(Closed) First time home buying advice

posted 6 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Hostess
8145 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

@KatieBklyn:  we’re in NJ… right on the NY border ( i lived in Rockland and my mother is a real estate agent there as well)… i would honestly find a bank first. in order to put an offer in on a house you need a pre-approval notice. Like, how much the bank is willing to give you as a loan. I would start with choosing a bank that is mot comfortable. They should be able to advise you as well!  also a really good realtor should be able to give you a heads up on what areas cost for live in. Plus it differs on your way of life. ๐Ÿ™‚  good luck!

Post # 4
Member
5797 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

Are you thinking about buying in the city? Because oftentimes in the city you’re bidding against people willing to put down 20% and someone selling their apt is pretty much always going to prefer that over 5% down. Also, don’t write off a traditional mortgage. We didn’t put down 20% and we didn’t go FHA (the fees were crazy and PMI was higher)

Some cost info: I checked a few attorneys who quoted me $1500, we ended up using a friend for $800. Home inspection was about $500.

Post # 5
Member
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Are you buying in the city? If it’s a condo or co-op there are building maintenance fees/HOA fees to consider. They can be hundreds to thousands of dollars a month, depending on the property.

Are lawyers mandatory in NY for real estate purchases? We didn’t have one in CA and really don’t feel like we needed one.

Most real estate agents won’t talk to you until you have a firm pre-approval from at least one (and preferably more than one in case financing falls through) bank. Shop around. Look at traditional and FHA – you may be able to put less than 20% down on a traditional mortgage. Beware the fact that less than 20% down in the city will almost certainly mean a jumbo loan (a loan of more than $417,000 in some counties, higher in others). That means more fees, and higher interest, since it is riskier for the bank. Plus PMI, of course.

Be prepared for an aggressive market with 20%+ financed buyers and all-cash bidders. Sellers will almost always take an all-cash offer over a financed one, and a 20% down financed offer over less than 20%. This may mean you will lose a lot of bids before you successfully buy, so be prepared for that, and build buffer time into your lease.

Make sure you have 3% earnest money liquid and ready to go as soon as you start looking – you put that down immediately, not when you close.

Make sure your finances are in order and you have tax records and bank statements going back a long way. If you make large deposits, keep the checks and the paper trail of where that money came from – the bank will require it to approve the loan (to help fight money laundering). Don’t move money between bank accounts a lot – you’ll have to provide reasoning and paper trails for each transfer, and it will be a headache.

Post # 6
Member
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I just had a pre-approval call with a lender today and they said we will need to pay one year of homeowners insurance in advance just before any closing.

Post # 7
Member
1304 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We just bought a condo in Hoboken.  We put 20% down, were told that we needed another ~10% of liquid assets in the bank, and estimated 1.5% for closing costs.  We qualified for a very low rate this way.  I’m not sure how this changes for an FHA loan, but any mortgage broker worth his/her salt should be able to give you a reasonable guideline.

Post # 10
Member
5797 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

@KatieBklyn:  We’re in Essex county NJ and my commute to the city is about an hour. Taxes are disturbing though, we’re paying 12k a year. Plus we had to put a quarter into excrow at closing.

We paid 1 yr homeowners upfront which was like $800 so it really wasn’t that terrible.

Post # 12
Member
5475 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I would probably meet with a mortgage lender first to run the numbers and see what sort of loan options you might qualify for.  I was lucky enough to be eligible for a VA home loan since I am a veteran, and I didn’t have to put as much down and still got a decent interest rate.  I wouldn’t have known about that particular loan option without having met with the lender first.

Once we had our ducks in a row and were ready to start looking at properties, we met with the lender again to do our official pre-approval.  That way, if we found a house we loved we could go ahead and make the offer right off the bat, instead of waiting until the next business day to do all the paperwork and potentially be outbid by another buyer.  (Turns out this was a brillian suggestion by my realtor- we ended up bidding against another person but the sellers accepted our offer since the other people were waiting for approval and it was over the weekend)

Post # 13
Hostess
8145 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

@KatieBklyn:  oh yes, that makes sense. preapprovals expire 2 years from the date, but it would be nice to see what the banks have you at now.. vs in 5 years.  ๐Ÿ™‚ i’m just a curious person though!

Post # 15
Member
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@FreckledFox:  Preapprovals expire after 90 days (because the credit check expires after 90 days), not two years!

Post # 16
Member
1304 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@KatieBklyn:  Katie, we like it enough to buy after renting here for 1.5 years!

Pros:

  • Walkable community (very important to me) with a cute main drag and a handful of decent restaurants (though I still miss the restos in NYC)
  • Easy commute to midtown and downtown.  I take the bus to Port Authority then walk 10 minutes to my office.  My husband takes the ferry to WFC 
  • Obviously a much better bang for your buck than Manhattan in terms of sq ft.  Not sure it compares to the outer boroughs.  Ballpark $500/sf as a rule of thumb
  • You save ~3% by not paying NYC income tax
  • If you have a car, parking is still a challenge but more manageable than NYC.  A spot costs about $200-250/month to rent, and a lot of buildings have garages so you can rent/buy an apartment with a spoif included if you need to.

Cons:

  • A lot of trashy bars and frat-style drinking (some people consider this a pro, but not me!).  We purposely live a little further from the PATH train.  You can generally ignore this if you are strategic.  We don’t have to roll our eyes too often!
  • NJ property taxes are higher than NYC
  • You have to admit that you live in NJ
  • It is hard and expensive to take a cab home from Manhattan which is annoying late at night but no big deal otherwise
  • School system is not great but there are some good magnet programs.  We don’t have kids yet but if we wind up moving to the suburbs that will probably be the impetus.

 

The topic ‘First time home buying advice’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors