Purchasing a house is a very exciting time. Being able to be prepared will help you make an informed decision. So, take this opportunity to learn more about homebuying and the mortgage process.
Ask yourself this question, “Am I Ready to Buy?” Buying a home offers many advantages, one of the most significant being that it allows you to build equity (ownership) when you pay your mortgage each and every month. A common myth is that monthly mortgage payments are more expensive than rent payments. However, in most cases, mortgage payments can be MUCH less than rent.
So, when considering homeownership for the first time, you will need to decide whether buying makes financial and practical sense for you right now or if renting is better. You should however consider both the advantages and disadvantages to renting as well as buying. Let’s take a look at a few advantages and disadvantages of both.
How much house can you afford?
The first step toward finding the right home is to figure out your purchasing power and determine how much you can really afford to pay each month. This saves time by allowing you to focus on homes in your price range. Keep in mind, during the planning stage you should consider both up-front costs and ongoing costs associated with purchasing a home. Take a peek at our affordability calculator which will tell you how much you are able to borrow from a lender.
Getting pre-qualified is also a good idea. It will help to narrow down your options so you can focus only on home you can afford. Click here to get pre-qualified today.
Upfront Costs Include:
Down payment: Typically ranges from 3-30% of the cost of the house. The more you can put down, the greater equity you will have in your home and the lower your monthly payment will be. For down payments less than 20% you may also need to pay mortgage insurance. 

Closing Costs: Typically range from 2-6% of the loan. However, this amount depends on your area. 

On-going Costs: Your housing costs can include the following:
  • Monthly mortgage payment
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Mortgage Insurance
  • If applicable - Flood Insurance
  • If applicable - Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance
Are you a first-time home buyer? Download our FREE First-time Homebuyer Guide for everything you need to know about the mortgage process.
Questions about the Mortgage Process or which type of Loan best fits your financial situation? Check out our library of loan programs or contact us directly and one of our expert loan officers will help.


The Monmouth County, NJ First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program is designed to provide financial assistance to low income families to purchase an affordable home in the form of a deferred payment second mortgage loan in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for down payment and closing costs (only).


  • MUST BE a resident of Monmouth County for 1 YEAR before applying for a grant.

  • ALL applicants must complete a pre-purchase housing counseling course and provide a certificate of completion with the First-Time Homebuyer application.

  • MUST BE an individual(s) that never owned a home (except if an applicant has previously owned a home he/she still may qualify if they meet 1 or more of the following criteria:

    • An individual that has not owned a home in 3 years prior to receiving home assistance. 

    • An individual who is a single parent even if the individual owned a home with his or her spouse or resided in a home owned by the spouse

    • An individual who is a displaced homemaker even if as a homemaker the individual owned a home with his or her spouse or resided in a home owned by the spouse. 

    • Must be low income. Gross annual income does not exceed 80% of the county median income:



  • Property MUST be the principal residence

  • Applicant must purchase a house located in the participating municipalities ONLY.

  • Fist-time homebuyer can only purchase a 1-4 family property or condominium unit.

  • Housing unit cannot exceed the max purchase price of $337,000 for 1-family & condominium, $432,000 for 2-family unit, $532,000 for a 3-family unit and $648,000 for a 4-family unit. 

  • Mobile homes are not eligible for purchase using First-time Homebuyer program funds

  • Co-signor not allowed

Still have questions about the FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM? Contact us today! 


Home buying just got a lot easier!

The average borrower wants a conventional mortgage when they purchase a home. Rates are lower and the terms seem friendlier. What if you don’t have the standard 20% down payment, though? What if you only have 3% to put down – are you out of luck? The good news is there is a Conventional 97 program. 

The Conventional 97 First-time Buyer Program helps more families achieve the homeownership milestone with a 3% down payment, regardless of income levels or geographic location. Many of today’s home buyers will meet guidelines for this new loan option.

Take a look at some of the criteria in order to qualify for this type of loan:


  • Minimum down payment: 3%


  • No geographic restrictions or income limits 


  • Homeownership Education required


  • Primary Single Unit Residences (including condos)


  • At least one borrower must be a 1st time homebuyer (no ownership in last 3 years)
  • Borrowers may not have any ownership in any other residential property at time of closing 
  • Non-owner occupant co-borrowers not permitted
  • Homeownership education: Certificate required when all borrowers are first-time buyers, at least one borrower must complete the course

Have questions or need some guidance? Contact us today.

Are you getting ready to buy a home? If so, here are four keys to being prepared so you can make your very first offer!

1. Know what you can afford and how much cash you will need. Knowing what you qualify for before looking at any homes will save you the disappointment that can come from falling in love with a home that's out of reach. We'll be happy to "pre-qualify" you now so you'll know what will work later.

2. Know where you want to be. Learn about the neighborhood before you make an offer to buy. Sample the commute. Talk to would be neighbors. See the schools, shops and services before you start negotiating.

3. Choose your property type. Consider your range of choices: single family, multi-family, townhome, condo, co-op, new construction, etc. Know the pros and cons of each. Decide which is best for you, and define your search accordingly.

4. Obtain a valid pre-approval before you make an offer. This entails document verification, a credit check and automated or actual underwriting. If all is in order, you will receive the equivalent of a loan commitment that's subject to a contract, appraisal and title work. Your pre-approval gives you and the seller confidence in your ability to close the deal once you find your perfect home.

You will probably buy a home only a few times in your life, but we're laser focused on the process every day. We know how important proper preparation can be to making the process easy and rewarding. Now, so do you.


People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, we want to make certain that everyone understands that with rental rates on the rise, now may not be a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. According to their report, here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether or not you should renew your lease, you might be pleasantly surprised at your ability to buy a home of your own instead.

Bottom Line

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home. If you are ready and willing to buy, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if you are able to today!

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