Ocean County, NJ Real Estate News

By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
 Buydowns: Don’t get caught up in the Hype. Buydowns are NOT the greatest thing since sliced bread. They aren’t new, in fact they are an ancient tool we put at the bottom of the toolbox 30yrs ago because it doesn’t work as well as others at our disposal.   Here’s why: In today’s world a seller MUST pay for the buydown.  Last I checked it is still a seller’s market (at least it is in my market) and seller concessions are not the norm. You will also have to qualify at the note rate, so the highest years rate is where your ratios are based so qualifying may actually be more difficult with a buydown. Back in the 80s and early 90s we used 2/1 buydowns all the time as a tool to qualify at a lower rate. When guidelines changed and didn’t allow for that anymore we stopped using them.  With inte...
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PENDING! EYE APPEAL, LOCATION, EXPANSION POSSIBILITIES...all make homes sell! This home has all three! Enjoy the heart of summer living in this gracefully middle-aged Cape Cod situated on a corner lot just blocks from the best restaurants and amusements LBI has to offer! This charming shore home offers south-facing windows in the spacious living area that bathe the room in light, large kitchen with adjoining utility room and laundry room, along with exterior access to large, fenced backyard for those afternoon barbecues. The oversized detached garage with work bench is perfect for those families with hobbies offering ample storage area for surf boards, beach chairs and bikes. This Island Retreat boasts 2 bedrooms with hardwood flooring, cable hookup and room for your king-size furniture...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
The Sky is NOT falling, and the bubble is not going to pop.I have seen so much doom and gloom in the Real Estate world, and a lot of it is in the Mainstream Media.. Nothing sells better than a negative headline, and unfortunately news is a business that sells advertising.So, are housing prices falling as some have said?  I don't see it.  We are seeing price reductions on listings, but that is because they were priced wrong to start with, not because there are not buyers out there willing to pay market price.  Inventory is up, so prices must be going down.. Ummmm, again- look at the data yourself. Yes we have more inventory.. but it was at abysmal levels and arguably still is. Take a look at this graph of inventory for single family homes:This is as far back as inventory data goes, but I...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
NEW CONFORMING LIMIT ANNOUNCEMENT With prices continuing to climb for residential Real Estate, it is no surprise to see another increase in the conforming limit.  We are up a little more than 10% from last years limit with a Maximum loan amount for a single family conforming loan now at $715,000 ($1,073,000 for Alaska and Hawaii). We will begin offering this loan amount for single family homes immediately for new applications.  High Balance loan limits or 2-4 family Loan limits will stay the same until we receive more information from Fannie and Freddie.  We do anticipate the High Balance limit will be over 7 figures, matching AK and HI above.Fun Fact: When I first started in the business the Conforming loan limit was $153,100 ad we didn't have a high balance option.  Anything above $15...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
 With the latest Fannie announcement today (SEL-2022-08) we have new acceptable sources for gifts:Assets and verification of assets  has always been Strict on Mortgages. FNMA has made Gift giving a little easier with this latest update. FNMA now has 3 categories of donors: Relative Unmarried Partner (new) Unrelated Friend (new) The 2 new categories are for non-relatives that share a familial relationship with the borrower.  These are defined as A domestic partner of the borrower An individual engaged to marry the borrower A former relative of the borrower A Godparent of the borrower A relative of the domestic partner of the borrower previously we were not allowed to accept gifts from anyone other than a relative so this is certainly an improvement on the guidelines.  Keep in mind that c...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
Buyer Fatigue: Our buyers have not had it easy in this market and they are tired. We need to keep them engaged and optimistic. (I think we may even have some agent Fatigue as well?) While inventory is not great, it is improving.  Bidding wars still exist but not to the extent they were last year.  Buyers: It is still a good time to buy, especially with the big increase in rent payments we have been seeing. Agents: Use the tools we have available - There is a true cost to waiting. Reach back out to your tired buyers and reconnect With news overload and a difficult market there is less competition, while still a seller's market it is becoming more friendly to buyers and every forecast is still showing home prices increasing for years to come.Rates, Inflation, etc… Fed Chair Powell spooked...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
Not Human Arms, but Adjustable Rate Mortgages, ARMs for short.(Because everything in the mortgage world is an acronym)With the uptick in interest rates this year we have had numerous inquiries about Adjustable Rate Mortgages.. but we have really not been using them for our traditional buyers at all.For most of 2022 the Yield curve has been very flat, meaning there has been almost no difference between long term and short term interest rates. This has caused ARMs to be effectively non existent. In recent weeks we have seen the yield curve invert significantly... In English: Long term rates have actually been lower than Short term rates.  Here is an example from this morning: Yesterday this was even worse with the 10 year being 0.55% lower than the 2yr which is opposite what you would exp...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
 Personal Time:  Our business can be a huge mental drain. Make sure you have something outside of work to shut work off and have it on your schedule as an appointment. If you do not, you will burn out. For me #1 is sailing and a close second is wood working. “Me Time” is important for your mental health. I could write volumes about this topic… simply put: Find something for YOU and make time for it.                                                                                                                          FED: The Federal reserve announced at 2pm yesterday a 75 basis point increase in Fed Funds (as anticipated) and they also confirmed they will continue to reduce their balance sheet and “ongoing rate hikes are appropriate”. Post meeting comments from Chairman Powell were al...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
 Product Spotlight:  Our Simple Access Cash Flow program is here to help your investors! With skyrocketing rents, it is very likely that investors can buy homes with positive cashflow and our investor program will ONLY look at the PITI verses the market rent…  If the property carries itself that is the only income qualifier. Of course, we will still need to run credit and verify assets. This cannot be used for first time buyers or for someone that doesn’t currently own a primary home.                                                                                                                          Recession: Based on current indicators it is very likely we will see a recession in the next year or so. 1st quarter GDP is already an indicator as is the inverted yield curve. While Rec...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
  Product Spotlight:  Have you had any difficult to qualify clients? Our Simple Access program is here to help! This program will help Self Employed buyers qualify allowing us to use: 12-24 Months of bank statements to show cash flow instead of tax returns. 1099s only Investment property, Cashflow using only the market rent VS the PITI to qualify. While not a “no doc” these are great ways to get clients into homes when their CPA is a little too good at finding write-offs.                                                                                                                          Interest rates: Did someone say Federal Reserve?  Unless you were living under a rock last week, I am sure you heard the Fed Increased Fed Funds 0.75% on Wednesday. On the surface you probably think ...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
As I came up with the idea for this post, and started to put it together I realize it sounds like I am anti Association...That is not true, but there are things to be aware of when purchasing a home the is in an association.Beyond some of the obvious items that include rules you must abide by, assigned parking, and use of your property there are some less obvious things that you need to consider when buying. Hidden Fees: While not actually hidden, they are more of an "unknown" you need to ask about. Most associations have fees to join. The most common one is a Capital Contribution which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. While this can be painful when you buy, as an owner they will help to keep the association healthy in the future. In addition, if you are buying a ...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
 First off... I have spent almost 35yrs in this crazy business in a predominantly zero point market place in NJ.  In English: We don't pay points here (not often at least)If you have not been paying attention we have had a pretty solid 2% increase in rate since the end of 2021, and even more if you go back a year or so.  It is rare that rates move that quickly, we hit 5 much faster than we thought we would and it is looking like 6 will come this year as well.When interest rates make fast moves like that we experience "Price Compression" where interest rates stack on top of each other. While this does happen often and it can become cheap to buy the next eighth, it usually is short lived.  In today's market you can often grab at least 1/2% improvement in rate for 1 point for a conventiona...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
There is a widely popular TV Commercial that has a Cow telling you how to boost your credit scores... in my experience it has not helped my clients.To be fair, I have not seen a before and after with this service, but I have seen numerous clients that have used it and they never have great scores, just a confusing report with "self reported" items adding monthly payments that need to be sorted out from the "real stuff" With so many automated systems running behind the scenes this is a recipe for trouble since a computer is not smart and only sees more debt. While this service may help someone with ZERO credit history generate a score to satisfy a landlord, it will not help (much) to fix bad, and it is unlikely to help for mortgage purposes."Thin credit" is one of the items mentioned in ...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
Be forewarned, this may come across as a little bit of a rant... Have you ever heard: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?  I am always shocked when people do not understand that concept.I am writing this based on a hand full of recent experiences with clients. 1) I will start start with a past client that just called me yesterday to see if he could refinance.  He started his refi journey with "his bank" who told him he could get a 2.0% interest rate last year on a 30yr VA. That never materialized at all and he moved on to "branch of the service" FCU who said they could do a rate in the High 2's and he couldn't get them to call him back after applying, could not get his loan to closing.. and I asked When did you apply... he answered: "September".  I tried not to laugh out l...
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By Tony Busanich, 1-4 FAMILY HOME LOAN SPECIALIST
(TD Bank)
Can You Afford This House in Toms River NJ?The very first question that you should ask yourself when investing in real estate is: “Can I afford this House?” Though the concept is straightforward, there are a lot of factors that are going to affect your choice. It is best to stay prepared and get some background research done so that you have a head start on what range of houses you should be looking into. Aside from rough calculations and estimations, online calculators are also a great tool in finding how much of a house you can afford.Basic Points to ConsiderThe first thing that you will need to look out for when buying a home is getting qualified for a mortgage loan. Getting a mortgage loan approved depends upon several factors, including: Your monthly income Your credit score The do...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
4 What?How about 30yr fixed rates flirting with 4's NOW...   I have been saying rates will be going up but everyone has become so accustomed to low rates it will be a shock when it is quoted or shows up on commitments and loan paperwork.We are already starting to see 4s for some scenario's where Loan Level Price Adjustments (LLPAs) for credit scores, LTV, etc are bumping rates into the 4s.Very qualified bigger down payment borrowers are seeing high 3's right now and the 4s will be there soon.  Last time rates were this high was July 2019, and people forget that in 2018 we flirted with 5% for about a year. With inflation at levels we have not seen in decades we are LONG over due for higher rates. the Consumer price index is expected to come in at 7% year over year - and the FED sees heal...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
This is pretty important news, We are just a few months away from new Certificate of Occupancy requirements for any Toms River Re-sale.I took a quick look at the requirements and they appear to be significant, and possibly the most difficult CO inspection in our area (probably similar to Island Heights if not more difficult)  It is Chapter 253 “continued Use and Occupancy of Residential Dwellings”It states:No residential dwelling in the Township may be sold, re-sold, or transferred without the seller thereof obtaining a Municipal Certificate of Continued Use and Occupancy (“MCCUO”) from the Division of Code Enforcement.The “Biggies” I see: No open or unresolved building, zoning, permits code enforcement etc… Furnace certification provided by a licensed HVAC contractor Well Cert Fireplac...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
Wire Fraud continues to plague consumers. It is important to pay VERY close attention before blindly sending funds. As a company we have noticed many attempts to outright steal our clients money and recently observed it to happen at a greater frequency.I have always told my clients to verify with their settlement agent any wire instructions. I even hesitate to use that word in an email as it seems to be the trigger for the bad guys to go after buyers.On our side here is what we say: (your can replace Homebridge with "your lender") That a Homebridge Associate will NEVER request a wire from you or change the destination of a wire. That a Homebridge associate will NEVER ask you for bank account and routing numbers for the purposes of initiating a wire or on behalf of a settlement agent Tha...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
  Happy Groundhog Day! Calendar reminder: If you have any clients currently looking or in process, 2/1 is the magic day that lenders will require the new 1099s or W2s for their files. The IRS requires 1099s and W2s be sent out the end of January so as of 2/1 it will be a requirement for any loan that has not closed yet. Tax returns will not be a requirement until April, or until clients file, (whichever comes first.)                               Interest rates: One of the Fed’s favorite numbers for inflation is personal consumption, PCE. The latest figure has inflation at the highest level in 40yrs. This number leads many to think we will see a large 0.5% increase in Fed funds at the next meeting to show how serious they are about controlling inflation. This on its own could help to se...
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By Robert Rauf
(HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ))
You may be aware that you need your 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement when filing taxes, especially if you want to take advantage of possible home tax deductions. The 1098 statement details all interest paid on a mortgage for a given year. Your 1098 statement should be made available to you by your mortgage servicer, generally by the end of January of the filing year. If you are not signed up for paperless, the statement from your servicer is mailed no later than January 31.Check out some common questions regarding the 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement:Why does my 1098 show that no taxes were disbursed?Your 1098 may show that no taxes were disbursed for one of the following reasons: the taxes were paid at closing, the taxes were not paid from the escrow account in the year the 1098 is rep...
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