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So, you’ve decided to buy a home. Maybe you’re jumping in for the first time, or your starter home can no longer contain your growing family. Whatever your reasons, arming yourself with insight from some of NJ’s savviest real estate experts is sure to help make the buying process easier.

KNOW YOUR BUDGET

“It’s important that buyers get prequalified for a mortgage and learn how much money they’ll need for their down payment and closing costs. This makes it easier to start pinning down properties they can afford. Whether the homes need a little TLC or are all redone, this is critical information…so when they find the home of their dreams and want to present an offer, they’re ready to go.”
—Terrie O’Connor, Terrie O’Connor Realtors, Ramsey

HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE FOR THE JOB

“Whether choosing a realtor, securing an attorney or hiring an inspector or contractor, you get what you pay for. For example, it’s never a good idea to hire a family member who doesn’t practice real estate law, or hire a cheap inspector who may overlook something. Be sure to make your choices based on level of service, area of expertise, experience and recommendations.”
—Michele Perrotta, VUE Realty Group, Hoboken

WORK WITH A LOCAL EXPERT

“It’s imperative that you have an agent who understands the market and is strategic about making offers in that area. In a highly competitive market where homes are going over ask, preparing a compelling offer as it relates to price and terms is key. An agent who’s steeped in that market will be able to provide you with the information you need to win the house of your dreams.”
—Sidney Simon, West of Hudson Realty, Montclair

PLAY IT COOL AT OPEN HOUSES

“Don’t say too much at an open house, like what your budget is or if any deals have fallen through that you’ve made an offer on. Agents talk, and too much info can kill a deal down the road. Also, if you’re working with a buyer’s agent (and you should), be sure to let the listing agent know so there are no conflicts later on.”
—Laura Trama, O’Brien Realty, Oceanport

DON’T FALL FOR SURFACE CHARM

“Look for the fatal flaws in a property, the things that can’t be changed, such as high tension wires or too-close railroad tracks. Buyers should be focused on these things rather than granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring because all those things can be changed once they’re in the home. This is much more important than just being wowed by the finishes.”
—Joanne Liscovitz, Coldwell Banker, Hillsborough

GIVE IT YOUR BEST—THEN LET IT GO

“It’s always hard to hear you didn’t win a multiple bid on a house you love. But you have to try and detach emotionally from a house and think of it more as a business transaction. If you really want a particular house, you have to put your best foot forward with your offer number and terms. Then if you still don’t get the house, at least you know you put in the strongest offer you could.”
—Jennifer McManus, Coldwell Banker, Maplewood