Is a conventional loan in New Jersey the perfect fit for you?

Which type of conventional loan might fit your plan?

Conventional loans are known as the “plain vanilla” type of loans. Conventional loans are very popular due to the fact they are very basic, are known for lower interest rates, and can cause fewer hurdles in the process compared to an FHA or VA loan. There are also two different types of conventional loans: conforming and non-conforming loans. What’s the difference?

A conforming loan meets the guidelines that are set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The current maximum loan you can obtain through a conforming loan is $417,000, yet the price limit could be higher in more expensive counties. The borrower must also meet the guidelines in regard to their debt-to-income ratio and the loan must be properly documented. Conforming loans are popular because they offer lower interest rates.

However, if you don’t qualify for a conforming loan, that doesn’t mean you are not entitled to a conventional loan. Borrowers who do not qualify for a conforming loan can apply for a non-conforming loan. Non-conforming loans are not conformed to the Fannie or Freddie Mae guidelines. Usually, borrowers don’t qualify for conforming loans because of the loan to value ratio, previous credit score and history, problems documentation, the amount of debt in total already obtained, recent bankruptcy, and debt-to-income ratio would be the most common factors one wouldn’t qualify for a conforming loan.

Check out our video on conventional loans here:

What is a Conventional Loan?

Does a conventional loan sound like the perfect plan? Let a mortgage professional help you out today. Pick up the phone and dial 973-577-7008 and one of our loan officers can help you decide if a conventional loan is the best for you!

Toothpaste – it’s not just for teeth!

Ah, the all mighty toothpaste. This invention helps us to keep our teeth pearly white, fight gingivitis, and make our breaths minty fresh. However, many have no idea that this wonderful paste or gel can be used for other reasons and might be able to replace some of those household chemicals. Instead of running to the store to grab certain items or using chemicals, try using toothpaste to fix your problems below.

  1. Did your dog got in a fight with a skunk and came back to you smelling a bit… skunky? Bath your dog with water, then put toothpaste into his fur and scrub it in his fur with his shampoo and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and rinse it off. Fido will be as clean as a whistle! Yet, we can’t guarantee that he won’t run into the pesky old skunk again.
  2. Do you have a white pair of sneakers or tennis shoes, but over time dirt and grime has made the sneaker look off white? Try scrubbing toothpaste in the fabric and wash it off. Your sneakers will be as white as your teeth and you don’t have to throw it in the laundry bin with your dirty laundry!
  3. Did you know that toothpaste is also good for polishing silver? Just use a tube of toothpaste and an old tooth brush and scrub it on the silver. However, be very careful as too much toothpaste has abrasive particles that can polish off your silver tarnish.
  4. Are there nail holes in the wall for hanging your paintings? Don’t go running to your hardware store and buy spackle just yet! If the holes are tiny, you can seal the holes up with toothpaste. Let it dry and voila, the hole is gone!
  5. Run out of hair gel to spike your hair up? Use some of the gel toothpaste to shape your spikes. Not only will it hold in its shape, but your hair will smell minty fresh!
  6. Are your headlights on your car a bit foggy? Use good ol’ toothpaste to clean them! Just scrub the toothpaste on the headlights and your lights will be brighter during the night time.

There are many tricks of the trade for an average tube of toothpaste. Did you use any of these tips or do you have any other tips you want to share with the community?

Buying a Fixer-Upper? Check out the FHA 203k loan!

203k loans can increase your appraisal value

A good number of homes that are for sale might need some repairs prior to moving in, especially if it is a short sale or foreclosed. However, we’ve all learned to never judge a book by its cover, especially if the home needs some TLC. To help finance the repairs, you should look into an FHA 203k loan.

Check out our video on FHA loans here:

What is a FHA Loan?

FHA 203k loans are grouped in two different types of loans: FHA Streamline 203k loan program and the FHA 203k loan. Qualifying for the 203k loan will be the same as obtaining a regular FHA loan. Repairs and construction won’t start on the home until the loan closes and an escrow account is set up to pay the contractors.
A 203k streamline loan is a limited repair program and allows repairs ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. The loan will cover the purchase price of the home plus the amount that is needed for repairs. Most of the repairs on the streamline loan can be considered “cosmetic” and a HUD consultant is not required as well, which makes the process a bit simpler.
FHA 203k loan programs can be used to finance the improvements that are needed like new roofing as well as the improvements that are wanted like new hardwood flooring. The appraised value of the home can also go up to an additional 10% over after the improvements.
So if you are on the market for a new home and want to show it some TLC, consider a 203k loan. Do you qualify for a 203k loan? Did you find the perfect house that needs some work? Contact one of our mortgage professionals at 973-577-7008 and let them help you create your picture perfect house.

Fun Facts About the Super Bowl 2017

Super Bowl 2017 Trivia

Super Bowl 2017 – New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons

For a little over 50 years, people gather around to watch the one game that will determine which division of the national football league will be the ultimate champion for the season: The National Football Conference (NFC) or the American Football Conference (AFC). It’s one of the most watched sporting events in the world, and a great reason to gather with friends and family! With Super Bowl 2017 coming up soon, feel free to drop these fun facts to make you look like the smarty pants at the bar or home.

  1. The first two Super Bowls were not even known as the Super Bowl. They were called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. It wasn’t called the Super Bowl until the 3rd
  2. Roman numerals are normally used to identify each game. The one exception to this rule was Super Bowl 50. But why did they go with Super Bowl 50 and not Super Bowl L? Because when the league tried to make the logo, the “L” didn’t work out and decided to use numbers.
  3. Super Bowl I and II almost didn’t exist. Back in 1967 and 1968, the big game was not broadcast live. So when they taped the games, someone made a mistake and recorded over the taped game with soap operas! However, they could always defend on their fans as one of them have recorded it and handed it over to them.
  4. It pays more to win the super bowl than to lose. While each one of the players on the winning team takes home $97,000 each, each person on the team that didn’t win (or we can say it… the losing team) takes home $49,000
  5. To date, the Super Bowl has never been able to reach overtime. Many have come close though!
  6. Americans all together drink an estimated 325.5 million gallons of beer and devour 1.25 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday!
  7. With all the food and drinks being devoured on this day, it also marks the 2nd largest day for food consumption in the USA, falling behind Thanksgiving.
  8. Hall of Famer, Charles Haley, holds the record for the most Super Bowl wins when he was the pass rusher for the 49ers and the Cowboys. He has 5 rings for each win; a ring for each finger. The ring alone also costs around $5,000, which makes Charles wearing around $25,000 on his one hand alone.
  9. The team that hosts the Super Bowl has NEVER played in that game as well! Will the Minnesota Vikings break this record next year when they host Super Bowl LII?
  10. Are you planning on being “sick” after the big game? You and 1.5 million people are estimated to call out on Monday. The boss might suspect something is going on.

This year, millions of us will be watching to see if the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons will bring home the trophy in Super Bowl 2017. Are you on AFC or NFC? Should Brady get his 5th ring this year or will Ryan steal it from him?

Low on Cash? Do you know about these No Money Down Real Estate Loans?

No Money Down Loans

Many Americans think that in order to buy a home, they would need to put at least 20% of the purchase price down for a down payment not 0% or no money down.  For example, if they want to buy a home with a $100,000 price tag, they would need to put down at least $20,000.  I don’t know about them, but we certainly don’t have $20,000 lying around.  Yet it is possible to save up for it over time.  However, how long would it take for us to save up that much? Since it’s not that easy to come up with $20,000 overnight, or even in a year or two, the requirement for a down payment has drastically reduced.  There are many loan programs out there that require as little as 3.5% of the purchase price as the down payment.  Did you know that there are a few loan programs that have no down payment as a requirement?  What loan programs offer something this crazy and we’ve never heard of?

  1. VA loans

    VA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and require no down payment at all. The other plus side of this loan is that they do not require their borrowers to carry mortgage insurance as well. However, the downside of this loan is that they are very unpopular to many sellers, especially if you want to buy a home in poor condition. The VA standards are stricter than the average non VA loan because they want you to find a home in good shape. Also, this loan is only available to anyone who has served in the military as well as their surviving spouses.

    Check out our video on VA loans here:

    What is a VA Loan?

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  2. USDA loans

    USDA loans are mortgages that are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are part of the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan program. Unlike a VA loan, USDA loans are available to everyone. One of the requirements of this loan is what location you are looking to be in. The property must be in a suburban or rural area, which means that you are restricted in a geographical area. You also must purchase a single family home that will occupied by you, and if you do not put down a down payment, you will be required to pay mortgage insurance as well.

If you are first time home buyer looking for no down payment, take a look to see if you qualify for any of the loans offered. For more information, contact a licensed mortgage professional at 973-577-7008.

8 Mortgage Mistakes you should not make

Picture this: you found your perfect house. You put in your offer and the seller accepts! Now it’s all about obtaining that mortgage to secure the deal. But did you know there are some mistakes you could be making that will affect your mortgage? We advise you to avoid the following:

  1. Picking any old mortgage – Look at all of your options and companies. Do the math and lay your choices side-by-side. Have emergency savings for the worst case scenarios
  2. Confusing Pre-Approval or Pre-Qualification with Commitment – Yes, there is a difference in being pre-approved and being pre-qualified. When you are pre-qualified, the lender will give you an estimate of how much you can borrow from them based on the information you provide. When you are pre-approved, the lender looked over your information you provide and also to lend you up to a given amount at current interest rates within certain conditions. It is better to be pre-approved than to be pre-qualified, however even a pre-approved is not a guarantee. The lender’s final clearance and loan commitment are subject to an appraisal satisfactory to the lender, a good title, and a last minute credit check and other verifications.
  3. Having too much debt – You could be the perfect candidate and pay all of your bills on time. However, they also look at your debt-to-income ratio as well as timeliness payments. In other words, being up to your ears in debt is a sure way to be turned down for your mortgage. A way to avoid this is by avoiding buying any big-ticket purchases until you buy your house.
  4. Forgetting about your credit – You should know your credit score and credit report from the inside out. Check your credit report for any possible mistakes and you can order a free report once a year from the big three credit agencies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you see a mistake, dispute it. If your credit score isn’t what you want it to be, repair it before you apply for a mortgage.
  5. Lying on your loan application – Exaggerating or putting down untruths on your mortgage application and income can be a federal offense. If the lender finds out, they can make your loan due and payable. The ultimate price for lying on your loan application will fall on you the borrower.
  6. Hiding from payments – The worst thing you can do is ignore phone calls and letters from lenders and businesses you are behind on with your payments. Lenders have many options that could help you avoid foreclosure and losing your home, but they won’t be able to help if you don’t talk to them about your difficulties.
  7. Skipping the home inspection – Failing to pay the extra free to inspect the home could be a very costly mistake. Good home inspectors examine houses from top to bottom. They are able to tell you how long the appliances will last, if the roof or basement leaks, and if the mechanical systems in the house are in good shape. If you get caught off guard by the necessary repairs, it will mean more money for you and your mortgage payments.
  8. Making big life changes – It’s a good idea to keep your job for at least a year or two before applying for a mortgage. Lenders like to lend to people who have stability. If you are thinking of switching jobs, consider doing it after you closed the deal on your mortgage.

Are there any other mistakes you shouldn’t make? Are you not too sure if you should do this or that? If you are lost and confused and want a professional answer, call us at 973-577-7008 and we can connect you to a mortgage loan originator who can help you avoid these costly mistakes.

Are you ready to go from tenant to owning your own home?

It’s the American dream to own their own property instead of giving their hard earn dollars to pay someone else’s mortgage off. The incentives for first time home buyers are amazing. Everyone knows one of the things you need to do to buy a home is to save some money for a down payment. However, many don’t know the other small, but crucial, details that are very important in homeownership. Here are some things you should do your homework on to see if you are prepared to take that next major step.

  • Understand the full cost of your mortgage payment – It’s simple when we were renting. Whatever you owe for the month pays for the roof over your head and certain utilities. However, when you own a home, you will have other factors that are going into your monthly payments. Your total monthly payment will be the principal, interest, taxes and insurance. You can use our mortgage calculator to find out how much your monthly payment will be. Also take note on what is included in your tax payments. Is water, sewerage, and trash removal included? Another factor that could affect the overall payment could be homeowners association (HOA) fees if you are buying a condo/townhome. Also take a look on what it covers as well too. General maintains, landscaping, and roof replacement are usually included in those fees.
  • Know your homeowner tax benefits – Everyone loves a tax break here and there! Your mortgage interest and your property taxes are tax deductible when you fill out your annual tax return. With that in mind, those deductions can significantly lower your cost of homeownership. Who doesn’t love a tax break?
  • Calculate rent-vs.-buy – A lot of people will judge rent payment vs their total mortgage payment when it comes to costs. However, when you compare, remember the other benefits that comes with home ownership like building equity in your favor or tax deductions will save you more money in the long run compare to when you rent. It might be cheaper to rent in your desire location, but keep in mind that your rent could go up over time as well as missing out on all the other benefits.
  • Find out which mortgage is the best for your budget and timeline – A lot of first time buyers don’t know that there are many programs that will fit your needs; the mortgage business is not a one size fit all industry! Want to pay your mortgage off quickly and have a lower APR rate? Look at a 15 year loan program instead of a 30 year program! Don’t have the perfect credit score or don’t have 20% to put down on a home? An FHA loan might be the best fit for you! However, keep in mind if you put down less than 20% on your home, you are required to pay mortgage insurance. Ask a professional loan expert about private mortgage insurance how much more it can add to the overall cost. Also, some loans that have PMI can be refinanced to get rid of the insurance, so ask them about that as well for the future.
  • Know about your credit score – In order to obtain the best rate and improve the chances of getting approved for your loan, your credit score should be in tip top shape! Before you buy, use free websites like CreditKarma to find out what your credit score is and check for errors before you put your application in. Another way to improve your score is if you have one credit card in your name consider adding another card to your name. Your credit score can drop up to 15 points when you open up the account, but over time when you established good payment history, your score will go up since you are managing more than one credit account.

Were any of these items a complete shocker to you? For more information on first time home buyers programs and incentives in New Jersey, contact a loan specialist at 973-577-7008.

Behind the man and his dream

On this day please celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life with me by learning a little behind the history of how this day was declared a National Holiday.

It took 15 years to create the federal Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. After the bill became stalled, petitions endorsing the holiday containing six million names were submitted to Congress.

Conyers and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, Democrat of New York, resubmitted King holiday legislation each subsequent legislative session. Public pressure for the holiday mounted during the 1982 and 1983 civil rights marches in Washington.

Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. A compromise moving the holiday from Jan. 15, King’s birthday, which was considered too close to Christmas and New Year’s, to the third Monday in January helped overcome opposition to the law.

Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live—creating the Beloved Community.


On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.


Let’s take this day to help him achieve his and the American dream.

Happy Rubber Ducky Day!

Today may be Friday the 13th but it is also National Rubber Ducky Day!  Rubber Ducky’s have a long and respected history in the world of children, and most of us remember having at least one as part of our collection of bath-time toys. Rubber Duckies have a clouded history, no one really knows precisely where they came from, but whether it was our own bath time or the song from Ernie from The Muppets, we all knew of them and wanted one! Rubber Duckie day is here to help us remember to appreciate this part of our childhood cleansing ritual.

History of Rubber Ducky Day
The History of the Rubber Duckie, at least its origins, are lost to the mists of time, but what is known is that they first appeared prior to World War I, and were actually shaped like a broad variety of animals. Rubber Duckies were just the most popular of the varieties. During the era of the World Wars, rubber was too valuable a commodity to be used on simple toys, so plastic and vinyl began to be used.

Landon Smart Lawrence was the first to patent a design for these illustrious toys, specifically the variety that was weighted so that, while still buoyant, it would always stand up the right way in the water. While it was a patent for a broad variety of toys, it was the duck that was included in the design. Rubber Duckies also have the distinction of being one of only 53 toys that are included in the Toy Hall of Fame, first established in 2013.

How to Celebrate Rubber Ducky Day
So how does one celebrate Rubber Duckie Day? Well first off, you filthy animal, take a bath with your favorite duckie toy! There are hundreds of varieties out there, ranging from pirate duckies to devil duckies, and everything in between. You can use #RubberDuckyDay to denote it in your social media posts, and maybe take in some of your favorite episodes of Sesame Street to remember that age old song about Rubber Duckies.

FHA Loans and Not-So-Perfect-Credit: The Rundown and FHA mortgage requirements in NJ

We’ve all made some mistakes in the past with credit. Missing a payment here, being late on a payment there. Thanks to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), you do not need to have perfect credit to buy a home. Did you know that half of all FHA home buyers today have scores below 680?

The FHA mortgage program was launched in 1934 to help boost and stabilize the American housing market. In plain English, it means FHA makes it easier for people to qualify for a home loan compared to a conventional loan. A few advantages of a FHA loan are:

  • An FHA loan is more accessible since you don’t need a high-paying job or the best credit.
  • Credit score requirements are lower, allowing people with not so perfect credit to qualify.
  • FHA Loans have lower down payments that can get as low as 3.5%, and can be used for a purchase or refinance.
  • Your down payment can be gifted from a relative
  • You can roll in all your closing costs
  • You can also get cash out on a refinance

Thanks to some of these benefits and more, FHA loans will play a major role in the U.S. Housing Market.  If you have a low score, be upfront about it and ask your mortgage loan originator. Some lenders will allow a score as low as 580, yet some have additional “investor overlays” requiring a credit score of 620 or higher. But are you curious on how your credit score is “created”?

Credit scores are a way to measure the risk of the applicant’s willingness to make timely payments on their loan. They are measured by risk. Consumers who pay their debts on time usually have higher credit scores than others. It can also be changed regarding how much you owe based on your credit card limits as well as any collections in your credit history. To this date, the FICO credit score is the most common system used by mortgage lenders, scores ranging from 300-850. So when it comes to mortgage approvals, lenders use the scores published by the three well-known, major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

To learn more about your credit and FHA loans rates in NJ, call us at (973) 577-7008.