Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Expected is reporting that new research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research shows that global sea level rise is happening 60% faster than IPCC projections, even though temperatures are rising much as expected.
The new findings highlight that the IPCC is far from being alarmist, and in fact in some cases rather underestimates possible risks. So how fast are sea levels actually rising? This latest research, based on satellite data, shows that sea levels are rising on average 3.2mm each year—and not because of any temporary event like ice discharges from the ice sheets of Greenland or Antarctica, or because of internal variability in the climate system.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Vanishing FSBO

During the last five years of the downturn in Real Estate, For Sale signs have been a familiar sight on most major streets. But one of the biggest casualties of the sluggish housing market has been the Realtors call these sellers "Fizzbo's" and have been increasingly successful in converting them to happy clients. In the past 20 years,the percentage of sellers who sell on their own has dropped from 19% to about 10%.

Most of those who choose to go it alone either have s background in Real Estate or know their buyers personally. Even then, buyers feel uncomfortable looking at a home with the seller looking over their shoulders. Even if the seller steps outside, the buyer is acutely aware that the seller is paying close attention to how long the buyer spends in the home. Buyers tend to leave much more quickly if the seller is nearby.

 One shift we’re seeing is that FSBOs are increasingly private transactions. In 2003, the first year NAR started looking at the question, a little more than a third of FSBOs, or 36 percent, knew who their buyers were upfront. By last year, that number had increased to 50 percent. That’s a 38 percent shift.

That suggests FSBOs are increasingly hesitant to go it alone unless they have their buyer lined up before they take the plunge

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mortgage Programs for 620 and Up FICOs

Our local go-to guy on mortgage approvals,  Ken Lombardi,  just posted this useful update on his FB page:
Today, stocks are up, so it looks like rates may edge up. After election thet dropped, but now it looks like we may retreat from the lows, so act fast. Dont forget November is when the bond market fiscal year ends, thats why rates rise in Nov. and Dec. They are taking huge profits they made this year!. Important, new data shows average person closing on a real estate transaction has a 760 credit score. The 620-660 market is not taking advantage of low rates and the best time in history ever to buy!!
They may think they cant get a loan, because banks want 700 or better in most cases. We have special programs for people down to 620 scores, lower for VA. Call me for details, Yes there are even no money down programs where closings costs are paid. Buying or refinancing.
We are a full service Mortgage Banker with our own funds, we can help!! 973-632-3487.
Get informed and know how to get prepared
As if to prove his prediction, Zillow 30 year rates, in column at right, have today just jumped from 3.2& to 3.27%.

Just tell him Geoff sent you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2 - 4 Legged Food Drives for Sandy Victims

The Four Legged Food Drive aims to bring pet food to dogs cats who are victims of the home foreclosure crisis, through your donations. This year, Keller Wiliams Realty in Montclair is leading the drive to feed pets that have fallen victim to Hurricane Sandy. Most are in the devastated NJ Shore towns.

For the rest of our two legged folks in North Essex, we're assisting the Food Pantry of Montclair.  Right now, they're looking for donations of Thanksgiving related food. For their ongoing needs, check out their website.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The ABC's of 203k's

You don't have to be a victim of Sandy's wrath to get government help for home repairs and renovations. Whether you're a first time buyer looking for a great deal in a home that needs a little TLC, or you own a home that is overdue for an upgrade, a 203k loans may be the perfect solution. It's not a new program, having been around for over 30 years but, since it was streamlined in 1994, it is now far and away the fastest growing home repair loan program.

The Federal Housing Administration has specified that their 203k loans must be for improvements that cost at least $5,000, and work must be completed within 6 months. For small projects under $35,000 you may want to use a Streamlined 203k instead; the process is less cumbersome.

 If you underestimate costs, you cannot increase your loan amount so it's important to work with good contractors. Interest rates on FHA 203k loans are a little higher than other FHA loans (by about
1% or so), so you’ll pay more over the life of your loan.

Lenders have to do extra work to track your project and lock an interest rate for the longer application process. However, FHA 203k loans are guaranteed so lenders have less risk. Rates may still be lower than you can find without FHA backing.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

DEP Issues Water Conservation Advisory for NNJ

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, DEP Commissioner Don Martin has issued the following advisory:
We are asking residents and businesses served by the PVSC to heed the Governor’s Executive Order for mandatory water use restrictions, and to be even more diligent in conserving water to help us reduce the flow of effluents into the harbor and limit environmental impacts until we get this plant fully operational.
Among the restrictions:

  • All indoor water use, including showers, baths and domestic cleaning, must be conducted with minimum amounts of water.
  • Non-essential indoor water use is prohibited.
  • Watering of grass, lawns and landscapes is prohibited except for newly sodded or seeded areas done by professional. landscapers or immediately following a commercial application of fertilizer, pesticide or herbicides; minimum amount of water should be used during these applications.
  • Use of water for washing paved surfaces, such as streets, sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking lots and patios is prohibited.
  • Outdoor use of water for ornamental or aesthetic purposes, including fountains, artificial waterfalls, and reflecting pools is prohibited, except to preserve or support wildlife.
  • Use of water for power washing of buildings is prohibited except for commercial enterprises engaged in power washing, and with minimum water use.
  • Car and truck washing, except for emergency vehicles, is prohibited.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Still Recovering from Sandy? FEMA Can Help

More than 49,000 have registered with FEMA in NJ for disaster relief and more than $31M in assistance has already been approved. A major disaster declaration has been issued for 12 NJ Counties. The number of those assisted will continue to increase as residential power is restored and those affected are able to register for assistance with FEMA online, as well as through their 800#.

If you live in one of the counties affected by Hurricane Sandy, we encourage you to apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) TTY 1-800-462-7585 or if you have access to the internet, applying online at You can download a FEMA smartphone app here.

The SBA, Small Business Administration, is making Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small businesses and most private non-profit organizations in eligible Counties. Disaster loans up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets are available at low interest rates.

 Apply at: Find the nearest FEMA Disaster Recovery Center by inputting an address at the following site:

Friday, November 02, 2012

Power Failures From the Top Down

I don't usually agree with NY Post editorial views, but their cover story on Mayor Bloomberg's making Sunday's NY Marathon a priority over the region's current crisis with power outages and gas shortages reflects a good chunk of public opinion.
It reinforces today's comments by Steve Crooks, good friend who is always thinking out side the box. He just posted this observation on his Facebook wall:
I'm wondering, who remembers the oil embargo back in the '70s? The closed-up gas stations everywhere, the long lines? Remember 'odd and even days'? Why on Earth isn't some genius mandating something like that? Or some alphabetical system? At least you would KNOW when your turn was! Because these endless gas station lines are obscene, glutting up traffic and eating away at our police forces, just to keep the peace. Jesus, during World War II the federal government was rationing EVERYTHING, and the general public pitched in for the effort. Are our current officials so gun-shy that they are afraid, with an election coming on, to mandate ANYTHING, even if it were the smart thing to do? What say you? Because I really want to know...

Maybe our local governors could learn from the past and  get a bit more pro-active in dealing with this escalating crisis.