Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 13, 2019

Six Ways Agents Can Make Buyers And Sellers Feel More Empowered, Understood And Confident

Posted in News
Oct. 16, 2019

Meeting the Needs of Millennial Home Buyers

Millennial home buyers with their parents and siblings.Every generation has its own specific set of characteristics that make it unique. As time passes, people working in the real estate industry have to start catering to different needs. Now that millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) are old enough to make the majority of the home-buying population, it is important for anyone who is in the real estate business to be aware of what millennial home buyers are looking for in a home.

Eco-friendly home design

There are several things that make millennials unique when it comes to choosing homes. The first one is a preference for environmentally-conscious design. Millennial home buyers like their homes energy-efficient and made out of eco-friendly materials. Homes designed in a more traditional way, that are not sustainable, have a negative influence on planet Earth, contributing to the greenhouse effect that is a serious threat to Mother Nature. Millennial home buyers know this and they don't want to be a part of the problem.

An energy-efficient home.

They would rather be a part of the solution, and one way to achieve that is to buy a green home. The process of offering such a home to your millennial customers begins early in the building planning phase when the right materials will have to be used so that the house isn't too expensive to build, while still being eco-friendly. This is important as millennials don't want to pay more for such a home. A lot of them have sizable student loans to pay off, and housing costs are far from being low. While they can save money by hiring cheap moving services after choosing a home, understandably, they still want their home to be affordable.

Energy-efficient homes are not only great for the environment, but they are also more affordable in the long run. Appliances that are energy-efficient are a must if you want to entice millennial homebuyers, as such features are not something that millennials see as an extra convenience, but rather as a requirement.

Resistant, durable homes

Apart from being built with eco-friendly materials, homes that would suit the needs of millennial home buyers will also have to be built with materials that will make the house more resistant. This is important, as millennials largely aren't interested in maintenance and having to do repairs.

In fact, the National Realtors Association claims that one of the main reasons why millennials have a tendency to buy homes that are newly built is precisely because they'd rather avoid maintenance obligations. Almost 50 percent of all such homes that were bought by millennials were bought with this in mind.

Similarly, if they're buying in an area with a high potential for natural disasters, it is important to millennials that their home is protected against such hazards. Again, this is important to have in mind as the house is designed and constructed because durable materials will need to be used in order to act as a shield against the raging elements. 

Multi-generational homes

Millennials relaxing in a home in a more quiet neighborhood.

Homes housing several generations of the same family are also popular with millennials. As many of them are now old enough to have at least one child, but they still have to work, they are increasingly more appreciative of the help they can get from their parents in terms of childcare. And again, multi-generational homes are also more affordable, as several members of the family are contributing to the family's budget.

What makes for a high-quality multi-generational home? Some of the key features include:

  • Having an accessible space. Open concept house arrangement makes traversal much easier when several people are living together. It is especially useful to seniors (and even more so if they are in a wheelchair). You can also suggest to millennial buyers that they convert one of the rooms on the main floor into a bedroom for their seniors so that they can reach it more easily. This will also increase the privacy levels and provide family members with some time off.
  • And while we're talking about privacy, a good multi-generational home should have enough rooms ready to be converted to a living room for each of the generations that are sharing the home. Having a playroom, a room for your millennial buyers and their significant other, and a living room for seniors will go a long way toward giving everyone some room to breathe.
  • The same goes for bathrooms and entrances. Ideally, millennials who are living in a multi-generational home will want to have three bathrooms, and at least two entrances. This would provide them with practical benefits, but it would also be good because of the privacy-related reasons. Of course, it is sometimes impossible to have this many rooms, however, you should be ready to instruct the millennial home buyers on all the things they can do in order to have a highly-functional multi-generational home.

Millennials tend to prefer more quiet areas

While a lot of millennials will want to live in the heart of a city (usually primarily because of practical reasons), research shows that almost 60 percent of all millennial homebuyers have bought a property in the suburbs. More often than not, millennials seem to like their peace and quiet, as well as having a backyard that they can take care of and easy access to beautiful green spaces.

As we’ve mentioned, a lot of them have children now. If you want to meet the needs of millennials in terms of real estate, you'll need to offer them a home in a great neighborhood, that will be great for their children's upbringing. Millennials will almost certainly research the neighborhood on their own, being computer and internet savvy. They'll determine if a neighborhood suits their needs, which will have a tremendous influence on their "to buy or not to buy" final decision.

Of course, tastes and needs vary even among the people belonging to the same generation. However, you should be prepared to offer a home in a quiet neighborhood when you're dealing with millennial homebuyers. On the other hand, more urban areas can provide them with essential day to day services, so being ready to adapt to their needs is key.

Posted in News
July 13, 2019

Science Swirls About Jersey City Property

Discover the incredible world of science on Jersey City property. At the Liberty Science Center minds expand and eyes are opened wide. The institute sets the bar high with a mission to “inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and excite learners of all ages about the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology.”

Permanent exhibits are designed to stir up interest especially the youngest visitors. Living creatures are center stage in the Eat or Be Eaten and Our Hudson Home exhibits. In Eat or Be Eaten survival techniques are brilliantly illustrated as is the importance of conservation of the wild. Our Hudson Home delves into the impact of the Hudson River and environmental efforts necessary to maintain it.

Light Is at the End of the Tunnel Near Jersey City Homes

Sensory displays illustrate the significance of the senses. Emotions evolve through separate stations which create combinations of sounds, scents and colors in the Dream Machine. Light is truly at the end of the Touch Tunnel. This deeply darkened path encourages participants to use their sense of touch in order to meander through. Featured exhibits on the Jersey City property come and go. Featuring an array of intriguing topics guests can engage in an anthropology dig, explore lands unknown or view amazing feats of art and engineering.

Another favorite place to pass the time is the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium. Larger than life, the auditorium proudly holds the title of the “biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.” State of the art technology brings science to life on the big screen in a way that makes audience members feel as if they are one with the action. Spectacular movies highlight wildlife, space travel, weather patterns and musical tributes. Many include impressive 3D effects as well.

Doors are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and guests are ready to go and get to it. The world is at visitor’s fingertips with museum halls, an aquarium, live animals, weather simulators and more. Residents living in Jersey City homes often become members of the venue in order to really explore it from one end to the other.


Posted in News
July 13, 2019

Hoboken Property Fills Folks with Fun

Feel the lively vibe on Hoboken property. Energy is high at Pier 13! Regulars declare that hanging out at Pier 13 is like hanging out in the backyard of Hoboken. The pier stretches out into the Hudson River with a backdrop of amazing views of the New York City Skyline. Folks head on over for a delicious bite to eat, an evening of signature cocktails and for just plain old fun.

A true beacon for socialization, Pier 13 features a beer garden, food trucks and numerous other venues. People looking for a good time intermix with an easy camaraderie struck up between locals and newcomers to the Hoboken real estate region. Couples on first dates find the ice easily broken in this vibrant spot. Friends gather together on a regular basis to blow off steam, exchange gossip and enjoy picturesque evenings.

Experience the Vibe of Hoboken Real Estate

This family friendly destination hosts a variety of special events. Gamers are in their element during token game nights. Artists let creativity soar on Paint on the Pier event dates. Pet adoption days introduce numerous dogs and cats to their new furever homes. Movie nights on the pier are made for laughter, giggles and cuddling close. Family Fun Nights often feature bounce houses for youngsters bent on silliness and endless mimosas for moms. Young adults stretch their budgets  on $5 Draft Nights and Slash the Price evenings.

Visitors make a splash when exploring the waters around Pier 13. Kayakers cut through the river on sightseeing tours. Witty guides lead the way with Statue of Liberty and Manhattan Skyline tours. Romance is in the air and on the water during sunset trips and “moonrise city lights” excursions. Paddle boarders have their turn too. Classes make newbies feel at ease in no time. Paddle boards are perfect for setting out on adventures. Popular paddle board trips include the Night Glow SUP and Frying Pad Cross River tour. Jet ski tours really kick it up a notch. Adrenaline junkies feel the thrill of discovery during Circle Manhattan Island tours.

Go with the flow on Hoboken property and head on over to Pier 13. Good times are the norm and memories to cherish are made on a daily basis.


Posted in News
July 13, 2019

There’s Plenty of Food for Thought on Maplewood Property

Bookworms find food for thought on Maplewood property at (words) book store. A true hidden gem in the local community this little independent bookseller strives to pass on a love of reading to one and all. Opening their doors over a decade ago with less than a dozen employees, a dedicated staff frequents the aisles offering suggestions and enlightenments.

The (words) mission and vision is simply to provide “an engaging and welcoming atmosphere for people and families of all stripes to pursue their literary interests.” Shelves are stuffed full with a vast selection of books. Half the fun is strolling about the store perusing the latest releases on the bestseller’s list and uncovering critically acclaimed classics. From thought provoking non-fiction to suspenseful best sellers, the next great read is sure to be found here. For those who just aren’t sure what to pick up the workers book picks by the staff are helpfully displayed.

Get Lost in a Good Read when Living in Maplewood

Special events are always marked on the calendar. Authors are frequently in house inspiring fans and motivating amateur writers during meet and greets. Saturday Storytimes occur each weekend at 11 a.m. and welcome children living in Maplewood and the adults in their midst. Imagination soars as characters rise from the pages of amazing children's books. Staff members and sometimes even beloved authors are turning the pages making the tales come to life.

A cozy ambiance permeates this Maplewood property. Comfortable chairs and couches beckon readers who settle in for a chapter or two. Drinks from the Coffee Corner add a bit more to the independent bookstore experience. Avid readers often stopping in are rewarded when taking part in the frequent buyers club which gives back a $20 gift card for every $200 spent. Registered book clubs also receive discounts on their monthly selections.

Located at 179 Maplewood Avenue, (words) bookstore is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Come on in and search out a book to curl up with and get lost in.


Posted in News
June 10, 2019

Qualities of a great real estate agent


When you are looking to hire a professional to help you with your most important investment, be in the know.


As a Realtor© I know the best way to retain clients is the ability to communicate thoroughly, with ALL PARTIES, involved in a transaction. It’s surprising to me how many clients don’t have the time to speak with me on the phone when they are looking for a home or wanting to sell their home. If I cannot connect with them initially, to go through their list of needs and wants, I will have a very hard time attempting to get them say, their dream home. Yes, the internet has claimed to help people buy and sell properties but ultimately, the negotiations are done by people, those people are licensed real estate agents. We can help anyone once we understand everything about their needs, wants, motivation, property information, timeline and anything. We have to be able to listen and work for them as true fiduciaries.

Area Knowledge and Knowhow

We are experts in specific areas. In some states, like mine in New Jersey, we have several different MLS’s (Multiple Listing Service) and several boards that we can become members of in order to access that area’s MLS. I’m well aware that my team and I are experts in Hudson, Bergen, Union and Essex Counties, but if I have a client that is looking to relocate to say a far Western or Southern portion of the state, we have a very large state here, I find the best referral agents that are local experts in that area to help them. Our expertise is our greatest achievement. Also, knowing the market means understanding the pool of resources it has to offer its residents, in order to help our home buyers and sellers have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

Past Client Reviews

If you want to know about the Realtor© or licensed real estate agent you are interviewing, a search through their website should come up with reviews. I sometimes connect clients past clients to current ones, as reference.

If you are interested in anything real estate related, feel free to call. We are here to help you and connect you with our very best resources. 917.268.8916

Posted in News
May 10, 2019

Buying a Home? Selling a Home? Need to Renovate on a Budget?

As a Realtor© and home owner, I’ve experience many levels of renovations. What I’m personally comfortable renovating may be completely different than what some of my buyers would like to do. These days there are many lending programs for home buyers that help with renovation costs, but aside from those. Just using creative thinking may help you live like a queen or king, in a modestly grand home.

If you are considering buying a home that may need some work and you want to do renovations yourself. Here are a few simple ideas for renovating on a budget.


Ever see an entry door that looks in disrepair? Plants that are dead? Paint that is dated? Window shades that don’t bring in light?

Well the good news is, sometimes simple cosmetic fixes bring so much life to a home that it changes the appearance entirely.

Doors can be easily dealt with by painting them a good color that highlights the home entry. If a door is need of a complete lift, there are many antique and architectural salvage dealers that acquire or save old doors. In Jersey City there are some great resources, one of which Amighini Architectural. So many homes in Jersey City are historic and when renovating buyers will need to adhere to historic guidelines to keep facades in-tact.

Plants do a world of good for people, both inside the home and outside. Indoor plants can help purify air. Outdoor plants can be statement pieces, accenting architectural lines. If you don’t have a green thumb, do your research and invest in plants that are easy to maintain and require minimal care.

Paint is the best way to make anything look and feel better. You can create a gorgeous accent wall or give any part of a home a new feel with a simple splash of paint.

Window coverings make a world of difference to homes that may not have enough windows or too many windows. How you direct light into your home is an essential part of daily life and can have a large affect on mood. There is such a huge selection of window shades out there.


I remember moving into a home that had very high ceilings and lighting that was dim, which made those ceilings seem low. Once I installed new light fixtures with new bulbs, it looked like a completely different home. Even the paint looked like a different color.  Lighting fixtures can be easily installed and with so many affordable options of architectural lighting and repurposed lighting, you have a lot to choose from.

Hardware like door handles, cabinetry knobs are also an amazing quick and inexpensive way to change the look of kitchens and baths, taking just a seconds to change out. You can find hardware everywhere on the internet and in home stores.


Sometimes floor coverings are all a bare floor needs to look stellar. Rugs are an easy fix for nicked, wood floors. Carpet tiles are simple to install as well as being readily available. There are also a varying array of easy to install click & lock engineered wood and vinyl plank flooring options, that are durable, while looking beautiful.

If you are looking to purchase a home and cannot see it for the beauty that it is, my team and I are to help.

Posted in News
May 10, 2019

Generational Trends in Real Estate

Who is buying ?

Who is selling ?

Where are we moving?

Thanks to National Association of Realtors© whose endless statistical research furthers our knowledge and information of markets across the country. We can see where buyers and sellers are moving into and out of.

Look through this informative infographic.

Posted in News
April 10, 2019

Why you should not buy or sell a home without an expert agent

Never Buy or Sell a Home Without an Agent

What you should know, as a buyer and a seller

What do you know about the market?

As a seller, do you know who your buyer audience is, where they are coming from and how to find them?  Do you know what options buyers are likely to consider when they are looking at your home?

What is the average number of days on market for homes in your area, and what percentage of the asking price are they getting? Are there any particular terms of sale that are a trend in your area, such as sellers paying closing costs for buyers or any other concessions?

As a buyer, what types of properties are most realistic for your price range and the kind of financing you will be doing? Do you have financing options from trusted lenders on programs and incentive to first time buyers and in areas of different cities where special programs are offered?

A good agent educates you about the reality of purchasing a home, as far as what you can get for your money in your desired areas and criteria that are important to you.

Lastly, whether a buyer or seller, do you know why properties in one particular location sell faster than another? Are there challenges that could affect values?

An amazing agent can prevent you from making an expensive mistake when it comes to buying (such as a home near a soon-to-be-constructed highway or busy railroad tracks — no wonder it was priced so cheap). And alternatively, that same agent can help sellers position their property in the best way when taking into account external factors around it that can affect value.

Knowledge is not necessarily power

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing when it comes to real estate. At the click of a mouse or a tap on your phone, you can get an instant valuation of your property. Is that value realistic? On which properties is it based? What did those properties have that yours does or does not? What were the dates and details of those sales?

Companies like Zillow with their Zestimates, have ongoing lawsuits across the country from attempts at property valuations. Only a real estate agent who is licensed and has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) would be able to give you correct information about your market and home values.

An online valuation page could be significantly more or less than what your property is actually worth. Just like using the internet to self-diagnose a medical issue is not the best idea, the same applies to real estate. Leave it to the professionals

Agents are expert problem-solvers

So what happens when the inspection reveals termites, a leaky roof, an abandoned oil tank, old electrical— or worse yet, when an inspector paints a picture of a fairly minor repair issue in a far worse light than it is? What happens when an appraisal comes in at less than contract sales price?

These are run-of-the-mill issues that agents face every day. They don’t make our palms sweat and cause us to faint, instead we stand tall in the face of the challenges this business presents. After all, this is what we do and we do it every day.

In all honesty, our business is more about problem solving and less about everything else.

If you are selling your home on your own and encounter these situations, can you prevent the buyer from running for the hills, while keeping your cool? Do you have a plethora of experts you can call upon, often at a moment’s notice, who can offer a set of options?

As a buyer, do you really want to be addressing repair items with a seller directly? Sellers are often standoffish about repairs,  particularly when they are trying to sell their home on their own — there are never any issues as far as they are concerned. These things can affect sellers and buyers emotionally. We take the emotion out of the equation for both parties.

Managing the day to day feedback

You decided to sell on your own. Do you have a record of who has come through and when? If they had an agent, who it was and what the buyer thought of it? If they didn’t buy your home, what did they buy instead and why?

That’s what agents working with sellers manage. Are there any themes emerging? If there are concerns that are presenting as a challenge for buyers, do you know how to address them?

Are there ways to combat these objections by providing additional information or consulting with needed designers, contractors, landscapers, the homeowners’ association and so on?

Superstar agents can effectively address objections such as “didn’t like layout” or “needs too much work” and know how to position a property effectively, so buyers go from “just looking” to locking an offer up.

We also take the time to work with buyer agents to address similar feedback from their clients. Selling real estate is a contact sport, where we constantly are speaking with cooperating agents.

Effective negotiation skills are required

As a seller, you received a low offer on the property. Do you make a counteroffer, outright reject it or not respond?

As a buyer, you want to make an offer that asks the seller for everything and the kitchen sink (well, because it’s attached, it conveys as part of the house anyway).

How do you formulate a strategy? Do you know your opponent and have you gathered much intelligence about them? How much should you offer or counteroffer?

Does your response risk alienating the other side? What about more than one offer? How do you facilitate, manage and negotiate effectively to keep all interested buyers in play?

The negotiation landscape can get extremely complex, which is why a third party is always beneficial in acting as a buffer zone to separate emotion from facts and work to reach an objective outcome. We are the third party.

An ounce of prevention…

The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies when it comes to real estate because surprise is never a good thing when it comes to buying or selling.

A good agent walks you through the necessary steps before you start your property search or put your property on the market.

As a buyer, there are certain things you must do before starting your property search, such as getting pre-approved for a loan— so you don’t waste time looking at properties that aren’t a match, and so that you don’t waste a seller’s time coming through a home that you cannot afford. As a safety concern both fiscally and physically, we also ask sellers for pre-approval before we commence our search with them.

As a seller, are there items that should be addressed before putting your property on the market? Should you get a pre-listing inspection, and are there any repair items that need to be taken care of?

What about staging or editing your furnishings and decor? What items make the most sense for you to address to position your home for maximum exposure?

Do you need a floor plancreated for your home? Is there any pertinent information you need to pull together that is critical for the sale?

In short, a top-notch agent guides you on critical steps you need to take before stepping into the market that will save you time, headaches and hassle when an offer comes through.

Marketing expertise sells homes. Period

Image is everything when it comes to real estate, and a poorly presented property is like showing up at the Oscars without using a stylist.

Do you have access to the right photographers, video producers, stagers and interior designers to make your property shine?

Although you might think marketing your property on your own is easy, there is a difference between playing photographer and hiring someone with an objective, critical eye for what kind of marketing will attract the right buyers.

Are you able to find the money shot? What photos are going to best present the property? Should a dronebe used, and for which shots? Are drones legal in your community?

Are you able to create a narrative to effectively tell your property’s story and how to best find that story and articulate it? What kind of marketing collateral can you prepare that’s going to communicate the features, benefits and advantages of your property over another effectively, and how is that collateral going to be distributed?

Do you have access to vendors that might be able to offer incentives or discounts for buyers who could benefit from their services with the new home?

Social Media is key 

Can you broadcast your property across numerous websites and various social medianetworks to pique buyer and agent interest — locally, nationally and possibly internationally?

Are you able to reach hundreds, thousands or even more with the click of a mouse? Are you able to use predictive analytics and targeted digital marketing to put your property in front of the right prospects? A top agent is skilled in making your property go viral in just seconds.

Connections, agents are better connected than anyone

Real estate agents are connected to just about everyone and everything. The three degrees of separation rule applies here.

Agents are constantly in the know — it’s their job to be. They leverage their relationships with real estate related service providers, lenders — and, most importantly, other agents — to help bring the sale together.

Agents exchange and share advice and ideas that can help one another, and by networking and information-sharing, they help bridge the gap between for sale and sold.

They also have access to properties that are not officially on the market and often know deals not advertised that builders might be offering in terms of discounts or specials that can help save you money.

Need a handyman or a really good painter? Ask your agent about the contacts he or she has, and get hooked up with great providers.

Trusted advisor, fiduciary and your rock. That’s what real estate agents do and who we are.

Who else can you go to with a question or concern almost any time of the day or night? Yes, as much as we don’t like to admit it, there is no such thing as office hours for real estate.

A good real estate agent is your trusted adviser every step of the way, and unlike your attorney or accountant, you won’t get charged for every phone call or email.

Who else can you unload your qualms, fears and worries upon regarding the buying and selling process? When your peanut gallery of friends, family and co-workers are giving you confusing advice, who can you trust for objective information to make the best possible decision?

Don’t go into the buying and selling process blind. Let a real estate professional be your guide so that you can celebrate this incredible milestone without worry, knowing that the heavy lifting and problem-solving was done for you.

Courtesy of @MichelleMumoli and @InmanNews

Posted in News
April 10, 2019

Want to Buy a Home? Here’s Why You’ll Need a Pre-Approval

What you need to know about the pre-approval process.

I speak to hundreds of buyers every year,  new home buyers sometimes believe they are are too early in the process to obtain a pre-approval. Let me be clear here, it’s never too early. A pre-approval letter lasts for a while and you, as a buyer, need this (not to be confused with a pre-qualification letter, which means nothing) to know exactly what you can afford to buy. The Realtor© representing you, will need this to search for listings in your budget. Last but not least, this pre-approval is submitted with your offer to purchase to sellers to know that you can obtain a mortgage to purchase their home.

What is a pre-approval?

Pre-approval means a conversation with a lender who will make a call on whether you’re eligible to qualify for a home loan and how much you can qualify for. They come to these conclusions based on proof of finances provided by the potential buyer as well as a few other things, employment history etc. 

Why Do I Need to Get Pre-Approved?

When I first sit down with my buyers to assess their needs, they sometimes attempt to give me their credit score and see if I can figure out whether they can get a mortgage. I do not sell mortgages, I only sell real estate.  I carefully explain that the lenders they should be working with, are ones that have a myriad of products that can help them obtain the specific home you’re looking for. For example, portfolio loans; many major banks will not take on giving a mortgage to a condo building who’s owner to renter ratio is askew or have trying finances. Also many condo buildings will not accept FHA loans. Talk to a lender who can help you with these issues. Bottom line, real estate is the best investment in your life by creating equity. Equity creates wealth. 

Often people don’t realize how much money they’ll actually need to put down and how that relates to how much house they want to buy. Different down payments affect your monthly payments, mortgage insurance, etc. 

By working with a lender, you can run different scenarios to help you determine the best strategy when deciding critical factors like house cost and size. For example, you may think you’ll save money by buying a smaller condo. But after factoring in monthly homeowner association assessments (monthly dues you pay to the condo association), you might find that a single-family home is actually more affordable. 

When it comes to loans, a common mistake that people make is assuming that a loan product their friend used will work the same for them. Although there’s a possibility it could work for you, it’s not a safe assumption to make. No two loans are alike just as no two people’s finances and life circumstances are exactly the same.  Another common mistake is to use automated or online banks, that may end up costing you in the long run, due to varying rates and difficulties in certain markets those companies may not be familiar with. Ask your loan officer for their experience in the market in which you are looking to buy.

It’s important to note that loan products have different costs, such as varying lender origination fees. You can work with a loan officer to help learn the cost of a loan, how the loan process works, and which products will work for you. While your costs might not be exact at this stage, you can get a good idea of what to expect. 

Gaining this awareness and comfort of shopping for a house that you know you can afford and make payments on, is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to get pre-approved. 

Being pre-approved shows buyers that you are serious and prepared to make an offer. In some competitive markets, people won’t even consider an offer unless a pre-approval letter comes along with it. Most recently, I’ve started to see buyers send me mortgage commitment letters to get the leg up against other offers. Some markets are still exceptionally competitive, like Bayonne, Jersey City and the surrounding Hudson & Bergen County areas. As your lender and Realtor© about how to help you win a bid, in a multiple bid scenario. Your lender and Realtor© should be working together to get you to your goal of moving into your dream home.

Is it a Tough Process?

Getting pre-approved is a pretty simple process. You need to know your financial situation — how much money you consistently make, your assets, how much debt you have, and the sources of those debts — and articulate it clearly to your lender. Articulate is the key word here. Although many people wish buying a home was completely automated, from the inception, you will need to be active in speaking with a lender, a Realtor©, an attorney, home inspectors etc etc. Your Realtor© and attorney will be doing most of this but you are as equally involved in the process as the rest of your team.

What Will My Lender Need to Check During Pre-Approval?

Your credit score. Yes, your lender will then have to pull your credit. Don’t worry, pulling your score once shouldn’t affect your score and pre-approval last for 3-6months, which keeps you on a timeline.

  • W2s or 1099s
  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Account statements
  • Your list of monthly expenses

Gathering all these documents can feel like busy work and is typically the hardest part for you. 

If you want to have an idea of whether you’ll get pre-approved before choosing a lender, a good first step is finding out your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. Your DTI ratio helps a lender understand how much of your monthly income goes to paying debt and what you have left after those debts are paid. You can calculate the ratio by dividing monthly debt payments by gross monthly income.

The lower your debt-to-income ratio is, the better. A lower DTI will make you seem less risky to lenders.

Although each loan product is different, most lenders would prefer your debt-to-income ratio to be at 36% or lower.

Our friends at House Logic made a simple worksheet to help you easily deduce your own debt-to-income ratio. You can download and print yours here.

What Comes After Pre-Approval?

If you can’t get pre-approved, it can be a sign that you aren’t ready to buy a house yet. In that case, work with your lender to identify what you need to change or improve before trying again.  If you are pre-approved, then comes the fun part!

Basically, with your pre-approval letter you are ready to go out and confidently look for homes with the help of your Realtor©. When you make an offer that’s accepted, you’ll officially apply for a loan, and the lenders will go over all your documents again. 

Note that you have the option to choose a lender thta didn’t grant your original pre-approval.

In fact, once an offer is accepted, it’s a good idea to get a loan estimate from two to three different lenders and compare them to see which terms are the best fit for you. Things to consider are loan fees, interest rate, and annual percentage rate.

By the way, APR (annual percentage rate) is a good measure of your loan costs because it’s broader picture of your costs than the interest rate. It takes into account points and mortgage fees among other things. So it’ll be higher than the interest rate.

The lender will let you know how long you have to decide on a mortgage before your loan offer expires. Once you decide on a lender, it’s time to go buy your dream house! 

Remember: Don’t be overwhelmed! One of the many reasons to choose a professional loan officer and a good Realtor© is that they can help explain these processes and walk you through the difficult steps. That being said, I hope this article helped you to understand the basics about the pre-approval process. 

My team and I are here to help with all of it!

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