Real Estate is my Life

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Crest Real Estate

First time home-buyers are still my most refreshing and rewarding clients! As a full time Realtor since 1987, I have been involved with literally hundreds of home sales I have met many wonderful individuals and families. Of course I have maintained a Real Estate relationship with most of my "first timers" who have become second and even third timers in the past 20+ years. Although my are of expertise is the town I grew up in, Haskell, N.J., I have sold properties from West New York, Hudson County to Sussex County (including Morris, Essex, Bergen and Passaic). I will go as far and spend as much time as any "loyal" client needs and deserves. I do find that purchasers buying a home for the first time are the most loyal and appreciating of my hard work and determination (of their satisfaction).

The excitement in a first home purchase however is usually unsurpassed!  Once it is understood that if I don't have an answer to any of the many questions, I will do what I can to get it.....thats when our relationship cements!  I believe that buying a home is one of the most exciting and most important purchases one will ever make so my goal is to help make the entire the experience uncomplicated and fun from the search to the closing...and beyond!

The monthly mortgage payment is something I will work out for them on our first visit and also have mortgage broker available. More and more young buyers are realizing the importance of good credit and sometimes we will work together for months before actually becomingready and qualified to buy. Narrowing down specific towns, house styles and specific amenities is another of the most important stages in the process. Then the fun really begins!

I have been asked quite often lately about the likelihood of purchasing a house in foreclosure or a short sale situation. I warn first time home buyers that unless the foreclosure proceeding is already complete it may not be the wisest or most cost effective way to purchase, particularly for the first house.

I explain briefly what the difference between a foreclosure and short sale is:

A Foreclosure:

 A foreclosure occurs when a property owner fails to repay his or her loan in the manner that was agreed upon at the time the loan was given. The process of completing a foreclosure is a rather lengthy one and the exact steps necessary need to be studied and followed precisely. Concisely, you must wait for a scheduled Sheriff's sale to bid on the property, usually against the holder of the loan and other investors. The property is purchased without inspections and financing must be in place and ready to proceed to close.

A Short Sale:

When a homeowner has to sell, has defaulted on the payments, and the proceeds from the sale are going to be less than the mortgage amount, then the bank needs to approve of a "short sale".

A short sale usually occurs when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments and has little or no equity in the home. The bank might approve of the short sale because the foreclosure process can cost a lost of time and money for the lender, and the lender may reason that it is better to just cut the losses and move on. The lender would get the proceeds from the sale, and the owner would be forgiven the rest of the debt owed.

Any inspections that are done are typically for information purpose only, but if a major structural problem exists, the purchaser can usually back out losing "only" the cost of inspections and any attorney or appraisal fees that there may have been. For first timers, that amount of money (up to and around $1,000) can put at least a temporary halt on their plans.

In a "buyers market" such as the one we are in, great buys can be had without choosing either of those options. There are other seller motivators such as "empty nesting" or "moving up" where the seller has negotiating room and expects to deliver their home in move-in condition. Hidden problems may still show up during inspections but the seller will have the financial means to correct them prior to close or offer a credit at closing. I try to get "the scoop" from the seller whenever possible so both the buyer and the seller get what they want! Remember, a primary home is just that...a home, not just an investment!

I feel that if I can provide prospective buyers with a better understanding of the home buying process and how much home they can afford, everybody gains! Buyers can definitely benefit in purchasing in todays market. I work hard to facilitate this wonderful milestone and and am  rewarded by satisfaction and excitement. I also always look forward to being invited to the "house warming" party!

Comments (3)

Marie Episale
ePRO 201-314-0106 - Pompton Plains New Jersey

good post.  It is tempting for first time buyers to get caught up in the possibility of buying a short sale or foreclosure property thinking they will be getting a "good deal".  So often, the house has been neglected by sellers who had no desire to maintain the house properly, either because they did not have the means or the mental energy.  This neglect can cause nightmares for the new buyer as repair & replacement costs mount up quickly.  Thank you for reminding us of that.


Feb 22, 2008 05:50 AM
Tere Episale
Century 21 Crest Real Estate - Wanaque, NJ
Real Estate in TEREtory

Unfortunately I was reminded the hard way. A wonderful client that I've been working with since the summer of 2007 put an offer in on a property that was not disclosed by the listing agent as being involved in a short sale...until negotiations. Once informed,they were so excited about the property that they decided to go forward even after understanding the basics of a short sale. I negotiated through the listing agent and the final contract included a seller concession for closing costs. My buyers, Dave and Nancy were thrilled that everything was looking so positive and soon they would be moving into a wonderful community with thier children. The end result however was devastating. They had the inspections and conceded to doing alot of necessary upgrades in thier new home, then they began the mortgage process and BOOM...the bank decided that they wanted an additional $30,000. The buyers were out monies from costs of inspections, attorney fees and the appraisal.

Although they are very disappointed and have decided to wait until after the receipt of income tax returns to buy a house, I am grateful that they appreciate the fact that I explained the possibilities. We are just starting to look at properties for sale again.

I guess I learned one giant lesson through this...Always ask the listing agent if the property is involved with either a short sale or a foreclosure which I feel is so important to disclose!

Feb 22, 2008 06:53 AM
Cathy Lawton
Century 21 Crest Real Estate - Lincoln Park, NJ

Hi Tere..I was involved in a similar situation, and somehow the attorney was able to negotiate holding up the home inspection until after the bank approved the offer.  Of course, my clients (the buyers) had to get their mortgage committment first, but didn't put out the monies for the inspections until they at least knew the offer was approved by the bank.  I don't know how the attorney did it, but it worked!


Feb 22, 2008 10:08 AM