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NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall released the following statement after the U.S. Senate vote on legislation extending flood insurance funding. The bill, which cleared the House last week, was signed into law by the President on July 31, 2018 prior to a midnight deadline.

“We applaud lawmakers for taking this needed action to prevent disruptions to closings in thousands of communities across the country. Although the National Flood Insurance Program will be extended through November 30... the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make it solvent and sustainable in the long term. The National Association of Realtors will continue fighting for these reforms as the next NFIP reauthorization discussions loom later this year.”

According to new findings, the ideal age for most Americans to buy their first home is 28. A recent Bankrate study touted this number as the sweet spot that those surveyed seemed to gravitate to.

Of course, not everyone agrees. A quarter of men surveyed believe the ideal time to buy a first home is prior to age 25, but only 12 percent of women concur.

And region matters, too: Nearly one in five (18 percent) of Northeasterners thinks the ideal age is over 35, twice as many as any other region. This makes sense, as the cost of living in the Northeast tends to be higher, on average.

Income also impacts mindset. With so many millennials stuck under the weight of massive student loans, buying a home by 28 may seem a bit unattainable. Fifty-two percent of those making less than $30,000 per year think first-time homebuyers should be at least 30 years old, compared to 32 percent of those who make $50,000 or more per year.

In the case, the plaintiff borrowers owned a five bedroom, four and a half bathroom, ocean front second home in Stone Harbor, NJ. The house's fair market value is approximately 2.9 to 3.6 million dollars. In July 2012 when defendant Nationstar took over services on the Plaintiff's mortgage, the plaintiffs were already in default. A proposed modification agreement was sent by Nationstar to the plaintiff borrowers but the agreement stated it had to be executed within just a few days. A verbal extension of time between the parties was reached and an agreement eventually executed, however at the time of signing the plaintiff borrowers hand wrote a change that modified the agreement. This kicked off a series of events which ended with the plaintiff borrowers filing a lawsuit alleging a breach of contract and violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”). The court dismissed the RESPA and CFA claims but allowed the FDCPA claim to proceed. To read the full opinion dated June 29, 2018 click here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 91 real estate-related deaths across the U.S. in 2016, 31 of which were the result of "violence and other injuries by persons or animals." Although 61 percent of REALTORS® in an RISMedia survey feel "very safe" day-to-day, there are risks when hosting open houses and showing homes, and REALTORS® must remain vigilant.

"My first personal meetings with potential clients take place at my office," says Sarah Gustafson, immediate past president of the REALTOR® Association of Central of Massachusetts and a broker associate. "If I am going to their home, I let an agent know where I am and the name, phone and address of the person I am meeting."

Gustafson doesn't risk her own safety, or that of her agents. If a fellow agent doesn't receive a text from her within 15 minutes of arriving to her client meet-up, she expects a phone call. If Gustafson doesn't answer, that agent is directed to call the police.

From the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General: Double Taxation Is Unconstitutional and Has No Historical Basis, States Explain

TRENTON – Acting to protect New Jersey residents in the face of an unprecedented and harmful change to the federal tax code, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today joined three other states in suing the Trump Administration over its $10,000 cap on the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes (SALT).

Joining New Jersey in suing both the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department were New York, Connecticut and Maryland. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the federal government from enforcing the SALT deduction cap, and to have the cap declared invalid.

Governor Phil Murphy welcomed the action.

When New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Democrat Senate President Steve Sweeney recently reached an agreement on a budget deal, it was welcome news to many as it avoided another government shutdown. Governor Murphy signed the $37.4 billion bill into law on July 2, 2018.

Much of the negotiations centered on how much to raise taxes. Murphy wanted a tax on income over $1 million but lawmakers felt this would cause millionaires to flee the State. In the end Murphy agreed to an increase in taxes on income over $5 million at 10.75 percent. The other compromise was to raise the tax on businesses making more than $1 million by an average of 2 percent over four years, with the increase expiring after four years. The sales tax also remains unchanged.

So what do we know about how aspects of the deal will affect matters relating to New Jersey real estate?

Everyone loves to see a good before and after shot. Regardless of whether it's a personal weight loss journey or a newly painted piece of furniture, it's all about the dramatic reveal and being able to see change happen right before your very eyes.

So, why hasn't the real estate industry jumped on the #transformationtuesday bandwagon? It's the perfect opportunity for agents to showcase their real-life or virtual staging skills. On Instagram alone, the hashtag has appeared in 12.5 million posts. The best part? This specific hashtag makes the rounds on all major social media platforms. Agents can market their listing transformations on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and more.

The U.S Department of Labor has finalized its rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners,” allowing real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans. The ruling also makes AHPs available to independent contractors who are offered coverage through a spouse, the current source of coverage for roughly 40 percent of Realtors®.

BBQs, pools, fire pits and other features are often associated with double-digit price premiums

With summer heating up, Realtor.com® identified some of the hottest summer-related keywords currently being used in home listings to entice buyers and boost prices.

Whether it’s being able to enjoy a weekend barbecue, splash at a pool party or roast marshmallows in a backyard fire pit, Realtor.com® data shows that that homes with amenities geared toward summer activities appeal to buyers and often have significantly higher prices per square foot than similar homes that lack those features.

Frequently, those features are associated with double-digit home-price premiums when compared to other listings by square footage in each respective state.

SYLLABUS

Dunbar Homes, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of Franklin Township
(A-89-16) (079076)

Argued April 9, 2018 -- Decided June 20, 2018

SOLOMON, J., writing for the Court.

N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.5, a section of the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 to -136, provides that “development regulations which are in effect on the date of submission of an application for development shall govern the review of that application for development.” That rule is known as the Time of Application Rule (TOA Rule), and this appeal turns on whether an incomplete application triggers the TOA Rule’s protections.