Is a NJ Real Estate Survey Really Necessary?

NJ real estate

Typically, a survey of a property listed for sale in the state of New Jersey is facilitated by a licensed surveyor who follows regulations enforced by NJ laws. These surveys are generally performed prior to a new owner buying the property. Although a buyer may not feel that a survey is necessary, if they are utilizing a mortgage loan to finance, many lenders in NJ will require a survey prior to closing. If your lender does not require a survey be performed, you can skip it, but there are a lot of good reasons to consider going through with a survey anyway.

What does a survey of the property typically include?

A survey of a property includes VERY important information for you to know before jumping into purchasing. For instance, it will state exactly where your property line starts and ends as well as any renovations or work that has been done to the property. It will also disclaim building lines and setbacks, which you’ll need if you decide to make changes to your home or property. With an official survey completed, you will know the zoning laws concerning adjacent buildings or sidewalks.  Other things like utility easements (such as where lines, poles, pipes etc. lie or run) will also be included so that you know if everything is up to code. A survey also contains details of any neighbor-shared part of the property such as a driveway or a neighbor’s ability to drive on your property to get to their own.

Why should I obtain a survey of my potential future home?

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are even more ways a survey can help you in the future – after purchasing. Some of these details include information on existing fences that may be encroaching onto your property. Suppose you wanted to start something as simple as a garden or build a patio but the property backs up to a stream/creek/pond or other body of water? It is imperative to know about flood history or underground waters that are not visible to the naked eye. Furthermore if the property is next to a cemetery, the survey will reveal any family plots or cemeteries existing on the land.

There may also be zoning restrictions that are revealed during a survey. Zoning restrictions can affect how you may use the property. This would be extremely important, especially if you were thinking of renovations that include something like an underground pool. Even if there were NOT any zoning restrictions found, you would still need and want to know things like where pipelines, water lines, catch basins, vaults, and wires may run. Additionally, any existing trees on the property may affect utility lines. If so, local utility company/ies may have established privilege to use part of the property for upkeep of the lines. They may even have a say on how tall trees can grow on your lot.

Lastly, before a contract on the home can be drawn up, the seller has to show a good standing title for the home. A survey can be very helpful in showing any zoning violations, easements, or other defects in the title. These are just several of many important disclosures you will want to know prior to signing your John Hancock on the contract paperwork.


How can I get more information about NJ real estate surveys?

At Veitengruber Law, we can help you navigate the ins and outs of buying a potential property. We can help you fully understand just what you may be getting into before making a potentially huge mistake in an investment. Just contact us for a FREE one-hour consultation, and we can begin helping you make the best decision about obtaining a survey, and so much more.





When “Time is of the Essence” in a NJ Real Estate Contract

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Whether you are buying or selling a property, knowing the details of NJ real estate laws is important to help you make the right legal decisions. For instance, many people believe the closing date written in the contract for sale is the actual closing date on the purchase or sale of a property. However, in New Jersey the closing date is not essential to the terms of the contract and is therefore not binding. This means the date of closing on the contract is not a hard date, but is instead an estimate of when the closing will take place. Either the buyer or the seller in the contract can request—and must be legally afforded—a reasonable postponement of the closing date. This can be an unwelcome surprise for a party that is ready to close. At Veitengruber Law, our goal is to eliminate confusion by ensuring legal clarity in every real estate contract we oversee.

In New Jersey, the only way to ensure a binding closing date is if both parties agree to “time is of the essence” terms. “Time is of the essence” is a legal phrase used to remind everyone involved in a real estate transaction that the clock is ticking. Once “time is of the essence” is introduced into a NJ real estate contract, the closing date becomes essential to the terms of the contract and is therefore legally binding.

Failure to close on the specified date when time is of the essence constitutes a material breach of contract, opening the non-complying party to liability. Many attorneys will not agree to make a closing date essential in a contract because it opens up their clients to increased liability, even if the client is unable to close because of circumstances outside of their control.

Veitengruber Law handles essential closing dates with ease for clients who are buying or selling a NJ property.

Veitengruber Law provides our clients with a clear understanding of how “time is of the essence” works in a real estate contract. The party who declares“time is of the essence” has to provide clear written notice to the non-declaring party. The notice must comply with the requirements set forth in the contract of sale and be sent to all parties indicated in the contract, typically by certified mail. If the party receiving the notice believes the notice is improper, they must object to the notice in a timely manner. In order to reject the notice, they must list the reasons for objection and similarly notify all concerned parties of the contract via certified and regular mail. Failure to provide a timely notice of objection may waive the non-declaring party’s ability to do so at a later date.

The declaring party must also give the non-declaring party a sufficient or “reasonable” amount of time in which to close the contract. “Reasonable” in this specific capacity, is determined by the courts on a case by case basis. The courts will decide what is reasonable by:

  • Considering the nature of the contract
  • Examining past conduct of both parties
  • Determining whether or not good faith was practiced during the negotiations, and finally,
  • Concluding whether potential hardships or prejudices exist that could affect either party’s ability to close on time

Two weeks is a customary “time is of the essence” extension for residential NJ real estate transactions and more time may be provided for commercial real estate contracts.

If one party is ready to close and the other party will not agree to a closing date, it may be wise to implement “time is of the essence” language in your NJ contract of sale. Once the original date of closing in the contract passes, the party that is ready to close can set a new closing date declaring “time is of the essence.” This new date will contractually obligate the other party to close on that date or be in breach of contract. If the non-declaring party still does not close by the date set forth under “time is of the essence,” the declaring party can seek legal remedies against the party in breach. With “time is of the essence,” we can save our clients valuable time, money and stress throughout their real estate transactions.

At Veitengruber Law, we strive to eliminate any confusion by ensuring legal clarity in all of the real estate contracts we handle.

Declaring “time is of the essence” is a valuable tool for real estate contract negotiations in New Jersey. It ensures a hard close date and legal recourse for parties ready to close on a contract. It is important to be smart about introducing “time is of the essence” to a real estate contract. Veitengruber Law has years of experience handling commercial and residential real estate transactions. Our attorneys can advise on even the most complex real estate cases with efficiency and professional expertise. Call us today to get knowledgeable guidance on any aspect(s) of your NJ real estate negotiations.

Why Owning NJ Real Estate is the Best Long-Term Investment

NJ real estate

For the majority of Americans, the most colossal expense that they face each year is housing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing costs account for about 30 percent of total yearly expenditures. Depending on your location, renting or owning costs can differ tremendously. One thing you should know while deciding whether to rent or buy: purchasing a home, if financially possible, is a significantly smarter decision than renting.

Here’s a rundown on America’s current situation: across all income levels, more and more Americans are renting. Obtaining a job, purchasing a car, buying a home, getting married and having kids are a few of the features that make up the notorious “American Dream.” Notice that renting isn’t necessarily included in that list, though it could present itself as a necessary stepping stone. We know that to purchase a home, we have to be financially stable, which is not always an easy task. Buying a home, which aids in building equity, sets you in the fast lane to build wealth, the cynosure of the American Dream. Renting, on the other hand, does zilch in establishing a financial foundation.

In order to purchase any item that requires a loan or a large sum of money, it’s necessary to have built up noteworthy credit. Since a home is likely the most expensive purchase you’ll make in a lifetime, a good credit score is critical to be able to do that. Not only is a worthy credit score important, but having a plan as to how to afford buying said home deserves your attention.

Why is buying better than renting?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs spells it out at the most fundamental level: shelter is a basic necessity. Purchasing a home as a place to live provides stability and safety for you and your loved ones. That’s not to say that renting will not satisfy this need, but when renting you are at the mercy of another individual. Buying a home means that you don’t have to worry about a landlord changing terms or deciding to sell the property. With each mortgage payment towards your new home, you’re one step closer to full ownership. It’s essentially an enforced savings plan.

While renting typically comes with a fluctuating monthly payment, buying a home is characterized by a steady mortgage payment. In terms of budgeting, steady cash flow, and a normal financial plan, you can strategically plan for a monthly payment as well as any unexpected surprises. Leaky roofs or broken appliances will undoubtedly pop up at some point, but because of your careful planning, the financial aspect of repairs shouldn’t be an issue. If a landlord is in charge of repairs, it runs on their timeline, so you may be waiting for quite a while until your broken washer receives some TLC. Owning a home places you in charge of maintenance; you’re on your own time schedule and you choose the personnel, appliances and/or materials that you prefer.

If you are able to buy and still decide to rent, your housing payments are doing you no good, except for securing you a place to live from month to month. In other words, you are not investing in a home or building equity. Equity is built by making on-time mortgage payments each month, hopefully lowering your cost of living during retirement. With more equity, you have access to more credit. In the case of an emergency, you have the option of refinancing by borrowing against it.

For the fifth year in a row, Gallup stated that Americans chose real estate as the most intelligent long-term investment.

Investors have predicted that the housing market will only grow stronger in the years to come. Like everything else, home values are on the rise, which means there’s no better time than the present to purchase your first (or next) home. If you’re renting, it’s also an ideal time to steer towards the path of owning a home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 51% of renters would meet the requirements for a mortgage if they applied now. Before you take that first step towards buying a home, contact us to meet with an experienced NJ real estate legal team that will help you make the best home ownership decisions.

Selling Your NJ Home: The Importance of an Open House

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For most sellers, the idea of having random strangers plod through your home may be a little frightening, especially in this day and age. When you open up your house to others, whether they’re family or strangers, an intimate part of your life is being shared. Here’s the thing to keep in mind: this is the house that you’re leaving. Don’t stress out over one of the most minor details about hosting an open house.

Whether or not an open house can actually sell a home is debatable, but definitely can’t hurt your chances. Though there is a possibility of making a sale at an open house, it’s unlikely. Your audience is part of the reason for this.

Real estate agents are the best friend of most people who are house hunting. The agent’s job is to keep the buyer up to date with new listings as soon as they appear on the market. When the agent takes them out to prospective homes, a private tour is usually given. Typically, if a serious buyer is on the lookout, they will already have seen a house by the time an open house is held. You may think that only interested buyers will be attending the open house, but your guests could quite possibly include a variety of people.

You will have the neighbors that come check out the house as well as random passerbys. These people may not be interested in purchasing the house, but are curious to see what it looks like. It’s possible that real estate agents will stop in to view how the house has been prepared for sale and to introduce themselves to the sellers. Remember: as much as it might worry you to have strangers strolling through, each viewer could present the possibility of a future house buyer. Even if a guest isn’t intending to purchase your home, they may know of someone who is looking.

For some future home buyers, the idea of initiating the home-buying process is daunting. An open house is a superb and enticing first step for buyers looking to embark on the journey, especially if it’s their first time. This group of individuals may spot a “For Sale” sign along the road and impulsively decide to stop and gather more information, providing you with more home exposure.

Speaking of home exposure, this is one of the paramount steps that you can take in selling your home. Without maximizing the amount of home exposure and crafting a resilient marketing system, you are reducing your chances of selling within a desirable time frame. Advertising your open house will be of incredible benefit whether you use street signs, newspaper ads, or word of mouth.

Because open houses tend to be laid back events, they tend to be more attractive to people starting the home-buying process. Most real estate professionals who host open houses will allow people to tour with little pressure to buy. This is especially helpful for people who desire to spend a little more time going through the house or checking things out in more detail. This allows for the home buyer to pay attention to what they strongly prefer or dislike in a home.

An open house during the home-selling process will be of value to not only you, but also the individuals who are on the journey of purchasing a home. Low-pressure environments encourage people to dream, envision, and enjoy working through this important process. A NJ real estate agent will guide you through the process of selling your home as well as hosting the ideal open house for future buyers.

After Divorce: Should I Refinance my Home?

Despite divorce rates falling steadily over the past few decades, it remains a strong possibility than a once happily married couple might decide to split up. When divorcing, one of the most confusing and contentious issues a couple faces (aside from custody battles) is often the matter of deciding what to do with the family home.

While the most advisable course of action may vary somewhat with each situation, it’s always vital to make any discussions about the mortgage front and center. Your home is likely your biggest shared asset, and your decisions about the mortgage will impact both of you for many years to come.

If your ex will be the party taking possession of the marital home, remember you will be liable for your shared mortgage until the home is sold, the mortgage is paid off in full, or your ex refinances to remove your name entirely.

You see, removing your name from the title of the home does not absolve you of legal responsibility for the mortgage! This is a common misconception that has resulted in financial harm for countless divorced homeowners. As long as your name remains on the mortgage, your credit is at risk for substantial, long-lasting harm.

If you’re the party remaining in the home, you’ll probably be required to buy out your spouse’s share of the home’s equity. Refinancing your home will allow you to take out a cash portion of that equity to use as you wish—including paying off your spouse so they no longer have any claim to your home.

For example, let’s say that Amy and James purchased a $450,000 home together while they were married. Their outstanding mortgage balance now, at the time of their divorce, is $300,000. The remaining $150,000 is their shared equity in the home. If their divorce terms state that Amy and James are splitting their assets 50/50, Amy would have to come up with $75,000 to buy James out of the home.

Unless Amy has a suitcase full of cash lying around (or a healthy retirement fund), she’s going to want to refinance the home in her own name with a cash-out agreement, then use cash from the home’s equity to pay James what he’s owed. Afterward, she can transfer the home into her name alone.

If you’re like Amy and you want to buy out your former spouse, your first step toward taking sole ownership of the property is to figure out the exact amount of your share of your home’s equity. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find out the home’s current value.
  2. Subtract your outstanding mortgage balance from this number.
  3. Calculate your percentage of the remaining equity based on the terms of your divorce agreement.

In order to determine your mortgage balance, ask your lender for a “payoff” total. This figure, once balanced against any equity lines of credit, second mortgage, or outstanding debts against the property, is your balance.

Now, your portion of the equity depends on the terms you’re able to negotiate in your divorce settlement. This usually hinges on factors like whether the two of you purchased your home together, whether the home has been paid for equally since it was purchased, and whether or not the home is covered by a prenup.

Of course, paying off your ex and securing sole ownership isn’t the only good reason to refinance after a divorce. You might choose to dip into your home’s equity to give yourself a cash cushion as you navigate the first 6 – 12 months of financial independence, or you might be better served by using some of these funds to pay off high-interest credit cards. Your circumstances will dictate the wisest use of these funds, so do consider your overall financial situation while you make this decision.

If your mortgage was first secured before 2008 and you haven’t refinanced recently, you stand a good chance of being able to lock down a lower mortgage payment. Interest rates are significantly lower than they were before the recession, even taking into account the spike in rates over the past few years.

When considering the overall trend toward higher interest rates, this is probably a good opportunity for you to exchange an adjustable-rate mortgage for a lower, fixed-rate mortgage. While the initial low cost of an ARM is appealing, the inherent uncertainty may not be the best option for you in the years to come. Consider the cash flow you can expect post-divorce, and calculate whether or not you could adapt to a higher interest rate if rates continue to climb for the next decade.

Although divorce is stressful at best and often utterly heartbreaking, it’s also an opportunity to take control of your finances and position yourself for a healthy, fresh start. Take care of yourself throughout this process, and try to keep your emotions at bay while you are making these crucial decisions.

Properly tending to your post-divorce financial well-being will require you to be savvy, focused, and optimistic in the face of adversity. Taking the time to educate yourself on how your mortgage functions as the cornerstone of your financial security will serve to empower you to use your mortgage to serve your own financial goals.

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

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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

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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.