How Does Inheritance Income Affect NJ Bankruptcy Rulings?

NJ bankruptcy

When preparing to file for NJ bankruptcy, it is very important to take a full and detailed account of all of your assets. This does not just include current assets, but future assets as well, e.g. any potential inheritances. Knowing how your inheritance income affects bankruptcy filings in New Jersey is important to understanding your rights while filing for bankruptcy.

You may have advanced notice of an inheritance if you are aware of your inclusion as a beneficiary in a will. Otherwise, an inheritance could come as a surprise. You could be included in a will without your prior knowledge or you could receive the inheritance through normal operation of law in the event that there was no will at the time of death. Regardless of how you came to receive the inheritance, it is important to understand if the inheritance income is part of your bankruptcy estate or not so you can make sound financial decisions.

Typically, after bankruptcy is declared, all assets and liabilities become part of the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy estate is then administered by a bankruptcy trustee. There are four ways to file for bankruptcy in NJ, but most bankruptcy claims fall under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Under Chapter 7, the trustee is responsible for determining which assets the debtor can liquidate (sell) to pay their creditors. Under Chapter 13, the debtor is not required to give up personal property in order to pay off debts. Instead, the debtor will be required to make monthly payments that will be split between all of their creditors. How much a debtor pays under the Chapter 13 payment plan will depend on the amount of non-exempt interest in real and personal property.

That being said, there are certain exemptions when it comes to whether or not an inheritance will be included in the bankruptcy estate. Debtors are entitled by law to exempt a certain amount of property from their bankruptcy filing. Under Chapter 7, a debtor is entitled to keep some specified property from being liquidated to pay creditors. Under Chapter 13, a certain amount of the debtors’ assets can be exempt from inclusion in determining a payment plan. There are different exemption amounts depending on the type of asset in question. Congress periodically makes changes to these amounts to account for changes in inflation so it is important to keep up with these changes. While there is no separate exemption for inheritances, debtors can include any inheritance income under their designated “wildcard exemption” (11 U.S.C. §522(d)(5)).

Is your inheritance eligible to be included in your bankruptcy estate?

All assets owned at the time of filing are part of the bankruptcy estate. Pursuant to NJ bankruptcy laws, property of the estate includes “all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case.” The timing of when an inheritance becomes part of a bankruptcy estate is crucial to understand and varies depending on what kind of bankruptcy the debtor is filing.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an inheritance is considered part of the bankruptcy estate if the debtor becomes entitled to the asset within 180 days of the date bankruptcy was filed. This is to include property which the debtor becomes entitled to acquire by inheritance. The 180 days starts the day bankruptcy is filed and ends with the date of death. The time frame in which the debtor receives the inheritance does not matter. The date of death is legally considered the date on which the inheritance enters into the debtor’s possession and therefore enters into the bankruptcy estate. This is to deter preemptive bankruptcy filings where the debtor intends to rush a bankruptcy claim in order to avoid having the inheritance affected.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, any inheritance received after the bankruptcy filing date but before the case is closed or dismissed is considered property of the bankruptcy estate, regardless of the time it takes to close a case. Under Chapter 13, there are specific legal statutes designed to expand what is considered bankruptcy estate property in order to include inheritance that is acquired beyond the 180-day limitation observed under Chapter 7. Any inheritance acquired during the entirety of the bankruptcy case will be subject to the terms of the repayment plan.

It is essential in any bankruptcy case to determine which assets are protected and to acquire adequate pre-filing planning and analysis for your specific bankruptcy case. Whether you need to eliminate your debt in its entirety under Chapter 7 or you need to reorganize your payments to creditors under Chapter 13, the qualified and experienced attorneys at Veitengruber Law are here to help. If you are unsure of your rights, please call us for a consultation.

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Attorney vs. Debt Settlement Services: Which One Protects Your Interests?

NJ credit repair attorney

If you’re one of the millions of Americans facing a large amount of personal debt, you may have been tempted by the numerous ads you’ve seen for debt settlement companies. Debt relief sounds like a miraculous shortcut to a fresh financial start, but is it too good to be true?

In a word? Yes.

Like the deadly Venus fly trap plant, debt relief companies and consolidation services put up a beautiful, welcoming front, but once you’ve given them your trust and access to your finances, they’ll slowly devour you. This article will show you the truth about debt settlement services and outline the reasons a personal attorney will protect YOUR long-term financial wellbeing at every opportunity rather than using your troubling financial circumstances to endanger you even further.

 

First, let’s take a look at the methods debt settlement services will use to lure you in and subsequently destroy you financially.

 

Emotionally Manipulating Advertising

Debt settlement services rely on their aggressive advertisements to attract individuals who have poor financial literacy and are in dire straits regarding their current personal debt. They know that people who are paying attention to their ads are desperate for help and feel like they have no one else to turn to.

Dishonest Sales Pitches

Once they entice you to make contact, they’ll bombard you with an emotional sales pitch that will purposefully attempt to break down any critical thinking you might be using to analyze whether or not their services are a good match for you. Just when you’re at your most vulnerable, they’ll present a sales contract that seems to promise that they will arrange for you to be able to pay off your debt quickly.

Usually, these debt settlement companies will require money upfront. Alternatively, you may be asked to open a new bank account that you will be required to funnel money into. This money is supposed to pay off your debts.

No one in the financial world trusts or respects debt settlement service companies.

These companies are viewed with distain because they are for-profit. While it’s true that everyone needs to make a living, debt settlement services usually aim to siphon as much money from you as they can without actually helping you resolve your debts. This reprehensible approach is known far and wide in the financial world, so unfortunately for their customers, most creditors refuse to work with these scam services.

Worse yet, debt settlement companies won’t tell you about this huge barrier to success until you have already signed their contract. Once you’ve signed up, they have what they need. You will be left with a plan that won’t help you at all. Your creditors won’t have a good working relationship (or any kind of working relationship) with your debt settlement company, so your chances of being able to successfully get out from under your debts is actually worse once you’ve signed up.

We aren’t blaming consumers for getting tangled up with this awful companies.

Debt relief scams like this are highly skilled at spinning half-truths that we fully understand why people get sucked in. They cherry-pick information about their results and research; they might present evidence that their program helps clients at the 3-month mark. What they DON’T say is that their clients will be drowning in interest for years afterward. This unethical practice further demonstrates that debt relief services exist just to take your hard-earned money out of your hand when you need it most.

Your interest rates and credit score will be destroyed.

The first thing these companies will do is tell you not to make your minimum payments. They will instruct you to ignore any overdue notices or letters you will certainly receive. They’ll tell you that it’s all part of the plan, and that they have everything well under control.

While it’s true that after a long, hard-ball fight with your creditors, they MAY give up and reduce or write off your debts, but only at a great cost to your financial reputation. Your creditors will inform the credit bureaus that your debt has been negotiated, which will damage your credit score. A poor credit rating will raise your interest rates when you apply for credit cards, a mortgage, or a car loan. In some career fields, having a damaged credit score can even prevent you from being hired at all!

Creditors will still come after you directly, and debt settlement services can’t stop them.

The debt settlement company version of debt reduction will drag on for such a long time that creditors might decide to pursue legal action against you. Even if you do everything your debt settlement company has directed you to do, your creditor can gain a court order to seize your home, your vehicle, valuable belongings, and even garnish your wages directly.

If this happens, a debt settlement company cannot defend you in court, or help you with any legal proceedings. They aren’t lawyers. They don’t provide access to legal counsel, and they are not on your side.

Hire a consumer debt relief attorney to represent you.

Debt settlement companies, credit counseling and debt consolidation businesses cannot represent you in court when you are sued by creditors, they can’t give you legal advice, and they can’t represent you in court when you have the opportunity to sue creditors and collectors for violating your rights — ONLY lawyers can do so.

Why Should I Avoid Debt Settlement Companies?

Non-attorney companies that offer debt settlement services have a poor reputation in the U.S., particularly with the very creditors with whom you need to negotiate and who may sue you. And the industry is, unfortunately, plagued by scams.

A debt settlement company may commit to contacting your creditors on your behalf, but fail to do so. They may even succeed in having the debt frozen, but actually fail to negotiate the debt to an amount you can afford and then just withdraw money to pay themselves.

Assuming the debt negotiation company does as promised, they will still face many obstacles that affect you. To begin with, a creditor, most of whom are represented by a large team of attorneys, may up their game when they discover you are working with a debt settlement company instead of a law firm. This means the creditor could accelerate their collections process and file a lawsuit against you more quickly.

What makes an attorney different?

An attorney will represent you in court if your debt negotiations escalate. Your attorney will be able to give you accurate information about your legal options, your rights, and the risks you face during litigation.

Your attorney’s entire focus will be protecting YOU. Your attorney only cares about your immediate and long-term financial well-being.

Furthermore, your attorney will guarantee total confidentiality. Every communication with your attorney, their firm, and any member of their staff is protected. Only attorneys are bound by this confidentiality ethos.

Veitengruber Law can help you resolve your debt. Come in and meet with us at zero cost to you. Let us analyze and assess your current financial situation. We’ll give you the truth about whether hiring an attorney is in your best interest. If we aren’t sure that you need us, or if we aren’t sure we can help you, we will tell you up-front.

If we think there’s a high likelihood that we CAN help, then we will begin to protect you immediately. We will do everything we can to prevent your creditors from dragging you into court. We will carefully and skillfully negotiate and document each settlement to stop creditors from suing you.

In the event that you are sued, we will be prepared to ferociously defend your interests in court. You will not be alone at any stage of negotiation, litigation, or settlement.

Give us a call today to set up an appointment. The stress of mounting debt can start to take over your life; before you lose any more sleep or waste another hour fretting, allow us to step in and take action on your behalf. We can turn the tide and start taking back your life one negotiation at a time.

Image: “Broke” by Christian Schnettelker – licensed under CC 2.0

How Owning a Home in NJ Affects Your Net Worth

When it comes to numbers, especially finances, some of us become easily overwhelmed, which is totally normal. There are so many important numbers involved in staying afloat financially. Many of us keep close tabs on our various accounts such as our savings account, checking account, retirement accounts, and investment accounts. Though we attempt to use these accounts to prepare for the future and try our hardest to ensure that we will be financially safe, there is one critical number that defines how successful you will be at building your assets for the future. That is your net worth.

Net worth is probably a term you’ve heard before, but may not fully understand what it means. Your net worth is equal to your total assets minus your total liabilities. Your liabilities are the total amounts of money that you owe to any creditor. They are easier to calculate, as you most likely receive a reminder at the end of each month that lays out the exact amount you owe to creditors. On the other hand, it can be more challenging to accurately calculate your assets. You don’t want to give yourself a dishonest sense of financial security by overestimating your net worth, so always err on the conservative side.

Your house is probably the most valuable asset that’s in your name, so its monetary value will have the most influence on your net worth calculation. To estimate your home’s value, work with an experienced real estate professional. In general, it’s best to be conservative when estimating values of assets such as vehicles, jewelry, home furnishings, etc. Instead of basing figures off of how much you paid for it or how much you wish the valuable was worth, base it off of what you could sell the item for now.

As mentioned before, your house probably holds the most value of anything you own. Therefore, your net worth will be determined by how much equity you have in your home. When you calculate your net worth, you must subtract your liabilities, and that includes your mortgage. For example, if your home is worth $350,000, but you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, then your home will increase your net worth by $250,000 ($350,000 – $100,000 = $250,000).

Unsurprisingly, there is disagreement as to whether or not a home’s value should be included when determining net worth. Those in favor think that since a home is someone’s most valuable asset, it should absolutely be included. Those against argue that if you sold your house in order to actually use the money from the sale, then you may not have somewhere to live. To consider both opinions, many people will create two net worth calculations: one including a home’s value (as an asset and liability if a mortgage still exists) and one without it (continuing to include the liability if there is still a mortgage to be paid).

In New Jersey, depending on where you live, the value of land may be high, low, or somewhere in the middle. Depending on land value and the current market in the area, home prices are going to fluctuate. Remembering what you’ve learned so far, if a house is valued at a higher amount, an individual is going to have an increased net worth. If you purchase a home in a wealthier area, this will add more to your net worth opposed to if you bought a home in a middle or lower class area.

Another thing to take into consideration is a vacation home or rental property. These can actually have a positive influence on your net worth. Condos are usually purchased as vacation homes and are bought with cash. Good news: your net worth will increase by the same amount that the home is valued at, if you paid in cash.

Hopefully, net worth makes a tad more sense now and you know how owning a home will affect it. Since it’s a critical number to consider in the realm of finances, it’s important to know what goes into calculating that number. If you have more questions, or are looking for help with calculating your net worth, reach out to a real estate team near you.

Predicting the Resale Value of a NJ Home

nj real estate

Purchasing a home can be quite a frightening and exhilarating task; there’s so much to think about and consider. It’s definitely necessary to ponder the minute details before purchasing a house, but if you don’t also consider the bigger picture first, you might very well be wasting your time and/or money. A factor that many consider to be of the utmost importance when purchasing a NJ home is that home’s resale value. Unless you plan on staying in that house until you breathe your last breath, you will one day be thinking about selling the very property that you haven’t even bid on yet.

Needless to say, there are countless questions circulating through any buyer’s mind during the house hunting process. One question that may deserve some real thought is what your prospective home may be worth on the real estate market in 10-30 years. Although it may seem impossible to make such a prediction, it actually is possible to make an educated guess.

Obviously, this kind of calculation isn’t an exact science; we can’t predict exactly what will occur in the future. We’re good, but we’re not fortune tellers. There are a variety of factors that influence the value of a home. Some simply cannot be predicted, such as the national economy or the future state of the housing market. On the other hand, remember this key word: location.

“Location, location, location” isn’t just a real estate cliché; it holds actual, substantive, monetary value. For example, as long as people keep having children, a home in a neighborhood will be more popular than an abode along a busy street. From its placement within or outside a neighborhood or whether or not it’s along a busy street, location is everything.

The good news is that if you choose a home with a favorable location, chances are, the location will remain desirable. This will always attract a higher amount of home buyers. Thus, the reverse is also true – if your house sits in an undesirable spot, future sales are more likely to attract less interest. Houses that sit in a wealthier or reputable school district will be wanted more those in poor districts. While we can’t cover every single detail that plays into the location of a property, it is without a doubt the most influential factor in determining the resale value of a home.

Land value also affects the price of a home. Does land typically sell for a high price per square acre in that geographical area? If not, that will lower the resale value of a house.

You might be thinking that those can’t be the only two factors that influence resale values. Good guess – they aren’t! A few weighty indicators of a home with a good resale value include features such as:

·        More than two bedrooms; this is especially true if the home is near a school

·        AT LEAST 2 bathrooms, if not more

·        A designated area for the family to gather (i.e. living room, sitting room)

·        Plenty of storage space and closets in every bedroom

·        Garages are becoming increasingly important to homeowners

·        The oh-so-popular open floor plan

·        An updated and modernized appearance

None of these factors should be too surprising. The term “family gathering place” can simply mean a room where people (family, friends, etc) can spend time together comfortably. Buyers typically look for a room that is spacious and informal. Rooms in a house that can serve dual purposes seem to be more popular these days. Gone are the days of mostly unused formal living rooms and parlors.

All of these factors should be on your mind when buying a home; you want to be making a good investment along with finding the home of your dreams. Come time to sell, your life will be much easier if this a something that you’ve put thought into before making a purchase this important.

5 Tips for Selling Your NJ Home in Summer

nj home

If you’re planning to sell your New Jersey home this summer, the countdown to September’s school season has begun. It’s time to move quickly and get your home staged beautifully so that it appeals to the buyers who missed the busiest buying season in late spring.

Selling a home in the heat of our famous New Jersey summers can be tricky, though, so here are our five most essential tips for ensuring your home sizzles rather than fizzles out.

  1. Get rid of your junk and clutter.

    Unless you’re an unusual American, you’ve got too much stuff. Unfortunately, your stuff devalues your home. The only time people are hoping to find a home that’s cluttered and crammed full of memorabilia and personal effects is when they’re looking for a bargain on a home they can flip. Unless you want to hand people a reason to knock tens of thousands off their offer, your home needs to be carefully decorated with a focus on minimalism and a few pops of coherent color.

    If you need help with this vital step, reach out and hire someone immediately. Even if all you do is store your things until you’ve purchased your new home, you’ll still be doing yourself a huge favor with regard to moving your home quickly, all while earning top dollar for your efforts.

 

  1. Tackle repairs.

    While decluttering and repairing may seem like tips that apply to any home sale (and they are), these steps are even more essential when the competition to buy has dropped off like it has already this summer. With that in mind, give your home a keen inspection, making note of all necessary repairs that an observant buyer might notice.

    Skipping repairs, even for minor issues like wall texture or dripping faucets, will give potential buyers reason to worry that you may not be the most invested in sticking to a prompt maintenance schedule. Any perceived neglect can yield lower offers or even turn off buyers entirely, so don’t delay small repairs just because you have one foot out the door.

 

  1. Crank up the HVAC and the ceiling fans.

    Regardless of your usual preference on energy usage and conservation, this summer just isn’t the time to make that stand. If buyers don’t feel that sweet air conditioning flowing, they’ll suspect it doesn’t even work. The only thing people dislike more than doing the heavy work of moving in the triple-digit New Jersey temps is moving into a home without working air conditioning, so keep your home cool and put their minds at ease.

    Speaking of ceiling fans, keep them pristine and keep them on. Visitors to your home are likely to turn fans on and off, and the second they slow down, dust will be visible on the blades if you haven’t dusted them only a day or two prior!

    If there are main rooms in your home that don’t have ceiling fans, or the master bedroom doesn’t have one, do prospective buyers and yourself a favor by installing some attractive ceiling fans of decent quality. It may seem insignificant, but people make many decisions based on gut instinct; if they feel like a room is stuffy and still, they’ll be turned off even if they can’t quite put their finger on the reason behind their distaste.

 

  1. Spotlight your outdoor spaces.

    Perhaps more than ever in our culture’s memory, the American yard is an extension of the home’s living space, and never is that more important than during the summertime. Water your yard thoroughly a few times a week during the cool of the morning or late in the evening, weed carefully, and power wash the patio. Make sure any outdoor furniture is sparkling clean. If you don’t have an attractive set of outdoor furniture, prioritize buying one, and consider a matching fire pit.

    Add vibrant pops of color with potted, blooming plants if your yard is all shades of green, but make sure any potted plants you do have are in tip-top shape. Again, anything that smacks of neglect or disinterest will be a red flag for buyers.

 

  1. Add value with lighting.

    Clearly, lighting your home’s interior is just as important during the summer as it is at any other time, so keep your lighting sparkling clean, stylish, and TURNED ON. Outdoor spaces should likewise be lit carefully and adequately because dim or dark spaces in the yard will disappear completely once the sun has set. Make sure your home’s warm, welcoming lighting helps buyers see themselves feeling comfortable and safe once they’ve purchased it.

BONUS TIP: Serve up refreshments.

Okay, this isn’t an official must-do, but we have to say, serving ice-cold lemonade, iced tea, or cucumber-mint water to parched guests is going to go a long way towards them feeling like lingering just a bit longer. Furthermore, any kind of positive association with your beautiful home just gives buyers one more reason to think well of their experience with you once they’ve said goodbye. Since you’ll be interacting with the buyer extensively throughout the sale process, the more you show your kindness and hospitality, the more they’re likely to look forward to working with you.

One caveat on this point: do not under any circumstances hover as people tour your home. Offer refreshments, make yourself available for questions, then stay well out of their way. They want to see this as potentially their own home, so they don’t need a constant reminder that it currently belongs to someone else.

5 Signs a Prospective Home May be “The One”

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If you’re not new to the home search game, you’ve likely developed a nose to help you quickly determine if a property has what it takes to be worthy of making an offer . On the other hand, if you’re just dipping your toes into the home-buying pool, you may be asking, “How will I know when I’ve found the right one?”

Keep reading, and we’ll provide a few tips.

1.      You get  “butterflies.”

If you’ve fallen in love, you know what it feels like to get the flutters when you see your beloved. Believe it or not, it’s the same with a house. When you walk in, within the first 5 seconds, you’ll get the warm, comfortable feeling  Or not. If not, well then it may not be the best house for you. Some houses could unleash adult butterflies, while other may only release small butterflies. When you go through the house, does it speak to you? Do you feel like it’s beckoning you to stay? Does it feel…right? Well, then it’s quite possibly, the one.

2.      There are minimal deal breakers.

It’s important that your future abode meets your basic needs such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, etc. When searching for a home, you’ll have to give and take a bit. No house will be absolutely perfect, but you want to check off as many bullets as possible on your checklist. You may be a stickler for certain things such as a decently-sized kitchen or a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. A few of these are fine, but too many will make house-hunting much more difficult. Another thought to keep in mind is: if a house is missing something that you strongly desire, can you add it in or build it yourself without spending a huge sum of money? Being flexible with deal makers or deal breakers is a quality you’ll want to develop.

3.      You envision the possibilities.

Are you already sorting through your head, imagining the best color for the bathroom? If you take a step into the master bedroom and can already picture the layout, this may be the house for you. Even better, if you envision the hand-picked Christmas tree in that specific window, you’re probably hooked. Maybe you’re not only able to see the potential layouts, but you can also imagine the colors of each room. Instead of the kids’ room being a pale purple, you can see it being painted a deep blue. If you already know the name of the paint color you want, well, this may be a sign that you should make an offer. On the other hand, if you like many different aspects of the house, but you can’t truly see yourself living in it, maybe rethink your decision.

4.      You can afford the house.

Obviously, you would think this would be the most important factor. The importance of finances is going to be different for everyone. Some people will be willing to spend a little more to get more bullets on their checklist crossed off. Others will need to stay exactly within their financial limits. This is likely to be the most expensive item you’ll buy in your lifetime, so you want to make sure your money is being spent well and intelligently.

5.      You become possessive.

Perhaps your real estate agent picks out a small flaw in the house and you immediately become angry at her for saying something negative about the property. Warning: this may be a sign that you’ve fallen in love and are becoming possessive! If you defend every flaw you see and can’t wait to tell all of your friends and family about this new discovery…do I have to say more? Moreover, all other homes that you’ve looked at fall to the very bottom of your list. Would you feel like a traitor to this house if you continued walking through other homes? There you have it – this is the one.

Have you thought about sleeping on this mountainous decision that stands in front of you? That might not be the best option, especially if your instincts are telling you to go with this house. Normally, your instincts don’t misdirect you. The problem with sleeping on it is that while you’re counting sheep, someone else might put down an offer and you will have lost your chance. Unfortunately, you’re not the only home buyer out there searching for the perfect house. In fact, someone might be looking for similar dimensions and style in a property. You don’t want your agent to be telling you that someone else knocked you out of the race. When you know you’ve found the one, don’t let it slip away.

The 5 Hottest New Jersey Real Estate Markets in 2018

New Jersey real estate

A view of the footbridge over the lake in Asbury Park, NJ

The New Jersey real estate market still hasn’t reached the heights we saw during the pre-recession housing bubble. That doesn’t mean that the housing market is suffering, though; in fact, there are definitely markets where home values have been rising rapidly over the past year.

This is a list of some of the hottest NJ real estate markets where the average homebuyer still has a great shot at securing a home that fits their budget. That means that we aren’t going to include areas where buyers are routinely outbid by wealthier competitors (we’re looking at you, Hoboken and Montclair).

The towns we are focusing on are desirable areas with specific charms that will make you proud to call them home. Prices in these areas are on the rise across the board, so if you’re looking to purchase a home – don’t wait – this summer and fall are the best times to take the plunge.

 

#5. Asbury Park, Monmouth County

Median home price: $324,500

This booming region remains a bargain despite its beautiful coastal location, so if you want to settle in where things are almost certainly going to continue heating up, this gem might be just the place. With art galleries, museums, water parks, beachfront shopping and dining, and award-winning public schools, Asbury Park will appeal to a wide range of tastes. The city-driven revitalization efforts of the past several years are paying off in terms of development and real estate, so this is a prime time to join the warm and welcoming community of Asbury Park.

 

#4. Mountainside, Union County

Median home price: $595,000

Mountainside is a secluded, beautiful town spread over four square miles. Buyers who desire a location somewhat removed from urban sprawl will want to take note of Mountainside’s status as a retail relief zone as well as its shared border with the nearly 2,000-acre Wachtung Reservation, the largest in Union County.

Mountainside doesn’t have a train station, however, so unless you work locally or from home, this area may not be a good fit. However, Mountainside is in the top 5% in the country for individuals who work in the technological fields, notably computer science and mathematics.

 

#3. New Providence, Union County

Median home price: $586,250

New Providence is a commuter’s dream. With two train stations and a burgeoning downtown area, this 3.56-mile borough is attracting more people now than ever. Once a sleepy town where almost exclusively banks and salons operated, New Providence now has all the hallmarks of a bustling area, notably chains like Chipotle and of course, Starbucks. Buyers are competing to snag homes in Murray Hill, West Summit, and Tall Oaks to avoid the still more expensive real estate markets in Chatham and Summit.

 

#2. Oradell, Bergen County

Median home price: $572,125

Oradell’s shady streets, easily walkable downtown, and small-town feel have been drawing in a large number of homebuyers over the past few years. Located an hour’s bus or train ride from Manhattan, this charming town offers prospective buyers the choice between renovated Victorians, sprawling ranch homes, stately colonials, or more modern architecture. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or a home in which to invest a fortune, you’re likely to see something you love in Oradell.

 

#1. Jersey City, Hudson County

Median home price: $458,800

Jersey City’s Manhattan views and rapidly increasing home prices are probably equally famous at this juncture. Jersey City’s median home prices jumped nearly a quarter in 2017, finally reaching the number #1 housing market slot earlier this year after holding strong at #2 for multiple quarters. Jersey City’s rich history, cultural diversity, and strong public transportation are highly appealing to buyers looking for a home in an urban location.

Are you looking to purchase NJ real estate in the near future? The towns we included here are obviously just the shortlist; there are many other really awesome towns in The Garden State that look promising for potential homebuyers on either end of the budgeting scale.

Tips for Buying NJ Real Estate During the Competitive Summer Season

NJ real estateIt’s no secret that the NJ real estate market belongs to sellers these days. Homes don’t stay on the market long—one to two weeks in New Jersey, if you get lucky, and some are gone within a single day in the more desirable neighborhoods. If you’re preparing to buy a home during the popular and highly competitive summer season, you’ll have very little time to identify the home you want, submit your offer, and defeat all competing bids.

As daunting as the prospect might seem, there are compelling reasons to take the plunge as soon as you’re financially prepared to do so. With rents climbing relentlessly all over the country (not to mention throughout New Jersey) and mortgage rates showing no signs of reversing their matching upward trend, there’s little to gain financially by continuing to rent.

Although the inventory available for the number of prospective home buyers is not ideal, spring and summer are the busiest times of the year for home sales in NJ. Unless you want to move in the rain or the snow, it’s time to gear up to get out there and find the right home for you.


With inventory throughout the state being as scarce as it is, you may need to be willing to be flexible regarding the superficial aesthetics of a home.


When you imagine your dream home, it probably has all the latest upgrades, a certain type of kitchen layout, and glistening hardwood floors. Realistically, you will probably find that you can be fully happy with a home that needs a few upgrades over the next handful of years, gradually transforming it into the perfect reflection of your tastes.

We understand that enduring home renovations isn’t for everyone, but if you find a home in the style you like in the neighborhood you desire that only needs a few tweaks, you should seriously consider moving quickly and locking down the property in that area while you can.

Once you’ve found the home, of course, it’s time for the nerve-wracking process of winning out over the competition. Here are our best tips for ensuring that your offer is the one that stands out from the pack.

  1. Get preapproved before you start shopping.

You know your credit score, you’re sure your healthy income is entirely stable, and you know you have a very manageable level of debt compared to said income. However, the home’s current owner doesn’t have any of that information unless you show up with paperwork proving that you’ve been preapproved for the appropriate amount by a mortgage lender.

This act alone will make your offer more enticing to a buyer, clearly. Although you’d think buyers would realize they should have an offer to substantiate their bid, many prospective buyers still begin touring available homes without any kind of approval letter.

Submitting an offer accompanied by a preapproval is the only way to demonstrate that you’re a truly serious buyer, prepared to move quickly and decisively.

  1. Show up to see a home with a blank contract.

If you find the one, you’ll have no time to lose in placing a bid. Even an hour could make a difference between snagging a great home or missing your chance.

  1. Don’t submit an offer with a contingency contract.

Otherwise, your offer is going to get shuffled to the bottom of a thick stack of stronger offers. Try not to have any hint of hesitance or uncertainty. If you want a home, go for it as clearly and cleanly as you possibly can. If you aren’t sure, move along swiftly so you don’t miss out on the home that’s right for you.

  1. Arrive with the biggest down payment you can.

Average down payments have continued to rise, following trends that have become more entrenched over the last four years. Sellers are more likely to be attracted to larger down payments, often linking such offers to financial stability and a smooth transaction. While gathering funds for a strong down payment might be a pinch in the short-term, the payoff is likely going to be worth it.

  1. Don’t bid below asking.

It goes without saying that there are times when a home is priced far above what it’s really worth, and your real estate agent will advise you in such cases. However, in any of the hot New Jersey markets, you’ll need to stay within 5 – 10% of the asking price. Your agent is probably going to advise you to make a strong, bold offer for the home you’re sure you want.

Summer is the Perfect Time to Buy Real Estate in New Jersey

real estate in new jersey

Have you recently taken a critical look at your current home and decided that it may be time to move? Maybe you or your spouse received a promotion or were asked to move locations for a job. Either way, are you thinking of buying a piece of land or a new home for you and your family? Many people want to know the best time of year to purchase real estate in New Jersey. We don’t have the perfect answer for you; there are so many variables that play into buying property. Fortunately, there are always homes up for sale, so it’s always best to wait until you find what you’re looking for, within the time span that you’re given.

We can tell you that if you’re looking for more options to look at and walk through, the best time is going to be spring and summer. Not many people enjoy checking out a future home in the bone-chilling cold. The thought is that once winter ends, people are itching to leave their old homes and find a new one. Here’s another thought: the early bird gets the worm. It’s best to start looking when there is still a slight chill in the air, and as it gets warmer and warmer, you’ll be seeing more and more homes go on the market.

real estate in new jersey


These days, technology can be your best friend when searching for real estate.


Hop online and you’ll find countless possibilities just by clicking on one real estate company’s website. We’ve found that online real estate searches peak in July in the state of New Jersey. People may have a little more time on their hands with no kids in school and not having to run in every direction for activities each evening. Watch out, though, because prospective home buyers are out in full force come summer months, so you’ll have competition!

Because of the added competition of additional potential home buyers, you run the risk of having any offer that you make being topped by other home buyers or simply just getting lost in the home-buying frenzy. Get out there early, take the appropriate and necessary time to find what you’re looking for, and make an offer.

If you’re planning on pulling a double act, that is, selling and buying a new home, take advantage of the summer months. Since there are more homes on the market, it’s easier to do both the selling and buying in a shorter time frame. For people that definitely need to sell their current house before buying a new one, there will be more prospective buyers during the golden season. We don’t want you to get cornered into having two mortgages, so plan intelligently!real estate in new jerseyUltimately, though we suggest summer as the best time to buy real estate, it also depends on the buyer. One person’s needs are going to differ from another person’s, which will affect when someone can handle the added burden of house shopping. For example, financial statuses are one of the biggest factors in determining the best time to buy. It’s crucial that you ensure that you have enough money to effectively traverse the home-buying process. Another important factor to consider is your personal schedule. If you can’t take off work during the summer, wait until there is a lull to pursue real estate shopping. If, however, you decide that you want your kids to be part of this process, there’s no question that summer break is the best time to shop.

Summer is smack dab in the middle of the most popular months to sell real estate. Don’t sweat it though, find a professional that will guide you along. Before you know it, you’ll be stepping into your new home and letting out a satisfied sigh of relief.

How Will Rising Interest Rates Affect the New Jersey Real Estate Market?

New Jersey real estate

Over the past ten years, real estate prices have fallen in New Jersey. That trend is slowly changing. In most areas of New Jersey, the home values have not reached the 2005-era peaks. While it is feared that current federal tax reforms will have a negative impact on home values in New Jersey, there are many scholars, such as Monmouth’s Professor Peter Reinhart, who claim that the positive impacts will outweigh the negative outcomes.

The current Congressional tax reform will have a major impact on the housing market in New Jersey. For instance, state and local taxes (SALT) will involve a new $10,000 tax cap on deductions. This is much less of a price for taxpayers, because, in 2015, New Jersey citizens paid $17,850. The deduction cap on interest on new home mortgages decreased from $1,000,000 to $750,000 of principal. This also involved elimination of interest deduction for home equity mortgages. Homeowners who have existing mortgages can still deduct interest.

There are several negative impacts on the New Jersey housing market that are due to rising interest rates. Existing homeowners with a mortgage over $750,000 and lower than $1,000,000 will probably not decide to relocate if a larger mortgage would be required by moving to a new home. This would mean that the low inventory of availability of homes for sale would stay low. Thus, there would be a diminished ability for those in the market to buy a home to receive tax benefits of property tax and interest deductions. This would result in more of the buying market to rent, versus purchase a home, and existing homeowners who would typically upgrade to a larger home would not be able to afford to do so. With a decreased number of home buyers starting out in the market, in conjunction with a decreased number of homes for sale, less overall transactions will likely occur.

New Jersey lawmakers can implement certain policies that would help offset any potentially negative effects of the recently imposed tax laws. The New Jersey governor and legislature could possibly eliminate the $10,000 cap on local property tax deduction, which would offer a reprieve to those who pay more than that on their property taxes. There is a controversial approach which involves viewing the overall New Jersey tax structure as a whole, and relates to shifting away from income and property taxes and implementing business or sales taxes that are not already deductible to ‘individual homeowners.’ Some other available alternatives to decrease the burden on homeowners include municipal consolidation, cost cutting, and cost sharing. This would increase property tax revenues in the United States.

There are some positive outcomes from the tax reforms related to housing and the rising interest rates. One example of a positive outcome involves the increase in demand for the rental market. Another example involves the upgrades and improvements landlords will do to already existing apartment communities, given the increase in demand for available rental properties. Furthermore, a lower tax rate for pass-through entities and corporations would potentially lead to greater profits which could be reinvested in housing.  Companies which purchased detached, single-family homes to utilize as rental properties after the recession might experience an increase in demand as there is a decrease in the benefits of home ownership.