Consumer Alert: Shopping for a new home

Experts say potential home buyers should prioritize researching a neighborhood before anything else. Bob Oppenheimer, of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, and Faith Murphy, a real estate agent, Experts say potential home buyers should prioritize researching a neighborhood before anything else. Bob Oppenheimer, of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, and Faith Murphy, a real estate agent,

Experts say potential home buyers should prioritize researching a neighborhood before anything else.

Bob Oppenheimer, of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, and Faith Murphy, a real estate agent, both say buyers may want to factor in whether the home is within walking distance to a school or train station.

Realtors also say people should think about money early on and go into the process with pre-approved or pre-qualified credit.

When a buyer knows their budget, they can make smart decisions about borrowing. A certain amount of credit may be accessible, but buyers shoulder also factor in other things that can affect their monthly payments, like the down payment and property taxes.

The next step is finding the right realtor.

"You want to find an agent that will listen to you and not push you to the houses that they have listed or their broker has listed," says Dan Desmond, a retired real estate agent.

He also says shoppers should compare a lot of houses before making a decision.

Lastly, Desmond warns that buyers should keep it simple when it comes to making an offer.

"I would not advise them to make a low-ball offer, because that's just going to upset the seller and make them...less receptive to negotiation," he says. "Make a fair offer."

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