Sunday, February 27, 2011

Any First-Time Homebuyers in Ocean County, NJ, interested in a $10,000 Grant?

Posted on by Jim Flanagan

Ocean County First-Time Homebuyer Grant

What if we told you the County of Ocean has a program to assist First-Time Homebuyers with down payments and closing costs? What if we told you that “eligible” First-Time Homebuyers could receive a “grant” from Ocean County toward those down payments and closing costs in the amount of $10,000? What if we told you that as long as you live in (and own) the home you purchase, with the assistance of the “County Grant”, for a minimum of six years, you won’t have to pay it back? Would you buy a home in Ocean County, NJ?

The County of Ocean Consortium receives HOME Investment Partnership Program block grant funding annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create affordable housing for low and moderate income households. Ocean County has allocated funding from the HOME Program to initiate the First-time Homebuyer Program for income eligible households.

To discover if you may be an “eligible” First-Time Homebuyer, visit their website here!

Here’s a quick checklist to see if you may be eligible:

  • Must be an Ocean County resident
  • ? Must have three percent (3%) down payment funds (at least 1-1/2% MUST be from your own funds and evidence by over 3 months steady savings account; NO gifts allowed to meet the 1-1/2% down payment requirement; recent lump sums of deposit will also be verified).
  • Meet income limit requirements (see below).
  • Meet credit guidelines – a credit score of 620 or above is required to qualify for acceptance into the program (mortgage ready)**
  • Income to support mortgage payments.
  • Steady employment history.
  • Have an established pattern of savings.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
  • Attend OCEAN, Inc.’s free eight-hour HUD certified homeownership education program.

This outstanding program is administered by the Ocean County Department of Planning and funded with the cooperation of the following Financial Lenders:

So, if you think you might qualify as a First-Time Homebuyer in Ocean County, NJ, and would like to see if you would be “eligible” for the $10,000 grant, visit this website, or just send us an e-mail with the subject line; Ocean County Grant! We’ll help you discover whether you qualify and we’ll help you buy your first home in Ocean County, NJ!

Picture purchased from

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NO secrets, for First Time Home-Buyers, in Ocean County, NJ!

no secrets for home-buyers in Ocean County, NJ

NO Secrets!

I just finished reading this post from Trulia, Surprising Insider Secrets for the 5 Stages of Buying Your First Home. The author, Tara-Nicholle Nelson, is a real estate broker in San Francisco, CA. She makes some excellent points, but ONE jumped out at me more than the others; your family and your friends can cause you to lose your dream home! This is NO secret to real estate professionals here in Ocean County, NJ, but to our potential first time home-buyers; you may need to get your “believers” fixed.

Stage Four: Negotiations
Insider Secret: Your family and friends can cause you to lose your dream home.
Why: With so much information on the web and the news every day about the recession and the buyer’s market, everyone seems to be an armchair economist/real estate savant. But much of that news is national and based on medians, averages and trends. That is, it might not necessarily apply to every home on the market in every city, and more importantly, it might have nothing to do with “your” particular home.

I remember, way back in 1999, when I was sophomore sales associate, helping a young lady find her first home. We found it; a cute 2 bedroom home in the Money Island section of Toms River, NJ, listed at $99,000. This home needed absolutely no work and was perfect for my young, first time home-buyer. We wrote up the offer and agreed on a “negotiation strategy”; we offered $90,000 and agreed on eventually meeting the Seller in the middle at $95,000. I presented the contract, in person, and obtained the “expected” counter-offer of $97,500. Long story short; my buyer decided to “dig in” at $92,500, after discussing it with her mother’s boyfriend…we lost the house over $2,500. Today, even after the “housing market collapse”, that home is worth over $150,000!

So, here we are again in Ocean County, 12 years later. The local housing market is poised for a recovery; home prices and mortgage interest rates are at historic lows and their is an abundance of homes to choose from (limited by price range of course). Let’s learn from history and not repeat it; your friends and family may mean well but they just may cost you the home of your dreams. Trust and listen to your real estate professional. Unless, you want to live with mom and dad for the next 12 years!

Photo purchased from

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is SANITY beginning to creep back into the banking industry?

An old high school friend sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal and asked:

Is SANITY beginning to creep back into the banking industry?? Check out China’s typical mortgage requirements, and see how well they handled the global meltdown–coincidence? I think not. Not gonna make your job any easier, but I think it’s a necessary step. Your thoughts?

Well, here are my thoughts:

Satisfied First Time Home-Buyers
  • “Gradually” increasing the minimum down payment on conventional loans is a non-issue; conventional borrowers are savvy enough to understand and appreciate the potential benefits; specifically, avoiding or eventually eliminating paying mortgage insurance.
  • The FHA has already announced they will be increasing the “monthly” mortgage insurance premium by .25 of a percentage point beginning April 18, 2011. As over half of all home purchases last year involved FHA loans, I don’t see that number changing as the increase equates to an average of an additional $3o a month (less than a tank of gas).
  • Obviously, we want to learn from history and NOT repeat it. By gradually increasing down payments and marginally increasing mortgage insurance premiums on non-conventional loans (FHA/VA), risk will be reduced and short sales and foreclosures may be prevented.
  • As far as attempting to compare and contrast the situation with China, I am not familiar enough with their financial and housing dynamics to speculate at this time.

Our job, as real estate professionals, will never be easy (despite the opinion of those without licenses) because buying & selling a home is as “emotional” a decision as it is “financial”. And, as longs as 70% of Americans still view home-ownership as being part of their American Dream, their WILL is sure to find a WAY!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Home is where the Heart is; Happy Valentine's Day Ocean County!

As the population of Ocean County, NJ, observes Valentine’s Day, in their own personal way today, we thought we would take the time to recognize the “Love Affair” our nation still has with the Dream of Home-Ownership!

The basis of our post today is a recent survey conducted by Trulia, which shows that 70 PERCENT OF AMERICANS VIEW HOMEOWNERSHIP AS PART OF PERSONAL AMERICAN DREAM!

This report was brought to our attention by our friends at Keeping Current Matters, in their wonderful post, “Own Thy Own Home”! Basically, the survey revealed the following:

  • 70% of Americans still view home-ownership as being part of their American Dream.
  • 78% say their homes are the best investment they ever made.
  • 88% of 18-34 year old renters aspire to be homeowners.

Trulia’s Survey revealed much more interesting data and we hope you take the time to read it in it’s entirety but perhaps the most revealing statement was the sub-title of the survey itself; Despite Nightmarish Housing Market, 78 Percent of Homeowners Describe Home as the Best Investment They Ever Made!

What does this mean for Ocean County, NJ?

We are a “snap-shot” of Americana. Coldwell Banker Flanagan Realty believes the dream of home-ownership is alive and well and beating in the hearts of the next generation of Home-Owners! All the factors that make NOW quite possibly the “best time to buy a home in the history of real estate”, are in place. Will you make your dream a reality?

Happy Valentine’s Day, Ocean County!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Will the Groundhog see it's "Shadow Inventory" in Ocean County?

Will Home-Sellers in Ocean County, NJ, SEE the benefits of an early Spring by listing and pricing their homes to sell? Or will they SEE their "Shadow Inventory" come to market and suffer 6 more MONTHS of Wintry Price Declines?

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day to most of us, but if you NEED to SELL your home in Ocean County this Spring, February 2nd may be the day you see the light and list your home for sale with a professional at a compelling price!

Here's why:
So, contrary to popular belief; "waiting until Spring" to put your home on the market in Ocean County, NJ, could cost you a lot of money and a lot of time! Instead; climb out of that hole, shake yourself off and hire a knowledgeable, skilled professional to market your home at a compelling price before you SEE your "Shadow Inventory" bite you in the...

Oh yeah; Happy Groundhog Day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One of these homes is NOT like the others...

What do 5 out of 6 of these homes have in common?
  • Yes, they are ALL in New Jersey!
  • Yes, they are ALL on "The Shore" (Bayhead/Mantoloking Area)!
  • Yes, they are ALL over $1,000,000 (4 of them are over $2,000,000)!
Give up?

ONLY 1 was SHOVELED OUT this past weekend! Yes, you read that right; 5 out of 6 "Million Dollar" homes, listed "For Sale", by brokerages on the "Jersey Shore", were NOT SHOVELED out from the last snowstorm...and probably the 2 before that too.

When asked how she was supposed to show her ready, willing & able buyer these Luxury Shore Homes, our agent was advised, "have your buyer bring a shovel" by the Listing Broker of 2 of these homes...REALLY?


Here's Our Winner!:

And we wonder why our public perception is lower than used car salespeople and lawyers...C'mon man!

And the rest of the day to you...