Thursday, March 31, 2011

Looking for a Cause -- updated

(I ran this piece over 5 years ago. Good to know they're still going strong!)Bloomfield,NJ: The New Jersey Conservation Foundation has preserved over 100,000 acres of land throughout the state to protect our state’s precious natural resources and beautiful natural areas. NJCF’s land protection program focuses on select project areas and greenways that have been identified as critical to our future. From the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, NJCF has protected farms, forests, wetlands and urban and suburban parks.
Through acquisition and stewardship, NJCF protects strategic lands; promotes strong land use policies; and forges partnerships to achieve conservation goals. Since 1960, NJCF has protected tens of thousands of acres of open space. For more information, call 1-888-LAND-SAVE, or visit

Monday, March 28, 2011

How a Loan Modification or Short Sale Affects Your credit score?

Bloomfield, NJ – Your credit score will be affected by late mortgage payments and a short sale. However, there are 2 things that are considered horrible on your credit report. Foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Discover how other sellers successfully did a short sale to avoid foreclosure by clicking here.

A foreclosure or bankruptcy will almost immediately lower a credit score by around 100 to 120 points. (The number is not hard and fast – it all depends upon what the score was before the foreclosure, and other factors that the credit bureaus don’t like to share.) The way that they write the algorithm, a foreclosure will keep on pushing your score down for the next 2 years! A foreclosure can also stay on a credit report for 7 years.

Short sales are different from a foreclosure. Short sales and loan modifications by themselves do not hurt a credit score (depending on how they are reported.) It is the missed payments that ding your credit report. How a short sale is coded/reported to the credit reporting bureau does make a difference in the affect it has on your score. It could be reported as a charge-off, a 120 day late payment, or a settled account.

Any of these are dings on the credit report, averaging 100 points. Here is the good news. The way they do the algorithm, it will damage your score for a shorter length of time than the 2 years a foreclosure does.

How a short sale is reported to the credit bureaus is something that can be negotiated as part of the process of the sales negotiations. Good negotiators can have a positive impact here. But, in the end, the credit score should not be the first thing to consider when facing the decision to short sale a home. You need to look at what is best for your family financially. The credit score is secondary to that.

Get advice from a trusted source, and then make an informed decision.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

February Existing Home Sales Decline following Sustained Gains

Washington – Existing-home sales fell in February following three straight monthly increases, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February from an upwardly revised 5.40 million in January, and are 2.8 percent below the 5.02 million pace in February 2010.

Lawrence Yun NAR chief economist, expects an uneven recovery. “Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit, and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,” he said. “This tug and pull is causing a gradual but uneven recovery. Existing-home sales remain 26.4 percent above the cyclical low last July.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey2 shows first-time buyers purchased 34 percent of homes in February, up from 29 percent in January; they were 42 percent in February 2010.

All-cash sales were a record 33 percent in February, up from 32 percent in January; they were 27 percent in February 2010. Investors accounted for 19 percent of sales activity in February, down from 23 percent in January; they were 19 percent in February 2010. The balance of sales were to repeat buyers.

The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $156,100 in February, which is 5.2 percent below February 2010. Distressed homes – sold at discount – accounted for a 39 percent market share in February, up from 37 percent in January and 35 percent in February 2010. “The decline in price corresponds to the record level of all-cash purchases where buyers – largely investors – are snapping up homes at bargain prices,” Yun explained. “We’d be seeing greater numbers of traditional home buyers if mortgage credit conditions return to normal.”

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said buyers should look into loan availability as soon as they decide they want to buy. “Despite very affordable mortgage interest rates, credit remains a challenge – buyers should check their personal credit, and mortgage availability in their area,” he said.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Real Estate Do's and Don'ts

As spring approaches, HGTV's is a great resource for anyone wanting to get up to speed in the Real Estate market. They've recently asked some of today's top real estate experts to compile a list of moves to make and mistakes to avoid when buying or selling a home.
Along with their brief but informative video clips, you'll find links dealing with every aspect of home ownership and a search engine for recent MLS listings anywhere in the U.S.