Even though it may not seem like it, there are some excellent NJ real estate deals out there. Finding the right house for the right price in the right area is possible. But a home with an affordable asking price does not always signify a good deal. It can be tempting in this chaotic market to overlook some real estate red flags - but you shouldn't. A home is the most significant investment you'll likely ever make. Getting the most out of your money means ensuring it is a good investment from the start. Today, we're sharing three "too good to be true" red flags you should be on the lookout for when you're in the market for a real estate property in New Jersey.
Red Flag #1: The neighborhood has problems.
If the list price seems like a major steal and the house has no significant issues, look to the neighborhood and surrounding area. The list price could be lower to compensate for a home located in a rougher part of town. The house may be in a flood zone, which will lead to higher insurance rates. Explore the employment rate in the area. Boarded-up businesses, a high unemployment rate, and a decreasing population can indicate a struggling neighborhood. If you have kids, do a deep dive into the local school district to see if you think it would be a suitable environment for your learner to thrive.
Red Flag #2: The asking price is exceedingly low.
In the vast majority of cases, the listing price will reflect the value of a property. If the list price seems shockingly low, there is probably a good reason for that. On the flip side of that, prices can often be overinflated. The best way to determine a home's actual value is to get a thorough inspection and a good assessment. You will likely find that a "too good to be true" price reflects deeper problems, like much-needed major structural repairs, past due tax bills, or zoning issues.
Red Flag #3: You see a lot of cosmetic fixes.
If it's obvious the sellers have done a lot of cosmetic fixes to improve the appearance of the home, but you can't identify any actual recent repairs or upgrades, there could be issues lurking below the freshly painted surface. For example, if you can see evidence that water damage has been covered up with paint, you should be concerned that this isn't the only corner the seller has cut in order to sell. An updated interior can also distract from exterior issues or foundation issues. A good inspector can determine which cosmetic fixes are hiding more significant problems.
The best way to avoid buying a home that is a secret dud is to work with experienced real estate professionals. A thorough and experienced inspector and a savvy real estate agent can be significant money savers when purchasing a new home. Veitengruber Law works with the top real estate professionals in Central New Jersey to review real estate contracts. When you have the backing of a solid team of professionals who are all working together, you're on the right track to buying an NJ property that is truly worth the money.