OAKLAND, N.J. -- Everyone knows someone with a real estate horror story. Especially for couples and young families looking to purchase their first home, the experience can be exciting and joyous, but without proper planning can become stressful and an endless headache.
That's why Jessica Bunone, a sales associate with RE/MAX Traditions' Chopper Russo Group, helps her clients to plan their shopping well in advance. Before opening the laptop to browse local listing, she highly recommends that buyers get pre-approval from a bank or mortgage lender .
"I stress pre-approval because by getting pre-approved, buyers know exactly what they can afford and don’t set themselves up for disappointment later on. By having the approval already in hand, when a buyer falls in love with hot property, they can make a offer without waiting and risking losing the property," she said.
With approval in hand, she encourages buyers to hit the road. "We work together to create a wish list for their house and decide what features are not negotiable, and what aspects would be nice, but are not deal breakers. Then we explore potential areas via drive-by's and visiting open houses or scheduling private showings," she said.
Bunone recommends bringing on a professional to help navigate the complicated world of offers and closings. "It's important for the buyer to hire a real estate professional like myself who is an expert in the area they are looking. The listing agent represents the seller so going directly through them isn't usually your best bet. Hiring a buyer's agent to represent you insures you have someone working for you who has your best interest in mind at all times,'' she said.
Although each buying cycle varies depending on the seller, she sees the most common offer to close time between 30 and 60 days with her clients.
Representing buyers in Bergen, Passaic and Morris Counties, Bunone sees buying motives as unique as the surrounding communities.