Hi, and Happy New Year! I realize that you posted this question back in early December. Did you find a Realtor to work with? When would you be coming back to NJ? I suggest a VA loan when you are stationed in NJ. I see that you may be currently in AZ.
I work out of the weichert, Realtors Union Office and Maplewood is right next door to us. Honestly your downpayment amount does not sound high, which is why I would recommend you go VA. If $5000 was all that you had and it represented a 3.5% down payment on a home, you'd have to look for a property in the 150-200k price range at best and Maplewood has a much higher median sales price.
Take a look at the Web Reference I provided as I track median sales prices in Union, Essex and some parts of Middlesex County on my blog.
The other thing to consder is your bedt to income ratio. Once you are in NJ and you make blank dollars a year, you're total monthly debt should noexceed 36%-45% of your monthly income or another way to look at it would be for you to multiply your annual income by 3 and use that as a price range marker.
I am available if you would like to chat further: 973-715-6210 or email@example.com