What Is the Smartest Way to Pay Off a Debt?

By RONDA KAYSEN MAY 27, 2017 Q. My wife took out a $30,000 personal loan from a colleague whom she would like to pay back now. To get the funds, we could either refinance the mortgage on our co-op in Jackson Heights, Queens, or take out a home equity line of credit. Given the current mortgage rates, which would be the wiser option? A. Many homeowners look to the equity in their homes to pay for things like home improvements or college tuition, or to pay off credit card debt. You can tap that equity by refinancing your mortgage or opening a home equity line of ...

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Top Real Estate Agents Tips for Sellers

As most of you know, we are now in the midst of the home-buying season. So, I wanted to provide people looking to sell their property this year with some information about how to maximize your selling price while minimizing your stress. To do this, I contacted some of the top real estate agents I know in the Metropolitan area and asked each of them for one tip.  Their incredibly insightful, unique and valuable tips are listed below. 1.  Prepare to Sell.  To get top dollar, it is important to spend the time upfront before listing your house for ...

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Four Things Real Estate Agents Wish They Could Say to Their Clients

As I reflect back on this year’s residential real estate market, I have come up with a few issues that arise all the time.   I know that real estate agents would love to avoid them if they could only say the following to their clients.   Do Not Schedule a Vacation At Least Two Weeks Before or Two Weeks After Your Proposed Closing Date. As all of us in the residential real estate world know, while the purchaser gets all of their “ducks in a row” (e.g. mortgage, title, etc.), and the seller packs up the house, the weeks prior to and after a targeted ...

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How NOT to Select a Real Estate Lawyer

If you will be purchasing or selling a home this year you will need a real estate lawyer for the legal work. There are a few things that you should look for when deciding on the attorney. First, you should always employ the cheapest attorney you can find. That way, after spending hundreds of thousands on a home, you will be able to save a few dollars on the only person in the transaction whom owes a fiduciary duty to you and may be able to identify issues that can save you thousands of dollars in potential future costs if they are experienced and diligent. Penny-w...

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Tips for Backyard Landscaping

We are now in the heart of the spring and for many of us that means spending more time outside in our backyards. Therefore, for this email, I have turned to Mark Borst, the owner of Borst Landscape and Design the best landscaping company in Northern New Jersey (www.borstlandscape.com, (201) 258-7358). Mark will give us some ideas on how to turn your backyard into a stunning outdoor area with stylish features and an inviting atmosphere. I have listed the first two ideas in this email and provided a link at the bottom to Mark's website for the full article containing the ...

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The Party is Over for the Lowest Mortgage Interest Rates

If anybody is in the middle of the mortgage process now, either refinancing or purchasing a home, you are probably aware that the mortgage rates have increased dramatically (i.e. .25-.5%) since mid-April. If you are not aware, then you certainly are not working with me or anybody else who is watching out for your best interests. For everybody else, you will know soon since the newspapers are very good at writing stories about interest rates (either up or down) when it is already "Old News." The "new normal" is likely going to be interest rates in ...

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Five Things to Know About Your Credit Report

One of the biggest issues facing homebuyers today are problems with their credit scores. Unlike in the past, the available loan products and interest rates will vary significantly with a person’s credit score. Below are 5 Do’s and Don’ts to make sure that your credit score is as high as it can be: 1. DO-Make your mortgage on time and in no event later than the 30th day of the month. Even one 30 day late mortgage in a year can drop your credit score by 40-50 points and make you ineligible for certain mortgage products. If something has to be paid late, make it ...

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Giving Thanks for 7 Things that Surprised Me in Housing and Mortgages in 2014

Has it really been nearly a month since Halloween?  Apparently so since traffic on the highways, near the mall mecca of Paramus, is reminding me that holiday shopping mode is in full swing!  However, before we get there, we need to fulfill the American rite of giving “Thanks” for the overabundance of food in our country by gorging ourselves on turkey, stuffing and sides. We then leave room for dessert pies, including the season bellwether, pumpkin pie on which with we will “gourd” ourselves! Like the variety of side dishes on Thanksgiving, some of which are ...

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New Regulations Make Life More Difficult and Expensive But Mortgage Lending Goes On

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “(CFPB”) is a new federal agency which is in charge of protecting consumers in financial transaction. Since it was formed in 2011, they have spent a great deal of time investigating and then fining mortgage banks for violations of various lending laws. Unfortunately, the CFPB has spent a lot of time fining banks and mortgage loan originators; this has not really ended up helping consumers.  It also has not hurt the lending business as much as people thought it would. Though, it did result in driving many small ...

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It is Possible to Buy a Home Now with Less than Perfect Credit and a Small Down Payment!

There’s a general feeling in the market that in order to get a mortgage now, a person has to have a credit score over 700 credit score; a very high income and a large down payment.  This can be difficult since the economy is still recovering so that high paying jobs are hard to come by. Also, due to the high cost of living, it is hard to save a lot of money in order to buy a house. But none of that is necessary.  So long as you have a job and a little money saved or available to use from some source, you can buy a home! For example, on a Fannie Mae or a ...

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