Here is what I have learned all 3 times I've tried to buy a house in NJ -
(I'll explain why 3 times later) - the Realtors here are LAZY.
You give them a list of requirements of what you are looking for and they give you a blanket listing of all houses available anywhere NEAR your price range without filtering anything out.
Thanks to the INTERNET - I can do that myself Realtor - what I want from you is for you to narrow down the field and show me what I WANT - not all that is available. I also want from you some information on what the deal is with the houses - what's the back story - have you walked through , etc...
The listings of these properties are LAME. The majority literally have 1 picture on any website you go to and it's the front of the house... seriously?
If there are pictures - they are fuzzy, dark or taken at weird angles that make no sense. I've even seen some where they post pictures of the driveway covered in snow and I swear there was one that showed a flooded driveway.
This is our 4th attempt at buying a house.
Number 1 - was before we had Katie when we were planning to move to Naugy - we worked with an AMAZING realtor (Jennifer Merrill in Naugatuck, CT) who helped us out immsensely (since we were doing this from out of state) answered our questions, did her homework, etc...
She set us up to think that all realtors were like her and boy were we wrong! She is AMAZING - all other realtors are just crap in comparison - particularly in Jersey.
We were all ready to go and then Dave got a promotion so we bagged the whole idea and ended up moving closer to his job in New Jersey instead.
Number 2 was last year.
It was last year right before I started working again - we decided to casually browse places and found a place we liked. We felt the pressure of the market around here in North NJ and rushed into an offer - had the inspection done and then found out that all of the bones of the house were crap. Sewer, roof, garage, foundation shifting, chimney shifting - everything you can imagine - so we ended up walking away because it was just too overwhelming!
Our mistakes with that house were that we used the realtor from the open house so it was a dual agent thing. When we got the awful inspection report - she did nothing. It was awful. Lesson learned on our part - dual agents don't work.
Number 3 has it's own blog post because it's a foreclosure - buying foreclosures is a horrible, horrible process... BAAH
Number 4 is a house we found that meets ALMOST all our must haves. It even has an extra room that is going to be my office which I am SUPER stoked about! There are 2 living spaces (one will be a family room for toys, etc... with a fireplace and the other will be the living room with the tv)
The kids will have their own full bath (a totally outdated pepto bismol pink thing) and we will have our own as well.
The only downside to this house is the teeny tiny kitchen. It's in the town I love with GREAT SCHOOLS for the kids so we're super excited about it.
Because the kitchen is so small AND the bathrooms are outdated - it means we will have to do some work which we were hoping to avoid - but given the local market - we really can't avoid it and we will just replace tile, paint, etc... we aren't going to re-arrange those rooms. The kitchen will take a lot of money because there is no dishwasher. I have decided I can't live without one - so that will be the first project - finding a place for it and getting the plumbing and electric for it. We plan to keep the cabinets - but paint them and change out hardware. We are also talking about knocking down this dumb wall that is between our tiny kitchen and our decent size dining room.
We are not in attorney review - which is normally an easy process - BUT it's an estate sale - so some of the conditions they are coming back with are kind of rigid - so we have to think about that as we move forward. But I am hopeful that it will be fine and inspections will be fine - and renovations will be fun and everyone will be happy...
Cause this lady needs a serious win. It's been a rough few weeks - I've been sick for WEEKS and feeling very down and sad over bad news coming from every direction - so every night before bed I tell my husband - we're gonna get a win soon - I know it... and I do!
Oh, and my realtor - has been MIA - no follow up or questions or how is it going or ANYTHING. I find that annoying. She stands to make a lot of money off of this for doing very little work so it would be nice if she stepped it up a notch. I mean seriously - I should be a realtor - I would take EVERYONE'S clients because I would do all the stuff for people that I wish these people had done for me so that I was happy with the home buying process...
Oh, and my lawyer - yeah he MAILED me the contract revisions the seller sent back to us - with no warning or phone call - wasting DAYS we could have been reviewing, etc.. so I had to ask him to fax me the updates so we could review and move on.. Don't people understand that when you are buying a house you don't want to sit around and WAIT?