Mostly sought after 2 bedroom unit located on the second floor, with renovated kitchen and newer flooring, with beautiful hardwood flooring throughout the unit. Come and see all the GREAT things happening at MARGATE. Short commute into NYC from Metro park or Metuchen station. Owner must occupy unit. # #forsale#margate#newlisting#coop
Contact me for more details! Deb Kerr – C. 732.910.1682 E.firstname.lastname@example.org
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What a great opportunity! A fully renovated 3 bed, 1 bath ranch, with low taxes, in a spacious corner lot, with lots of fenced in backyard space. Eat in kitchen with brand new stainless steel appliances, and separate eating area. Property is located near Spring Lake Park & trails, close to shops and the Middle and High Schools. Easy access to 287. This property has solar panels.
Coming up with a down payment for a new home is often the thing that keeps people from taking the leap from renter to homeowner in the first place. That’s why US veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard and reservists who may not have saved up enough for a down payment look to VA loans to help make homeownership a reality.
VA loans allow for 100% financing of a property, meaning no down payment is required for eligible applicants. And because a VA loan comes with a 25% lender guarantee, PMI (private mortgage insurance) is not required either.
All of this saves you money over the life of your mortgage, but there are some out of pocket expenses that come with a VA loan, including typical mortgage closing costs and a VA funding fee.
VA funding fees
Many homeowners who have purchased a home through this program — backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs — will tell you that the benefits of the VA loan program far outweigh the applicable (and unavoidable) funding fees that come with it. These fees were recently updated, so this is an excellent time to review what kind of fees you might need to consider.
Let’s say that you’re looking to buy a $200,000 house and you’re eligible to buy that home with a VA loan. VA loans require no down payment from the borrower, however, if you’re a first-time user of the VA-backed loan program and you are going the route of putting no money down, you will be charged a funding fee of 2.3% of the total loan amount, or $4,600. If you’re able to make a down payment of $10,000 (5% of the $200,000 loan), you’d pay a VA funding fee of 1.65% of the $190,000 you’d still need to borrow, which would equal $3,135.
This chart will help you understand how much of a VA funding fee you’d take on depending on your circumstances. Remember, the funding fee applies only to the loan amount, not the home’s purchase price.
If this is your first use of the VA loan program:
And your down payment is…
Your VA funding fee will be…
Less than 5%
5% or more
10% or more
If you’re using the VA loan program a second (or third or fourth…) time:
And your down payment is…
Your VA funding fee will be…
Less than 5%
5% or more
10% or more
Federal law requires VA loan funding fees, but, as with any rule, there are exceptions. While anyone purchasing a home through a VA loan is required to pay the funding fees, the following are exempt:
Homebuyers who receive VA disability payments for military service-related injuries
Homebuyers who would receive VA disability payments if they weren’t receiving retirement pay
Homebuyers entitled to receive compensation, but who are not presently in receipt because they on active duty
Homebuyers who are serving on active duty that provide evidence of having been awarded the purple heart
The surviving spouses of military personnel who died while in service, or of veterans who died due to service-related disabilities and who is receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
VA loan closing costs
While closing costs are generally minimal with a VA loan, homebuyers may want to budget for these as well. Unlike funding fees, closing costs can not be rolled into the loan amount.
The following fees may apply to your VA loan application:
Charges to pull credit reports and credit scores
Costs to do a property title search
Determination of whether the home requires flood insurance
Taxes and assessments based on federal, state and local laws
Additional fees the VA allows an applicant to pay
The VA regulates which fees VA loan applicants can be charged. These smaller expenses are often included in a lump-sum lender fee: typically about 1% of the total loan amount. Note that even though Movement Mortgage waives all lender fees for VA loans, we thought it would be helpful to list some of these expenses so you’ll be aware of what other lenders may cover with their lender fees:
VA loan application fees
Document preparation fees
Mortgage prep and/or assignment fees
Notary public fees
Fees the VA does not allow an applicant to pay
While some are common with conventional mortgages, the Department of Veterans Affairs does not let the following fees to be charged to a VA loan applicant:
Lender attorney fees
Real estate commissions
Broker fees or compensation
Transaction Coordinator (TC) expenses
Termite inspection fees (in most states)
Can sellers pay VA closing costs?
This is a great example of how VA loans can help homebuyers save money. Because buyers using the VA loan are restricted in what they can and cannot pay when it comes to closing costs and other fees, it is common for sellers to cover some of these costs. That’s right: often, the seller pays!
Sellers aren’t required to pay a borrower’s closing costs, but it’s commonly negotiated. Veterans Affairs allows property sellers to pay a percentage of the purchase price toward the buyer’s closing costs, often around 4%. But seller concessions can also go higher if they contribute to pre-paid fees, paying points, etc. Compare that to conventional mortgages, which can cap seller contributions toward closing costs at 3%.
Is a VA loan right for you?
If you’re a US veteran, active-duty service member, a reservist or a member of the National Guard and you’re looking to buy, refinance a VA loan or want to learn more about VA homeownership benefits, reach out to us today.
Movement Mortgage can answer your questions about eligibility and help you make the right decision regarding a VA loan. Find a loan officer in your area to get started or apply online.
If 2021 is the year you’re going to make the leap to becoming a first-time home buyer, we’re rooting for you. But before you go out and start house-hunting, remember that the initial step is to get pre-approved for a home loan. To do that, you’ll want to get a handle on your credit history and credit score. The key factors that make up a credit score are:
the total amount owed
length of credit history
types of credit in use
new credit accounts
If your credit is less than perfect, non-existent, or otherwise holding you back, it may be time to consider some ways to increase your score so that you can begin the process of buying your first home. Improving a credit score to buy a house takes time, effort, and focus. To help, we pulled together five tips on how to improve your credit score before you apply for a home loan.
1. No credit is no good
Sometimes a lower credit score is given simply because a person has no credit history to base a score on. Some people simply are adamant that it’s not a good practice to borrow money. While that’s rare in this day and age, it is possible. If you haven’t borrowed any money for a student or car loan and you haven’t opened any credit card accounts, there’s no history to make up your credit report at all.
Having no credit can make a lender hesitant to work with you. If you’re hoping to qualify for a mortgage down the road, you’ll want to rectify that sooner rather than later. Open a credit card or two and make a few purchases on those cards so that you start building a record of using credit and paying it back on time. Over time, being diligent with payments on those cards can show a potential lender that you are a responsible borrower and a good prospect for a home loan.
2. Be smart about credit
Being responsible for using existing credit is the best way to improve your credit score. For example, if you have a charge card for a retailer or a bank card that offers future travel points, use it on repeatable purchases like groceries or gas for the car. Keeping the balances low and consistently paying off those purchases every month will create a history of responsible credit behavior that will go a long way towards improving your credit score.
Aiming to use no more than 10% of your allotted credit line is also a good rule of thumb. It shows that you won’t misuse your credit and fall into debt. Also, keep in mind that maxing out a credit card can hurt your score even if you pay it off in full every month. This is even true on a card with a low credit limit, so know the credit limits on each account you have.
3. Make a plan to reduce debt (or better yet, eliminate it)
It doesn’t take long for a little bit of debt to become a serious long-term problem. Paying for something like a vacation with revolving debt — like the kind you get with many credit cards — can take years to pay off and damage your credit score. That’s not something you want on your credit report if you’re looking to buy a home. What’s needed is a concerted effort to reduce or eliminate debt.
Many people drowning in debt try increasing monthly minimum payments by just a bit across all their accounts, but that barely moves the needle. Instead, it might be better to tackle the problem by focusing on one account at a time. If you make a significantly bigger payment to only one account each month until that debt is completely repaid — while still making the minimum payment on all other accounts — you’ll notice the debt shave off more substantially. When one is paid off, leave it be (remember, don’t close it) and rinse and repeat with your next account. Keep it up until all your debt is paid down.
4. Look for lower interest rates
Another thing you can do to reduce debt is to ask for a lower interest rate. The chances are that you opened a charge card account or bought a car when interest rates were higher. Because so much of a monthly payment goes towards the interest charge and not the actual balance, higher interest rates keep you in debt longer. It’s a well-kept secret, but some lenders can and will renegotiate interest rates. Just be forewarned: customers who’ve paid on time every month are more likely to cut a deal on getting a lower rate.
It also pays to keep an eye out for promotions offering lower interest rates. Balance transfers (from one card or one bank to another) can often get you a lower rate, but be cautious: promotional rates often have expiration dates. Try to pay off any balances before the promotional period ends or you may be subject to higher interest rates after that.
5. Don’t close accounts in good standing
If you have outstanding balances on credit cards, car loans, or student debt — but they’re in good standing and you’ve been making your monthly payments — keep at it. Regular, on-time payments are the solid foundation for a great credit score. But if you’re thinking of paying off a balance entirely and closing down an account, hold that thought for a second.
Credit bureaus — the businesses that create credit reports — love when borrowers have zero-balance accounts. It shows that even though you have credit available, you’re responsible enough not to use it. While getting rid of an account may sound like a good idea, it could actually hurt your credit score. Keeping an active account open with no balance looks better than having a closed account. Wait until after you close on your new home to cut up any charge cards you no longer need.
Ready to improve your credit score this year?
There are many great federal financing programs available for first-time homebuyers, including FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Plus, you might want to look into conventional mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or home renovation loans. Many U.S. states and cities also offer first-time buyer programs and grants for a down payment, financing, and closing cost assistance.
When it comes to applying to be pre-approved for a home loan, it pays to lay the groundwork with a good credit score. Contact a loan officer in your area to learn what else you’ll need to prepare for and to discuss which program might be right for you.
“The ultimate measure of aman is notwhere he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Strength to Love, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Why rent when you can own this lovely 2 BD 2 BTH Townhome at Jefferson Park, w/fully finished basement minutes away from NYC train. The kitchen features a breakfast bar, gas range oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave oven. Finished area in basement can be used for a number of purposes, including a home office. Conveniently located near downtown Metuchen which has a lot to offer. Close to shopping, Whole Foods, Metuchen Train Station, all major roadways, minutes away from 287. Close to Menlo Park & Woodbridge Center Malls. Close to the Metuchen YMCA, Metuchen pool, great school system and wonderful community. Monthly maintenance fee of $270 includes garage (#B40). Separate assigned parking space in the back of unit.
Factors to Consider Before You Drop Your List Price
Whether you call it a price reduction, an improvement, or an adjustment, nobody wants to hear about lowering prices except a buyer. In a buyer’s market or a slow period, it’s not unusual for sellers to point fingers at agents, and for agents to point fingers at sellers’ unrealistic expectations for a price. Still, there are some times when lowering your asking price is the right move. Before you do, there are a few questions to ask yourself so you can determine your home price-reduction strategy.
Are You Selling in a Buyer’s Market?
Demand falls when the market is slow and inventory is high. If that’s the case, and you’re don’t absolutely have to sell right now, then it may be wise to take your home off the market until things improve. You might be better off renting your house, or staying put until the market rebounds if you’re not highly motivated to sell.
Did You Start Too High?
If you initially priced your home too high, you’ll have to continually reduce the price until you hit that “magic” number. This is referred to as “chasing the market down,” and it’s not a good thing. Buyers will begin to wonder if something is wrong with your house. They’ll also wonder how much lower will you might be willing to go and decide to play a waiting game.
Have You Overlooked Anything?
Ask a friend to stop by and give you an honest opinion of how your house shows—honest being the operative word. Yes, your agent should have nailed this months ago. Your place should show like a masterpiece. But sometimes a fresh set of eyes can pick up on something that you and your agent missed. Find it, fix it, and see if things pick up.
If you’re making a habit of hanging around during showings, you should change it. An owner’s presence often makes buyers feel uncomfortable. Leave your prospective buyers to look around in peace. And don’t turn down showings simply because you don’t want to get out of the house.
The bottom line: Make sure you’re not unwittingly sabotaging your—and your agent’s—efforts before you take the scissors to your listing price.
How Is Your Marketing?
If you feel like the market is right for your asking price, and you’re not doing anything to get in the way, you might want to look at your marketing efforts. Before you reduce your price, consider whether you and your agent are making every effort to sell your home for what you think it’s worth. Questions to ask include:
How many hits has your listing received in the MLS?
Do the marketing comments sell the benefits or features?
What kind of direct mail campaign has been launched?
How many open houses have been held?
How does the house show online? Are there a lot of beautiful pictures?
Is your signage in a prominent location? Does it contain several phone numbers and a website?
Do you have a virtual tour published?
What kind of feedback have you received from agents and buyers?
Are you offering enough compensation to selling agents?
How many showings have you had?
Watch Other Listings
If you do decide to reduce your price, it’s important to be strategic about it. Pull up pending sales and find ones that had price reductions. How many days were they on the market (DOM) before the price was reduced, and how much of a price reduction was made? You won’t know the sold price, but you can determine average price reduction percentages. Ignore active listings without price reductions unless they’re similar to yours and the DOM are low.
Run side-by-side comparisons with active listings near the price point you’re considering. Price your home so it falls in the bottom two to five listings or—if you’re really determined—price it less than anything else on the market.
Properties that are priced below what buyers are readily willing to pay will receive multiple offers. This is the case even in distressed markets as home prices slide into downward spirals. In many cases, it’s common to see price wars develop among buyers who are competing, which then results in an accepted offer for more than list price.
Consider a New Listing
You might want to take your home off the market and put it back as a new listing at a different price so your reduction isn’t readily evident to any agents who look at your listing. An entirely new listing looks fresh and exciting to a buyer, and new buyers come into the market all the time. Not every agent studies the history of a listing, so this strategy can help you avoid the stigma of a price reduction.
The Bottom Line Every seller wants to get the most they can for their home, and you should explore every alternative before you make a price reduction. But sometimes even a small price change can make the difference between a quick sale and watching your home languish on the market. An experienced agent should be able to help you answer the right questions and decide if a price drop is the right decision.
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Looking for the home of your dreams? You could go it alone — or you could take our advice and work with a reputable real estate agent.
Hiring a real estate agent to help you buy your first — or next — home can put you at a significant advantage when competing with other buyers for what’s become a very limited housing inventory. Back in April, CNBC stated that homes were selling in just over two weeks on the market. That’s exceptionally fast!
Buying a home is, potentially, the most expensive transaction of your life. If you choose the right one, a real estate agent can help assure you get more for your money than you could by doing it by yourself. An experienced agent should be a skilled negotiator (or at least better than you, as a novice). Along with their thorough knowledge of the industry, local sales activity, current housing inventory and what’s coming — but not yet — on the market, your home buying adventure is sure to get a boost just by working with them.
So, how do you start looking for a real estate agent, and how do you find one who is right for you? That’s the topic of today’s blog.
How to find a real estate agent
If you’re a first-time homebuyer — or even if you’re not — finding a compatible agent can be overwhelming! Even if you’re in a rural area, there are probably a handful of local real estate offices you can reach out to. More than that, many realtors have started their own business, perhaps without having a physical office — like everyone else, they’ve discovered they can work from home and carry less overhead! And even though they’re busy these days, realtors always have an eye out for their next client. In one way or another, they’re all vying for your business.
Here are four important tips for finding a real estate agent you’ll be happy with!
1 – Take Your Time & Do Your Research
The most important thing you can remember is that you need to take your time and do your research. Just like dating or job interviews, if the fit doesn’t seem right, trust your gut and move on.
Many prospective home buyers rely on friends for referrals of real estate agents they’ve previously worked with. That’s a great start, especially if you’re thinking of moving to the same neighborhood that they bought in. But, remember, every buyer’s journey is a little bit different: this relationship is all about you and your family. You have to evaluate how well you think you and your agent will work together.
Even though many homebuyers do a lot of their house-hunting online these days, open houses are a great way to see real estate agents in action. And in the course of a weekend afternoon, you’ll undoubtedly meet half a dozen or more if you strategically map out the local open houses. Chat them up and try to get a feel for their experience and familiarity with the area you’re considering.
Make sure you get a business card — yes, real estate agents still use business cards — and follow up your open house visit with a phone call to help you qualify him or her even further. If you get a voicemail, consider how long it takes for them to return your call. Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Does the conversation flow smoothly? Is it also informative and insightful? Any agent can be professional and experienced, but it’s all about how you communicate with each other. If you talk about homes with nice backyards and they’re going on and on about a high-rise condo complex, it might not be a match.
2 – Ask intelligent questions
Getting along with your chosen real estate agent is essential, but there’s more to consider before jumping into this relationship fully. An agent’s experience will be invaluable when it comes to two critical parts of any home-buying decision: your time and your money. You might think you’re pretty good at assessing the market value of homes in the area you’re hoping to live in, but trust us, these guys live and breathe this stuff. Their livelihoods are dependent on it – and if they are busy agents, they see many more homes in a week than you will in your entire house hunting journey.
Still, you’ll want to poke the bear a bit to be sure you’re making the right decision. If you’re considering working with a particular real estate agent, ask them the following:
“Overall, how long have you been doing this, and – specifically – how long have you worked in this particular local real estate market?”
“How much experience do you have with homes in my price range? How many of these types of homes have you helped someone buy in the last year?”
“As a first-time homebuyer, I’m new to this. What advice can you give me so that I can make it easier for you to help me?”
Know that you’re not going to click with every realtor you meet. Some may be too busy to give you much time. Out. Some may be cocky. Out. Some may be condescending or disinterested. Out.
You’re looking for someone with whom you can establish a good, strong relationship. This person will be the one you’ll need to rely on during what may end up to be a stressful few months – so take your time and be 100% confident that you’re making the right decision.
3 – Don’t cheat
Remember, this is a relationship. Your chosen real estate agent is going to put time and effort into working with you. If, along the way, you decide the working relationship is not progressing as you think it should, give them a call and let them know. They may be able to rectify the situation quickly. Just don’t ghost and start working with a new agent. Real estate agents are very competitive, but it’s a tight-knit community, and they all know each other. Cheating on one and hooking up with another on the sly is not good form. In the long run, it may not get you the service you need for such a big step in your life.
4 – Get pre-approved ahead of time
Sure, agents like pre-qualified home buyers, but they LOVE buyers who go one step further and get pre-approved.
What’s the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved? A home loan pre-approval puts you in a different category of shopper: it makes you a more desirable, qualified lead and sends a clear signal that you’re ready, willing, and able to take action if they can find you the right home.
Better yet, once you do find a home you want, you’re much closer to closing than you’d be if you had to start the mortgage process from scratch once your offer was accepted. That means there’s less chance of the whole deal falling through, wasting the realtor’s precious time. In the long run, they have their eye on a commission, and they want to work with someone who will see it through. To be prepared, here are some of the things you’ll need to gather before starting that pre-approval application.
Ready to get started?
Keep in mind, good communication is invaluable, and when working with the right realtor, you’ll find a rhythm and a yin to your yang. Where you might have an emotional approach to buying a home (falling in love with something that’s not a great fit), a great real estate agent can be the perfect counterbalance. They’ll remind you of your wishlist, keep you within your budget and timeframe, all while still understanding and respecting your wishes.
And even though homes are selling faster than ever, it might take a long while to find one that’s right for you (and that isn’t swallowed up in a bidding war). You may be spending a lot more time with this person than you thought possible, so make sure there’s a real connection before agreeing to work together.
If you’re in the market, keep these tips in mind as you search for that referral-worthy realtor. And seriously consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Just give one of our loan officers a call, and they’ll help answer any questions about the process. Or, if you’re ready to get started now, you can always apply online!
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Before jumping headfirst into the housing market, a prospective homebuyer will have a general idea of where they want to live, how they want to live and how much home they can afford. And when you start to shop around for a lender and look at mortgage options, you’ll begin to hear the terms pre-approval and pre-qualification.
They sound interchangeable, but they have different meanings when it comes to the home buying process. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between getting pre-qualified and getting pre-approved.
What is pre-qualification?
A pre-qualification is a best guess of what you can most likely afford. Why is it just a guess? Because it’s based on what you verbally tell your lender about your income, and even if you are 100% truthful, it doesn’t show the full picture.
Think of a mortgage pre-qual as a nice ballpark number to have if you’re just casually shopping. Just don’t consider it as a guaranteed amount that you’ll eventually be approved for.
What is pre-approval?
A pre-approval is the real deal as it’s the result of a thorough examination of your credit history and actual financial documentation you provide. The mortgage pre-approval is an underwritten estimate of how much home you can afford and how much debt you can take on.
Pre-approvals are way stronger than pre-qualifications. And once the lender has determined how much they’re willing to loan you, you’ll receive a pre-approval letter indicating the amount. Real estate agents and sellers both prefer working with pre-approved buyers because it shows that you’re committed to buying a home and that you have the backing to make good on any offer you put down (within the pre-approved amount). Not only does a pre-approval save you time, but it’s also a great bargaining chip when you’re buying in a competitive market.
Getting a mortgage pre-approval
Before speaking to a lender about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll want to start collecting some information. The lender will want proof of income, liquid assets and debts. Let’s look at each of these more closely:
Income. More than just your annual pay, income can also include (if you have documentation) freelance income, income from rental properties, alimony, child support, disability payments, retirement benefits and investment returns.
Liquid Assets. These are anything that can be turned into cash pretty quickly, like checking and savings accounts. Since you can cash out stocks, money market funds and other investments fairly quickly, they’re also considered liquid assets.
Debts. Generally, this is how much you owe in recurring debt, like car payments and student loans. Fluctuating debt like credit card bills is not as important, but your lender will want to know how much credit is available to help determine how likely it is that you’ll go deeper into debt.
Start gathering these documents
Besides those big-picture details, your lender — or the underwriter — will ask you for supporting paperwork. Depending on your unique financial situation and your lender’s approach, you may have to provide additional documentation, but we think that the following list is a good jumping-off point for most prospective homebuyers.
Social security number (you don’t need to have the physical card on hand)
W-2 forms for proof of income for the past two years. If you are self-employed, consider documenting income history for the past three years.
1040 federal tax returns for the last two years
Recent pay stubs for the previous two months covering at 30 days YTD income
Government-issued identification, like a copy of driver’s license, US passport or Military ID
Proof of down payment or a “gift letter” if a family member is gifting you some money towards the down payment amount
Bank statements showing checking, savings, money markets and other liquid assets like stocks, IRAs and mutual funds.
Credit history (You’ll have to sign a release form allowing your lender to pull your credit report)
Ready to get pre-approved?
While a pre-qualification may get you thinking about your options, a pre-approval will tell you just how much home you can afford. And you don’t have to choose one or the other: you can get pre-qualified as you start house hunting, and then get pre-approved as you get more serious and want to lock in an interest rate.