Isolina Fernandez-Kirchner

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When home buyers think about down payment assistance, it’s usually grants and short-term loans that come to mind.

But there is another form of down payment assistance available for home buyers in New Jersey, and it comes from a source closer to home. We’re talking about down payment gifts from family members, close friends, and other approved sources. This is one way to remove some of the financial hurdles associated with a home purchase.

Here’s what you should know about getting down payment assistance in New Jersey from parents, family members, or other donors.

The Bank of Mom and Dad?

A lot of the mortgage programs available in New Jersey today allow for down payment gift money to be provided by a third party. This is where the home buyer obtains money from a family member (or some other approved source) to cover some or all of the down payment expense. It’s a great way to reduce your upfront, out-of-pocket costs when buying a home in New Jersey.

There are several different loan programs that allow this kind of down payment assistance in New Jersey. Both FHA and conventional mortgage loans allow gift money contributions from third parties, though the rules and requirements can vary.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions regarding down payment requirements in New Jersey. For example, a survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® found that many people think they have to put down at least 20% when buying a ...

Could writing a heartfelt letter to the seller give you an added advantage during a real estate bidding war? A new report suggests that New Jersey home buyers can benefit from this “above-and-beyond” strategy.

Bidding wars have become a common occurrence in real estate markets across New Jersey. This is particularly true for hot markets located within the New York City metro area. Buyers priced out of the city are now looking at surrounding towns and suburbs. This increases competition for New Jersey home buyers and often leads to bidding wars.

Writing a Letter to Win a Bidding War?

In a competitive real estate market, buyers need every advantage they can find to land their dream home. One way to give yourself a leg up over the competition is to write a heartfelt letter to the seller, telling them (A) who you are and (B) why you want to buy their home.

Real estate agents in New Jersey and across the nation have long touted the benefits of writing a letter to a seller, in order to win a bidding war. And now they have some data to back up that claim. According to a new report by the national real estate brokerage Redfin, home buyers who write a letter to the seller can increase their chance for success by 52.2%.

To uncover these findings, Redfin examined roughly 14,000 purchase offers from home buyers that were made during 2016 and 2017. Specifically, they looked at real estate offers that involved competition bids ...

What Things Are Needed When Buying A Home

Jan 22
Category | Blog

“What kinds of things do I need to buy a house in New Jersey?”

This is a common question among home buyers, and the answer can vary depending on whether or not you’re using a mortgage loan. Most home buyers in the state do use mortgage loans to help finance their purchases. So that’s the angle we will take when addressing this question.

Here are some of the things that might be needed when buying a house in New Jersey, using a mortgage loan.

1. You (might) need a down payment when buying a house in NJ.

Unless you use a mortgage program that offers 100% financing, such as the VA program for military personnel, you will probably need a down payment of some kind when buying a home in New Jersey.

Which leads to the next question: How much will you have to put down when purchasing a house?

The minimum required investment can vary from one mortgage loan program to the next. For example, conventional loans (that are not insured by the government) allow for down payments as low as 3% in some cases. The FHA program requires borrowers to put down 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value. The VA loan program offers 100% financing, which eliminates the need for a down payment.

So that’s one of the first things you might need to buy a house in New Jersey — an upfront investment. Also keep in mind that your down payment funds could be provided by a third-party, such as ...

FHA loans are a popular mortgage option among home buyers in New Jersey, particularly for first-time buyers with limited down-payment funds. So we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions (and answers) for those who are thinking of using a New Jersey FHA loan in 2018.

What Is an FHA Loan?

An FHA-insured mortgage loan is different from a “regular” conventional home loan because it receives insurance backing from the federal government. The Federal Housing Administration (part of HUD) insures mortgage lenders against losses that can result from borrower default, or failure to repay.

This is what makes NJ FHA loans unique from other mortgage programs. As a result of the government backing, this mortgage program offers flexible qualification criteria for borrowers.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

Anyone who meets the basic eligibility requirements can use a New Jersey FHA loan to buy a home in 2018. There is a common misconception that this program is limited to first-time buyers. But that’s not true. First-time and repeat buyers can use this program, as long as they meet the minimum criteria.

  • NJ FHA loans require borrowers to make a minimum investment of 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value. That’s the smallest down payment you can make when using an FHA loan to buy a house in New Jersey.
  • Borrowers who wish to take advantage of this relatively low down ...

New Jersey homeowners with home equity loans will no longer be able to deduct from their taxes the interest paid on those loans, according to new legislation. This is the result of the sweeping tax law signed by President Trump in December.

Here’s what you need to know about these tax-code changes 2018, as they apply to home equity loans in New Jersey.

Home Equity Loan Tax Deductions Eliminated

In the past, most homeowners with home equity loans were able to deduct the interest paid on those loans, up to $100,000 in most cases (or $50,000 for married couples filing separately). With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, however, that deduction is going away.

These changes apply to home equity loans taken out in 2018 and onward, as well as those that were taken out in the past. In other words, the old deduction will not be grandfathered.

Despite these changes, home equity loans can be still a useful financing tool for some homeowners. It’s one of the cheaper ways to borrow money. That’s because the average rates assigned to these loans are typically much lower than credit card rates and other forms of financing. The new law just means that the interest paid on a home equity loan in New Jersey is no longer deductible, staring in 2018.

Still, that’s enough to get the attention of many homeowners. New Jersey is an expensive state in which to live, so homeowners have long cherished these and other deductions as a way to lower ...

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