before those without one. To apply for pre-qualification, you'll have to find a lender — either the bank or a mortgage broker.

Compare offerings from the bank and a few mortgage brokers before settling on the right lender for you. Remember, You don't have to spend every cent for which you're approved. It's generally good practice to aim for a home that costs less than the maximum amount for which you qualify.

5. Find the right real estate agent for you.

You should consider using an agent that is an ABR (Accredited Buyers Agent). This agent has taken more courses and has more expertise when working with buyers. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation is the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation. This coveted designation demonstrates to peers and consumers your commitment to providing outstanding service for real estate buyers.  

6. Start hunting for places within your price range.

Discuss with your agent the price range that you want to spend. Your agent will then be able to start searching homes he feels will match your criteria and be able to set up an auto-email from the MLS that will send you homes as soon as they are posted. This will provide with new inventory to consider.

7. Make appointments to look at properties.

Don't rely on photos only. They wont show you the entire condition of the home or get a feel of dimensions of the rooms from a photo. Without question you need to go Schedule a showing to physically see the house in person early in the "searching for homes" process. Make detailed notes on everything right and wrong with the home. Look for anything that can cost you money in the very near future and make a detailed note of that (You can use these observations to negotiate a lower price with the seller).

8. Put in an offer you're comfortable with.

After your real estate agent sent you the CMA(Comparative Market Analysis) report you now have a accurate market value of the home your making a offer on. You went and seen the home in person and carefully made note's of everything you found wrong with the home that would cost you money to repair. For example the roof might need to be re shingled or local regulations are requiring certain upgrades to the property. You decided, if you can get the seller's price down below the asking price you would still buy the home.

You made sure the home meets your basic needs and special requirements before putting in an offer. Buying a home is a very emotional process, It's vital to remain rational and stand by the price limit you decided you would pay for the property. Don't get caught up in bidding wars, and bid way over the price you originally decided you would pay for the home because you love the house so much.

Don't put in an offer because you're emotionally drained and desperate to finish the process. Expect to miss out on a few homes before you find the one, It is possible to find your dream home within weeks, But it could take up to four months or more. Prepare yourself for a lengthy process and possibility of some let down's. Sometimes a seller wont budge at all and sticks with his price or you get out bided.

When you find the right home make quickly make a bid on it. There may not be much room to negotiate or drive the price down, as you'll likely be facing competing offers. This is very important to understand, What other buyers are competing on is who is most qualified to buy the property. It's not always the highest price offer that gets accepted. Sellers are really looking for certainty of close, so if you can provide the most certainty of close to that seller, they're more likely to accept your offer.

9. Close.

The exciting day of your closing has finally arrived. The final walk-through will allow you to examine the house to ensure you that the house is in the same condition as when you placed your offer. You will also see that all the contract terms of items (such as appliances) that are being sold with the house are still present. Then off to the closing table where the key people will be there to help. Your agent, mortgage lender and attorney will be in attendance. They will be available to negotiate in the case that the final walk-through revealed any issues. Otherwise if there are no issues the closing will take place and after signing the appropriate documents the keys to your new home will be handed over to you!

If the seller accepts your offer, you will enter contract before closing, and the deal will be contingent upon you securing a loan with your lender, getting the home inspected, and doing a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

Be prepared for closing costs such as appraisal fees, attorney fees, title insurance, property transfer taxes, and inspection fees, which can add up to be approx. 5% of the mortgage amount.

Closing customs will vary depending on the state you're buying in, which your real estate agent or lawyer will be able to explain to you.


Helpful Links

Real Estate Expert

Photo of Agent John Franc Email John
Realtor ®ABR
Van Dyk Group
NJ Lic. #
PA Lic. #
16 Years
609-597-1988 Ext:329
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The data relating to real estate on this web site comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of the MLS of the Ocean County, NJ Association of REALTORS®. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Copyright 2012 - 2018 All rights reserved.