Buying a shore home usually represents a great investment & opportunity.

The shore home buying process is one of the most exciting, and frequently stressful, experiences you’ll ever go through. This holds true whether you’ve bought many shore homes or you’re looking to buy your first, whether you’re in the market for a condo, an investment property or that perfect 
vacation getaway.

Today’s Jersey Shore real estate market can offer more opportunities, yet
 can be filled with more risks than ever before. There are a multitude of factors to consider and decisions to make. When buying, it’s crucial to have all the available resources necessary to make a well-informed decision, together with the time required to make use of them. It’s important to enlist the help of a trusted real estate professional who’ll be able to provide expert guidance at each step of the buying process.

Finding and purchasing a shore home includes the following steps, which we’ll examine in more detail throughout this booklet:

1.) Define your goals, research your options, make your plans

Given that buying a second home is such a big step, it’s very important to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. This means clearly determining the reasons you’re buying and what kind of shore house you’re looking for.  What is the ideal location for your shore house and how far are you willing to drive to get there?
Once you’ve answered these questions, even tentatively, you’ll be in a better position to search for shore homes, and create an action plan and timeline for moving forward.

2.) Explore the beach communities

The Jersey Shore has a beach community for every buyer.  Do want a beach town that is a bit more mellow and authentic?  Are you going to do more swimming than exploring?  Are you looking for a vibrant nightlife?  We suggest finding a shore town that meets your lifestyle and budget.  Take into account every shore community – don’t be married to just one.  You may find that you cannot afford an oceanfront home in Avalon, but you can in Sea Isle City.

3.) Get pre-approved for a loan by a local lender

We recommend that you get pre-approved for a loan before you start viewing shore homes with the serious intention of buying. The pre-approval process involves speaking with a second home lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. On the basis of this examination, the lender may provide you with a document detailing the amount you can borrow to buy a shore home.

The benefits of Local Mortgage Lender pre-approval include:

You’ll know what you are eligible to receive and be able to plan accordingly
. As a qualified, motivated shore buyer you’ll be taken more seriously when you make an offer Lenders can tell you if you qualify for special mortgage programs and incentives.

It is important to recognize that although a lender will approve you based on your credit examination, they may not have the ability to mortgage in a vacation market or in certain condominium buildings.

Real estate financing is available from many sources, as an experienced real estate professional we will be able to suggest lenders with a history of offering excellent mortgage products and services in our local shore market.  
For more information about the benefits of pre-approval and the loan process in general, see -
The Loan Process – Financing Your Shore House, on page 14.

4.) View shore homes and select THE ONE

Simply put, the key to the shore home search process is knowing what you’re looking for. Among other things, that means distinguishing between “must-haves” and “like-to-haves”. To help you to target your search and define your home preference priorities, this guide includes a Shore House Search Worksheet on page 23.

That said, here are a few recent facts about the search process that might put your experience in perspective:

92% of buyers use the internet or mobile apps to search for homes. 
The typical shore buyer searches for 4 weeks and views 12 homes, 97% of buyers view real estate agents as the most important key in the second home search process as they can do the leg work that most shore buyers cannot based on location.

There are many benefits to starting the search process at a real estate website like realtor.com®, but your local agent has knowledge of homes BEFORE they hit the market such as “Coming Soon Listing” and “Quiet Listings”.  You can view many homes and their details, take video tours and access neighborhood info at our local website, njshorehouse.com.

However, it’s also important to view homes in person. While the property details may seem similar online, homes can be very different in terms of layout, design, workmanship and other aspects. Ideally, you should view homes with the help of an experienced shore real estate professional who’ll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board.

In addition, our shore market moves quickly.  You may plan a trip to look at homes in the near future and those homes may already be sold or under contract.  Using a local agent can help make the most of your time when you are ready to visit.

5.) Make an offer and negotiate with the seller

Once you’ve found the home you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Your state or local real estate association likely has contracts that are generally used for transactions in your area. These contracts enable you to specify a sale price and also allow the inclusion of clauses specifying various terms of purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, your deposit amount, and other conditions.

You should carefully review these clauses with your real estate professional to be sure that they accurately express your intended offer. In addition to drawing up the contract, your real estate professional will be happy to address all of your questions about the offer process.*
Once you’ve written the offer, your real estate professional will present it to the seller and/or the seller’s representative. At that point, the process will vary somewhat depending on the market you’re in.

Generally speaking, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process.

Successive counter-offers, with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions, may be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutual pending agreement is reached or the negotiations breakdown.

Negotiations involve many factors specifically relating to different market conditions, homes and sellers, some of which are examined in – Successfully Negotiating The Deal.

6.) Secure your financing

Once you have a pending agreement, it’s time to return to your chosen lender to finalize mortgage details in order to close the deal. This means finalizing your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule and all other financial conditions associated with the closing.
As the saying goes, ‘let the buyer beware’. Unfortunately, too many buyers suffer negative consequences from not fully understanding their financing decisions. Thus, it’s crucial for you to work with people you trust. In this regard, a good real estate professional can become a true friend for life.

Close the deal
If you’ve efficiently taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home, taking ownership should be a positive joy with no surprises. Key steps to the closing, also referred to as the “escrow” or “settlement”, include:

Getting a title search – you will need a historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property – to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property. It’s also necessary to purchase Title Insurance for protection in the event of errors in the records or mistakes in the review process.

The final walkthrough – you will be given the chance to look at the home one last time to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the sale agreement.

The settlement – typically, on the Closing Date you’ll meet with a lawyer, real estate professional, or escrow agent to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At that point, you’ll receive the property title and copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase.

Oh, and one more thing – you’ll get the keys!

In most cases, Possession Date will fall within a few days, and you will be able to move into your new home.

 

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