Beyond Square Footage: Your First-Time Homebuyer Field Guide!

Tanner Sommese February 29, 2024

Beyond Square Footage: Your First-Time Homebuyer Field Guide!


Okay, you've scoured the internet...and figured out this whole "rural living vs. suburbs" thing. You're pre-approved, but before visions of shiplap and subway tile take over, let's discuss the factors that'll make your first home the right fit, especially in 


Location: It's Not Just an Address


The Daily Commute: 15 minutes further for cheaper housing? Calculate those hours lost (and gas burned!) – NJ Transit might be your savior if proximity to a train line is possible.


Noise Pollution: Major highways and flight paths are a fact of life. Spend time near the house at different hours to be realistic about what you can live with.


"Future You" Check: Is this a neighborhood you’re living in temporarily or is this you forever home? Are you happy with the way the neighborhood is developing?


The Property – Understanding Private Utilities


Age Ain't Just a Number: Older homes have charm, BUT... factor in upgrades. Is it on well/septic? Do you use oil/propane? - these costs impact your true budget.


Well & Septic 101: Inspections are a MUST. Get educated on maintenance to avoid expensive surprises. 



The Sniff Test: A musty smell means potential water damage or mold


Don't be Blinded by the Shiny: Fancy staging can distract you from serious issues, potentially. Pay attention to the basics – solid structure, roof in good shape, decent windows.



The Neighborhood – Vibe Check is Essential


Walk the Talk: Explore on foot. Are sidewalks available? Are the parks well-kept? Getting outdoors for hikes is big up here - a nearby trailhead is a bonus!

Night Shift: Things look different after dark. Is the street lighting adequate? Do houses suddenly party louder than you'd like?



The Future Forecast: A quick chat at the town planning office reveals upcoming developments that could significantly change the area.


Northern NJ Lifestyle Factors


Yard Space vs. Convenience: Love to garden or need room for furry friends? A little further out may be worth it. Just factor that into your commute equation.



Foodie Alert: Many of our local towns have awesome dining scenes. Proximity to your favorite cuisine may trump a bigger pantry/kitchen for takeout lovers.


Four Seasons Fun: Is winter storage a reality for your hobbies (boats, bikes)? Does the property make snow removal manageable?


The 'Feels Right' Factor (backed by knowledge!)


Don't Roommate with Regret: Compromise is natural, but don't rationalize away major drawbacks to fit a budget.


Picture Your Life Here: Weekend farmer's market runs, grilling, hosting friends... does this match the home's layout and location?

Gut Feeling (Plus a Great Agent): A good agent is your ally, especially in understanding those private utility complexities. Having an agent who is local and experienced is VITAL for a successful home search and transaction negotiations. Interview as many agents as possible to find the one who you connect with the best. Dont settle for a lackluster agent because it’s convenient.


Homebuying Isn't a Sprint, It's an Expedition


Your first home is a HUGE milestone. This guide empowers you to make a house purchase you'll celebrate for years to come, with all those unique factors in mind!


Tony and Tanner, known as ‘Team Sold It’ at Clearview Realty, are a fierce dynamic duo serving Sussex, Morris, and Passaic counties in New Jersey, as well as Orange County, New York. They are well known as trusted experts in real estate, specializing in Lakefront, Luxury, and Country Homes, and are committed to delivering exceptional services tailored to meet clients' needs. Their offices in Sparta, New Jersey, and Warwick, New York, strategically positioned, enable them to offer a wealth of knowledge and personalized service in the complex realm of real estate. Their combined experience and perspectives form a robust partnership focused on providing precise guidance, meticulous attention to detail, and unwavering support throughout clients' buying or selling journeys. Tony and Tanner pride themselves on their collaborative approach, ensuring clients receive top-notch service and a seamless experience. Their commitment to excellence guarantees unparalleled assistance and expert advice for those in the market to buy or sell. They encourage direct contact via call, text, or email for prompt and informative responses, handling real estate needs with professionalism and care. At Clearview Realty, their dedication lies in guiding clients towards achieving real estate goals with confidence and success. They invite individuals to reach out and allow them to navigate the real estate landscape with precision and expertise.


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