Real Estate Information Archive


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Looking for a new home can be an exciting process – to say the least.  This house will come to be the place that you call home every day for years to come, so you want to make sure you choose a new home that is going to make you and your family the happiest.  

However, there is a common trap that many homebuyers (especially first timers) fall into.  People often get so caught up in the process of finding the perfect house that they have a tendency to forget to ask vital questions.

Taking some time out of your busy home search to consider these 5 questions will leave you better equipped making the decision to buy or avoid a home.  

  1. Can I afford it?
    • During the search process, you may look at dozens of houses before you find one that you fall in love with.  When this moment occurs, many potential buyers are so relieved that they have finally found the right house that they tend to slightly overpay. 
    • Statistics show that overspending on a mortgage puts the home at greater risk of foreclosure.  The “rule of thumb” is that you should not be spending more than 30% of your income on your home mortgage. In 2012, 37.5% of homeowners where spending over this 30% plateau.
  2. What is the neighborhood like?
    • When you visit a home with you real estate agent, you generally see the house at the most appealing part of the day.  (During the day, most of the neighbors aren’t home and the neighborhood seems quiet and peaceful).  However, you have to take into consideration what the neighborhood will be like at night as well.  Are there unruly teenagers running around at all hours of the night?  Do your neighbors constantly host loud parties?  These are things that you will not be aware of when you visit during the day, so make it a point to investigate the neighborhood at other times of the day or night.
  3.  Are there good schools in the area?
    • You want to make sure that your children (or future children) grow up in an environment that takes education seriously.  Do some research to find out what kind of schools your kids would be attending if you were to purchase the house you are looking at.  Attending PTA meetings, for example, is a way to get an idea of how the town’s school system works.
  4. What would be my commute time to and from work?
    • You will probably have a general idea of how many miles you will need to travel from home to work each day, but you should travel the route (both ways) several times to figure out exactly how long it will take before you buy a house. You will get an idea of the traffic patterns, and will be able to map out alternate routes that may be quicker.
    • Studies show that most people are happier and more satisfied with their jobs if they have a shorter commute time.
  5. Has the home been inspected thoroughly?
    • You want to make sure you know everything there is to know about a house before you sign the papers.  You do not want to run into any surprises down the road.  Are there cracks in the foundation?  Are there signs of mold damage?  Do all of the light switches work properly?  These are the types of things you want to verify prior to purchase. And if you are superstitious, it is totally legal to inquire about hauntings or ghosts!

Real Estate Agent vs. For Sale by Owner


Today, during difficult economic times, people are intently looking anywhere they can to save money.  When it comes time for people to sell their homes, owners often think that they can avoid hiring a real estate agent and sell their home on their own.  However, there are major factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding to use a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) approach, rather than hiring a real estate agent.





Advantages of Using a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling your home, there are a number of benefits to hiring an experienced real estate agent.  These benefits include:

  • Increased Exposure
    • A real estate agent is able to optimize exposure of the property to a collection of buyers.
    • Your property listing will be put into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) database where your home will be viewable to thousands of potential buyers.
  • Experience
    • A real estate agent knows all of the “ins and outs” of closing on the sale of a home.
    • The agent will know how to handle most situations that may arise due to their experience.
    • Agents will be more comfortable and suitable handling contracts necessary to sell a home.
  • Negotiating Skills
    • A real estate agent can serve as the “middle man” between buyer and seller.
    • This will prevent confrontations and ill will that often arises when buyers and sellers engage in direct negotiation.
  • Honesty
    • Because of the fact that all real estate agents are licensed professionals, they are bound by common law to act in the clients’ best interest.
    • Agents rely heavily on referrals from other clients so sellers are assured that they are doing everything in the sellers’ best interest.


Disadvantages of a For-Sale-By Owner (FSBO) Approach

Choosing to take the path of selling your home by yourself is a risk for a number of reasons.  Some of these risks include:

  • Limited Exposure
    • Sellers are only able to reach potential buyers through newspaper advertisements, internet ads, and street signage.
    • The listing cannot be in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) database because they do not have the exclusivity that real estate agents have.
    • Buyer’s agents are hesitant to show FSBO homes because they want to do business with the seller’s agents
  • Homes are Overpriced
    • Homeowners typically overprice their home because they have a connection with the property and feel it is worth more than it actually is.
    • Overpricing will further limit the potential buyers that FSBO are exposed to.
  • Intimidation of FSBO
    • Buyers of homes want to interact with a professional who has experience selling homes.
    • Buyers are more comfortable making offers to an agent rather than the homeowner.
  • Legal Trouble
    • Certain contracts and documents required to sell a home are often overlooked by homeowners.
    • This can lead to expensive lawsuits from the buyer.    

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Contact Information

Photo of Marie Gentile Real Estate
Marie Gentile
Keller Williams Realty West Monmouth
50 Hwy 9 North
Marlboro NJ 07746
(732) 536-9010 Office
(732) 433-9117 Cell
Fax: (800) 878-5469