Luke Chamberlin

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Home buyers are sometimes disappointed to learn that they need private mortgage insurance on their home loans. After all, it’s an extra recurring cost that can increase the size of the monthly payments. But without PMI, many New Jersey home buyers would have to wait a lot longer — and save a lot more money — in order to make a down payment on a home.

A PMI industry report published in June 2018 showed that 22,618 home buyers and homeowners in New Jersey were helped by private mortgage insurance in 2017. In this context, “helped” means that they were able to purchase a home with less money down because of PMI.

Many Home Buyers in New Jersey Benefit from PMI

Earlier this summer, the industry group U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) released a study that revealed just how many borrowers in New Jersey and nationwide were helped by PMI during 2017. In the state of New Jersey, mortgage insurance helped 22,618 borrowers purchase or refinance a home last year.

Definition: Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is a unique kind of policy that protects banks and lenders from financial losses related to borrower default. In New Jersey, a PMI policy is usually required in financing scenarios where the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio exceeds 80%.

Private mortgage insurance is a standard industry requirement that has been around for a long time. But there’s an upside to it as well. While these policies do result ...


Any local resident in need of a renovation loan will receive a $2,000 credit toward closing costs.  

As of recently, NJ Lenders’ neighbors in Little Falls, New Jersey have been severely impacted by storms and flash flooding in the area. But, as a local member of the business community since 1991, we’re here to help our friends in Little Falls rebuild their homes. As an expert in renovation financing, we can assist those affected by navigating the process of rehabilitating your home quickly. 

Local residents impacted have an opportunity to take advantage of our FHA 203k renovation loan program. This program provides funds for the renovation of a damaged home packaged into a mortgage loan. It can also help provide a homeowner with the financing of buying a home in need of repair, as well as obtaining funds for the refinancing of a property. Requirements for the 203k loan such as credit qualification, down payment, and loan limits are the same as standard FHA-insured loans.

Rehabilitation of properties damaged by the storms can include the following improvements:

  • Repairing structural damage to include major renovation or remodeling
  • Adding or replacing floors and/or floor ...

In a recent blog post, we provided an overview of the mortgage underwriting process in New Jersey. Today we have some good news on this subject for borrowers who are seeking a home loan.

A recent report provided more evidence of a trend we’ve been watching for some time. It showed that mortgage underwriting criteria in New Jersey and nationwide have eased over the past few years.

Mortgage Underwriting Criteria Easing in New Jersey, Nationwide

This report was published in June 2018 by CoreLogic, a property and financial data company based in Irvine, California. They analyzed mortgage loan data for the last few years, with a particular focus on qualification and underwriting requirements such as:

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratios
  • Loan-to-value (LTV) ratios
  • Credit scores among borrowers

Their in-depth analysis focused on conventional conforming loans in particular. In a mortgage context, the term “conventional” refers to a loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. The “term” conforming refers to home loans that meet or conform to the standards used by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So this study pertains to “regular” mortgage products that fall within conforming loan limits.

Here’s a summary of their findings:

“Mortgage underwriting guidelines have loosened in the last couple of years. To expand the credit box to creditworthy borrowers, ...


We’ve all seen news stories about mortgage rate trends. They tend to generate a lot of headlines, because they are ever-changing.

But the rates cited by mainstream news sources are averages determined by industry-wide surveys. So they don’t apply to all borrowers. That’s why it’s wise to get a mortgage rate quote for your New Jersey home loan.

Getting a quote from a lender is an important preliminary step in the borrowing process. It can help you with everything from budgeting to house hunting. Here are five things you should know about getting a mortgage rate quote in New Jersey.

1. There are several factors that can influence your borrowing costs.

The rate you receive on a home loan can differ from other borrowers, due to a number of factors. Some of the variables that can influence rates include:

  • The borrower’s credit score
  • The size of the down payment
  • Occupancy (second home vs. primary residence)
  • The loan type and rate structure (fixed vs. adjustable)
  • The size of the loan (jumbo vs. conforming)

This underscores the importance of getting a mortgage rate quote when buying or refinancing a home in New Jersey. It helps you to budget and plan accordingly.

2. Home loan rates are constantly changing.

Mortgage rates are in constant flux. They are influenced by a variety of economic and market forces, and these forces are ...


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, ...


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