Blog


First-time buyers in New Jersey typically have a lot of questions about earnest money deposits. How much earnest money should I provide, when making an offer on a home? Who do I give it to, and what happens to the money? This article addresses these and other questions about the earnest money process in New Jersey.

What Is Earnest Money?

Let’s start with a basic definition. In a real estate context, the term “earnest money” refers to money provided by a home buyer to show the seller they are serious about buying the property.

In fact, if you look up the word “earnest” in a dictionary, you’ll see that it means “sincere” or “serious.” And that’s exactly the point of an earnest money deposit. The buyer is basically saying to the seller: “I’m serious about buying your house, and I’m not trying to waste anyone’s time.”

This can make a big difference in an active real estate where there are multiple competing buyers. With all other things being equal, an offer that includes an earnest money deposit will probably be chosen over one that does not.

How Much Should I Deposit?

Another common question buyers ask is: How much earnest money should I pay when making an offer? What is the standard amount for an earnest money deposit in New Jersey?

There aren’t any rules, laws or requirements that specify how much you should deposit. In fact, ...


According to a report published at the beginning of 2018, the average credit score for New Jersey residents was 686. That was slightly higher than the national average of 675.

But what credit score is needed to qualify for a mortgage loan these days? Hint: It’s lower than the statewide average of 686.

Average Credit Score Among New Jersey Residents

In January 2018, the consumer credit-reporting company Experian published its “State of Credit” report. This report showed the average credit score in different states across the country, and for the nation as a whole.

Here are some interesting highlights:

  • The average credit score in New Jersey was 686, as of the beginning of 2018.
  • The average score nationwide was a bit lower at 675.
  • At 709, Minnesota residents had the highest average VantageScore.
  • Mississippi ranked last at 647.

Terminology note: This particular report pertains to the VantageScore credit-scoring model in particular. This is the one that’s jointly used by the three reporting bureaus — TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. There are other scoring models too, including the commonly used FICO score.

What Score Do NJ Home Buyers Need?

The averages shown above can be useful in terms of comparing credit scores across different regions, or to see how you stack up against others in your area. But those figures do not represent the minimum credit ...


A recently updated forecast suggests that the New Jersey housing market could experience rising home values stretching into 2019. Based on current conditions and trends, it appears likely that home prices in the state will continue to climb for the foreseeable future. So say the economists at Zillow, at least. Here’s a look at the latest forecasts for the New Jersey housing market.

Prices Up Nearly 10%, and Expected to Rise Further

According to the latest data compiled and analyzed by Zillow, the median home value for the state of New Jersey rose to around $313,000 as of June 2018. That marked an increase of 9.2% from the same month a year earlier.

Home prices in the state have been rising in a more or less steady fashion since the start of 2013, after a period of decline that occurred during the Great Recession. But the state’s median home price (the midpoint for house values) is still a bit lower than it was during the last peak.

Looking forward, the company’s economists forecast that New Jersey’s median home value would rise by around 7.6% over the next 12 months. This prediction was offered in June 2018, so it extends into early summer of 2019. Their outlook for New Jersey was slightly higher than the national forecast, suggesting that the state could experience some healthy home-price gains over the coming months.

To put those forecast percentages into perspective, home prices nationwide have risen by an average of around 4% to 5% ...


June 21st marked the first day of summer, so we thought it was a good time for an updated look at mortgage rate trends in New Jersey. Here are the latest developments and forecasts relating to mortgage rates, as we move into the Summer of 2018.

Average Rates Hover Around 4.6% at Start of Summer

The first thing you should know is that average mortgage rates in New Jersey and nationwide are now higher than they were at the start of the year. This is based on the weekly survey conducted by Freddie Mac, and similar surveys.

At the start of 2018, the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan was just below 4%. That average rose steadily during the first part of the year, and it has been hovering around 4.6% for the last few weeks.

According to the latest industry survey from Freddie Mac, 30-year mortgage loans held an average rate of 4.57% during the week ending June 21, 2018. A few weeks earlier, their survey rose to its highest point of the year, with the average rate for a 30-year mortgage loan cresting at 4.66%. They’ve come done a bit since then, but they’re still higher than at the start of 2018.

“After a sharp run-up in the early part of 2018, mortgage rates have stabilized over the last three months, with only a modest uptick since March,” the company’s economists stated.

Granted, mortgage rates in New Jersey can vary from one borrower to the next, and for a ...


Moving late in life is a daunting task, but there are lots of reasons why it’s a good idea. Relocating can help seniors reduce living costs, reconnect with relatives, and even maintain independence in old age. With a clear goal and a plan to get there, buying a new home in retirement can be manageable, too.

Assess Your Needs

Before you start house-hunting, spend some time thinking about what you want in a new home. Do you want to relocate to a smaller, more manageable home now that your kids have families of their own? Do you want to move to a community with senior-friendly amenities like walkable neighborhoods, community events, and a robust healthcare system? Do you need accessibility features due to a disability or age-related decline in mobility? There are many reasons why people choose to move late in life. Finding the right home means being connected with your reasons.

Determine Your Budget

Once you know what you need, it’s time to figure out what you can afford. If you’re already a homeowner, find out how much your house will sell for. Avoid the trap of estimating your home’s value; while your home holds cherished memories for your family, older homes can struggle to compete with new ...


Showing results 26 - 30 of 159