Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper?

fixer upperWith the success of popular HGTV shows like Fixer Upper and the prominence of DIY house projects, purchasing a fixer-upper is a common dream for some potential home buyers. Fixer-upper properties are often lower-priced while offering the opportunity to greatly increase the value of the home far beyond what the buyer paid for it. At the same time, fixer-upper properties can sometimes be more work than people think they will be. The final product may not be worth the time, effort, and money it took to get there. So how can you tell if buying a fixer upper is the right move for you?

A lot of factors go into determining if the fixer-upper you are looking for is a good investment. Fixer-uppers can offer ample opportunity for creativity, personalization, and savings. But they can also come with costly renovations, increased risk, and a monopoly on your time. Ultimately, whether or not you should buy a fixer-upper comes down to you and your unique circumstances as a home buyer. Here are some ways to decide if you have what it takes to buy a fixer-upper:

1. Are You Ready For the Work?

Doing all the work needed to bring your vision for a fixer-upper to life is time consuming and stressful. It is a huge undertaking even for the savviest DIY enthusiast. There is a reason many home buyers will spend the extra money for a newly renovated and updated home. The price tag of a fixer-upper might not seem worth it after you calculate the cost, time, and labor you will have to put into the home after purchase.

The commitment required of your time and energy is no small order. If you’ll be doing the renovations yourself, you need to be up to the physical task. If you are hiring professionals for the renovations, you will still need to be on site regularly and be able to take the time to shop for materials and appliances. The work can quickly become overwhelming, so make sure you are prepared.

2. Are You Connected?

When it comes to home renovations, hiring the right people can make or break a project—and your bank account! Time is money with contract work. Do you know trustworthy professionals to help you achieve your vision? Knowing architects, contractors, project managers, and other people in the construction business can be a major leg forward for your project. If you do not know anyone personally, ask trusted friends or family if they know any reliable project managers or general contractors. These professionals can make the renovation process more efficient and cost-effective for your bottom line.

3. Where Will You Live?

Are you prepared to live in a construction zone for months on end? Alternatively, if your renovations don’t allow you to live on site (if you’re gutting your bathroom, for instance), are you financially prepared to maintain two residences simultaneously? Make sure you look into all of your options. If a close friend or family member has room for you nearby, you could save money by bunking with them throughout the reno project. Finding an economical rental is also a good option if you cannot live in your new property while it is being renovated.

4. Do You Have the Vision?

Sure, it looks easy when Joanna and Chip Gaines do it on HGTV, but bringing a housing vision into reality isn’t something everyone is capable of doing. Getting a realistic mental image of how you want your home to look and then explaining that vision to the professionals helping you can be difficult. Some creative preferences and ideas can get lost in translation, leaving you with something you didn’t exactly want. A lot of creativity goes into renovating a home. Make sure you have thought through your ideas before you sign the dotted line for a fixer-upper.

A fixer-upper can be a fantastic investment opportunity for potential homebuyers. As with any real estate transaction, there are a lot of details and complex contracts involved in buying and fixing up an outdated home. Veitengruber Law is a full-service real estate law office with experience in all areas of contract review, real estate representation, and closing services. We can help ensure you are protected and supported as you purchase your dream home.

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How Much House Can You Afford in the NJ Real Estate Market?

NJ real estate

As a prospective first time home owner, it can be easy to get caught up in the dream of finding the perfect house without adequately taking your finances into account. In the rush of excitement, things like down payments, property taxes, and closing fees can be pushed to the back of your mind. You might find yourself in love with a property only to realize it is way out of your budget when the final numbers are laid out. When you first start the home buying process, it can be hard to know how much house you can actually afford. Before you jump into looking at houses, it is important to determine a realistic real estate budget. If you are looking own NJ real estate, here are some tips:

Know your take home pay.

Before you can start browsing property listings, you’ll need to become uber familiar with your current financial situation. Determining your take-home pay is a great first step to figuring out how much house you can afford. Your take-home pay is how much money you bring home in a month once taxes and other contributions are taken out of your paycheck. Unless you have a hefty savings that can cover the full price of a house, this monthly take-home pay is the money you will be using to cover your monthly mortgage payments on the loan you will take out to purchase the house.

Determine the length of your loan.

When it comes to a real estate loan, there are three major aspects to consider: the term, the interest rate, and the principal. The term of the loan is how long it will take for you to pay back the loan in full, including interest. The average mortgage term in NJ is 30 years.  Every home loan will come with interest. Interest is the amount that is in addition to the principal amount you will pay back to your lender. Mortgages have compound interest, meaning the interest is calculated monthly based on the overall debt you owe that month. You will be able to pay less in interest if you can afford higher monthly payments over a shorter period of time.

Decide on “fixed rate” or “adjustable rate.”

The amount of interest that will accrue on your loan will depend on whether you have a fixed rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage. A fixed-rate loan has a locked interest rate. If it starts out at 4.2% it will always be 4.2%. This is typically the better option, especially if you can lock in a low interest rate, because your monthly payment will never change. With an adjustable mortgage, your interest rate will change with the fluctuations of the real estate market. This means you could end up with a very high interest rate over time.


Your total monthly loan payment is the biggest determining factor in determining how much house you can afford.


Allocate funds for an adequate down payment.

Most real estate experts suggest allocating no more than 25% of your take-home pay on housing expenses. If you can keep your housing expenses to less than 25% of your take-home pay, you should be able to manage the rest of your monthly living expenses comfortably. The size of your down payment can make your monthly more affordable. The more money you put down, the less money you will have to borrow (and repay.) It is generally suggested to put down at least 10-20% of the purchase price of the home. If you can afford a 20% down payment, you will not have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can result in big savings on your monthly loan payment.

Of course, the money you borrow from a lender isn’t the only thing to consider when buying a home. You must also remember to calculate and prepare for:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Closing costs
  • Renovations (if applicable)

All of these things will have an impact on your monthly costs for housing and your ability to afford a particular property. Buying a house is a major financial investment. Thankfully, there are plenty of online tools to help simplify the process for you. SmartAsset.com offers a free mortgage calculating tool that includes the home insurance and taxes you can expect to pay as a home owner in New Jersey.

Becoming a homeowner is a cause for celebration, but the process itself can also be very stressful. Veitengruber Law is a full service real estate law firm in NJ. We can help you through all of the financial aspects of the real estate process so you can focus on the excitement of your new home.

What You Need to Know About the NJ Appraisal Process

NJ appraisal

Whether you are buying or selling a home in the Garden State, you will have to go through the NJ appraisal process. If the buyer is taking out a mortgage, their lender will need to make certain financial decisions based on the results of a home appraisal. While this is a huge step in most real estate transactions, many people buying or selling a home aren’t sure what their role is in the home appraisal process. Here, we break down that process so you know exactly what a home appraisal can mean for you.

It’s true that a home inspection is intended to protect the buyer, a home appraisal is intended to protect the mortgage lender that is financing the real estate transaction. With a home appraisal, the lender in a mortgage is looking to get an objective estimate of the home’s value. They use this estimate to ensure that they are not lending more than the actual worth of the property. During a home appraisal, the appraiser is looking at everything on the entirety of the property, including: size, location, condition of internal and external home structures, any recent or necessary upgrades, and the price of comparable homes in the area. These pieces of information will provide insight into the true value of a home. From there, the appraiser will offer the lender a baseline sales figure.

In most real estate transactions, the buyer will pay for a licensed home appraiser to assess the property on behalf of the lender. The buyer will either pay at the time the appraisal takes place or add the fee to their closing costs. The lender will choose a licensed appraiser they feel will be the best judge of a home’s value, typically with a background in home construction, contracting, or home maintenance. A licensed home appraiser goes through at least 200 hours of coursework and must pass the state appraiser licensing exam before they can practice in the state of NJ.

A lender needs to be confident in the ability of the appraiser to remain objective in their appraisal, as well as their capability to back up every finding and their overall assessment of a home’s value. The appraisal report will include a drawing of the exterior, a map of the street and surrounding area, photos of the home’s exterior and street views, information on how the square footage was calculated, public tax and land records, and data surrounding area market sales. If any of these documents are missing, it can have a big impact on the home’s appraised value. If you notice any of this information missing, ask for another appraisal.

During the home appraisal process, it is common for the appraised home value to be more or less than the sale price of a property. If an appraisal is higher than the sale price for a home, this will benefit the buyer. But while the appraisal price and the listing price do not necessarily have to match, a major discrepancy in which the home is appraised for can lead to issues. As a buyer, you have a few options going forward. First, you can ask the seller to lower the sales price to match the appraisal price or pay the difference. A motivated seller may comply with this request.

If the seller does not comply, or the buyer is contractually obligated to move forward with the original sales price, there are still some things the buyer can do. If the buyer is concerned about losing their home loan, they can offer to increase the down payment. This way, the buyer is not borrowing as much money and may still be approved by the lender. The buyer could also agree to pay mortgage insurance. Borrowers who are financing more than 80% of their home purchase price will need mortgage insurance. This monthly payment would be tacked onto the regular mortgage payment and is typically .5%-1% of the total loan amount.

If the above options are not able to resolve the issue, a seller or buyer can dispute the home appraisal figure. The disputing party can work with their real estate agent or another licensed appraiser to come up with their own data. If this data diverges from the findings of the lender’s appraiser, there may be a case to correct the previous appraisal value. A lender will look at these findings and work with their own appraisal unit to come up with a new decision.

A home appraisal is an important part of any NJ real estate sale. Being knowledgeable of the process and understanding your options can save you a major headache later on. Real estate transactions are complex and the process never looks the same twice. Veitengruber Law’s experienced real estate team can help you navigate any potential problems with your appraisal, and throughout the entirety of your real estate transaction.

Mortgage Relief Scams: What You Need to Know

mortgage scam

If you’re in over your head on your mortgage, you may be starting to feel desperate. In these difficult times, it can be easy to see a mortgage relief scam as a lifeline to financial stability. By the time people realize the phony promises and baggage attached to these scams, it can be too late. The best way to avoid mortgage relief scams is to be informed of your rights and what warning signs to look for in a potential scam. Even if an offer looks legitimate, here are some basic precautions you can use to protect yourself against fraud.

The most important thing you can do is understand your rights as a homeowner. In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission published the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rule in order to protect homeowners from mortgage relief scams. This rule holds companies promising mortgage assistance accountable by prohibiting them from collecting any fees until after fulfilling their promises. This means that even if you agree to accept help from one of these companies, you don’t have to pay any money at all until you have received and accepted a written mortgage relief offer from your lender. The MARS rule also bars these companies from saying they work for the government or your lender and requires them to warn you that your lender may not agree to modify the loan.

When trying to spot a scam, a good rule of thumb is that any organization that tries to charge you a fee for mortgage counseling or loan modification is not legitimate. Other than accredited attorneys, the programs that can help struggling homeowners are almost always free. If a company asks you to pay up front or with a cashier’s check/wire transfer, it’s most likely a scam. Other red flags: if they guarantee results, pressure you to “sign now,” or attempt to cut you off from contacting your mortgage lender.

Here are some precautions you can take as a homeowner to protect yourself from mortgage relief scams:

1. Do your research.

Check to see if the establishment has a website and verify that the contact information listed matches the information you have. Make sure the business address is legitimate, and not just a P.O. box. The Better Business Bureau can also provide helpful information; more specifically if the company is associated with any known scams. Do not provide any personal information until you have taken the time to do ample research.

2. Don’t sign without reading the fine print.

Be careful what you sign. Make sure you have read the document thoroughly and understand it completely before you put pen to paper. It is very important for you to understand what you are agreeing to when you sign a document. If you are in doubt about anything, recruit the help of a lawyer to look over the document and explain to you in plain language what the agreement will be.

3. Keep up with mortgage payments.

Some scams advise homeowners to stop making regular payments on their mortgage while they “negotiate” with your lender. Never do this. Missing monthly mortgage payments can increase your risk of foreclosure and damage your credit, putting you into a deeper financial hole. It is also important to note that you should never be sending your mortgage payments to anyone other than your lender unless your lender has directly told you, in writing, to do so.

4. Never sign over your deed.

Under no circumstances should a mortgage relief company ask you to sign over your deed to a third party. There are two times you can sign your deed over: when you sell the home or if you sign it over to your lender in order to fulfill a debt forgiveness agreement. Signing your deed over to a third party will not save your home.

If you do find yourself the victim of one of these scams, the best thing you can do is to report it. This will give you the best chance of recovering some of your money, although the process may be lengthy. You can file reports through the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, or through an attorney.

Most people fall for mortgage relief scams looking for a quick way to get out of a financial jam, but getting on top of debt takes time and commitment to financial responsibility. If you find yourself in trouble with your mortgage, the best thing you can do is work with your lender to come to an agreement on the situation. Going to your lender directly can be intimidating. Veitengruber Law is here to help. Our experienced NJ real estate legal team can work with you to determine real debt relief solutions for your specific situation.

Are You Ready to Buy Your First NJ Home?

NJ home

In the US, homeownership has come to symbolize achieving part of the American Dream. Owning a home can offer independence, the opportunity to start a family, and a place to belong in the world. But owning a home isn’t for everyone—at least not right away. If you are considering purchasing your first NJ home, there are a lot of things to consider before you take the plunge. After all, the decision to own a home is a huge investment that will impact your life for years to come. If you are on the fence about homeownership, here are the top signs you are ready to buy a home.

1. You Plan to Stay in the Same Geographic Area

Being happy with where you are is a great sign you might be ready to plant roots and buy a home in your area. On the other hand, if you are planning to move in a few years or are unhappy with your current location, don’t purchase a home. With the cost of buying a home, between a down payment and closing costs, it doesn’t make sense to buy a home only to turn around and do the whole process over again in two or three years. You could also end up in the difficult position of being unable to sell your home, or having to sell your home for less than what you paid for it. For these reasons, it is important to only buy a home you plan to be in for a decent amount of time.

2. Your Finances are in Order

There are three financial aspects of the home buying process that you will need to be ready for: the down payment, the closing costs and associated fees, and the mortgage itself. For the down payment and the closing costs, you will need to have money in hand to complete a home purchase. Typically, a down payment is 20% of the purchase price and closing costs can range anywhere from 2-3% of the price of the home. You will also need to make sure you have a clear credit history with a decent credit score in order to secure a mortgage with good terms. But the financial responsibility of homeownership extends beyond your mortgage. You need to make sure that your income can support not only your mortgage, but home upkeep, property taxes, utilities, regular living costs, debt payments, and unplanned expenses.

3. You Are OK With the Idea of Home Maintenance

When you own your own home, you can’t call your landlord if something needs to be repaired. Every house will require repairs, maintenance, and improvements—and these can be costly and time consuming. All the time you spend on general upkeep of your home is less time spent doing the things you did pre-homeownership. This can impact your lifestyle. If spending the weekend painting the living room sounds terrible to you, you may want to reconsider a lower-maintenance housing option, like renting.

4. You Are Realistic About Your Home Goals

This means you know how much house you can afford as well as how much homes in your area are being sold for. A real estate agent can help you with this, but you need to know what kind of buying power you are bringing to the table and what kind of home will fit your budget best. Start going to open houses to get an understanding of what you get for the listing price. Look into a wide array of different kinds of houses in the neighborhoods you are interested in. How many bedrooms and bathrooms are there? Are there any special features? Is it up-to-date or does it need some work? All of these factors will help you determine what goes into a list price. Work with a real estate agent to get information about the estimated costs of repairs so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you buy a home. Buying a good home in your price range is key to homeowner success.

Buying a home can seem intimidating—and for good reason. The purchasing of a home is likely one of the biggest investments you will ever make. The rewards of owning your own space are innumerable, but it is also important to understand the work and commitment that goes into owning a home. If you need help working through the minutiae of buying a NJ home, Veitengruber Law is happy to help demystify the home buying process as well as make sure you are getting the most out of your real estate contract.

Help! I Want out of my NJ Real Estate Contract!

NJ real estate

The main goal of the negotiations surrounding a NJ real estate deal is for all parties involved to sign a contract they’re happy with. Sellers want to make a profit on their property and buyers want to have confidence in the huge investment they just made for their future. Sometimes, though, both parties sign on the dotted line only to find themselves second-guessing their decision. If something doesn’t seem right or you start to realize you didn’t get as much out of the deal as you had hoped, you may find yourself wanting out of the deal.

Is it possible to back out of a signed NJ real estate contract?

The good news is that even after you sign, there are still some ways to get yourself out of a real estate contract, but you have to act quickly. In New Jersey, the 3 day attorney review period will allow you to work with an attorney to bring your concerns back into negotiation. It is critical that you take advantage of New Jersey’s unique 3 day review period. During this time, you will work with your real estate attorney to review all aspects of the contract. As long as you’re within the attorney review period, you can make changes to the contract or walk away from the deal altogether.

What if I missed the attorney review period but still want out of my contract?

After the 3 day review period has passed, it is much more difficult to “un-sign” your name from your NJ real estate contract. In our experience, the three main reasons for a broken real estate contract are:

  1. Unsatisfactory appraisal
  2. Significant inspection issues
  3. Contingency clauses

Many real estate contracts include a contingency stating that the buyer and their lender must approve of the inspection and appraisal before a deal can move forward. If the buyer or lender is unsatisfied with the results of the inspection, appraisal (or both), it could open the door for further negotiations.

An appraisal price that is significantly lower than the purchase price will raise huge red flags for a lender and can give the buyer leverage to re-open contract negotiations. Likewise, a home inspection that turns up significant issues could give the buyer cause to break the contract if a seller is unwilling to make the necessary repairs.

While issues with inspection or appraisal can help the buyer back out of a contract, the “kick-out” clause of a real estate contract can be utilized by sellers. Traditionally, real estate contracts include a contingency clause that protects buyers from carrying two mortgages. The language usually reads like: “Buyer’s obligation to purchase this property is contingent on the sale of their current home.”

In today’s real estate market, many contracts now include contingency clauses that protect the seller if closing is dependent on the buyer selling their current home (as shown in the example above). Known as the “kick-out” clause, this contingency allows the seller to entertain other, potentially better offers on a property as long as the original potential buyer’s property has not sold. If a new buyer is found, the seller can “kick out” the original buyer and accept the new offer.

The key to getting out of a real estate contract is working closely with a trusted real estate attorney. In addition to helping you legally back out of a contract, your New Jersey real estate attorney will use the law to work in your best interest throughout the entirety of contract negotiations. Veitengruber Law will point out any issues or reservations about a contract early in the process. Understanding the ins and outs of a contract before you sign can save you the trouble of backing out later.

Our NJ real estate team is experienced in handling all of the complex legal details that go into real estate contracts. Working with us will ensure a smoother transaction and will get what you want! Don’t wait until you sign the contract to realize you need the advice of an expert attorney. Call us today for your free consultation about your real estate goals.

NJ Real Estate: Understanding the 3 Day Attorney Review Period

nj attorney review period

When it comes to NJ real estate transactions, first-time buyers or sellers can find themselves under-informed when it comes to their rights and responsibilities during the sale of a home. Real estate contracts are complex documents that may be difficult for many people to understand as well as they need to. In New Jersey, buyers and sellers have the right to a 3 day attorney review period to ensure that their best interests are being met.

 


The attorney review period is unique to New Jersey and protects both buyers and sellers from entering into unwise real estate contracts.

 

The Contract

In New Jersey, as well as in every US state, the contract is far and away the most important document in the entire real estate transaction process. Almost all real estate transactions begin with the signing of this document and it sets forth the rights and responsibilities of the buyer and seller for the remainder of the transaction. These rights and responsibilities are the essential terms of the contract and identify the following information:

  • Purchase price
  • Closing date
  • Paperwork each party must provide
  • Specific details about the sale of the property

Plans for inspections, repairs, and many other agreements between the buyer and seller will also be part of the contract. Because the real estate contract is so essential to the legal transfer of property, it is imperative that both parties utilize their legal right to an attorney review.

Attorney Review Period

The state of New Jersey allows for a 3 day attorney review period to begin after a contract of sale has been signed by the buyer and seller and a copy has been delivered to both parties. This 3 day period allows both parties ample time to retain a real estate attorney who will review the contract. The attorney will either accept/approve the contract as-is, make changes to it, or cancel it all together.

If there are changes to be made to the contract, the attorney must send a disapproval letter to the other party’s attorney for review within the 3 day review period. At the end of the allotted time period, if the contract has not been disapproved or canceled by either the buyer or the seller, both parties are henceforth legally bound by the contract.

Beware of “Legalese”

Taking advantage of the attorney review period is important for both buyers and sellers. While all real estate contracts in NJ must be written in “plain language,” the fact remains that some confusing legal concepts (legalese) will make their way into virtually every real estate transaction. Working with an experienced real estate attorney can ensure you are getting the best advice on the ins and outs and specific legal language of real estate law. You do not want to find yourself bound to a contract that includes terms that you never fully understood. The attorney review period gives you time to work closely with your attorney so that you have a solid grasp on your rights and responsibilities as set forth in the contract.

 


 Realtors are not legally permitted to give legal advice to either party engaged in a real estate contract.

 

Contract missing the Attorney Review Clause? DO NOT SIGN.

Real estate contracts will differ from realtor to realtor. Some may not even include an attorney review clause. It is important to know that in New Jersey, the attorney review period is your right as a buyer or a seller in a residential real estate transaction. If the contract does not include an attorney review clause, do not sign the contract until it has been reviewed by your attorney.

Veitengruber Law has extensive experience working with clients in the attorney review process. We know how intimidating, nerve wracking (and at times overwhelming) it can be to buy or sell a home. Our goal is to ensure that your rights are protected so you can make clear-headed, informed decisions during the real estate transaction process. Reach out to us for help at any time during your NJ real estate transaction!

Selling Your NJ Home When You’re Underwater on Your Mortgage

selling your NJ home

Do you owe more on your mortgage loan than what your home is actually worth? If you do, you’re not alone. This is called an “underwater” mortgage and it can be a huge obstacle to selling your home. Although the good news is the number of underwater mortgages has decreased significantly over the last five years, the challenge of selling your NJ home with an underwater mortgage hasn’t changed. Unfortunately, sometimes homeowners simply have no other option but to sell. If you find yourself facing this dilemma, chances are you will be writing a check to your lender after the close of sale. The good news is you can use these tips to reduce the amount you owe!

If you owe more on your home than it is worth, you could end up losing money in the selling process. If your home is worth $150,000 but you still owe $180,000 on your mortgage, you could end up making up the difference in payments to your lender after the sale closes. And that payment increases if you can’t manage to sell your house for the maximum price it is worth. Owing a lender after a sale is never a desirable outcome for a homeowner.

How can you limit the financial impact of selling your house with a mortgage that is underwater?

Ideally, you would wait to sell for as long as possible. Waiting to sell can help you in two ways. First, it could give you the time needed to allow your home to increase in value. The closer the estimated value of your home is to how much you owe on your mortgage, the less you will owe your lender after the sale. Second, waiting to sell gives you time to make enough monthly mortgage payments to decrease the amount you owe. Taking the time to make extra payments on the principal balance of the loan could help you increase equity.

Sometimes, however, it isn’t possible to wait to sell. A growing family or a change in employment can leave you needing to sell quickly. If you do need to sell now, do an honest assessment of your home. There are certain repairs you must make in order to sell your home. Listing your home while it is in disrepair will not lead to top dollar offers. Fix broken appliances, repair damaged floors and repaint dingy walls. Give your outside some attention as well. Keep your lawn tidy by pulling weeds and mowing regularly. Add some inexpensive plants to your front porch to create a more inviting façade for interested buyers.

While you do want to spend the least amount of money fixing up your home to sell, one expense that may be worth it is hiring a professional home stager. These experts know how to use the furniture and décor you already have to create an appealing display for potential home buyers. In shifting around your living spaces, they can make your home appear more spacious and charming. Your potential buyers need to be able to envision the full potential of your home—and a professional stager can help create a wonderful first impression.

Setting the right asking price for your property is important and nuanced. While it may seem like a good idea to ask for more than the property is worth in order to make up for the money you owe, that is not advisable. More often than not buyers are well aware of what a home is worth in the current market. Setting your asking price too high can have the effect of turning people away before they even see your home. At the same time, you do not want to undersell your home and spend more than you need paying the difference to your lender. Seeking the advice of a real estate agent familiar with your area is a great way to set a good asking price. Experienced real estate agents will know what price will attract the highest volume of interested buyers. The more buyers that are interested in your home, the more likely you are to sell for the full value of your property.

If you are trying to sell your home with an underwater mortgage, you don’t have to roll over and accept a huge financial loss. There are plenty of things you can do to increase the value of your home quickly in order to yield the highest offers from potential buyers. Interested in other options? Ask us if a short sale is right for you.

Why We Stand Out as a NJ Real Estate & Debt Relief Law Firm

best attorneys in NJ

At Veitengruber Law, we strive to provide service that is above and beyond the standard. We understand that there is no one size fits all solution to financial and legal issues. Our experienced team manages every single case on an individualized basis, providing proven solutions from years of experience managing cases. Our goal is to help our clients achieve financial security with a customized plan specific to their needs. As a result of our practices, our clients are able to move forward to make stronger financial choices confidently and independently.

George established Veitengruber Law to help families and individuals in need of financial help. During his seven years of experience working as a Senior Associate for a Monmouth County debt resolution firm, George saw first-hand the toll overwhelming debt can have. When he opened his solo practice in 2010, he decided to use his vast legal and courtroom experience to help clients achieve their financial goals. Beyond just providing legal expertise and defense, George and his team stick with clients to help them learn valuable financial lessons. This holistic approach allows George to help clients even after their case has been settled, allowing them to look forward to a brighter financial future.

Veitengruber Law maintains a concentrated legal focus, allowing George to bring the full strength of his experience and success to the table for every single client. As a full-service real estate and debt relief solutions practice, we can provide unsurpassed services to our clients.

The Veitengruber Law team has years of experience in all aspects of real estate transactions from contract review to real estate presentation and closing services. Your home is typically the largest investment you will ever make. NJ real estate transactions can involve highly detailed paperwork and complex contracts. George and his team can work with you during sales, purchasing, inspections, liens, titles, and contracts so you can feel confident in your real estate transactions.

Veitengruber Law saves an average of 60 families from foreclosure eviction each year. George is highly experienced in the wide variety of legal strategies and foreclosure defenses to help keep our clients in their homes. We analyze our client’s specific circumstances and provide expert guidance on the best foreclosure alternative case-by-case. Our team will explain your options in plain language so you can understand all of your options.

We are also experienced in providing proven debt-relief solutions tailored to every situation. Our team has significant experience negotiating with difficult lenders, creditors, and other financial institutions. Our insight into the way credit card companies work informs the effective solutions we can offer our clients. Your individual debt solution may involve a mortgage modification, loan refinancing, settling with a creditor, or simply creating a good budget to follow. We make sure our debt relief solutions are realistic, appropriate, and unique to each client.

While we know bankruptcy is not a solution for every situation, we work against the myth that bankruptcy is the end of the line. Time and again, we have helped our clients take bankruptcy as a first step back to financial health. Not only can bankruptcy save your home as an automatic stay to halt a foreclosure, it can be an excellent tool to get out from under unmanageable debt. Our team will only suggest bankruptcy if it is truly the best solution for you.

Beyond our expertise and proven success, we offer an approachable experience for our clients. We understand how much stress and anxiety these heavy financial decisions can cause—and how intimidating it can be to reach out to a lawyer for help. Our goal is to make our clients as comfortable as possible throughout the entire process. We want to understand your goals and help you find comprehensive solutions to your problems. Contact us today for a free consultation!

Affordable Housing Options for NJ Seniors

NJ seniors

With the first wave of baby boomers turning 65 in 2011, the number of senior citizens in the United States is increasing. According to the US census, by 2030 the number of people 65+ will reach nearly 71.5 million. Most seniors live on fixed incomes and sometimes retirement savings or programs like Social Security can’t support their housing expenses. Because many of these senior citizens will need affordable housing options, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been increasing their initiatives to help seniors manage their cost of living in retirement.

 

Reverse mortgages are an increasingly popular option for seniors who still have equity in their current home and are looking to supplement their retirement income. If you are 62+ and have paid off your mortgage or paid off a significant amount of the loan, you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage. Under a reverse mortgage, instead of making monthly payments to the lender, the lender actually makes payments to the borrower. The borrower must still make regular payments on property taxes and homeowners insurance. This allows retirees to use the wealth they have accumulated in their homes to help cover their cost of living.

 

There are, however, a lot of reverse mortgage scams to watch out for. Some companies will outright lie to sell their services to unsuspecting and desperate seniors. The only reverse mortgage insured by the U.S. Federal Government is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Through the HECM program, you will be able to withdraw some of your home’s equity. The amount available for withdrawal will vary from person to person and depends on the age of the youngest borrower, the current interest rate if your mortgage is not paid off, and the value of your home.

 

If you find it is impossible to stay in your current home, HUD also provides help for seniors looking to move into lower-income housing through senior housing vouchers, Section 202 supportive housing, and public housing.

 

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) allows seniors to look for housing in the private sector amongst specific properties run by local public housing agencies including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. There are two kinds of vouchers: tenant-based vouchers, which move with the renter – and project-based vouchers, which are assigned to specific units and are not transferable. Typically, rent and utilities are calculated at 30% of the monthly adjusted gross income and the voucher will make up the difference in expenses. In order to find out if you or your loved one qualifies for this program, you will need to contact your local public housing agency.

 

Established in 1959, the Section 202 supportive housing program is the only HUD program specifically created to provide housing for seniors and those with disabilities. This program is designed to help seniors live as independently as possible while also offering assistance with daily living. Assistance can include dressing, bathing, housekeeping, and transportation. In this program, HUD provides loans to private and nonprofit organizations to finance the building and management of supportive housing services along with rent subsidies for residents. Typically, seniors that are 62 or older and have a very low household income (the average yearly income for Section 202 residents is $10,000/year) are eligible for this program. To apply, you will need to contact the individual housing community you are interested in.

 

Public housing for seniors includes high-rise apartments and duplexes that are operated by the local public housing agency. In this program, seniors will typically spend about 30% of their household income for rent and utilities. It is important to note that due to the limited resources available to HUD and local housing associations, there are typically long waiting lists for public housing. That is why is it important to be proactive and get in touch with your local public housing agency in order to determine your eligibility and explore all of your housing options.

 

Veitengruber Law is ready to offer expert advise on housing solutions for NJ seniors. Our goal is for you or your loved one to age in comfort and security. If you are looking for housing options for yourself or an aging parent or relative, it is important to know what resources are right for you. Call us today for your free consultation.