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Buying a House in Jersey City 🏡💲 | Jersey City Real Estate & First Time Home Buyer Programs

Are you thinking about planting your roots in Jersey City this year? Situated alongside the Hudson River, Jersey City is the county seat of Hudson County and is a part of the New York metropolitan area. The population of Jersey City is 292,449, which is an 18.1% increase over the past decade. Known for its beautiful views of New York City, convenience for commuters, amazing employment opportunities, and high quality of life, it is no wonder so many people are moving to the area! The median household income in Jersey City is $81,390 and the average cost of living for a family of four is $8,464 per month.

If you are considering moving to Jersey City, then you may be thinking about purchasing a house. Over the past year, the Jersey City real estate market has cooled down significantly. Although there has been a cool down, the real estate in Jersey City is still very desirable. According to Business Insider, Jersey City is set to be one of the hottest real estate markets for the next 10 years. Many New Yorkers are flocking to Jersey City as it is a bit calmer than NYC yet is still an easy commute for work or a day trip. Jersey City itself is also becoming attractive due to its many job opportunities. In fact, the city has recently made the list for America’s 50 Best Cities for a Job in 2023.

The home buying process can be intimidating and stressful at times, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you take some time to do your homework, however, the whole process can be a breeze! This is what you should know about buying a house in Jersey City.

The Steps to Buying a House in Jersey City

If you are a first time homebuyer in Jersey City, NJ, then there are many things to consider. The real estate market changes every month, so the home buying process is constantly changing. Here’s everything you need to know about the process of buying a house in Jersey City.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a House in Jersey City?

The final home price in Jersey City is just one of many variables you need to consider when purchasing property. Purchasing a home is a serious financial undertaking, so it is important to make sure you get your money in order before you start searching for a house. When you buy a house in Jersey City, you need to consider property taxes, mortgage, and homeowner’s insurance. You also need to consider other everyday expenses such as food, childcare, health care, gas, and utilities. All of these are extra expenses on top of the initial price of your home.

The first step in planning your budget is to determine your gross income and your monthly debt payments. When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will likely require you to have a debt-to-income ratio of 36% or lower. Your debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your income that you spend on your mortgage. Your final mortgage amount is comprised of homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees, property taxes, and interest.

Using an affordability calculator is a great way to get a good idea of how much you can spend on a home. If you meet the Jersey City average household income of $81,390, have a monthly debt payment of $250, and make a down payment of $20,000, then the affordability calculator predicts that you can afford a house up to $293,377. This averages out to about $2,179 per month.

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When living in Jersey City, you will have to pay property taxes quarterly. Property taxes are calculated based on the total assessed value of the property (land value + improvements value - exemptions) divided by $100 and then multiplied by the tax rate (2.118%). The average property tax bill for Jersey City homeowners was $9,490 in 2022.

In addition to your mortgage payment and property taxes, you also have to consider the cost of living in Jersey City. The Cost of Living Index in Jersey City is 123.4. This means that Jersey City is 23.4% more expensive than the national average of 100. Of course, it is natural for the cost of living to be higher in a large city such as Jersey City. After you buy a home in Jersey City, you can expect an average monthly utility bill of $132.23. HOA fees in Jersey City typically range from $200 to $400 a month.

What Is the Average Home Price in Jersey City?

The average home price in Jersey City is $670,000, which is a 2.7% increase from last year. Although prices are higher this year, the market is not as competitive and there are more houses to choose from. On average, houses in Jersey City sit on the market for 69 days, compared to 46 days last year.

Graph of the median sale price in Jersey City, NJ

Before you buy a house in Jersey City, NJ, you should do some research on the neighborhoods in the area. Some of the most popular neighborhoods in Jersey City include Downtown Jersey City (median home price of $805,000), Hackensack Riverfront (median home price of $417,500), Liberty Park (median home price of $804,000), and McGinley Square (median home price of $333,500).

Find the Right Mortgage and Get Pre Approved

Once you have figured out your budget, then you need to work on qualifying and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This lets the seller know that you are serious about buying a home in Jersey City and can boost your chances of getting an offer accepted. The best time to get pre-approved for a mortgage is about a year before you put in an offer. This is why it is important to complete this step as early as possible.

Some of the most common loan types are conventional, fixed-rates, and adjustable rates. A conventional loan is a loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. A fixed-rate loan is a loan with a specific interest rate for the entire term of the loan. An adjustable rate is a loan with an interest rate that changes over time based on the state of the market.

There are a few variables that can affect your loan pre-approval:

  • Estimated down payment: It is important to put down the highest down payment you comfortably can. Most lenders in New Jersey require at least a 10% down payment, but 20% or more is preferred.
  • Credit score: The better your credit score, the better your chances are to get a loan and a good interest rate.
  • 28/36 rule: The 28/36 rule states that your total housing costs should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income and your total debt payments should not exceed 36%.
  • Mortgage payment: Most lenders will consider your income and assets to determine how much you can afford to pay back.

Jersey City First Time Homebuyer Programs

If you are a first time homebuyer in Jersey City, then there are a few programs you can take advantage of. First time homebuyer programs can make buying a house in Jersey City more affordable. Here are some popular programs:

  • Golden Neighborhood Homeownership Program: This program is for low to moderate income residents looking to buy a home within Jersey City with down payment assistance and closing costs of up to $150,000. This is considered a grant rather than a loan, and there are no interest charges or payments for the life of the grant. It becomes a loan of the buyer movers or sells the property before the end of the required affordability period.
  • NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance Program (DPA): This program provides up to $15,000 for qualified first-time homebuyers to use as a downpayment and closing cost assistance. This is an interest-free, five-year forgivable second loan with no monthly payment. To qualify for this program, you must meet the income and purchase price limits as well as pair the DPA with an NJHMFA first mortgage loan.

Find a Jersey City Real Estate Agent

It is essential to find a qualified and professional Jersey City real estate agent to work with. Your agent can find and show you homes, negotiate with the sellers, and provide expertise throughout the buying process. To find the best Jersey City real estate agent, you should sit down with them to make sure they are a good fit for your specific home buying needs. You can ask friends and family for referrals or search online for trusted agents.

We recommend that you hire a buyer’s agent rather than a listing agent. Buyer agents are legally bound to help you as the buyer, while listing agents represent the home listing. This means that they may not always have your best interest in mind.

Go Jersey City House Hunting

House hunting in Jersey City is the most exciting step of the process. Before you start hunting, it’s important to have an idea of what you are looking for. If you have kids, you may want to consider schools and crime rates. If you are a young professional, you might want to look at the proximity to downtown and the nightlife scene. You’ll also want to make a list of the features you want in a home. How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want a ranch or a two-story home? How many square-feet are you looking for? Share this information with your buyer’s agent so they can help you find homes to tour.

Check out these guides to help Jersey City homebuyers decide where to look:

Submit an Offer!

Once you have decided on your home, it is time to put in an offer. Your agent will help you to decide on an offer price and put together an application that is appealing to the seller. Oftentimes, the seller will make a counter offer asking for a higher price. Once the negotiations are complete, you will go under contract and then go into escrow. Before the last day of escrow, it is your responsibility to complete an inspection and get an appraisal done.

Once the inspection and appraisal is complete, it’s time to close the deal!

Close on Your New Jersey City Home!

After your inspection and appraisal, you will have to approve everything one last time. During the closing process, you will also have to finalize your mortgage through the underwriting process. Once everything looks good to you and your agent, then you can sign the closing documents and receive access to your new home! Keep in mind that the closing process can take anywhere from 60-90 days, so you may not get into your new home immediately.

Congratulations on buying a house in Jersey City! Now that you have your home, you need to hire reliable Jersey City movers! Catlow Movers is the best Jersey City moving company around. We can help with any and all of your relocation needs. Give us a call today at (201) 653-1808 to discuss your move and receive a free quote!

Harrington Movers
As one of the leaders in the New Jersey and New York moving and storage industry, we strive to ensure the satisfaction of our customers. Our goal is to move, or store, your things efficiently and effectively with the utmost professionalism. In fact, Harrington Moving & Storage has been one of the top movers in the New Jersey moving and storage industry since 1996.
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