The Real Estate Market in New Jersey is going crazy, at least that's how it seems to many buyers  right now. Presently, we are in a very strong Seller's Market. What this means is that the  demand for homes is high and the supply of homes for sale is extremely low. If you look at  New Jersey as a whole, there were 50% fewer homes on the market in 2021 than during the  same time in 2020.

So what does it mean? 

With fewer homes on the market the power shifts to the sellers. In most cases what we're seeing is that when a home comes on the market, within just a few days there are usually multiple offers on the home. Since the buyers want to be the winning bid, oftentimes, their bids are above the list price. While this is great for sellers, it is driving prices up. In fact, in 2020, more homes were sold than any year in New Jersey, and home prices rose by more than 11%! If you're going to buy a home in today's market, you're going to pay a higher price for it. However, with record low interest rates, your monthly cost will likely be less than waiting, especially if rates rise.

So why not just wait for more homes to come on the market  and for prices to soften? 

The main reason that you don't want to wait is  that interest rates are currently at historic lows  for 30-year mortgages. However, in the last  
couple of weeks, the rates have ticked up  
slightly, due to a sell-off in the bond market.  
But as of this writing, some lenders are still  
offering 30-year mortgages at 2.750%! Several  
economists are predicting that mortgage rates  
will rise over the next several months. Buying  
now will give you more purchasing  
For instance, if you were to purchase a  
$300,000 house with a 5% down payment,  
you're monthly principal and interest payment at  
2.75% would be around $1,163. If rates were at  
3.5% your payment would be $1,280. That's a  
difference of $127 per month. Over the life of  
the loan, you'd pay an additional $45,720 just in interest. That is a LOT of money! A 1% rise in interest rates, will reduce your buying power by approximately 9% In other words, if you were planning on being able to buy a house for $500,000, waiting and having the rates rise by 1% will reduce your buying power to only be able to purchase a home for $455,000. That's a big difference! Take advantage of the low rates  while they're still out there!
Additionally, the projections are that prices will continue to rise for the next two years, although the growth is predicted to be in the normal 5% range per year. Combing the rising prices, with rising interest rates and the home you loved and could afford can soon be out of reach. If you want a specific town or neighborhood, you could price yourself out of it by simply waiting. Do you really want to settle for a lesser town or a smaller home?

How should you proceed?

Here are several steps that we suggest you take so that you can successfully navigate finding
and purchasing your dream home. 

o This is in all caps for several  
▪ Having a Pre-Qualified will  
let you know exactly  
what you can actually 
▪ It shows that you're  
serious about the process  
and you aren't wasting  
anyone's time. 
▪ When you submit an offer you have proof that you're qualified to get a  mortgage. Sellers want this! 
• Find an agent to work with you as a Buyer's representative. 
o Working with an agent that is an Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) can  give you an edge. 
• Preview the areas that your looking at. 
o Drive around the neighborhoods you’re considering. Do this BEFORE you  actually start looking at homes, you may save yourself a lot of time. 
o Explore the town, local parks, schools, Library, shopping and restaurants. o Look at the homes. Are they your style? Does the neighborhood feel like you  could call it home? 
• Have your agent send you automated updates on listings as they come on the market that  are in your price range and that meet your criteria. 
• See listings as soon as you can! If you wait until it's convenient for you, the house may  not be there when you're ready. 
• Have your agent pull the comparable listings ahead of time so that you're prepared. • If you like a house, don't wait to make an offer. Have you're agent write up a contract  asap! Make sure you sign it quickly, so it can be submitted right away. 
• Be prepared to bid more than the asking price. Multiple offers are very common, so you  need to present a strong offer to be the winning bid. 
• Be flexible with your terms. Sometimes the highest bidder isn't the best deal for the  seller.
o Sellers prefer conventional loans and cash over FHA in many cases. 
o The seller may need to by a specific date. Set a reasonable closing date, you can  have your agent note in the contract that you're flexible with the closing. 
o Avoid seller's concessions, unless absolutely necessary. 
o In some instances, you may need to waive the appraisal contingency. 
• Be prepared to do your due diligence. 
o Have a real estate attorney ready or ask your agent for one. 
o Look into title companies, they’re not all the same. 
o Start looking for a home inspector (they're really busy too) and pre-schedule the  inspection. (This can change but start the process.) 
o Look for a tank sweeper, as you may need to confirm that there’s no abandoned  tanks on the property. 
o Have all the documents ready that your lender is going to need. (Tax returns, bank  statements, etc.) 
• Arrange to have utilities transferred to your name to coincide with closing day. • Respond to your Agent, Attorney, Lender, etc. in a timely manner with requests for  documentation, etc. 
• Attend the closing, sign the documents and get the keys to your dream home! 
All opinions, information and data provided is deemed reliable but is subject to errors and  omissions. Not intended to solicit other Brokers' clients. We cooperate with them fully. 

Wayne Zuhl
Broker Associate 
ReMax First Realty II 
Checklist for Buying a Home  image