June 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

How Can I Be a More Competitive Buyer?

Today’s housing market is becoming more competitive because of fewer quality homes available in the Bergen County market. Serious buyers should consider looking for a home to purchase no more than 2-3 months before deciding to close on a home; otherwise, it may not still be on the market when you finally make up your mind. If you see a home you like, make an offer. No point putting it off, thinking it will remain on the market. You should be working with an experienced Realtor who can produce a portfolio of successful deals. If you miss this step you may end up spending more than the home is worth. After all, every dime of your money is precious and I’m certain you work hard for it, so be careful when it comes to the housing market—you need the proper guidance.

Make sure your Realtor is not a relative (or even close friend) of the mortgage broker, as this could pose a conflict of interest. Also, there are many Realtors and real estate companies today who are also investors buying to flip and renovate, or builders, which could be a conflict with your interests as a buyer, if you are looking at lower- or mid-range priced homes. Be cognizant of the Realtor you are asking to represent you. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and key questions that reflect whether there is a potential conflict.

Another way to more effectively compete in the marketplace is to go see a good mortgage broker before you start looking, and go through the process of becoming qualified, which is different than being pre-qualified. Qualified involves submitting all your pay-stubs, tax returns and income verification to your mortgage broker who will also be frank in letting you know what you can truly afford. Once a mortgage broker has taken you through this process, he/she can generally obtain a mortgage commitment much quicker and give both agents and sellers the reassurance that you are qualified to purchase. While it is not the same as cash, it is close because it strengthens your position financially to complete the deal in a quicker time frame, which is important when you want to leverage yourself as the better buyer.

What are the risks of buying a home that is run-down? Have you ever heard the expression “Money Pit”? Well, it is never a good idea to take on more than you can handle financially. Whatever you think it may cost to renovate, double it as a precaution. You may be better off walking away and letting those cash investors go after them to rehab as they do have the experience and know-how, and your days of watching those home shows make it seem easier than it is. You are better off going after homes that may not show well because they are too cluttered, old or need more of a decorative make-over or minor repairs. Know your ability and play it smart, or just buy the renovated home and start enjoying home ownership!

Is my accepted offer in danger if attorney review takes longer than the three business days?

After an offer is accepted, it goes to the attorney you hired and are paying to review your contract to add additional addendums that they may feel is necessary to attach to your contract in order to protect you. This period can be shorter or longer depending on the attorney’s ability to reach you and the other parties in the deal. If you have hired an attorney, it is up to you to follow up to make sure the process moves quickly. You do not want to find out your attorney is on vacation, without others to cover for him/her, just when your deal is taking place, or is too busy to handle your important deal. During attorney review, offers can still come in and showings can still continue, depending on the directive of the seller. Your accepted offer is not protected until attorney review is concluded and signed off by both attorneys for the buyer and seller. Some attorneys may extend the review process for as long as two weeks, which could put you at great risk of being bumped by a better offer. Hopefully, your experienced Realtor is following up too on a regular basis as to what may be delaying the completion of attorney review. Some delays cannot be helped but it is important to try and resolve the issues and get it done sooner than later. As a Realtor, I have seen attorneys complete attorney review in a few hours and others in excess of twenty days. Make it known to your attorney early on what your wishes are so that they understand the importance of the “counting time” of your deal.

By Nicole Idler

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