New Jersey Real Estate News & Blog

Outdoor Spaces: 5 Things to Think About

An outdoor living space can make your home feel larger, and can provide a fun al fresco surrounding for the temperate months. If you’re considering adding one to your home, think of the following:

Function. Before building your outdoor space, ask yourself how you will use it. For entertaining friends? For intimate family dinners? To curl up with a book? Figuring out the function of the space will help you with your design.

Start small. Before building a full-on deck, clear the space you’d like to use, set up a simple pop-up for shade and move in some outdoor furniture to try the spot on for size before committing.

Build out. Once you’ve nailed down the area you like, consider having slate,...

Finding the Best Interest Rate on a Mortgage

Mortgage brokers and other real estate experts can often help homebuyers find the best interest rate on a mortgage that fits their needs, but that doesn’t mean borrowers shouldn’t shop around so that they’re well informed before talking to an expert.

Here are a few things consumers can do to get the best interest rate on a mortgage:

Fixed vs. Adjustable
Fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are the two most common forms of mortgages. A fixed-rate is set for the life of a loan, usually 30 years, and the mortgage payment is the same every month.

An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, has an interest rate that changes after a certain number of years. It can remain at one rate for a year, then change based on an interest rate index chosen by your bank. An ARM can also be steady for five...

Top 7 Most Profitable Home Features

Improving your home before you sell it can seem like wasting money. After all, if you’re not going to live there much longer, why remodel or add features you won’t get to use much?

Because, as any real estate professional will tell you, the upgrades can help you recoup the cost and more in a higher selling price for your home. Without some updates, home sellers may realize their home is not worth as much as they thought.

Here are some of the features that increase the resale value of a home:

1. Laundry Room
Starting at $1,000, adding a laundry room to a home helps clean out other rooms where clothes may be stacked and can keep the living space tidier.

The basement is the easiest place to put a laundry room. Another option is to add a laundry...

Common Home-Buying Mistakes People Make at Every Age

(TNS)—No matter the age or life stage, everyone makes mistakes when it comes to home-buying.

Whether it’s picking the wrong location or buying more house than you can afford, the mistakes are often universal, says Ilyce Glink, author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask.”

“When you’re in your 20s, your life isn’t the same as when you’re retired, and yet you’re both going to make timing mistakes,” Glink says. “You may make location mistakes. You may not think about what you need for every stage of your life, so you buy the wrong size home or make a bad money decision.”

Even so, certain age groups are more susceptible to particular missteps than others. Here are common mistakes homeowners make...

3 Things to Know Before Renting Out Your Home

Home-sharing services such as Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey can make turning your home into a money-making vacation rental easy.

The sites hold payments from guests who are renting private rooms or entire homes. All the host has to do is provide a key and then collect payment from the site after check-in, right?

Not so fast. Here are three things that hosts should plan on, whether renting a couch, spare room, in-law suite or their house to visitors:

Know the rules
Cities and counties are regularly updating laws when Airbnb or other services become popular in a town, though sometimes they’re rarely enforced. A loud party at your home by your paid guests may get your neighbors to complain to police, which could quickly lead to enforcement of any laws for short-term rentals....

What Private Mortgage Insurance Is and How to Avoid It

Paying less than 20 percent on a down payment on a house will likely require buying private mortgage insurance by the lender.

The insurance, called PMI for short, is used to reimburse the bank if you default on the loan.

It isn’t too expensive—usually between 0.5 and 1 percent of the entire loan amount paid annually. On a $100,000 loan, a 1 percent PMI fee equals $1,000 a year, or $83.33 per month. That may not be enough money to make or break a home purchase, but it’s money that homeowners would rather be saving or spending elsewhere.

There are a few ways to avoid PMI, with the simplest being to have a down payment of 20 percent or more. You can put off buying a home until you can come up with that much money, though that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for.

Another solution is...

Terms Every Homebuyer Should Understand

If you’re buying a home, you’ll more than likely be obtaining a mortgage, which you may not know much about. In fact, unless you’ve been involved in a home sale before, there are many things you will be learning about for the first time.

Here is a handy list of some of the key terms that every person involved in a real estate transaction should understand.

Appraisal: The written analysis of the estimated value of a property, as prepared by a qualified appraiser, which often determines if you will qualify for the loan.

Closing: One of the last steps of any sale. This is the meeting where the lender, buyer and seller complete the sale and mortgage process. Once the home closes, the home officially belongs to...

5 Things That Scare Off Buyers

We all have our own preferences—just like some people like their steak cooked well done while others like it medium rare.

When it comes to selling a house, however, having different preferences can sabotage a home sale. This is especially true with décor choices that were popular at one time but a homeowner hasn’t changed them because they didn’t have the money or proper incentive.

Here are five problems that may turn off homebuyers:

Paint Color
Accent colors throughout a home can be easily painted over by new owners, but seeing them for the first time may put some buyers off.

Instead of that bright red wall in the kitchen or a purple wall in the living room, paint them neutral colors so that buyers don’t really notice them. Beige, ivory, taupe...

Home Flooded? Here’s What to Do First

Flood damages to homes can be extensive. From 2011 to 2015, the average flood claim was for more than $46,000, and the average flood insurance premium in 2015 was $700, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP.

Dealing with the water damage quickly and safely is vital to getting the home repaired. Here are some of the first things to do after your home has flooded:

Get help for essential needs

Getting to your flooded home may be foremost in your mind, but you should first make sure you and your family are safe.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends seeking help from the American Red Cross, which will likely be in the area. It can provide vouchers so you can buy new clothing, groceries, essential medications, bedding, essential furnishings and...

Dual Purpose Plants: Cleansing and Decorating

A good-looking houseplant adds pizzazz to your home. It can also be the next best thing to a live-in housekeeper, says John VanZile, author of Houseplants for A Healthy Home, out in May.

That’s because a number of houseplants contain properties that help rid the air around you of various chemicals and parasites. In fact, VanZile told House Beautiful, installing a few potted plants in your home can help you breathe and even sleep better without ever lifting a vacuum.

Top contenders to choose from include:

Rubber Plan: In addition to a adding dramatic accent to any room, studies show that rubber plants can remove airborne toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde—found in many cleaning supplies. VanZile advises wiping the leaves with a moist paper towel now and then to keep their pores open...