If you would like a nice house by the shore, you are not alone. The New Jersey coast is a desirable place to live for many reasons, so it’s no surprise that homes in towns like Manahawkin and Forked River are in high demand. That’s why hunting for that prime shore real estate can be a bigger task than you might be ready for. Have no fear. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of house hunting tips.
Start Saving Now – The best time to start saving your money is BEFORE you begin your hunt, because what you save is going to impact your budget, and your budget is going to impact the houses you’ll end up viewing.
Know Your Needs – Single, childless couple, family. Work from home, commuter, retired. All of these things will play a major role in the kind of house that will best suit you. Know your needs and you’ll know what features to look for.
Figure Your Max Mortgage Payment – Create a highly detailed household budget factoring in everything you can think of other than a mortgage – car payment, utilities, student loans, etc – then add a little extra to account for unexpected expenses and so on. Subtract that from your income to determine your max mortgage payment. That will help narrow down the real state you should view.
Know Your Credit Score – If your score is below 620, you may want to postpone your hunt, because getting approved in today’s real estate climate may be difficult.
Focus On What You Can’t Change – Things like the bathroom tiles or kitchen flooring or landscaping can be changed. Instead, focus on the floor layout, sight lines and views, and available rooms. In other words, the things you won’t be able to change.
Get Pre-Approved – A pre-approval will put you in a position to know exactly how much you can spend, which in turn will let you know which home is right for you and which isn’t.
Visit Your Short List Homes Twice – Don’t just visit once. That first visit you’ll be too excited to be viewing a nice new piece of property. You will be harder to impress the second time around and more likely to spot issues that you’ll have missed on your first visit.
View The Neighborhood, Too – It’s not enough to just view your desired house. Take a drive out to Manahawkin or Forked River or wherever you’re looking, get to see the neighborhood, see what shops are nearby, see what amenities are available to you – because unless you’re a commuter who works long hours, you’re not just buying into a home, you’re buying into a community.
Use An Agent – While you can do a lot of house hunting on your own, an agent can be a huge help, especially in a competitive market with unique obstacles, such as searching for shore houses. An agent is a worthwhile investment.
Make A Long List – View a LOT of real estate online in catalogs, through your agent, and more, and make a long list of the properties in towns like Lacey / Forked River, Long Beach Island, and Manahawkin that catch your eye.
Make A Short List – Narrow down that list to a few select homes based on rigorous criteria you set (including some of the advice above).