Something you may not know about applying for a mortgage with less than perfect credit

Most buyers feel that if their credit is less than perfect, they will not be able to get a mortgage. Well, that may not always be the case according to Kevin Lacatena from Sun West Mortgage Company. According to Kevin, you can actually have a 620 credit score or lower and still be eligible for some mortgage programs. Although credit score is certainly a leading indicator when getting a mortgage, it’s not the only thing. There are other factors as well, particularly if the credit history indicates that the derogatory credit items causing the low score are a reasonable amount of time behind you, there is a plausible, documentable reason for the credit issue(s) and you’ve re-established and maintained good credit since then. Some of the other things that can help if you’re in this situation include:

*A 10% or more down payment
*The equivalent of 3 – 6 months worth of mortgage payments left over in your bank account after closing
*Minimal payment shock (the difference between what you currently pay for housing versus what the new
mortgage payment will be.
*A timely, properly documentable rental payment history.
*A low debt to income ratio

There are also situations where a strong co-borrower can help.

Before you get pre-qualified for a mortgage, have these ready for your loan officer:
1. Most recent 2 years tax returns(W2, 1099, 1040)
2. 1 Month pay stubs
3. 2 Months Bank Statements
4. A recent credit report

Kevin Lacatena is a loan officer I use as a resource as well as refer to my clients. He is always available when I need him, he knows the business, his rates are competitive and he is honest. He will let you know up front whether or not you are qualified for a mortgage. If you are not qualified at that time, he will suggest ways to potentially improve your situation in order to get qualified in the near future. Feel free to contact Kevin for your mortgage needs. I’m sure you will feel the same was as I do.

Kevin Lacatena
Sun West Mortgage
1 Indian Road
Denville, NJ 07834

There is such a thing as an honest auto mechanic!!

I don’t know about you but whenever I need service done to my car, I feel like I’m going to get ripped off or the mechanic will tell me I need something done when I really don’t.

I went to a local mechanic to get a slow leak fixed on my car. When I picked up my car, I was told I  needed front and rear brakes. I started to wonder whether or not I needed brakes.  I did have 50k miles so I figured I was due. When I went to the dealer, they said I needed front and rear pads as well as rotors. When I got the estimate from the dealer, it was almost as my monthly mortgage payment. I said, “Thanks, but no thanks”.

The next day, I was driving home from the gym and I passed Auto Tech on Washington Street in Boonton, NJ. I met with the owner Greg Kimball and asked him if I needed brakes. He looked at the front and back pads to see if they were low. He said the front pads were very low and the back pads were low as well. I asked Greg if I needed rotors. He said to go on the highway and bring the car to 70 miles per hour, then quickly bring the car down to 35 miles per hour. If the steering wheel shakes, then you need to replace the rotors. If not, you can get away with the ones you have. I did the test and didn’t feel any shaking.

Most auto mechanics probably would have said I needed rotors right from the start but Greg didn’t. He did the brakes the next day and when I went to pick up my car, he showed me how low the brake pads were. I felt relieved that I was able to find a mechanic I could trust.

So whether you have a domestic or foreign car or truck, you should stop at Auto Tech located on 117 Washington Street, Boonton and talk to Greg. The number is (973) 335-1120. Tell him Gary Nagurka recommended you. You won’t be disappointed!!!

Greg Kimball

Top 10 Public High Schools in Bergen County

Here are the top 10 public high schools in Bergen County for 2012 from New Jersey Monthly.

  1. Tenafly
  2. Glen Rock
  3. Park Ridge
  4. Ramapo(Oakland)
  5. Pascack Hills (Montvale)
  6. Northern Highlands Regional (Allendale)
  7. Ridgewood
  8. Cresskill
  9. Ramsey
  10. North Valley Regional (Demarest)

Next blog will be Bergen County public High Schools 11-20. If you want to know how your NJ Public High School ranked, email me the school and I will email you the rank.


Gary Nagurka
Prudential Adamo Realty

Do you like shellfish?


If you like shellfish and live in the Montville then you have to try Sharky’s West in Boonton. It’s located off Main Street on 108 Boonton Ave, Boonton, NJ. We have been there a few times for their Clam Bake which consists of  1 1/4 pound lobster, 1 pound of snow crab legs, 1/4 pound of large shrimp, mussles and steamers. There is enough food that you can really share it with someone. However, do NOT dress up unless you want to bring your clothes to the cleaners the next day. It can be messy with all the cracking of the shells. lol Also, there are coupons that you get in the mail where you can get the Clam Bake for $22.95(I believe) on Mondays and Tuesdays and on Wednesdays they have a Special price on it as well.

If you like wings, you will be in heaven. They must have a dozen different sauces and spices that will make it hard to decide. The Thai Chili is new and we really like it. They have specials on wings and drinks all the time.

If you have children, no need to worry. It’s kid friendly with games and a childrens menu.

Go check out their website at



Appraisers say new rules will cause confusion

New guidelines aimed at standardizing the way home appraisals are conducted will result in confusion, delays, and higher costs in an already vulnerable housing market, according to many home-appraisal professionals.

The changes, which take effect today, are being required by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Under the new rules, appraisers must use a set of abbreviations to describe homes, and rate conditions through a system of numbers and letters. Some appraisers say the new format will be difficult for home buyers and sellers to understand.

Real estate agents also must provide more information to appraisers, including whether kitchens and bathrooms have been remodeled, and when the work was done.

Because most lenders eventually sell their mortgages to quasi-government mortgage agencies, primarily Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the new requirements will affect the majority of housing sales.

Stephen E. Sousa, executive vice president of the Dedham-based Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers, praised the effort to standardize the way appraisals are written, saying they are too often subjective and inconsistent. But Sousa said he is worried that there is too little public awareness about the changes as well as problems with computer software set up to collect the reports, which could cause havoc in the housing industry.

“The whole real estate profession is ill prepared for this,’’ said Sousa. “It is going to create a lot more confusion.’’

The Massachusetts association joined the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers in Illinois in urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency – which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – to postpone the implementation of the new guidelines until later this year. The Federal Housing Administration also is incorporating the changes, but won’t implement them until Jan. 1.

A Federal Housing Finance Agency official said yesterday that there were no plans to delay the new system, but that the agency would continue to offer assistance to anyone with questions about the changes.

Officials from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac declined to comment.

The new rules will largely change appraisals from a narrative form to a list of codes. For instance, appraisers will be required to use abbreviations such as “AdjPrk’’ for “adjacent to park ’’ or “Wtr’’ for “water view.’’

Property conditions will be rated on a scale of 1 to 6, from new construction to buildings with “substantial damage’’ and defects. Quality also will be ranked from 1 to 6, with the top rating usually including architect-designed properties and the lowest level reserved for those lacking even plumbing or electrical outlets.


How Do Appraisers Determine The Value Of A Home?

    1. A home appraiser provides an unbiased determination of the value of your home. The appraiser needs to know certain things about the property in question, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, the overall condition of the home, the layout of the property and the features and defects of the home. The appraiser will determine the value of your home by using as many as three different approaches: the cost approach, the sales-comparison approach and the income approach.

The Cost Approach

    1. The cost approach takes into consideration what it would cost to replace the home in its current location. Appraisers first determine the value of the lot the property stands on and then consults local building and labor costs to come to a per-square-foot value. This is done in part by using such publications as Marshall & Swift, an industry reference for building-cost data. The appraiser then depreciates the value of the existing home, considering the age and condition of the house and the appraiser’s own experiential knowledge.

The Sales-Comparison Approach

    1. The appraiser compares the property to the three most recently sold neighboring homes, or more if the property being sold is “unusual.” The appraiser should be familiar with the neighboring homes, so he should know if the home being appraised has amenities the neighboring homes don’t have and will consider such things in the appraisal. This method is considered the best indicator of value.

Income Approach

  1. Also known as income capitalization approach, this method is used primarily in the case of rental properties and communities. The appraiser estimates what an investor would pay based on what income she could expect to make from the property.
True story:
I had a client buying a condo in Hackensack for 183k. The appraiser took 3 comps, 2 were good comps. The 3rd comp he used was one that sold 3 months ago for 20k less than the price my client was paying. In the mean time,  there was another one that sold a month ago for the same amount as the one he was purchasing. This resulted in the appraised value coming in 6k below his purchase price. The only options was for him to put 6k more on his downpayment or the sellers come down 6k in their selling price. In the mean time, the sellers had already moved out of the condo into their new place. I told my client since the sellers had already moved out, they will have to either come down 6k in price or start from scratch and put the condo back on the market. So I told the listing agent that my client wasn’t going to pay over appraised value.  The sellers ended up coming down 6k in price. My client ended up getting the condo for 6k less than he expected.
“Why have your house sit, when I can get it SOLD”

What is Title Insurance?

What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is protection against loss arising from problems connected to the title to your property.

Before you purchased your home, it may have gone through several ownership changes, and the land on which it stands went through many more. There may be a weak link at any point in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble. For example, someone along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title. Or there may be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.

Is Purchasing Title Insurance Obligatory?

It is if you need a mortgage, because all mortgage lenders require such protection for an amount equal to the loan. It lasts until the loan is repaid. As with mortgage insurance, it protects the lender but you pay the premium, which is a single-payment made upfront.  When you are buying a home, title insurance premium amount is based on the higher exposure of the purchase price or the mortgage amount. In most cases, but not always, it would be the purchase price.

Does Title Insurance Do Anything For Me?

The required insurance protects the lender up to the amount of the mortgage, but it doesn’t protect your equity in the property. For that you need an owner’s title policy for the full value of the home. In many areas, sellers pay for owner policies as part of their obligation to deliver good title to the buyer. In other areas, borrowers must buy it as an add-on to the lender policy. It is advisable to do this because the additional cost above the cost of the lender policy is relatively small.

When Does Title Insurance Protection Begin and End?

With the exception noted later, title insurance only protects against losses from claims that arose prior to the date of the policy. Coverage ends on the day the policy is issued and extends backward in time for an indefinite period. This is in marked contrast to property or life insurance, which protect against losses resulting from events that occur after the policy is issued, for a specified period into the future.

For How Long Is the Property Owner Purchasing Title Insurance Covered?

Indefinitely. The owner’s protection lasts as long as the owner or any heirs have an interest in or any obligation with regard to the property. When they sell, however, the lender will require the purchaser to obtain a new policy. That protects the lender against any liens or other claims against the property that may have arisen since the date of the previous policy.

For example, if the contractor you failed to pay for remodeling your kitchen places a lien on your home, you are not protected by your title policy; the lien was placed after the date of the policy. You will probably be required to get the lien removed before you can sell the property. But in the event the lien hasn’t been removed and a search has failed to uncover it, the new lender will be protected by a new policy.

Do You Need Title Insurance?

I spoke to James T. Kirk, President of Kingsbridge Title Agency in Westwood, New Jersey. Mr. Kirk said Title Insurance is required when you make any kind of Real Estate purchase if it is lender financed. Kingsbridge Title Agency handles industrial, commercial and residential title insurance matters.  James said “Whatever the assignment, you can rely on us for quality service, combining the latest in technology, superior vendors and highly competent personnel. Our experience and insight into the entire real estate and title process  are always focused on you and your lender’s requirements. “

Jim’s company doesn’t only do Title Insurance. If you are refinancing your home, Jim can close the transaction for you as well. To make it more convenient, Jim usually travels to clients homes in order to have the loan documents signed and notarized. Jim stated “I found that the husband and wife usually work, and many times children are involved or about to be picked for an activity.  People are busy, I understand that. Many people say, what a lifesaver you are coming to the house, last time we had to take a half day off from work and drive to Jersey City and wait for an attorney to do the closing.”  How many Title Agencies will do that for their clients?  Jim has provided Title and Title Insurance as well as closings for many clients of mine. If I needed title quickly, he always came through and went above and beyond to get the job done. I strongly recommend, Jim Kirk and Kingsbridge Title Agency. Kingsbridge Title Agency is located on 15 Charles Street, Westwood, NJ, just off Old Hook Road near Pascack Valley Hospital.. Their phone number is 201-383-0660.


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