New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

The Pros of Buying a Home Warranty

For $600 or so a year, plus a service fee of around $75 every time you ask for repair, a home warranty can be an inexpensive way to have peace of mind as a new homeowner.

Home warranties cover breakdowns in a home, from HVAC systems to appliances. A broken water heater can be repaired within hours, but if it can’t be fixed, a home warranty can pay for a new one to be installed.

For homeowners with an older house, they may want more things covered than a newer home would need—such as older appliances—and will likely pay more for it. If you just bought new appliances and have a manufacturer’s warranty for a year or more, you won’t need this coverage. You may be able to exclude new appliances from a home warranty to cut down on costs.

Things that can be covered by a home warranty...

What to Ask Your Renovation Contractor

Whether you’ve hired a contractor to remodel your bathroom, renovate your kitchen or do a complete overhaul of your home, it’s important to have as much information as possible so you know what to expect. Before you begin, here are some questions you should be asking to ensure you and your contractor are on the same page.

What are their qualifications?
The contractor you hired likely has an impressive portfolio showcasing sparkling before-and-after images that suggest years of experience and a glowing reputation. Unfortunately, this isn’t always representative of their actual experience in the industry. In the social media age, plenty of small business owners will curate a swoon-worthy online portfolio in order to draw clients in with the allure of marketing. Ask to see qualifications...

Moving Costs You May Have Overlooked

Buying a home? You’ll have to juggle various expenses. Don’t forget about these costs.

Fees for Oversized or Delicate Items
Any bulky or hard to move items? A moving company might charge you an extra fee. Think a piano or something that needs assembling.

Mail Forwarding 
Changing your mailing address can be easy to forget. Canada Post will do it for you for a small fee. This service only lasts six or seven months.

Land Transfer Tax
In Canada, this fee is added onto the transaction. Once the property title officially passes, you’ll see the charge.

Moving can be costly. Being prepared can help ease the burden.

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4 Creative Ways to Renovate Your Shed Into a Useful Space

While a basic shed filled with tools can be an eyesore, it’s possible to turn that extra shelter into something incredible. Not only will it benefit your life now while you own the property, but it will also help increase the value of your home when you want to sell it. Here are a few creative ways to transform that shed into a useful space.

A home spa
Transform that shed into a home spa with a hot tub and sauna and you will have your very own backyard destination for all the luxury you could ever need. Depending on the space available, you can decide what would work best and build in the elements that are most important to your lifestyle. It’ll also serve as an extra benefit to any potential future buyers to have access to such amenities without having to put any time or effort into building...

Should You Change the Style of Windows in Your House?

Windows that are old, damaged or worn out are inefficient and can lead to high utility bills. Replacing windows can be a huge financial investment, but it can also be an opportunity to choose styles that are better suited to your family’s needs and preferences.

If you’ve lived in your house for several years, you may have a running list of things that you don’t like about the current windows. For example, some rooms might not get much sunlight or ventilation. Windows in some areas may be difficult to clean, or maybe your house is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape that you wish you could see more of. Replacing the windows gives you an opportunity to address these issues.

Benefits of Various Window Styles
If you’d like to let more sunlight into certain rooms, you...

4 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Should Avoid

Buying your first home is full of challenges you’ve probably never faced before, and they go well beyond finding a home you like.

Here are some mistakes to avoid as a first-time homebuyer:

Not considering costs beyond the mortgage. Knowing that you can afford the monthly mortgage payment is important when deciding if you can buy a home, but don’t forget to factor in the other costs that can add to your monthly bills.

These include property insurance, property taxes (which can go up every year), maintenance, and higher electric and water bills. Some homes also have homeowners association (HOA) fees that need to be paid.

Shopping for a loan after you find a home. Searching for a home can be fun, but it isn’t where you want to start as a first-time homebuyer....

5 Features That Could Help You Sell Your Home

Anyone who has ever undergone a renovation to increase their home’s value before selling it—be it a few small additions or a gut job—wants that secret formula for implementing features that will push the sale price over the edge. Well, a recent study by Zillow looked at just that. They analyzed listings for over 4 million homes sold between January 2016 and December 2017 and looked at features and design styles in homes that sold for a premium. Here’s what they found:

Professional-Grade Appliances
High-end name brands and features like six-burner stoves or convection ovens increased home sales 29 percent above expected value.

Pet Shower
While it might seem like an extreme luxury for little Fluffles, a dedicated pet wash station can actually boost your home’s...

4 Features That Really Make a Living Room

Whether you’re staging to sell or looking for your dream home, the living room can be an overlooked space. People often talk about the kitchen as being “the heart” of the home, but the living room gets a lot of use too, from eating, to entertaining, to relaxing. Here are features that make a memorable living room you’re sure to want to spend time in:

Flexible Layout
People often have different ideas of what makes a great living room and sometimes those can evolve over time. A young couple may feel very differently about their “ideal” living room once they have a couple of kids. For this reason, a space that’s flexible and spacious enough to grow or change its function over time is essential.

Character
Unusual details like stained glass, exposed brick or a fireplace...

Expert Insights: What Should I Consider When Redoing My Kitchen?

It is tempting to discard existing appliances when you build new cabinets around them. Rethink the idea. If the appliances are workable, keep them—and save yourself $1,000 to $5,000, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Also, keep the present location of major fixtures, appliances and utilities relative to the plumbing, gas and electrical outlets. Rearranging plumbing, wiring and jacks can be very expensive. Refacing existing cabinets can reduce the cost of your kitchen remodel considerably and eliminate the need for new flooring, countertops and appliances. If you must get new cabinets, options such as spice racks and slide-out wire baskets can be added later. Also, install cabinets without soffits to decrease labor cost, and avoid trim moldings, or use a simple trim. If you must have a new wood trim to...

7 Things to Remove From Your Home When You List It

When listing your home, there are a lot of things to think about. How you stage your space should definitely be at the top of that list. While you may not have the means to bring in a professional stager, you can put your best foot forward by removing the following from your space:

Family photos. While these treasures may mean the world to you, personal items like this make it difficult for a potential buyer to imagine themselves in your space. Get a jump on the process and pack these photos up now.

Odors. From a musky basement to the closet where the kitty litter box is kept, odors in your home are a huge turn off. Do whatever you need to do to keep a prospective buyer’s nose from wrinkling. This includes ripping up mildewed carpet, opening windows and  lighting candles.

Clutter. ...