May 28, 2009

Buying a home in Northern New Jersey Bergen County

Westwood NJ homes

Picture courtesy of Robert Hammerstein

I’ve been looking for a home for a few weeks now in Northern New Jersey and it is a daunting process especially in my target county, Bergen NJ. As soon as I find a home that my wife and I like, we try to put a bid in on it but there is too much red tape when getting approved for every bid based on home property taxes, down payment amount, and the homes listing price. Some of the homes that we have looked at in our price range are down right dilapidated.  By dilapidated I mean that no one took any effort to clean and the houses smelled (least we forget mold).  With interest rates on homes at about 4.5 to 5 percent with pretty good credit (700 or above and based on your middle credit score if you’re married) first time home buyers are ferociously putting in offers on any home that is not run down. Some are even paying the original asking price or over because of the low rates. Let’s also not forget the eight thousand dollars promised at the end of the year for first time home buyers.
Real estate owned (REO properties) seem like a good bet especially since banks are so eager to get rid of the properties they own. They aren’t in the Real Estate buying and selling business.  I know I’ll need to be prepared to pay any inspection fees (500 o 600 dollars) to make sure that the house works, and if it doesn’t, the bid may have to be retracted or then I’d have to back out of the deal if I still could. I saw an amazing to good to be true REO property in Hillsdale NJ that I was going to bid on but when I asked my Realtor to look it up, it was sold already. Go figure considering that it was listed at only $298,000 and had 6 rooms, 3 baths, and an extra kitchen in the basement (making it rentable to tenants easily which could pay the taxes – they were only 6,500-*note see for average tax tables in New Jersey).  Pre-foreclosures and foreclosures are a good option for investors, but for a first time home buyer with an August deadline, they aren’t the best choice. This is given that you usually can’t look inside a foreclosure until you own it. This is certainly an adventure if you don’t have the budget to fix up the property. Luckily there are experts on the matter who know what to look for in buying pre foreclosures and foreclosures.  As my home buying process continues, I fall deeper into the endless abyss of buyers and sellers duking it out bid by bid in a buyer’s market (if you have the money and or credit).


1 Comment »

  1. Please contact me for any advise you may need. I am a licensed home inspector and licensed enginner. my e-mail address is
    best of luck with your house hunting.

    Comment by ray girgis — May 28, 2009 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

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