Real Estate Analysis and Commentary in [CITY]


When an FHA loan is being used, the appraiser has two objectives. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires him or her to determine the current market value, as with any appraisal. But they also require a property inspection to make sure the home meets HUD's minimum standards for health and safety. Thinking about buying a home with FHA financing? Give us a call and we can assist you in determining if the house you about to purchase conforms to FHA's guidelines. We also offer FHA pre-inspection service for a comprehensive inspection to address any possible issues prior to the appraisal being completed.  

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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on May 9th, 2017 5:03 AMLeave a Comment

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Real estate Movoto ranked towns based on home values, education level, cost of living ... and pizza and bagels

(Movoto’s caption: #7 Toms River. Among the reasons Toms River ranked so highly are its variety of pizza places, diners, and bagel shops and low cost of living. Source: Flickr user kurtlewisart)


Rankings ... everybody loves rankings. The real estate website Movoto recently took a look at New Jersey towns to rank them in order of desirability, and Toms River landed at No. 7 on the list.

No. 1 on the list was Fair Lawn.

“Jersey may be well known for Atlantic City and the shore, but here at Movoto we’ve run the numbers to once and for all reveal which city is the best,” the site said. They started with 50 towns, then whittled it down to 10, based on the following criteria:

  • Amenities per person (pizza places, bagel shops, and diners / person)
  • Amenities total (total pizza places, bagel shops, and diners)
  • Cost of living (percent above or below state average)
  • Crime (percent above or below state average)
  • Education (high school degree attainment rate compared to state average)
  • Median Income (city’s average compared to state average)
  • Home value (percent above or below state average)

The 10 Best Places To Live In New Jersey

1. Fair Lawn

2. Edison

3. Westfield

4. East Brunswick

5. North Brunswick

6. Wayne

7. Toms River

8. West Orange

9. Hoboken

10. North Bergen


Posted by Brian Dreikorn on December 19th, 2014 1:53 PMLeave a Comment

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According to nj.com, a Mendham resident closed on the house May 22 for the price of $1,500,000. In the report, the listing agent said throughout the home’s 64 days on the market, a bidding war had ensued.

The home was sold in December 2013 for $999,900 and put back on the market in February for $1,499,000. Houston married her ex-husband Bobby Brown on the property.

Houston’s estate sued the investment company CPMG of Mendham after family members were not allowed to enter the home and retrieve some of singer’s belongings. A Superior Court Judge in Morristown ruled the family could enter the home and retrieve the 91 belongings it had sought.


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on May 28th, 2014 4:39 PMLeave a Comment

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently approved a major change in the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. This change allows you to receive an advance payment of 50 percent of your RREM grant once you sign your grant agreement (this is for Pathway B applicants who are hiring their own contractor). In order to receive this advance, all you have to do is certify that you have engaged a general contractor or design professional under contract. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) then verifies that the contractor you retained is licensed in New Jersey and not debarred from work. A check for 50 percent of your RREM grant (minus your reimbursement) will then be sent to you to pay your contractor. This advance will considerably speed your repair and reconstruction work so you can get back in your home faster.

Once your contractor invoices or provides receipts for eligible costs that exceed this initial 50 percent advance, you may submit up to two additional payment requests for the remaining balance of your RREM grant.

For more information, please contact your Housing Advisor or call the housing recovery hotline at 1-855-SANDYHM


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on April 14th, 2014 6:04 PMLeave a Comment

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February 19th, 2014 4:21 PM

From the NYT:

Retiring on the House

As baby boomers age, reverse mortgages are expected to gain popularity as a means of covering living expenses. Hence, in the future, more homes passed on to children will come with a bill attached — the balance due on these equity loans.

Federally insured reverse mortgages, officially issued as part of the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, are a way for homeowners 62 and older to borrow money using their home equity as collateral. The proceeds must first be used to pay off any remaining balance on the mortgage, which frees homeowners from monthly payments. Interest and monthly insurance premiums are charged throughout the life of the loan, and the total becomes due when the borrower dies (or permanently moves out of the home).

A common misconception about reverse mortgages is that the lender takes an equity share in the house, said Vivian Dye, a reverse-mortgage consultant at Atlantic Residential Mortgage in Westport, Conn. “It’s a relationship between the bank and the borrower,” she said, “and it’s the same kind of relationship as a regular loan.”

As the first lien holder on the property title, however, the lender must be repaid when the property changes hands. How the heirs handle repayment depends on how much equity is left in the home and whether they want to keep it.

Under federal regulations, after the last borrower named on the loan has died, the lender must provide up to 30 days for the heirs to decide on a repayment method. Heirs then have up to six months to sell or arrange financing, said Colin Cushman, the chief executive of Generation Mortgage, a reverse-mortgage originator and servicer based in Atlanta. But, he noted, as many as two 90-day extensions are allowed if the heirs can show they are actively trying to sell the property.

Should they wish to retain ownership, the heirs might choose to get a separate mortgage to refinance the home and pay off the reverse mortgage. Or, if there is enough equity in the home, they might choose to sell it and use the proceeds to pay off the loan.

The heirs will not be on the hook for any shortfall should the home fail to sell for enough to pay the loan in full. If the loan balance exceeds the value of the home, the amount owed is limited to 95 percent of the appraised value.


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on February 19th, 2014 4:21 PMLeave a Comment

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NFIP SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE – WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR NEW JERSEY DISASTER SURVIVORS?

As disaster survivors in New Jersey continue the process of rebuilding their lives and property, there is an issue many could face: “substantial damage,” as defined by the National Flood Insurance Program.

 It’s common to think substantially damaged merely describes a structure that has sustained a large amount of damage by a flood or other disaster.

 In reality, substantial damage is a specific term that applies to a damaged structure in a Special Flood Hazard Area – or floodplain – for which the total cost of repairs is 50 percent or more of the structure’s market value before the disaster occurred, regardless of the cause of damage.

 For example, if a structure’s market value before the damage was $200,000 and repairs are estimated to cost $120,000, that structure is “substantially damaged.” Land value is excluded from the determination.

 It’s important to know the percentage of structural damage because that information helps property owners decide whether to repair or replace a damaged dwelling, and whether additional work will be needed to comply with local codes and ordinances, such as elevating a house in a floodplain.

 The decision about a structure being substantially damaged is made at a local government level, generally by a building official or floodplain manager.

 For communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, substantial damage determinations generally are required by local floodplain management ordinances. These ordinances must be in place for residents of a community to purchase flood insurance.

 To calculate substantial damage, the local official makes a visual inspection of a house, making notes of the impacts to the structure itself and, when possible, to the interior. These notes, coupled with other information such as property valuations and estimated costs to repair, are used to calculate the percentage of flood damage to the structure.

 Once a determination on the percentage of damage is made, local officials then share that information with the property owners.

 If a building in a floodplain is determined to be substantially damaged, it must be brought into compliance with local floodplain management regulations:

  • Owners who decide to rebuild may need to elevate their structures, or change them in some other way to comply with those local floodplain regulations and avoid future flood losses.
  • Owners of non-residential structures may need to flood proof their buildings.

 For more information about how or why a substantial damage determination was made, property owners should contact their local building official.

 ALL property owners should check with local building officials to determine if permits for repair are required BEFORE beginning the work. Depending on local codes and ordinances, there can be serious consequences for not complying with the permitting process.

 Property owners who have a flood insurance policy and a substantially damaged building in a Special Flood Hazard Area may be able to use additional funds from their flood insurance policy (up to $30,000) to help defray the costs of elevating, relocating or demolishing a structure.

 For more information on this provision – also known as Increased Cost of Compliance – contact your insurance agent.

 For more information on general flood insurance questions, contact your local floodplain administrator, the National Flood Insurance Program (800-427-4661) or your local insurance agent. Information also is available at www.fema.gov and www.floodsmart.gov.

 Additional information about the coastal mapping efforts and Hurricane Sandy recovery can be found on the Region 2 Coastal Analysis Mapping w


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on November 25th, 2013 4:35 PMLeave a Comment

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November 5th, 2013 4:36 PM

 

The 'Sons of Anarchy' are headed this way.

Asbury Park has long been a destination for bikers.

Now, the fictional motorcycle gang from the FX series “Sons of Anarchy” will be rolling into the Paramount Theatre on Ocean Avenue 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 for the “Sons for Sandy Relief.”

Series creator Kurt Sutter, a native of Clark, and stars Katey Sagal, Kim Coates and Theo Rossi will be on hand for a viewing of a Season 6 episode and a Q&A. The evening will benefit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and Staten Strong.

Staten Strong was co-founded by Rossi, a Staten Island native.

“I’m a Jersey boy, born, bred and beaten,” said Sutter in a statement. “When Sandy hit and (blanked) up the state, the initial outpouring of aid was fantastic, but a year later, only a fraction of the damage has been repaired. I wanted to do something to help, not just with some cash, but also to remind folks that people in south Jersey still need aid and services. They need a break. “

Tickets are $30 to $100 and are available at the Brown Paper Tickets Website, m.bpt.me/event/508544.

Chris Jordan: 732-643-4060; cjordan@njpressmedia.com


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on November 5th, 2013 4:36 PMLeave a Comment

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The 'Sons of Anarchy' are headed this way.

Asbury Park has long been a destination for bikers.

Now, the fictional motorcycle gang from the FX series “Sons of Anarchy” will be rolling into the Paramount Theatre on Ocean Avenue 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 for the “Sons for Sandy Relief.”

Series creator Kurt Sutter, a native of Clark, and stars Katey Sagal, Kim Coates and Theo Rossi will be on hand for a viewing of a Season 6 episode and a Q&A. The evening will benefit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and Staten Strong.

Staten Strong was co-founded by Rossi, a Staten Island native.

“I’m a Jersey boy, born, bred and beaten,” said Sutter in a statement. “When Sandy hit and (blanked) up the state, the initial outpouring of aid was fantastic, but a year later, only a fraction of the damage has been repaired. I wanted to do something to help, not just with some cash, but also to remind folks that people in south Jersey still need aid and services. They need a break. “

Tickets are $30 to $100 and are available at the Brown Paper Tickets Website, m.bpt.me/event/508544.

Chris Jordan: 732-643-4060; cjordan@njpressmedia.com


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on November 5th, 2013 4:35 PMLeave a Comment

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Massive destruction in Mantoloking from Sandy

MANTOLOKING — The storm that devastated this small coastal borough last October has raised another issue, this time with property values.

Mantoloking will undergo a town-wide reassessment of all taxable properties early next year to bring assessed value closer to the fair market value. Borough officials made the decision Wednesday morning, following the recommendation from the state’s tax board, Mayor George Nebel said.

“It’s the appropriate thing to do,” he said.

A reassessment is recommended when the ratio of assessed value compared to actual value dips below 85 percent. The state tax board put the borough at 83.73 percent.

Mantoloking lost 33 percent of its ratable — or taxable property — base when superstorm Sandy hit the Shore last October, said Gary DalCorso, a borough tax assessor. That hit cut the borough’s aggregate assessed valuation down to $1.084 billion, which in turn, diminished its ratio. The ratio was calculated considering the average true value for Mantoloking is $1.295 billion.

“It’s making the properties look more valuable than the assessed value, which is not the case,” DalCorso said. “We were devastated.”

Mantoloking resident Mike Becker said the borough reviewed property values after the storm. Officials gave zero value to any structure, considered an improvement, with more than 50 percent damage. DalCorso said about 100 structures might still have zero value under the new reassessment.

Since Sandy, though, people have done damage control and started rebuilding, Becker said, noting he isn’t surprised with the borough’s decision.

“It makes sense to do it on an individual basis,” he said.

A reassessment, unlike a revaluation, can be done in-house to avoid hiring an outside firm at a cost, DalCorso said. The borough has 570 properties to review, which he hopes to have completed by February.

The ratio of assessed value needs to be as close as possible to 100 percent to give the most accurate depiction of what a property is worth for tax purposes, DalCorso said.

Currently, the average assessed property value is $1,920,948 in Mantoloking and an owner whose property is valued at that average pays $11,544 in yearly taxes, he said.

Under a reassessment, about 1/3of residents will see their taxes increase, about 1/3will see a decrease and the rest will see their taxes stay the same.

Kristi Funderburk: 732-557-5748; kfunderburk@njpressmedia.com


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on October 20th, 2013 8:24 AMLeave a Comment

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A resident looks through a house that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy is seen in Union Beach, New Jersey November 12, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

 

(Reuters) - It's September, and life has yet to return to normal for those of us whose lives were upended by Superstorm Sandy. We are still waiting on insurance settlements and overworked contractors, and trying not to hyperventilate as we see how much Sandy has cost in everything from drywall to new sofas to extra restaurant meals.

There is some consolation: We might be able to recoup some losses at tax time. Residents in areas that suffered through one of the 10 federally declared disaster areas in 2012 can deduct the value of their lost property on their tax returns.

For this reason, the 177,000 people in the Sandy corridor and some 64,000 other storm victims might actually be looking forward to dealing with the Internal Revenue Service this tax season. But get ready, because like all things storm-related, there's going to be lots of paperwork - and tissues - involved.

"It's so emotional," says Judy Strauss, an enrolled agent (IRS-licensed preparer) in Cobleskill, N.Y. "But people just have to take a deep breath and do it. I tell people to keep a piece of paper by the bed. Every time you wake up in the middle of the night and remember something else you've lost, write it down."

TIMING YOUR RETURN

If you were in a declared federal disaster area, you can file an amended return for the 2011 tax year and tuck your Sandy losses into that, or you can simply claim them on your 2012 return. (You can find a complete list of the qualifying storms and areas at the FEMA website, www.fema.gov/disasters.)

"Choose whichever will give you a better tax situation," says David Tolleth, an enrolled agent in Holmdel, New Jersey. That's typically the year in which your income was lower, because under the IRS formula, the less you earn, the more losses you can deduct.

You may want to file as soon as possible, but wait until your final insurance settlement comes in, so you can properly account for your losses.

"You need to get appraisals," says Tolleth. "You've got to know if you're going to rebuild, and what those expenses will be. And then you need to know how much insurance you're going to get. And if you don't know those things, then you can't file."

You could end up owing money back to the IRS if you claim too many losses prematurely, he said.

If necessary, you can request an extension so your 2012 return won't be due until October 15; you have until then to decide whether you would rather declare your Sandy losses against your 2011 return.

If you've had extensive casualty losses, you might be owed more in refunds than you paid in taxes. In that case, you can apply those extra losses as far back as 2009 or carry them over to future years. A good tax adviser can help you figure out which would save you more.

WHAT IS DEDUCTIBLE? EVERY SPOON

Losses that are not reimbursed by insurance can be deducted using IRS Form 4684: Casualties and Thefts. This includes loss of personal property (many flood policies did not cover items such as furniture and clothing) as well as a decrease in the value of your home - something an appraiser would have to calculate.

You can also deduct items excluded by your flood and homeowner's insurance such as the cost of landscaping improvements, lawn furniture, decks, fences and swimming pools.

Using photographs, receipts or, if necessary, just your memory, make a list of every item lost. Jot down every spoon, dish towel, bottle of makeup and prescription medication. Show the original cost of the item and what it would be worth if you would have tried to sell it the day before the storm.

"Ask yourself, ‘What could I sell it for if I sold it on craigslist?'" says Tolleth.

Include on your list items for which you received only partial insurance reimbursement. For example, if you lost a car in the storm and it was valued at $10,000 but you received only $5,000 from your insurance, you can include the extra $5,000 in your disaster loss statement.

Anything that has been paid for by insurance or FEMA is not deductible, nor is cash that was destroyed in the home. Also, improvements you make to the home during rebuilding cannot be claimed on your return.

"If you had a 1950s kitchen and now you're putting in a 2012 kitchen, you're improving, so you have to go back to what the 1950s one would have cost you to replace," says Strauss.

LESS THAN A FULL LOSS

Once you add up everything you've lost, the IRS requires you to do some math to figure out your actual deduction.

For example, let's say your total documented loss, not covered by insurance, was $20,000. Your adjusted gross income was $100,000. First, everyone has to subtract $100 from the $20,000. Consider that a sort of IRS deductible. That leaves you with $19,900. Then you have to subtract 10 percent of your gross income - in this case, $10,000. (That's why choosing to file in the tax year in which your income was lower could save you some money.)

Your casualty deduction will then be $9,900, saving you roughly $2,475 in federal taxes if you're in the 25 percent bracket.

In other discouraging news, you may actually end up with a bigger tax bill than you were expecting anyway. Congress liberalized hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts for Sandy sufferers, but if you withdrew money from your 401(k) or tax-deferred individual retirement account and didn't replace it, you may owe income taxes and a 10 percent penalty on the hardship withdrawal - adding insult to hardship.


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Posted by Brian Dreikorn on September 26th, 2013 5:24 PMLeave a Comment

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