Before you pick out new curtains, a new paint color or the perfect coffee table, you first have to go through the – potentially stressful – process of buying a home. And if it’s your first home, that can be stressful. Luckily, we enlisted the expertise of Keller Williams realtor, Heather Magladry. Check out what she says every first-time home buyer needs to know.  

Don’t ignore the school district

Yes, this tip applies to you even if you don’t have kids, says Magladry. Remember that this purchase most likely won’t be your end destination – most people stay in their first home for around 5 years. “You may not have kids, or might not plan to have any soon, but the next person who buys your house could have them,” Magladry says. “And this isn’t your final purchase of a home, it’s a place to get started and build some equity.” 

Hold off on that furniture purchase

Magladry has seen it before – a buyer is in the final stages of closing on a house and something goes wrong, the deal falls through. And the first thing the buyer says is, “what about that furniture that I’m having delivered there?” 

“Until the deal’s done, it isn’t done,” Magladry says. “You never know what will happen, and you don’t want to have to figure out where you’re going to store that sectional until you find a new home.” 

Hold off on any big purchases, actually 

Speaking of that sectional, you’re going to want to wait until the deal has closed to make that purchase. Same goes for that new car you were eyeing. Those big-ticket purchases will add unnecessary stress to the process. 

“I had a buyer who was under contract and had apparently put a deposit down on a car,” Magladry says. “The car became available earlier than expected, and it was a buy now or lose it situation, so he bought it. But we then had to go back and redo his loan and it put the whole deal in jeopardy. It really was touch and go at times, but he ended up getting the house.” 

Seriously, use a realtor

Imagine going into a divorce without a family law attorney. Chaos. Not to mention the likelihood of you being successful is so much higher with an attorney. The same goes for using a realtor to find a home, says Magladry. 

“There are things that you just don’t know if you’re not doing this every day,” she says. “I know what you can and can’t ask for in negotiations, I know the right contractor to call – and the one who will arrive quickly – if you run into an issue, I solve problems for you. I do my best to stress for you so you don’t have to.”

Ask about first-time home buyer benefits

One thing Magladry is always sure to point first-time buyers towards is the supplements that New Jersey offers to first-time home buyers. She tells all of her clients to ask their lenders if they qualify for any benefits. 

For example, if you haven’t owned a home for 3 years, you could qualify as a first-time home buyer. If you’ve owned a home, but your spouse hasn’t, you’ll both qualify as first-time home buyers. “You can get as much as $10,000 towards closing costs depending on which lender you’re using,” Magladry says. 

Spend some time on social media

This is going to be your new home, so if you’re not familiar with the town you’re searching in, this is the time to become familiar. Magladry suggests both visiting the town and doing a little social media snooping to get a feel for your potential new home. 

“Go to events in the town, check out the town’s Instagram and Facebook pages and get a feel for what people are like there and what kind of community is there,” she says. 

February 2024
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