New Jersey offers big-city action, beach waves and everything in-between, whether you want to live across the Hudson from the Manhattan skyline or in the serenity of a quaint coastal town like Cape May. As you dream about planting your own garden in the Garden State, use this as your guide to figure out where to look, how much to budget and what to expect when buying a home in New Jersey.
How to buy a house in New Jersey
Decide where to live in New Jersey
It’s the most important of all the steps to buying a home: figuring out where, exactly, the house should be located. If you aren’t tied to a particular area for your job or other reasons, you can consider the pros and cons of different parts of the state: close to the hustle and bustle of New York City to the north or Philadelphia to the south; in the middle of the state in the capital city of Trenton; or a verse from a Springsteen song in legendary Asbury Park.
Median home prices can vary wildly across this popular state. For example, according to Redfin data, the median price in Princeton — home to the famous Ivy League university — is a high $925,000. But in Hackensack, only about 50 miles away, the median is just $395,000.
As you compare different cities and towns, don’t think only about your homebuying budget. It’s equally important to factor in the total cost of living to get a sense of how far your dollars will go for transportation, food, utilities and other day-to-day expenses.
Tips for buying a house in New Jersey
As you start comparing mortgage rates in New Jersey, think about how much you plan to borrow to purchase a home. Is it going to be a forever home with a luxury price tag? If so, the money you need to borrow might be require looking at jumbo loans, which are loans that exceed limits put in place by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That dollar amount depends on the county in which you’re buying. In more expensive areas of New Jersey, like Ocean, Monmouth and Sussex counties, the 2022 conforming loan limit is $970,800. In more affordable counties like Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem, it’s much lower — $647,200.
Things to know about buying a house in New Jersey
- Property taxes: Becoming a New Jersey homeowner comes at a high tax cost. The state’s property tax rates are 2.21 percent of a home’s value: the highest rate in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.
- Dual agency: New Jersey law …….