Thursday, December 28, 2006
New home inventories remain high, but November sales indicate a bottoming out of the new home market.
Interested in buying a new home? Visit my website to search all new home listings in central New Jersey.
Friday, December 22, 2006
1. Review your mortgage -- does it still fit your circumstances?
2. Watch out for reset.
3. Don't pay the minimum on an option ARM.
4. When you get a mortgage, shop around.
5. Make an extra payment.
6. Think about getting mortgage insurance instead of a piggyback loan.
7. Be skeptical.
Read the full story...
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The report weighed such factors as prevalence of obesity, smoking, infectious disease, cardiovascular deaths, infant mortality, child poverty, immunization rates, workplace deaths and auto deaths in determining rankings.
Overall, Americans were healthier in 2006, but continue to lag behind many other nations in infant mortality.
New Jersey's strengths included low percentage of children in poverty, high rate of high school graduation, low prevalence of smoking and low infant mortality rate. Challenges for New Jersey are limited access to prenatal health care and high incidence of infectious diseases.
Minnesota ranked as the healthiest state and Louisiana came in last. Read full report...
Friday, December 01, 2006
BankRate.com has a great article for seller's with tips on how to sell in a buyer's market. The tips include:
1. Prepare yourself mentally for what you're about to go through.
2. Get ready for picky buyers.
3. Educate yourself about your neighborhood's real estate market.
4. Hire an inspector.
5. Consider paying the buyer's discount points.
If you are thinking about selling your home, the article is worth a full read! Then visit my website or give me a call. I'm here to help with all your real estate needs.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
-Minimize holiday decorations to keep focus on your home and its features and benefits.
-Less is more when decorating a home for the holidays while you are trying to sell. Streamline the amount of holiday specific decorations you display.
-Christmas trees and other large holiday decorations consume space that might make rooms appear smaller.
-Install and remove exterior holiday decorations 2 weeks before and after holiday.
-Turn off lighted holiday decorations before showings, buyers should focus on your home and not your decorations.
-If you are having out-of-town house guests, ask your agent to postpone showings until after your guests depart.
-Leave out a plate of home-made holiday treats for potential buyers.
-Display summer photos of home and gardens to inform buyers of the features of the home in other seasons.
-Before showings remove snow, ice and leaves from walkways and driveways. Don't overlook outside entrances to basements, garages, and porches.
-If you plan to close the purchase or sale of a home near a holiday, check with your agent, title, company and lender to verify two business days before closing that they have all the required documents and funds have been wired to complete the transaction.
-If you are closing on your new home, select a mid-week day, early in the day, to schedule your closing time, to accommodate last minute delays by a mortgage loan processor, insurance or title company.
-If you plan to move during the holidays, keep in mind that moving companies will require more notice and could charge additional fees for packing, moving and delivering household goods on week-ends and holidays.
Visit my website for all New Jersey real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more!
Monday, November 13, 2006
10 reasons why you should list your home during the holidays
1. Most November and December buyers are particularly serious and very likely facing some sort of deadline.
2. January is the biggest transfer month of the year and job transferee’s use the holidays to house hunt.
3. Many people want to buy before the end of the year for financial and tax reasons. Investors usually want to close escrow by year-end for tax purposes.
4. Most sellers wait until spring or summer to list their home. This means that during the winter months your property will have far less competition versus any other time of the year.
5. Homes show well when decorated for the holidays creating a sense of family and people are much more emotionally drawn to the house, emotion sells.
6. Many people take vacation around the holidays allowing more time to look for a home.
7. Remodeling, decorating, appliance installation and other services are more available and at less of a premium.
8. There is plenty of mortgage money available for buyers.
9. Lenders aren't as busy and can process loans faster.
10. Showings will be fewer and less intrusive, but more likely to be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.
visit my website for all New Jersey real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Based on claims information submitted by insurers to the CLUE database, the report includes dates, types of claims, and the amount paid for each claim. If the report shows no losses, a home buyer can feel confident that no one has filed a fire, flood, windstorm or other claim against an insurer. However, if a claim has been filed, the buyer will know to take an extra-hard look at the area that was damaged. Also if the report shows that someone has filed a water-based insurance claim for mold, that might be reason enough to move on. A mold claim often makes it difficult for subsequent owners to obtain homeowners insurance. And if they can obtain insurance, it might be extremely expensive.
Only the home owner can obtain a CLUE report, so the buyer will have to ask the seller to purchase one. The report costs $19.50 and can be obtained from the ChoicePoint Web site.
If you would like more information on CLUE reports or are interested in buying a home in central New Jersey, visit my website. Here you can view all real estate listings.
Friday, October 20, 2006
There are, also, tax advantages to owning your own home. The mortgage interest on your personal residence is tax deductible. Thinking of buying central New Jersey real estate? Visit JackieSafran.com to view all central New Jersey real estate listings.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
October is also a great time to think about buying or selling a home. visit my website for all New Jersey real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more!
Friday, October 06, 2006
General Election Day will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. This year, the election takes place between voting years for the President of the United States. Therefore, 2006 is known as a “midterm election” year. In New Jersey, the thirteen seats of U.S. Congress and one of the U.S. Senate seats are up for election. The U.S. Senate candidates will be voted upon throughout the state. The U.S. Congressional Representatives will be elected into office by voters in the thirteen Congressional districts in New Jersey. There are also many local races that will take place at county and municipal levels.
Important Dates to Remember for the 2006 General Election:
Last day to register to vote for the 2006 General Election October 17
Absentee ballot applications due by mail October 31
Application deadline for Faxed Overseas Federal Ballot November 3
Absentee ballot applications due in person November 6
General Election Day
(Poll hours: 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.) November 7
Voter Registration Instructions
In order to register to vote in an election, you must be a United States citizen, at least 18 years old and reside in your county for at least 30 days before the election. Learn more about military and overseas voting.
To register to vote in New Jersey, mail your completed Registration Application to the Commissioners of Registration office in the county where you reside.
Registration deadline - 21 days prior to Election Day (October 17, 2006)
Change of Name/Address
Have you recently moved or changed your name?
Note: The Registration Application form can also be used for name and address changes.
If you’ve moved to a new city or town, you may have moved to a new district.
Find your County Clerk and contact them to check your voting district.
Don’t forget to bring your ID to the polling place!
Applying for an Absentee Ballot
According to the NJ Division of Elections, any New Jersey voter can submit their vote via absentee ballot for any election.
To apply for an absentee ballot, download, print and complete the Absentee Ballot Application. Since an original signature is required, you must mail (7 days before the election) or hand deliver (by 3:00 p.m. on November 6, the day before Election Day) your complete application to the County Clerk.
For more information visit the NJ Division of Elections Absentee Ballot Information Page.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a New Jersey home, visit my website to view all real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more!
Tags: new jersey voting instructions, new jersey elections, new jersey real estate, new jersey homes for sale, new jersey market value
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Fall is great time to buy a home. There is more inventory and more homes to choose from. Interest rates are great also. Visit my website to view all New Jersey real estate listings. Then contact me. I'm here to help.
Tags: mortgage rates plunge, new jersey real estate listings
Friday, September 22, 2006
This site, Home Energy Saver, is designed to help consumers identify the best ways to save energy in their homes, and find the resources to make the savings happen. You can calculate how much energy and money can be saved with energy efficient appliances. It also calculates heating and cooling consumption. There is a database of state incentives for Renewable Energy, along with state rebates and tax incentives for upgrading insulationto DOE-recommended levels of insulation. As well as, links to over 4,000 electric and gas companies.
If you are interested in saving on energy costs, you will enjoy this site.
Tags: home energy saver, high energy bills, save on utility bills
Friday, September 15, 2006
Identity theft is a serious crime impacting more than 10 million victims each year. Often, consumers first learn they are identity theft victims when they are in the process of buying or renting a home and ruining thier dream of homeownership. The National Association of Realtors is working with the Federal Trade Commission to educate comsumers to minimize the risk of identity theft. This new initiative, Deter-Detect-Defend is focused on empowering consumers to protect themselves against identity and to minimize its impact.
Together, the NAR and FTC hope to educate consumers to take the necessary steps to deter, detect and defend against identity theft and make it more difficult for identity thieves to steal a consumer’s personal information. This will help consumers better protect their credit, and increase the likelihood of realizing their home ownership dreams.
Deter Identity Theft
Consumers can deter identity thieves by safeguarding their personal information.
Detect Identity Theft
Consumers can detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring their financial accounts and billing statements. Many consumers learn that their identity has been stolen after the damage has been done. The faster consumers detect the theft, the more they can limit the damage.
Defend Against Identity Theft
Consumers should defend against identity theft as soon as they suspect a problem. It’s important to act quickly to minimize the damage.
Tags: identity theft, national association of realtors, federal trade commission, deter-detect-defend
Friday, September 08, 2006
Buying a home is an exciting time, full of possibilities and pressures. Starting with some initial preparation and planning will help make the entire process more efficient and less overwhelming.
To start the ball rolling, you should:
Check Your Credit Rating:
Even if you are sure that your credit is excellent, it is wise to check on it at the outset. You'd be surprised how many mistakes are made due to faulty social security numbers, similar names or errors made by retailers. If there is an error, write a letter to the appropriate credit bureau. They are required to assist you in sorting things out and usually take about 30 days.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. AnnualCreditReport.com is the official website to help you obtain your free credit report.
If you have any questions about obtaining your credit report or reading it once you receive it, contact me or visit my website. Here you can view all central New Jersey real estate listings.
Tags: annual credit report, new jersey real estate, central new jersey real estate, central new jersey homes for sale
Friday, September 01, 2006
It looks like Labor Day weekend is going to be pretty much of a washout with Ernesto coming through, but Metuchen students will have one more weekend to enjoy in their summer vacation.
With school almost upon us, I thought you might appreciat school related links.
Metuchen School District
Metuchen Adult School
Metuchen Public Library
Stay dry this weekend and have a fun and exciting school year!
Tags: metuchen school district, metuchen schools open sept. 11
Thursday, August 24, 2006
30 year fixed-rate mortgage rates have dropped for the 5th week in a row according to BankRate.com. Interest rates haven't been this low since the end of March.
If you are thinking of buying a home and want to learn how the lower interest rates effect your buying power, contact me or visit me website. Here you can view all New Jersey real estate listings, get the current market value of your New Jersey home and more!
Tags: bankrate.com reports lower interest rates, rates lowest since end of March, new jersey real estate listings, new jersey home market value
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Slower Market Is Good News For Buyers
Just because the bidding wars of the last few years are over doesn't mean it is not a good time to own a home. In fact, the market correction that is taking place and balancing the market between buyers and sellers is good news for both buyers and sellers. Sellers are still seeing their homes appreciate, just not at the double digit rates of the last few years.
Buyers are benefiting the most, however. There is more inventory giving buyers more choices. Buyers also have more time to mull over their home buying decision. They now have time to sleep on a decision and don't have to fear another buyer will snap up their dream home if they don't act, NOW! Buyers, also, have more negotiating power now than in the recent past. It is not uncommon for sellers to pay closing costs, throw in appliances or paying condo or HOA fees.
Interest rates are up slightly, but are still under 7% which is a far cry from any historical highs.
If you are considering buying or selling a home in New Jersey visit my website and contact me to help you get the most out of your transaction.
Tags: slower market benefits buyers, New Jersey market correction, [tagname]
Thursday, August 10, 2006
An annual closing cost comparison survey conducted by BankRate.com has ranked New Jersey as 13 in the nation. The survey compared settlement costs from 10 lenders in all 50 states. The average cost for lender, title and settlement costs totaled $3,024. New Jersey's fees to close a loan total $3,158.
New York ranks number one with costs of $3,887 and Missouri came in last with $2,713 in costs. The good news is, New Jersey's 13th place is down from 4th place in 2005.
If you are thinking of buying a home and are interested in getting the lowest settlement costs possible, contact me or visit my website. I will put my expertise to work to help you get the best possible deal!
Tags: BankRate.com, closing costs, loan, mortgage, New Jersey, New York, Missouri, buy, home, settlement
Thursday, August 03, 2006
New Jersey property taxes are the highest in the nation. New Jersey also has more mucipialities per square mile than any other state with 21 counties and 566 municipal governments.
Many think one way to control propety taxes is to share services. Consolidation and economies of scale would be reflected in real savings.
Pahaquarry Township merged into Hardwick Township in Warren County in 1997, and the state has nearly 700 shared-services programs involving local governments.
In Somerset County, 17 municipalities, 10 school districts and the county government saved $13.6 million last year through shared services. Manville, Bound Brook, Raritan Borough, South Bound Brook and Bridgewater for instance, share a daytime weekday ambulance service.
Politics, bureaucracy and a desire by residents to have their own schools and communities are reasons that consolidation isn't more widespread.
Elected officials are wary of proposing forced consolidation, and residents have often been hesitant to support it.
What do you think?
Thinking of buying or selling a home in Central New Jersey? Visit my website to view all real estate listings, get the current value of your home, free reports and more!
Tags: taxes, property taxes, New Jersey, buy, sell,listings, real estate, Jackie Safran, buyer, seller
Friday, July 28, 2006
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill which will increase homeownership opportunities for millions of Americans by modernizing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and returning it to its traditional role as an important financing option in today’s housing market.
The Expanding American Homeownership Act will:
1) Eliminate the current statutory three percent minimum down payment, reducing a significant barrier to homeownership. The "new” FHA would offer a variety of down payment options.
2) Create a new, risk-based insurance premium structure for FHA that would match the premium amount with the credit profile of the borrower. It would replace the current structure, in which there is standard premium amount for all borrowers. FHA would have the flexibility to charge a lower premium for low-risk borrowers, and to charge higher-risk borrowers a slightly higher premium.
3) Increase and simplify FHA’s loan limits. FHA’s loan limit in high-cost areas would rise from 87 to 100 percent of the GSE conforming loan limit and in lower-cost areas from 48 to 65 percent of the conforming loan limit. This change is crucial in today’s housing market. In many areas of the country, the existing FHA limits are lower than the cost of new construction, eliminating FHA financing as an option for buyers of new homes in those markets.
Thinking of buying or selling real estate in Central New Jersey? Visit my website to view all real estate listings, get the current market value of your home, free reports and more!
Tags: FHA, HUD, loan, financing, homeownership, insurance, buy, sell, real estate, New Jersey
Friday, July 21, 2006
College Park is Edison's newest townhome and garden home community built by Lennar with 240 homes, a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse with a fully equipped fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool, basketball courts and a tot lot. Standard amenities in college are lavish upgrades elsewhere, making this neighborhood a great investment.
College Park is within five miles of Metro Park, the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and Routes 1 and Interstate 287. This location is a commuter's dream. Residents are also are a short drive from ocean beaches and area marinas, as well as the professional sports venues at the Meadowlands and the downtown shopping, restaurants and theaters of New Brunswick.
If you are thinking of buying a new home, visit my website, give me a call or send me an e-mail. My experience and market knowledge will help you get the best value for your money.
Tags: college park, edison, new jersey, new construction, homes, real estatebuy, lennar, townhomegarden home, metro park, meadowlands, new brunswick
Friday, July 14, 2006
Dismal Swamp represents one of the last remaining wetland ecosystems in a highly urbanized environment. It has been designated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Environmental Protection Agency as a priority wetlands area. Dismal Swamp covers nearly 650 acres of which 12 acres are located in Metuchen. (The remaining portion is in Edison and South Plainfield.) Our portion includes an upland area containing a deciduous forest. The swamp supports a diverse and extensive number of wildlife species. An endangered species, the loggerhead shrike, lives here along with an estimated 165 species of birds.
Paths through the swamp allow visitors to hike, bird watch, and look for evidence of other wildlife. A 25-minute slide show and presentation describing the Dismal Swamp is available at no charge.
Dismal Swamp is a great place to to spend an afternoon outdoors with the kids exercising and appreciating nature. Enjoy!
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Metuchen, visit me website. Here you can view all real estate listings, get the value of your home and more!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Buying a home is an exciting time, full of possibilities and pressures. Starting with some initial preparation and planning will help make the entire process more efficient and less overwhelming.
To start the ball rolling, you should:
1. Check Your Credit Rating:
Even if you are sure that your credit is excellent, it is wise to check on it at the outset. You’d be surprised how many mistakes are made due to faulty social security numbers, similar names or errors made by retailers. If there is an error, write a letter to the appropriate credit bureau. They are required to assist you in sorting things out and usually take about 30 days. You can obtain a free credit report online at, www.AnnualCreditReport.com
When you see your credit report, you may have questions about what it all means. Don't hesitate to contact me or visit my website, I'm glad to help anyway I can.
Friday, June 30, 2006
The central bank boosted the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other, to 5.25%, the highest level in more than five years. When the Fed started reining in credit two years ago, the rate was 1 percent, the lowest in 46 years.
How does the rate increase effect your ability to get a mortgage? Give me a call or visit my website. I will introduce you to a well-qualified, experienced, knowledgeable loan officer who will answer all your questions.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Buyers who immediately disregard homes with small kitchens may be severely limiting their options. After all, small kitchens don’t have to be cramped; they can be comfortable and efficient. Here are some tips for making the most of the space from Tampa, Fla., interior designer Jay Tenuta, owner of La Bella Interiors.
1. Buy a 24-inch deep refrigerator instead of the standard 30-inch one.
2. Add glass-fronted door to cabinets. They create the image of greater space. If that's too expensive, open shelving is another alternative that will give an open, airy look.
3. A fold-out table provides a breakfast nook, then disappears when it isn’t needed.
4. Don't use the tops of your cabinets for decorative display when you can use them for storage. Affordable baskets and boxes are a perfect option.
5. Create an island on casters that wheels out of sight when it’s not needed.
6. Surf the Web for space-saving ideas. For example, Ikea.com provides kitchen planning ideas, storage containers, and furniture made specifically for small spaces.
Source: St. Petersburg Times, Elizabeth Bettendorf (05/26/2006)
Thinking of buying or selling a central New Jersey home? Visit my website to view all available listings or to get your Free home evaluation.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The National Association of Realtors is predicting a 5.3% increase in rents this year. This is more than double the 2005 increase and the largest increase since 2000.The only way to control your housing budget is to own your own home and not be at the mercy of your landlord.
Home prices continue to rise, but buying at today's prices is an investment in your future. New Jersey continues to see double digit appreciation which you can only benefit you if you own your own home. A mortgage payment is investing. A rent payment is throwing money away.
I am glad to show you a rent vs. buy comparison, so you can determine if buying a home is the right decision for you. So, contact me, today!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
A property survey is a map of a property showing where structures, easements and boundaries are located. To most buyers, being required by the mortgage company to have an updated survey for closing just seems like a waste of money. And, who wants to spend more money than absolutely necessary?
But, a survey is like insurance. The chances of you ever really needing it are slim, but if you ever do need it, you will be glad you have it. CNNMoney.com has a great article about folks who wished they had a survey. Be sure to take a look.
Thinking of buying or selling a home? Visit my website. Here you can look at all homes listed for sale in Hampton Roads and get a Price Valuation.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Sandra Nickel, Realtor in Montgomery, AL, has an excellent post on contingency contracts. What are they and should you as a seller accept one. It is short, sweet and informative.
Please contact me with any questions you have about contingency contracts or real estate in Southern New Jersey.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Tis the season for do-it-yourself projects. The honey-do- list at our house is a mile long and I am always looking for a way to make the job I am tackling easier. Sam Miller, an excellent Realtor in Mount Vernon, OH has a post with interior painting tips. If painting is on your list of projects, take a look.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, visit my website. Here you can view all local real estate listings.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Orange County Realtors, Drew and Linda Hartanov, have a great post on their Blog... 4 Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make and How To Avoid Them.
Take a look and then contact me, 732-548-5555 #314 with any questions you might have about how these mistakes relate to the New Jersey housing market.
You can receive a Market Valuation of your home by visiting: www.JackieSafran.com
Thursday, May 25, 2006
1. Don't Get "Pre-Qualified!" Get "Pre-Approved"
2. Sell First, Then Buy
3. Play the Game of Nines
4. Don't Be Pushed Into Any House
5. Stop Calling Ads!
Read this important post and put yourself in the best possible position to buy a home. Then contact me, or visit my website, so I can represent your best interests when buying your New Jersey home. I will take care of you just like family.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Money is a major sticking point in many new marriages and the number one cause of divorce and marital fighting. However, it doesn't need to be. Sam Goller and Deborah Shouse, co-authors of the new book "Yes, You Can . . . Achieve Financial Harmony," help newlyweds align their monetary values and beliefs to create a thriving marriage.
"Communicating about money is one of the top challenges for even the most open and articulate couples," Shouse explains. "Before you can build a financial foundation that supports your wants and dreams, it's necessary to understand what goals are important to you and your partner and why they are important."
Open communication is just the beginning. In their book, Goller and Shouse offer the following 10 tips to help couples achieve financial wedded bliss:
1. Come clean before tying the knot. - Avoid a fight about money after the honeymoon by talking about your individual financial situations before the wedding bells ring.
2. Spend time talking about money memories. - Most of us underestimate the impact our upbringing and traditional roles have on our current financial decisions. Sharing the past can relieve tension in the future.
3. Know when to pursue a money conversation and when to stop. - People who are tired, hungry, cranky or involved in cooking dinner aren't in a good frame of mind for holding meaningful money conversations. Talk about money issues at a time when you're both rested and mentally available.
4. Figure out what counts. - Prior to formulating a financial plan, talk about your priorities and what really matters to each of you when it comes to money.
5. Find your missing dollars. - Before you can spend your money in a way that gives you the greatest pleasure and helps you meet your goals, you have to understand your spending habits. Consider keeping a spending journal to find out where your money really goes.
6. Eliminate credit card debt. - The average American has more than $8,000 of credit card debt. Newlyweds can't afford to fall deeper into debt than they already are. Make paying off credit card debt a top priority.
7. Create an emergency fund. - What if a financial emergency strikes? Three steps to get you started on an emergency fund are:
* Determine how much you need.
* Figure out how to consistently save.
* Find a safe place to put your savings.
8. Find a system that works for you. - Maybe it's sitting down together each month to pay the bills as a team. Or maybe one of you is better at handling expenses than the other and prefers to do it alone. Find a system that works with your needs.
9. Don't stop talking. - To enjoy continued financial success as a couple, it is necessary to continue your money conversations on a regular basis. Many experts recommend sitting down with your spouse monthly to make sure you're still on track.
10. Personal growth. - Spending doesn't always have to be money. One of marriage's greatest rewards is spending time together. Learning and expanding your horizons as a couple or with friends can offer greater returns than any purchase.
"Achieving financial success doesn't have to be stressful, but it requires determination," Goller says. "Newlyweds have a huge advantage when it comes to investing for the future - time. By taking the time now to build a solid financial foundation, attaining financial independence is a real possibility."
The book "Yes, You Can . . . Achieve Financial Harmony" is available by calling (800) 234-3445 or online at www.stowers-innovations.com. (ARA)
Thinking of buying or selling real a home? Visit my website. You can view all real estate listings here.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Why not take a day trip to the Jersey Shore? Walk on the beach, fly a kite with the kids, look for shells. Then enjoy a nice dinner before heading home.
Click here to help you decide where to go and what restaurants are serving Mother's Day dinner.
Thinking of buying or selling real estate? Visit my website for the current value of your home and to view all local listings.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
1. Tax Breaks – The interest you pay on your mortgage, property taxes and some of your closing costs are all tax deductible.
2. Gains – Between 1998 and 2002, national home prices have increased an average of 5.4% annually. While no one can guarantee appreciation rates, the National Association of Realtors found a typical homeowner has approximately $50,000 of unrealized gain in their home.
3. Equity – Rent money is money that is thrown away while mortgage payments build equity. In 2003, the average renter was worth $5,000. the average homeowner was worth $175,000.
4. Savings – building equity in your home is a ready made savings plan. When you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 as gain without paying federal income tax.
5. Predictability – Unlike rent, your mortgage payments don’t increase. Your housing costs may actually decline as you own your home longer. Keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs may rise, however.
6. Freedom – The home is yours. You may decorate and make improvements as you wish, as well as, benefit from the improvements you make.
7. Stability – Being members of a community allows you to participate in community activities, establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.
If you are considering buying your first New Jersey home, contact me. I will be assist you in determining if renting or buying is the right decision for you.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
If your family has to wait in line to take a shower, or if you're storing pots and pans in the laundry room due to lack of cabinet space, it could be time to consider a home remodeling project. Not only will an updated space make your house more pleasant for you and your family, it can pay off in higher resale value.
To find out if your project will add to the resale value of your home, take stock of other houses in your neighborhood. Have many of them been upgraded in the past few years? If everyone on the block has added a bathroom or upgraded their master suite, these projects would be worth considering. On the other hand, you may not want to price your house out of the market by adding a third or fourth garage if that's not the standard in your area.
Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey that compares construction costs with resale values. Over the past four years, bathroom and kitchen remodeling have consistently shown good returns on investment. In 2005, a kitchen remodel that included updating cabinet fronts; replacing the oven, stove, sink and faucet; adding new paint or wall coverings; and replacing existing flooring recouped 98.5 percent of the job cost at resale time as a national average.
Bathroom remodels pay off even better. Updating a bathroom that is 25 years old with new fixtures, tub, and toilet; adding new tile, a solid surface vanity counter, ceramic floor and wallpaper recoups on average 102.2 percent.
Of course, you won't want to tackle a home improvement project solely for the resale value, especially if you intend to stay put for a while. A remodel can contribute to a better quality of living for your family while your house increases in value. "Choose an improvement that makes sense for you and your family and one that you can afford," says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian, a global information solutions company.
To decide if a home remodeling project is right for you, make a list of features that you would like in the room to be renovated, taking into account how you and your family use the space. Consider traffic patterns, lighting and special features you'd like, such as a wet bar or walk-in shower.
Next, figure out how much you can spend on the project. You might want to consider taking out a home equity loan to finance the remodel. Because the loan is secured by your home, it will likely have a lower annual percentage rate, and you may get some tax breaks, too. The amount you can borrow is limited by the equity you have in your home. Other factors that may influence the amount you can borrow include your credit history, income and current financial responsibilities. Also, be sure to have a plan for how you will repay the loan. You don't want to put your home at risk or add too much stress to the family budget.
To make sure your financing is ready when you are, visit a credit reporting company online such as www.experian.com to quickly and easily access your credit report. "If you notice anything questionable, such as accounts you don't recognize, or payment disputes, deal with those issues before applying for a home equity loan," says Sweet. "It can also be helpful to have your credit score which will tell you specifically the factors in your credit history that could be considered risky by lenders."
Finally, get bids from several contractors to see how your budget and the cost of your dream remodel compare. Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations, or ask your lender if they're familiar with the contractors you're considering. Another great way to check out a company is SmartBusinessReports, also available through Experian. These business credit reports provide consumers with background information, comprehensive financial information and credit risk facts about the business they are considering using in an easy-to-read, online format.
As with any big project, you'll need to be flexible and not let the inevitable glitches get in the way of the big picture - when you're done, you'll have a beautiful new space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. (ARA)
If you would like input from a real estate professional as to whether or not your home improvement project will add resale value to your home or if you are over-improving for the neighborhood, just give me a call at 732-548-5555 #314. I am glad to help.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Selling a home is like climbing Mount Everest – getting a signed contract is a great accomplishment, but that's only half the journey. The typical home sale today involves more than 20 steps after the initial contract is accepted to complete the transaction.
Much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of appraisers, loan processors, attorneys, and inspectors — my role, as your REALTOR®, is to coordinate those responsibilities, helping to ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly and that the closing isn't jeopardized.
Many steps between contract ratification and closing involve the cooperation of both buyer and seller, and it takes attentive REALTORS® on both sides of the transaction to troubleshoot and keep everyone on track.
When things go wrong, closing can easily fall behind. Here's how much time to expect on particular delays:
1. Buyer submits incorrect information to lender.
2. Source of downpayment changes.
3. Escrow fails to notify parties about missing documents.
4. Principals leave town without signing all necessary papers.
5. Unknown defects are discovered in the property.
6. Last-minute liens discovered.
7. Cloud on title.
8. Move-out date changes.
1. Lender decides at the last minute it doesn't approve of the borrower or the property.
2. Lender raises interest rates.
3. Lender requires last minute reappraisal or repairs.
4. Appraisal too low.
I have extensive experience in handling problems that may arise during the time between contract and closing; I can anticipate difficulties and address them in time to ensure a smooth settlement for all involved.
To ensure a smooth settlement when buying or selling your home, give me a call, 732-548-555 #314. I'm here to help!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Home sales should remain strong this year according to a report just released from the National Association of Realtors. The association expects sales to move up and down somewhat over for the rest of the year, but are predicting 2006 as being the third strongest year in history.
NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said home prices are expected to cool, but not as much as in earlier projections. Click here to read the full report.
So if you were waiting for the real estate market to go bust before you buy, you probably shouldn't hesitate any longer. Visit my website, www.JackieSafran.com, or contact me by phone, 732-548-5555 #314 or e-mail. I will show you how you can take advantage of this strong market and low interest rates.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Metuchen Charm. Wonderful home 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths. Eat-In Kitchen with Butler’s Pantry. Large Formal Dining Room. Welcoming Living Room with fireplace and French Doors. Original woodwork and stained glass windows. Expansive Master Bedroom. Sparkling hardwood floors. Full Basement and Detached Garage. Walk to Metuchen town center and direct train to Manhattan. Asking Price: $499,900
Park-like setting in Piscataway. Large Family Home in great location, just across the road from Lake Nelson. 4 Bedrooms, 1.5 Bathrooms. Large, sunny living room leading to dining room. Expansive Family Room. Garage. Private yard with deck. This is a lot of home for the money. Asking Price: $399,900
Classic North Edison Colonial. 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths. Eat-In Kitchen. Family Room with brick fireplace and wet bar. Large rooms. Finished Basement. Central Air. 2 Car Garage. Private half-acre parklike lot, fully fenced with oversized deck and hot tub. Desirable Livingston Acres. High School: J.P. Stevens. Asking Price: $599,900.
For virtual tours of these homes, visit: www.JackieSafran.com – Featured Homes
And for more information on how I can help you purchase a home in Central New Jersey or for my interactive guide, What You Need to Know Before Buying A Home, visit my wehbsite, www.JackieSafran.com or give me a call, 732-548-5555 #314. I'm glad to help!
Thursday, April 06, 2006
The April 15 tax deadline is only a few days away and hopefully you are well on your way to completing your tax return and you won’t be one of those people in line at the post office late at night on April 14!
If you purchased a home in 2005, you will need the HUD-1 Statement from the closing on your new home, when calculating your taxes. This is the document itemizing the monies at closing. Your accountant or tax advisor will be able to tell you which of your closing costs are tax deductible.
The mortgage interest that is reflected on the HUD-1 is not calculated in the interest reflected on your year end statement that you will receive from your mortgage company. So, be sure to add the interest in the HUD-1 to other interest paid for the year.
If I can help with any other questions concerning the purchase of your home last year or if you are considering buying a home this year, give me a call, 732-548-5555 #314. I’m glad to help. Or visit my website, www.JackieSafran.com. You will find a wealth of information there.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
A new website claims to give the numbers in Central Jersey and beyond.
Wherever you live in Central New Jersey from Edison, to Metuchen, to Piscataway, if you plan to buy or sell a home, one of the most important pieces of information you will need is the home's current value in reasonably accurate terms.
Well, Zillow.com is a new national website that purports to be able to tell you that so that you - uh - won't need a Realtor like me.
Well, I just read a good post on this by my friend Margaret Rome in Baltimore, Maryland and want to share it with you. It really says it all:
"In the last few days, a new Web site launched with great fanfare but spotty performance. When CNN included a story about it on their evening news, the site couldn’t keep up with the hits.
Why all the fuss? Zillow promises to give homebuyers and sellers up to date and complete information about the value of their home and comparables in their area. Some have suggested this will make real estate agents obsolete because people will be able to price their own homes to be competitive.
The early returns are that the site’s information is incomplete and sometimes wrong, which makes the suggested price ranges they give hard to justify. In some cases, the range is optimistically high, and for others, I’ve negotiated sales higher than their top amount.
The site depends on public records for its data. But public records will not show factors, like recent additions and improvements or the condition of the interior, that affect price. Public records can also be wrong; a friend of mine checked her house and said she wants that fireplace she’s supposed to have, but will not give up the second bathroom they didn’t count. If the information about a house is wrong, how valid is the price estimate? In time, the site will undoubtedly improve, but for now – caution.
There is no question about real estate agents becoming an endangered species because of this or any other site. Price is only one factor in buying or selling your home, and getting to the settlement table means avoiding traps and overcoming obstacles. A top agent will be experienced at:
• negotiating the terms of your contract,
• making sure only qualified buyers troop through your home,
• meeting and dealing with appraisers, and
• working with home inspectors and title companies to be sure you are protected from start to finish.
Buying or selling a home is an emotionally-charged transaction. Now more than ever it pays to have an experienced professional on your side. Embrace the benefits of new technology, but don’t fall into the trap of believing it will replace market knowledge and personal service.
The end of real estate agents? Not any time soon. Margaret"
Visit Margaret Rome's Blog here.
I am glad to provide you with a complete, accurate home evaluation. Give me a call or send me an email. I'm at your service!