Sometimes growing up is hard to do and sometimes there’s the thrill of it all, the firsts you’ll experience. There are few things in life as thrilling as becoming a first-time homeowner. Buying your first property, getting the keys and walking through the threshold of a house which will become the first home of your dreams is an exhilarating experience. But where do you start? First-time homebuyers often have many questions about how to search for the features they desire in a house, how to get the best financing assistance and how to find a Realtor® they can trust. There are some great first time home buyers programs right now. Let’s look at how to qualify.
Take Advantage of First Time Homebuyer Programs Around Atlantic City
You’ll want to begin by saving for your down payment but how much do you have to put down to buy a house? Typically, conventional loans require 20% down, but as a first-time homebuyer you may be able to get help covering your down payment. It’s possible to lower or eliminate the amount you need to have up front for a down payment through federal, state and local government programs.
How do you qualify for first-time homebuyer government programs?
Your lender and buyer’s agent will be trusted sources in directing you to the best options which may be available to you. Some of the most common federal government mortgage options such as FHA and USDA loans are well-known and may offer solutions for low or no-down payments for those who qualify.
Most state and local governments offer some assistance as well. We dug a little deeper to find out.
first-time homebuyer government programs are available in the area.
The Atlantic County Improvement Authority offers a down payment assistance program to individuals who have resided in Atlantic County for at least 12 months and who have not owned a home in two years or more. At a state level, The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency offers several different programs for first-time homebuyers including down payment assistance and mortgage programs explained in a step-by-step guide to help you decide which options are best for you.
All of this information can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out some great tips for first-time homebuyers from Nerd Wallet. They offer an easy-to-follow but detailed list with some general information to help you get started.
Now that you’re ready to set sail, the importance of having a trusted buyer’s agent is key in making the home-buying process go smoothly. You’ll want to find someone who’s ready to work for you, who’s also experienced in serving first time homebuyers and who knows the area real estate market. Matt Haviland with The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty offer free consultations for first-time homebuyer programs. Contact Matt today at 609-338-3773 or via e-mail to get started on the path to the door of your first home.
Atlantic County, NJ Real Estate Market
Here is a quick overview of the Atlantic County, NJ real estate market using data from June 2018 and comparing it to June 2017. The data is divided into three categories: Single Family homes, townhomes and condos, and Adult Communities. For all categories inventory is down and days are market are down. Median sales price is up 7.4% for single family homes and 9.9% for condos. Of course all real estate is local so if you want to know what’s happing in your neighborhood or city please contact me. I can provide this report on a city level and also provide data for your local neighborhood. You can download a PDF of the report here: AtlanticCountyMarketReport
5 First Time Home Buyer Loans Mistakes
As a first time home buyer one of the biggest and most important challenges is getting a home loan. Here is a list of 5 first time home buyer loans mistakes you can avoid.
1. Getting A Loan Amount That Is More Than You Can Afford.
When you’re shopping for a home loan it’s very common for mortgage companies to say you qualify for an amount that is higher than you can afford. In general your mortgage payment should be about 25% of your monthly take home pay. So just because you can spend more does not mean it’s a wise idea. Write out a budget so you know how much you can afford.
2. Choosing A Loan With A Mortgage Insurance Premium.
Many first time home buyer loans have a mortgage insurance premium (MIP). This is an insurance policy used with FHA loans if your down payment is less than 20%. With FHA loans this additional fee is a part of your mortgage payment forever. This does not go away even if you build up 20% equity in your home over time. If you can do a conventional loan with 20% down payment you’ll avoid paying mortgage insurance premiums. Saving up for a down payment can save you big money in the long term.
3. Not Taking Advantage Of Available Grants And Programs For First Time Home Buyers.
There are often local grant programs available for first time home buyers like the Atlantic County $10,000 grant and the NJ $10,000 grant. These programs give first time home buyers $10,000 towards down payment and closing costs. This money is forgiven after you keep the house a certain number of years. Yes this is free money! The challenge with the grant money is that not everyone qualifies and it’s not always available. Working with the right mortgage expert who knows the ins and outs of these programs will help you determine the best loan option for you and if you qualify for any available programs.
4. Not Knowing Your Closing Costs.
Most first time home buyers realize they’re going to need some kind of down payment. However they often don’t realize there will be additional closing costs. These additional costs will be paid at closing and include settlement fees, title insurance, mortgage fees, and escrows for taxes and home owners insurance. Your mortgage officer can give you an estimate for what your closing costs will be. And if you’re limited on funds we can negotiate the seller to pay your closing costs for you.
5. Choosing An Online Mortgage Company.
There are many online mortgage companies out there making great offers and claims. Here is why I don’t recommend using one. Real estate is local. An online mortgage company will not be familiar with the local market conditions, neighborhoods and associations. Online lenders won’t be aware of any local first time home buyer grants or programs. You can’t meet face to face with an online lender to have them explain loan options and documents with you. You can’t drop off documents to an online lender that is thousands of miles away. A local mortgage officer will give you better service a personal touch and will often have equal or better rates and programs compared with online lender.
I hope this list of 5 First Time Home Buyer Loans Mistakes helps as you’re searching for a first time home buyer loan. We are here to help. Contact us if you need help with your loan.
Also check out my 3 things you need to know as a first time home buyer!
As a real estate agent I’ve helped dozens of first time home buyers over the years and I’ve learned there are 3 things you should know before buying a home as a first time home buyer. Now the first one may be a surprising and the second two may be obvious. So lets dig in to these three items now.
3 Things you Need to Know as a First Time Home Buyer
1. It’s Okay Not To Buy A House
Many first time home buyers feel like they have to buy a house! We just got married – have to buy a house. I just graduated college… time to buy a house. I’m 38 years old and live in my parents basement… you really should buy a house then!
So here is my point. Just because you are at a certain stage in life does not mean you should buy a house. One of the big problems I see is people want to buy a house who really can’t afford it. Maybe they’ve just graduated college but have a huge amount of debt or student loans. It may be best to pay off the debt first and then save money for down payment before purchasing. Also it’s not wise to buy a home unless you see yourself living there for at least 5 years. Renting is a great option if you’re not ready to buy. Don’t listen to everyone who says you have to buy a house.
2. Know Your Mortgage Options
The biggest step as a first time home buyer is to qualify for a mortgage, what loan program to use and how much you can afford. The mortgage company will look at credit scores, debt and income to determine if you qualify for a mortgage. You’ll also want to determine what mortgage program is right for you. I always recommend a conventional loan at 20% down payment to avoid paying a mortgage insurance premium every month. There are other programs with zero down like a USDA or VA loan, and low down payment options like 3.5% down with FHA. It’s important to select a local mortgage company and loan officer who knows the area and all available loan options including any local grants and programs for first time home buyers.
3. Select The Right Real Estate Agent
Everyone knows someone in real estate, right? Selecting the right real estate agent is the next biggest step as a first time home buyer. Selecting an agent because they are a friend or friend of the family can be a disaster. When interviewing or researching an agent here are a few great questions to ask:
- How long have you been in the real estate business?
- How many people do you help per year?
- Are you a full time agent?
These are simple questions and important ones. When you are making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life do you want someone helping you who is inexperienced, unresponsive and not organized?
Hopefully my 3 things you should know before buying a home as a first time home buyer helped you out as you start to look for your first home. Of course if you need a great mortgage consultant and real estate agent we are here to help. Contact me for a free consultation.
You can see a success story of one of my first time home buyers here.
A few months ago I got a call from Susan. She got my name online as a short sale expert and called me desiring to sell her home in a short sale in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. She was behind in her payments and did not want to keep the home because she was relocating. I listed the home for sale and found a great buyer looking to purchase the home for his children.
Short Sale in Egg Harbor Township, NJ
These happy home buyers purchased a short sale foreclosure property through me.
We received short sale approval and were able to sell the house so Susan could avoid foreclosure. We were also able to get her a relocation incentive of $3,000. The new buyers were able to get a great deal and are happy with their new home. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure or considering a short sale in Egg Harbor Township, NJ or anywhere else, please call me at 609-338-3773 or visit my foreclosure help center. Best wishes, Matt
- For privacy seller’s name has been changed in this post.
If you would like more information on short sales or forclosures please use the form below and contact me. I will get back to you ASAP!
I just listed a lovely home for sale. It’s located at 2403 Lahn Lane, Mays Landing, NJ 08330. The home is located in the fantastic executive Hamilton Walk community. It features a 1 acre private lot yet close to major roadways and shopping. The neighborhood is just down the street from the Atlantic City International Airport, FAA Technical Center, Air National Guard and Coast Guard. It’s also a short drive to Atlantic City and less than a mile to the Expressway East and West ramp toward Philadelphia.
The home features a great layout with Game room/family room, office, dining room and great room with updated eat in kitchen and family room. Newer stainless steel appliance, granite countertops in the kitchen and laminate wood floors throughout first floor. Bonus room on the 1st floor currently used as 4th bedroom. Master suite has his and hers closets and large master bath. Large outdoor deck with built in bench seating. Fantastic back yard. This home and grounds are beautifully maintained. The list price is $268,000. Contact me for details or to schedule a showing.
Did you know that the NJ Hardest Hit Fund has funds available to help home owners facing foreclosure?
New Jersey HomeSaver program offers eligible homeowners up to $50,000 in financial assistance to help bring their household monthly payment to an affordable level by using HHF funds to facilitate a refinance, recast, or permanent modification of the first mortgage loan.
Visit our NJ HomeSaver page for details and eligibility requirements: http://sjhouses.com/new-jersey-home-saver-program.
Good news! As of today the Atlantic County, NJ grant program is now funded with grants available of up to $10,000 for first time home buyers! All funds are forgiven after 5 years. This programs does not work for everyone so I’ve outlined the key requirements below. If you don’t think you’ll qualify for this program the state grant program is also giving $10,000 grants and it’s easier to qualify. Click here for details on the state grant. You will need to be pre-qualified by an a approved mortgage company. My preferred lenders are on stand by to help qualify potential first time home buyers asap and get them qualified to receive the grant money. Complete the form below and we’ll reach out to see if you qualify.
Atlantic County, NJ First Time Home Buyer Grant Money Is Now Available
- Who have resided in Atlantic County for the last 12 months or are employed in Atlantic County.
- Who have not owned a home for the last three years.
- With acceptable credit history and the ability to obtain an approved mortgage.
- With incomes below 80% of Median income:
These income levels are (2015):
| # of Household Members
||80% of Median Income
If you or someone you know may be eligible to qualify for this grant please call me for more details at 609-338-3773. Time is limited and funds are usually gone in a few months so please call me now. Matt
It’s back! The HomeSeeker Downpayment assistance program has funds available now to issue $10,000 grants to first time home buyers. These grants are only for the following counties: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Passaic and Union.
HomeSeeker loans are only available to eligible homebuyers who obtain first mortgage financing through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s (NJHMFA) Homeward Bound mortgage program. The $10,000 is forgivable after 5 years of owning the home. The home must be a primary residence.
If you would like to know if you qualify for the HomeSeeker grant I’ve arranged a free mortgage consultation with my preferred lender approved by the NJHMFA to fund the HomeSeeker loans. Contact me below for a free consultation. There are limited funds available on a first come first serve basis. Contact me now to see if you qualify.
Many people always think of the Spring as the best time to sell and buy a home. That typically is when we have the most activity in our market however that doesn’t mean it’s always the best time to sell. Right now we are on the tail end of winter. We have some cold nights and the occasional snow storm and overall the weather is not bad. Buyers are out now shopping for homes. Listing and selling your home now means that your home will competing agains fewer homes for sale. Fewer homes for sale means you may be able to get a better price for your home.
March 2, 2018 Winter storm. Ocean City, NJ
Some of our communities are experiencing an all time low in inventory of homes available. The answer to the questions of when should I sell my house is it depends. It depends on your circumstances, your plans, your neighborhood and your house. There are many factors to consider and I’m here to help you. Contact me for a free consultation to determine when the best time to sell would be for you.
Best wishes, Matt