Home Buying in Marlton>Question Details

Danielle Gau…, Renter in Villas, NJ

My husband and I are renting as of right now, we both have never bought a house and we are pretty clueless. I am so lost on where to start?

Asked by Danielle Gaudiosi, Villas, NJ Tue Nov 30, 2010

We know a few areas that we would like to start looking like in Collingswood, Evesham, Tabernacle, and Palmyra. We really don't know what we can afford and will we be eligble for first time home owners credit? I have been using your website to browse and I love that you have an estimated monthly payments breakdown. Does that include the taxes?

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Here are some steps to make what you are hearing about a little easier for you without getting confused or discouraged. As I said in my previous statement here are the top ten issues in order of importance.
1.Speak to a qualified direct lender this is question to ask them directly. Are you a direct Lender?
2. Get Pre-approved subject to finding a home, this means you have provided all documentation to the lender and they have approved you for XXXXX. This is better than a pre-qualifying. TO many good people are doing this and then finding out they are not getting the final approval. (Go the extra it will pay off in the end.
3.Call a few Real Estate Agents Not 10 or 20 this can be eliminated by asking one questions. Are You an Exclusive Buyers Broker or do you sometimes list homes and work for both sides and in other words Dual Agent? By getting the answer to this question you will know if the agent will only be working for you.
4.Are you a Full time agent? You want someone who is knowledgeable and professional and is not just dabbling in the real estate business.
5. What are your credentials I.e. Training, education and years in the business? Numbers 2 & 3 can be reversed if you get the right answers to 3 & 4 you want someone who makes real estate a profession and not just a job.
6.How many Buyers have you represented over the last year?
7. What areas do you work in i.e. towns and or counties. You want someone who is knowledgable in the area you want to buy in.
8. What is the average amount that you have saved your buyers in money when they work with you?
9. Do you assist me in all aspects of the transaction i.e. all the components of a real estate transaction.
10. Do you have a website that will allow me to look at all of the listings and keep me updated when homes come on the market and will you be investigating and looking for the best opportunities for me to purchase.
In my professional opinion these are the most important issues for you as a first time buyer and you should be able to receive the correct answers right away when you speak to and agent.
A true full time Buyers Broker should have all of these already answered.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hi Janet,

The problem is that just like this thread, Danielle will be swimming in thought about buying a home.. the person stated that she should interview 10 realtors.. and 10 mortgage people. That is a little excessive in my book. Interviewing to 20 people overall to go see houses, that is a little too much.
Danielle would never buy a home!

I agree, there are many agents here to choose to speak to, but to speak with 20... too many cooks.!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hhhmm... 10 Realtors looking for your business and 10 mortgage guys running your credit.

Thats not too good. Ask your friends if they know any Realtors that are reliable. Then look for two more.

Usually by Realtor number three you have an idea of who you can tolerate spending time with.
Once you get a feel for a Realtor that can help you ask him/her for the names of three reputable mortgage people in your area. Realtors know what Mortgage person works hard for their clients and can help get the loan done. If you Realtor is experienced, they WILL know who is putting together the best loans right now

20 people to interview would be a real mess!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Very first thing, save up some money for a down payment/closing costs. Meet with a mortgage broker to pre-qualify for a loan, and check into the types of loans available. Make sure there are no errors on your credit reports and you are ready to start looking!
Make a list of all the things you think you are looking for in a home, and be willing to make some decisions as to what you can afford, and what you can't live without.

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hi Danielle,
Perhaps you have had a friend or family member that has worked with a great real estate agent. If not, why don't you visit local open houses to meet an agent who will work with you and guide you through the entire process. While many folks feel that they can do a lot of the work themselves, they would do better by using the services of a Realtor who can recommend a good mortgage broker, home inspector, attorney and so on.
Best of luck,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hi Danielle,

Due diligence is the key.. and you seem to be on the right track!

Continue as you are, speak with a mortgage professional that can help you find out what you can buy with your income and such. Need a great mortgage person that is local?

Joe Levy
Guaranteed Mortgage, nice guy.. knows his stuff.
Cell: 732-986-2088

Email me and I will send you a "first time home buyers guide" that I put together for my first time clients.
It does not have all the answers.. but a lot of them!

This is a good time to look for a house.. I wish you the best of luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010

As stated by the agent below the very first thing to do is get Pre-approved for a mortgage in todays market just getting qualified is not enough you need to go through the process and be able to provide a approval letter for most homes in Cape May County. This is especially in the case of Bak Owned or Short Sale homes. As a Buyers Broker in Cape May County and from the Villas I can help you in every stage of the homebuying process including get you approved for your mortgage and then helping through all the steps from begining to closing. Here is a link to my Buyer intro video from there you can go to my website or call me and I will help you through the start of becoming a homeowner

Tim Robbins, Sr.

Better Homes Realty

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hi Danielle,
The best advise you can get before you start working with a Realtor and looking at homes,is to consult with a reputable banker and or mortgage representative and get APPROVED for a mortgage. This will turn you into a cash buyer .This is a wonderful market to purchase in . The real estate market is constantly changing right now and being approved for a mortgage based on all your personal information is the best way to go in today's market .If you need to find someone to work with feel free to reach out to me at efabi@weichert .com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
Martin, in my opinion, investors caused a lot of these problems in the industry. It was a small percentage of loan officers, and they are all out of the business now that they can't do the things that they used to. Those who are left are here because they were honest and fair with their clients. In addition, every buyer should have a loan with a payment they feel comfortable with. For you to tell them what they should do is wrong, that is your opinion. The first question I ask people when we are working out a payment is whether they are comfortable with the payment.
Danielle, you will need someone who is also realistic about what the taxes and insurance are going to be on a property. I had someone sent to me after a major lender turned them down after a pre-approval. There was no way they were going to qualify for the loan amount in their initial pre-approval because the amount of taxes they were using was much too low.
I have worked for three different companies. I started out with a broker that then became a direct lender. Next for a company that only brokered, and I am now with a direct lender who also brokers. it didn't matter who I worked for, I was able to place all loans that came my way, but mostly because I am able to evaluate who will get approved for a loan, and who will not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hello Danielle,

There are a couple of unwritten rules for a home buyer across the world. Some guidelines that not a lot of people in the real estate bussiness will tell you.
First of all it's good to talk to a loan officer like all the Agents and Brokers allready explained. But do remember that a lot of the problems of the current global credit crisis started in that very spot as well.
Secure yourself by following these guidelines if possible:

a) The more competition you create, the more competitive the offers will become for a loan. Never go to just one loan officer, but interact with mutliple ones. Once you've received their information, compare and investigate.
It will give you a good idea about what your maximum possibilities are.

b) The bigger the downpayment, the bigger your savings on interests become.
A bank wants you to make a downpayment just to prove to them that you're not a big liability, so they will ask you to put down a certain % of the purchase bidding. It's always good to make that % a little bit higher for yourself.
There will be a big difference between the "optimal" offer the bank will make and the "optimal" offer that your accountant will make.

c) Never in any circumstance should you accept a loan that requires monthly payments higher than 30% of your grose income. It's always better to protect yourself from things that are unlikely to happen but still might happen. If one of you were to get hurt (which no one ever hopes for, but I've seen this happen a lot allready) how will you pay back your loan?
Always try to make a back up for a rainy day/week/month/year.

Also look at a house towards how you want it.
Do you want a lot to be changed about the house? If so, what will be the total additional cost? Since this will come ontop of the monthy payments.
Or do you love the house in the current state?
It's always good to visit a house multiple times, even though you love it.
On a sunny day you will not find a leak in the basement or in the roof for example. So it's always good to visit the house on multiple occasions. A dreamhouse could turn out to be a hellhouse and visa versa.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hi Danielle,
I agree with Robin that a loan officer is a great place to start.
After that you will at least know the price range that you can look in.
Than, of course, you must have a good realtor working with you.
I love 1st time buyers and spend a whole visit with them explaining the entire buying process from offer to closing. They really are happy with this, and become wonderful clients as a rule. It is very important that your agent knows your absolute must have criteria, as well as what I call your "wish list" (would love to have, but not essential).
Best of luck!
Murph Plishtin
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Danielle, I think it's great that you are buying a home, and as all these realtors said, speaking to a loan officer is a great place to start, especially because you say that you really don't know what you can afford. No sense in looking, if you don't have a price range.
If you would like to contact me through my profile, you can send me an e-mail and I would be happy to get back to you whenever it is convenient for you. We can talk about things like how much you have as a down payment, if you are getting any gift money, what your income is, and analyze your other debts. I am licensed in New Jersey, and have been for many years. I cover the tri-state area, and offer a wide variety of different products, both as a direct lender and a broker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Once you settle on the town you want to live in you should find a good local real estate agent that can assist you further with your home search. You can also use a site like http://www.sjrates.com to start comparing mortgage rates from south jerseys local banks and credit unions.
Web Reference: http://www.sjrates.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Hi Danielle,
While you are in the beginning processes you have already had a good start. Looking into areas you would like to move to...I know these areas very well and these areas you mention are quite different from each other so you will need to narrow down your search.
However, in order to really dig into a realistic purchase, you will need to know something very important about yourself. How much you can afford.? Also there is no more first time buyers credit anymore, but interest rates now make affordability easier. Your questions at the end will be answered by your realtor and your lender both. Have your realtor and lender run the numbers for you. Most likely the numbers listed are real, but an up to date figure from your lender and realtor will help you understand the breakdown for each home you are interested in.

Consider these things
First What will the lender look at?

Steady Income working for at least the last 2-3 years steady.

Good record for paying bills

How much long term debt do you have? (car payments credit cards school loans)

How much money do you have saved for a down payment and closing costs (not to worry too much since there are programs to provide you with some money in each of the areas you are considering)
and most important....
Can you afford a mortgage right now.

A mortgage lender will give you an amount you can qualify to purchase but you must also budget yourself, meaning not to spend everything you have available on your mortgage. you will want to buy as much of house as you can but don;t over indulge yourself. Taxes and insurance cost will play a critical future affordability for you, so make sure you consider these things when looking at your mortgage payments.

There are many lenders out there, just like there are many realtors out there. As a real state professional I like to work with a few lenders that I am familiar with, but that doesn't mean others are not good. Just make sure you have a realtor and lender that is ready to help you in every way, and answer your questions clearly. As a first time buyer you are faced with challenges but those challenges are rewarding when you find your dream home.

When looking at your areas of choice here are some important considerations to look into Taxes, Services, Schools, and market prices.
It may seem stressful and confusing now but with a little help and the right people on your side you will have fun and relax knowing everything is being taken care of the right way.

Have fun!

Larry Sarlo
Weichert Realtors
http://www.njhomehunter.com/Mortgage Calculators for Buyers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010

I must disagree with you. There are many top producing agents on Trulia. This is a networking set and buyers and sellers should be more apt to use a Realtor that is internet saavy. The buyer is able to interview and view agent websites, testimonials, current sales and qualifications. Why not go to an agent that is marketing themself! I, as many on this site are full time Realtors with much experience and network in many ways. A buyer should want an aggressive agent to work with and get them to the settlement table with ease!

Janet Larsen, Broker/Associate
Remax Connection
Web Reference: http://www.njrealtorjan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010

1. Call 10 Realtors and let them know you are interviewing Realtors to help you buy a home for the first time.
2. Make a list of questions to ask each Realtor - How long have you been in the business, how many clients have you helped, how many 1st time home buyers have you worked with, what programs are available for first time home buyers, what are your ethics, will you be willing to answer all of my questions throughout the process, how does the process work from beginning to end, will you help educate me along the way and any other questions you can think of.
3. Call 10 lenders and let them know you are interviewing lenders to help you buy a home for the first time.
4. Ask them the same questions as you asked the Realtor
5. Take as long as you need to go over the answers the Realtors and lenders gave you and then select the Realtor and lender you think will do the best job for you based upon the answers to your questions.

This may seem like a lot of work but this will most likely be the biggest transaction you ever go through in your life. When else are you going to spend $100k or more on a single item? Lastly, enjoy the process as it happens and learn as much as you can! Take care.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hi Danielle,

The 1st step should be to talk with a reputable lender who can complete a pre-approval for you.

Also, it is very important to connect with an experienced buyer's agent who can walk you through the entire home buying process.

This should not be an overwheming experience. As long as you connect with a seasoned and full-time Realtor, your home finding endeavor should be a positive time for you.

Please feel free to contact me at any time. My cell phone is 856-304-6423. Email: thomsonlynn@comcast.net

I service all the areas you have noted in your email. My office is in Moorestown and I live in Evesham.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best Regards,
Lynn Thomson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
I enjoy educating first time homebuyers on the process of purchasing a home, whether it is a normal sale, short sale or bank owned property, there are many important documents, contracts, addendums and inspections that you will need to have in place.

I would be happy to refer you to an excellent local lender that can preapprove you for a mortgage, and making sure you get the best rate, program, closing costs and the full understanding of taxes and escrows. Please call me at 856-261-6910 or send me a private email to njrealtorjan@comcast.net
Web Reference: http://www.njrealtorjan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hello Danielle:

Very exciting time! Buying a new home is always exciting but your first home together even more so! Don't get overwhelmed. As mentioned, the first step is to talk to a mortgage company so you know exactly what you can afford. Once you have that established, you can talk with a real estate agent who can send you a list of homes in various areas to help you decide exactly where you would love your first home to be.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact me anytime! I enjoy working with first time homebuyers!
Have a great day!
Gina Fagnani
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
I'm sure your head is spinning right about now!! Not to worry. The process is not as difficult as it may seem. I would be more than happy to help you and your husband throughout the entire process. The first step is talking to a mortgage broker to see what you can afford. Give me a call to discuss the step by step process.
Vinnae DeFeo
Keller Williams Realty
Cherry Hill, NJ
cell: 609-923-0756
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
You can start by reading some blog articles here..... http://hometeamnj.com/blog

1. Get pre approved for a mortgage
2 log in and browse homes at http://hometeamnj.com/search
3. make the time to meet with me and start looking at homes.
4. Kiss a few toads until you find the prince/princess.
5. Have fun and enjoy the process.

Thanks for reading!

Joe Montenigro REMAX Home Team
Broker, GRI (856)374-2800 x106
Serving Gloucester Twp, Washington Twp & South Jersey Real Estate Markets
Meet me at http://www.facebook.com/JoeMontenigro
Joe's free REO list: http://hometeamnj.com/search/joes-foreclosures
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Hi Danielle,

It's a very exciting time when you decide to buy a new home and the choices can seem staggering! Being a renter puts you in a much more enviable position when you do find a house you want to buy. However, the first step is to connect to a good agent who knows the area and can help you plow through the choices and support every step in the process. It sounds like you have already talked to a lender to have a good idea of what is affordable for you. If you haven't, I can recommend some outstanding mortgage professionals who will lay out all your options and possibilities. Unfortunately, the first time home buyers credit expired on 4/30 but with prices so low now, you won't lose a thing if your agent is guiding you well. Let me know if you need more specific direction and I'll be happy to help.

Best of luck to you!

Bob Kelly
RE/MAX Main St. Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Congratulations on making the decision to purchase a home! It’s a great time to buy. I am here to help you through this exciting process! I would be more than happy to set up a Buyer Consultation with you to go over everything you need to know. My office is located locally and I would be happy to meet you at your convenience.

There are a lot of wondferful opportunities out there for buyers right now! I look forward to hearing from you!


Jessica E. Nooney
Weichert Realtors
501 Stokes Road, Medford, NJ
(609) 654-8633 Ext. 121
(609) 276-8183 (CELL)
(609) 479-5333 (Direct Fax)

"Helping You Reach Your Real Estate Goals - Buying or Selling"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Buying a home is a complicated process, and it can be particularly daunting for the first-timer.

The following time line starts one year before you hope to start seriously shopping for a home. This is an ideal; you can arrange your finances and buy a home in less time, if necessary, but you'd be smart to walk through all of the steps in order. The more time you give yourself for this process, the better.

Get your credit reports. Errors on your reports can force you to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or even torpedo your chances of getting a loan. You can get free copies of your reports from the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for accounts that aren't yours, collection accounts for debts you don't owe and negative marks (other than bankruptcy) that are older than seven years.

Are you planning on using a Real Estate agent?

You will also need to select a good Mortgage person. Your agent could recommend a couple for you. I recommend getting pre-approved with Mortgage Company. They will be able to give you solid answers as far as what you can afford and answer any other question you may have on a personal level. Most buyer find this part the most uncomfortable, however it will speed the process of home buying up and create a much greater level of comfort as the process goes along. Also by following his advise as to any changes it your credit ( example - not purchasing items on credit that may effect your interest rate before closing could save you thousands over the next few years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
First tip is to get pre-qualified by a loan officer. Then you know what you can buy. I have a slide show to show you the amount you can qualify and Check out my video on home buying tips. http://tinyurl.com/3a2vee8 and my website for more updates. Also I can send you a monthly newsletter to help, just contact me.
Web Reference: http://starteamaz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010

Congrats on moving to home ownership. Very first thing you should do is desk with a mortgage representative to see what type of financing is best for you. Once that is determine you can start looking at homes that fit your needs emotionally location size and financially. Once you narrow down the area you are most happy with. Check them all out. Drive to you employment to and from to see how you like the commute. Most likely yhe taxes are not included in the estimate of monthly payments. Please feel free to contacte. I will be happy to give you a few mortgage representatives to call.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
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