Buying a New Jersey Home While in Quarantine

buying a new jersey home

Spring is normally peak home buying season. With the coronavirus crisis keeping everyone at home, this spring has seen a noticeable slowdown in the number of potential home buyers – social distancing measures and economic unrest has many would-be buyers hesitant to move forward with a home search. The good news: if you have the financial means, now is actually a great time to consider buying a New Jersey home. Today’s post explores the ins and outs of house hunting during the coronavirus outbreak.

It definitely seems to be a buyer’s market right now – but why? The coronavirus crisis has unmotivated buyers dropping off and determined buyers staying the course. With historically low mortgage rates and nervous sellers wary of an economic situation that is shifting daily, if you are looking to buy a home, there are many factors in your favor. Still, with a fluctuating economy and fears of a recession—is now really the best time to buy a house?

The answer to that depends on your specific circumstances.

It is almost impossible to perfectly predict the real estate market to determine the exact best time to buy or sell while we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. While mortgage interest rates are historically low now, rates are going to rise as more and more people refinance in the face of job loss. Buyers must consider their own financial standing. Are you at risk of losing your job or taking a pay decrease? It’s important to balance the opportunity to lock in a low mortgage rate with the possibility of future financial difficulties.

All of these financial uncertainties make getting pre-approved for a home more important than ever. Find out exactly how much home you can afford; then aim to buy a home that costs less than your maximum. Set aside money ahead of time for yearly home maintenance and repairs. Keep an emergency nest egg for unexpected repairs that could come up during your first year as a homeowner.

The biggest concern for potential home buyers right now is how to stay safe while looking for their new home. There are some creative ways to get around the traditional home-buying process while still maintaining social distancing standards. Virtual open houses and tours are becoming increasingly popular as social distancing measures deepen. Many home inspections are going virtual. While ordinarily you would accompany the inspector to view a home, many inspectors are now offering to use video chatting apps to allow buyers to be there virtually.

Buyers have been asking sellers to leave all doors, closets, and appliances open for the final walkthrough, so they can check the condition of the house without having to touch anything. If you do need to meet with a seller to see a house in person, you can always wear gloves and a mask, all the while keeping your distance and washing your hands before and after your visit.

Appraisers are using more computer algorithms to determine a property’s value instead of viewing a home in person. The government-backed mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have directed mortgage lenders to decrease the need for in-person inspections of the interior of a home. This does not, however, apply to FHA loans. Closings have also taken a digital turn, with many buyers and sellers sitting down to go over paperwork with title agents and real estate attorneys virtually.

You don’t have to let COVID-19 crush your real estate dreams. With some careful planning and creative workarounds, you can successfully complete the entire home buying process. Veitengruber Law is here to help you work towards your real estate goals throughout this crisis. We have been getting more and more familiar with the technology that allows us to be “virtually present” with our clients.

Top 5 Reasons to List Your NJ Home for Sale This Winter

Spring time is widely considered the best time to sell a house. Potential buyers are looking to take advantage of the warmer months for a big move. But if you are looking to sell your home, you don’t necessarily need to wait for the weather to warm up before you enter the real estate market. In New Jersey, selling your home during the colder months has some great advantages. Here are five reasons to sell your home this winter.

  1. Less Competition

With most people putting their homes up for sale in the spring, the market is super crowded with plenty of options. On the other hand, there is typically a low inventory throughout the winter months. One of the best reasons to list your home when temperatures drop is you will have less competition. With fewer homes for sale, there is a better chance your home will not get overlooked by potential buyers. It will be easier for you to grab buyers’ attention and keep it if you sell during the winter.

  1. Growing Families

September is on average the most popular month of the year to have a baby. Any parent knows how quickly a home can “shrink” with the addition of a new baby. This means that growing families are more likely to be looking for a bigger home at the end of the year. These buyers are motivated by running out of space and a time crunch to get moved and settled before the next school year.

  1. Serious Home Buyers

Not every single person who looks at a home for sale is actually looking to buy. Some people start viewing homes while they’re still contemplating whether or not they really want to buy a home. Since homes tend to go on the market in the spring, this is also when real estate window shoppers are the most abundant. On the flip side, those who are viewing houses in the colder months tend to be serious. Buyers who are ready to move don’t want to miss out on a great house by waiting until the spring.

  1. End of Year Financial Payouts

Year-end performance reviews and holiday bonuses mean a potential buyer has more money to work with when buying a home. First time buyers might be waiting for these payouts to go towards a down payment. Homeowners who receive a raise might be looking to upgrade their living situation. Financially flush buyers are more likely to be serious about a real estate purchase.

  1. Corporate Relocation

In New Jersey, the end of January and beginning of February are statistically the most popular time for job relocations. These buyers need to move quickly and are very motivated to find a home close to their new placement. Once these buyers find a home to meet their requirements, they are normally ready to sign on the dotted line. This urgency can be a great advantage for someone selling a house in the winter months.

If you are thinking about selling your home, there is no better time than now! Don’t be intimidated by a supposedly tougher winter market. There are plenty of buyers looking for a new home during the colder months. Veitengruber Law is a full service real estate law firm any time of the year. If you are selling a house this winter, don’t close without the help of our experienced real estate team. We are ready to sit down with you for a free consultation to discuss your real estate goals.

Are You Ready to Buy Your First NJ Home?

NJ home

In the US, homeownership has come to symbolize achieving part of the American Dream. Owning a home can offer independence, the opportunity to start a family, and a place to belong in the world. But owning a home isn’t for everyone—at least not right away. If you are considering purchasing your first NJ home, there are a lot of things to consider before you take the plunge. After all, the decision to own a home is a huge investment that will impact your life for years to come. If you are on the fence about homeownership, here are the top signs you are ready to buy a home.

1. You Plan to Stay in the Same Geographic Area

Being happy with where you are is a great sign you might be ready to plant roots and buy a home in your area. On the other hand, if you are planning to move in a few years or are unhappy with your current location, don’t purchase a home. With the cost of buying a home, between a down payment and closing costs, it doesn’t make sense to buy a home only to turn around and do the whole process over again in two or three years. You could also end up in the difficult position of being unable to sell your home, or having to sell your home for less than what you paid for it. For these reasons, it is important to only buy a home you plan to be in for a decent amount of time.

2. Your Finances are in Order

There are three financial aspects of the home buying process that you will need to be ready for: the down payment, the closing costs and associated fees, and the mortgage itself. For the down payment and the closing costs, you will need to have money in hand to complete a home purchase. Typically, a down payment is 20% of the purchase price and closing costs can range anywhere from 2-3% of the price of the home. You will also need to make sure you have a clear credit history with a decent credit score in order to secure a mortgage with good terms. But the financial responsibility of homeownership extends beyond your mortgage. You need to make sure that your income can support not only your mortgage, but home upkeep, property taxes, utilities, regular living costs, debt payments, and unplanned expenses.

3. You Are OK With the Idea of Home Maintenance

When you own your own home, you can’t call your landlord if something needs to be repaired. Every house will require repairs, maintenance, and improvements—and these can be costly and time consuming. All the time you spend on general upkeep of your home is less time spent doing the things you did pre-homeownership. This can impact your lifestyle. If spending the weekend painting the living room sounds terrible to you, you may want to reconsider a lower-maintenance housing option, like renting.

4. You Are Realistic About Your Home Goals

This means you know how much house you can afford as well as how much homes in your area are being sold for. A real estate agent can help you with this, but you need to know what kind of buying power you are bringing to the table and what kind of home will fit your budget best. Start going to open houses to get an understanding of what you get for the listing price. Look into a wide array of different kinds of houses in the neighborhoods you are interested in. How many bedrooms and bathrooms are there? Are there any special features? Is it up-to-date or does it need some work? All of these factors will help you determine what goes into a list price. Work with a real estate agent to get information about the estimated costs of repairs so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you buy a home. Buying a good home in your price range is key to homeowner success.

Buying a home can seem intimidating—and for good reason. The purchasing of a home is likely one of the biggest investments you will ever make. The rewards of owning your own space are innumerable, but it is also important to understand the work and commitment that goes into owning a home. If you need help working through the minutiae of buying a NJ home, Veitengruber Law is happy to help demystify the home buying process as well as make sure you are getting the most out of your real estate contract.