NJ First-Time Home Buyers


Making Your First Time Home Buying Experience Successful

Making Your First Time Home Buying Experience Successful

Demand to Know All of Your OptionsWell the run has begun and the whirlwind of first time home buyersis picking up steam all across the country. Every buyer will want to know how understanding and using all of your first time home buyer options comes into play in their personal home buying goals.


What many Realtors and lenders (and therefore buyers) don't understand is that the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit is not the only first time home buyer incentive right now. Indeed in New Jersey we are looking at a handful of mortgage options including a $10,000 grant-assistance program, a 4% (of loan amount) grant-assistance program, a tax-prefund mortgage option which allows $5,000 of the $8,000 tax credit to be used for buying a home, and a zero-down (100%) financing option. And that is just in Gloucester County!

Why do I say that Realtors and lenders don't know about these options??

Gloucester County No Money DownBecause I talk to buyers (and Realtors) all the time that know little to nothing about such options. Buyers come to me because their agent or their current lender could not answer their questions about such program options.

BUYERS do not need to miss out!! Ask as many questions as possible! Work with a local agent and lender that know their FIRST TIME HOME BUYER STUFF!!!! Do not settle for a mediocre substitute!

Buyers can also check out: Understanding Seller Concessions | Seller Paid Closing Costs | Seller Contributions | Seller Assist

Steve Kappre is a mortgage loan officer in New Jersey. For more info or questions feel free to contact Steve.

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Comment balloon 71 commentsStephen Kappre • February 17 2010 10:54PM


It is SO crucial to meet with lenders to talk about new programs. It seems like things are constantly changing and there is no way I could keep up with it on my own. Thanks for the post!

Posted by Jami Asanovich, Doing the right thing, every time! (Smart Concept Realty, LLC) about 10 years ago

Jami - They are changing, and not all lenders can write all loans, especially when talking about first time home buyer loans. :)

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

If a buyer has to do their own research about first time home buyer programs, they are working with the wrong agent and the wrong lender.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Steve, Congratulations on the feature!!! Great news for the real estate market... 

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Lenn - I KNOW you know your mortgage options for your buyers, and that is one of the things I love about you! Thanks for the re-blog!

Michael - Thanks Michael.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Thank you for the post. Agents should be  made aware of such programs so that they can inform the buyers .

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 10 years ago

Gita - Indeed, and the agent has a responability to sit down with the lender of their choice to go over these programs.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Steve, congrats on the feature, very good post! I saw Lenns reblog of this and had to come over and say how true this is. If you don't know, move over and let someone who does know take over. I found my daughter a great program here in CT, hardly anyone in my area had ever heard of the program.

It is tough to keep on top, but we have to know what is available for sure.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 10 years ago

Andrea - Very well said, and great testimony. Realtors and buyers miss out greatly not taking the time to find out about these things.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago


This is good information. There are a number of programs out there.  We have to do the research for our clients and find the best options for their situations.



Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) about 10 years ago

Steve, thank you for this info. I am a new agent in Vermont and will be calling you to ask about some of these programs. I wonder which of them might be available here. Thank you, Mark.

Posted by Mark Montross, Listing and Buyer Specialist (Catamount Realty Group) about 10 years ago

Steve, great post. It is crucial that agents know and understand the programs available to buyers.  Then again, some of these programs could be better advertised.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) about 10 years ago

I sure hope if a buyer realizes their agent didn't tell them about the tax rebate, they fire them and call you! That grant proram sounds pretty sweet btw.

Posted by Christopher Watters, Austin Realtor (512-829-8000) (Watters International Realty) about 10 years ago

Steve it is great that you are so well versed in ALL the programs and not just the ones that everyone is aware of!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 10 years ago

Steve, so right! Whether it is pricing a home, evaluating a purchase, choosing a mortgage or hiring the myriad folks who help a buyer or seller get to closing, LOCAL IS BEST! Real estate isn't national and neither should your advisors be!

Posted by SarahGray Lamm, Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience (Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 ) about 10 years ago

All good comments here today.  Yes, realestate is local to the area we live and serve. Beyond that, it's another world.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 10 years ago

Great post. This is a great for the short term. I hope this doesn't lead to a summer slow down.

Posted by John Armstrong about 10 years ago

Nice Work Steve.  Those programs are what separates you from your competition. 

Posted by David Krichmar, DaveYourMortgageGuy.com (www.DaveYourMortgageGuy.com - Legend Lending) about 10 years ago

Steve, excellent information, that's why active rain is so great, getting the information out there!

Posted by Joanne O'Donnell (Chic Home Interiors) about 10 years ago

Great job with this post!  Congrats on the feature.

Posted by Bridget Cella, e-Pro, Realtor (Re/Max Connection) about 10 years ago

Claudette - Novel idea ;)

Mark - These programs won't be available where you are save the 100% option. However your state and county may have similar programs as mine do.

Gabe - The better advertising is where you come in ;)

Christopher - The tax credit program has a strong niche here, and it has allowed me to write loans for people that otherwise would not qualify. - At least on 2 occasions already closed and more in the works. It is a shame they only have a few months to capitalize on this.

Bill - I used to know everything about subprime loans - when they went away it made it much easier to keep on top of things.

Sarah - Right on.

Patricia - Agree, I admit to know basically nothing about other areas (outside the state). There is no way one can be an expert outside of a certain area, you are no longer an expert.

John - I agree ;)

Dave - Bullseye.




Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Joanne - AR is fanastic for professional and consumer knowledge.

Bridget - Thanks, and thanks for sharing!

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

It seems that the more you look the more you will find. Good post

Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) about 10 years ago

In Oklahoma we have first time buyer bond money with down payment assistance. I have been using that with clienbts for the last 15 years or so. You get a client preapproved with lenders that do bond money, anbd then you have to rush to get a contract signed and into the bond authority before the money is gone. I like this because it sets a fast deadline on making a decision. Too many times buyers over analyze and miss out.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 10 years ago

Tony - I encourage buyers to look all over, because if I don't know about it, I will once they bring it up!

Joe - This is true. We rarely run out of regular FTHB money in NJ, but some of the programs change, and people do miss out.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Thanks Steve for your informative post.  It reinforces the fact that we must stay as up to date as possible in order to be the best resource to our clients.

Posted by Melissa Juarez (Massachusetts Buyers Broker Agency, LLC) about 10 years ago

i don't know how it is in jersey, but in florida there are programs offered by the county and state, but identifying and using them is a nightmare.

the sellers, and once again here in florida, are often lending institutions and/or their management companies, are always in a rush, once they decide they will proceed, time is always of the essense. 

Posted by Jay Beckingham, Seniors ROCK! (SWBC MOrtgage) about 10 years ago

I wish those incentives were available for ALL of South Jersey. My community is considered a Country Club Community (just across the street) and for that reason, the demographics dictate it differently thereby not providing those same incentives that some Larchmont Condo Communities have (also in Burlington County)

I wish they would come my way!

Posted by Mindy Kaye, Real Estate Photography by MindyK (MindyK Photographer) about 10 years ago

Melissa - Absolutely

Jay - County and state here too. Takes about 45 days to close if it is clean.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

I don't understand how someone can consider themself a professional if they don't take the time to learn what is available and educate their client.  I spend at least 1 hr per day searching for information that is of value to realtors and buyers.  If you can only offer what is all over the news, how are you different from anyone else?

Posted by Kyle Jan, Phoenix AZ Homes for Sale about 10 years ago

Kyle - A can't disagree with anything you said. And when it happens it shows clearly the confusion and difficulty both the public and professionals have with this business. 

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago


    I'm with Jay ,above, here in South Florida 'nightmare' is putting it nicely. They, the sellers, don't give us time to 'shop'.  It's like the Price Is Right.  When your name is called (your offer is picked) you have to Come On Down (get your ducks in a row). 

Posted by Terri Poehler, Coral Springs Real Estate Agent (Realtor) about 10 years ago

Terri - There are rare occasions here where the buyer will not get the house due to the type of financing, but it is very rare, at least in my experience.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Steve: Great thoughts! Thank you. Obviously some of these vary by state but I agree with you about sharing this information with our referral partners. Take care.

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Paratex) about 10 years ago

Paul - And the fact that they vary by state is why every single area of the country can have a first time home buyer expert!! :)

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

It is our duty to inform our buyers.  I am not a lender, but I work with an awesome lender that is aware of the latest programs.  Part of my job is to direct buyers to the best people for the best information.

Posted by Linda Lohman, Former Teacher/Broker (Fonville Morisey Realty) about 10 years ago

Steve, your NJ First Time Home Buyer link is broken. Good Info I may re-blog later. Thanks

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) about 10 years ago

Linda - Relationships are KEY

Gregory - It is good, but the server that that outside blog is on must be acting up ... I do appreciate you mentioning though! That could have been devastating!!

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Great post and applicable to any market. I agree that it is critical for people looking to buy that they explore all their options with a good lender even prior to deciding on the type of home they want.

Posted by Bob and Debbie Gibbs (J. Rockcliff Realtors) about 10 years ago

As realtors we are our clients "go to source" for all things real estate.  At a minimum our obligation is to be the "source of the source".  To do that we need to be working with well informed people and to stay well informed ourselves.  Knowing who to direct them to is key.  Now if all mortgage people were as well informed as you.....

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) about 10 years ago

Thats way I like having lenders, I trust in--many out there that are still all talk.  I prefer to have buyers I'm working with speak with someone I recommend.  I also like to be present when their options are being discussed.  I count on these lenders to be well versed and to be up on the latest programs available.  I just need to know the basics---like will the property be lender approved.  Some of these bank properties that the buyers want require so much work, it may be beyond their comfort level.  And to all your lenders who are part of the AR community, I applaud you.

Posted by Ross Therrien, Realtor, Broker Associate (Prudential Verani Realty, Londonderry,New Hampshire) about 10 years ago

I'm not seeing nearly the same panic mode that happened the first time the credit was supposed to expire. Maybe so many got their house then, or maybe it's 'the boy who cried wolf' syndrome. But 'amen' on working with a lender who knows their stuff!

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) about 10 years ago

Great post.  Realtors do need to know what kind of programs are out there for their buyers.  Virginia has the Virgina Housing Development Authority that has programs for first time buyers and anyone that has not owned a home in Virginia in the last 3 years.

They use FHA and VA for their loans.  They have 0 down programs for buyers with great credit.  It does have income limits.  It wants to keep it for low to middle income buyers.

I have used it for years with my buyers.  Recently I closed 2 loans that also included the $8,000 tax credit as a second mortgage at the same rate as the first and the payments are deferred for 1 year.  That enabled my buyers to buy their new homes with no money out of their pocket at closing.  When they get their tax credit they have the option to pay off their second mortgage with no penalty.

Posted by Denise Allen, Realtor@ Chesapeake, Hampton Roads (Resh Realty Group) about 10 years ago

Bob and Debbie - Agree

Leah - Indeed we should be the source, or as you put it, be able to point them to the source (we can't know everything!)

Ross - I agree 110% Realtors need to know basics.

Joetta - Not yet. November was a nice spike in purchases.

Denise - THAT'S the kind of knowledge I am talking about ! You don't have to be able to approve or write the loan, just have a basic knowledge of it.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

It is crucial for lenders to know details of these types of programs, and for real estate agents to have at least some basic information about them, too. 

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) about 10 years ago

Other than the 8000 first time buyer credit, I refer my buyer's to my senior loan officer to discuss any other options currently available. 

Posted by Richard Johnston (San Fernando Valley - RE/MAX Grand Central) about 10 years ago

Aaron - Right

Richard - I'd think some buyers would look elsewhere unless you actually get on the phone with your lender right then and there ... just a thought.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Steve ! Excellent ! You will motivate many others by this post (myself included) to brush on the latest available programs. They seem to change a lot, especially with things like the Prefund which I was told was pretty iffy in terms of actually getting the bridge, but thats from other mortgage reps, and maybe they say that because they are not sure of the program themselves. Bottom line, it is always changing, but buyers want reliable sources - you clearly are one, and more need to be. Great post !!!!

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) about 10 years ago

it really is amazing all the programs out there to help buyers, and not just first time home buyers. I wonder who is paying for all of this, someone has to. We as Realtors need to educate our clients to take advantage of all the opportunities available.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) about 10 years ago

Great information.  I know your clients appreciate how informed you are!  I enjoy working with first-time buyers, especially those put on the back burner by other agents!

Posted by Jenna Dixon, Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience (DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate ) about 10 years ago

Hi Steve, Congratulations on the feature.  It's crucial to be up to speed on special county/state programs as well as know a few competent loan officers like you, who can fill me in on new loan products.

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) about 10 years ago

Especially first time homebuyers need to be handheld with the whole mortgage option process.  That is why it is important to find a good vendor and stick with them.  They should be able to guide your client to the correct decision for their situation.

Posted by Sajy Mathew, Making your real estate dreams become a reality! (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 10 years ago

Having a lender you can trust and who knows the options is so important. Great post.

Posted by Joseph Keech (Blue Atlantic Properties) about 10 years ago

Steve, I agree with jami. You don't have a way of stying up on the mortgage side of things unless you tie into a broker and stayclose.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) about 10 years ago

Sheldon - The prefund program I have been able to utilize for buyers and in several specific situations, that loan was their only option. We made home owners out of clients others said didn't have a chance. Had I made an excuse about it not being a good loan the buyer, 2 Realtors, and myself would have missed out. There are a handful of flavors and situations are often different. No Lender should not know about these options, especially the local-only ones.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

Scott - They ar ethere for a reason, in some cases, they are the only way a buyer can qualify.

Jenna - I agree and love the same!

Mary - No doubt

Sajy - Partnerships are paramount

Joseph - Thanks

Ted - Agree

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 10 years ago

... excellent ! I think maybe you have a Localism post in you outlining the Prefund program !!!

Good for you brutha, another example of your expertise :o)

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) about 10 years ago

This is such a helpful post for consumers! It is also well-formatted and easy to read. I have bookmarked it for reference as to how all my posts should look. A+

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) about 10 years ago

Hi Steve -- That's why a knowledgeable professional is always worth FAR MORE than their cost.  Well said!

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) about 10 years ago

I speak to many different people who are amazed that they have never heard of the local programs we have for first time buyers here in Orange County.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 10 years ago

This is good stuff Steve. In our local market there are many programs that help assist first time home Buyers. People need to take the time to find an agent familiar with all the programs. Most do not take the time to learn about the many resources.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) about 10 years ago

Hi Steve!

You know that I'm all about the first-time home-buyer programs in SJ!  Are we doing the NJHMFA 4% for Nicole or did she decide against it?

Congrats on the Feature and I'm gonna re-blog it!



Posted by Kimberly Thomas, Broker-Associate, Keller Williams Realty - Voorhees, NJ (www.KimThomasHomes.com) almost 10 years ago

Congrats on the featured post...great points!

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) almost 10 years ago

Excellent post Steve. We have features like this all over IL designed to help borrowers too & agents refuse to take them into consideration or say they are not available. Nonsense! Glad you've done your homework for buyers in NJ!

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 10 years ago

Wonderful post Steve!  I've reblogged you here in Burlington County, NJ!

Posted by Michele Rose, Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign (Rose-Colored Staging) almost 10 years ago

There are a lot of different programs and incentives in different areas around the country if you look for them.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

I coudn't agree more, a little effort goes along way.

Posted by Deborah Grimaldi, (401) 837-9633 (Albert Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Gret post! I really is a great time to buy. Just don't forget to get a home inspection and make sure they do any <a href="http://www.southjerseymoldtesting.com">Mold Testing</a> if necessary. I have not seen it this attractive since the RTC days of the early '80's.

Posted by Jimmy Whales almost 10 years ago

You are right, many people do not know about all of the programs. I posted about the prefund program shortly after it was announced. We will see how many people actually take advantage of it.

Posted by Eric J, Dream Home Financing (Eric J - Dream Home Financing) almost 10 years ago

compiling a good team of people who can stay on top of the current rules is critical, especially in today's world.  Thanks for the reminder....

Posted by Anush Showghi -Greenville, SC RE Broker (Prudential C. Dan Joyner) almost 10 years ago

Great post for your clients!  We also have some special programs in Northwest Florida for 1st time buyers.  It's a great time to buy a home!

Posted by Matt Robinson, www.professionalinvestorsguild.com (Professional Investors Guild) almost 10 years ago

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