Just Moved: Valarie & Jared

How much does a home-to-call-your-own go for in these neighborhoods? This couple gives us the lowdown and a sneak peek at their new place.

Location: Martinsville, NJ
3 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms, dining room, living room, sunroom, eat-in kitchen, mother and daughter suite built in, full basement, garage
Square Feet:
2,000 (with an extra 2,000 sq. ft with an unfinished garage and basement)
Price Paid:
The Deal:
$180/sq. ft.

When did you start looking (month/year)? June 2010

When did you close on your new home? September 2, 2010

How many homes did you visit and look at? 20

What were the three most important features you wanted in a new home? “I wanted at least three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a porch,” says Valarie. “Jared wanted yard space, three full bedrooms and two full bathrooms.”

How important was it to be close to your in-laws? “Very important,” says Valarie. “We wanted to make sure that the home we chose was still within comfortable driving distance to our parents.”

How much was the idea of “how much house you could afford” on your mind as you looked at each home? “This was constantly on our minds. Our realtor knew this was important enough, and she did not show us homes that she knew would be over our budget. There weren’t any that we really looked at that would have been over our budget, so it really came down to what we liked the best, since we were very careful about what went on the list in the first place.”

Did the home-buying process lead to any major (or minor!) arguments between you and your S.O.? “My husband is extremely laid-back, so having an argument with him is very difficult!” says Valarie. “The only place where we really differed was the age of the house. I grew up in an older house and was very attracted to houses of the same style, while he was not into houses like that at all.”

What was the hardest part about finding your new home? “In New Jersey, the price of homes can be a bit overwhelming for first-time home buyers. The hardest part of the search was finding a house that offered everything we wanted in a long-term home without breaking our budget.”

What was the best part? “Looking at all the different houses! It was fun to get a peek into the lives of other people and envision ourselves living in a variety of different places.”

Was it hard to compromise and find a home you both loved? “Not at all -- this was actually pretty easy! I had originally thought it would be hard, since we did have slightly different opinions about the types of houses that would be best, but it turned out we were on the same page when it came down to the final decisions.”