My New Blog

May 2nd, 2014 7:15 PM
Take a short tour of Fair Lawn NJ one of the many communities we appraise in New Jersey.

Vintage post cards brought to you by Greetings From Bergen County.

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Posted by James E. Bogris on May 2nd, 2014 7:15 PMLeave a Comment

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April 9th, 2014 7:58 AM

 Take a short tour of Ridgewood NJ one of the many communities we appraise in New Jersey.

Vintage post cards brought to you by Greetings From Bergen County.

We hope you enjoyed this presentation, come back soon and where else we may have visited.

Thank You

Bogris Appraisal LLC

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Posted by James E. Bogris on April 9th, 2014 7:58 AMLeave a Comment

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Mortgage lenders make many borrowers purchase mortgage insurance to protect the lender if the borrower is unable to pay the mortgage. In other words, mortgage insurance guarantees your lender will get paid if you default. For the borrower, it has a benefit, too: Getting mortgage insurance allows you to purchase a home before you have the full 20 percent down payment saved up.
Here's a primer on what you need to know about mortgage insurance:

1. What are the different types of mortgage insurance?
In general, there are two types of mortgage insurance: mortgage insurance bought from the government, designed for those with FHA or VA loans or mortgage insurance for conventional loans which is bought from the private sector (this is called private mortgage insurance or PMI), Basically, the type of mortgage insurance required will depend on the type of mortgage loan you get.
2. Who is required to have mortgage insurance?
Typically on a conventional loan, if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the value of the home, lenders will require you to carry mortgage insurance. Usually, you pay those mortgage insurance premiums until your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) -- this is simply the amount of money you borrowed divided by the value of the property you bought -- hits 80 percent. For example, let’s say you bought a $100,000 home and put down 10 percent, or $10,000, and got a $90,000 loan to pay the rest. Your LTV in this case would be $90,000 divided by $100,000, or 90 percent. The longer you pay down your mortgage, the lower your LTV will become. On government loans, mortgage insurance is normally required regardless of the LTV.
3. What does mortgage insurance cost?
Conventional Mortgage insurance rates vary -- usually, the lower your down payment and/or the lower your credit score, the higher the premiums -- but typically the premiums can range from $30-70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed. So, if you bought a $300,000 home, you might pay about $150 per month for mortgage insurance. On FHA loans, there is an up-front MIP (mortgage insurance premium) and annual premium which is collected monthly. VA loans have an up-front fee(funding fee) and no annual or monthly premiums. Contact your lender for specific details.
4. What does mortgage insurance cost?
Typically, you’ll pay your mortgage insurance premiums monthly right along with your mortgage payment (you can just send one payment to the lender). Lenders may also allow you to pay your PMI on a lump sum basis either in cash at closing or finance the premium in your loan amount.
5. Why do I need mortgage insurance?
Your lender requires you to have mortgage insurance so that if you can no longer make payments on your home, the lender will still get paid (through the insurance policy). Mortgage insurance basically safeguards the lender in the event of borrower default.
6. How can I avoid paying mortgage insurance premiums?
If you put down 20 percent or more when you buy a home, you can typically avoid paying mortgage insurance on a conventional loan. And once you've built up a certain amount of equity in your home, you can request to cancel it (see below).
7.When does mortgage insurance “fall off” the loan?
Once the borrower has built up a certain amount of equity in the house, typically 20 percent, the mortgage insurance policy usually may be canceled. The lender usually won’t automatically cancel PMI until you've reached 22 percent equity based on the original appraised value of the home, but you can request cancelation at 20 percent of the current market value. So if you own a home worth $100,000 and have paid down $20,000 in principal, you can request to cancel your PMI.

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Posted by James E. Bogris on March 25th, 2014 11:26 AMLeave a Comment

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March 17th, 2014 2:24 PM

You've seen the commercials with aging Hollywood stars touting REVERSE MORTGAGES are the right for you?



Pros of Reverse Mortgages:

  • Allows the homeowner to stay in the home.
  • Can pay off existing mortgages on the home.
  • Simple to qualify for because no minimum credit score and generally no income requirements.
  • No monthly mortgage payments are due for as long as the homeowner lives in the home and meets eligibility requirements for maintenance and paying property taxes and insurance.
  • The homeowner receives payments on flexible terms:
    • Credit line for emergencies
    • Monthly payments
    • Lump sum distribution
    • Any combination of the above
  • A reverse mortgage can not get “upside down” so the heirs will never be personally liable for more than the home is sold for.
  • Heirs inherit the home and keep any remaining equity after the balance of the reverse mortgage is paid off.
  • Loan proceeds are not taxable.
  • The interest rate may be lower than traditional mortgages and home equity loans.

Reverse Mortgage Cons:

  • The fees on a reverse mortgage are the same as a traditional FHA mortgage but are higher than a conventional mortgage because of the insurance cost. The largest costs are:
  • The loan balance gets larger over time and the value of the estate/inheritance may decrease over time.
  • Although Social Security and Medicare are not affected, Medicaid and other need-based government assistance
    can be affected if too much funds are withdrawn (and not spent) in one month.
  • The program is not well understood by most individuals. However, the availability of independent reverse mortgage counseling helps.



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Posted by James E. Bogris on March 17th, 2014 2:24 PMLeave a Comment

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 You get emails every so often telling you to find out what your home is worth for free with no obligation.

What do you think this valuation is worth?

Turns out not a hell of a lot.

Below find out what several homes sold for and the estimate of value by one of the better known "FREE" sites:

All sales are within the prior 6 months.

Fair Lawn Colonial Sold $750,000  Pre Listing Estimate $704,000

Fair Lawn Cape Cod Sold $733,800 Pre Listing Estimate $292,000

Fair Lawn Colonial Sold $620,000 Pre Listing  Estimate $430,000

Fair Lawn Split Level $582,000 Pre Listing  Estimate $539,000

In all cases relying on the free estimate would have cost the homeowner considerable money.

If you need  a valuation of your home, rely on the free site and you could lose money.

For an accurate valuation of you home for;Tax Appeal, Estate Planning, Pre-Listing, Equitable Distribution or any other Purpose

Contact us at 201 773 3282


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Posted by James E. Bogris on March 12th, 2014 1:20 PMLeave a Comment

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March 3rd, 2014 4:00 PM
Save  money and time by having your home ready for the FHA appraisal.

SUMMARY - Since its inception The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established minimum property standards. While these standards have varied over time the recent changes have been some of the most dramatic in decades. By eliminating many of the "nuisance" repairs and mandatory inspections HUD hopes to make it easier to buy or sell a home with FHA financing.

The most recent changes are highlighted bold on this checklist.

FHA Inspection and RepairPOOR CONDITION -

A lack of maintenance that gives a "run down" look to a property is acceptable. Missing or damaged flooring or carpet, rotted or worn out countertops, poor workmanship, damaged plaster or drywall, bathroom tile, missing or damaged interior doors, debris, trash, or other cosmetic items that do not otherwise jeopardize the safety or structural integrity of the property are acceptable and will not require repair.


Projects must be at least 51% owner occupied and may not have a "right of first refusal" clause in the association documents.


Large settlement cracks, sagging floors or roofs, and significant deteriorated wood are conditions that require professional repair. Grading must be adequate to drain away from house.


HUD will no longer automatically require a termite inspection. Minor (non-structural) termite damage will not require repair. Wood/soil contact that is not due to a structural problem will no longer require repair. Visible evidence of active or past infestation, or evidence of dryrot will require termite report with clearance of Section I items.


For homes built before 1978, any peeling, chipping, or chalking paint on the house, detached garage, shed, fence, or anywhere on the property must be scraped, primed, and painted. Use tarps to collect paint chips to avoid contaminating the soil. If the home is built after 1978 HUD will no longer require painting of defective paint surfaces, in most cases.


The property must have a permanent heat source. The heating and air conditioning system (if present) must be operating properly. Space heating systems are acceptable if installed in accordance with local building codes. Combustible (oil/gas) heat requires exhaust ventilation.


Leaking and worn out roofs require repair or replacement. While a remaining life of at least two years is no longer specified a roof with a life of less then two years should be considered "worn out". HUD will no longer require automatic inspection of a flat roof system.


HUD will no longer require broken glass to be repaired. Exterior doors that are in poor condition but are otherwise functional are acceptable. Windows that stick, are loose, or are otherwise in poor but serviceable condition should be acceptable with the following exception: Inadequate access/egress from bedrooms to the exterior of the home is unacceptable. At least one window in each bedroom must open and close freely in order to allow escape in case of fire. Burglar bars on bedroom windows must have a release mechanism (at least one per bedroom).


Fuses are acceptable. 60amp electric service may be acceptable (a small house with oil or gas for heating, cooking, and hot water). Loose wiring, open splices, and other hazardous conditions will require repair. An exception is low voltage (telephone or cable TV) wiring that would not present a hazard. All utilities should be on in vacant homes in order to avoid re-inspection. All mechanical systems must be operating.


Access to both the attic and the crawl space is required. Both must have adequate ventilation. Crawl spaces must have sufficient clearance for inspection and maintenance.


Minor plumbing leaks and defects are acceptable. Major plumbing problems will require inspection and repair. Water heaters must have a pressure relief valve.


Smoke detectors are not required but if they are present they must work properly. HUD no longer requires repair of the safety device that automatically stops an obstructed electric garage door opener. Trip hazards such as uneven walkways or sidewalks will not require repair. Missing handrails on stairways are acceptable.


HUD does not require the following:

  • Appliances
  • Screens
  • Driveways
  • Lawn sprinkler systems
  • Pool repairs (unless they present a safety concern)

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Posted by James E. Bogris on March 3rd, 2014 4:00 PMLeave a Comment

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March 3rd, 2014 8:30 AM

The deaqdline for appeal of municipal assessment for most Essex County home owners is April 1 2014.

Contact the Essex County Tax Board For the deadline date in your town: 

You can download your Tax Appeal Form here:

At Bogris Appraisal, we have prepared appraisals, and have testified before the Essex County Tax Board on many occassions, and have saved Essex County Homeowners thousands.

Contact us at:

201 773 3282






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Posted by James E. Bogris on March 3rd, 2014 8:30 AMLeave a Comment

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Your appraiser knows how to overcome this stumbling block.

Small chunk of tax code could complicate tax appeal process for N.J. homeowners

contact us at 201 773 3282,  or at

Star-Ledger StaffBy Star-Ledger Staff 
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on March 28, 2012 at 6:53 AM
houses-stock.JPGAerial view of the similar bungalow-style homes at the Midway Beach Condominium Association, a small beach community located south of Seaside Park. A small piece of tax code allows assessors to disqualify a property for comparison they believe was sold under financial duress.

When homeowners go to fight their property assessment, the first thing they often do is examine the sales of similar homes around the neighborhood.

It can be the key to a successful tax appeal. If your neighbors’ homes sold for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars less than your assessment, you’re likely to win your case.

But as more homes are being sold at cut rates in a sour economy, towns are increasingly ruling those sales as invalid for comparison, making it tougher for homeowners to catch a break on their tax bill.

The culprit is a small piece of the tax code that allows assessors to disqualify a property for comparison they believe was sold under financial duress.

In some towns, “if the assessor gets the slightest whiff” that a home might have been sold under duress, it gets removed from contention, said Jim Bogris, a Fair Lawn appraiser. “I don’t know how many times I’m at tax-board hearings and I see people going in to appeal … and the assessors just blow them out of the water. I believe [the code] is overused.”

Last year, more than 11,000 properties were disqualified on these grounds. That’s good for nearly 11 percent of all properties that were disqualified, up from 8 percent in 2009.

Homes sales are considered usable for comparison if an assessor believes it is indicative of fair market value. But home sales can be disqualified and deemed unusable for myriad of reasons, such as foreclosures, short sales, or when a homeowner is willing to accept nearly any price in order to move because of divorce or a death in the family.

As home prices go down, more and more home sales are now considered “distressed.”

“Ultimately, our courts are going to have to look at that issue because at some point, if you have an overwhelming number of foreclosures in a particular area, doesn’t that make the market?,” said David Wolfe, a property tax lawyer in Livingston.

The state Division of Taxation has caught wind of the issue, and is reversing some appeals after finding assessors who misunderstood or misused the law.

When sales are improperly recorded, “we will change it”, said Thomas Reilly, chief of valuation and mapping for the office.

“Ninety percent of assessors do the right thing, but sometimes there are gray areas. Assessors sometimes misclassify things,” Reilly said.

Staff was added to the office in 2009 partly to address the issue and “educate” officials, he said.

Though several attorneys and appraisers acknowledged the rise of the issue, they said it shouldn’t scare residents off from filing an appeal.

Wolfe said the “undeniable truth” is that there are more distressed sales than there have ever been. But just because an assessor marks a sale as unusable does not mean that the county tax board or the tax court won’t necessarily consider it in an appeal, he said.

“Most assessors try, to the best of their ability, to classify the sale — usable or nonusable — in good faith,” Wolfe said. “That said, you could certainly understand the reaction of assessors to some low sales that they can’t necessarily explain.”

By Stephen Stirling and Sarah Portlock/The Star-Ledger

Star-Ledger staff writer Eric Sagara and Dave Sheingold of The Record contributed to this report.

Related coverage:

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Posted by James E. Bogris on February 27th, 2014 1:39 PMLeave a Comment

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February 27th, 2014 11:35 AM

Bergen County expects record number of tax appeals this year!!

HACKENSACK - Robert Layton, county tax administrator, stated that he expects his office to process as many as 15,000 tax appeals this year, more than any other year in his 34-year career.

Cash-strapped towns like Saddle Brook and Teaneck are planning are considering bonding more than $2 million apiece to pay for the refunds.

Some towns are setting aside much more money-in Rutherford three times more-than last year for tax appeals.

To help bring down the number appeals, the tax board has ordered Teaneck, Ramsey, Rutherford, Washington Township, Westwood, Wood-Ridge and Wyckoff to revalue in 2014.

Don't miss out on this historic opportunity!

Call us for a tax appeal appraisal, the April 1st

deadline is approaching!!

Contact Us At 201-773-3282


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Posted by James E. Bogris on February 27th, 2014 11:35 AMLeave a Comment

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November 23rd, 2009 3:35 PM

Your bank sends you a letter, telling you that the limit has been reduced on your home equity line of credit, or HELOC. That news is unwelcome enough. What the letter doesn't tell you is this:

Your credit score just got whacked.



A frozen HELOC doesn't always spell credit-score doom. Under some circumstances, freezing a HELOC might not change the score much; under others, the credit score can tumble enough to derail one's financial plans.

Falling home values are prompting lenders to take new defensive steps to guard against loan defaults. They've started to freeze and cut back hundreds of thousands of home equity lines of credit.

One of the U.S.'s largest mortgage lender, sent letters in January to 122,000 customers, telling them they can no longer borrow against their HELOCs.

At worst, outright freezes cause havoc for many borrowers. Even for borrowers being told they can only draw less than the amount initially authorized
Many lenders are freezing and cutting HELOCs even for borrowers with sterling credit and big equity in their homes, says Weston Sutherland, director of product management,
Borrowers generally see HELOCs as an inexpensive, flexible source of cash. Lenders have opened more than $2 trillion.

But if your line has been lopped, there may be steps you can take to fight back or cope with the problem. . 

A HELOC HELOC Home Equity Line Of Credit  is secured by your equity in the home. Recent declines in housing values have trimmed home equity in many areas. That's why lenders are reining in HELOCs. They often reserve that right in the fine print of their deal. 

 Lets say Jack Brown applied for a HELOC in 2005. He had a $300,000 mortgage balance on a house worth $400,000.

Brown's equity was the difference: $100,000. A lender might have given him a HELOC for $100,000: 100% of his home equity.

Suppose that Brown now owes a $40,000 balance on his HELOC. And his mortgage balance is $295,000. So he has $335,000 in home loans.

But the lender now estimates that homes in Brown's area have fallen by 20% since 2005. In that case, the lender projects that Brown's home would be worth $320,000.

That wipes out Brown's equity. On paper the lender would not be secured for all of the outstanding debt on the HELOC and there would not be enough collateral to justify further borrowing by Brown.

Fighting Back

The lender might send Brown a letter saying his HELOC has been frozen. If you receive such a letter, what can you do?

You can accept the new limits. Maybe you simply don't need to borrow money.

If an emergency comes up, perhaps you have cash reserves 

That could cost less than dipping into a HELOC. Their rates currently average about 6%.

If you don't have enough cash, you can appeal some HELOC freezes.

Call the lender's customer service department and ask if it has an appeals procedure. "You generally will need to demonstrate that the value of your home hasn't declined or hasn't fallen by much," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president.


201 773 3282 

to thaw your frozen line of credit.

Bogris Appraisal LLC is frequently appointed in probate and condemnation proceedings and  also used by banks and real estate concerns to determine the market value of properties like yours.

Bogris Appraisal LLC offers competitive fees comeasurate with the assignment.

The appraisal may help your frozen HELOC to thaw.

Suppose Janice Green has a house she bought years ago. Her mortgage balance is $350,000.

Say Green also has a $100,000 HELOC. She has not borrowed against it, but all of it was frozen.

Green might get an appraisal showing her house is worth $500,000. So she'd have $150,000 in home equity.

On the strength of that, her lender might restore her $100,000 HELOC. Or it might make, say, $50,000 of that line available to her.

A $50,000 HELOC, plus her $350,000 mortgage, would give her $400,000 of debt on a $500,000 house. Even now, many lenders are comfortable with an 80%  Loan-to-value ratio (LTV)

Favored Owners

Bottom line: People who bought homes at the peak of the market may face stiff challenges. Many owners now find the ratio of their home loans plus HELOCs vs. home value has soared. If your home is leveraged over 80%, you likely will find it hard to get more home equity debt.

The situation is better if you bought your house before the market peak. You may have ample home equity. If you have solid credit and reliable income, you can borrow against your house.

"This is a good time to shop for home loans," McBride said. If you're qualified, you can get attractive terms for a HELOC, no matter what some lenders might tell you.

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Posted by James E. Bogris on November 23rd, 2009 3:35 PMView Comments (1)

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