New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

Pros and Cons of Living in a Townhouse

When shopping for a home, your options will depend on the area you’re looking in. In many communities, you may find a mix of single-family houses and townhouses. If you’ve never considered a townhouse, weigh the pros and cons to decide if one might be the right choice for you.

Reasons to Choose a Townhouse
A townhouse may cost less than a single-family house. In many cases, townhouses offer features that many houses in the same area do not, such as a pool, tennis court and other recreational facilities. That means you wouldn’t need to pay to install a pool yourself or pay fees to use public facilities. If you like to use those types of amenities frequently, the savings could be substantial over time.

Many people choose townhouses to avoid or reduce maintenance costs....

How to Keep Your Home Safe When You Go Away

If you’re planning to travel for several days or weeks, you need to take some precautions before you leave to protect your home. Thieves often prowl neighborhoods and social media looking for signs that homeowners are away to find easy targets.

Secure Your Home
Before you leave, check that every door and window is locked. If you have an attached garage, make sure the door leading from the garage to the rest of the house is locked.

If you have a home security system, activate it before you leave. If you’ll have someone stop by to take care of your pets, water plants or pick up your mail, give that person the code and a key. Call the security company before you leave, tell them when you’ll be away and provide the name of anyone who has permission to enter your home.

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How to Organize Your Attic

An attic can be an ideal storage space, but if it’s not organized, it can turn into a total mess. If you’ve lived in your house for several years, chances are your attic has gotten cluttered and could use some organizing.

Get Help
If the job is too big for you to handle yourself, ask family or friends to help. Talk about what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of and discuss ways to organize the space. You’ll need to make more decisions as you go through the cleaning process, but setting guidelines at the beginning will help you avoid misunderstandings and arguments.

Decide What Stays and What Goes
As you go through items, sort things you want to keep into piles. You can put clothing in one area, sports equipment in another, photo...

Is Renovating Your Bathroom a Smart Investment?

While remodeling your home can make it more convenient and comfortable for your family, some renovations can also increase the value of your house. Remodeling the bathroom can be a good investment, provided you make some smart decisions.

Upgrades to Consider
When it comes to the bathroom, comfort and convenience are homeowners’ top priorities. If you want to remodel your bathroom, look for changes you can make that will benefit both you and the future owners.

A bathroom should be an attractive and welcoming place. A dim or dated bathroom simply doesn’t feel as relaxing as a modern and brightly lit one. If looking at your bathroom makes you cringe, you should update it. Take a look at magazines, think about what you like about your family members’ and friends’...

Affordable Upgrades for Your Starter Home

You’ve just moved into your starter home—congratulations! But spare cash is limited, and you are eager to show your new home off.

Start with a few cosmetic changes, advise the money editors at Bankrate.com, who offer five easy upgrade projects that can help spruce up a tired living space for a few hundred dollars or less:

  1. Start with a power wash. It won’t cost much, but having your home’s exterior professionally power-washed will give it a fresh, bright look—and since curb appeal counts, make sure the lawn is edged, hedges are trimmed and weeds are pulled.
  2. Freshen the front doorA new fiberglass door can cost $1,000 or morebut you can get a snazzy new look by simply painting the old...

How Much Money Do You Need for a Down Payment?

Buying a home often requires years of saving for a down payment, which is money that a buyer pays upfront toward the cost of a house. This is the immediate equity that a buyer has when purchasing a home. Unless buying with cash funds, the rest of the money comes from a loan. Different lenders require different amounts of money down based on a variety of factors. Lenders refer to a down payment in terms of a percentage of the purchase price.

Private Loans
Private lenders typically prefer that buyers put down 20 percent. Some will accept lower down payments, but those borrowers are considered a higher risk. Lenders want a guarantee and require borrowers with lower down payments to pay for mortgage insurance. This is a policy that pays the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan and the house winds up in foreclosure....

Do Your Part: Top 5 Ways to Green Your Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving should be about a lot of things — family, friends, and breaking bread together. It shouldn’t be about waste. This year, Do Your Part to make your Thanksgiving holiday an eco-friendly affair. To help you get started, here are my top five tips for being greener and healthier this Thanksgiving.

1. Serve local or organic foods

On a holiday that features a bountiful feast, serving organic or local food and drinks can have a big impact. When buying a turkey choose a local vendor or brush up on food label claims before you head to the market.

2. Use nature as decoration

Make beautiful centerpieces and decorations with seasonal items...

5 Ways to Keep the Peace With House Guests

Are you hosting the brood at your place? Whether you have one guest or 10, here are a few ways to make them feel welcome, while keeping your own sanity.

Favorite foods. Is aunt Tina on a new diet? Does your sister need coffee first thing to function? Does your brother-in-law like to wind down with a glass of red wine? Understanding the food-related habits of your guests can offer them comfort when they’re far from home, and ensures no one goes through caffeine withdrawal on your watch.

Extra amenities. From an electric kettle, a mug and a bundle of nice tea in their room, to a few good books by the bed or bath salts by the tub, giving your guests some extra amenities can make them feel taken care of.

Shower...

Expert Insights: How Do You Determine How Much a Home Is Worth?

The short answer: a home is ultimately worth what is paid for it. Everything else is really an estimate of value. Take, for example, a hot seller’s market when demand for housing is high but the inventory of available homes for sale is low. During this time, homes can sell above and beyond the asking price as buyers bid up the price. The fair market value, or worth, is established when “a meeting of the minds” between the buyer and the seller takes place.

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Why Your Credit Score Matters

Credit scores are a crucial factor weighed in on some circumstances. Do you know all the scenarios in which your score plays a role?

The most important according to the American Consumer Credit Counseling is:

1. Buying a home - Your credit score impacts your ability to take out a mortgage for a home. If you have poor credit, a lender may deny the loan.

2. Renting an apartment - Landlords have the option to check a potential renters credit score when considering an application. A prospective tenant with a low credit score may be required to have a co-signor on the lease or may even be denied.

3. Interest rates - Banks often agree to approve loans for those with low scores. But in most cases, they come with higher interest rates.

4. Homeowners insurance - Your state...