Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Home Buyers Outlast the Competition

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Home Buyers Outlast the Competition

Article excerpt

"There's a lot of inventory," says Mike Pokorski, describing the market he and his wife, Alexis, found when they were house hunting this past spring. "But about 10 percent are the houses everyone wants."

Many variables are involved in purchasing a home. One of them is the time of year, which affects both the number of houses on the market and the number of buyers pursuing deals. Even in a buyer's market, finding the right home may require waiting for the competition to diminish.

"We had a tough time finding things we liked. We're very particular, but we weren't in a rush. We wanted maximum value for our money," Mike says. "We like older homes -- we didn't want a newer home with a boring, boxy feel to it."

Taking market's pulse

They were looking for a house built about 50 years ago, with at least four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and a yard with a deck or patio. It had to be within commuting distance of New York City, where Mike is a consultant for an accounting firm, and fairly close to the school where Alexis teaches, in Garfield.

After meeting Stephen Braconi of Re/Max Real Estate Limited in Oradell to help set up a plan to rent out the Edgewater condo they had outgrown, the Pokorskis asked him to guide them through purchasing a house. Braconi urged them to go online and "take the pulse of the market." Each Sunday, the couple would attend open houses.

"If we saw something we liked, we asked Steve to get us a private showing during the week," says Mike.

"We tried to see as much as we could, as fast as we could."

Many of the older homes needed more work than the Pokorskis were willing to put in. "You couldn't get a major renovation loan without cash upfront, and we weren't willing to do that," Mike says. "There are a lot of good homes out there. If you can get a construction loan, you could really do nice things to them."

The first two times they bid on houses, several other buyers were interested. …

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