Thursday, September 30, 2010

More News Now Available to the Visually Impaired through NJ Newspapers

As reported by, "The New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center's Audiovision radio reading service of select NJ newspapers is now available on television to subscribers of Cablevision, Comcast and Verizon Fios. Audiovision provides access to newspapers for people with print disabilities including blindness; low vision; a physical disability that makes it difficult to hold a book; or a learning disability with a physical basis. The companies are now broadcasting Audiovision on the Spanish secondary audio language (SAP) channel of New Jersey Network (NJN). Access instructions are available at

"Newspapers broadcast include the Home News Tribune, Asbury Park Press, Bergen Record, Camden Courier Post, Newark Star Ledger, Trenton Times, the South Jersey edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Programming includes local news, grocery ads, editorials, obituaries, cooking, health, disability news, senior citizen issues and more, read by volunteers at the Talking Book & Braille Center's Mercer County studios.

"Audiovision went live with archived audio files for its listeners, the second radio reading service Internet streaming site in the nation at Equipment has been provided through grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as through federal funds from the Americans with Disabilities Act."

For more information on Audiovision call 1-800-792-8322 or visit

I think this is a wonderful opportunity for local professionals, including Realtors, to provide local, free content to be included in the papers which will accept community input.  It's an exciting concept to me to be able to reach out and provide more information to these buyers and sellers about our Mercer County NJ real estate.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor
Short Sale Specialist

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Does New Jersey Have a Shadow Inventory of Homes

A recent article in the RealEstateChannel provided some sobering statistics for the near future of real estate prices across the country.  While no New Jersey metropolitan area made the top 25 list, the logic will certainly apply to real estate markets coast to coast, if only through the trickle down effects of the problems in those major cities.

Here are some highlights from the article, and a link to read the entire post, Shadow Inventory, an Avalanche That's Coming Soon?, by Keith Jurow.

  • "Shadow Inventory Defined
    Rather than joining the dispute about what the term actually means, I will simply define it in this way: The "Shadow Inventory" is comprised of all those distressed residential properties (other than MLS listings) which we know will almost certainly be coming onto the market in the not-to-distant future.
  • MLS Foreclosures - Only the Tip of the IcebergThe starting point in discussing the shadow inventory has to be homes actually on MLS listings around the country. With the plunge in home sales starting in July, the number of listings has risen substantially since the spring.  The percentage of total listings that are bank-owned properties has declined over the last year, while the percentage which are short-sale listings has risen tremendously during the same period.
    With regard to shadow inventory, the key question is how many foreclosed and repossessed properties are now either in the inventory of banks or held on behalf of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) investors whose loans they service.  Estimates start at about 500,000 and go up from there.   Whatever the number is, it seems clear that the vast majority of these properties are not currently on the market.
  • Defaulted Properties Heading for the Resale MarketIn addition to repossessed properties held off the market, the shadow inventory includes all the homes which have been placed into default - the first stage of foreclosure proceedings. According to Lender Processing Services' July Mortgage Monitor report, there are now 2.02 million properties in default. This number has not declined in the past year in spite of more than one million trial mortgage modifications.  While many of these defaulted properties throughout the nation will escape foreclosure by means of a short sale, the rest will move on to foreclosure proceedings and eventual trustee sale to a third party or repossession by the lender.
  • Delinquent Homeowners - The Number Just Keeps GrowingYou could argue that the shadow inventory is the total of repossessed homes not yet on the market and defaulted homes that will move into foreclosure. However, there is also the matter of homes which are seriously delinquent in mortgage payments. A delinquency of 90+ days now means almost certain foreclosure or short sale.  (Here the author discusses the cure rate and why many homeowners who fall behind cannot then return to on-time payments.)
  • Concentration of the Shadow Inventory in 25 Major MetrosIt is very important to understand that this enormous shadow inventory of distressed properties that will eventually be thrown onto the resale market is heavily concentrated in a limited number of metros. According to data provided by Lender Processing Services, 52% of the nationwide 90 day delinquencies and 58% of the defaults are concentrated in 25 major metros.
  • SummationAn incredible 14% of the nearly 54 million first liens in the country are now either delinquent or in default.  To come up with a total for the shadow inventory, let's first add the total number of loans in default to those delinquent 90 days or more since we know that these loans are headed for foreclosure or a short sale. That comes to 4.5 million properties. Based on the cure rate for loans delinquent at least 60 days, we will add 95% of those 60-day delinquencies. That is an additional 723,000 residences. For the same reason, we will add 70% of those delinquent for at least 30 days - 1.25 million properties.
    And, of course, let's not forget the REOs that have not yet been placed on MLS listings by the bank servicers. We'll be conservative and estimate them at 500,000.
    Adding all of these together, we come up with a total of roughly 6.97 million residences which are almost certainly going to be thrown onto the resale market as distressed properties at some point in the not-too-distant future."
These are astounding statistics and cannot be applied wholesale to every community.  But many homeowners will be affected and more will have to use the short sale process.

If you are having problems meeting your mortgage payments, call or email me now.  Don't wait for foreclosure or even the threat of a foreclosure.  You have options.

I am experienced in short sales representing both buyers and sellers.  Let me help.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Short Sale Specialist
Real Estate Advisor

How to Make Sure Your Hamilton NJ Home Passes the Buyer Inspection

You've finally found a buyer and are under contract.  Now it's time for that all-important buyer inspection and you sure don't want any problems to surface that might stop the sale.  How can you prepare your property to pass that home inspection?  In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what you’re looking for. And knowing what you’re looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones.

My latest New Jersey Real Estate newsletter offers 11 tips on what you need to know for your property to pass.  Click the link for the full report.  While homebuyers are as individual as the homes they plan on purchasing, one thing they share is a desire to ensure that the home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as it appears to be. Will the roof end up leaking? Is the wiring safe? What about the plumbing? These, and others, are the questions that the buyers looking at your home will seek professional help to answer.

According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection. Here are the 11 most common of these.  If not identified and fixed, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair.

1.  Defective Plumbing
2.  Damp or Wet Basement
3.  Inadequate Wiring & Electrical Service
4.  Poor Heating & Cooling Systems
5.  Roofing Problems
6.  Damp Attic Spaces
7.  Rotting Wood
8.  Masonry Work
9.  Unsafe or Over-fused Electrical Circuit
10.Inadequate Security Features
11.Structural or Foundation Problems

This is a serious list and could cost you not only the sale but a lot of money to repair.  Call or email me and let's do a pre-inspction of your Hamilton NJ home so you won't be surprised.  I have a lot of experience in the New Jersey building trades, and can help you spot potential problems.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Short Sale Specialist
Real Estate Advisor

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good Reasons for Hamilton NJ Homeowners to Go Green

Going green with your lifestyle and energy use will not only help the environment but save you money as a Hamilton NJ homeowner.  Taking steps to minimize energy use in the home can often significantly lower heating, cooling, water, and utility bills.

  • You may be eligible for federal tax credits or tax incentives for the purchase of specific energy-efficient products or renewable energy systems for your home.
  • Energy-efficient improvements can often be incorporated into home mortgages, enabling homeowners to pay for the upgrades over the life of the loan.
  • Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) and Energy Improvement Mortgages (EIMs) are available.
  • Depending on your lender, there may be additional advantages, such as lower mortgage rates or reduced loan fees.
  • Home appliances with the Energy Star label meet and exceed minimum, strict energy efficiency government guidelines and can reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.
  • Even small things, like light switch dimmer controls and automatic occupancy sensors, can contribute to energy and monetary savings.
  • Check with your tax advisor for tax credits available.
Here are some web resources:

If your home is on the market, make a list of all the energy-saving features you already offer, such as new energy-efficient light bulbs in lighting fixtures that would stay with the home, skylights, and new appliances.  Leave this list handy for buyers to see.

Going green helps us all.  It is the right thing and the smart thing to do.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor
Short Sale Specialist

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Government Plan will help "Underwater" Mercer County NJ Homeowners

The Obama administration is trying to tackle the foreclosure crisis with an effort to assist homeowners who owe more on their properties than their homes are worth, commonly referred to as "underwater."  Starting Tuesday, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)will permit lenders to give these borrowers refinanced loans backed by the government. The lenders will be required to forgive at least 10% of the original mortgage amount. Investors who have control over the mortgages as part of their large portfolios will select which borrowers are invited to participate.

The plan is the latest of numerous efforts by the administration to address the depressed housing market.  The lending industry was ill-prepared for the crush of distressed homeowners, the economy worsened, and millions of homeowners had taken on so much debt that their financial woes have been nearly impossible to resolve.  Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration's main mortgage-relief program -- overseen by the Treasury Department -- have already fallen out over the past year.

According to, "The new refinancing program takes a different approach. It allows investors in mortgage-backed securities to evaluate their holdings and select borrowers that will be offered refinanced mortgages guaranteed by the FHA.  The theory is that there are some loans that investors simply want to unload because they have a high risk of default.

"Government officials acknowledge that getting the plan going will be complicated. FHA Commissioner David Stevens said in a statement that it 'requires significant coordination and operational execution by several parties to be successful.'"

The program will be funded with $14 billion from the administration's existing $75 billion mortgage assistance program. That money will be used to cover incentive payments to lenders and losses from borrowers who fall back into foreclosure.

To qualify, borrowers must be up-to-date on their mortgages, though many people who have already received loan modifications through other programs are still eligible. The plan is limited to loans in which homeowners owe at least 15% more than their home's current value.

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, call or email me before you get too far behind.  Let's talk about your options before your bank starts foreclosure.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Short Sale Specialist
Real Estate Advisor

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hamilton, NJ - Short Sale - Joan Terrace - Reduced - Want Offer!

Lovely single family home. Enter through an enclosed sun porch into a vary large living room/dining room. Hardwood molding/trim and refinished original historic hardwood flooring. Updated kitchen, with white oak cabinetry, and a mud room that exits to the yard. The upstairs consists of three bedrooms and a finished attic. Plenty of room in this house. This home also features a one car garage. A lot of house for the asking. Short sale, contract, price and fees subject to bank and 3rd party approval.

Contact Joe Giancarli, SA, Short Sale Specialist, for a private showing. 609-658-2612.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Guide Available for Buying Real Estate in Mercer Co, NJ

A home buying guide published recently by the Appraisal Institute teaches New Jersey home buyers when to buy, how to find a real estate agent, how to choose the best home on the market and more—all from the uniquely unbiased perspective of a real estate appraiser.

An Insider’s Guide to Home Buying by Mark R. Rattermann, MAI, SRA, notes that real estate appraisers are professionally trained to render an objective opinion of a home’s value. Because they are not paid by sales commissions, they have the unbiased perspective needed to help home buyers weigh their options carefully, make logical decisions and effectively navigate the sales negotiation and mortgage application processes.

In the book’s introduction, Rattermann writes: “The goal of this publication is to help home buyers ask the right questions. In many cases, people wish they had asked a few more questions before making significant decisions. Because the real estate industry is constantly changing, buying real estate requires you to stay current, research popular trends and attitudes and become an informed buyer.”
A real estate appraiser and agent in Indianapolis, Rattermann has worked in the real estate industry since 1979. He has written seven books about real estate and appraisals.
Visit the Appraisal Institute to learn more about their perspective.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Short Sale Specialist
Real Estate Advisor