The housing market in New Jersey has been revitalized since the 2005 recession, recovering from over a decade of sluggish prices. If you are looking for a home in New Jersey, here are three important things to investigate before closing.
The neighborhood is an extension of the property
While many people focus on the amenities a property has to offer, make sure to widen the scope of your research to include data about the overall neighborhood. It’s one thing to purchase a home with known issues that you are willing to fix, but if there are issues in the neighborhood, that’s likely beyond the scope of your control and it can still affect the value of your home. Look at crime and accident statistics, and also pay attention to school district ratings. Even if you don’t currently have children, if you need to sell your property in the future, school districts could be a concern for potential buyers.
Ensure the neighborhood has reasonable emergency services nearby to support an adequate response time. Check to see if there are viable options for senior living nearby, such a health center in Ocean View, NJ, as this could also become an important factor in the future if someone in the household needs care one day. This is another amenity to tout when it comes time to sell your property, so make sure to weigh the features and benefits the neighborhood has to offer, as they factor into the salability of the property.
Don’t waive the inspection
Closing costs can get out of control quickly, and some buyers may rationalize that there’s no need for a home inspection since the bank will order an appraisal. However, these two reports fill two entirely different roles and happen at different phases of the buying process. Typically, a home inspection happens very quickly after the real estate contract is signed, and it enables the buyer to recoup their earnest money deposit if a significant problem is discovered.
The bank appraisal tends to happen later in the process, often after the option period in the contract has expired. Furthermore, the focus of the appraisal will be more on comparing this property to other properties which have recently sold, in an effort to determine if the sale price is in line with market value. While some notes may appear regarding noticeable issues with the property, appraisers may not be experts on foundation or structural issues, nor on mechanical systems or reasonable lifespans of structural components.
A home inspection in South Plainfield, NJ, for example, provides a detailed report on the health of the property, which can help you evaluate your upcoming repair priorities and identify potential issues. Additionally, if you will be moving from out-of-state and need to make repairs to the home, a local home inspector can sometimes provide better suggestions for things like a door installation in New Jersey than you might pull up yourself with an internet search.
Check the tax rate
Property tax rates vary from place to place, but are considered to be a significant housing expense in New Jersey, with some counties being identified as much higher than others. This can amount to the equivalent of a car payment in some cases and can be a real shock to out-of-state residents. Therefore, if you have some flexibility on location while taking potential commute times into consideration, take the local property taxes into account. Performing plenty of due diligence up front will ensure you make the best possible choice with your next property purchase.