It’s a great time to buy real estate, and I put my money where my mouth is.

Despite all of the shenanigans going on in just the past 45 days alone, I recently purchased two properties, and I feel extremely confident about having done so. One is a personal property in which I live, and the other is merely an investment. Both were huge decisions no less, so today I’m sharing the mental checklists I put in place to ensure positive results.

Let’s start with the primary residence, which you can see a picture of at 1:00 in the video above. In searching for this home, my wife and I had to agree on certain variables. We asked ourselves three central questions:

  • How far are we willing to be from where we’ll eventually have to go back to work? (In my wife’s case, that meant the heart of the city)
  • What are the top school districts we want to look at for our kids?
  • How much can we afford?

I found the perfect property and got a great deal on it, but having the right strategy was key.  The first step in my process: pre-approval. I can’t stress it enough—if you’re going to start the home buying process, you have to know how much you truly can afford. You also need to work with a great local lender.

There’s no substitute for being ready to pull the trigger at a moment’s notice; in my example, I made an offer on the house within the hour at the price that they were reducing it to and got it under contract. Had they reduced the price and then held an open house, the house would have definitely sold for way over asking price. I ended up paying way less than I was willing to pay for a great property, but again, that was only possible because I did all my homework beforehand.

Now let’s talk about the investment property, which you can see at 2:28 in the video above. The stock market is all over the place, and to make matters worse, 2020 took Sean Connery from us, too. (Really, 2020? Bond? James Bond?) Anyways, despite all this uncertainty and stress, I feel great about the investment I made in Hudson County—an area that, overall, is not especially hot right now. Why is that, and what mental checklist did I use in my decision?

“There’s no substitute for being equipped and ready to pull the trigger at a moment’s notice.”

As you can guess from my monthly market reports, I’m someone who lives in the data. I love pouring over data and identifying which towns and micro-markets are on the upswing and which ones are sliding. While many have been looking eagerly toward the suburbs, or even to the outer reaches of so-called “zoom towns,” few have been asking how long those markets will continue their boom once the pandemic abates. Space and sprawl are trendy now, but youth always seeks to be where the action is; Hudson County and New York City are where you’ll find all of the bars and great nightlife—do you really think that once lockdowns are lifted and things become safer, young people won’t return to the party?

In the latest market data reports, it’s not difficult to see that one Hudson County neighborhood in particular is outperforming the rest; Bergen-Lafayette is where people want to be right now, and the reason is that it offers suburb-style comforts without having to move too far out. Its properties have outdoor space, extra bedrooms, room for an office, and the potential for an additional unit downstairs for rental income or multigenerational living.

If the market pulls back and my Bergen-Lafayette investment property doesn’t get the price for which we’d need it to sell, then I’d happily hold onto it for the long term—perhaps even forever. As far as investment strategy goes, I’ll keep it simple: Don’t overextend yourself. I only invested as much as I could afford without a real risk of financial stress.

I hope you found this walk-through helpful. If you have any questions, call, text, or email me. I’m happy to share the numbers with you and guide you through the investment process. The Hudson County market will come back stronger than ever, but we all need to do our part to make this pandemic go away; social distance, wear your mask, and limit travel as much as possible. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to hearing from you!