No Money Down Home Buying

Make your dream for home ownership a reality!

No Money Down Home Buying

Owning a home is still the American dream and buying a home with no down payment can make that dream come true. For many families who may think that renting is their only option, it may not be the case. Perhaps you have been told in the past the only way to purchase a home is to have a large down payment. This is true in certain situations, but for so many first time home buyers it also couldn’t be further from the truth. No money down home buying is in fact a reality. Unfortunately for many would-be home buyers it comes down to the lack of education provided by whom they contact when attempting to purchase a home. However, I believe firmly that¬†the educated home buyer is the smart home buyer and I would like to introduce you to a little known financing option offered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Yes, I said Agriculture and no, this is not a home on a farm. ūüôā

Disclosure: The USDA Rural Development home loan program is limited to certain areas. The eligibility map does change periodically and not all lenders offer this type of loan. To get more information for where this program can benefit you, please Contact me or give me a call at 732-930-4290.

No Money Down Home Buying

The USDA Rural Development (RD) loan program was designed to help low to moderate income families attain home ownership status with little money out of pocket. This program is for buying a home with no down payment and is available in both rural and suburban settings. This type of loan can be used to purchase an existing structure or build new construction within the parameters of the loan amount and conditions. There are eligibility requirements to qualify for the loan, but if qualified you would put $0 down and the loan would finance up to 100% of the property being purchased.  The details of the loan would best be provided by an approved lender authorized to participate in writing this type mortgage (see the Mortgage/Financial Resources section).

Some of the things to consider when applying for this type of financing:

  • Credit FICO score of at least 640
  • Steady income history within the program requirements
  • Closing costs: some cash may be needed, depending on the terms of the sale

If you think this type of financing is what you have been searching for and would like more information, feel free to¬†Contact¬†me (or call 732-930-4290). It would be my pleasure to evaluate your home needs and current situation to see if no money down home buying can work for you. ¬†Even if you’re not quite ready to purchase, together we will develop a plan to make home ownership a reality for you and your family.

Protect Yourself and Your Medications

Open HouseWhen a home is for sale, holding an open house is an important part of the process. Open houses offer potential buyers the opportunity to check out homes for sale on their own without feeling pressured. Buyers have nearly full roam of your home to envision their own family living there. However, a real estate agent who has the best interests of their client in mind will give you (as a seller) a set of tips or instructions to safeguard your valuables and especially your medications.

Opiate abuse, particularly prescription painkillers as many are aware is at epidemic proportions. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, but I am not going to talk about that in detail here. Unfortunately there are bad actors that will visit open houses with ill intentions that include scouting out your valuables and more so today, your prescription drugs. Recently, it has become more commonplace that opiate abusers are visiting open houses to attempt to steal painkillers like Vicodin and others.

When I explain how an open house will operate to a client, part of the conversation includes what items should be locked up and hidden out of view, or even a step further by removing the items from the home during the open house. This will keep your mind at ease and those with bad intentions from acting on them.

Below is a document released by the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey which highlights what is going on during open houses and what you can do with unneeded prescription drugs. The State of NJ Division of Consumer Affairs has created “Project Medicine Drop” where you can safely discard medications that you no longer need. If you are expecting to have an open house in your home soon, be sure to check with your agent for what you can do to avoid potential problems. However if they are unable to provide solid information and guidance, feel free to¬†Contact¬†me and I would be happy to help you to safeguard your possessions with tips.

Project Medicine Drop РDownload this free informational PDF

10 Reasons Homes Don’t Sell

So, your10 Reasons Home Did Not Sell home did not sell, the listing has expired¬†and now you are wondering, “Where do I go from here?” Well, unfortunately it is a fact that I am asked this question far too often. Personally, I enjoy working with home sellers whose home didn’t sell the first time. This opportunity gives me a chance to prove to the seller that not all agents are created equal. A compassionate and open real estate agent will listen to you and help to guide you in the right direction in terms of decision making. However, it can sometimes also be the opposite – yes, sellers can be somewhat difficult to guide, but it boils down to the reality – we are people working with people and if you are not being heard or you are not being treated the way a client should be, things generally will fall apart. Your goals as a home seller and the goals of your agent must be made clear and on the same page. Usually, it always is the same story either the agent didn’t perform well or the sale of the home was not a priority of the agent. Although there is a large number of “professionals” that probably should hit the books again, there is still hope!

My belief is knowledge is power and this holds true for my clients. At all times you need to be in the loop and if you feel that things are not going the way that they should be or could be, you need to be heard. Perhaps a new plan must be devised or some improvements to the home must be made. At any rate, these conversations must be had and if they weren’t, all we can do is move forward. As a real estate professional, my business is built on my goals which are buying and selling homes and providing my clients with top-notch level service. It takes a lot of work – work that I am not afraid to put in or admit to, but most of all it takes dedication and persistence on my part to market your home and get it sold. I would bet that by now you realize that my goals and yours are one in the same.

10 Reasons Homes Don’t Sell

Normally, homes that do not sell the first time have many things in common that set their fate right out of the gate. Here I will lay out the real reasons that homes do not sell the first time. My objective is not to bash or single out any agent or agency. The information below is based on factual data, real world examples and experiences that I have encountered. The reason behind this information is to educate consumers to make better choices, which like previously mentioned, is my number one objective when working with a client.

  • Was your¬†home marketed to a large audience? To the right audience? Go ahead, open up Google and search your address. Next, count how many websites your home was available to other than the websites of¬†local real estate agencies¬†(which pull that data automatically from the Multiple Listing Service or MLS). If you only come up with 2 (the big two), that isn’t “marketing”. When a home is listed for sale it needs to be put in front of a variety of audiences on multiple platforms, not just listed in the MLS with a sign planted in the front lawn.
  • Was your home priced right? Even though you may feel that every dime spent on the bamboo wood flooring that you installed should yield a full ROI doesn’t mean that it will. Every home is unique and putting a value on it can be challenging, but an accurate and fair price is imperative if you are a motivated seller with goals to accomplish. Almost all homes that sit on the market for over 100 days with little to no activity end up expiring and not selling because the price was not accurate or competitive.
  • Did your home have the best photos possible to accompany the listing? The photos taken of your home at the time of listing are crucial because this is going to be the very first impression that prospective buyers get online. Photos can always be updated, and they should be especially if you listed during winter and you are trying to get it sold during the spring months. Photos lacking life will make the home feel uninviting – even if you have amazing landscaping, if it is dormant you cannot¬†see its beauty. Today the home search begins online and visuals sell. According to a¬†National Association of Realtors (NAR)¬†survey of home buyers,¬†89% of buyers found photos to be useful in selecting the homes that they toured and bought.
  • Was your home described¬†accurately in the listing? At the time when a listing is taken, all pertinent information must be accurately included. It is very common that basic information such as number of bedrooms or bathrooms is incorrect! To take it a bit deeper, the square footage is a reflection of how much house your home is and whether it can support a growing family or a newly married couple. If your home was not measured to show the sizes of each room, or the number of rooms was incorrectly entered (yes, I am serious – I have seen it many times) you will completely miss an entire audience when they are shopping for homes.
  • Is a buyer able to imagine themselves living in the home? Rarely do the seller and buyer have the same tastes for home decor. Even further, it is difficult to imagine yourself (as a buyer) living in a new home if you can’t¬†picture¬†your family living there. Since you are planning to move, save yourself some time and start packing some of the family photos and keepsakes. Years of accumulation can be kept neatly throughout your home while you are living there, but it is worth the effort – however weird it may feel – to remove some items while you are attempting to sell your home. It will help the prospective buyer psychologically envision their family in the home because as buyers walk through and check out the home, they are trying to picture which child will be in which room and how their belongings will work with the new layout.
  • Was the interior bright and clean-looking? If your walls haven’t seen fresh paint in recent years, it is highly recommended that you break out the paint brush and pick some neutral colors. Light and neutral colors (white, off-white and light tans) will brighten up a space and make it appear larger opposed to dark colors or too many colors. Also, if there are any imperfections in the drywall, a quick fix is to use an eggshell finish when selecting the paint.
  • Did you choose the right agent? ¬†(See my article on Different Types of Agents for Sellers) It is important to understand in what capacity your agent will be working, but it is more important to know if the same agent that took your listing, who you also got to know, will be the same agent who holds Open Houses and does the marketing. Many agents today work in teams within their agency. The team will consist of agents who only perform a specific task, such as a buyers agent that only works with buyers or a listing agent whose only goal is to list houses. Administrative personnel will typically handle the mundane tasks that come with buying and selling real estate. Personally, I find the time to show my client’s home. If I list it, it is my baby. Sometimes I may request support within my agency for specific tasks, but everything from the listing to marketing to all representation of the client is handled by me.
  • Was the curb appeal as good as it could be? Perhaps a simple revamping of the landscaping with some bright flowers, a trim of some shrubbery or removal of overgrowth add major attraction to your home in the eyes of buyers. Buyers today are as busy as you are. Not only will they be able to move into a freshly painted home, but to simply unpack and not worry about the outside right away is a major benefit. It is difficult during the colder months, but during the spring and summer it is important to maintain a lawn mowing schedule and keep the front of the house in a clean show-like condition. Also, could your gutters and siding use a pressure wash? This is a simple and inexpensive way to really brighten your home’s exterior and make it eye catching.
  • Did your agent perform an open house? Open Houses not only attract tons of buyers via social media advertising (if this is done correctly), but the neighbors will know that your home is for sale and perhaps they know of someone looking to move into the neighborhood. (Did your agent even contact your neighbors to let them know your home was on the market?) Open Houses also give clients of a buyers agent the opportunity to check out homes on their own before having their agent set up an appointment. This is especially common when a potential buyer has taken a strong interest in your home and wants to fully understand the area before setting an appointment with an agent.
  • Was your schedule getting in the way of showings?¬†If your home was listed “by appointment only” and did not give reasonable instructions to show, this could be a major factor in why your home did not sell. Typically if a home is owner occupied, a listing will request a specific amount of time for notice to be given that a buyer wants to tour the home. However if your schedule makes it difficult for an agent to show it, then you are cutting your market down dramatically. Everyone is busy and it sometimes takes a lot of juggling to accommodate a last minute showing, but you also need to keep in mind that when a buyer is excited about your home, chances are they are excited about others – especially a first time home buyer. Making every effort to show the home in a timely manner will greatly increase your home’s ability to sell.

There could be other factors working against you and the sale of your home, but like I mentioned before each home is unique and must be showcased as such. By making a few simple changes that may not have been obvious or explained before could make all of the difference in getting to where you want to be. Everyday I help many home owners whose home did not sell and I would be honored to do the same for you. If you’d like to have a consultation to see how a strategic home selling plan can work for you, please¬†Contact¬†me or give me a call at 732-930-4290.

Healthy Lawn? Stop Crabgrass!

Spring Lawn Care Tip! 

Want a Healthy Lawn? Stop Crabgrass!Crabgrass – it is every lawn enthusiast’s worst nightmare.

Spring has finally arrived and it is time to prevent this pesky weed before it invades your lawn. Want a Healthy Lawn? Stop Crabgrass! Like any other weed that can develop in your lawn (broadleaf weeds, grass-like weeds, sedges, etc.), crabgrass will deprive the individual grass plants that make up your beautiful lawn of the things necessary to survive. Nutrients and water that are critical for the survival of your lawn are consumed by weeds. When there is a major breakthrough of weeds, particularly crabgrass, the individual grass plants will die off from starvation or crowding out and the the crabgrass plant will flourish leaving your lawn full of voids and bare spots, particularly after the crabgrass plant has established itself grown in size. The best defense is to prevent this problem before it becomes a major issue affecting the health and appearance of your lawn.

Crabgrass plants germinate from seed when soil temperatures reach approximately 55¬ļF (approximately April – May). Once germinated, the plant will grow very quickly and as it matures, it will branch out into “tillers”. Science has been helpful in providing us with products that will stop the plants from ever taking root in your lawn. The best time to do this is in the early weeks of the Spring season and there are a number of products available to control this weed (among other grass-like weeds).

If you have experience fertilizing or applying lawn chemicals you can take a ride over to the local hardware store and pick up granular or spreadable crabgrass pre-emergent ¬†(aka “preventer”) and apply the product at the manufacturer’s labeled rate to keep this pesky weed under control. Alternatively, you can hire a professional for this service and they will ensure that it is applied correctly. Either way, some examples of the best active ingredients that you can look for in a crabgrass pre-emergent are: prodiamine (Barricade) or dithiopyr (Dimension). Note: Unlike Barricade, Dimension can be applied later in the season as well and it will have some post-emergent control qualities for any crabgrass that has developed, but the plants must be small.

Should you decide to venture out and apply the product on your own, now would also be a great time to apply the first round of fertilizer to your lawn. You can purchase a bag of a balanced fertilizer WITH crabgrass pre-emergent together in the bag. This will provide a feeding and defend against crabgrass. Again, read the label and only apply at the recommended rate. Also you should know that as of 2011 the State of New Jersey (and many other states) have adopted laws that regulate the use of fertilizer (See http://www.nj.gov/dep/healthylawnshealthywater/) in an effort to help with the problems of the waterways. Always clean up any product that has spilled or was left behind on sidewalks or driveways. Not only will some products stain concrete, they will wash away with the rain directly into the storm drain.

 

Different Types of Agents for Sellers

Different Types of Agents

Did you know that there are different types of agents for sellers? Who is really going to sell your home?

After you hear a listing presentation, one of the most important questions that you should be asking is “Are you only a listing agent?” The real estate world is be a very competitive and busy place and there can be a little unintentional deceit when you decide to sign on the listing agreement. The truth is there are generally 3 types of real estate agents and you need to decide which is best for you and the sale of your home.

Listing Agent – Only.

One who only takes listings will do only that. They will preview your home, write up the contract and get your commitment. However, once the sign goes up in the front yard, you won’t be seeing them again. Typically someone else within their company will hold open houses and show your home, but this isn’t the same person who you got to know and who knows your home. This generally presents a problem when another agency shows your home and has a question. If it takes a long time for the question to get answered, the prospective buyer has already started loving another house. A listing agent doesn’t show houses nor does he spend time finding a buyer. In this case, a listing agent has set aside time in their schedule to prospect for more homes to list and meet with those people – not sell your home (they rely on a Buyer’s Agent).

Buyer’s Agent – Only.

A buyer’s agent generally only brings buyers after the Listing Agent has obtained the listing and it has entered the Multiple Listing Service. Usually the buyer’s agent is a part of a team that includes the Listing Agent, but that is only if the buyer’s agent represents the same agency. Again, if the buyer’s agent has questions but the Listing Agent is unavailable to answer them quickly, the buyer’s agent has many other homes they can quickly show the prospective buyer because the buyer’s agent wants to make a deal.

Listing Agent who also works with buyers.

A listing agent who also has a large database of buyers – and works exclusively with the mentality of getting your home sold – will do just that. Your home will be marketed to a large audience, including an already qualified list of buyers ready to make an offer. Your home is top priority with a listing agent who has your best interests in mind – full time, all the time. This listing agent will be the same person holding your open house because not only do they want to market your house, it helps to increase their list of buyers. This listing agent will know every detail about your home and can quickly relay that information to their pool of buyers or to another agency. Lastly, this type of agent is in it for the long haul. They are full-time and they only get paid when your home sells (which certainly provides the incentive necessary to sell your home!)

Personal Note: I am a listing agent who works with buyers. My database of buyers is forever growing and I understand the value that I bring to my customers when I can navigate the deal from start to finish by knowing my customer and the product (your home) well. Additionally, I do not have the same emotional attachment to your home as you would, but I have the same goals that you do – to get your home sold, no matter what.

Buying and selling real estate is set of processes and requires a plan. The main thing that a home seller must keep in mind is “What is the plan? How is my home going to be marketed?” If the plan is to just list it and wait for the buyer to just fall from the sky, you can expect the listing to expire and frustration to grow. However, if you enter into a listing agreement with a plan in place and you share the same goals with your agent, you can start packing and prepare to begin the next chapter.

 

Bagworm on Evergreens

Bagworm on EvergreensWe had a very mild winter and most insects and disease that affect your landscaping, usually suppressed naturally by long periods of cold, will be present this season if your plantings had issues last season. Bagworm is one insect that can be especially devastating to evergreen plantings in particular. Inspect your Arborvitae, Juniper and spruce for evidence of this pest prior to the warm weather arriving when eggs hatch. Hand pick the visible sacks and dispose before chemical control is required. Bagworm eggs typically hatch between May and June, but can be sooner.

Make certain to visually inspect the trees where you removed the Bagworm. Sometimes you may miss one or two sacks inside the canopy and it doesn’t take many sacks filled with eggs to hatch and produce a new generation. Again, this would take place typically from May to June (depending on average daytime temperature) and should you notice activity – smaller versions of the large dormant sacks from the winter – it would be best to treat with an insecticide product at this time.

When using a pesticide product – always wear gloves and safety glasses, but more importantly always follow the manufacturer’s label for specific rates and sensitivity different species of plant.

7 Tips For Selling Your Home Quickly This Spring

Sell your home quickly this spring!Download my article (PDF) outlining the top 7 Tips For Selling Your Home Quickly This Spring Рmust-do ideas to prepare your home to sell quickly during the Spring home buying frenzy.

Free free to contact me if you have any questions or you would like an evaluation consultation if you need a little more one-on-one guidance. It is my job to help you get your home sold. Sometimes it just takes a couple of simple fixes to spruce things up and attract the right buyers you are seeking.

I enjoy working with first-time home sellers (and of course first-time home buyers too) and sometimes all you need is a little feedback from someone who works with homes on a daily basis. Likewise, I am a client-focused Realtor¬ģ and I will never pressure someone into anything. I appreciate any relationship that may form, and I like to consider clients like family.

Anyway, without further babbling, Download The 7 Springtime Tips PDF.  If you would like to receive future tips and valuable market information, subscribe here  with your name and email address.

As always, you may use the Contact page to send a message to me or call/text me any time at 732-930-4290.

Please Like Mark Grimes on Facebook!

Like Mark Grimes on Facebook!

Mark Grimes on FacebookSocial media is a great way to start your home buying or selling journey, especially for first time home buyers. It gives you an opportunity to get to know your agent better and see what others are saying. Take a look at my Facebook page for even more information about me РFacebook.com/MarkGrimesRealtor and please be sure to send a message, my response time is very quick.  Thanks for visiting, I am looking forward to working with you soon!

Buying a Home with ease!

Ready to begin to begin the journey of buying a home?
Buying a home
Let Mark Grimes assist with your home buying experience.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, which means it is still prime-time for first time home buyers. With many programs available (navigate to¬†Financial Resources) buying a home¬†couldn’t be easier! However, I should mention that not using an experienced real estate professional could make the process overwhelming. Finding the right home and setting appointments to see them is just the beginning. Researching the property of interest (is the title clean? are taxes current? is it a fit for your family?), negotiating a price and finding the right lender are just some of the tasks I will perform. We will communicate frequently, set-up and execute a plan to purchase and get to the closing table! The first night in your new home is not as far away as you think.¬†Contact¬†me today to get started.

 

EXiT Realty – Team Compass Point

EXIT Realty: Team Compass Point

Exit Realty¬†–¬†Team Compass Point

UPDATE, June 12, 2017:

As of July 1, 2017, Compass Point Realtors will merge offices and expertise to join forces with EXiT Realty (Exit Р98 George Realty, 2200 W. County Line Rd. Jackson, NJ 08527) to deliver an even higher level of service. The merger will bring the additional tools and assets of an international real estate franchise to our already fantastic customer experience. This change will bring the first real estate team to the Exit Р98 George Realty office, an established leader in our community having been in the real estate business for 40 years. Our team will be titled Team Compass Point lead by CPR Broker John Grimes and CPR Agent Mark Grimes. The dynamics of a team help our customers by bringing the experience, knowledge and talent of multiple agents to make your transaction more efficient and stress-free. Please note that all contact information (mobile phones, email and web site addresses) will remain the same during and after the merge. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to Contact me.

 

 

Based in¬†Jackson Township, NJ –¬†Compass Point Realtors¬†is a step above the rest. From the initial call, you will immediately notice that high quality Compass Point Realtorsservice with honesty and integrity is paramount for Compass Point. Whether buying or selling a home, listing your rental as a landlord or seeking property management services, check out the array of professional services offered that separates Compass Point agents from the others.