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.



How Environmental Issues Affect NJ Real Estate Transactions

nj real estate

When you think of NJ real estate, or buying or selling a property, your first thought probably doesn’t connect to the environment. We don’t realize it, but environmental issues play a role in almost every real estate transaction, whether in the internal or external surroundings of a building or property. In some situations, it may be the building itself that is affecting the environment, and in other cases, the environment can have an impact on the building or its inhabitants. When assessing the value of a property, environmental issues play a large role, especially because home buyers naturally want to be assured that they will be able to maintain a high-quality of life.

In general, the biggest issue with environmental problems isn’t fixing them; it’s identifying them. An absence of spotting and handling these issues can result in accruing unknown, substantial liabilities for all parties involved in a real estate transaction. Failure to pinpoint environmental problems could not only lead to financial and legal difficulties, but also health complications for any exposed individuals. Essentially, the impact of environmental factors on the real estate market is more sizable than you may think.

Since most people desire an aesthetic view, the appeal of a property’s scenery is essential. Not only does the scenery determine the aesthetic value, but it’s also an ample factor in formulating the price of the property. In addition to the role that a property’s scenic features contribute to the price, so do the presence of spatial features. These include greenery, forests, water sources, and the layout of the features, all which influence the property value and buyer’s attitudes.

Another environmental factor that can affect any real estate transaction is land contamination. Obviously, contaminated land is a real concern for any potential home buyer. No one wants the land of their property contaminated with trash, dirty water, or other varieties of pollution. This contamination may be caused by negligence of past or present owners’ or may stem from on-site or off-site activities. It’s crucial to locate the source of the contamination because that will determine liability. Once the source has been identified, responsibility can be apportioned and potential risk can be defined. In the case of drinking water supply wells on or near the property, liability, risk, and responsibility can become even more complicated.

A home issue that you’re probably more familiar with is mold contamination. Moisture is mold’s best friend, so you can probably conclude that mold thrives in moist and inadequately ventilated areas. Buildings that are poorly constructed tend to propagate mold within their walls and air circulation systems. The most common breeding ground for mold is in the walls of a structure. There’s no doubt that mold is toxic to the human body, but it also weakens a building’s structure. Mold contamination is one of the major causes for substantial liability claims, especially if an individual’s health is affected. It’s crucial that landlords and homeowners take care of mold issues before they worsen. Homeowners, whether selling or new owners, should research possible insurance coverage for these liabilities.

If you’re a daily TV-watcher, you’ve probably seen a commercial about asbestos. Most commonly used as an insulator in boiler rooms and pipes, roofing, and flooring, asbestos typically appears in older residential properties. That’s not to say that a new home can’t have the same issue. It also tends to be a problem in industrial and commercial properties. Unfortunately, asbestos can cause a variety of health complications, and you may not be aware that asbestos is even in your home or building. The cost to eliminate asbestos is substantial, so it’s key to identify the issue right away.

No questions asked, any of these problems listed above will affect the real estate value of any property. It not only influences the price, but also the desire of potential owners to purchase the property, especially if the new owner is going to have to deal with the problem. The key to handling any of these issues is early identification. In most real estate transactions, some sort of environmental assessment will take place. If one isn’t scheduled for your upcoming NJ real estate purchase, make sure one is completed. Addressing the issues can take a bit of work, but obtaining dependable information about the property and efficiently managing the problems are absolutely essential to your health and happiness in your new home.


Top 10 NJ Real Estate Questions: Answered

nj real estate

  1. Do we need a home inspection if the home we’re buying is new?

Home inspections are of the utmost importance. Without one, it’s impossible to know if a house is in excellent condition, even if it was built recently. Because there are many expenses throughout the process of purchasing a home, it’s understandable that it’s tempting to skip hiring a home inspector. Resist this impulse, though; investing in a home inspection is not something you’ll regret.

If you want a detailed tour of the inner workings of your prospective home, accompany the inspector on the inspection. Either film the process or keep copious notes throughout; something that seems perfectly clear now might be entirely foreign to you in ten years when you next need to access the information.

  1. Why do I need to hire a New Jersey real estate attorney?

In New Jersey, your real estate lawyer is tasked with handling the contract. Your attorney will be accompanying you at each stage of the transaction: scheduling meetings, overseeing the home inspection, answering your questions, and most importantly, protecting YOU. Your real estate attorney will do everything possible to protect your interests.

A real estate attorney will handle the enormous amount of paperwork that must be completed when you’re buying or selling a home. This paperwork is dense and packed with legal and real estate jargon. Your attorney will be able to walk you through this paperwork clearly and concisely; these explanations are intended to help ensure that the deal you’re making is beneficial to your long-term financial health.

  1. What will my closing costs be?

Despite their name, closing costs are really payments toward your taxes and mortgage interest. After closing, you’ll have two months before your first mortgage payment is due.

Unlike making a rent payment, your mortgage payments will always be for the month that’s just passed. If your monthly mortgage payments are going to be large, that will be roughly equal to what you’ll need to put down at closing.

Your yearly taxes will be divided into twelve equal parts and are due along with your monthly mortgage payments.

  1. If I’m buying a home, am I required to get a survey?

Absolutely not; in fact, if your lender doesn’t absolutely insist that you get a survey, you can skip it. They’re unnecessary and quite costly. If you are in fact able to avoid getting a survey, you’ll be able to save up to $1,000.00.

  1. Should I be worried if I was only able to secure a conditional commitment on my home loan?

This really depends on your situation. Because a conditional commitment means that your lender will only offer you a loan if certain conditions are met, problems can often crop up if those conditions aren’t met on schedule. When this happens, escrow can drag on, and a transaction can fall through. Your real estate attorney will be able to look at the terms of your conditional commitment and help you stay on target.

  1. If I got a firm commitment, am I guaranteed that my loan is secure?

A firm commitment sounds like a sure thing, but even though a lender has promised to offer you some amount of debt, there are still specific terms involved on your end. You will need to fund the loan before the end date, or your loan will expire and you will likely have to pay a cancellation fee. If you want to pursue the loan again, you will need to re-apply. Your new loan won’t have the same terms, however; the interest rate will almost certainly be different.

  1. Do I need home insurance?

YES. Home insurance is essential, and it is always a bargain. It will protect your interests in a myriad of ways, ranging from fire damage to personal injury liability should someone be injured while on your property.

Although replacement value home insurance is slightly more expensive, it’s well worth the extra cost. In order to secure a mortgage, you’ll be required to name the lender as insured on this policy. Your insurance agent will be able to add the lender’s name for you. Should there be any damage to your home that impacts the lender, your insurance will compensate them on your behalf.

  1. What happens at closing?

This is a meeting between your realtor, you, and possibly the seller’s realtor. You will be signing the closing paperwork, after which the deed will be yours.

The seller may or may not be at the closing. Often the seller has already taken the time to sign the closing paperwork. The seller’s attorney may also have power of attorney, in which case the attorney can sign paperwork.

The seller often decides not to attend the closing meeting. Tensions can be high between the buyer and the seller as a result of complications that have cropped up throughout negotiations.

  1. Will my attorney be present at the closing meeting?

Your NJ real estate attorney will be at your side helping you during the closing meeting. Having your attorney with you will serve the dual purpose of steadying your nerves and making sure that the deed and the mortgage are executed properly.

  1. How does the appraisal process impact the transaction?

The appraisal considers a number of factors to determine whether or not the home you’re trying to purchase is worth the price you’ve said you are willing to pay. This secures the lender’s confidence that you’re not going to borrow more than the home is actually worth.

If the home is appraised at or above the price you’ve agreed to pay, closing can proceed as planned. If not, another round of negotiations must begin.

Top 5 New Jersey Bankruptcy Myths, Busted

New Jersey bankruptcy

Do you find yourself questioning the truth of the latest snippets of gossip you hear on the news? You’re not the only one, especially since many bits of information we hear travel through a variety of sources before reaching us. There’s no doubt that you hear and read financial updates or facts on the news, radio, newspaper, online, etc. How do you know what to believe?

The news media is always informing the public about foreclosure, bankruptcy, real estate matters, and many other points that can be relevant to the average person. The word “bankrupt” is becoming more common in our vocabulary today, but the bottom line is that there are numerous myths about bankruptcy. Whether or not you have faced bankruptcy in your personal life or you know someone that has, debunking these myths could be useful for you; you never know when they might come in handy.

Myth #1: Every possession will be taken away from you.

Fact: Good news: every state has laws to protect you, though they do vary from state to state. The laws that we’re talking about are called exemptions, which protect your home, family heirlooms, car, and retirement savings. It’s possible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which involves a repayment plan, in the case that you have more equity in your home than what is protected by the exemptions. Because of these laws, the debtor is entitled to retain most of his property, furniture, a decent amount of jewelry, and some money. You won’t lose all of your possessions if you file for bankruptcy.

Myth #2: Filing for bankruptcy will damage your credit for at least 10 years.

Fact: This is completely false. It’s important to distinguish that having bankruptcy on your credit report for 10 years doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have a totally negative effect. Not all things reported on your credit report are considered bad. Interestingly enough, our clients’ credit scores usually increase after filing for bankruptcy. Normally, a person will be able to re-establish their credit score within two to four years after filing. If this is not happening for you, you may be working with the wrong debt resolution specialist!

Myth #3: You can decide to list only the debt you want to eliminate when filing for bankruptcy.

Fact: Actually all debts must be included. It’s not your choice to dismiss a creditor just because you plan on continuing to pay their bill. You are able to make voluntary payments to family or medical service providers if you choose. Once your case has been dismissed, you can continue to pay off your debts.

Myth #4: Everyone will know that you filed for bankruptcy.

Fact: Yes, bankruptcy is a public record, and anyone could search your history, but the amount of filings each month is so large. Most likely, no one is going to find out that you’ve filed for bankruptcy. Obviously, celebrity bankruptcy filings are big news; we always see them in the media. Let’s think back, though: when is the last time you researched who filed for bankruptcy in your neighborhood?

Myth #5: Being married means both you and your spouse will have to file.

Fact: If both the husband and wife are in debt, then yes, it would be smart for both of them to file. There is no legal mandate that both spouses have to file. If you don’t have any joint debt, then there is no need for your spouse to file either. On the other hand, if both spouses need to file, they should do it jointly to avoid paying two fees.

If you have questions that haven’t been answered herein, please call us so we can help you further understand the NJ bankruptcy process.

How to Start Investing in NJ Real Estate

NJ real estate

You do not have to have a six figure salary to start investing in real estate. On the contrary, it is possible to get your start investing in NJ real estate with very little start-up money. Even college students are taking an interest in owning properties. Real estate investment has the potential for higher returns than other investments with an average annual return rate of 11.42% compared to 10.31% with the S&P500. With real estate investments, you have control over your assets: your knowledge and hard work directly affects the value of your assets. Real estate investment is a great way to grow your assets no matter where you are starting from.

While you don’t have to be well-off to get your start in real estate investing, you do have to have a well thought-out and realistic financial plan—and stick to it! Part of this plan means understanding the commitment you are making. Real estate investment is not a “get rich quick” scheme. This is a business investment and it will take time, money, energy, and a lot of work to see a return on your investment. Create a business plan before you start. The plan should include how many properties you wish to buy, the time frame for these investments, and the cost of these investments.

In order to make a sound business plan for your real estate investments, you will need to educate yourself. Before you spend time and money on an expensive class, do some research online. There are a plethora of free online guides, podcasts, blogs, and articles designed to provide essential information to those breaking into the world of real estate investment.

Another way to educate yourself is to talk to those in the know. Make connections with the people that are already successfully doing what you want to do. You can find these people locally or online through different real estate forums. These experts can give you invaluable first-hand knowledge of the industry and help you make other connections with vendors, contractors, and other businesses in your area. All of this knowledge will help you find your niche in the market.

The two biggest things you need to know are types of property and location of property. You also have to know how much of a financial investment will be required, as well as the time investment that different types of properties will require. Additionally, the ability to evaluate a locality or neighborhood and make an informed assessment of its potential value is an invaluable skill in this arena. An important thing to remember when making these assessments is to buy where the numbers work out—which means understanding your financial limits and sticking to your business plan.

It is imperative to remember that, like with any business, there are risks. Expect challenges and set-backs because every property comes with its own set of problems. Real estate investment is a business of constant learning and adapting to new and ever-changing variables, which is what makes it such an exciting investment.

The most important thing you can do is get started! Even the most well laid plans will go nowhere if you never act. Do the research, make your plan, and take the first step towards building your financial future.

NJ Short Sales: Explained

NJ short sale

Changes in the economy and instability in the housing market have presented major challenges to homeowners in New Jersey. Homeowners may find they owe more on their house than what it is worth on the market. Sometimes, it only takes one unexpected life event (divorce, illness, disability, job loss, etc.) for homeowners to find they cannot afford their mortgage payments anymore. Making the decision to leave a home is never easy, but the attorneys here at Veitengruber Law are experienced in offering compassionate, competent counsel to achieve a favorable outcome for our clients. As a debt solutions agency, our team is skilled in NJ real-estate transactions and short sale negotiations.

In a short sale, a property is sold for less than the balance owed to the lender. The lender agrees to basically give a financially burdened mortgager a discount on the balance of a mortgage. Short sales tend to be less harmful to credit ratings and comparably quicker than a foreclosure. That being said, the short sale process is certainly not “short” and there is no established legal limit on how long the process should take. There is a plethora of paperwork and fine details to work out in a short sale and the process can take months, or even years. The attorneys at Veitengruber Law have invaluable knowledge and experience navigating the complexities of any short sale to give our clients peace of mind during this process.

The first step in a short sale is to contact a realtor to perform an assessment on your home’s fair market value. Veitengruber Law has strong relationships with area real estate agents experienced in short sale negotiations. After the home has been assessed, the next step is to list the house for significantly less (where the term “short sale” comes from) than the actual value of the home. If effective, the drastically reduced price will drive bids for the property.

In order to agree to the short sale, the bank or lender will need to see evidence of severe financial difficulties. The lender will need to understand why you cannot afford the mortgage payments, whether for medical, financial, or personal reasons. This can be explained in a letter of hardship. The more detailed the letter is, the better picture it will provide the lender of your financial stress.

It is important to note that while a short sale is not as damaging to your credit rating as a foreclosure, the lender is still taking a financial loss and subsequently your credit score will be affected. Typically, short sales will affect a credit report for 7-10 years. However, a short sale shows that you took action before the bank had to intervene, which looks much better to future lenders. There is also another important benefit to a short sale over a foreclosure. In some cases, a homeowner can receive some compensation in the form of relocation costs. So while you will not be making a profit by selling your home, you can receive financial assistance to help you establish a new residence.

The process of short sales in NJ can be intimidating and overwhelming. But you are not alone in this process. Veitengruber Law is here to protect your interests. We serve clients in Atlantic County, Monmouth County and Burlington County. Set up a consultation with us today at our offices in Wall or Bordentown.

Image: “House for sale…” by jongorey – licensed under CC 2.0

Navigating the NJ Foreclosure Process

NJ foreclosure

New Jersey has the highest rate of foreclosure in the United States.  More than 74,000 homes went through the foreclosure process in 2016 and while some improvement was seen in 2017, this remains a huge issue for New Jersey residents. Navigating the NJ foreclosure process can be overwhelming to say the least. At Veitengruber Law, it is our goal to give our clients peace of mind during this complicated process.

It is important to note that NJ is a judicial foreclosure state. This means all foreclosures must go through the court system. The lender must sue the occupant in an attempt to get his/her investment back. The process is cumbersome and time consuming, with the state taking on average 1,300 days to foreclose a housing unit.

A foreclosure starts with the occupants of a home missing a mortgage payment. The foreclosure proceedings can begin after one missed payment, but this is rare. Generally, most lenders allow 120 days after a missed payment before starting the foreclosure process.

Before the lender can initiate foreclosure proceedings, the lender is required by law to send a ‘Notice of Intention to Foreclose.’ This is a formal letter indicating the rights of the occupant to cure the debt and the amount required to do so. The letter must also indicate the occupant’s right to contact an attorney during the foreclosure process.

After the Notice of Intention is sent, the lender will file a lawsuit in court. The lawsuit will indicate that the lender is trying to sell the house to satisfy the money owed. Once the lender serves the occupant with the lawsuit, the occupant will have 35 days to respond. In order to dispute the lawsuit, the occupant must respond to the suit in front of the judge in order to explain why they legally should not lose their home. If this time passes with no response, the lender can ask the judge for a default judgment and potentially win the suit.

If the lender wins the suit, they can sell the house. NJ has a ‘right to redeem’ law which allows the occupant a short period of time to get the house back, typically lasting up to ten days. After this, the court will order the sheriff to initiate a sheriff sale, or public auction. The occupant will receive notice of the date of the sale and will have the chance to request a two-week postponement in order to gain more time to either refinance or sell the property. The deed to the home will be transferred to the lender two weeks from the date of sale.

While NJ certainly does have laws to protect home owners, it is important to act fast and with a full understanding of the law. The attorneys at Veitengruber Law are experienced in foreclosure law. Every foreclosure has its own complications and one mistake can mean the loss of your home. Having an experienced NJ foreclosure attorney during this process can help in several ways. Foreclosure defenses are complex and foreclosure law is always evolving. When your home is on the line, it is important to have an expert on your side to ensure you are complying with detailed court filing procedures and rules.

Image: “House Keys” by Steven Depolo – licensed under CC 2.0