The suburbs lose another home sale to the excitement of the NJ waterfront. This is where younger people want to live compared to the burbs
Another condo sale at City Place in Edgewater
Suneel and Kanchan Garehgrat-Basra were surprised their first home purchase was relatively painless. Two important factors that eased the process were organization — especially when it came to supplying documents for a mortgage — and finding professionals who were willing to communicate.
Kanchan works for an Internet company in Manhattan, and Suneel is a physician at a Bergen County practice. They originally settled in Jersey City. When their landlord raised the rent 13 percent, says Suneel, “that put us into the category where a mortgage would cost us the same amount.”
It was clearly time to buy.
“We could’ve bought sooner,” Suneel says, “but we wanted to make sure we were happy in New Jersey. By then I was confident that I was in a job I wanted, and I was offered a longer-term contract.”
Proximity to both of their jobs was key, so the Basras started looking in the Edgewater area. The New Jersey Multiple Listing Service provided an overview of what kinds of properties and prices were available. Stephen Braconi of Re/Max Ltd. in Oradell had a number of listings.
“We set up an appointment with him to show us around,” says Suneel. “He gave us a good feel for what was available in our price range. He also helped us with the nuances of being first-time home buyers, understanding the lingo and how the process works.”
The condo complex that most attracted them had two sections, and it turned out that although they looked the same outside, the financial arrangements were different. They looked at several units in each section and made an offer on a two-bedroom unit.
As beginners, they decided to start low and see what would happen. Expecting a learning experience, they were delighted to find that, although the offer was rejected, the seller was willing to negotiate. “We came to a happy medium,” Suneel recalls.
The unit was listed at $450,000, and they settled at $425,000.
“It’s a surprise to realize how little space you end up getting for the price you’re looking for,” says Suneel, “especially in Bergen County, with taxes so high and certain areas, like Edgewater, almost recessionproof. A down payment of 10 to 20 percent is a tremendous amount of money. You have to be prepared for that.”
Obtaining a mortgage was not difficult.
“I have a steady job and a comfortable income, and we’re a dual-income family,” explains Suneel. “Our mortgage lender was recommended by our Realtor, and there were no issues. You just have to be prepared and organized when it comes down to what’s required.”
For those who own businesses and have multiple bank accounts, the process may be more complicated, he acknowledges, but for the Basras, it was fairly simple.
“We created a list and made sure we got them everything required in a timely manner,” Suneel says. “Every few days we’d call and check on our status, and they’d let us know what was needed.”
Aided by email
Suneel advises buyers to find a lender they’re comfortable with on a personal level.
“They may offer a great rate but be impossible to get in touch with,” he says. “With rates this low, it’s very competitive, so they want to give mortgages to people who are stable financially — qualified home buyers with no issues.”
He reported that much of the communication regarding the mortgage was done electronically. He was able to scan documents and send them by email.
Overall, Suneel was surprised how easy the buying process turned out to be.
“It was a combination of how organized we were and asking the right questions, working with people who directed us. It’s important to have a lawyer who’s willing to call you back.”
The Basras are enjoying their new condo. They can easily reach friends and family in New York City, and they are close to Dumont, where Kanchan grew up.
“It’s a nice transitional area,” says Suneel. “We’re not quite ready for suburbs.”
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