Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, The Buying Process, Tips For the Buyer

House Hunting

  • What are you looking for?
    • Utilize the Dream Home worksheet to establish your initial search parameters! ​
  • Location
    • Consider the proximity to transportation / impact on commute and proximity to family.​
    • Do you have neighborhood wish lists ?​
  • Budget to Shop within
    • Utilize the Pre-approval amount your lender gave you.​
    • Consider carrying costs after closing- HOA, taxes, etc.​
    • Don’t search above your pre-approved amount.  Depending on the market, in order to win the bid on the home, you may need to offer list price / above.​
  • Updated Search & Alerts
    • While looking, allow my tools to send you automated emails for ease of searching based on your search parameters.  Not all sites have updated info online!​
  • Your Search May Evolve
    • While you are looking, you may wish to put the kitchen of House A with the back yard of House B.  You will learn what matters most and fine tune the search/expand. It will all come together!​
  • Perform Your Due Diligence
    • Looking to modify the home? Check with the town, etc.​
    • Drive by different times of day / night.​
    • Look up, look down, look around! ​
  • Identifying “The Home”
    • Once you’ve found “The Home” it’s onto ​
      the next step…. Submitting an offer!​
Buying Tips, Choosing An Agent- Buyer, First Time Buyer, The Buying Process, Tips For the Buyer

House Hunting House Tours

Once you establish what you are looking for, tell me and I will work with you to create a list of properties to preview in person.  ​

Once I have that list…. 

I will schedule appointments with the listing agent/seller, route them on the map, gather information and advise you where to meet.  Depending on the number of properties on your list, will depend on the length of time for you to block out.  I would say each home can take as little as 10 minutes for those that don’t meet your standards and go up from there.  ​

Remember, some are owner occupied so being punctual is important as they have left the home for you to preview it.  Always be respectful, wipe your feet, remain courteous.  Once you leave, the listing agent will reach out for feedback to relay to the seller.  ​

Homes that are vacant are easier to preview.  You won’t feel as bad opening closets / cabinets.  You do need to judge closet sizes though, so even if a home is not yet cleared out, yes, you can open them!​

In today’s world, be cautious of speaking freely inside and outside of the homes, as many homes have cameras which may allow the seller to hear / see everything.  Don’t talk numbers!​

House Hunting shows are extremely popular! Remember… that is TV! Be realistic with your goals, abilities, finances & expectations!​


Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, Offer & Acceptance, Preparing to Sell, The Buying Process, The Selling Process, Tips For the Buyer

Navigating A Home Sale Contingency

If you own a home and need to sell your home in order to qualify for the purchase of a new home, you will need to satisfy the “home sale contingency.”  Here is some information on them.  Your attorney can assist with it, answer questions as can your agent!

If a Buyers Property is Listed & Under Contract:

If the buyers property is the subject of a contract of sale, the buyer will need to:​

  1. Provide a copy of the contract of sale to the Sellers agent and to the seller at the time of signing the offer.​
  2. Notify agents of any changes in contract of sale through the process.​
  3. Notify the sellers real estate professionals of the established closing date within 3 days of setting the  closing date.  That way you can align however it is needed. ​

If a Buyers Property is NOT Under Contract Nor listed:

  1. Buyer will list the property with a licensed real estate broker within 5 business days after the attorney review period is completed OR if the contract is disapproved within 5 business days after parties agree to the contract.​
  2. A copy of the executed listing agreement needs to be provided within 3 business days of execution.​
  3. The buyer agrees to use their best effort to sell the property including listing it at a Reasonable price on reasonable terms and submitting it to the MLS.​
  4. Once a contract is entered into, the buyer will furnish the contract within 3 days of the fully executed contract and update of any changes throughout. ​
  5. Furnish closing date within 3 days of it being set to align the dates as needed.​
  6. If the contract is voided and doesn’t work out, notify the seller ​
  7. Set time of performance dates to adhere to.​

If you have a home sale contingency, note that…. 

  1. The Seller can/will continue to market the property​
    looking for non contingent buyers.​
  2. If an offer is submitted to the seller, seller shall notify​
    buyer and give 2 business days time to allow the buyer ​
    to deliver a way to drop the contingency​

Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, The Buying Process, Tips For the Buyer, Uncategorized

Closing Checklist Items

Prior to closing, you will need to arrange to have utilities transferred into your name for the day of closing/next day.  Be sure to check in with school for protocol on transferring  / registering a student.​

Log additional information for non-essentials but good to know items here too!​

  1. Electricity Company:  ________________________________ ​
  2. Water Company:  ____________________________________​
  3. Sewage Company:  __________________________________​
  4. Gas Company:  ______________________________________​
  5. Oil Company: _______________________________________​
  6. Trash Company:  ____________________________________ ​
  7. Trash Pick-Up Dates:  _________________________________​
  8. Internet / Phone / Cable Provider : ______________________​
  9. Alarm System: ______________________________________​
  10. Sprinkler Company: __________________________________​
  11. Pool Service: _______________________________________​
  12. Landscaping Service:_ ________________________________​
  13. Solar Panels: _______________________________________​
  14. Pest Control Service: _________________________________​
  15. Well Service: _______________________________________​
  16. Elementary School:  __________________________________​
  17. Middle School:  _____________________________________​
  18.  High School:  _______________________________________​
  19. Extra Notes:  _______________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________​
Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, Researching to Buy, The Buying Process, Tips For the Buyer

Do I Need An Inspection?

  • To protect your interests, ensure that you have the financial & physical means necessary to complete the purchase and have the desired move in, it is advised to conduct your real estate transaction utilizing licensed and professional inspectors.  What will an inspector do?:​
  • Follow the standards of practice for the given inspection type.  You cannot utilize a report from a family friend who is a contractor in negotiations for example. Hire a professional, licensed inspector! ​
  • An inspector will not grant you a pass / fail.  He/she will provide you the information you need to continue on.​
  • An inspector may recommend consulting repair specialists – perform your due diligence!​
  • Once your inspection is complete, you can then create a repair/request list.  It can be specific items that you wish to have addressed or you can ask for a credit which typically you would want an estimate from a repair company to back it up.  Offer the seller the opportunity to review and respond.  Sellers can offer to fix items, offer a credit or do nothing.​
  • Keep your expectations in check.  Sellers are not going to necessarily offer a credit for cosmetic items nor for items that you failed to notice during the initial process.  For example, the price of the home may have already taken into account it needing a new roof.  I always advise to look up, look down, look around prior to making an offer!  The seller may have accepted a lower offer from you and if you then ask for an additional dollar amount back, they may not be financially able to do so.  As in turn, you need to ensure you are financially able to carry on with the purchase.​
  • Every home will generate a report! There is​
    no perfect house.  Utilize it as a to do list!​
Buying Tips, First Time Buyer, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Buying Process, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing, Tips For the Buyer

Should I Hire An Attorney

  • To protect your interests, it is advised to conduct your real estate transaction with a NJ Real Estate Attorney.  The attorney will:​
    • Review your contract of sale agreement within your 3 day right of review period.​
    • Assist in negotiations of the conditions of the sale.​
    • Revise the contract of sale agreement to protect you and your money.​
    • Assist in inspections reports and negotiations.​
    • Ensure the contract of sale is followed and satisfied per all deadlines and that all conditions are met.​
    • Assist the Title company and real estate agent with closing proceedings.​
    • Attend the closing to represent your interests.​
Buying Tips, Choosing An Agent, Choosing An Agent- Buyer, Researching to Buy, Tips For the Buyer

Buyer’s Agent Role

For most people, buying a home is generally the most expensive transaction they will make in their lifetime. And during this costly purchase, there are a lot of processes to go through. Hiring a real estate agent such as myself as your exclusive buyers agent to represent you in the purchase of your home will prove beneficial. ​

Buyers aren’t responsible for the commission payout for their agent. (With the exception of special, rare circumstances.) So without the cost of paying an agent out of pocket, you’ll receive the experience and guidance to help you through a process that could otherwise be emotionally exhausting if you are going it alone. You also get to have access to view more homes and have a clearer view on how the market is in your area as I have magic keys & localized data!  Buyers agents such as myself, are trained negotiators and know the process! Need help aligning your other professionals?  I can help!  ​

Unfortunately, sites like Zillow, Trulia and REALTOR.COM can contain outdated listings, properties that are not available and misrepresent property values. I will be able to send you a list of active properties for sale, help you go out to view them and obtain exclusive information from the sellers and agents.  I can help you find the perfect home BEFORE somebody else gets it under contract!  ​

I will work hard to help you find your dream home and avoid the pitfalls of buying a home by doing it on your own.  I am an agent who knows the area, the market and  love to find dream homes!   Contact me for all previews and questions so that I can guide you through the process and continue to ​
adapt to your needs. ​

Laws in NJ about agency can be found in the ​
Consumer Information Statement. ​

Buying Tips, Choosing An Agent- Buyer, First Time Buyer, Researching to Buy, The Buying Process, Tips For the Buyer

Your Dream Home Questionnaire

Here are some questions to help you establish your search parameters and allow your agent to assist you.  This will help you set  a realistic understanding of what the market offers in your price point while searching! 

  • Town(s)You’d Like To Buy In:  ________________________________________________ ​
  • What is your primary reason for searching? 1st Time Buyer / Upsize / Downsize / Relocation / Secondary  ​
  • Current living situation? Rent / Own / with Family ​
  • When Do You Want To Purchase By: ___________________________________________​
  • Do you have a Pre-approval? Yes / No​
  • Maximum Price that you are Pre-Approved for:  __________________________________​
  • Has the mortgage pro reviewed documents ie tax returns, statements, pay stubs? Yes / No​
  • Are you currently working with an agent? Yes / No​
  • How long have you been actively home searching? Just started / 1 month / 3 months / 6 months /Longer​
  • Do you prefer a 1 Floor / 2 Floor home / Something different?​
  • Minimum Bedrooms: _______________    Minimum Bathrooms  ______________​
  • Do you prefer a Tub / Stall Shower in the main bathroom? ​
  • Preferred Square Footage?:  ________________​
  • Basement? Yes Has to Have / Wouldn’t mind / No​
  • Garage? 1 car / 2 car / 3 car / Added Bonus if it has one/ Has to have (circle then car#)​
  • Your Most Desired Features:  _________________________________________________​
  • What do you not want?  ____________________________________________________​
  • How long do you anticipate owning the home? <5 years / 5-10 years / 10 years +​
  • Do you entertain a lot? Yes / No   Where do you entertain most? ____________________​
  • Do you have any pets? Yes / No    If so, how many pets? (HOA restrictions) ____________​
  • Do you need a Fenced Yard? Yes / No ​
  • Do you want a Formal Living Room AND a family room? Yes / No​
  • Do you want a Dining Room? Yes / No​
  • Do you want a Kitchen Island? Yes / No​
  • Do you want a Kitchen Pantry? Yes / NO​
  • Do you want a Fireplace? Yes – woodburning/ Yes – Gas /  No / Wouldn’t mind​
  • Do you need a Home Office? Yes / No  Can it be on the 2nd floor? Yes / No​
  • Do you want a Pool? Inground / Above / Either / No​
  • Do you have a particular lot type in mind? ______________________________________​
  • Do you have to have Central air conditioning? Yes / No ​
  • What kind of parking do you require? Driveway / On street / Garage​
  • What condition do you prefer? Move In / Average / Fix up​
  • Are you purchasing with: Cash / Conventional / FHA / VA / 203k or rehab / Alternate​
  • What kind of down payment? 0% / 3.5% (FHA) / 5% / 10% / 15% / 20% / Over 20%​
  • Do you have cash for closing costs? Yes / No / Will need seller credit​
Buying Tips, Choosing An Agent- Buyer, First Time Buyer, Renting vs. Buying, Researching to Buy, Tips For the Buyer, Uncategorized

Before You Start House Hunting


  1. Is owning a home right for you?​
  2. Have you determined the desired location? ​
  3. What is your lifestyle? Condo / Single Family / 55+​
  4. Are you financially prepared for the purchase? ​
  5. Have you considered the costs of home ownership​
  6. Have you established credit & credit history?  ​
  7. Have you planned on a down payment? 20% is a misconception! Beyond a down payment, you will need prepaid items & closing costs (seller concessions can help to offset the closing costs) ​
  8. What are your current & immediate future needs?​
  9. What is your current situation- Renting / Own / Family​
  10. Speak to a mortgage professional! They can let you know if your credit history / score is sufficient (and guide you if it isn’t)!  They will calculate your affordability based on debt to income ratio (and guide you if you need to improve it to obtain a higher budget)!  They will assist you… ​
  • By reviewing documents & getting you Pre-Approved !​
  • Advise of down payment needed & cash for closing ​
  • Provide estimated monthly mortgage payments​
  • Advise you of mortgage types that exist and what you qualify for​
  • Advise on the conditions of the loan that you will need to satisfy prior to closing​
  • Your closing time frame​
  • Remain in constant contact with you through your purchase!​
  • Advise you on what to do and NOT to do during the purchase – ie change jobs, make large purchases, open new credit accounts, etc.​
  • Be a KEY part in your purchase! ​
  • Help you with all of your mortgage needs!​
Researching to Buy, Tips For the Buyer, Uncategorized

How to Select a Neighborhood When Buying a Home in NJ

Whether you are buying a home in a town that you are familiar with, or a town that you will be new to, you still have to choose a home and a neighborhood.

How many times do you see a home online and think wow i love that home!  Only to drive by it and see that the neighborhood isn’t what you are looking for.  Every person has their own wish list.  Ensure that you have an idea of what it is that you are looking for.  You clearly don’t have a crystal ball, but think about, how long will I be in that home?  Will I be having children next year?  Will we fit?  Will my children be moving out to college in a couple of years?  This will not only decide possibly on the home you buy, but also the neighborhood in which you choose to live.

For example, if you have small children, you may wish to move to a neighborhood with a park in it or one where the children can ride their bikes to the park.  For example, Barnegat Pines in Lacey, NJ has a great park over by the lake for kids to play in.  Do you want for them to walk or ride their bike?  Or will you drive them?

Perhaps you know that you will be retiring in 2 years and you love to fish.  You may decide that now is the right time to move into a community such as Sunrise Beach or off Beach Blvd so that you can walk, drive or ride your bike down to the bay beach, sit and fish.  Are you a boater or looking to buy a boat?  You may wish to buy a home in Beach Blvd so that you have access to a dock as opposed to Cranberry Hill or Barnegat Pines where you are inland.

Everybody has their own needs, wants, wish list.  Choosing a neighborhood isn’t all that easy, especially if you are not familiar with the area.  So what do you do?  Research!  Talk to people.  Drive around and walk around at different times of day and night.  Not everything can be done online nowadays.  You can’t ask Alexa what she thinks of Cranberry Hill for a boater.  The best suggestion I can give is – do your research!  This isn’t a shirt you bought online and want to return!