Congratulations on the decision to buy your first home! You’re making a great choice by checking out Maplewood homes and Short Hills real estate. I’ve helped many first-time buyers over the years. Here are a few things to know and think over as you start the home buying process.
The first thing to think about is your price range. Before the financial crash, banks were handing out home loans like hotcakes. This proved to be a pretty bad idea. In general, financial experts advised that housing costs shouldn’t take up more than 30 to 35% of your gross income. Keep in mind that maintenance costs are going to come up, too. When you’re making your new monthly budget, it’s a good idea to set aside an amount to cover things like calling a plumber or roof repair or hiring landscapers. Be realistic about what you can afford. Use the mortgage calculator on the home page to get an idea of the possibilities. Check with a lender to get a pre-approval before you start shopping.
Remember that there are great tax benefits to homeownership. The 2009 stimulus tax credit has expired, but you can deduct your mortgage interest and property taxes from your gross income. This means lower federal taxes. In New Jersey, property taxes up to $10,000 are completely deductible. Keep these deductions in mind when you compare the costs of owning with the costs of renting.
Finally, use your imagination. I see so many first-time buyers who will pass up a great house in their price range in the right place, just because there’s a small defect or oddity. These people don’t realize how much small changes, like new paint or carpet or other small remodeling projects can change how a house looks and functions. Keep an open mind as you tour Maplewood homes. Your dream house is waiting for you!