5 Steps to Home Buying In New Jersey

Michelle Pais


The process of buying a home can seem overwhelming. There are many things to consider and it can be hard to know where to start. Here are 5 tips for buying a home:

1. Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved is the first step in buying a home and can save you a headache later in the process as it determines your buying power. Set yourself up for a successful transaction by getting pre-approved. In a competitive housing market, sellers prefer a pre-approved buyer to a buyer who might be unable to close the deal. It’s important to note a pre-approval on a mortgage lasts 60 to 90 days depending on the lender. Be wary of your timeline when buying.

2. Pick a Community

This should be a no-brainer. Picking a few communities you are interested in is a way to zone in and target your visits. Identify towns/neighborhoods that you like and why. Whether it’s school ratings, commute, crime, low taxes, etc. having a criteria is key to saving time. Research on what areas you like and don’t like can be done by the touch of a finger! A great resource for schools (greatschools.org), crime (trulia.com), public record (njactb.org), and commute (njtransit.com) can give you ratings and info on towns you may be considering. 

3. Make a List

Create a Need, Want and Must lists. The Must list will have criteria that are non negotiable. For example, you have 2 kids so you need 3 bedrooms, you have two dogs so you need a fenced backyard. Your Want list will be features that are nice to have, but are not dealbreakers. For example, you may want a fenced backyard, but you can always install one if the perfect house doesn’t already have it. This can help you save time as you search. What can and can’t you live without? Having a non-negotiable list as well as a list you are willing to compromise on means narrowing down the number of houses you visit. It can also open your eyes to new homes you may not have considered before. 

4. Know Your Timeline

The housing market is on a pretty set schedule. It is safe to say the most houses come on the market in the warmer months. This can mean less options during the winter months. Before you can even decide when to start looking, you need to determine your timeline. You’ll save yourself a lot of time if you make sure you are ready to buy. Consider things like cost; can you afford to move, to hire the right people to help in the process? If you have to sell a home before you can buy another one you may consider the timing for market purposes, cost to get the home ready to sell, and the emotional toll. Make sure you are emotionally ready for a move.

5. Research and Hire the Right Agent

Your real estate agent should be as invested in selling your home as you are. Picking the right New Jersey real estate agent can be a daunting process since there are almost 100,000 REALTORS in New Jersey. The ideal person is someone who will tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve it. To find the right agent, ask for referrals from people you trust and who have been through the process. You should also consider your particular needs. If your home could use some help with staging, find an agent who has experience in design. If you’re selling a fixer upper, find an agent who has a proven track record of selling those types of homes.
Recommended reading: 7 Stages of the Home Buying Process in New Jersey


The Michelle Pais Group extends far beyond what a conventional brokerage firm offers. It envisions itself as both a lifestyle and media company offering design, marketing and creative solutions to all our clients.

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