New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

How Much Should You Put Toward a Down Payment?

Buying a first home is overwhelming, and the down payment can be the most intimidating part. Figuring out exactly how much you’ll need in order to enter the market will help you set a goal to save for, and understand exactly how much you’ll need before you can even start looking.

What is it? 
A down payment is the minimum amount of money you are required to put down on your home. Since homes are too expensive for most people to purchase outright, the bank is willing to lend out the money so people can become homeowners—this is what a mortgage is. Before they will give it to you though, you have to invest in the home upfront. In Canada, the minimum amount for a down payment is five percent of the value of the home you are purchasing.

How much do...

3 Ways to Stay Organized While Packing

Whether you’re moving into a new home, swapping offices or boxing up a chunk of your belongings to put in storage, packing can seem like an overwhelming task. Aside from finding time in your busy schedule to actually get to it, you might also be worried about forgetting something, damaging an item or scrambling to find boxes in the first place. What’s a person to do? Keep these guidelines in mind to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Start earlyIf you have a move-in day locked down, take advantage of it by starting your packing early. Even if your move-in day is months ahead, these things have a way of sneaking up on you. There are so many details involved when it comes to moving, and you’ll have enough to coordinate as...

Some Home-Closing Costs Are Worth Negotiating

Closing costs are 2-5 percent of the purchase price of a home, resulting in an average of $3,700 in fees for paperwork required to buy a house. That’s a lot of money to come up with when you may have already put everything toward a down payment.

Some fees from mortgage lenders are required by federal law to be the same, and there isn’t much you can do to change these costs listed in a HUD settlement statement — origination, underwriting, administrative and doc-preparation, among others.

Other closing costs, however, can be negotiated. Here are some to check into:

Lender feesAll customers must legally be charged the same lender fees by a lender, so you can’t negotiate them. But you can shop around for a lender with low fees,...

3 Staging Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Staging can be a great way to enhance your space and make it sparkle during showings, photoshoots or open houses. That being said, there is a right way to stage a home and a wrong way. Here are some classic mistakes that both DIY stagers and professionals sometimes make:

Going Beige and Boring
Many people will tell you that neutral colours appeal to the largest sector of people and that these shades make spaces look larger. While these are both somewhat true, it doesn’t mean everything has to get painted beige and sleepy! There are plenty of other neutrals you can use, and a small feature wall can really show off a space effectively too.

Moving Your Furniture to the Perimeter
Many people think that pushing your furniture against the walls of a room will make a space look larger....

Expert Insights: Can the Seller Also Include Contingencies in a Contract?

Yes. For example, if you decide to sell your existing home first before buying another one, you can make the sale of your home contingent on finding a replacement home.

Some sellers opt for this contingency to avoid a double move, such as moving to a hotel or rental until a new home is found and made available.

However, there is one problem with this type of contingency: It can inconvenience the buyer, particularly if his/her own home is in escrow. He/she may not be willing to wait for you to move.

This strategy has a better chance of working when the market is relatively strong, your home is a rare find, the price and terms of the transaction are very favorable for the buyer, or the buyer is in no hurry to move.

...

How to Childproof Your House

Children are often oblivious to the many dangers around them. Accidents in the home are a leading cause of injury and death among children. Here are a few ways to childproof your home and keep your little one safe.

Potential Hazards
Look at your home from a baby’s or toddler’s perspective. Ask yourself: What would catch my eye if I were low to the ground? Look for those things that your child would reach for, pull down, play with or put in their mouth.

When babies are learning to walk, they grab furniture and bookcases for support. Many injuries and deaths occur each year when young children pull on furniture or televisions and the objects fall on top of them. Secure heavy objects to the walls to prevent this. Keep dressers and filing cabinets closed when you’re not using them. Cover...

What to Expect from a Home Inspection

A home inspection can make or break a transaction. Without it, you wouldn’t know if you’re buying a money pit or a home that will last a lifetime.

Homebuyers are responsible for hiring a professional home inspector, who should uncover possible problems before they buy the home. An offer on a home is often conditional upon a successful inspection.

The inspector should evaluate the physical structure and its critical internal systems. These include:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Walls, ceiling and flooring
    Windows and doors
  • Roof
  • Basement
  • Attic
  • Foundation
  • Insulation

There are some things a home inspector may not uncover. These can include hidden problems like pests,...

Small Ways You Can Declutter Every Day

Do you look around your living space at the end of the busy work week and think, “What happened?” Piles of mail, dirty laundry and dishes are lurking around every corner. Between work and family, it can be hard to carve out the time to clear clutter. Below are three tips to manage clutter daily.

Make a clutter clearing playlistAt the end of the day, choose one or two songs, put them on and do a surface clean. Put the laundry away, empty the dishwasher and clear the kitchen table. By the time your chosen tracks are up—roughly six to eight minutes—your place will look a lot better, and so will your mental state.

Set yourself up for success. By having designated areas for the items that end up laying around, you will be more likely to put things away...

Obtaining a Mortgage When Self-Employed

Obtaining a mortgage is a little different when you’re self-employed.

Reporting your income as a self-employed worker on Schedule C for income tax purposes can make qualifying for a mortgage loan or refinancing a little more complex. The reason being that proving consistent and reliable income as a freelancer can be more involved because you don’t typically receive a regular paycheck. Because of this, the lender wants proof that you can repay the loan.

Each lender is different. Some require self-employed borrowers to go through extra hoops to prove employment, while others may or may not wait until the loan gets to its compliance or operations department. Early in the applications stage, for example, you may need to provide contact information for your employer so the lender can confirm you’re working regularly.

...

Where Parents Can Find Money to Help Their Kids Buy a Home

There are many ways parents can help their children purchase a home: contributing to a down payment, helping with closing costs, co-signing a mortgage or allowing their kids to move back home so that they can save money.

While most of these avenues involve giving your children money, deciding where that money should come from is an important decision. For parents nearing retirement, pulling money from a savings account or a 401(k) retirement account can be problematic if the money is needed for retirement. Without it, they could end up moving into the house they helped their children buy.

A poll by loanDepot found that more parents are planning to help their millennial children buy their first home. Sixty-seven percent said they planned to pull the money from their savings account.

Here are the percentage...