New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

Which Type of Siding Is Right for Your House?

Siding is a critical component of a home that protects it from extreme temperatures, rain, snow and wind. Although siding is designed to last many years, it can become damaged over time by repeated exposure to the elements and lack of maintenance. If your home’s siding needs to be replaced, you have many options.

Most Popular Siding Materials
The most commonly chosen type of siding is vinyl. Homeowners prefer vinyl siding because it is inexpensive and durable and requires little maintenance. Vinyl siding comes in an array of colors and styles and can even be made to resemble other siding materials.

Although wood siding has declined in popularity, many homeowners still choose it because of its strength and classic appearance. Several types of wood can be used for siding, and pieces...

The Difference Between a Home Equity Loan and Home Equity Line of Credit

If you need money for an important project, you might be able to finance it by accessing the equity you’ve built up by paying your mortgage. A home equity loan and a home equity line of credit (HELOC) are two options. Before you decide to use either, make sure you understand the key differences between the two—and when it makes sense to utilize one over the other.

What Equity Is and When to Use It
Your home’s equity is the current value of your house minus the balance owed on the mortgage. The amount you can borrow through a home equity loan or HELOC will depend on the lender and the amount of equity you have.

Before you decide to access your home equity, make sure you want to use the money for a legitimate purpose. Repairs or renovations that will increase your home’s value can...

What to Do About a Pothole in Your Driveway

Hitting a pothole can result in vehicle damage and expensive repair bills. If a road you commonly drive has a pothole, you might be able to take a different route, but a pothole in your driveway may be impossible to avoid. You should fix it to protect your car, as well as vehicles owned by anyone who may visit you.

What Causes Potholes
Potholes form in asphalt driveways when ice and water from melting snow displace the soil beneath the surface. In dirt and gravel driveways, water can get trapped under the surface and cause potholes. When cars repeatedly drive over weakened areas, the surface becomes damaged and the holes gradually grow wider and deeper.

How Potholes Can Affect Cars
Hitting a pothole can damage the sidewalls and treads of tires or cause them to go flat. A pothole...

10 Laundry Tips to Cut Your Energy Bill

Did you know that laundry machines are among the costliest appliances in your home to operate because of their high energy usage? Given that many families clean multiple loads of clothes every week, taking steps to be more efficient in the laundry room might help lower your overall power bill.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following tips:

1. Use cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half, and using cold water will save even more. Cold-water detergents can be helpful to ensure items get clean, and high-efficiency detergents (indicated by the “HE” symbol) should be used when required by the manufacturer.

2. Wash full loads. Your...

Costs to Estimate Before Buying a Fixer-Upper

Buying a house that needs some work and turning it from a fixer-upper into a home can be daunting. A lot of effort is ahead, requiring potential buyers to determine their skills, budget and schedule to get the job done.

Here are some ways to determine the true costs of a fixer-upper:

Start With a List
Either by yourself or with a contractor or home inspector by your side, go through the house room by room and write down what needs fixing. Many problems won’t be visible to the naked eye, so a professional inspector can help by testing if there are hazards such as mold, radon or lead paint.

The inspector should also look for possible structural problems. These can include foundation damage, major plumbing or electrical problems, an inefficient HVAC system, termite damage and...

How to Make Sure You Buy a House With Enough Storage Space

One of the most common regrets cited among homeowners is buying a house without enough storage space. The typical family has a lot of stuff—so much that many people pay monthly fees to rent storage units. And those costs can quickly add up. If you’re planning to buy a house, take a careful look at the amount of storage space it offers and ask yourself if it really is enough for your family. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent for the dimensions of closets, or take measurements yourself.

Bedroom closets can quickly become packed to the point of overflowing, especially if they’re shared by two spouses or siblings. When you view houses, note the sizes of the closets, whether there’s enough room to hang clothes, whether there are shelves or whether there’s space to...

Should You Consider a House Without a Garage?

In some communities, many houses don’t have garages, or they have carports with a roof and open sides. For some homebuyers, the lack of a garage isn’t a big deal because they walk or use public transportation to commute. For others, a house without a garage is a deal breaker.

Storing your vehicle in a garage can be safer than parking it on the street. A garage reduces the risk of theft, vandalism and accidental damage, which can go a long way toward providing added peace of mind. A garage may even lower your insurance rates.

Anyone who has gotten into a car after it’s been sitting outdoors on a sunny day knows that the sudden, sweltering heat can be unbearable. Even if you crank up the air conditioning, it takes time to cool off the car, and, in the meantime, your...

Expert Insights: Are There Such Things as No-Cost and No-Fee Loans?

You see promotions for them all the time but banking regulators have gone after lenders who misrepresent these loans. The reality is that no-cost and no-fee loans may actually cost the borrower more over the long term because costs are often hidden by rolling them into the new loan through higher principal or interest.

The rates on no-cost loans are usually about half or five-eights of a percentage point higher than the ‘full cost’ rate.

A typical no-fee loan includes points and all fees in the loan principal, so the borrower does not pay or ‘see’ these expenses at the closing. Instead, the borrower pays them over the life of the loan.

There are many options available. Talk to a mortgage broker to see what you qualify for and what’s available in your area....

Keys to Buying a Home With Friends

Studies show that millennials are less likely to marry young and more likely to move in with friends and share responsibilities. And while that usually means renting an apartment, some are finding it a better idea to team up to purchase a home, either as an investment or just a savvy way to be able to afford a more permanent home.

Buying a house with a friend is a trend on the rise. While friends often celebrate holidays together, go on vacations and are around for all the important moments in life, why not purchase a home together?

The main question to consider before taking the plunge with a friend is, “will the friendship survive?” Buying a home and living together is a big commitment, and you want to be sure that a life-altering decision like this won’t kill the friendship.


10 Easy Upgrades for a Healthier Home

’Tis the season for pollen and pesticides, not to mention pet dander and disease-carrying creepy-crawlies. The editors at checked in with health and environment experts across the country for easy, inexpensive tips to help keep your home healthy.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

Add mats on both sides of the door. Up to 80 percent of the dirt that gets tracked inside—along with countless allergens, bacteria and lawn chemicals—can be caught before it makes itself at home with washable mats on both sides of the door.

Establish a no-shoes-indoors policy. Keep a basket of slippers or socks near the entryway for family members and guests alike.

Create a pet checkpoint....