New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

The Homebuyer’s Mortgage Dictionary

Knowing that you’re ready to buy a home can be an exhilarating feeling, except it’s often followed by panic. While experience is the best teacher, there are some things you can do to regain control of the home-buying experience. One of them is getting accustomed to the terminology, especially when it comes to the various types of mortgages available.

LearnVest offers the following list of mortgage terms any first-time homebuyer should add to their dictionary:

  1. Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM). An adjustable-rate mortgage is a home loan with fluctuating interest rates. ARMs are very much a game of chance, starting off with a period of 3 – 10 years of low fixed rates, followed by an adjustable roller coaster-rate period. In short, your interest rate will reflect whatever...

4 Steps to Creating a Memorable First Impression

When it comes to getting your home sold, a positive first impression can make all the difference. Take a look at these four tips to help your home stand out from the competition.


Why You Should Buy Your Home During Winter

Since the warmer months are the busy months when it comes to real estate, you might not think about starting the buying process in the dead of winter, but there are a few good reasons why you should, especially if you’re hoping for a good deal.

More room to negotiate the price. Since there is less competition from other buyers in the winter (since few people enjoy moving all their stuff in the cold weather), it gives you a golden opportunity to get a good deal on a home. In the summer, there is less room for negotiation, so you’ll have better luck with a lower offer when you are the only offer on the table.

Easier to close the deal fast. Sellers have a lot to lose the longer their home is on the market, so it’s...

How Mortgage Loan Officers Are Paid Could Affect Homebuyers

The way in which mortgage loan officers are compensated may be changing if rules proposed by the mortgage industry are adopted, and that could affect how much homebuyers pay in loan costs.

In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) changed the rules for loan officer compensation by reducing financial incentives for loan officers to steer consumers toward riskier loan products that came with increased pay for the loan officers.

For example, mortgage loan officers couldn’t receive any compensation based on interest rate, loan terms or by recommending a customer to an affiliate third-party such as an appraisal or title insurance service. They also couldn’t receive money from a borrower and a related party for the same transaction.

As of late 2018, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)...

3 Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

While many homeowners make monthly mortgage payments, millions enjoy the luxury of owning their homes outright. If you strive to join their ranks, there are a number of ways you can expedite the completion of your mortgage – and none include lottery tickets.

Below are three ways you can pay your mortgage off faster.

1. Making Extra Payments

There are several ways you can make extra payments. Consider doing one of the following options, or doing a combination of them.

  • Make an extra payment each quarter (4 extra payments/year).
  • Divide monthly payment by 12 and add that amount to each monthly payment (adds up to 1 extra payment/year).
  • Pay half of your mortgage payment every two weeks – aka biweekly payments (this also adds up to 1 extra payment/year).
  • ...

Options You May Not Know About When Shopping for a Mortgage

Shopping for a mortgage can be overwhelming. Even if you’ve owned a few homes and have had a few home loans, chances are there are some mortgage options you don’t know about.

Here are four to ask a mortgage expert about:

1.  A 20 percent down payment isn’t a must. The long-held view that at least a 20 percent down payment is needed to buy a home is outdated.

A loan approved by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, can have a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent. For a $300,000 home, instead of having to come up with $60,000 (20 percent) down, a 3.5 percent down payment requires $10,500 down.

2.  Banks aren’t the only home lenders. Traditional lenders like banks and credit unions are just some of the places to get a home loan.


Should You Buy a Home Near a School?

When it comes to buying a home, the decision to move near a school might not be as black and white as you’d think. Here are a few factors you’ll have to consider before taking the plunge.

Do you have or plan on having kids? It’s the obvious question, but one you should always be considering when it comes to buying your next home. Proximity to a school may not be a big factor for your family now, but will it be in a few years? Are you buying a starter home, or the home you want your family to stay and grow in? Do you have grandkids attending this school that you’d like to be close to? All of these matter when deciding if being in a school neighborhood is right for you.

Is your lifestyle conducive to the slower pace of these...

How to Tell If a Yard Is Big Enough for Your Family

If you’re house-hunting and you have or plan to start a family, you’ll most likely want a house with a yard to give your kids a place to run and play, and give your pets enough space to exercise. A backyard can also be a great location for family dinners, parties, barbecues and a garden.

In your search for a new home, you might find a spacious house that seems ideal for your family but has a small yard, or you might find a smaller house with a huge backyard. You’ll then need to decide how much outdoor space is right for your family. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. 

Things to Consider
How much yard space you need depends in large part on how many children you have and their interests. If your kids like to spend a lot of time running around, or if they’re couch...

Pros and Cons of Downsizing

If you’re overwhelmed by the cost of your mortgage or the amount of time you spend cleaning and maintaining your home, or if your kids have moved out and you have more space than you need, you may be thinking about downsizing. While there are many advantages associated with moving to a smaller house, there are some potential disadvantages you need to be aware of before making a final decision.

Reasons to Downsize
Most people who downsize do so to save money. There is no reason to make high monthly mortgage payments for a house with rooms that sit empty. Moving to a smaller home can help you dramatically lower your mortgage payments and save money each month. A smaller house will also likely have much lower utility bills. The money you save can be used to invest for retirement, take vacations, pursue a...

Repurposing an Empty Room After Your Child Moves Out

When you bought your house, you chose it because it had enough bedrooms for the children you had at the time—or those you planned to have. If your kids have started to move out, you may be wondering what to do with the extra space. You have several options that can make your home more functional and/or relaxing.

Practical Uses for an Extra Room
You can convert a child’s old room to a guest bedroom. If your child is not likely to stay in the room in the future, feel free to redecorate the room however you want. If they’re coming home periodically, such as during college breaks or over the holidays, you might want to keep some things as they were.

If you work from home, either part-time or full-time, having a dedicated space to use as a home office can help you be more productive. You...