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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Properly Installed and Maintained Smoke Detectors Save Lives

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

Are you aware of the fact that there's really only one, single product which can warn you and your family and potentially save you and your home from fire, 24/7? That's the truth, and that product is a correctly maintained and installed smoke detector.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) has documented studies which reveal that  almost 75 percent of deaths in homes from fires took place in dwellings without smoke detectors which were working properly. In order to prevent yourself from contributing to that alarming statistic, and to keep your home and family safe, it's crucial that you understand the benefits of smoke detectors and some of the types which are available.

As your own research will reveal, there are two primary types of smoke detector:

  • photoelectric
  • ionization

Since both types excel at detecting unique, possibly fatal kinds of fires, it is highly recommended that both forms of smoke detectors be installed in all residences and locations where people sleep. A dual sensor smoke detector is also available, so it's possible to get both variations included in one detector. For the hearing impaired, there are alarms which use strobe lights and vibration to alert residents to smoke or fire.

The very reasonable, inexpensive cost of a smoke detector is well worth the price, considering the number of lives it can save. Depending upon the type of smoke detector, they can range in price from approximately $6 to $40.

They should be installed on every level of the home, and the U.S. Fire Administration strongly advises placing them both inside and outside of areas where people sleep, considering the documented fact that a high number of fatal fires break out either in the wee hours of the morning, or late at night.

Because smoke and other deadly gases rise, it is essential that your smoke detectors be placed at the proper height - always be sure to adhere to the manufacturer's instructions.

Certain fire departments offer free or reduced prices on smoke detectors, and some of these departments will even install battery operated detectors in your home, free of charge. Get in touch with your local fire department in order to learn specifics.

Because it's been well established that smoke detectors save lives, it's simply good common sense to make sure your home and family are protected by using them. Protect your loved ones, and your investment all in one fell swoop.

Homes for sale in Tenefly, NJ

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

If you are looking for homes for sale in Tenafly, you have come to the right place - Tami Rapaport is an expert in Tenafly real estate. Her knowledge of the market has made her an award-winning real estate agent for 11 years in a row, and she uses this knowledge to help her clients find the perfect home.

You also can obtain a complete listing of homes for sale in Tenafly, New Jersey by searching our website. Our MLS search engine has a variety of filters that you can use to narrow down your choices and find the home of your dreams. In addition to specifying price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, county or zip code, and type of property; you also can filter results by maximum number of days on the market, minimum square footage, year built, owner, and house style. You even can specify waterfront features and the direction of sun exposure.

Want to be the first to see new listings hit the market? Sign up for our free email list. You choose the property type you are interested in, the minimum and maximum prices you will consider, and the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want, and then we do the work. You can even specify property acreage, if that is important to you.

Your first email will include a complete list of all the homes in Tenafly, NJ that meet your search criteria. Then, each morning you will receive an updated list that includes new listings and price changes. It is the easiest way to search for a new home online! For more information, or to sign up today, click here.

Current Mortgage Rates

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

Mortgage rates fluctuate based on current national and global economic data. They also differ depending on the type of loan a buyer is obtaining. Loans offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans) or through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans) tend to carry slightly lower rates than standard 30-year fixed loans. Adjustable rate loans and 15-year fixed rate loans have a wider range of typical rates. Their lowest rates are often lower than FHA, VA, or 30-year fixed rate loans, but rates on the higher end of the range tend to be dramatically larger than the more traditional loan rates.

At the beginning of April, weaker than desired employment data brought on some of the lowest mortgage loan rates of 2013. On April 5, typical rates had risen to 3.5% for 30 year-fixed loans, 3.25% for FHA/VA loans, 2.75-8.75% for 15-year fixed loans, and 2.625-3.25% for 5-year adjustable rate loans. By April 11, 30-year fixed loan rates had fallen to 3.43% and the lowest 15-year fixed loan rates had fallen to 2.65%.

Since then, rates have risen slightly. As of April 25, average 30-year fixed loan rates were back up to 3.57%. Still, even with the small increase, mortgage rates continue to be near the lowest they’ve been in years. Buyers who want to take advantage of these historically low rates should lock in their loans now, before rates eventually and inevitably climb higher.

Mortgage rates hit an all-time low in the fall of 2012, largely because of fears involving the global and well as the domestic economic outlook. Since then, rates have increased only moderately but consistently, even considering the decreases seen in April 2013.

The fears over the EU’s economic woes and fears regarding their possible dissolution have largely abated now, which means homebuyers shouldn’t expect to see 2012-like lows again, unless another economic event triggers rates. Small dips, like the one at the beginning of April, likely will still occur, based on national economic data. Buyers should be prepared to take advantage of these dips and to lock in their loan rates right away.

Homes for sale in Alpine, NJ

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

Although it’s located only a short distance from New York City, the Borough of Alpine, NJ has the quaint feel of a small town. Since it offers the best of both worlds, checking out one of the homes for sale in Alpine New Jersey appeals to people of all walks of life.

Two of the biggest draws to Alpine is its extremely low crime rate and the excellent elementary schools. Alpine Public Elementary School has been rated nine out of 10 because of its teacher quality, parental involvement and principal leadership. In all, there are only 144 students in grades K-8, and its student-faculty ratio is one of the lowest in the state.

The borough has a strong municipal government system, with an elected mayor and city council members. Residents also have access to fire and police protection within the city limits. The Alpine Municipal Court is in charge of hearing traffic cases and violations of municipal ordinances.

When it comes to outdoor recreation, many residents in the area visit State Line Lookout, which sits atop the highest point in the Palisades Cliffs. This park provides sweeping views of Hudson Bay and Long Island Sound and is ideal for hiking, rock climbing and viewing wildlife.

Some of the homes for sale in Alpine, New Jersey are stately mansions that have also been featured in Forbes magazine. This publication has also listed Alpine as one of the "most expensive zip codes in America" because of its expansive residences, which average around $1.5 million. These homes range in size from 5,000 to 17,000 square feet, and contain amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and spas.

When it's time to look at homes for sale in Alpine, New Jersey, call Tami Rappaport. Tami is the only Realtor to reach platinum level nine years in a row. Her achievements are a credit to her knowledge of the market and the fact that she listens to her customers in order to fully meet their housing needs.

Homes for sale in Englewood, NJ

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

Englewood, NJ a vibrant and livable city of 29,000 residents, is only a short 10 minute drive north of New York City – yet it has its own thriving arts and culture scene, locally-owned boutiques and shops and fashionable eateries in a popular downtown area.  Englewood is located in the heart of Bergen County and is surrounded by parks and recreational facilities, and is home to the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center. Many of the people living in the surrounding communities come to Englewood for its vibrant night life and Farmer’s Markets.

For those looking to buy homes for sale in Englewood, NJ, they should look no further than the real estate experts at Tami Rapaport. Tami’s team offers unparalleled service and knowledge of the area with plenty of open houses and opportunities for the public to learn about Englewood real estate.  Those looking for a home can simply click on her listings page and search for the home of their dreams.

Whether you’re looking for a simple single-family home or a luxury home with a view, Tami’s listing page offers home buyers a thorough profile of homes for sale in Englewood, NJ. You can customize your search by choosing the city or town, number of bathrooms, bedrooms, and price. You can also search by how long the home has been on the market, the year the home was built, architectural style (like Colonial, Georgian, Dutch) and exposures and views. If that wasn’t enough, there are searchable options for particular styles of home like ranch-style and condo and many different options of waterfront property (like bay & lagoon-front, dock, and Lakefront).  Sign up for daily e-mails from Tami’s team to give you a leg up on the latest listings and homes for sale in Englewood, NJ.

Talk to Tami’s team today about homes for sale in Englewood, NJ and finding the best home that fits your family’s lifestyle needs. Englewood’s real estate market is full of beautiful properties for families, retirees and empty-nesters looking to move out of the city.

Attending an Open House in the Tenafly, New Jersey Area

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

While technology is getting better every day, you can only spend so much time online searching for homes before taking the plunge and touring them in person. A website is not going to tell you about barking dogs in the neighborhood, or a flight path over the house of your dreams. Attending an open house in the Tenafly, New Jersey area is the perfect way for a homeowner or first-time buyer to get the true feel of a home, neighborhood, and surrounding community. Tami Rapaport’s team of real estate experts host many open houses throughout the Tenafly area and are ready to answer your questions about homes and home buying.

Why Attend an Open House?

Sure, it’s easy to look at homes via the internet but attending an open house will give you the opportunity to interact with an experienced real estate agent and ask important questions like: What are the schools like in the area? What improvements have been made to the home? Is there water damage? You will also be able to “kick the tires” and check for wear and tear and inspect the foundation before you commit.

Potential home buyers can also learn about other properties listed by the real estate agent and inquire about taking a tour. Other benefits include helping a buyer narrow down their list of selections and decide which qualities they like best. Granite counters might sound nice on paper, but they might not reasonable for your cooking style. Attending an open house is also a fun way to check out homes with no pressure to commit.

An open house is a great way to meet and interact with real estate agents if you haven’t already chosen one. You can develop a rapport, ask questions, learn more about their experience and share with them the kind of home you’re looking to buy.

How to Find an Open House

There are many ways to find listings when you plan on attending an open house in the Tenafly, NJ area. You can do a random Google search, check listings on Craig’s List or go to the website of a trusted real estate agent like Tami Rapaport. Tami’s Open House web page has up-to-date listings of open houses not only in Tenafly but the rest of Bergen County, New Jersey. You can search by neighborhood and date to get information homes before you head out the door.

While they may seem impersonal to the inexperienced home buyer, attending an open house is a great way to tour a home without feeling rushed, compare notes on other homes, and get information from qualified real estate agents.

Talk with Tami Rapaport’s well-qualified team about attending an open house and how they can help you find the home of your dreams.

Top 3 Reasons for an FHA Loan

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

When most people begin to look into buying a new home, the most common type of loan they think of is the venerable 30 year, fixed rate mortgage loan. However the Federal Housing Administration mortgage loan or FHA loan has become much more popular due the economic slow-down. Even with its varied benefits, many people still do not know much about this type of federally insured loan.

What is an FHA loan?

The Federal Housing Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD. To promote homeownership, especially for first-time buyers, an FHA loan is a federally insured mortgage with less restrictions. This allows more people to qualify to purchase a new home. Lenders are protected from loss if a borrower defaults, due to the FHA covering the loss through mortgage insurance paid for by the borrower. This protection allows lenders offering FHA loans better options than standard mortgages. Here are the top 3 reasons for an FHA loan when looking for a new home.

#1 Fewer Requirements

The whole purpose of the FHA loan is to promote homeownership. If there is one thing economists can agree upon it is that homeownership is important to a healthy economy. With the housing bubble crash of 2007, thousands of homeowners across the nation either lost their home or had their home’s value plummet. Sales of new homes also dropped and the home construction industry went into a slump.

While FHA requirements for a loan were low prior to the financial crisis, the need for FHA loans is higher than ever. Credit is the biggest factor. Economists have been taking banks to task throughout 2012 for being stingy when issuing credit which kept many potential home buyers from getting the loan they needed. The lowered need for a good credit score to obtain an FHA loan means a lot of people whose credit suffered during the economic downturn can get a new home and start working on repairing their credit.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) which is a specialized FHA loan designed for homeowners whose homes are worth less than the mortgage they are paying on. A refinanced FHA loan through the HARP program allows the homeowner to have lower monthly payments which helps prevent them from defaulting on their loan.

#2 Lower Down Payment

Trying to come up with the 20-25% cash down-payment has been a deal breaker in many potential home sales. With an FHA loan, however, the down-payment can be as low as 3.5% of the sale price. This allows first time home buyers who have not had the time to accumulate the cash needed to still buy a home.

#3 Other Costs Covered

There is more to a home purchase than the sales price. There are also closing costs, appraisals and potential title expenses. The FHA allows some of these costs – such as a builder covering the closing cost - to be paid by other parties as inducements to purchase a home.

Tenafly's east hill- exceptional contemporary colonial with open floor plan

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

Check out the unique architectural layout of this Tribeca loft style home in suburban Tenafly.

Contact Tami Rapaport 201-227-2045

Looking for a beautiful home on 100x221 flat property on a cul-de-sac?

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

      

This may be the home for you! Desirable Country Club section of Tenafly. Newly renovated kitchen and baths, beautiful deep property. Call Robin Baker 201-913-3868 or 201-227-2045

Tenafly Real Estate: How to Prepare to Purchase a Home

by Tami Rapaport’s Team

You’ve made your determination and set yourself a goal: You are going to buy a house in the Tenafly real estate area. Great! Now what do you need to do to prepare and make it happen? This post will explore some of the answers to this question.

Just a few years ago many homes were listed and sold within a few days. Loans were easy to obtain even if your paperwork and credit scores were imperfect. Obviously, things are different today. Here’s the good news: Mortgage rates are historically low, certain tax incentives are available, and in many places, prices are still relatively low in economically turbulent times.

With proper planning and a little smarts you can find your piece of the American dream. Here are some practical tips to get into a good position to buy a home.

Avoid borrowing! Lending policies have tightened and because a home is usually one’s largest lifetime purchase, it represents significant risk to the bank. You want to look as safe as you can in the eyes of the bank. What’s the best way to do this? Have as little debt as possible and keep your credit profile stable. In a word, don’t go borrowing before buying a home.

Even if you receive an “incredible” credit card offer offering 0% balance transfer, don’t do it – at least not right now. For one thing, when you read the fine print, these offers usually turn out to be less attractive than they look. Along the same lines, don’t buy expensive items like an automobile or a major piece of technology before you buy a house, even if you are offered a 0% loan for a year. Beyond the fact that many consumers end up losing money in these situations, the key point is that you don’t want the appearance of risk.

Keep things stable. Keep your money in your current bank or credit union and most importantly, don’t change your job if you don’t have to. Your job can paint a portrait of stability, but if lenders see a lot of changes it can send the opposite message. Obviously, if you have an opportunity to earn a much higher wage or to follow your true calling, do it, but avoid unnecessary changes.

Budgeting

Now let’s look at some practical financial steps to take. First, make a realistic estimate of what your monthly outgo will be when you buy a house at the price point you anticipate. This includes the mortgage itself, but also taxes and insurance. Beyond this, you should count on the unexpected to happen, so add funds for repairs, maintenance and upgrades. Think roof repairs, plumbing, windows, flooring, etc. Something always comes up – Murphy’s law is in effect here – so plan for it.

Now, let’s look at your actual budget. If you are currently rent, calculate the difference between your monthly rent and your future home payments. Knowing the numbers isn’t really enough. We recommend that you take the “overage” – the difference between current and future expenses – and invest it in a high-interest savings account. Consider these funds to be your future down payment, bearing in mind that many buyers have to put down up to 20% today, far higher than a few years ago.

The discipline of careful budgeting will pay off in all sorts of ways. For example it’s not uncommon for real estate agents to want to show you homes both in and slightly above your stated budget. You may end up spending more than you anticipate now. This is not necessarily bad – in the end you’ll want to know where the best “value” spot is within your budget range. You may need a few more dollars than you anticipate today, so careful, disciplined budgeting is a must.

Check with several lenders to find out where you stand and what you can afford. You can begin by obtaining no-obligation quotes on the Internet. Then apply and get pre-approved. This will greatly strengthen your position as a buyer.

Work hard to make sure that both buyers’ credit profiles (if it’s a couple) are in good shape, and do the work to improve your credit.  

Sell or give away unneeded items (i.e., junk). Since unexpected expenses will crop up, you’ll be glad to have extra cash on hand. Plus, if you offload your junk, you’ll have less stuff to move when the time comes. Be honest with yourself, will you really use all the junk you currently have stored? Go ahead and unload outdated gadgets, furniture you never use, old college textbooks, clothes you no longer wear, etc. Remember that organizations like the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill may offer haul-away services for some items. More important, considering the current economy, others may need these items more than you do (and you can get a tax deduction for donations to boot).

Consider buying a condo. These are often a good choice for first-time buyers and can help keep expenses low since you won’t need to worry about things like exterior paint or landscaping.

After dealing with all of these items, if you still feel it’s not a good time to buy, there’s nothing wrong with renting. Buying a home is a huge step, both emotionally and financially, so pursue it only when the time is really right for you.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Contact Information

Photo of Tami Rapaport Real Estate
Tami Rapaport
Tami Rapaport
130 Dean Drive
Tenafly NJ 07670
201-227-2045