New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

Financing Your Home Improvement Projects

As any homeowner will tell you, there’s always a renovation project just waiting to be funded in a home.

The problem is how to pay for the next kitchen update, bathroom remodel, bedroom addition or other improvement you want to make to your home. Here are some ways to pay for your next home project if you don’t have a pile of cash sitting around:

Home Equity Line of Credit
Known as a HELOC for short, a home equity line of credit secures a line of credit with your home as the collateral. Don’t pay on time and you could lose your home.

Interest rates usually start out in your favor, then increase as you spend more time repaying the loan. You only pay interest on the amount you borrow, and only make monthly payments if you’re...

Rapid Rescoring for a Faster Home Loan

Home shoppers who haven’t checked their credit report months before applying for a home loan may be in for a shock when they visit a loan officer. A host of problems could pop up: Their credit score could be a little too low to qualify for the best rate on a mortgage, they’re using a high percentage of their credit, or a credit card payment they sent on time is shown by the creditor as arriving late.

A rapid rescore can help if you’re in the middle of the process of buying a house. And it can help with a quick mortgage approval, having a days-long turnaround instead of a month if the issues can be resolved quickly.

How Rapid Rescoring Works
A rapid rescore is a process done by a lender or mortgage broker to quickly fix credit report errors that can hurt a credit score. It’s...

10 Painless Changes for a Greener Home

Making eco-friendly changes in the way we live may be easier than you think. Real Simple Magazine lists 10 little tips that can go a long way toward living a “greener” lifestyle:

Start with household cleanersSwitch to plant-based products (read the list of ingredients) that reduce air pollution, minimizing exposure to asthma and allergy triggers as well as chemicals that can be harmful to your health.

Try meatless Mondays. Preparing one meat-free meal per week (for a family of four) has the same impact on the environment as driving a hybrid car. (That’s because of the greenhouse gases produced in raising livestock.)

Buy sustainably-raised meat. Look...

Wood Floor Alternatives Worth a Second Look

Wood floors are a top choice for modern homeowners. Proponents believe they offer warmth as well as elegance, but they do require care to maintain their luster and are costly. Fortunately, say flooring exerts, technology makes it easy to achieve the look and feel of wood flooring without the need for special care—and at a far lower cost.

Check out the look and feel of these alternatives at local flooring or big box stores. (If you don’t plan to do it yourself, factor in $30 to $45 an hour for professional installation):

Bamboo
Bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly alternative to hardwood that is easy to clean, shrugs off wear and tear, and results in a similar look. Available in vertical, horizontal or strand-woven varieties, it will cost $2 to $5 per square foot.

...

The 5 Benefits of an Open House

An open house is a great way to show off your home to a wide pool of potential buyers. As your local real estate professional, I thought you would find useful this infographic delineating the top five reasons on why an open house is an important marketing vehicle when selling your home.

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What to Ask a Mortgage Lender before You Sign Anything

Looking at homes for sale can be the fun part of buying a house. The real work comes when you’re picking a mortgage lender that can give you the best loan for your circumstances.

After detailing your income, expenses, down payment and a monthly mortgage you can afford, a lender will run a credit check and should be able to tell you the best options for the interest rate and loan product.

Here are some questions to ask as you comparison shop for a lender:

What’s the interest rate?

This will be based on your loan and credit score, and determines your monthly payment. The lower the interest rate, the lower the payment. Improving your credit score can help lower the interest rate you qualify for.

Fixed rate or ARM?

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4 Steps to Stop Driving Buyers Away

Is your car impacting the sale of your home? Experts say it may be.

When visiting a home, potential buyers will form an opinion based on what they first see. Cars parked outside the house can negatively impact this first impression. A reasonably new car that is clean inside and out is likely to leave a positive impression or may not be noticed at all, which is fine.

But a run-down car that is dirty on the outside and a mess on the inside (think trash-filled plastic bags, empty cans, clothes) is going to send a message to visitors that the home they’re about to enter is going to be unkempt as well. That’s why it’s worth taking some time to follow these steps and avoid this situation altogether.

  1. Wash it. If the car’s...

Cool Ideas for Dressing Up Your Kid's Room

Icons and superheroes go in and out of style, so decorating your kids’ rooms to reflect their current favorite may not be the best idea. Decorators suggest using timeless themes and practical ideas to make their spaces cheerful and organized:

  • Start with color – Choose a favorite, preferably a soothing one, to help your child ease into sleep. Consider painting one wall in chalkboard paint, ready for years of artistic expression.
  • Use cool family art – Choose a favorite family, vacation, or kid photo and blow it up to large standard frame size at an office supply store. Then cut it evenly into thirds or fourths vertically, frame each one, and hang them side by side as separate pieces separated by just an inch or two.
  • Make it a gallery –...

How to Pick Your Patio Material

A patio is a wonderful addition to your home, offering al fresco space to connect with family and friends during the warmer season. But choosing the right outdoor flooring for your patio is important. Below are a few of the most popular choices.

TileUnglazed, ceramic tiles are a wonderful option for your new patio. The most popular varieties are quarry, terracotta or porcelain. Skip glazed tile, however—while it looks sleek, it’s dangerously slippery when wet.

Cut stone. Also known as stone tile, these include a wide swatch of options, including marble, granite, slate, limestone, travertine, blue stone, phyllite and sandstone.

ConcreteThis is a great, versatile and sturdy option....

5 Hacks to Pay Your Mortgage

A mortgage payment can easily be the biggest bill in a monthly budget. Coming up with that money can be easy in some months and more difficult in others. Turning those difficult months into easier ones is possible with a few tactics.

Here are five hacks to help make paying your mortgage a little easier each month:

Get a side job
Just earning $500 extra a month — or $125 per week — can make paying a mortgage easier. To do this, get a side job for one or two hours per day at a gig you enjoy.

Consider dog walking, house sitting, driving for Uber, delivering meals or teaching a class at your local community center. Set each paycheck aside for your mortgage bill.

Rent out a room
There are several options for renting a room and making some money on the...