George Costanzo

Loan Originator
|
NMLS 221921
Phone | Fax:
732.784.6446
Mobile:
855.649.5626
125 Half Mile Road, Suite 200, Office #7, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Mortgage lending is more than selling loans. It’s about helping people achieve their homeownership goals. Whether that’s helping them reach a better financial position or connecting them to the home of their dreams, it’s about guiding them to the finish line.

My industry experience has taught me to take the time to understand my customers: What’s their story? How can I help them in their pursuit of a home? When I see my customers as real people with real goals, needs, and dreams, I get to match them with the best loan product and create a truly seamless lending experience.

Everyone has a story to tell. What they need is a Loan Originator who will listen, customize a loan to meet their needs, and guide them every step of the way.

Causes I Care About


Handicap Children

My Favorite Restaurant


Belford Bistro

My Ideal Vacation Spot


Saint Thomas

My Favorite Pastime


Fishing

The Reviews Are In

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to keep trying."

— Thomas A. Edison

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Follow these home renovation tips and your contractors will love you!

When it comes to home remodeling, what you do can be just as important as what you don't do. The best advice isn't always "go with your gut"—sometimes it's "listen to the pros"! A good contractor has been through thick and thin, and knows how to clearly and honestly communicate expectations with you. Are you hiring outside help to accomplish your exciting home remodel project? Stick to these 10 home renovation tips and not only will your project be more likely to go smoothly and stay on budget, but you should have some happy contractors on your hands. 1. Don't work without a plan. Does your home remodel project require an electrician? An interior designer? Both? Consider all the parties involved and work to come up with a blueprint that everyone can agree on. Make sure to loop in your contractor so they can confirm that the plan is one their team can execute. 2. Don't buy materials yourself. DIY sounds like it will save you money, but that isn't always the case in a home remodel. Oftentimes, the contractor is able to nab a better starting price than you—even after they mark up the total cost of materials, you'll end up paying the same price as you would if you went out and purchased them on your own. 3. Don't postpone decisions. This is critical to sticking to your timeline. Make each and every decision before the work starts, making sure you talk through scenarios and potential roadblocks with the contractors. Keep in mind that many decisions will be small, but even a small decision that's put off for too long could have a collateral effect. 4. Don't change your mind too much. Of all the home renovation tips, this one might be the hardest to obey. It's your home and you want it to be perfect—the potential to change your mind is nearly inevitable. Just remember that every time you change your mind, it will result in a change of plans that can affect cost, timeline, and more. 5. Don't make your home something it's not. Will a glam industrial kitchen work in a Cape Cod beach bungalow? It's possible. Get to know your home and do your research before you start remodeling. Even the best contractor might not be able to work against what the house wants. 6. Don't spray perfume on a casket. No homeowner wants to hear that it's better to tear down their home and start over rather than bother to fix it up, but sometimes that's the hard truth. In the world of home remodeling, this rarely happens, but it's good to listen to the pros and be prepared for the possibility. There's no sense in putting a high-efficiency furnace in a home with no insulation or installing beautiful hardwood floors over a cracked foundation. 7. Don't live in the house while it's being remodeled. It's true remodeling is expensive, and moving out during the project will only add to that expense. However, imagine yourself coming home from a long day at work to a construction site and you might be wishing you spent a little extra for a temporary place of peace and quiet. 8. Don't let kids and pets be an inconvenience. Not only can this be inconvenient, it's not safe. Most contractors will kindly accommodate your children and animals, but they shouldn't have to worry about them. Do your workers a favor and keep your loved ones far from the construction zone. 9. Don't distract the workers. If you're the talkative type, this might be a challenge for you. Think about this: every minute your contractor spends talking to you is a minute they're not working on your house. A discussion relevant to the remodel is fine, but the person you hired isn't getting paid any more to have a 30-minute conversation about your upcoming trip to Cancun. 10. Don't work without an emergency fund. Things happen and budgets are often broken, so don't forget one of the most important home renovation tips. Keep a reasonable amount of cash saved up in case an emergency arises and you have to spend a little extra. It's rare for homeowners to set a realistic budget right from the start, so don't be surprised if it happens to you. Work out every detail before the start of the project and you might not even need to tap into your savings! Want more homeownership tips and tricks like these? Sign up for our monthly email newsletter and receive unique content right to your inbox. It's fast, easy, and free!

Tackle post-home inspection negotiations with these four tips.

If you're a first-time home buyer, you've probably heard of the negotiations that come at the beginning of the home buying process—when you're negotiating the purchase price of the home. But, many first-time buyers are not aware that negotiations don't stop there. Oftentimes, they continue well into escrow, after you've already drafted and signed the initial contract. It's common for buyers to negotiate all kinds of details related to their home purchase, especially who pays for what repairs after a home inspection. Did your home inspection reveal some issues that need to be repaired? We've got a few tips for navigating these tricky post-home inspection negotiations like a pro. 1. Ask for a credit. The sellers are on their way out, physically and mentally. If it's looking like you're going to close the deal and buy this home from them, they're probably packing up their things and daydreaming of the next chapter of their lives. Making repairs on their "old" house probably isn't high on their priority list. Even if you asked them to take care of the repairs themselves, they might not do as nice of a job as you'd like. At this point of post-home inspection negotiations, you might want to ask the sellers for a credit at closing. This means the sellers agree to give you a certain dollar amount at the time of closing that you, the buyer, can use toward repairs. And, if you get the credit, you won't have to worry about going back and forth with the seller about whether the repairs were done to your liking—you can take care of them completely on your own. 2. Think about the big picture. Let's say you're thinking about the kitchen in your new home and you already know you're going to to renovate it someday. Why not now? Sure you could probably deal with the water damage behind the sink or the back burner of the stovetop that won't stay lit, but if you can negotiate these repairs now, wouldn't you do it? When you're working through post-home inspection negotiations, consider the future of your new home, and remember that a seller credit toward these repairs could help offset the costs due at closing. 3. Don't show your cards. If your home inspection is coming up, find out whether the seller's agent will be walking the property with you, your agent, and the home inspector. If so, you might want to hide your true excitement about the house. Showing satisfaction with the current state of the home in front of the seller's agent could hurt your chances of negotiating those repairs later. If the seller's agent can sense even the slightest disapproval from you during the home inspection, you're building a case for yourself that the agent will probably mention to the sellers. 4. Be ready for anything. There's a saying for home purchases: It's not over till it's over. That means until you sign the closing documents and have the keys in hand, anything could happen. Don't sign the initial contract thinking that you'll be able to negotiate the price of the home even lower after the inspection. With all the people involved, the unknown factors, and the competitive state of the market, there's a good chance that glimmer of hope will fade quickly. Think about this: if your home inspection results are favorable, there's nothing for you to negotiate. If you didn't consider this possible outcome during the initial contract negotiations, you may have just lost out on big savings. Now don't go and try to negotiate a new purchase price anyway—the sellers will likely turn away and find another buyer. Negotiations are tough, and post-home inspection negotiations are not exempt! Keep in mind these helpful tips or ask your LO for advice and you'll be more prepared for your home buying process.

A higher debt-to-income ceiling should prove helpful for many first-time buyers.

Fannie Mae, one of the mortgage industry's major influencers, just released news that they are easing up on debt-to-income (DTI) requirements for eligible borrowers. This summer, the current DTI limit will be raised from 45 percent to 50 percent, beginning July 29. Although five percent doesn't sound like a huge deal, it's an exciting change for several reasons. For one, debt is one of the most common inhibitors that prevents people from becoming homeowners due to strict DTI requirements. If your DTI is too high, you might be denied a mortgage. While this sounds like an unfair regulation, it actually protects everyone involved from financial jeopardy. Lenders want evidence that you can consistently pay back the money you borrow. The ratio of your existing debt to your income could demonstrate an inability to pay back your home loan. However, with Fannie Mae's new DTI requirements, more borrowers who would have previously been turned down may now be eligible for a home loan. This is also exciting news because of Fannie Mae's research findings. The government-sponsored enterprise has used and analyzed data (over the course of roughly 15 years) to determine that a significant amount of borrowers with 45 to 50 percent DTI have good credit and are not prone to defaulting on their mortgage. This data gives us confidence that the housing economy is in good shape for Fannie Mae to be willing to make this change to DTI requirements. In addition, borrowers whose current DTI limits them to an FHA loan will now have the opportunity to look into other home loan products in the marketplace. It's important to note that this change does not approve every borrower with a DTI higher than 45 percent—it simply means they have a chance. Fannie Mae's AUS will still consider the borrower's entire application before making a decision, including factors like down payment amount, credit score, income, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, and more. At Cardinal Financial, we are committed to being flexible. We embrace each borrower's unique situation and work to fit the loan to the borrower, not the borrower to the loan. Ready to take the first step to becoming a homeowner? Get in touch and see how we can help make your homeownership dreams a reality.

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