New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking on a DIY Project

If you’re handy around the house, the thought of tackling a variety of home improvement projects with your own two hands might have crossed your mind a time or two.

But before you dig into a DIY project, it’s important to consider some factors beyond your ability to do the job right. You’ll also want to consider the cost of all the tools and materials needed, as well as the amount of time you’ll need to devote to the project.

Here are four important questions to ask yourself before attacking a DIY project at home:

How complex is it? 
You may know how to hang drywall and install a kitchen sink, but do you really want to do everything that’s required in a complete kitchen makeover?

The bigger and more complex a project is, the greater...

Is a Multi-Family House a Good Investment?

Many real estate investors purchase multi-family houses to generate a steady income. If you’re considering buying an apartment building, you may be able to earn a significant profit, but there are costs and other factors to consider.

Financing
If you want to purchase a multi-family property, you’ll most likely need to obtain a loan. Getting financing for a larger building might be easier than borrowing money for a smaller one. The more units there are, the less one individual unit will affect the amount of revenue collected. If one tenant in a large building moved out or fell behind on rent payments, you would likely still be able to meet your monthly mortgage payments. That means the larger building would be less of a financial risk from the bank’s perspective....

Do You Need a Job to Get a Mortgage?

If you’re between jobs or retired—or not working and considering retirement—you can still buy a home and get a mortgage that will require you to make monthly payments.

While you don’t need a job to get a mortgage, what you do need is income. And there are many types of income that lenders will accept for a mortgage loan. You’ll likely need to have a few of them to qualify, and you’ll need to document them. Here are some sources of income beyond having a job:

Social Security 
Retirees aren’t the only people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a form of income. You may be on permanent disability or dependent on someone and receive SSI income.

Pension
If a former employer is sending you a regular...

Expert Insights: What Are Allowances and What Should I Know About Them When Planning With a Remodeling Contractor?

Rather than price specific products or materials, many contractors prefer to use product allowances, an amount included in the contract to be used toward the purchase of these products and materials as they are selected by the consumer. Typical categories where allowances might be used include flooring, cabinets and lighting fixtures.

Allowances allow homeowners more time to finalize exact selections as the project progresses, and they can simplify the cost control process. The disadvantage, however, is that the cost of final selections can easily exceed the amount of money allowed, resulting in significant extra charges to the homeowner. Shop for each allowance category before you finalize the allowance amounts provided in the contract. This way, you can budget for additional funds or adjust allowances to better reflect the...

Money-Saving Tax Tips for Homeowners

New buyers can get overwhelmed by the additional expenses incurred during homeownership. Besides making monthly mortgage payments, homeowners may have to pay for gardening, pest control, pool maintenance, plumbing fixes, electrical work and more.

But the good news is that tax time offers homeowners a number of deductions and credits not available to renters. Check with a tax consultant to see if these deductions apply to you.

Private Mortgage Insurance
PMI is the premium you pay every month until your equity equals 20 percent of your home’s value. Luckily, these premiums can be deducted from your income.

Mortgage Interest
If you paid more than $600 dollars in mortgage interest during the tax year, every penny...

Best Ways to Shop for a Mortgage

Shopping for a mortgage isn’t as fun as looking at homes to buy, but it’s an important step that will affect you for years.

There are many ways to shop for a lender. You can start by looking at online mortgage lenders. Or you can walk in to a bank and ask to talk to a loan officer. A mortgage broker or your real estate agent may be able to recommend lenders, as may friends and family. Online reviews may also be helpful.

Before you start talking to lenders, there are a few steps you may want to take first. If you have no credit or bad credit, or aren’t sure of your credit score, start by finding out your credit score and then work on improving it. This could take a month or more.

A low credit score is a sign that you’re a risky borrower, which will likely lead to a higher interest rate on the home loan....