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CJ Davies
REALTOR®, ABR
(609) 713-8952
Broker / Sales Person
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Home Purchase Time Line

You have made the decision to purchase a home.  Where do you start?  How long does it take? There are a million questions that we are asked every day by first time home buyers or people who haven't purchased a home in a while.  The most common one is "What's next?"  Sometimes buyers are surprised at how many steps there are in the buying process.  Sometimes they are surprised at how long these steps can take.  So to prepare you, I have put together a brief summary of the home buying process.  The average time in our area from initial showing to close for first time home buyers  is roughly 65-75 days with no hiccups.  You might find a house on your first or second showing, but normally it can take 1-3 months of actively searching to find the right one.

 

 

Contact an Agent - Talking to an agent right away will give you the benefit of having an experienced professional lead you in the right direction and help save you precious hours/days/months by helping you avoid common mistakes.  They can suggest local lenders and prepare you for what to expect in the process of buying a home.

Pro Tip: Contact Me - CJ Davies 609-713-8952, CJDavies3@gmail.com or click HERE

It's never too early to talk to an agent and start asking questions.

 

 

Pre-Qualification - This is your most important step as a first time home buyer.  You can't make any offers without a pre-qualification and many people end up wasting valuable time looking at homes that might not be in their price range.  The bank uses your last two years of filed tax returns, your debt to income ratio and credit score among other things to determine your maximum budget.  Some people may be surprised that they might need to wait a whole tax year in order to claim more income in order to afford the home that's right for them. This is common with self employed buyers.

Pro Tip:  Make sure your lender explains potential closing costs to you.  Make sure you are educated on how to calculate your monthly payments and closing costs.  For a mortgage calculator, there is a great one under every listing on my website or click HERE.  For a list of closing cost estimates, click HERE.  Seem too expensive? Read about how to get the seller to pay your closing costs click Here.

Minimum of 90 days prior to your expected closing date and as early as 12-24 months in certain situations.

Start Your Pre-qualification Process HERE.

 

 

Market Research - Once you are pre-qualified, you should have a specific down payment, loan type,  price range and ideal condition of the properties that you are looking at.  If you are utilizing a standard FHA product and looking for concessions, you will know that you most likely will stay away from dilapidated properties and foreclosures.  If you are putting 20% down and have a little extra cash to pad against surprises, the trickier fixer uppers might be in your ball park.  This is the time where you can iron out locations to include and exclude as well as certain deal breakers like the need for a garage or a basement to narrow down your search.

Pro Tip: Look out for your agents auto updates, they will most likely hit your inbox before the listings on Zillow and Realtor.com, but don't forget to search yourself.  You have a much more narrow view of the market than your agent and there is a chance that either you or your agent might see something that the other person didn't.

Learn more about if Foreclosures, Short Sales, Pre-Foreclosures are right for you Here.

The earlier the start the better, but at a minimum, plan for at least 90 days prior to when you think you are going to purchase a home. 

 

 

Home Search - You and your agent (Me) will be actively viewing homes that are on the market.  I will be sending you new listings as they come on the market but it is best that you do your own searching as well.  We can pick a date to start viewing homes.  We normally start with a list of 7-10 potential homes and try to view no more than 6 per day or else it gets a little over whelming and confusing. 

Some times, if all of the houses are very close together or vacant, you can squeeze a few more in. Keep in mind that in some places like Ocean Acres, the average days on the market for well priced homes is less than 2 weeks, so don't get your hopes up if you aren't ready tp pull the trigger.

Pro Tip: Don't get discouraged!  At first, it will be overwhelming with all of the available homes.  After a few times out, it will seem like you can't find anything new.  Also, it is very common to miss out on the first home that you are interested in or made an offer on.  In all of my years, I have never had a buyer who was not more happy in the house they ended up in than they would have been in  house they missed out on.  That includes me!

This timing depends on the buyer.  

To search for a home, click HERE.

 

 

Offer - You have found the house of your dreams! Congratulations! Now it is time to make an offer.  Normally, all of my offers are in written contract form.  This is a standard NJ State contract which lays out all of the stipulations which is not considered binding until both parties have signed it and either waived their right to review by an attorney or have had both the seller and buyer side attorneys agree on all of the terms. This can be signed in person or electronically and will be submitted as your official offer along with your pre-qualification.  I normally suggest a new pre-qualification (less than 30 days old) that has the specific offer price specified.  A new one can be written up once an agreed price is decided.  

Pro Tip:  I normally suggest making a strong initial offer and sticking close on your negotiations as opposed to starting low and working your way up.  When a seller is initially excited and motivated, it is much easier to come to an agreement as opposed to starting with an unhappy seller and working up hill.

 

These negotiations can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days depending on the situation.

 

 

Offer and Acceptance - After a period of negotiations, hopefully the seller has accepted your offer.  At this point, your agent will re-write the contracts with the terms that were agreed upon and send them to both parties for signature. Once both parties have signed the contracts, they can be sent to their legal representation for review.

Pro Tip: Move fast!  The contract is not binding until attorney review is over so if the sellers are still showing the property, there is a chance that another offer could be entertained by the seller.  The longer things take in Real Estate, the more chances there are for things to go wrong.

 

 

Attorney Review-  Once both parties have ratified contracts, they have 3 days for themselves or an attorney to review the contracts and either approve, disapprove or suggest changes.  There is a common misconception that the attorneys have 3 days to complete this.  This is not the case.  Your attorney has 3 days to make contact with the other side and request their changes to the contract.  Once this happens, the review period can take as long as it takes to agree on the terms.  Once attorney review is complete, no more offers can take precedence over yours. You still have the contingencies in the contract to deal with like the home inspection mortgage contingencies and certificate of occupancy inspection but you now have a binding contract!

Pro Tip:  Use a local attorney who specializes in real estate. Real estate is handled very differently from town to town and county to county, this can cause some unnecessary friction if your representation is not familiar with local procedures.  For a list of qualified local professionals click HERE.

 

 

Home Inspection - All buyers have the right to a home inspection and although it is highly recommended, it is not mandatory.  The main reason for a home inspection is to point out any hidden or undisclosed material defects that could affect the value or habitability of the home.  This is also a great learning experience. A good home inspector will take the time to explain how everything in the house works and how it should be maintained. You normally have a period of 14 days or whatever is specified in your contract to have the inspection and present any requests you might have based on the findings. The seller has the right to agree to your terms, refuse your terms or negotiate those terms. If no agreements can be made, the parties have the right to cancel the contract.

Pro Tip: (1)Make sure you are present at the inspection, follow the inspector and ask questions.  They should be happy to help. (2) This is not an opportunity to re-negotiate or nit-pick small items.  All homes are technically sold "As-Is." This is for your benefit and knowledge as a buyer to make sure there are not major issues affecting the value or safety of the home.  You are welcome to make any requests you might like, but you will have more luck choosing a few major items than many minor ones.

To read more about Home Inspections and the process click HERE.

For a list of local professionals click HERE. 

 

 

Appraisal - The appraisal is normally ordered by the mortgage company after all home inspection contingencies are satisfied.  This way, you don't waste the money on an appraisal if there happens to be major home inspection issue causing the deal to fall apart.  The point of the appraisal is to justify the purchase price in order for the lender to be comfortable lending you the money.  It doesn't happen often, but sometimes an issue will arise where the home appraises for less than the purchase price.  In this instance, the difference in price needs to be made up either with a reduction in price, an additional amount of cash brought to closing by the buy or a mix of the two.  If no agreements can be made, the parties have the right to cancel the contract.

Pro Tip: Keep this in the back of your mind but don't expect it to happen.  It is not worth wasting your time on something that hasn't happened yet, but if it comes up and needs to be dealt with at that moment, you will at least be prepared.  Ask your agent if they think you will have an appraisal issue. 

To read more about negotiating appraisal issues, click HERE.

The appraisal usually takes a week or two to schedule and come back from the day it's ordered.

 

 

Title Search/Title Insurance - Your attorney and title company will be collaborating through the entire process to bring all of the peices of the puzzle to a close.  A major part of that is ensuring that you are being conveyed clear title.  Your title company will do a search to make sure they sellers or they property have no leins etc.  Once this is accomplished, the title company will issue an insurance policy for a one time fee covering the property incase you ahve any future title issues that pop up.

Pro Tip:  Use a local company who is familiar with the other professional parties involved for a much smoother transaction.

 

To read more about title insurance, click Here.

 

For a list of local professionals, click HERE.

 

Mortgage Commitment-   Once the bank has the appraisal and the rest of the million documents they will ask you for, it will go to a final review by the underwriter.  If everything checks out you will have your mortgage commitment! This is normally the last or second to last contingency laid out in the contract. Once you have this, there's no more backing out. You can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  Normally you can close 15 days or so after your commitment is issued.

Pro Tip:Be very diligent with your mortgage company.  There are a lot of documents that will be requested of you and the quicker you can get them to your lender, the quicker you can close.

 

 

Certificate of Occupancy - This is different in every town. Some towns require inspections to ensure that the home meets the towns safety requirements and some only require an application fee and a smoke certification from the state.  Most inspections check from smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, loose railings, broken windows and anything that could make the property unsafe to occupy.  Unless the property is a short sale ore foreclosure, the seller is normally responsible for applying for and obtaining the CO.  The contract will have a specified amount that if repairs requested by the CO are in excess of that amount, the buyer and seller can negotiate or cancel the deal. (This is rare, but it happens.)

Pro Tip: Read your town's regulations for the CO prior to ordering it.  There is a fee for reinspecting due to failure to comply, no matter how small the infraction is. Also, its very common to miss something small so don't get discouraged 

The seller can order this at any time.  A passed CO inspection is good for up to 6 months.

For a list of your town's requirements, click HERE.

 

 

Clear to Close - Your mortgage has every piece of information they need and are ready to close!  They will notify all parties s at this time and schedule the closing for the next couple of days when it is convenient for everyone.

 

 

Walk Through - Every buyer has the right to a walk thru before closing.  This is to make sure that the seller has vacated the property, left it in an acceptable state and has completed all of the stipulations agreed upon in the contract and negotiations if any that were made during the contingency periods.  Make sure you check that they left all appliances they agreed to.  The washer and dryer always seem to be in question. Make sure all home inspection requests were addressed and that all utilities are on and working properly.

Pro Tip: Make sure you called a head of time to switch over the utilities into your name to ensure that electric, gas etc. have not been shut off prior to your closing.

 

 

Closing - Closings now a days can be done remotely but if you are planning on attending, set aside at least an hour or two and make sure you stretch your hands out.  There is a lot of signing to do. 

 

 

Celebrate and enjoy your new home!

1601 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008, Unit B

1601 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $1,061,950
  • List: $1,099,000
  • Square Feet: 2,360
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 3.1
  • residential - condo
  • Represented: Seller

22 W Tebco Ter, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008

22 W Tebco Ter, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $448,650
  • List: $448,650
  • Square Feet: 1,440
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 3
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - single

22 Virginia AVENUE, Long Beach Township, Ne, 08008

22 Virginia AVENUE, Long Beach Township, Ne, 08008
  • Sold: $1,330,000
  • List: $1,330,000
  • Square Feet: 3,100
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 5
  • Baths: 4.1
  • residential - single

1903 Bay Terrace, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008

1903 Bay Terrace, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $875,000
  • List: $899,000
  • Square Feet: 2,240
  • Acres: 0.1
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 3.1
  • residential - single

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 202, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 202, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $190,000
  • List: $199,900
  • Square Feet: 439
  • Beach Haven
  • Beds: 1
  • Baths: 1
  • residential - condo

304 W 17th St, Ship Bottom, NJ, 08008

304 W 17th St, Ship Bottom, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $349,900
  • List: $349,900
  • Square Feet: 1,152
  • Ship Bottom
  • multi - multiple

4 W. Maryland, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008

4 W. Maryland, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $227,500
  • List: $249,900
  • Square Feet: 865
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 3
  • Baths: 1
  • residential - condo

102 Atlantis Ave, Stafford Township, NJ, 08050

102 Atlantis Ave, Stafford Township, NJ, 08050
  • Sold: $269,000
  • List: $269,000
  • Square Feet: 1,996
  • Stafford Township
  • Beds: 3
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - single

23 Maplewood Dr, Little Egg Harbor, NJ, 08087

23 Maplewood Dr, Little Egg Harbor, NJ, 08087
  • Sold: $244,000
  • List: $249,900
  • Square Feet: 1,550
  • Little Egg Harbor
  • Beds: 2
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - single

116 Bark Rd, Stafford Township, NJ, 08050

116 Bark Rd, Stafford Township, NJ, 08050
  • Sold: $259,850
  • List: $259,850
  • Square Feet: 2,117
  • Stafford Township
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 3
  • residential - single

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 103, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 103, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $209,000
  • List: $209,000
  • Square Feet: 421
  • Beach Haven
  • Beds: 1
  • Baths: 1
  • residential - condo

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 300, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 300, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $403,000
  • List: $359,000
  • Square Feet: 960
  • Beach Haven
  • Beds: 3
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - condo

195 John St, Eagleswood, NJ, 08092

195 John St, Eagleswood, NJ, 08092
  • Sold: $154,000
  • List: $159,500
  • Square Feet: 855
  • Acres: 0.3
  • Eagleswood
  • Beds: 2
  • Baths: 1
  • residential - single

4412 Gloucester Dr, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008

4412 Gloucester Dr, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $1,575,000
  • List: $1,729,000
  • Square Feet: 2,042
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 2.1
  • residential - single

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 104, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 104, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $195,000
  • List: $199,000
  • Square Feet: 492
  • Beach Haven
  • Beds: 1
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - condo

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 203, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 203, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $205,000
  • List: $189,000
  • Square Feet: 548
  • Beach Haven
  • Beds: 1
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - condo

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 102, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008

204 S Atlantic Ave unit 102, Beach Haven, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $299,000
  • List: $299,000
  • Square Feet: 816
  • Beach Haven
  • Beds: 2
  • Baths: 2
  • residential - condo

113 Roxie Ave, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008

113 Roxie Ave, Long Beach Township, NJ, 08008
  • Sold: $1,860,000
  • List: $2,000,000
  • Square Feet: 2,900
  • Long Beach Township
  • Beds: 5
  • Baths: 3
  • residential - single

224 Yeoman Rd, Stafford Township, NJ, 08050

224 Yeoman Rd, Stafford Township, NJ, 08050
  • Sold: $355,000
  • List: $359,900
  • Square Feet: 2,951
  • Stafford Township
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 3.1
  • residential - single

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/07/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/07/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Ocean County MLS (last updated Thu 09/12/2019 11:22:12 AM EST) or Bright MLS (last updated Wed 12/07/2022 9:17:57 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Davies & DeGennaro may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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