About Short Sales

Most everyone has heard about short sales, but not everyone knows much about them. Let me try to explain exactly what a short sale is.

What is a Short Sale

Around 2005 the real estate market was hot and near it’s peak. Home prices were steadily rising and everyone thought it was a great investment. People would buy a home and sell it a year later for a huge profit. Then they would buy another, more expensive home looking to repeat the process. And the banks were very cooperative. If you had a decent credit score and could prove you were alive, you could get a mortgage.

Many of these mortgages were 5 or 10 year ARMs. This was an adjustable rate mortgage where the initial length was either 5 or 10 years at a low rate, then it would change to a higher rate. Also popular was the interest only mortgage, where the interest rate was exceptionally low, and you made no payments towards the principle. In addition, the interest you didn’t pay was added to the principle. When the 5 or 10 year period ended, you would owe a lot more than you borrowed. But people didn’t care, the home value would rise and they could sell for a profit or refinance.

But the values didn’t rise, they fell big time.

People couldn’t refinance because the home wasn’t worth the mortgage value. They couldn’t sell because the market value was below what they owed. But the bank wanted it’s money, and if you couldn’t pay, they would foreclose.

Now, the banks didn’t want to foreclose. Their expenses to foreclose were high, and they would lose a lot by taking ownership of a property and reselling. So they decided they would cut their losses with short sales.

What is a Short Sale

With a short sale the borrowers ask the bank to accept less than what the bank is owed in order to sell and get out from under the problem. Quite often the banks accept less than they’re owed. And that’s because their alternative is to foreclose, on the property,  And that will create an even bigger loss for the bank.

This is a time consuming process. The homes often don’t get maintained properly because the owners don’t have the money to do so. And frankly, they know they’re losing the home, so why should they bother.

Bottom Line

Thankfully there are not as many short sales as there were 5 years ago. And that’s because the real estate market has corrected itself for the most part. If you’re looking to buy a home that’s a short sale, there usually aren’t many available. And if you do find one, it won’t close quickly.

If you’re ready to buy a home, a short sale really isn’t a bargain, unless you’re looking for a handyman special. Either way, call us – Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors. We can help you through the process.

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FHA Financing Changes

Have you heard about the changes in the FHA Financing guidelines? These changes should make it easier for buyers, especially first time buyers, to purchase a home. Read on to learn how these changes may affect you.

FHA Certification

Obtaining FHA certification is a big task for a condo association. There’s a cost to the association involved, in addition to a mound of paperwork. Not surprisingly, many condos choose not to go through the process. New guidelines extend the certification from 2 years to 3 years. This should ease the burden on the associations to remain FHA certified.

Spot Approvals

Years ago, if a condo complex wasn’t FHA Approved,  “spot approvals” for an individual unit were allowed. This allowed for FHA financing, even though the complex was not FHA approved. This process was discontinued, however, it has bee reinstated. This will allow more buyers to take advantage of FHA financing in condo communities which are not FHA approved.

Investors to Owner Occupants

As a by-product of the housing shortage, many investors are purchasing homes in condo complexes. And they are making these homes rental units. Many condo complexes were denied FHA Financing approval because the ratio of investors to owner occupied units was too high. The recent changes allow for additional flexibility in the ratio of investors to owner-occupants to allow condo complexes to obtain FHA financing approval.

Bottom Line

Although there are other mortgage programs which allow qualified borrowers to purchase homes with down down payments, FHA financing is a better option for many buyers. These changes will allow more buyers to begin taking steps to achieve the American Dream.

When you’re ready to begin the road to the American Dream, call us. Call Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors. We’ve helped hundreds of families purchase or sell homes in the Freehold area, and many were first time buyers. We would like to help you also.

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Homeowners Association Special Assessment

If you live in a condo, your homeowners association may at some time, make a special assessment.

Any questions?

What’s a Special Assessment

Well, that’s a good question. Each month, when you make your homeowners association payment, a portion of that goes into a reserve fund. This fund is used to pay their bills. But sometimes there’s not enough in the reserve account to make the payments. And that’s where the special assessment comes into the picture.


The HOA has the right, under the bylaws, to make a one time charge to all homeowners when unplanned expenses arise. Here’s an example. Many condo buildings had siding called T-111 installed when the homes were built. This is a plywood product. The biggest drawback is that it needs to be painted regularly. And this is an expense that can be eliminated if the HOA installs vinyl siding. But the money isn’t in the reserve fund to pay for vinyl siding. So, the HOA levies a special assessment to raise the funds needed to pay for the siding. This is a one time fee. Each homeowner pays an equal share of the cost. But in the long run, this will save everyone money, and their HOA fees (Hopefully) won’t go up as much.

Bottom Line

A special assessment will cost everyone, but it’s a necessary expense. The homeowners association needs to pay their bills just like you do.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, call us. We can help you just like we’ve helped hundreds of other families buy and sell homes. Call Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors.

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Multi Generation Homes

Many years ago, it was common to live in a multi generation home. Parents, grandparents and children would commonly live together in one home. But, over the years, we’ve gotten away from that. The kids want to live on their own. The grandparents want to remain independent. However, are we starting to change our thinking about this?

The Statistics

According to the US Census Bureau, a multi generation family has more than two generations living under the same roof. More than 60 million Americans are living in multi generation homes. That’s more than 20%, and that number is rising. Why?

Many reasons exist. People may be marrying late. the high cost of housing, in-house caregivers. Or immigrants are coming to America (Wow – that sounds like a great movie title) from countries where this is the norm. Children help take care of their parents, while the grandparents help out with the children. Everyone can benefit from this.

But simply putting a lot of people in the same house may not work for all.

The Design

Just having three generations living in a home probably won’t work for most people. Everybody needs their own space, their own living areas and quite possibly, their own kitchens. However, properly designed, this can work for everybody. Having a separate apartment-like area for the grandparents should be strongly considered. Think the old concept of a mother / daughter style home.


This is a good reason to consider such a living arrangement. Everyone chips in to make it more affordable for all. But consider this a side benefit, not the main one.

The Main Benefit

The best benefit, in my opinion, is the help provide care. At some point, the grandparents would benefit from having some help. As we age, there are some things we can no longer do. But the older generation may still be able to drive the grandchildren to all of the places they need to be. This would ease the load on the parents, and both the grandparents and the grandchildren would benefit from being able to spend time together.

Bottom Line

Homes like this do exist. Other homes can be reasonably modified to achieve the proper layout. If something like this is in your future, call us. Call Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors. Let us help you find your new home.

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What’s a Home Warranty

Have you ever heard of a home warranty? I’m sure that you’ve been offered an extended warranty when you’ve purchased any large electronic items, such as a TV. A home warranty is the same type of extended warranty, only it’s for your home.

Here’s how a home warranty works.

This extended warrant usually costs between $400 – $500 for one year. And before you ask, it can be renewed. The items protected by the warranty will typically cover all appliances, such as refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer and microwave. Additionally, coverage will be for the hot water heater and the heating and cooling systems. Should any of the covered items cease to function properly within the covered period, simply call the warranty company.The home warranty company will charge you a small copay, which is usually less than $100. A technician will be sent to your home. The technician (repair guy) will either repair or replace the item, at the home warranty company’s discretion.

Cost Effective?

It may not be cost effective to have an extended warranty for many of the covered items at this cost. After all,  a counter top microwave can be bought for under $100. Furthermore, a built in microwave can be found for less than $200. However, a good refrigerator can easily cost more than $2000. The heating or air conditioning systems? Those will cost even more.

The Good

This is an insurance policy. By paying the premium, you can reduce your financial exposure. However, electronics stores push the extended warranty for a reason. And that’s because it’s a money maker for them. Will it cost them to pay for covered repairs? Of course it will. However, the rates are based upon historical data that tells them how much they need to charge. This allows them, on average, the financial earnings they need to survive in this business.

If you’re buying a home, and it has older appliances and / or an aged heating and cooling system, you should consider purchasing a warranty. If the home has newer appliances which are under the manufacturers warranty, a lower cost policy that covers for the heating and cooling is available. Additionally, you can often purchase a service contract through the utility companies.

The Bad

Many people are under the impression that they can use the warranty to replace older appliances with new. Sorry, but that’s not how this works. They’ll fix a broken appliance if possible. They’ll replace if it costs them less than to repair. There are many companies that offer home warranties. Search the web and choose one that seems to be okay. Don’t forget to read reviews. Also, some companies have an initial period where the warranty doesn’t begin coverage until 30 or 60 days after the new owner buys the home.

Bottom Line

A home warranty can be good. When buying a home, many people put all of their available cash into it. And if something expensive fails, it may be a financial hardship. This is a possible way to avoid that dilemma.

However, if you’re willing to take your chances, you can do that also.

Hey – here’s another idea. If you’re purchasing a home, we always try to get the sellers to pay for our client’s home warranty. This is just one of the many ways we try to help our clients. To learn more, contact Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors.

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Failed Home Purchase

Quite often, buyers are finding that their home purchase has failed. In fact, more than 4% of home sales are not making it to the closing table, for one reason or another. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself and get the purchase of your new home completed? Here’s a few ideas.

Prepare For The Inspection

Surprises almost always crop up in the home inspections. The older the home, the more likely there will be inspection issues.And this is more prevalent in homes built between 1959 and 1969. As a matter of fact, 5.2% of these homes failed to close. Go into the process with the mindset that the age of the home will probably reflect the condition – and the price. Remember, it’s not new construction. If you expect everything to be in tip-top shape, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Prepare to Negotiate

We always tell our buyers to not worry about the small stuff. If an electrical outlet cover is cracked, buy a new one for less than $1.00. It’ll take a minute to replace it. However, you should worry about the big ticket items. If the roof, the furnace or the air conditioner are at the end of their life span, don’t be afraid to negotiate through your attorney. After all, you have every right to renegotiate for anything major. Take the advice of your Realtor and your attorney on how to proceed. Any items agreed to under the inspection should be verified at the walk thru. Bring a copy of the letters so you know what to verify.

Watch Your Credit

We’ve seen it happen where, while waiting for the closing, people go on a spending spree. They buy new furniture or a new car. Then, 2 days before the closing their lender pulls a final credit report. And these purchase may affect your debt-to-income ration. This can affect your mortgage. And if you’re relocating an will change jobs, don’t tell your employer that you’re leaving. They may just tell you to leave now. Then, when the lender makes a final employment verification. this could be another cause of a failed home sale..

Paperwork, Paperwork and more Paperwork

Your attorney will supply a list of documents you’re need to bring to the closing. Make sure you bring everything which is required. Typical documents include drivers license and/or passport. proof of homeowners insurance and more.

Bottom Line

If you handle things properly, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of a Failed Home Purchase. When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, contact us and let us help you.

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Home Inspection

Seller’s Disclosure

In New Jersey, the seller’s disclosure is a required document in a real estate transaction. Both state and federal laws require the sellers of a home to tell what they know about a home.

Reasons For a Seller’s Disclosure

Bottom Line

You may have the wrong Realtor if your Realtor can’t answer questions about the Seller’s Disclosure. Call me.

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Related Blog Posts
Sellers Disclosure

The Home Appraisal

If you’re buying a home, you need to know about the home appraisal. You see, while confirmation of the home’s value is the main purpose of the appraisal, it’s not an exact science. And that’s because it’s based on past sales. When we have a competitive marketplace, sometimes homes increase in value rapidly. And it’s possible that the home values rise quicker than the comparable sales values. So what happens if the comparable sales don’t support the purchase price?

Prepare For a Larger Down Payment

Should the purchase price not be supported by comparative sales, you may need to put down extra cash as part of the down payment. It you’re looking at 20% cash down conventional financing, and you don’t have much extra cash, this could be an issue. This is relatively easily solved, however, you could end up paying mortgage insurance premiums.

Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI

Appraisal Issues

Before making an offer, look at the home with an eye towards appraisal issues. Especially if this is an FHA or VA loan. Health and safety issues are a primary  focus. Look for items that make common sense, such as handrails in stairwells and bedroom egress to the outside. Broken windows and / or doors can raise issues. Are the home’s mechanical systems in working order? Is the roof leaking or are there foundation issues? It’s better to know about these potential issues beforehand.

Inspections and Appraisals

These are two separate procedures. If the appraiser says a home passes, don’t skip the inspection. After all, the appraisal looks at the home’s condition. But an inspection looks at and tests many other things. Getting a home inspected, and not simply appraised, is the best way to protect what may be the largest investment in any person’t life.

When you’re ready to go ahead with the purchase of a home, please call us. We’ve helped hundreds of people find their new home, and we can help you too.

Would you like to search for homes in other Monmouth County towns?

Ready to Buy a Home?

If you’re a Millenilal, and you’re ready to buy a home, there are 5 things you should consider. You see, some say your generation feels entitled, while others say you’re lazy. However, Millenials are also known to be tech-savvy, educated individuals. And you’re a force to be reckoned with when it comes to today’s world. In fact,, many millennials are considering whether or not  to buy a home. And, like every home buyer, they should consider a few important things before plunging into home ownership.

Steady Income?

Obviously, you couldn’t make monthly mortgage payments without a regular income. And to tell the truth, you probably wouldn’t get a mortgage without one. Therefore, unless you have a good job history, it may not be your time to buy a home. However, while you work on building your resume, you also can build your financial profile. That way, you can be fully prepared to apply for a mortgage when the time becomes right.

Good Credit Score

Another big part of your financial picture is your credit score. In college, you were probably inundated with every available credit offer. By accepting one or two credit card offers and using the cards responsibly, you may have begun to establish your credit history. However, if you accepted every offer and accrued high balances on each card, you could be in some trouble when it comes to buying a home. Get familiar with your credit history if you think you’re ready to buy.

Down Payment

Many buyers feel the need to save 20% of a home’s price. While many down payments are less, buyers still need to bring a considerable down payment to the table when purchasing a home. However, the down payment isn’t the only money you’ll need to bring to the closing table. Closing costs can be a significant part of the required cash. Here’s a related blog post.

Surprise! You’ll Need More Cash

 Is It Time?

Many millennials are just beginning their careers. Ask yourself whether or not you feel ready to settle down and stay in one place  long-term. I’m not suggesting that you have to stay in a home forever. However, it may not be a wise decision to buy a home only to leave after a few years. Home ownership may not be right for you if you are the type of person who likes to pick up and move to a new place on a whim.

What Type of Home?

If you have all of your ducks lined up, it’s time to ask yourself what style of home is right for you. And here you need to think of both the short-and-long-term. A single millennial buyer may find a rise studio apartment in the city is an ideal location. However, if you can see yourself with a spouse or family in a few years, consider renting that perfect bachelor pad. Because soon, you may be thinking more of a single-family home in the suburbs! Look at the big picture before picking the home that’s right for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re a millennial buyer who has considered these five questions, you may be ready to buy a home! You’ll need the services of an experienced Realtor to help you through the process. Call us, Bunny and Art Reiman. We can help you like we’ve helped hundreds of others purchase their perfect home.

Condos For Sale Monmouth County NJ

New Condo Owner Flooring Hints

As a new condo owner, would you like to hear a few hints about flooring? You’re probably not the first owner of the condo. So everything probably isn’t perfect. Some things commonly found in a resale condo you can easily, as well as inexpensively, take care of.

Hints For New Condo Owners

Does the home have carpets? Unless they’re new, there may be imprints in the carpet from the previous owner’s furniture. If you have the same furniture, in the same place, it’s fine. But that’s probably not the case. Try this. Put a few ice cubes into the imprinted areas. Let them melt, then dry. Next, vacuum the areas. You may need to repeat, but this should erase the imprints.

Install Laminate Flooring

This is an easy task, perfect to improve the looks of the home – if done properly. If it’s not done right, it looks like Harry the Homeowner messed it up again.

First, don’t buy the cheapest grade of laminate. You need to start with good product. Harry the Homeowner would buy the flooring, and start to install as soon as he gets it home. Don’t do this. Lay the laminate flat on the floor for 2 – 3 days. Let it acclimate to the home’s temperature and humidity. Carefully, remove the base molding from the room. Quite often, it has a caulk seal between the molding and the wall. Cut this with a knife first, the use a putty blade to carefully remove the molding. Install the laminate leaving +- 1/4 inch gap. This allows for expansion due to temperature changes and will reduce warping.

Make sure the laminate ends to do match up. Use a full length piece to start. Cut the adjacent starter piece in half, and the next one is full length. Repeat the process throughout. This will ensure the maximum strength and provide a nice, clean look since the joints are uniform throughout.

Last, buy an extra box or two of the laminate. You may have damage occur, and it’s good to have spare pieces you can install.

Put the molding back on, caulk it and you should have a good looking floor. Harry the Homeowner will be envious.

Bottom Line

If you’d like to try these ideas, but you don’t have a condo yet, call us. We can help you move into your first condo, just like we’ve helped hundreds of others home buyers. Just to be straight, I’l not going to help you move your furniture. But I will help you buy it.

Condos For Sale Monmouth County NJ

Life Tenancy

Life Tenancy may be a solution to an issue that you’re worried about. To learn more about Life Tenancy, watch the video.

Life Tenancy

Bottom Line

If you’re in a similar situation, this could be a solution .

Bunny and Art are Realtors who work in Monmouth and Ocean counties. And, over the years, they’ve helped hundreds of people buy and sell their homes. And they can help you too. When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, contact Bunny and Art Reiman – Realtors.

Life Tenancy

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High Technology Home Security

Providing your Home  Security using High Technology is becoming more common every day. Let’s face it, these high technology gadgets that will help protect your home are here, so why not use them? And, since they all use the internet, you can monitor the systems wherever you are.

Alarm Systems

The days of putting sensors on windows and doors and connecting them with wires to a control panel are gone. Now home alarms use Bluetooth motion sensors which are activated by motion. And the alarm control panel can send a notice to your cell phone which lets you know what’s happening.


And that leads us t the next gadget, video. Wireless cameras can be mounted both inside and out, again using motion sensors. The images from the cameras can be sent to your PC, laptop or phone. They can also be stored. Doorbell cameras allow you to see who comes to your door – and when. Additionally, you can speak with them, and visitors won’t know if you’re speaking from the home or somewhere else.


Your basic door lock can be upgraded also. Biometric locks are available, which read your fingerprint instead of using a key. Another variation is a Bluetooth lock where you run the app on your phone, when you arrive home tap the lock and the app opens it. With this you also have the option of remotely opening the lock for a visitor.

Gated Communities

If you live in a gated community, high tech security is there also. Some communities now have gates operated by a cell phone app. When you get close to the gate, the app opens it. You can also open the gate for a visitor via the app.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms can also be controlled via the internet. If you’re away and the alarm goes off, you’ll receive a notification. And they can also interconnect between multiple detectors in a home.

Bottom Line

The internet is allowing us to make use of High Technology Home Security. And manufacturers will continue to add more features and new applications.

However, there is one thing that manufacturers cannot provide over the internet. And that’s a good Realtor to help you achieve your real estate goals. That still requires an experienced person. When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact me. I promise I’m not controlled by an app.

You can search for condos in other Monmouth County towns here.

New Jersey Smoke Detector Regulations

Recently, New Jersey ( and the rest of the country) enacted new smoke detector regulations. You need to be aware of this if you’re either selling or renting a home. The low cost battery operated smoke detectors are no longer permitted. The new regulations state that all homes built before 1978 must use a new style of smoke detector. These units have a sealed battery which has a 10 year life. In the older style, a low battery triggers an alarm to let you know that the battery needs replacement. However, many people just remove the battery when it gets low. Additionally, sometimes people need the battery for another device,. And sometimes they don’t replace it rendering the smoke detector inoperative. As a matter of fact, the most common cause of non-functioning smoke alarms is a dead battery.

Rental Housing Shortage

Here’s an interesting slant about the shortage of available rental housing. We’ve all heard that there’s a scant supply of available homes to purchase. Additionally, there is also a severe shortage of available rental housing.

People are looking for homes to rent.  And they’re not having much success in finding a rental. As a result, people who are looking to rent are being forced to rent, in many cases, housing that is not adequate for what they need. It may be too small, it may not be in the best location, or the proper school district. And what they can find may not be in great shape or it may actually be too large and too expensive.

But if those are the only units that are available, one has no choice.

How Many Units Will We Need?

A recent estimate I was reading is that every year, we will be needing a minimum of 325,000 new apartments. And  it’s projected that this need will continue for a number of years. Now let’s put this last statement into perspective. Between 2012 and 2016, only 244,000 Apartments were constructed. This partially explains why young adults are still living with their parents, because there is no place else.

What’s Available?

Now let’s look a little closer to home. As of today, 6/1/19, there are 168 rentals listed as available in Monmouth County, according to the Multiple Listing System. Only 19 are in Freehold Township. The average Freehold condo is available for only 23 days.

Now let’s look at single family homes for rent. In Freehold Township there are 3 single family homes available. Do you want to rent an adult community home in Freehold? Sorry, there aren’t any available. In fact, in all of Monmouth County there are only 13 adult community rentals available.

Bottom Line

There severe shortage of available rental housing is alarming. Some people either must or prefer to rent. And some of these people may be able to purchase, but they don’t want to.

How will we make up the shortfall? Frankly I don’t know.

Related Blog Posts

Buy or Rent?

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Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI

PMI stands for private mortgage insurance. It is not a female condition.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Private mortgage insurance is a policy that you pay for. Do you know what needs to happen in order for you to collect from this insurance that you pay for? Please don’t kill the messenger but, your mortgage lender is the one who will collect any payouts from this insurance. That’s because the insurance is to cover the mortgage lender in case you default on your loan.


That’s correct. You pay for the insurance, but someone else collects the payout.

Why Do I Need Private Mortgage Insurance

When you purchase a home and put down less than 20% of the purchase price, private mortgage insurance is required with a conventional mortgage. And if you’re purchasing with an FHA mortgage, there’s a similar program. Should you default on the loan, the lender will foreclose on the home. The lender will then sell the home. Should the sale bring in less than what the lender is owed, included back interest, the insurance will pay the lender the difference.

However, you won’t need to pay the PMI forever. Once you have built up sufficient equity in the property, which would be 20% of the value, you can then cancel your PMI.

What Does Private Mortgage Insurance Cost

Last year the average buyer made a cash down payment which averaged 10%. First time buyers averaged 6% down. As a result, many buyers did not make the typical 20% down payment. However, this didn’t stop them from buying their dream home because they needed to pay PMI. The cost on the PMI depends upon both your credit score and the amount of the mortgage compared to its value. You can expect pay somewhere between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 that you borrow as your PMI premium.

Bottom Line

Even though paying PMI is an expense, don’t let that stop you from buying a home. The expense of PMI will go away, and when it does, that means you’ve gained equity in your home. Give us a call when you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, because we can help.

Are you looking at condos in other Monmouth County towns?

Related Blog Posts:

Did You Save the 20% Down Payment?

Surprise! You’ll Need More Cash

Home Hasn’t Sold

If your home hasn’t sold, you should check the price. We’re in the middle of a very hot real estate market. As a result, homes are selling quickly and getting good prices.

Is It Priced Right?

Demand is remain strong and many real estate professionals are reporting they are having bidding wars with many of their listings. In Monmouth County, there’s only a 90 day supply of condos or townhouses available at the current consumption rate . This means, in English, there aren’t enough homes for sale to allow everyone who wants to buy one, find one. In addition, many homes are also selling either at or above the asking price.

A possible reason why your home hasn’t sold is the condition. Is it clean, neat and odor free? Does it need fresh paint or new flooring? What’s the kitchen like? These are all reason why your home hasn’t sold. Can you correct these issues? However, if you can’t, or simply don’t want to, a pricing adjustment can solve that issue. For the right price, buyers will overlook any defect.

Old Appliances or Systems

Are you appliances near the end of their life span? Is the HVAC system and the hot water heater also near the end of their useful life? These are big ticket items and expensive to replace. We’ve been successful in overcoming these issues in the past by offering a home warranty. You, the seller, purchase the warranty. The warranty is a service contract on the above items. If any if these item cease to work within one year, the new owner will make a call, pay a small co-pay, and the service company will either fix or repair. And you can pay for the warranty from the proceeds at closing.

Bottom Line

If your home hasn’t sold, you may need to adjust your price. Even though the market is hot, buyers will not pay drastically over the market price. So if your home is still on the market  and you’re not receiving any offers, think seriously about reducing the price.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact us.

We have a site that tells about active adult communities in Freehold. If interested, look at Riviera at Freehold, Enclave, Regency at Freehold or Silvermead .

Radon in Homes

Radon is a radioactive gas which be found in homes in all areas of the United States. Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium buried underground. When this radioactive gas works it’s way to the surface, it can get into your home through cracks and holes in the home’s foundation. And make no mistake, this gas that you can’t touch, smell or see can be hazardous to your health.

A natural danger

Most people are aware that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Few people are aware that Radon is number two. The EPA estimates that Radon causes 20,000 people in the United States to die each year. Furthermore, the EPA reports that almost 15% of US homes has elevated levels of Radon. When this deadly gas accumulates in closed in areas, prolonged exposure can eventually, be as deadly as smoking.

The closed in areas most likely to accumulate radon are the basement and crawl spaces. However, any closed in space is susceptible to accumulation. And the more time you spend in those areas, the higher your exposure levels will be.

Where Can Radon Be Found?

Again, radon can be anywhere in the US. Here, in Monmouth County,17.5% of homes have radon levels which are over the acceptable limit. And just because your neighbor’s home doesn’t have elevated levels of radon doesn’t mean that your homes doesn’t. In fact, the results can change over time. A home that was free of radon can change into one that does have radon.

How Do I Know If My Home Has Radon?

When a home changes ownership, the home inspection process often includes a radon test. To test for Radon, a test kit is left open in the testing area (a basement) for 3  – 5 days, then sent to a lab. After which, a report will be returned stating whether or not elevated levels exist. However, you also have the option of performing a radon test in your home. The kits are inexpensive and have simple to follow instructions.

What to do if high levels are found?

Remediation to decrease high levels is easy. All you need to do is write a check. A contractor does the work. Typically a hole is made in the basement,crawl space or foundation slab and a plastic pipe is inserted which vents the radon gas outside the home to dissipate. A fan is included inline with the pipe to draw the radon out.

Bottom Line

Many homes in the Freehold area have high levels of Radon. Please get your home tested, because your life could depend on it.

If you have questions or comments, please call me. And when you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please call me.

Would you like to search for a condo in other Monmouth County towns?


What’s Included With The Sale?

When you buy a home, do you know what’s included with the sale?

What’s Included With The Sale?

When you purchase a home, there aren’t any rules as to what is included in the purchase.And that’s because every transaction is unique.  However, there are some items that are usually included.

Unless it’s a knock down property, the building(s) is included. In order to close the sale, the seller needs to provide a Certificate of Occupancy. The Certificate of Occupancy (CO) requirements vary from town to town. The object of a CO inspection is to ensure that the property is fit and safe for people to live in.

Fire Code CO Inspection

It seems many towns, in order to reduce costs,  only do a fire inspection. With a fire only inspection, there must be smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in addition to a fire extinguisher. Each town has it’s own specifications as to the style of fire extinguisher, most towns follow building code guidelines.

Complete CO Inspection

Many towns require a more complete CO inspection. Most towns require a heating system, however, air conditioning is not necessary. Also required are a working bathroom, a working kitchen sink, a stove and hot water. Unless it’s a handyman special sale, these items are always included in the sale. Possibly they’re not all in working condition, but they are included. In this case, the town can issue a provisional CO, allowing people to move in after the repairs are completed and re-inspected.

What’s Typically Included

Now that we’ve gone through what the towns require, let’s talk about the rest. Typically, many items are included in the sale, but not always. Most of the time, the refrigerator, washer / dryer,window treatments,garage door opener,light fixtures and ceiling fan(s) are included. I like to use the premise that if it’s attached, it stays. But again, not necessarily.

In the MLS Listing, you’ll see listed what is and what isn’t included in the sale. As a rule, personal property (furniture, pictures etc.) aren’t included. However, sometimes items aren’t listed either way. When we write a contract for a purchase, if any of the items above aren’t listed as included on the MLS Listing, we add those items to the contract. If the seller agrees, they stay. If not, it’s a negotiable item.

For some reason. many people seem to have a strong attachment to the dining room chandelier. As a result, commonly that item isn’t included. If it’s removed, the seller must either put a cover on the receptacle or install a replacement fixture.

What Else Stays

There’s no reason  why you can’t request the seller leaves an item that’s not normally included in the sale. In that case, we add them to the contract. As a result, we’ve included many items in the home purchase. A few items we have gotten included with the sale are Pool Tables, Projection TV, Various furniture, Garage refrigerator and Freezers. But one thing I’m prod to have gotten for the new owner is…

A BMW 325i

Bottom Line

A few things are necessary to remain with the house. Everything else is negotiable. If everything that will remain is spelled out in the contract, there will be no mistakes.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please give us a call.

Would you rather look at active adult communities in Freehold? The communities are Riviera, The Enclave, Regency at Freehold and Silvermead.

Monmouth County Housing Shortage

Are we experiencing a housing shortage in Monmouth County?

Monmouth County Housing Shortage

I’ve said it before, more than once. And I’m sure you heard it from any other sources too. We are in a housing shortage situation in Monmouth County.

To put it simply, there aren’t enough housing units available in Monmouth County for everyone who wants to buy one. However, it goes a little deeper than that, because it isn’t just the people who are looking to buy that have this challenge in front of them. As a matter of fact, people who want to rent are also having a challenge in finding suitable housing.

Rental Unit Shortage

Quite simply put, there just aren’t enough rental units available. Recently, I read an article about the rising demand for rental units. It stated that nationally, every year 325,000 new rental units  must be built. And nowhere near that number of rental homes are being built. On average, over the last few years, only about 60,000 apartments were built built each year. Furthermore, in this country every year there are 1 million new households created who want to rent. And between the limited new construction and the existing supply of rental homes, there just aren’t enough rental units to meet the demand. As a result, the growing demand for rental apartments will make a significant impact on the economy of this nation for years to come.

The Solution

I’m not an expert, I’m just a Realtor who has been in the business a long time. But the solution I see is simple. Don’t rent, buy.

Here’s how I see it. When you rent, at the end of the year all you have is a stack of cancelled checks. If you own instead, you’ll have equity, tax deductions and the sense of well being that accompanies home ownership. And, quite often, the monthly cost of owning a unit similar to the rental unit you’re looking for may be less in the long run.

Now, I realize that you need a down payment and closing costs to purchase a home, but it may not be as much as you think. At the bottom of this post are links to other posts that discuss these issues.

Bottom Line

Rather than hunt for an apartment, hunt for a home of your own. Speak with a mortgage lender to find out if you can qualify for a mortgage. You may be pleasantly surprised. And when you are pleasantly surprised, call us. We can help you find your new home.

Related Blog Posts:

Did You Save the 20% Down Payment?

Why Would a Seller Pay Your Closing Costs?

Hey – there are some fantastic active adult communities in Manchester, such as Renaissance, Leisure Village West and Leisure Knoll. You should check them out.

What Is A Real Estate Appraisal ?

When selling a home, the buyer will get a real estate appraisal.

What Is An Appraisal ?

You decided it’s time to sell your home. Soon you received a good contract from a ready and able buyer. Congratulations! Your home is sold!

Or is it? Because you may need to sell it again. And that’s because of the buyer’s mortgage company.

The mortgage company will be sending out someone to do a real estate appraisal on the property. And if the appraisal says that the the selling price is higher than the property’s value, you have an issue to address.

The Mechanics of the Appraisal

As an example, let’s say that you were asking $350,000 for your home. However, due to the lack of available homes in the area, numerous people who want to buy the home. As a result, a bidding war has started., and the selling price gets bid up to $380,000. Hey that’s great you think. We got $30,000 more than the asking price. Woo Hoo!

But now comes the issue. If the real estate appraisal comes in at $360,000, the buyer won’t be able to get the mortgage they need. And this is because the appraiser’s opinion is that the property  isn’t worth $380,000. The lender will only loan up to 80% of the home’s value, which means the buyer cannot get the necessary mortgage to proceed with the purchase. Here’s the numbers.
Purchase Price                                        $380,000
Down Payment 20%                                $76,000
Mortgage Amount                                 $304,000

Appraised Value                                    $360,000
Down Payment                                        $76,000
Maximum Mortgage                             $288,000

Under the scenario above, the buyer will be short $16,000 that’s necessary to close the sale.

What Happens Next?

If and when this situation arises, one of two things will typically happen.

First the buyer will somehow, find and extra $16,000 to make up short fall. However, this isn’t very likely. After all, if you were buying a home for $380,000, but your mortgage company said it was only worth $360,000, how would you feel? Most people wouldn’t like to overpay for the home by $20,000.

Here’s the second, and more likely option. The buyer will ask the seller to reduce the price by $20,000 in order to meet the appraisal, and therefore be able to complete the sale.


Many times, the buyer’s down payment is more than 20%, in which case they can probably borrow the necessary amount. And with other programs which require smaller down payments, they can also borrow the necessary amount. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that the buyer’s will feel they’re overpaying.

Bottom Line

What would you do in this situation? What I would do is reduce the price and let the sale go on. After all, I’d be getting more than I was initially asking for the home, and it gets done. And if the sale falls through, you may not get that price again.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please give us a call.

Related Blog Posts:

Did You Save the 20% Down Payment?

Hey – there are some great Active Adult communities in Jackson, such as Westlake, Four Seasons at South Knolls, Four Seasons Metedeconk and Winding Ways.

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Are your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors located correctly?

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

When used properly, these inexpensive instruments can save your life. However, if installed in the wrong locations, they won’t perform the tasks they’re designed for. As a result, you may lose not only your life, but the lives of others. Building and fire codes require both of these detectors to be present in your home. The location of carbon monoxide detectors for residences is specified as in each room which has a fuel burning appliance, such as a fireplace, furnace, hot water heater or oven. In addition, one must be located within 10 foot of a bedroom door. Most homes will require multiple detectors. As to smoke detectors, one per floor.

Some towns have additional requirements that require more than the state codes. Check with the local fire board for more info.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

These will detect this deadly, odorless gas. Make no mistake, if this gas builds up in your home, it can kill. And you won’t even notice it, you’ll just go to sleep – forever. In fact, over 500 people in the US die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Now that you know where to place the detectors, exactly where do they go? On the ceiling? Head height? Knee height?

If you’re not sure, you have lots of company. Bunny and I are Realtors. As a result, we’re in lots of homes every week. And I always check the location of the carbon monoxide monoxide detectors because quite often they’re wrong. And if they are, I’ll tell my clients, and if the owners are home I’ll tell them.

The proper answer is below head level when you’re in bed. That’s because carbon monoxide is a heavy gas, and starts to build at the floor level. And you want to have the detector sound the alarm before you start to breathe it in. Use 16″ off the floor as the proper height, which is the height of the typical wall outlet. What a coincidence. They make plug in detectors, maybe that’s what you could use.

Smoke Detectors

This on’s easy, almost everyone knows the proper location, which is on the ceiling. Smoke rises, therefore, you want the detector where it starts to accumulate. Again, one per floor.

Combination Detectors

There are manufacturers that make and sell combination carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. From what you’re read above, where is the proper location for one of the combo detectors? If you answered that the proper location is in the garbage can, you’re correct.

How Long Do They Last?

Carbon Monoxide detectors should be replace every 5 years. Smoke detectors last longer, 8 – 10 years.

Bottom Line

Many are battery operated, however, even the plug in units have a battery backup. Please be sure to change the batteries regularly. And if a unit starts to beep, don’t remove the batteries – replace them.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact us. We can help.

Would you like to search for condos in other Monmouth County towns?


Is Now a Good Time to Sell?

Do you think it’s a good time to sell?

Is Now a Good Time to Sell?

More and more, many Americans are answering yes to that question. In fact, sixty two percent of Americans think just that. However, twenty six percent of Americans think it isn’t a good time to sell. Let me think for a moment. Sixty two and twenty six? My antiquated math tells me that equals 88. (If I asked my granddaughter that question, the common core method she is forced to use in school would take her at least 5 minutes to calculate the answer. I showed her one time a list of 7 numbers each with between five and seven digits. I asked her how long it would take to add those numbers using common core methods. She said at least an hour. I had her add them using the way I taught her, which is how I was taught. She did it in under one minute. But I digress.) Continuing – 100 percent minus 88% means that 12% of Americans have no idea of whether or not now is a good time to sell their home. And that alone is a sorry state of affairs.

Rising Home Prices

Back on subject. Home prices have risen almost seven percent over the past year. And almost 79% of home owners who have a mortgage have at least 2-% equity in their home. Also, many are of the opinion that they can use that equity to purchase a home that fits their current needs better. However, the rising prices have many worried that they may not be able to afford payments on a new home.

Do the Research

You’ll need to do some research In order to make the determination of what you should do. We can help you with that research. How? We can give you an idea of what your present home will sell for, and how much you’ll walk away with if you sell.  In addition, we’ll work with you to decide how much you’ll need to spend on a new home that will fit your needs. If you’d like to get started on that, just give us a call.

Would you like to search the homes for sale in other Monmouth County towns?

Related Blog Posts:

Freehold Condo Real Estate Market

The American Dream Returns

Do you think the American Dream has returned?

The American Dream Returns

During the housing crisis, many Americans lost their homes to either short sales or foreclosure. Some of these people were forced to either wait for a certain period before they could qualify for a mortgage. Yet others could get a mortgage relatively quickly, but the rates would be extremely high. However, there are signs that many are planning on buying their own home again because the waiting period is now over for them. And once again, they’re ready to realize the American Dream of owning their own home.

Improved Credit Scores

Between January 2016 and November 2018, 2.8 million former homeowners had the foreclosures and short sales dropped from their credit reports. Many have already purchased their new homes. And more than 50% of the remaining people have credit scores which will allow them to qualify for a mortgage.

According to a recent survey, 6% of Americans who lost a home to either a short sale or foreclosure plan to buy one this year. In addition, 39% plan to purchase one in the next 3 years, while 58% are planning within 5 years. This is a significant number of Americans who are, once again, welcoming the return of the American Dream. However, nearly a third of those Americans report that they’re afraid to own a home again.

The Economy Aids Buyers

Many of these potential buyers have concerns. Since the 2012 bottom of the real estate market, home prices have risen over 50%. And these prices are now, nationally, 11% over the 2006 peak. And many are concerned about another potential housing bubble. However, credit standards are tighter now. Lenders no longer grant mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror and has a decent credit score. Today’s buyers need to actually prove that they have the necessary income to purchase a home. And this was not the case during the housing crisis. When you take the fact that wage growth has increased since then and couple that with low mortgage rates, there’s a much more stable market out there today.

Bottom Line

Many of these potential buyers are being careful. They’re not ready to spend as much as the mortgage lenders qualify them for. They’re, as a rule, opting for smaller, more affordable homes in the hope that they’ll better be able to withstand another bubble.

If you’re one of the many who have been patiently waiting for your own American Dream to return, call us. We can help you, as we’re helped hundreds of others achieve the American Dream.

Would you like to look for homes in other Monmouth County towns ?

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Lock Boxes

What is a lock box, pertaining to real estate?

Lock Boxes

Lock Box Condos in FreeholdHave you ever walked by a home that’s for sale and noticed there’s a blue something hanging off the door knob? It’s called a lock box. You see, when you list your house for sale with a Realtor, we always recommended that we install a lock box. The reason for a lock box is that it will allow the 8000 plus members of the multiple listing system access to show your home. After all, if a Realtor can’t get in, how can we show the home to prospective buyers if you’re not available to let them in. Let me explain what a lock box is.

The box is mounted somewhere on the home with the door key inside.. Most commonly, it’ll hang on the door knob, off of a light or a bench, sometimes in the gas meter.


When a Realtor showing the home needs the key, we can use open the lock box with an electronic key. The lock box uses cell phone technology. As a result, there’s an electronic paper trail created every time the box is opened. The listing agent  is notified when a Realtor opens the lock box. We then know who entered the home and when.

Follow Up

Realtors ( at least the good ones) use the info of who showed the homes as a follow up tool. We reach out to the agent to ask for feedback. Hopefully we can find out if the prospective buyer is interested in the property. We also ask if there’s anything in the home that the buyers didn’t like, and we ask the Realtor if they think the home is properly priced.

Bottom line

Access is the primary reason your Realtor will recommend a lock box. Unless you’re one of the very few people who is always available to let Realtors and their prospective buyers into the home, you should allow one to be installed. After all, If buyers can’t get into your home to see it, they’ll buy someone else’s home. When you’re ready to list your home, call us. We have plenty of lock boxes.

Would you like to see condos in other Monmouth County towns?

Freehold Condo Real Estate Market

What’s happening in the Freehold Condo RealEstate Market?

Freehold Condo Real Estate Market

Are you thinking of either buying or selling a condo in Freehold? If yes, it may help to have info regarding today’s Are you thinking of either buying or selling a condo in Freehold? If yes, it may help to have info regarding today’s Freehold Condo RealEstate Market. There are nine condo complexes in Freehold Township and three more in Freehold Boro. In total, there are more than 3800 condos in the two towns.

Freehold Township Condos

As of today,4/24/19, there are 32 condos (or townhouses) for sale. This is only 1% of the 3,400 + total homes that are for sale. 25 condos are under contract, which means they’re sold and waiting to close. And last, 72 condos have sold in the past 6 months. The average condo for sale in Freehold Township has been on the market for 38 days. At the current rate, there’s about a 90 day supply of available condos. At this rate, if no new listings become available, there won’t be any condos for sale in Freehold Township in 90 days. The common belief is that in a normal market, we have, at any time, a 180 day supply of available homes. What this all boils down to is, we are in a sellers market in Freehold Township.

Freehold Boro Condos

Again, as of today, 4/24/19, there are 5 condos (or townhouses) for sale in Freehold Boro. Freehold Boro has a total of about 350 condos, so about 1.5% of them are for sale. Only 3 condos are under contract and 17 have sold in the past 6 months. In short, Freehold Boro’s condos are also in a sellers market.

Monmouth County Condos

No now you have the current info on today’s Freehold Condo RealEstate Market. In fact, the entire county’s condo market is in a sellers market. If you’re looking to sell a condo, you shouldn’t have any issues with selling it quickly for a great price. And if you’d like to know what the sales price should be, give us a call. We’ll be glad to provide a current market analysis for you.

However, if you’re looking to buy you need to be prepared. Because there are other buyers out there looking to buy the same condo that you’re looking for. Give us a call, because we’re helped hundreds of people in your situation find their new home.

Are you looking for a condo in other Monmouth County towns?

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Computerized Home Valuations

Condo Attic Storage

Are you looking to make use of attic storage in your condo?

Condo Attic Storage

Over the years  we’ve run into a few instances where we were selling a condo. These issues involved attic storage space.

Quite often, both buyers and sellers, don’t actually know who owns the attic space. In fact, quite often the attic space is owned by the condo association, not the homeowner. During one sale, either the homeowner or a previous homeowner installed a pull down staircase which allowed access to the attic for storage. In most towns, Fire Department regulations require attic access in case of a fire. This access is usually provided via a hatchway, not a pull down staircase. However, these hatchways are small and don’t allow much room to get things into the attic space. Therefore, people sometimes install the pull down staircase.  But, installation requires that the roof trusses get cut or partially removed to make room for that pull down staircase.

Who Owns the Attic?

Any alterations to a roof truss system can possibly cause a serious problem. A truss is a series of 2x4s which are engineered to support the weight of the roof.  In addition, the truss also supports any additional load that is placed on the roof, such as snow. By altering, or even partially removing the truss,  the structural integrity of the roof can be compromised. And if the roof fails due to this, it will probably be the homeowner’s responsibility, not the condo associations. Additionally, the fire wall between the interior of the house and the attic is almost always compromised.

If the condo association becomes aware of this, most of the time they’ll insist that the pull down staircase be removed. In addition, the trusses must be returned to their original condition. Additionally, some towns will not issue the Certificate of Occupancy unless the pull down staircase is properly removed. And a sale of the condo cannot be completed without the Certificate of Occupancy. Also, when the buyer performs their home inspection, their inspector will probably report if the trusses have been compromised. At that time, it becomes an inspection issue.

Bottom Line

If you wish to make  the attic storage space in a condo more accessible, speak with the association first. This could save your a lot of headaches, not to mention the expense.

Are you ready to either buy or sell a home? Contact us.

Looking for a home in other Monmouth County towns?

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Home Inspection

Home Sale Contingencies

Would you like to learn about home sale contingencies?

Home Sale Contingencies

What do you do when you find a home you want to buy, but you need the money from selling your old home? This is a question that many people have. They’ve put their home up for sale, and they’ve found what they want to make their next home. IF only there were a way to tie up the new home while they sell the old one….

It’s called a home sale contingency. Here’s how it works. The buyer and the seller reach an agreement on everything associated with buying a home, except the closing date. The closing date is set for when the buyer sells the old home. Are you still with me?

The Fine Print

A clause is added to the contract to address this situation. It says, in English, that the buyer (buyer 1) needs to sell their existing home to get the funds to buy the new home. If or when buyer 1 sells their existing home, the contract is now valid. However, until that contingency is removed, the seller will continue to show the home to prospective buyers.

In addition, should the seller receive an offer from buyer 2 that the seller wants to accept, buyer 1 will have 24 or 48 hours to remove the sale contingency and proceed with the purchase. If buyer 1 cannot remove the contingency, the initial contract is voided, and the seller can proceed with the new buyer.

The Buyer

Here’s what this does for the buyer. The sale price is locked in, and the buyer will get the home they want to buy. However, if they don’t sell their home in time, they won’t get the home. The price that buyer 2 is paying doesn’t mean anything. They will not need to match or exceed the price buyer 2 is offering.

The Seller

Here’s what this does for the seller. The seller has a buyer, and the price is locked in. The drawback is that an offer from buyer 2 may be better. But if buyer 1 removes the contingency, they need to proceed with the terms in buyer 1’s contract.

A Possible Option for Buyer 1

If buyer 1 has substantial equity in the home, they may qualify for a Home Equity Line of Credit. They can use the funds from the HELOC to buy their new home. Once the old home sells, they can simply pay off the HELOC. However, this is not an option for everyone.

Bottom Line

Our opinion is that a contract with a home sale contingency rarely works out. If you’re the buyer, we do encourage you to search for a home while your old one isn’t yet sold. However, we recommend that you look for a community, not a home. If you find a development, condo complex, or an adult community you like, it will make the search for a particular home easier when crunch time comes. And, if you find a model that you love, it’s even better.

The seller is in a win-win situation. That’s because their house is sold, but they don’t know when. And this makes it difficult to search for a new home. All that a seller can do is the same as the buyer, look for a community. But again, these contracts rarely work out.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact us.
Would you like to look at homes in other Monmouth County towns?

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Buying a Home – The Contract

Home Inspection

Once you’ve found your new home, and you have a signed contract, you’ll need a home inspection.

The Home inspection

So – who should inspect your future home? Your cousin, who used to work as a contractor? An uncle who has bought many homes? Or, just maybe, you should hire a professional. And yes, hiring a professional is the correct answer.

Few people are aware of this, but there are only 3 types of contractors who are required to be licensed in New Jersey. And that list is plumbers, electrician and home inspectors. These home inspectors are required to take continuing education in addition to serving apprenticeships. So don’t trust this important step to a friend or relative who knows a little bit about homes. Additionally, home inspectors are required to have insurance, in the rare case that they miss something big.

What Gets Inspected?

A complete home inspection begins on the outside of the home. The roof and the siding are checked , in addition to the doors and windows. Inside, each window and door is checked to be sure that they open, stay open and close properly. The windows are checked to be sure that the seals are not compromised. Any flaws in the sheet rock are documented, such as holes, settling cracks and water damage stains. The rugs are examined for stains, tears and more. If ceramic tile is present, they get examined for cracks and chips. Hardwood and laminate floors are also examined. Most mortgage companies require a termite inspection showing no damage or activity. Many inspectors are qualified to perform this, however, you may need to get a separate company involved.

Kitchens and Baths

In the kitchen, all cabinets are looked at to ensure the doors and drawers are functional. The cabinet under the sink is examined is checked for both active leaks and prior water damage. All appliances are tested. And all electrical receptacles which require GFCI protection are checked. The same items are checked in the bathrooms and the laundry area.

Electrical and HVAC

In the electrical system, all receptacles and the electrical panel will be checked to see if they’re properly wired. The furnace and the hot water heater will be checked for proper operation. As to the air conditioner, it will be checked for proper operation. However, if the weather is too cold, running the AC can damage the system.


At the end of the inspection, you’ll be supplied with a copy of the report. Depending on the inspector, you may get it immediately or it may arrive in your email within 24 hours. Once you have the report, make sure your attorney has a copy. Speak with your attorney about which items you want the seller to repair. I always tell my client to save their battles for the important things. Don’t worry about minor, insignificant thins, but if there’s something seriously wrong, insist that the seller either get it fixed or provide a credit so that you can get it fixed.

Bottom Line

If you cannot come to an agreement with the seller regarding repairs, don’t be afraid to cancel the contract, because this may not be the home for you.

Any questions, or when you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, contact us.

Would you like to look at homes in other Monmouth County towns?

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Buying a Home – The Contract

FHA 203k Loan

The FHA 203k loan may be a great tool for you to use.

FHA 203k Loan

Can you do work around the house? Do you want to buy a house that needs a lot of work and make it into your dream house? If you’re handy, this is a great idea. However, there may be a speed bump in the way. Many people in your situation can come up with a down payment and get the mortgage to buy the home. However, saving both the down payment and the funds to do the necessary upgrades is a challenge.

How Can You Finance This?

The solution may be the FHA 203k loan. This loan was created to help buyers who want to buy a home with the idea of fixing it up for either a flip or for their own home. Let me explain how this federal government backed loan works.

Let’s assume, as an example, that you found the home you want to buy. However, it needs a new kitchen and new bathrooms. The FHA 203k loan will provide you the money to buy  the home. In addition, the necessary funds to do the renovations will also be provided. As each step in the renovation is completed, the necessary funds will be dispersed.

The FHA 203k loan also is available for a refinance, and works in a similar fashion for a home that you already own.

What Work Can You Do?

What types of repairs or alterations will the FHA 203k provide funding for? You could this financing to add a deck, add a patio, put siding on the house or even add an addition. Inside, you can replace flooring, repair plumbing, bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels, install new heating and air conditioning systems and much more.

Can you use this loan to put it in pool? Sorry, that’s not something allowed from the FHA 203k loan.

Bottom line

With the 203k loan, you can either purchase or refinance a property.Additionally, it will provide the money to make the necessary repairs to upgrade the home. Since it’s an FHA loan, there are restrictions as to how much you can borrow. You can use the funds to pay for materials if you do the work yourself, but there will be inspections. However, any contractors you hire to do the work must be approved contractors. To learn more about the FHA 203k loan, speak with your mortgage professional.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact us. Would you like to search for a home in other Monmouth County towns?

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Buying a Home – The Mortgage Application

The Mortgage Application is a complex, but important, part of the process.

The Mortgage Application

Your contract to purchase a home contains many different clauses. And many of them don’t pertain to you. However, one that may states that you must be able to obtain a mortgage in order to actually purchase the home . It’s simple – if you can’t get a mortgage, you can’t purchase the home. The clause in the contract which confirms that you’ll get your mortgage is called the mortgage commitment. This is usually the last part of the contract that makes it a firm, binding contract. In addition, the contract calls for a date when you’ll need to provide a written mortgage commitment.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

Many people think that  the mortgage commitment is the same as the mortgage Pre-Approval. However, they’re very different.

One of the very first steps you should take, even before you begin to look at homes, is to  speak with a mortgage representative to get “Pre_Approved”. This can be done over the phone or in person, and it usually takes 10 – 15 minutes. There’s no charge for this service, and no commitment. The mortgage representative will look at your credit report, and ask questions about your income, debts and assets. After entering your info into the computer, they’ll let you know if, indeed, you can get a mortgage and for how much. A letter saying so will be given to you and possibly your Realtor.

Our recommendation is that you go through this process before looking at homes, because this will allow you to look at homes that you can afford. Then, once we find you the home you want, and write the contract, we’ll include a copy of the letter with the contract. By doing this, the seller knows that you should be able to proceed with the purchase.

The Mortgage Commitment

The mortgage commitment is different than the Pre-Approval.  The process takes time. We recommend that as soon as attorney review is concluded, you should formally apply for your mortgage. The mortgage lender will need copies of tax returns, pay stubs, proof of funds, investment statements and more. If the mortgage lender asks for any paperwork, you should supply it in a timely fashion.

In the contract, it  usually states that you’ll have the written mortgage commitment within 30 -40 days of signing the contract. Sometimes it takes a little longer. Therefore, if you’re unable to get the mortgage commitment by the due date, contact your attorney and request  an extension.

Once you’ve received your commitment, don’t make any major purchases such as a car or anything large. That’s because that will affect your debt to income ratio. Your lender will pull a  final credit report a few days before closing. Also – if at all possible, don’t change jobs until after closing, as this will affect the mortgage also.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact us.

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