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Home Buyer Terminology

Real Estate Terminology for First Timers11/27/2014
First time buyers face a learning curve that can feel overwhelming if the right level of support and education is not available. It's not enough to merely educate one's self on buying strategies, mortgage application, and closing process. Buyers must also navigate through a sea of unfamiliar legalese, home building lingo and real estate specific jargon.

The glossary below is by no means complete and is no substitute for the careful guidance of an experienced real estate agent, but it can serve as a good primer for consumers getting their feet wet in real estate for the first time.

Agency - The relationship of trust that exists between buyers or sellers and their agents. The agency is formed via a written contract.

Amortization - The process of paying the principal and the interest on a mortgage through regularly scheduled payments.

Appraised Value - A licensed appraiser's opinion of the current market value of a property.

Assessed Value - A tax assessor's determination of the value of a home in order to calculate a tax base.

Breezeway - A roofed passage way with open sides.

Capital improvement - Any improvement that extends the life or increases the value of a piece of property.

Comparable sales - Recent sales of similar properties in nearby areas and used to help determine the market value of a property. Also referred to as "comps."

Contingency - A provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. One example is a buyer's contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home.

Dry Rot - Decay of seasoned wood caused by fungus.

Earnest Money Deposit - A deposit made by the potential home buyer as evidence of good faith that he or she is serious about buying the house.

Easement - A right or interest in the use of the land of another which entitles the holder to some use, privilege or benefit, such as to place power lines, pipe lines or roads.

Abbreviations in Listing Advertisements

The agent shorthand found in listing ads can baffle the average consumer. Below are some of the most common acronyms and abbreviations found on listings.

AGP - Above Ground Pool
ATT - Attached
CA, CAC -Central Air Conditioning
CH/BW - Chain Link/Barbed Wire
EIK - Eat-in-kitchen
FDR - Formal dining room
FP - Fireplace
FSBO - For Sale By Owner
Gar - Garage
HDW/HWF/Hdwd - Hardwood Floors
HVAC - Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
IGP - In-ground pool
MLS - Multiple Listing Service
NC - New construction
PSF - Per Square Foot
SFD - Single Family Detached
Upr - Upper floor
w/d - washer/dryer
wic - walk-in-closet

Egress - The exit point from a property.

Escrow - An item of value, money, or documents deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. For example, the earnest money deposit is put into escrow until delivered to the seller when the transaction is closed.

Energy Star - A joint program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that sets energy efficiency guidelines for products, homes and businesses.

Equity - A homeowner's financial interest in a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and other liens.

Fixtures - Those parts of a property affixed to structures or land, usually in such a manner that they cannot be independently moved without damage to themselves or the property housing supporting or pertinent to them. Fixtures are usually included in a sale and commonly include but are not limited to items such as carpets and awnings.

Full Disclosure - In real estate, revealing all the known facts which may affect the decision of a buyer or tenant. A broker must disclose identified defects in the property for sale or lease.

Green building - Also known as sustainable building or environmental building, this definition varies depending on the agency or group. Generally it means to construct a building to the highest environmental standards by minimizing the use of energy, water and materials. A green building, for example, might have skylights, recycled building materials and solar panels.

Ingress - The entry point to a property.

Lien - A legal claim against a property that must be paid off when the property is sold. A mortgage or first trust deed is considered a lien.

MLS (Multiple Listing Service) - An MLS is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. MLS's are local or regional.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) - Mortgage insurance that is provided by a private mortgage insurance company to protect lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Most lenders generally require PMI when the amount borrowed exceeds 80% of the purchase price or home's value.

Plat - A plan, map or chart of a tract or town site dividing a parcel of land into lots.

Subdivision - An area of land laid out and separated into lots, blocks, and building sites, and in which public facilities such as streets, alleys, parks, and easements for public utilities are also planned.

Sweat equity - used to describe the contribution made to a project by people who contribute their time and effort.

Title - A legal document evidencing a person's right to or ownership of a property.

Title company - A company that specializes in examining and insuring titles to real estate.

Patricia " PATTIE" Romano
REALTOR® Associate
At Barnegat Bay
31 North Main Street ( RT 9 )
Manahawkin,NJ 08050
Direct cell-609-312-9043
eve: 609-978-5985 -

Market Is Prime


 With the current market conditions it couldn’t be a better time to buy a house. Interest rates are low, mortgage lenders have loans for just about anyone with or without down payment and the prices of homes are lower than in recent years.  I have access to all the current listings in Ocean and Monmouth county.


If you let me know what you’re looking for, your timeframe and general area of search I’ll send you an updated link with every listing currently on the market. The listings I send you will have photos, addresses, taxes and all available information.  I’ll follow up with answers to your questions and/or make appointments to show them to you.


Also, with today's computerized and cooperative real estate system, I can show you any home listed with any real estate agency in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.  So if you hear of another property or see a sign that interests you, send me the address of the property and the agency name and I’ll follow up and send you all relevant details.


I look forward to hearing from you.


Have a great day!


Patricia " PATTIE" Romano
REALTOR® Associate
/MAX At Barnegat Bay
31 North Main Street ( RT 9 )
Manahawkin,NJ 08050
Direct cell-609-312-9043
eve: 609-978-5985 -

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Hurricane Sandy: The Negative Impact on the LBI Real Estate Market


Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed, Long Beach Island NJ, and the entire Northeast for that matter, has begun the long process of cleanup and rebuilding. While many individuals are far away from being concerned about the value of their property, many others who were lucky enough to escape damage from Hurricane Sandy are left wondering about Property Values on Long Beach Island NJ after Hurricane Sandy. This is particularly relevant for those who currently have their house listed for sale in the LBI real estate market!


Hurricane Sandy: The Negative Impact on the LBI Real Estate Market

Hurricane Sandy has left much damage in her wake and for some individuals and families; this damage is not able to be corrected. Despite living in a flood zone, many homeowners on Long Beach Island NJ are without flood insurance. Flood insurance is not required (unless you have a mortgage) and since many homes on Long Beach Island NJ are multi-generational, they are without mortgages and their owners have allowed their flood coverage to expire. These individuals, without flood insurance and without the financial means to rebuild, will see the greatest reduction in their Property Values on Long Beach Island NJ after Hurricane Sandy. These homes will have to be sold either for land value or as a project house. These sales will be more difficult because obtaining a mortgage for either will be very difficult. Therefore, the price must reflect the situation and be sold for less than it normally would have. In the short term, this will have a negative impact on prices as these homes will lower comparable sales and average sales on Long Beach Island NJ and in the LBI real estate market as a whole.


Hurricane Sandy: The Positive Impact on the LBI Real Estate Market

Despite the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy on Long Beach Island NJ, there is an upside to the storm. Many homes and commercial properties on LBI that were damaged will be completely renovated inside and out! This will lead to home values, both individual and in the LBI real estate market as a whole, increasing. From a summer rental standpoint, many homeowners are taking this opportunity to upgrade their homes to include new kitchens, new central air conditioning systems and other modern amenities. This will increase the weekly summer rental rates in the LBI real estate market and make for a more enjoyable summer vacation on Long Beach Island for the summer tenants. These updated homes will also sell for a higher price than they would have if they were in their original state.


Property Values on Long Beach Island NJ after Hurricane Sandy

Taken as a whole, it is my opinion that Property Values on Long Beach Island NJ After Hurricane Sandy will have a short term decrease followed by an increase in overall value in the LBI real estate market. If you have any additional questions or concerns, Please feel free to contact me and I will be more than Happy to help you through this buying process or just help ease your concerns.

Patricia " PATTIE" Romano
REALTOR® Associate

/MAX At Barnegat Bay
31 North Main Street ( RT 9 )
Manahawkin,NJ 08050
Direct cell-609-312-9043
eve: 609-978-5985 -

Building to a Higher Standard


From FEMA: Help Is Available For Building To a Higher Standard

TRENTON, N.J. -- For many New Jersey homeowners, rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy will mean meeting a higher standard literally.

Communities up and down the Jersey coast are reviewing new advisory base flood elevation maps published in December by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The maps show how high buildings s...hould be elevated to minimize damage from future flooding.

Building higher means higher costs, but federal resources may be available to help with the additional expense.

Flood insurance policyholders in high-risk areas, also known as special flood hazard areas, can get up to $30,000 to help pay the costs of meeting the requirements of their community's floodplain ordinance. The National Flood Insurance Program includes Increased Cost of Compliance coverage for all new and renewed standard flood insurance policies.

The money can be used to raise your home to, or above, the flood elevation level adopted by your local government or to move your home out of harms way. The Increased Cost of Compliance coverage can also be used to tear down and remove flood-damaged buildings.

Increased Cost of Compliance claims are paid only on flood-damaged homes in a high-risk area that dont already comply with the local flood plain ordinances. The amount of flood damage has to be declared by local authorities as substantial. The coverage can only be used to pay for costs of meeting the floodplain management ordinance in your community.

if you have any additional questions or concerns- Please feel free to email or call me

Patricia " PATTIE" Romano
REALTOR® Associate
/MAX At Barnegat Bay
31 North Main Street ( RT 9 )
Manahawkin,NJ 08050
Direct cell-609-312-9043
eve: 609-978-5985 -

You have everything to lose by aiming High


"If you 're looking for someone to help price your home and negotiate for you and to guide you on common market practices, then you want a full-service agent. The commission you pay is for their expertise and negotiation skills, and for guiding you through the biggest transaction of your life. You only sell a home every seven years and you can't possibly know everything you need to know to get yourself the best deal. So you bring in a realtor in because it's something she does every day of her life, and she can help you squeeze the most dollar value for your home. That's why you hire a realtor.""You should listen to her, too, and not argue with everything she says."

You Have Everything to Lose by Aiming High

"Don't dare overprice in this market, "Sellers often think they need to price their home high so they have wiggle room in a negotiation. There's no law that says you need to negotiate. You can set a price and stay firm."

When pricing your home, use round numbers to reach the broadest audience.  if you list your house at , 505,000 and not $499,999 you will miss buyers who are searching up to $500,000  It sounds obvious, but it's a common mistake.

 "The first 30 days on the market are crucial because people want to look at new listings first, and that's when your listing gets the most attention. People think they have nothing to lose by aiming high at the beginning; they think they can drop the price if they don't get a lot of showings initially. But they've wasted the peak marketing period by listing at the wrong price. The longer you're on the market, the less likely you are to sell

If you have questions about the real estate options, or simply want a friend to turn to throughout the process, I am here for you!  You will never feel as though you're going through the process by yourself - this is my personal guarantee.


Unlike some I care about your emotional well-being as well as your real estate success.  You can rest easy knowing that I will be here for you, every step of the way!


I look forward to building a relationship with you, and to helping you achieve your real estate goals.  I hope that you'll contact me today at 609-312-9043 or visit my Web site at  so that we can become partners - and friends.

Bring The Kids


We're loaded with the information on the homes you'll view today, our appointments
are confirmed, and one of the next questions you may have is "Is it ok to bring the kids?"

Of course!

I'm a mom.  Some of the sellers are parents.  We all know how important the home buying process is to the children. They feel the stress of a move sometimes even more than the parents do.  It can be scary for little ones as they are creatures of habit and thrive on stability. 

Let's involve the children in the new home search right away.  If your children are old enough to read and write I can make them their own "feature sheet" of each home.  They can then jot down their own notes on the sheets after we view each home. Even the younger children can draw a happy face or a sad face on the sheets to express their feelings about the homes.  It is so much fun for children to talk to you later about each home they viewed and to have their own notes on them to compare with yours.

Is it difficult to corral little ones in a strangers home?  Sometimes, but I have 2 arms and am happy to help.  I'll do the corralling with your permission so that you can view the home without interruption.  Did I forget to mention that I love babies?  I would love to hold on to your little one and walk through the home with you keeping your hands free to open closets and cupboards and explore the homes.

Will the children want to see the neighborhoods that they'll be bike riding and playing with new friends?  Of course they will, and the move will be much happier for them if they can see the new neighborhoods often before the moving truck arrives.

I remember last summer a 5 year old little girl made new friends simply by walking over to the fence and saying hello to the little girls playing in the yard next door.  When the time came for her move to the new home she was excited to be able to play with her new friends and not afraid of the changes in her life.   To watch those little girls interact with each other from the very start warmed my heart, and her parents hearts also.

If she hadn't come along to see the homes with Mom and Dad she wouldn't have known what a wonderful change in her life it would be and how much fun she was going to have!

a really tip- is to Pen Pal with the child's new school, they won't feel so alone when its time begin school 

Bring the kids?  Of course!   The home buying process is a family event, let's include the whole family from the start.


Take Your First Offer Seriously


 Thinking of selling your home? Remember: "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

That old adage is especially relevant when talking about home-purchase offers in a buyer's market. Even in a balanced market, it is often the first offer that turns out to be the best one the seller will get.

Consider your first offer seriously and treat it with kid gloves. Here are some solid reasons why:
  • An early offer (if you're lucky!) doesn't necessarily mean buyers are lining up to follow suit. It could just mean that your home meets the needs or preferences of that one particular buyer who made the offer.

  • Your home will get the most interest from buyers just after it goes on the market. The longer it stays on the market, the more "desperate" buyers will think you are, prompting lower and lower offers.

  • Even if the first offer is thousands lower than your list price, consider carefully whether it might be enough -- in terms of price and contract terms -- before rejecting it out of hand. After all, the longer your home is on the market, the more it costs you in mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, upkeep and sheer inconvenience.

  • If the offered price and contract terms are less than ideal, start negotiations by making a counteroffer, being as flexible with the terms as possible. It isn't uncommon for buyers to offer a price below what they are truly willing to pay, sometimes much below, just to see if they can buy under market.
An offer indicates serious interest in your home -- don't underestimate that but don't take it for granted, either.

As with any purchase offer, consider the chances of the contract going to closing/settlement. Buyers who are pre-approved for a mortgage have demonstrated the financial ability to buy your home; give them extra points as you tally up the pros and cons of their offer. 

I'll be happy to work with you to fine-tune your home's listing price so it fits our local market. I can also advise you on what would make your home more saleable at low cost to you. Most importantly, I can&will put my expertise to work for you when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers. 
I hope you'll take advantage of them!

The Price is Right


The Price is Right!

The right priceIt has been said that everything in this life has a price.  For real estate sales, let's call it the "Right price!"  When things are priced correctly, all things are able to be sold.  Equilibrium is the point in which the seller agrees to sell and a buyer agrees to buy.  It is a meeting of the minds in which the terms, location, and price have been put into a binding contract with a pledge of all parties to perform as promised.  In this current market this point of equilibrium is a grey area.  The sellers feel they deserve more in price, and the buyer is afraid the prices are moving lower.  The buyers fear is that they will overpay if prices continue to fall.    In retail sometimes a promise or a pledge that if a better price is found, the retailer will honor the new price and pay you the difference.  With a home, there is no way to do that.  A home is just too expensive.  There is no safety net to protect future value, and so we have a stalemate.  Falling prices, buyer bonuses, and incentives are not enough to sway the reluctant buyer.   The toughest part of the entire equation is to educate the sellers and buyers with facts, and truth.  Most real estate contracts affirm that as real estate agents we cannot gaurentee future values.  Appreciation is not a given, but with compromise movement in price and terms  a sale can become reality. So when your ready to buy - Give me a call 609-312-9043 or email me at


Short Sales revisited

A year ago, many real estate professionals didn't know what a short sale was. Now, with the mortgage industry in a meltdown and failings of financial institutions making headlines, some agents are getting a crash course.

According to RealtyTrac, with the number of foreclosures increasing over last year across the country, lenders are opting to sell homes facing foreclosures rather than let them go to auction in order to minimize losses.

Coming Up Short

During the recent real estate boom, many buyers paid more for their properties than they are worth today. Compounded by the 100 percent financing that was so readily available, these buyers now find themselves with mortgages higher than their current property value.

When these buyers encounter hardships, such as divorce, medical conditions or loss of employment, they are unable to market their property and pay their outstanding loans. In many cases, they fall victim to foreclosure or even bankruptcy.

Mortgage lenders have found a viable alternative - a short sale - which allows homeowners to sell their properties as long as their lender agrees to satisfy the loan for less than the outstanding balance. The advantages to lenders are purely financial. In many cases, foreclosure proceedings can be long and expensive, so a short sale offers lenders the opportunity to minimize their losses.

Plenty of Pitfalls

One of the biggest obstacles involving a short sale is the amount of time lenders take to make a decision. Typically, this process can take 30 to 45 days Even up to as long at 4 months. Buyers must understand the process and be willing to wait for the final decision to know if they will actually be able to buy the home.

 Lenders can dictate what other seller settlement expenses they will be willing to accept. Lenders see this as an opportunity to recuperate some of their losses since they're already accepting a payoff that is lower than what's owed. This benefits the buyer usually. In most cases the buyer will have to be willing to obtain the Certificate of Occupancy- at their own expense. Which the listing agent should already have had it the home inspected by the local Buliding department. This will show  potenial buyer the underlying cost that may have to be incurred. ALL RESALES MUST HAVE A C of O to transfer title. But with the inventory out there today- It's still a great time to buy-

Credit Consequences After a Short Sale


Credit Consequences After a Short Sale or Foreclosure

No homeowner wants to think about losing their home to foreclosure or undergoing a short sale, but in reality, it does happen. Some lenders would rather accept a short sale, in order to avoid the foreclosure process. A homeowner may rather short sale their home as well, in order to pay off the loan for less than what is owed. In either instance there are repercussions on the homeowners credit.

How Short Sales Affect Your Credit

First of all, a short sale occurs when the proceeds from the sale of a house are less than what the owner still owes on the mortgage. When sellers have a home go through short sale, they typically lose 50-100 points on their credit rating. The sellers may wonder about their future home buying power after a short sale as well. Even after losing some of their credit rating, the sellers can typically buy another home in about two years at a good interest rate. Only the late mortgage payments get reported when a homeowner undergoes a short sale.

How Foreclosure Affects Your Credit

In a foreclosure situation, the homeowners lose much more of their credit score than they would in a short sale. The sellers credit score after foreclosure will usually fall 300 points. It will also affect the length of time before a buyer can get a good interest rate when buying another home. After foreclosure it typically takes up to ten years for a borrower to get a good interest rate. Foreclosures must always be listed on any credit application as well. If a homeowner has more than one property that forecloses then their credit could be damaged up to 600 points.

Ways Short Sales and Foreclosures Affect Your Life and Employment



Short Sale

If you have a job requiring security clearance A foreclosure will usually cause loss of security clearance and many times the position Usually does not challenge security clearance
Current Employment Repercussions Employers can check current credit records of employees in sensitive positions and foreclosure may cause termination Not reported on credit, so usually causes no changes in employment.
Future Employment Repercussions Foreclosure must be listed on applications and many times will cause failure to get the applied for position Not on a credit report, so usually does not affect
Deficiency Judgment Bank has the right to file for Deficiency Judgment (unless in states with Deficiency Judgment laws) Lender may be convinced to forgo seeking Deficiency Judgment
Amount of Deficiency Judgment If the foreclosure does not sell at auction, it will sell at an even lower cost and result in a higher deficiency judgment being filed. Usually home is sold closer to market value, so there is a lower deficiency judgment (if one is filed).

Foreclosure Vs Short Sale Future Loan Issues



Short Sale

Primary Residence Fannie Mae Loan Ineligible for 5 years Eligible after 2 years
Non-primary Residence Fannie Mae Loan Ineligible for investment loan for 7 years Eligible after 2 years
Loan with any other company Future rates will be affected after answering yes on 1003 asking if you have been in a foreclosure Question about short sale is not asked on a form
Credit Score Lowers by 250-300 points, which lasts at least 3 years Only the late payments are reported. Lowers score 50-100 points and affects may only last 12-18 months.
Credit History Stays on public record for 10 years or more Nothing shows up except that mortgage was taken care of.
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