New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

Smart Home Gadgets That Will Elevate Your Home

Technology seems to mutate with the speed of light, but is your home keeping up with the changes? Smarten it up with a few smart-home electronics that will boost safety, increase comfort and may even save you a few bucks:

Video Doorbell 
The VTech Video Doorbell, about $115, lets you screen and even video chat with visitors before you answer the door. And the system takes a snapshot each time the doorbell is pressed, so you’ll always know who came a-knocking while you were away.

Smart Door Lock 
The August Smart Lock uses keyless technology to keep your home safe no matter where you are. From your smartphone, you can let guests in, check to make sure you locked up before you left, keep a record of who has entered and exited, and unlock your door from the driveway....

Selling a Spa-Inspired Bathroom

It’s time to make your bathroom shine.

There can be a lot going on in a bathroom. It’s used every day for showering, brushing teeth and other daily routines. With so much happening, it’s a wonder that bathrooms ever stay clean. But when your home is being visited by prospective buyers, it’s important to make sure these rooms are looking their best.

Here are some steps that can make your home’s bathroom appealing.

Scrub it from top to bottom. Bathrooms tend to feature a lot of chrome and porcelain, on which dirt, fingerprints and soap residue are really noticeable. Remove everything from the counters and sink area so you can thoroughly clean. Clean mirrors, the toilet, the shower and the inside of medicine cabinets, along with any under sink...

4 Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

(TNS)—If you can afford it, it might be simple to pay off your mortgage earlier. But should you? That’s a complicated question.

Homeowners with low mortgage rates may be better off putting extra money in a Roth IRA or 401(k), both of which might offer a higher return than paying off the mortgage.

Then there’s the college aid factor. If you’re applying for need-based aid for your kids, that home equity could count against you with some colleges because some institutions view equity as money in the bank.

If, after those caveats, you want to pay off your mortgage early, here are four ways to make it happen.

1. Refinance with a shorter-term mortgage.

You can pay off the mortgage in another 15 years by refinancing into a 15-year mortgage....

Survey Finds Hidden Costs of Homeownership

(TNS)—Your day burns brightly on both ends.

You prod your kids out of bed at daybreak, get them dressed, fed and off to school. You drive to work, endure meetings, colleagues, power lunches, memos and strategy sessions, only to return home through gridlocked traffic just as the sun sets, beg your kids to eat dinner, wash them, coax them to sleep, do the dishes and then mercifully collapse in front of the television set.

You fret over your emergency savings account, retirement savings account, credit card debt, mortgage rate, health insurance, college savings, and on and on.

It makes sense, then, you’d opt to pay a cleaning or lawn service every week to lighten your load. Hiring someone to keep your property in working order, either on your own or through homeowners association...

5 Home Features to Make Aging in Place Easier

If you’re looking to buy a new home and hope to stay there for the rest of your life, look ahead to what you might want in it as you age. Thinking of and paying for features that make a house more accessible now can be a lot easier than having to make modifications later.

Here are five home features to look for in a “forever home” that can make age-related disabilities easier to deal with:

1.  Few steps

A no-step entry that can accommodate a wheelchair is preferable and is the first thing to look for in a home that you may want to spend retirement in. The entryway should be wide and deep enough for a wheelchair to easily turn around, ideally 36 inches wide or more.

Also look for a home without stairs. A one-story home can help with knee or other health issues that make walking difficult....

5 Positive Things to Do When Stuck in Traffic

Sitting in traffic can be a major mood drain. When it happens at the start of the day, it can leave you feeling grouchy for hours. Below are a handful of things to keep you happy while staring at the bumper in front of you.

Dig into an audio book. This is the most obvious choice for making commute times fly by. A good book can turn hours into minutes and can even leave you sitting in your office parking lot with the radio on.

Try a podcast. If you’re not into audio books, don’t write off podcasts. From home improvements to love advice and comedy hours, there are so many high quality podcasts available you’re sure to find something to lift your mood. Bonus: most of these podcasts are absolutely free.

Voice memos. Are you a creative? Make use of your...

How Making Your Bed Can Help Sell Your Home

Some people are fanatics about making their bed. It’s the first thing they do in the morning, and things just don’t seem right if sheets aren’t tucked in, pillows aren’t fluffed and a bed spread isn’t covering the mattress in just the right way.

Others don’t care. The thinking is, the bed is just going to be messed up again at the end of the day. Why spend that precious time making something, just to undo all that hard work in a few hours? This attitude is especially prominent among teenagers.

When selling a home, making the beds isn’t something to be debated, it’s an absolute must. Not only do beds need to be made, they need to be as perfect as possible. Potential buyers are sure to look at all bedrooms, and an unmade, messy bed will be a distraction.

One thing to consider is your bedding....

Affordable Housing and HELOC Deductibility Under New Tax Laws

The new tax bill passed by Congress in December 2017, celebrated as the Trump Administration’s first major legislative victory, will have inadvertent consequences for potential homebuyers looking to buy homes in high-end markets, and for those with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A decrease in home prices and caps on tax deductions, among other effects, will lower affordability in some high-tax states.

The GOP tax bill, which includes a $1.5 trillion tax cut, lowers tax rates for individuals and corporations, and introduces limitations on mortgage and tax deductions.

The bill will cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent and repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax. Taxes for individuals will be cut, with a lower top rate of 37 percent, down from 39.6 percent. The legislation also drops the mortgage interest deduction to...

Spring Cleaning for the Spring Market

For those about to put their home on the market, there’s nothing quite as beneficial as doing a thorough “spring cleaning” to get ready. This means getting rid of a lot of clutter that might distract a prospective buyer.

Below are five spring cleaning tips that can help spruce up your home for the sale.

Reduce the clutter. There’s a reason that one of the first things an agent will tell you is to get rid of anything you don’t need—clutter makes rooms look smaller and distracts potential buyers. This is the perfect time to throw out things you haven’t used in years, donate items to Goodwill or even hold a garage sale to get rid of your “treasures” you can’t seem to put in the garbage. Go room by room with the family and be ready to make some hard choices.

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Removing Mold to Get Market Ready

One of the four-letter words no one wants to hear is mold—this is especially true for those involved in a house sale. It’s a problem that can put a screeching halt to any potential sale and could cause heartache on both sides of a transaction. The problem is most people don’t even realize they have mold in their homes because those sneaky little spores aren’t always easy to detect.

Most know that mold is harmful, but don’t really understand why. Simply put, mold is a fungus that produces allergens, irritants and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, including hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and a skin rash. Additionally, mold can result in asthma attacks and can irritate the eyes, skin,...