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FanwoodScotch PlainsWarrenSummitBerkeley Heights
New ProvidenceLonghill TwpWatchungWarrenMaplewood
CranfordWestfieldFanwoodMillburnShort Hills

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How to Protect Your Assets

Why do you need personal liability insurance? Though it’s a policy included with your homeowners insurance, you should make sure that all of your assets are always fully protected.

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One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to protect your assets. One of the best ways to protect your assets is to get personal liability insurance. Where can you get personal liability insurance?
I’d recommend connecting with Michael Hompesch, who is a senior insurance advisor at the John Morgan McLachlan Agency.
Michael shared with me the value of personal liability insurance and the fact that it’s embedded in most homeowners insurance policies.

Personal liability insurance is embedded in most homeowners insurance policies.
What does personal liability insurance do? If you or any family members living under the same roof damage any property or hurt anyone significantly, personal liability insurance will cover any legal expenses and claims up to $500,000.
We take homeowners insurance for granted because it’s required by mortgage companies and because it’s relatively affordable; however, if you’re renting or you’ve paid off your mortgage and let the policy lapse, you may not be covered under a liability insurance policy and should be sure to get it immediately.
Keep in mind that liability insurance typically covers about $500,000, and with some accidents this may not cover all of the damage. For this reason, you should also consider getting supplemental liability insurance, which is also called “umbrella insurance.” This will typically cover you above and beyond what your auto and homeowners policy covers you for.
We work hard to attain our assets, so we need to be smart about protecting them. I’d recommend that you contact Michael and ask him to review your policy. If you mention my name to him, he’ll do so for free and with no obligation. Give him a call at 908-526-4600 X221 if you have any specific questions for him.
If you have any other questions about homeowners insurance or anything else related to real estate in New Jersey, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you!

An Overview of How Real Estate Taxes in New Jersey Work

Real estate taxes are complicated. However, I would like to use my experience to help you get a better grasp of how they work.

After 14 years as a professional Realtor in New Jersey, I’ve picked up quite a bit of information about real estate taxes in this state. I’d like to share some of this wisdom with you today.

The first thing to keep in mind is that real estate taxes are complicated. A Rutgers professor recently stated that a big portion of New Jersey’s budget goes to schools and public services, and there are no real savings in combining town services. This is a great thing, because New Jersey is known for its good schools.

Commerce is also a big driver for taxes. A friend of mine recently told me that once a Costco was completed near her house, her taxes went down.

Commerce is a big driver for taxes.

If you are buying a home and it was cleaned up or improved in any meaningful way, you should call the tax assessor's office to see if the taxes on your home will go up. If you’re selling and thinking of making repairs, you should also give the tax assessor’s office a call before you make your decision.

Homeowners who fix up their home and don’t tell their town need to disclose that information with the buyers up front. Buyers all want to know if homes will go up in taxed value after the close. Most towns in New Jersey do not release the value after close, but there are some towns that do tax you based on the market value of the home after the sale is closed.

Lastly, your taxes and property values work together. If you have low taxes, it’s likely that your property values are sky high. If you have high taxes, like in West Orange, you typically have lower-priced homes.

If you have any questions about real estate taxes in New Jersey or anything else relating to real estate, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

How Short Sales Work

Short sales are an option for sellers who want to protect their credit by putting their house on the market before it goes into foreclosure.
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I deal with short sales both as a listing agent and a buyer’s agent, so today I want to cover this topic in full.

A short sale is when the seller attempts to sell the house for less than what they owe on that house. The seller puts the house on the market before it goes into foreclosure because they want to protect their credit.

A short sale has to be approved by the bank. In order for the bank to improve the short sale, they have to take several considerations into account. Can the seller prove hardship? How much do they owe? How many liens do they have? What type of liens? What are the assets?

A successful short sale happens when the seller fully cooperates.

A successful short sale happens when the seller is fully cooperating and can prove hardship. It can get messy when they or their spouses aren’t cooperating, they can’t prove hardship, or there are multiple liens or types of liens. For those reasons, a short sale can take at least six months or more. Buyers need to be patient and flexible on the closing date, then, because it’s really a roll of the dice as to whether they get that house.

The most important thing the buyer’s agent can do in this transaction is ask the seller’s agent the right kinds of questions. Is the seller cooperating? Have they filled out the short sale package and sent it to the bank? Do they have a good case? What to they owe in total? Has the bank done a BPO (broker’s price opinion) yet?

The general rule of thumb is that sellers are usually willing to lose 30% on their investment, but you always put an offer in anyway because you never know if they’re willing to lose more. The key is to have a buyer’s agent that’s on top of the seller’s agent because, quite frankly, they don’t always have all the answers.

The most important thing the listing agent can do in this transaction is move that process forward and keep close communication with buyers who have expressed interest.

If you or anyone you know is looking to do a possible short sale, please let me know and I’d be happy to offer a free consultation. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!