Looking to live closer to Bergen County either renting or better option-buying a home.

Asked by Melissa, Budd Lake, NJ Fri Feb 11, 2011

My husband and I live in Budd Lake. I work part time in Hackettstown and he works full time in Bergen County. We have been told we can afford to buy a home in the $200,000 with about $5,000-$6,000 in property taxes. We have been considering buying a house. My husband is sick of getting stuck in traffic on route 80. What areas would you advise us to look in that have decent school systems? We also have thought about the possibility of buying a mutli-family with other people? We are thinking of staying in Morris County but moving closer East? What nice areas of Morris County have decent multiple family dwellings? His family lives in Jefferson - Lake Hopatcong area.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:

Answers

11
Mary Grunmei…, , Morris Plains, NJ
Sun Feb 13, 2011
Don't worry about FHA...we have mortgage products with ZERO down. We need to meet so we can learn what your purchasing power really is. Frankly, many times, it is higher than the buyers think.
0 votes
Mary Grunmei…, , Morris Plains, NJ
Sun Feb 13, 2011
Oh, my gosh! I so want to be able to help you move further east! Your husband commutes with traffic, and you commute against traffic. There are so many options for you...it is incredible! Do you have children? Do you want a condo or a single familyy home? We can do this for you every day of the week in Morris County and maybe in some towns in Passaic County, and have you every considered Middlesex County? You mention schools....have you considered Boonton Township? Denville? New Providence? Parsippany? Can your life be improved by a train option? Have you considered Somerville? (Very hot town right now! with multi-fanily options.)

Melissa, please call me...201-463-9656...so we can meet and talk about all of the fabulous opportunitites you have right now! Because you do! Today's real estate market is all about buying to live in it! Honest to gosh! You are today's buyer, and I can't wait to work with you!
0 votes
Gina Chirico, Agent, Fairfield, NJ
Sat Feb 12, 2011
Melissa,

Short of a condo or condo conversion (once garden apartment now condo), there's not many single family detached homes aside from short sales in and around the Belleville/Bloomfield/Nutley, Essex County area in that price range. Moving west of Essex County, will either be a short sale or flood zone or both for a single family detached home. A condo in that price range may work and I'm talking about a 1 or 2 bedroom condo - I'm not sure how many bedrooms you require.

As far as the responses below regarding money down, interest rates, etc. I have sold homes to first time buyers who bought FHA and it worked for them and still is. They had enough money for the down payment and were no longer making their landlord richer. I also have buyers who bought with 20% down or more, some of them are now upside down too in their mortgage.

I understand your interest in buying a home and being of mother of three, I understand you wanting a decent school system but sometimes based upon your budget is going to determine where you can afford to buy and it may or may not have a decent school system or a school system considered decent to you and your family. The first page of my website gives you the Top High School Rankings in Essex County (http://GinaChiricoRealEstate.com).

If I can be of any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Good luck.

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Lattimer Realty
973-715-1158 cell
973-575-6353 ext 17 office
Gina@GinaChiricoRealEstate.com
0 votes
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Sat Feb 12, 2011
The 3.5% FHA program should be abolished. It is an irresponsible program. Once again, you put 3.5% down and values drop slightly. You are now underwater or worse. I advise anyone considering this option to take a step back and look at what you are doing to yourself.

Plenty of agents and mortgage brokers will walk you down the gang plank and push you off! It is up to you to not make the same mistake that led so many others into misery during this recession and are now basically imprisoned in their homes.

If you do not have a real down payent, do not buy a house. Rent and save your money until the time is right and the funds are there. On the other hand, if you are ready to be stupid, we have plenty of help available...
0 votes
Carol Eisens…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Feb 12, 2011
Hi

Many of my clients who are first time home buyer's go FHA with only 3.5% down required. How would Bloomfield, Verona, Morris Plains, Springfield, Clifton or Wayne work for you? There are properties in these areas that would meet your requirements for pricing and taxes. If I can be of any help, please email or call me directly. If it's out there, I will find it for you!

Sincerely,
Carol Eisenstein
Prudential New Jersey Properties
973 879 3282
email carol.eisenstein@prudentialnewjersey.com
0 votes
Marcus A Fre…, , New Jersey
Sat Feb 12, 2011
@ Marc, I never addressed you directly. I am not referring to a subprime loan either FHA is a loan that was designed by the government for people who are trying to better there current living arrangements while making an investment into themselves and not there landlords! It is highly recommended that you get the details before you judge and learn how to educate people. Example, They may have 20% saved but they may not have the fico score requirement to go conventional or they may want to earn more money in a interest barring account and may not want to put that kind of money up, key is I don't know that. Its even worse you put down 20% and lose it because your next door neighbor decided to short sale. So I don't agree with the 20% down rule all the way. For one it doesn't make a big difference on there mortgage payment. Get all of there concerns before you judge what they can or cannot afford. I think it would benefit them more with tax benefits than investing into a landlord. You have a great day!
0 votes
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Sat Feb 12, 2011
Hi Marcus,

I did not say 20% was required, but highly recommended. 3.5% FHA deals and other "make it easy" schemes are a BAD idea for most people, as buying a house while basically broke is basically the mindset that caused the destruction of our economy. We need agents, and mortgage brokers for that matter, to become responsible and stop doing "whatever it takes", to "get someone into a home" regardless of the fact that they are not financially equipped to undertake the obligation.

Saving 20% to put down is not impossible, or even all that hard. All it takes is a little discipline and a little time. It also eliminates a lot of risk. Putting 3.5% down means that if the market drops even slightly, the borrower is upside down, under water, and basically imprisoned in their home, unable to sell without bringing money to the closing table. Putting 20% (or more) down reduces that risk drastically, and allows the borrower to be flexible. With equity in place, a sale is always possible should life deal the borrower an unexpected opportunity, or an unexpected tragedy.

-Marc

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director/Appraiser
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
201 Route 10 East
Succasunna, NJ 07876
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
Coolest map-based home search: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes
Marcus A Fre…, , New Jersey
Sat Feb 12, 2011
Hello Melissa, another idea is to see how much mortgage you can qualify for first. This is called a pre-approval. Here is where a lender would gather some pertinent documents to see how much you can afford. This will give you a better understanding of your buying power, give you a real goal, and show you how you are not required to put 20% down. This process doesn't and should not cost you anything if you decide this service with some else. Please feel free to contact me back and I will be happy to assist you.
0 votes
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Fri Feb 11, 2011
Hi Melissa,

$200,000 is impossible in or near Bergen County, aside from a garden apartment condo in an urban area or a dilapidated and poorly maintained shack, or something in a flood zone or on a railroad. You cannot buy a multi-family with other people, as it is just not realistic and has too many pitfalls. Your best option may be to rent. $200,000 is just not a sufficient budget to buy a good house in or near Bergen County. Sorry, but that's reality. Your best bet is to rent something and continue saving your money. A budget of $350,000 to $450,000 is more realistic in Bergen County for a starter house, and it is best if you have 20% (or about $70,000) to put down.

Good luck!

-Marc
0 votes
Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Fri Feb 11, 2011
Wow. I live in Budd Lake and that commute to Bergen County would be a killer if he has to go during rush hour. Your commute is nice though. :)

My suggestion is to research locations on your own to figure out what areas are affordable, have decent schools (look online for town forums where honest discussions occur because school report cards don't necessarily reflect accurately on the school system), and are a decent commute for both you and your husband.

Lynda's suggestion to rent first may not be a bad idea, unless you already have school aged children who you don't want to disrupt too much.

There is so much you can find out online and through town newspapers ,then start driving around and cruising neighborhoods.

Once you start narrowing down the areas you are most interested in settling in, then I would start interviewing agents.

Also keep in mind that while interest rates are creeping up, prices are continuing to decline in many areas. If you decide to buy, you need to commit to it long term because real estate more than ever has become a long term investment.

Best of luck!
0 votes
Lynda Hester…, Agent, Kinnelon, NJ
Fri Feb 11, 2011
Hi Melissa - I live and work in the Kinnelon area -i think your best bets are Boonton- Butler-Jefferson - lower West Milford -Cliftin or Wayne
In this range it would be challenging for sure but if you want to discuss it with me -I would be happy to help you - you may want to rent to see if you like these areas first -call anytime Lynda Hester DOrio 973*768*1888
0 votes
Search Advice
Search
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more