Refinancing a Home and Why You Need an Attorney

Refinancing your home can be overwhelming, but the amount of money you could save on interest and monthly payments is worth the headache. You always have the option of refinancing without the help of an attorney to save money, but this is one expense that is entirely worth it. Let’s take a look at why:

Evaluating Your Current Mortgage

A real estate attorney is trained in all things relating to mortgages and refinancing. They will be able to break down your current mortgage and let you know what fees may apply to repay your loan early. They will also help contact your current lender and get all the necessary information needed to prepare the transfer. 

Explain Your Options

A real estate attorney will be able to explain all the possible loans based on your specific financial credentials that you may not realize are available to you. There are government funded programs you may qualify for that your attorney can help explain.

Negotiation and Mortgage Terms

Your attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf so that you get the best possible interest rate for your new mortgage. It’s easy to get taken advantage of by lenders if you don’t fully understand your contract terms. Your attorney will not only simplify that process, but they may be able to save you a lot of money compared to negotiating on your own.

Mortgage Lawsuits

Although it is unlikely, there is always the possibility that you may need to file a mortgage lawsuit to get out your current contract or if there is a dispute with current terms. Your attorney will be able to advise you on legal matters concerning the lawsuit and give you the insight you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Real estate attorneys are a useful resource to utilize when refinancing your home. Their expertise and advice can save you money and help you obtain a new mortgage that benefits you financially going forward.

Common Closing Costs

The homebuying process can be complicated and overwhelming. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the closing process, particularly some of the most common closing costs. Closing costs are money due at the time of the closing of a real estate transaction during the transfer of the property title from the seller to the buyer.

Buyer

In general, closing costs for the buyer equal about 1-5% of your loan total. But this can vary depending on a variety of factors such as the total loan amount, type of loan, and region. Your lender will give you an estimate of what your closing costs will be when you get your final loan estimate. The closing costs are made up of several different fees, many of which are negotiable. Here is a small portion of the common fees:

  • Application Fee: This fee covers the costs of things like credit checks and the general administrative costs of processing your application.
  • Appraisal: This fee is paid to the appraisal company.
  • Attorney Fee: Attorneys make the home buying process less complicated and their fee is included in the closing costs.
  • Escrow Fee: These are fees owed to the title company for handling the closing.
  • Underwriting Fee: This fee goes to your lender for researching your approval requirements for the loan.

Seller

As a seller, you can expect to pay around 6-10% of the total sale of your home, deducted from your profits. Here is what those costs pay for:

  • Commission: As a seller, you will pay the commission of both the real estate agents involved in the sale of your home.
  • Tax Transfer Fees: These are the taxes associated with transferring the title.
  • Loan Payoff Fees: These are the fees for paying off your existing loan.

A real estate attorney can help explain all the fees associated with buying or selling your home and answer any questions you may have about the process.

Fall Activities in Monmouth County

Fall in New Jersey is beautiful. The bright orange, yellow and red leaves, the crisp cool air- it’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and explore the local charm. Here are some fun fall activities to check out in Monmouth County.

Kayaking the Manasquan Reservoir

Kayaking doesn’t just have to be a Summer activity. You can rent a kayak on the Manasquan Reservoir through October. The cooler temperatures make for beautiful days spent drifting across the water.

Camping at Turkey Swamp Park

Fall is the perfect time to camp. The chilly nights make a campfire even more inviting. Turkey Swamp Park has campgrounds available through November 15th at very affordable rates.

Visit the Deep Cut Gardens

Located in Middletown, the Deep Cut Gardens are gorgeous in the Fall. The park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk daily and features fifty-four acres of gardens and greenhouses. If you’re a home gardener, check out their many different fall workshops like the Composting Workshop on October 6th or November 3rd.

Harvest Home Festival

On September 30th, check out the Harvest Home Festival at Historic Longstreet Farm. This fair is full of late 1800’s themed fun like wagon rides, pie eating contests and craft shows.

Thompson Park Day

Thompson Park will be the place to bring your kids and pets on October 14th for Thompson Park Day. Your furry friends can participate in the “Strut Your Mutt” Doggie Costume Contest sponsored by the Friends of the Park, while the humans can enjoy several different events and activities to celebrate the season.

Fall Craft Show

Start your holiday shopping early on November 10th at the Fort Monmouth Recreation Area with this year’s Fall Craft Show. You’re bound to find many unique gifts and treasures at the over fifty different vendor booths.

Enjoy the season with the many different activities available to enjoy in Monmouth County.

Benefits of Selling Your Home in the Fall

Selling your home at any time of the year is a daunting task, but some seasons may have benefits over others. Let’s take a look at some benefits of selling your home in the Fall.

Less Competition

Summer is usually the most popular time for buyers to look for a new home. Listing your home during the autumn months means there will be fewer houses on the market. The positive characteristics of your home will stand out more with fewer options to compare to.  Buyers looking to purchase a home in the fall are usually much more serious and eager to find something quickly. This may result in higher offers and quicker turnaround times.

Realistic Offers

In a summer market, there are so many homes that prices are inflated, and offers are high to compete with the saturation. In the fall, you’re more likely to get offers very close to your asking price. This may seem like a negative effect, but realistic offers come with realistic outcomes. Negotiations usually go smoother, and there are fewer discrepancies between buyers and sellers during the process.

Less Expensive to do Repairs and Improvements

During the fall and holiday season, big ticket items like appliances and lighting fixtures are generally less expensive. Sales and clearances are around every corner at big box stores so you’ll be able to stock up on the essentials while potentially increasing the value of your home. You can check out Consumer Reports for a complete list of the best time to buy certain items.

Cool Weather

Lower temperatures mean less stress when getting your home ready to sell. It also makes it easier for potential buyers to tour your home and property. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, the changing leaves will make your property look more inviting and cozy.

There’s no reason to look at selling your home in the fall as a disadvantage; it’s actually the complete opposite.

The Best Farms for Pumpkin Picking in Monmouth County

Picking your own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch is one of the best parts of Fall. Here in Monmouth County, we are lucky to have several awesome pumpkin farms where you can find your own Jack o’ Lantern candidate. Here are some of the best farms for pumpkin picking in Monmouth County. Remember to call before you plan your trip, weather and crop conditions could change available hours and options.

Red Wagon Farm Market

Located in Manalapan, Red Wagon Farm Market has many Fall related activities like tractor-pulled wagon rides and pony rides. You can choose from over one hundred different varieties of pumpkins available to either pick from the field or at the market stands. Check the website for dates and hours.

Antonio Casola Farms and Greenhouse

Holmdel is home to Antonio Casola Farms and Greenhouse where you can enjoy haunted hayrides, corn mazes and even a sunflower maze. Pick your own pumpkin from the fields or choose one at the shop. Try a fried s’more before you leave!

Battlefield Orchards

Picking pumpkins is indeed something you can do at Battlefield Orchards located in Freehold, but while you’re at it, why not pick some apples too? Battlefield has thirteen different kinds of apples, and most are available to pick through October.

Bullock Farms

Located in Cream Ridge, Bullock Farms is home to over one hundred acres of beautiful farmland. After enjoying a twenty-five minute hayride, you can pick your own pumpkins, gourds and ornamental squash from the fields.

Dearborn Market

Along with hayrides, corn mazes and a hay barrel pyramid, you can also pick your own pumpkins in the pumpkin patch at Dearborn Market in Holmdel. The kids have fun in the petting zoo and get their faces painted while you enjoy some freshly baked apple cider donuts.

There are so many options when it comes to pumpkin picking in Monmouth County; you’ll have a blast with your family at any of these great destinations.

Open House Etiquette When Selling Your Home

Selling your home is a significant event. It can be overwhelming to pack up your belongings and open up your house to strangers who could be potential buyers. Specific unspoken rules are usually followed during the open house process. Let’s take a closer look at open house etiquette when selling your home.

Don’t Be There

You may think it would be helpful to give your potential buyers a tour of your home, explaining every detail and feature that they may miss otherwise. It actually can be intimidating and may put people off. Your home is your pride and joy, and there may be a lifetime of work that you’ve put into it to make it special but pointing this out to potential buyers may prevent them from envisioning the home as their own. It’s best to allow the realtor to show your home and make yourself scarce in the meantime.

Follow Your Real Estate Agent’s Advice

You have an emotional attachment to your home; even if you aren’t able to see that in the abstract, your realtor can. Therefore, if your realtor suggests that you clear a room of personal photos, or rearrange the furniture in your living room, know that there are years worth of experience behind that advice. Your realtor knows how to make your home more appealing to potential buyers and they are trying to get you the highest possible price for your house. Listen to them.

Clean Thoroughly

One of the most significant obstacles people have when searching for a new home is seeing past messes when trying to picture the home as their own. Clearing your property of clutter, dirt, and dust will go a long way in increasing its desirability. Store away anything that is not needed and have your home look as much as an open canvas as possible.

Following these rules when preparing your home for an open house will get it sold before you know it.

What You Should Know About Short Sales

A short sale in real estate refers to a property that sells for less than what the owner owes on the mortgage. The lender has agreed to take the “short” amount of what’s owed and take a loss. A homeowner might use a short sale if they can no longer make the monthly mortgage payments or if they need to quickly move from the property. As a buyer, purchasing a short sale home has its pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look.

The Pros of Buying a Short Sale Home

When looking for a home, short sale properties are enticing mostly because of the low prices compared to similar properties. There are other advantages to buying a short sale. Such as:

  • Prices sometimes as low as 10% below market value– Because the owner needs to sell quickly, the starting price is almost always below market value.
  • Less Competition– Since short sales are often intimidating to buyers and real estate agents alike, they don’t get as much interest as typical listings. If you’re willing to take on a short sale, you won’t have to compete with an abundance of other offers from potential buyers.
  • Less risk than a foreclosure– If you’re a bargain hunter, chances are you’ve scoped out some foreclosure properties as well as short sales. Buying a short sale comes with fewer risks than foreclosures since the properties are still usually occupied and taken care of.

The Cons of Buying a Short Sale Home

  • Long waiting period– Since the lender has to approve the offer and sale as well as the seller, the process is much longer. It also involves much more paperwork and red tape than a typical sale.
  • The possibility of costly repairs– Since the seller is usually selling their home through a short sale because of financial hardship, the home may have fallen into disrepair.

Be sure to consult your real estate attorney with any questions about the legal process of a short sale.

 

The Importance of Flood Insurance

Floods happen suddenly and can be dangerous and damaging. If you own a house, you may need to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect you when the unexpected happens.

What is flood insurance?

Typically homeowners insurance does not cover damage as a result of a flood, it is one of the main exclusions. Flood insurance is a separate policy you’d have to purchase to cover costs for repairs in the event of a flood. According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 12% of American homeowners have flood insurance. To help encourage homeowners to protect their homes, FEMA introduced The National Flood Insurance Program that offers affordable flood insurance to homeowners. To find out if you qualify, click here.

What does it cover?

All flood insurance policies are different, but most cover things like the structure and foundation of your home, the plumbing and electrical systems, air conditioning, furniture, paneling and detached garages. You can also purchase policies to cover your personal belongings inside your home like electronics, clothes, jewelry and appliances.

Should I get flood insurance?

According to FEMA, 20% of flood claims are from homeowners living outside of high-risk flood zones, so you may be at risk for a flood even if you live away from a major body of water. If you live in a high-risk area, you may be mandated to purchase flood insurance as a condition of approval for your mortgage. To check if your home is in a flood zone, enter your address here.

How do I get flood insurance?

To find out if you qualify for The National Flood Insurance Program or to ask any questions, contact their help center at 1-800-427-4661. If you don’t qualify, but still need to purchase insurance, contact a local insurance agent.

Floods can be devastating. Protect your family and your home with flood insurance so you can have peace of mind that if you experience a flood, the damage will only be temporary and you’ll have the means to repair your home and replace your belongings. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your insurance agent.

 

Tips for Finding Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is a necessity for anyone who has purchased their own home. It not only significantly helps lesson financial burden during a weather emergency or an unexpected occurrence that may cause damage to your home, but it also may be required by your lender for certain types of home loans. So what kind of home insurance should you purchase and how do you find the right type for you? Let’s take a closer look.

Shop Around

There are so many different insurance companies out there competing for your business. Never settle for the first offer you come across. Compare different rates and plans and always check online reviews. Although everyone has different experiences depending on their situation, if a company has a large number of negative reviews on their customer service, for example, you might want to keep that in mind when making your final decision.

Location

Make sure you know everything about the location of your house. Are you in a floodplain? What is the crime level? What is the average home price in your neighborhood? All these facts can alter the price of your insurance and determine the type of coverage you need.

Know Your Discounts

Most home insurance companies offer discounts for several different things like smoke detectors, alarm systems and even being a first-time homebuyer. These discounts may not be offered to you if you don’t ask, so be sure to be vocal with your agent when getting information.

Compare Deductibles

A company offering complete coverage for something may sound good until you realize you have a $2,000 deductible. You may have a lower monthly premium, but if something happens and you need to use your coverage, will you be able to afford the deductible? These are things you need to consider when choosing a plan.

Choosing your homeowner’s insurance is an important step in buying a new home. Make sure you’ve explored all your options and done all your research before making a choice.

 

Historic Homes in Monmouth County

New Jersey is rich in history. Monmouth County, in particular, is full of historic homes and buildings. What specifically qualifies a home as “historic”? In order for a house to get the distinguished title of “historic”, several criteria must be met, and lots of research must be done. Let’s take a closer look at this process.

What does “historic” mean exactly?

The general definition for a historic home means a house at least fifty years old with significant relevance in the area. That would mean there could have been a famous person that lived there, something historic happened there – like having the first working telephone or electricity in the town – or some sort of association with a historic event.

How do you get a historic designation?

The New Jersey Historical Preservation Office can officially designate your home as historic, which comes with certain perks and regulations. You might not be able to paint or remodel without specific permission so that to maintain its historic properties and appearance. This may be inconvenient, but a historic designation adds a significant amount of value to your home. Be sure to seek out an appraiser with experience dealing with historic properties since you’ll need to contact your insurance company to change your policy.

Where are some historic homes in Monmouth County, New Jersey?

Ocean Grove, NJ is full of beautiful historic homes. The Historical Society of Ocean Grove offers a self-guided home tour where you take in all the unique features of these historic Victorian homes up close and personal. These homes are a large part of the reason thousands of visitors a year flock to Ocean Grove to take its rich seaside history.

Whether you’re looking to own a historic home or just admire them from afar, Monmouth County New Jersey has everything you’re looking for.