Buying or selling a home in Maplewood/Millburn-ShortHills/South Orange? Robert Northfield can help.

Buying a home is an intimidating event for a lot of people, but it's not all that confusing with a bit of planning ahead of time. I like to furnish buyers with a road map of the whole deal so they know exactly what they can expect. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

If you have any questions about this information or if you're prepared to get started, simply contact me here or send e-mail to

Step 1 – Prepare to buy a home
There are several things you'll want to contemplate before you search for a home. When you begin your search, you'll want to put together an index of items you want to have, plan for what neighborhoods you want to live in, and begin planning around your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is less than or close to 30 percent of your net monthly income is a good guideline to adhere to.

Step 2 – Communicate with a real estate agent
This is where I come in. I'd be more than happy to set up a time to get together with you and communicate with you about why you want to buy a home and get an idea of your future plans. We'll talk about the mortgage industry, other economic factors that may affect your buying decision today or in the future, as well as neighborhoods and school districts in the Maplewood/Millburn-ShortHills/South Orange area.

I'll also help you get started on your loan. There are some great mortgage professionals in Maplewood/Millburn-ShortHills/South Orange, and I partner with a lot of them, so you're in great hands. They can help you decide which kind of loan is best for you, as well as help you get approved.

Step 3 – Start looking
Following our initial meeting, I'll start searching for houses on the market that best suit you. I'll preview most of the houses and ignore the bad ones, and then we'll book appointments to view the homes when it's convenient for you.

As we view houses, I'll show you the positive features, as well as negative ones. I'll even ask you what things you like and don't like. Frequently, buyers amend their wish list as we view homes and some features become far more necessary than others. If such is the case, I'll search the listings once more and trim it down to the house you've been waiting for.

Step 4 – Get a grasp of the housing market
Your agent's understanding of the Maplewood/Millburn-ShortHills/South Orange housing market is a necessary element in your home search. And I can assure you I'm informed of all the neighborhoods and schools, and I'll let you know some areas are "hot" and require immediate action and the ones that are "cold" and allow for more consideration.

When we tour houses, I'll let you know when the seller's asking price has room for negotiation and when I know the home is "priced to sell." Trust your instincts and make sure you ask plenty of questions, as every real estate agent will convince you they comprehend the housing market. If it appears they don't know everything, just call me at (973) 761-4100 or e-mail me at, and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have. My understanding of the market will keep you a step above the rest throughout the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home you've been waiting for
I know we'll find your dream house in the Maplewood/Millburn-ShortHills/South Orange area. When we do, I'll precisely develop your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be tailored with your needs in mind, including many contingencies, such as acquiring financing, completing the home inspection, and a clear title.

Let Robert Northfield guide you through finding your dream home in Maplewood/Millburn-ShortHills/South Orange When we submit your offer, you'll probably need to submit "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to a seller to secure the offer to buy the property and is often applied to the cost of closing. If your offer is accepted by the seller, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days after. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
A lot of deals don't close on the initial offer, and it's really common to receive a counter offer. Don't let this alarm you. We'll discuss whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or reject the seller's offer and move on.

The state of the market determines how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We'll also work within your financing limits. And when it's all said and done, we'll assemble a deal that is best for you.

Step 7 – Get financing
Once the deal is finished, you'll begin working with your lender to close the loan. This won't take long at all if you're already pre-approved, but you'll need to keep in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll care for all the property information your mortgage lender will need to close the loan.>

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of your closing costs from your lender within three days of taking your application. The estimate is formed from the loan amount, and RESPA requirements dictate that it has to include all closing costs and be within a close range of accuracy. I'll study the estimate and let you know if it all looks permissible.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most often happen at a title company or escrow office and will probably be a smooth and comfortable occurrence.

Step 9 – Move in
Success! It's time to move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, make sure you contact me at (973) 761-4100 or send me an e-mail.