Tagged: purchase a home

First Time Homebuyers Were Very Active In Purchasing Homes in New Jersey in 2009 According to Survey

By now you probably know about the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit that has been available to first time homebuyers and homebuyers who have not owned a  home in the past three years and you may have even heard that the first time homebuyers tax credit has been extended until spring of 2010.  But is this tax credit really working?  Well in New Jersey it seems to be.

According to the New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR) the number of first time home buyers rose in 2009 to account for 52% of the total real estate purchases that took place in the state of New Jersey.  In 2008 first time homebuyers accounted for 49% and in 2007 they accounted for only 36%.

Many people are saying that now is the perfect time to buy a home especially in the northeast area such as New York or New Jersey.  When compared with other national real estate market statistics the northeast seems to be experiencing an overall better housing market than the rest of America in many aspects such as house value along with the amount of equity earned in from the house.

When the first time homebuyers who bought homes in New Jersey recently what was the biggest reason for the move it was because of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit and because of low mortgage rates.

Currently if you are a first time homebuyer purchasing a home in New York, New Jersey or anywhere else in the United States you may be eligible to receive up to $8,000 back for the purchase of your first home.

If you would like to know more about the purchase process and are currently residing or wish to reside in New York or New Jersey you can contact our real estate law office for any questions you may have regarding the legal aspect of purchasing a home.  Steven T. Decker Staten Island real estate lawyer can be reached at 718.979.4300 or 800.976.4909.


Housing Tax Credit Extension Approved | It is Time to Take Advantage of the Housing Credit

It is finally official after months of protesting to the lawmakers real estate agents, builders and banks finally voiced their concern for the housing market loud enough that their concerns were taken into consideration and were granted the tax credit extension they were looking for.  The First Time Homebuyers tax credit will now be extended until mid 2010 (military members who are deployed will have a longer period of time to take advantage of the tax credit) and will not also include additional housing tax credits for current homeowners looking to sell their house and purchase a new house.

The decision to extend the tax credit to existing homeowners purchasing homes was decided becuase 60% of buyers currently own a home or have owned a home within the past 3 years whereas only 40% are first time home buyers.  Congress figures that by extending this credit to current homeowners it will boost home sales even more, by an estimated 10%, over the next few months.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the housing credit you will want to start your search for a home sometime within the next few months because you want to allow yourself enough time to find a house that you like and can see yourself living in for the next few years.  You will also want to allow enough time to get approved for a mortgage, if you plan on obtaining one, and to make sure the title is clear of all violations.

Finding the best Staten Island or Brooklyn real estate lawyer is key to making sure that your real estate transaction goes smooth and is done properly.  To contact Staten Island real estate attorney Steven T. Decker regarding your Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan or northern or central New Jersey property purchase you can either call 800.976.4904 or 718.979.4300 or you can fill out our form on the web and someone will get back to you about your purchase.

NY & NJ Real Estate Transactions: Top Reasons to Buy a Home in New York or New Jersey

Deciding to purchase a home for the first time or purchasing a new home if you are an existing home owner is a big decision to make in this market.  You may be wondering if it is safe to buy a home or if it is in your best interest to buy a home with the economy not fully back to normal.  While these are all valid concerns the market may actually be the reason you should buy a home.  First, before we get into the reasons you should buy a home, I want to start by saying you should never feel pressured into purchasing a home.  Always make sure that when purchasing a home you feel comfortable with your purchase.  Keep in mind that you will be in this house probably for many years to come and you want to be happy with your house purchase.   You will also want to make sure you are able to afford a mortgage payment if you will be considering getting a loan for your home purchase and you will also want to make sure you get a home inspection.

Now that we have established some ground rules for purchasing a house here are some things to may help you decide to stop just thinking about buying a home and actually go do it within the next few months:

  • Reason #1Housing Tax Credit – If the extension of the housing tax credit is approved (which more than likely it will be approved by the end of the week) not only will the provisions of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit be extended until the end of April 2010 but it will also be extended in the sense that a reduced credit will now be available to certain existing homeowners.   The new tax credit would consist of a tax credit that is 10% of the house’s purchase price up to $8,000 if they have a sales agreement in hand by April 30 and close title on the house by June 30, 2010.  This credit would be available to first time home buyers of those interested in buying a house that have not owned property in the past three years.  The limit for the household income if single will be $125,000 or $250,000 for a couple.  The next credit is a new incentive to take advantage of the housing tax credit which offers a reduced tax credit of up to $6,500 to certain existing homeowners.
  • Reason #2 – Prices are Low – Because the economy is not stable enough to say it has fully recovered or come close to fully recovering yet housing prices are still low.  In fact, sellers in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan Queens, most areas of New Jersey and nationwide are faced with having to list their houses at a low price and are sometimes forced to lower that price even more to sell their house.   For buyers this is a great thing because they are able to get a house that a few years ago would have cost tens of thousands more than what they are selling for now.
  • Reason #3 – Foreclosures and Short Sales are at Record Highs – Distressed homes accounted for a significant number of houses sold this year.  Distressed homes include foreclosure’s being sold and short sales which usually sell for anywhere between 15 -20% less of market value.  Taking advantage of these types of homes can potentially benefit you as a buyer but buyers should also beware of the possible risks associated with short sales and foreclosures.
  • Reason #4 – Low Mortgage Rates – Rates for mortgages currently run around the 5% APR range for a 30-year fixed mortgage.  This is much lower than previous years and the rate of a mortgage that you are eligible for is a huge factor in deciding factor in whether or not you will purchase a house and how much you are willing to spend on it.  The lowered mortgage rates are a big incentive for many people who are deciding to purchase homes right now.
  • Reason #5 (applicable if you are purchasing a home in New York) – Mortgage Tax Credit – A mortgage tax credit is available if you are purchasing a home in New York City.  The tax credit can be used if you are a first time homebuyer and can be combined with the federal First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit.   If you do a real estate transaction in New York for a New York City home and obtain a new fixed rate mortgage through certain types of loans you will be eligible to receive up to 20% off of your mortgage tax for the entire life of the loan.
  • Reason #6 (applicable if you are purchasing a home in New Jersey) – State Housing Grants – There are many New Jersey state housing grants available to first time home buyers looking to complete a real estate transaction for a New Jersey home.  There are many different types of New Jersey housing grants and the terms to each vary.


Alternative Options to Consider if you are not Eligible for the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit

So if you are not eligible for the first time home buyers tax credit should you still consider buying a home?  For most people the answer will probably be yes as long as you have the necessary income to make a down payment and to pay your mortgage every month while still having enough money for additional expenses.

The home buyers tax credit requirements are not able to be filled by everyone looking to purchase a home especially if you have owned a home within the last three years so where does that leave the buyer who is not eligible for the tax credit but still is looking for a break.  Here are some some reasons to buy a home now if you are not eligible for the first time homebuyer tax credit:

  • Low interest rates – For some who are considering purchasing a house they may find that their monthly mortgage payments for their house will actually end up being less expensive than renting an apartment. Mortgage rates have been at record lows over the past year and right now are still low (in the 5% apr range).
  • Special provisions for military members – There is a special provision in the first time home buyers tax credit for military and some federal members that was recently added by Congress that allows military member to not have to abide by all of the requirements for the first time homebuyers tax credit.  A military member does not have to live in their new home as their primary residence for the first three years if they receive PCS orders to depart from their unit and get restationed within that period of time.  The will be able to sell the house or rent it out to someone else and will still be eligible for the $8,000 credit.
  • Lower house prices – While home sales are up house prices are still down lower than what they were worth a few years ago.  Sellers are still not able to raise the prices of their homes if they want to sell their house quickly or, in some circumstances, at all.

If you are interested in purchasing a house in New York you will want to cover all of your grounds before signing a contract.  One of the first steps you will want to take once you have found a home you are interested in is to contact a New York real estate lawyer, such as Steven T. Decker a Staten Island real estate lawyer, and discuss your home purchase with him/her.  Your real estate attorney will go over your contract of sale with you so that you understand its terms and conditions.  To speak with a real estate attorney call 718.979.4300.

How to Find the Right Home in New York and New Jersey

Deciding to purchase a home is a big step that most people take at one point and time in their life.  It is a time in most peoples lives where they decide what area they want to live in, how big of a house they need and how much money they are willing to spend on the house.  Making sure that you get everything you want from your house is important, especially if you plan on living there for a while.  Most people wonder “How will I know which house is right for me?” you will want to make sure you figure out what you need in a house before looking for one this will help you and your realtor because you will both be on the same page and you will not find yourself purchasing a home that you are just “settiling” for.

So how do you know if you are buying the right house? There are many different things you will have to decide on as far as your house goes that you will want to decide and make your real estate agent aware of when you are looking for a house in New York or New Jersey. Here are some things you will want to decide on to help you find the right home in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx, New York or New Jersey these tips will help you find what you are looking for:

  • Decide on what type of neighborhood you want to live in.  Do you prefer to live in a quiet suburban area or in a urban area.  Suburban areas are often more quiet because you are further away from your neighbors most of the time and they are often slightly less expensive in price when compared with city houses.  Urban areas or “city” areas are often more populated and have less of a commute to work and school but also usually have slightly more expensive homes, are noisier and sometimes have higher crime rates.
  • Decide on what type of location you want to live in.  Once you have decided on whether you want to live in a city or in the suburbs you will want to decide if you prefer living on a busy street or on a more secluded street.  This is really just a personal preference if you are a person who likes it completely quiet all of the time you will want to avoid homes that are on busy streets or that are next to the highway because of the noise from the traffic, but if you are not bothered by the noise purchasing a home on a busier street is usually a few thousand dollars cheaper – just remember that since it can be purchased for thousands cheaper also means that when you sell it there is a chance it will probably sell cheaper.  You will also want to decide if you want to live on a corner lot or not.
  • Find an area with a good education system.  If you have children or plan on having them sometime in the future while you reside in the house you are considering purchasing you will want to make sure the area has a good education system.
  • Decide what type of home you want.  Are you interested in a single family home, multi-family home, condominium, townhome or cooperative (co-op)?  Single family and multi-family homes are usually quieter and have more appreciation but require a lot of maintainance.  Condominiums, townhomes and cooperative units usually require less maintainance but noisier and not as private because you share common walls and/or ceilings with your neighbors.  This category of homes is also usually less expensive than a single or multi-family home.
  • Determine what style of home you want.  Do you want a single story home, split level or a multi-level home? Deciding what type of style home you want is most commonly based on how much space you need, what type of layout you find more appealing, whether or not you have medical conditions that prohibit you to one floor, whether you feel safer in a one floor home or a multi-story home and if a multi-floor home is more or less convienient for your daily activities.
  • Decide what interior specificiations are important to you.  You will want to determine what specific needs you and your family have and what they need from the house for everyday living.  How many bedrooms do you need?  Will you need extra bedrooms in the future for a baby, in-law or parent?  Do you need a guest room?  Is one bathroom okay for your family or do you require 2 or only 1 1/2 bathrooms?  Determining the specific needs your family has will help you decide what qualities you need inside of your house.
  • Figure out if you want a home that is newer and will require less fixing or if you are looking for a “fix-up” home.  Regardless of whether or not you are buying a home that is apparent that it needs to be fixed up or if you are looking for a home that requires little to no repairs you will always want to make sure you have an engineers inspection (home inspection) done to make sure there are no “hidden problems” but deciding if you want to pay less for a home that needs to be fixed up or if you want to spend a little extra and purchase a home that is newer and does not require and fixing up will not only help you in the long run but will also help you map out the amount you may need to invest in the house to fix it up.
  • Try to figure out if there are any “little things” that are important.  Determining if there are any small things that will be a make or break the deal is important to figure out before hand also and sometimes are not thought about until the purchase process is already occuring. A few things to consider are does the house offer gas or electric heat, does it have central air or will you have to put a window unit in, do you want a swimming pool, if you are buying a condo or co-op are you allowed to have pets, are you willing to buy a house if it is a short sale or a foreclosure? – there are many questions that you may want to figure out the answers to before making a final decision and signing a binder for a house.

Purchasing a Condo in New York is Becoming More Popular

In recent months you may have hear a lot about the increase of sales of newly constructed homes but a report released by Miller Samuel Inc., a New York appraisal firm, recently shows that New York condo sales are up 45.6% from last quarter.  While this number is still down 16% from a year ago this is still a significant jump in for condo sales.

The report released by Miller Samuel Inc. also showed that more people selling a condominium in New York had to drop their sales prices by 5.7% compared to last quarter and 16.5% from last year.

With prices at such a dramatic low it is time for those considering to purchase a condo in New York to make a move.

Many people, especially if they are single, a young couple, or elderly, may consider purchasing a condominium unit.  Condo’s have become increasingly popular over the past few years because they allow the buyer to purchase a home of their own without having to have the complete responsibility of certain things.  Some of the advantages to buying a condominium are:

  • Most condominiums include amenities that you normally may not be able to afford.  Certain condo’s the extras you may be looking for such as swimming pools, a gym, volleyball court, tennis courts or basketball courts.
  • The cost is less than a detached home.  Condo’s normally sell for anywhere between 20-30% less than a single detached home so you are getting the experience of owning your own home and you are able to do it for less than purchasing a detached house.
  • Costs are shared. In a condominium the cost of repairs are shared with the other owners of the condominium so instead of having to pay for something yourself, while the cost for materials may be more than for a detached home, the final cost to you will probably be much less because it is being shared with everyone else in your condo.

To find out more information about purchasing a condominium in New York or if you currently own a condo in New York and are looking to sell it contact Steven T. Decker, Staten Island and Brooklyn real estate lawyer.

Purchasing a Home: The advantage new home owners have over renters

In these tough economic times there has been a struggle in the sale of newly constructed homes.  Many home builders are starting to do something about the recent lack of business in their area.  They are starting to market the purchase of  newly constructed homes to renters.

Renters are being persuaded more now than ever to become a homeowner in todays market.  There are many advantages for the renters, especially if they are first time home buyers.  With current interest rates averaging around 4.25-4.5% there is plenty of reason for people to purchase a home or refinance.  Some renters may even find that the amount they would be paying monthly for a mortgage is equal to or less than the amount they are currently paying for rent.   Another advantage to the renter as long as they are a first time home buyer is the $8,000.00 federal tax credit for first time home buyers that will be given as long as you purchase a home between now and December 1.

As you can see there are many advantages to becoming a homeowner in todays market instead of renting a property.  Some builders are trying to potentially sell their newly constructed homes by offering custom designing within the homes, trying to promote the fact that you can have pets in your home (unlike some apartments) and even helping the potential buyer find a bank that is offering low affordable interest rates.

If you are looking to purchase a home in Staten Island or the New York area contactSteven Decker, Staten Island real estate lawyer, to get started on your purchase today.

Am I foolish for purchasing a home in thie down market?

Should I wait for the market to go lower or will the Presidents plan lead to a rise in housing prices and interest rates?
President Obama’s economic policies are attempting to rescue the real estate market and aid floundering lenders and homeowners.  If successful his policies will cause housing prices and interest rates to rise.  While this is good news for banks and hurting homeowners this change will adversely affect two groups who should be benefiting from the current real estate downturn, owners who can refinance and people looking to purchase homes.  By continuing to wait to refinance or purchase members of these groups may very well miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to lock in low interest rates and acquire homes for record low prices.

Today, the great fear of people considering refinancing their mortgage or those seeking to buy a home is that they should wait as the market may go lower.  The fear that interest rates will go lower or that they will overpay for a property that may decrease in value.  While understandable these fears will cause many people to miss the tremendous house pricing and interest rate values currently available.  The market may go lower and interest rates and prices could go a little lower but these risks must be weighed against the benefits currently available with interest rates below 5% and record foreclosures driving prices down.  My concern for people waiting on the sidelines is how quickly interest rates and prices will rise once the new economic stimulus policies kick in and the recession ends.  Will increased economic activity lead to inflation and increased interest rates? Will a bailout plan for banks and homeowners lead to more people keeping their homes?  Either of these outcomes will increase the cost of homeownership to those who miss the current market opportunity.

Mortgage interest rates are at remarkable lows and I have many clients refinancing or purchasing with loans closing at interest rates below 5%.  These rates are a function of the US governments attempts to help ailing banks and aid the depressed real estate market.  In order to help lenders drowning in sub prime foreclosures the Federal Reserve is lending to banks at historic low rates.  The Fed is lending to banks at ¼% interest to encourage them to make mortgages.  When borrowing from the Fed at a low rate lenders have been happy to lend it on mortgages paying 5%.   This can’t last forever so two groups need to take immediate advantage of these low rates, current owners and homebuyers.  Homeowners can get an immediate benefit by refinancing their current loans.  They can lower their monthly payments and if they have an adjustable rate get a low fixed rate.  Homebuyers can get more for their mortgage dollars by getting a lower payment or a higher loan amount to allow them to buy a more expensive house. The current interest rate climate will change once the housing crisis starts to abate.  This will lead to the Fed increasing rates and the mortgage rates will rise.

Foreclosure sales are driving the market lower.  With the record increase in foreclosures more distressed homes are for sale and this has lead to a decrease in median home prices.  It also affects the psychology of buyers who believe that lower prices are real.  With an increase in bank owned properties and short sellers looking to dump properties the effect on non-distressed properties is evident.  Looking at the residential market in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens I see the effects rising foreclosures have on the market.  There is a direct correlation between foreclosure activity and price reductions.  In areas with large numbers (Port Richmond in Staten Island, St Albans in Queens, East New York in Brooklyn) prices are down markedly whereas in areas with little foreclosure activity prices have not fallen nearly as much.  If the number of foreclosures is decreased the number of homes for sale will fall and prices will rise.  President Obama’s stated goal to reduce foreclosures can only lead to a decrease in the number of homes for sale as lenders and homeowners will have less pressure to sell overvalued properties.

The President’s stated goal to help the real estate market is still being developed and implemented.  Once it takes effect the results could be startling.  Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity the current market offers.