How to Get Started in Buying Your First Home in North Jersey

Taylor C. Lucyk

North Jersey is the perfect location for those who want to live close enough to New York City while still enjoying a slower-paced, suburban lifestyle. While it has so much to offer in terms of fine dining, world-class entertainment, high-end shopping, excellent schools, endless outdoor recreation, and numerous other amenities, its proximity to the city makes it ideal for commuters or weekend revelers. It’s no wonder new residents are flocking here, and real estate demand has steadily increased. If you’re interested in setting roots here, here’s what to know when buying your home on North Jersey.

Research the local real estate market

The real estate market can vary greatly depending on location. When searching for homes for sale in North Jersey, keep in mind the demand for housing remains high. Doing proper research will help prepare you for the home-buying process. Start by searching for recently sold homes and current homes for sale in the area. This will give you a good bird’s eye view of market conditions and the types of properties for sale.

Research available housing inventory. Many factors can affect inventory, such as a lack or uptick in new housing developments, interest rates, and economic upturns or downturns. You should know the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market. When more homes are on the market than there is demand, it’s a buyer’s market. Homes might sell more slowly, and buyers have the upper hand when negotiating offers. On the other hand, when there are fewer homes and more buyers, you can expect a seller’s market. Homes tend to sell quickly, and sellers are usually able to get higher offers for them. Seller’s markets are prevalent in coveted locations, such as North Jersey.

Get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage loan

First, you should know the difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval when applying for a mortgage loan. When getting prequalified, a mortgage lender will collect basic financial information and estimate the amount of loan you can get. A pre-qualification is not a guarantee that you will get a loan. On the other hand, when getting pre-approved, you will need bank statements, a loan history, tax returns, and numerous other documents to determine your purchasing power. The lender will also check your credit score.

In both cases, you should get a letter of pre-qualification or pre-approval from the lender. Having this letter will show sellers and their agents that you are a serious buyer. They will usually consider your offer over buyers who have not been pre-qualified or pre-approved. In a seller’s market, buyers should take every advantage they can get.

Look for your ideal neighborhood(s)

North Jersey has diverse and unique neighborhoods catering to various lifestyles. One of the most popular, The Waterfront, is stretched along the Hudson, offering some of the best views of Manhattan. It’s known for its North Jersey luxury homes and high-rise condominiums with resort-style living. There are a host of city amenities, like shopping malls, amazing restaurants, trendy bars, and cultural institutions. Manhattan is only a ferry ride away, making The Waterfront a commuter’s destination.

Journal Square is another fantastic location with historic landmarks, shopping plazas, and diverse cuisine. You’ll find a mix of renovated buildings and newer housing. It’s conveniently located by the PATH train, which can take you directly to New York City, making it a perfect location for business professionals and those seeking to take advantage of the city’s urban amenities.

If you’re looking for a suburban community, Haworth features larger, single-family homes, a picturesque, laid-back atmosphere, and a small-town appeal in North Jersey. The neighborhood is mostly residential, with no apartment buildings or chain stores. You’ll find exclusive country clubs and a one-block business district with a park and lake across the street. Because it’s only 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan, Haworth is still convenient enough for commuters.

Make a list of must-haves and don’t wants

Create a list of the features you need and want to have in a home. This includes the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need and whether you must have parking spaces for vehicles. If you have a dog, you may want a place that is closer to a park, or if you have children, you may want a location with highly-rated school districts. When determining your home must-haves, you should consider whether or not you want easy access to public transportation and if you want to live close to the city center, or if you’d prefer a quieter cul-de-sac neighborhood.

Get specific when creating your list. Do you want a large outdoor space, natural lighting, upgraded fixtures, and modern appliances? If so, write these features down. By having a clear-cut list of what you want in a home, you can help your agent narrow down available properties.

Work with the best local real estate agent

Once you’re ready to start looking at houses, contact your local real estate agent. A great agent will help you search for homes specific to your lifestyle needs and update you on new homes listed on the market. Their market expertise, comprehensive data knowledge, and connections with other industry professionals can help you find the right mortgage lender, home inspector, and designer. Buying a home is a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be a very stressful one. With an agent at your side, you’ll have help navigating negotiations and real estate laws and regulations.

Connect with The Taylor Lucyk Group

The Taylor Lucyk Group is one of the most experienced and respected real estate groups in the North Jersey area. Taylor Lucyk currently ranks in the top 1% of agents in Northern New Jersey. His full-time, multi-service team specializes in luxury real estate and a variety of properties, from large estates and single-family homes to townhouses and condominiums. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the team can provide you with the necessary resources and expertise to ensure you find and secure a home you love.


Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, an experienced investor, curious about what your home is currently worth, looking to rent, or have any other real estate related inquiries, please reach out to the Taylor Lucyk Group. We are here to redefine your real estate experience.

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