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May 2009

What Color Choices Say


Increases enrgy, heart rate, creates excitement and stimulates the appetite.
Best for : Dining Rooms


Adds comfort, warmth & cheerfullness, but too much can bring feelings of cautiousness.
Best for: living rooms and family rooms


Brightens mood and promotes welconing and joyful feelings; increases positive thinking.
Best for: Poorly lit foyers,dark hallways; buttery shades of yellow for living area.


Most restful color. Reduces nervousness and muscle tension, calms and relaxes, offers reminders of nature.
Best for: Living rooms(light greeens) accent for kitchens and dinng rooms(midtones)


Promotes feelings of calmness,security, tranquility, and cleanliness; lowers blood pressure, cools a room and serves as an appetite suppresant.
Best for: Bedrooms or any restful peaceful area in a home.


Boosts creativity, imagination and meditation. Many adults dislike purple on walls particularly lighter shades as they are perceived more youthful.
Best for: Children's bedrooms and play areas.


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How Long Should It Last...

Replacing a homes window's appliances or roofing can be pricey; so knowing how long before the refrigerator is likely to stop working or a roof might spring a leak can have value to buyers and home owners.

Buyers want to know replacement costs for aging components beforee making an offer and homeowners can use the information to decide whether to replace it before a move.

A new study by the National Association of Home Builders provides some insight that can help estimate the average useful life of more than 100 household appliances and building materials. The true longevity of anything depends on maintenance, use and quality of installation as well as climate conditions.

Here are just a few:

100 years or more
Brick siding: Lifetime of home
All wooden floors: Lifetime of home
Cellulose insulation material: 100 plus years

50 - 100 years
Slate, copper, clay and concrete roofs:
50 plus years
Copper gutters: 50 plus years
Kitchen Cabinets: up to 50 years
Modified acrylic kitchen sinks: 50 years
Vinyl Floors: 50 years

30-50 years
Thermostats: 35 years
Wooden Windows: 30 years
Wood shake Roofs: 30 years
French Interior Doors:30to 50 years

10-20 years
Built-in Audio system: 20 years
Aluminum Windows: 15-20 years
Asphalt Shingle roofs: 20 years
Faucets, kitchen sinks: 15 years
Gas ranges: 15 years
Cultured marble counter tops: 20 years
Dryers and refrigerators: 13 years
Air conditioning units : 10-15 years
Lighting controls: 10+years
Interior and exterior paints: 15+years
electric or gas water heaters: 10 years
Air conditioners
: 10-15 years
Furnaces: 10- 15 years

5-10 years

Security systems: 5-10 years
heat and smoke detectors: 5-10 years
dishwashers: 9 years
Microwave ovens: 9 years
Carpet 8-10 years

Exiting Homne Sales Rise in April, with First Time Home Buyers...

Existing Home Sales Rise in April, First-Time Buyers Take Advantage

Strong buyer activity in the lower price ranges helped drive an increase in existing-home sales in April, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). Single-family, townhome, condominium, and co-op sales increased 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million units. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,200, a decrease of 15.4 percent below 2008.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast region (which includes New Jersey) also rose 11.6 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 770,000 units, which is a decrease of 10.5 percent below 2008. The median existing-home price for all housing types in the Northeast was $237,400, which is 9.6 percent lower than a year ago. Nationally, some 455,000 first-time buyers closed transactions in the first quarter of the year, most likely due to the combination of low prices, low interest rates and the federal tax credit.

View NJAR®'s 2009 quarterly statistics report, or see the national data at You can also read 2009 NJAR® President Diane Dilzell's comments in a New Jersey 101.5 story on the April housing bounce.

DoD Publishes Help for Military Families Selling Due to Transfer

DoD Publishes Help for Military Families Selling Due to Transfer

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) expanded the Department of Defense's (DoD) authority to help active duty families who are having to sell their homes at a loss due to a permanent change of station (PCS). Last week, DoD published the guidance on this new program. Families with homes purchased prior to July 1, 2006 located where the market area is experiencing a decline of at least 10 percent can receive up to 90 percent reimbursement on the loss of the sale of their home based on the previous fair market value. This is increased to 95 percent for Wounded Warriors and Surviving Spouses. For full guidance on the Housing Assistance Program, visit the Program web site

You Can NOT use the tax credit for down payment

DON'T BE FOOLED!!!! AS OF TODAY you can NOT use the tax credit for a down payment

Yes there has been a lot of discussion about this topic but it is NOT an option currently. Those statements were made by the SECRETARY of HUD yesterday and a HUD/FHA letter was published on the website Monday night.

BUT……..the new DIRECTOR of HUD pulled that Mortgagee letter this morning and is no longer even available on the HUD website.

Here is the link to all Mortgagee Letters:

Notice ML 09-15 has been pulled.

This theoretical program is now off the table.

The New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) offers below-market, interest rates

NJHMFA Decreases First-Time Home Buyer Interest Rates

The New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) offers below-market, fixed interest rates to first-time home buyers and urban area buyers. Effective May 5, 2009, the interest rates for a 30 year term first-time home buyer loan are as follows:

  • 5.500% - First Mortgage with no Smart Start assistance
  • 5.875% - First Mortgage with 2% Smart Start assistance
  • 6.000% - First Mortgage with 3% Smart Start assistance
  • 6.250% - First Mortgage with 4% Smart Start assistance

*The 40 year term requires an additional add-on of .125%

The NJHMFA is also offering up to $5,000 for qualified first-time home buyers to help defray closing costs or satisfy down payment requirements and help new buyers to get into the housing market as part of their "Pre-fund" program.

The loan functions like a cash advance against the $8,000 tax credit being offered to first-time buyers who purchase a home between April 8 and December 1 of this year 2009. For more information on the NJHMFA's first-time home buyer programs, visit the NJHMFA website or call 1-800-NJ-HOUSE.

Making Home Affordable Allows Modification of Second Mortgages

On April 28, 2009, the Treasury Department announced expansion of the Making Home Affordable Program to help reduce payments on second mortgages. The Obama Administration took this action because as many as 50 percent of all at-risk borrowers have second mortgages and without modifying them the borrowers remain at a higher risk of default. Under the Second Lien Program, if the servicer initiates a Home Affordable Modification on the first mortgage, participating servicers will automatically reduce payment on the second lien in accordance with complex, but uniform, program criteria. As an alternative, servicers may extinguish the second lien in exchange for receiving a lump sum payment. For more details, read the Treasury Department's press release.

TLC Casting Buyers and Sellers for Moving Up

Cable network, The Learning Channel (TLC), is currently casting for its hit series Moving Up, hosted by Doug Wilson. Producers are looking for buyers and sellers who are under contract and planning to move in June. Interested candidates must still occupy their current home. Buyers moving into a home that is already vacant are not eligible. Both residences must be within 45 minutes of Manhattan.

The series follows a chain of homeowners as they go through the renovation and/or redesign process in their new home. Moving Up offers the former homeowners the rare chance to visit their once beloved homes and see all of the new changes. Opinionated consumers who demonstrate compelling ideas to alter the house are preferred.

Contact Jodi Friedman at (212) 974-9050, ext. 125 or [email protected] if you or someone you know would be a good fit for the show.