George Costanzo

Loan Originator
|
NMLS 221921
Phone | Fax:
732.784.6446
Mobile:
855.646.5626
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

Hot Off The Press

 

Check back to read more fresh content!

Switching to solar power could significantly lower your energy bills.

What you didn't know about solar panels:

  • Solar panels still draw power from the sun on cloudy days.
  • Solar panels do not have to be in direct sunlight all day in order to draw power from the sun.
  • Solar panels store power during the day so your appliances will still be usable at night.
  • You could have enough solar panels to power your home entirely by the sun, eliminating your energy bills!
How much do you know about solar energy? Let's break it down to the basics. Two main types of solar technology exist as of today: photovoltaics (PV), which generates electric power by capturing sunlight, and concentrated solar power (CSP), which uses the sun's heat to generate thermal energy (to power heaters or turbines, for example). If that sounds like technical jargon, just know that solar PV systems are the way to go when it comes to home solar energy since they are most popular in residential settings. A recent North Carolina State University survey polled the 50 biggest cities in the U.S. and found that homeowners who invested in a 5,000-watt (5kW) solar PV system saved an average of $44–$187 per month during the first year they owned the system. When we say solar panels save you money, we're not kidding. Customers living in the midwest and on the east coast save about $60–$80 each month, and some customers in the southwestern states save up to $200 every month! It's clear by the numbers that homeowners across the country are saving heaps of money on their energy bills thanks to solar panels.
So why aren't more people going solar? And how can solar panels save you money?

SO LONG, STIGMA

Let's start with the way they look. Solar panels get a bad reputation for looking out-of-place, unsightly, and sometimes too futuristic on the average home. Homeowners want curb appeal and charm—giant, dark panels on the roof can completely destroy that warm, homely appearance. Solar panels came out ahead of their time. On one hand, it's a good thing there is a wave of young, Millennial home buyers who desire minimalist characteristics that are modern, sleek, and simple, like clean lines and smart-home technological capabilities. For home buyers like these, solar panels are looking more and more relevant. On the other hand, you've got incredible pioneers like Tesla's Elon Musk, who's designed the Solar Roof made of up energy-capturing shingles in three cozy styles. Now that looks more like it! Note that if you have an HOA, you should check the bylaws before you get in too deep. We wouldn't want you to go through the process of buying and installing only to receive a notice from your HOA that they're not allowed. Just like any other technology, solar panels are evolving and improving in form and function. They're looking thinner and less obtuse—more attractive to the picky homeowner. And while they're improving in aesthetic, they're also advancing in technology. Engineers are working on increasing solar cell efficiency, which describes how well a solar panel can convert the sun's rays into electricity. Now, homeowners can and should opt for solar panels with higher efficiency ratings, because a high-efficiency solar panel can produce more electricity than a lower-efficiency panel of the same size, when existing under the same conditions. Most solar panels are only 14–18% efficient, but the best solar panels will peak around 22% efficiency. Those numbers may seem low, but for a solar panel, that's extremely efficient. If you're doing research on solar panels, efficiency numbers will always be low because of the laws of physics—you can't harness 100% of the sun's rays using photovoltaics. That's why the maximum amount of sunlight that PV solar systems can capture is about 33.7%, making 22% efficiency pretty sweet. A little education on the advancements being made in the appearance and technology of solar panels and perhaps more homeowners would consider them… Unless they're too expensive.

CHEAPER THAN YOU THINK

The truth is, electricity isn't getting any cheaper and homeowners all over the country are looking for ways to save money on utilities. We already know that people in some places in the U.S. are saving $40–$200 every month by switching to solar power. So how do we get more homeowners on board? The problem is that many homeowners automatically assume that buying solar panels will be outrageously expensive and installing them will be a huge hassle. But that's just not the case anymore. As demand for solar panels has increased, their cost has decreased. In fact, since 1998, the cost of solar panels on the average American home has dropped by nearly 70%. And you don't have to install them yourself. There are many acclaimed companies across the country who will give you a quote and install them on your roof just like any other paid service. If you're ready to take the plunge and buy solar panels, but you can't afford them outright, don't stress. Although up-front purchase gives you the instant payback of lower energy bills and no interest fees, financing for solar panels exists! And some companies will even let you take out a loan for your solar panels with no up-front costs.

TAX INCENTIVES

If the affordability factor isn't compelling enough, the tax incentives should be. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit program is a government program that allows American homeowners with solar panels to claim a qualified Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30%! All you have to do is fill out a form and see if you qualify. If you're a first-time home buyer, your real estate agent can probably connect you with information about solar companies that other residents in the area have used, and give you information about solar energy tax incentives available to you for your desired home. Plus, using a simple Google search, all the reputable solar companies in your area will have the form on their site for you to fill out and see if your home qualifies.

SAVE MONEY, SAVE THE PLANET

Not only can solar panels save you money, make you eligible for tax incentives, and increase the value of your home, solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy in the world. And looking at the long-term benefits of switching to solar, it might be a wise financial investment for you and your family.

Prep for your home appraisal with these easy tips.

While selling season takes off, homeowners are preparing to put their homes up for sale or refinance their mortgages. If this is you, you'll want to continue reading. Right now, you're probably looking forward to moving on to bigger and better things or saving money—in either case, you'll want to get the best price possible for your home. That's where a home appraisal comes in. An appraisal determines your home's current value, which is usually different from its original purchase price. Hopefully, if you've been taking care of your home and investing into its longevity (like remodelling, landscaping, and updating old plumbing or electrical) its value probably increased. Why should you get your home appraised? It's simple: the higher the appraisal amount, the more money you'll receive when you sell or refinance it. If your home is going to be appraised, a licensed professional will come over, inspect and evaluate, and determine the value of your home in an open market. So how do you prepare your home for a visit from the appraiser? Use these nine tips to prepare for a home appraisal and increase your chances of favorable results!

BEFORE THE APPRAISAL

1. Spruce it up. Knock out the easy stuff first. Touch up the paint, hang new drapes, install new faucets, doorknobs, and cabinet handles. Little changes like these can add a lot of visual appeal which will work in your favor during the appraisal. Any outdated décor can negatively impact your home appraisal; but give your home a modern, polished appearance and you'll have a better chance at a higher appraisal. 2. Make it squeaky clean. This will take some hard work, but it's all about creating a clean appearance that will attract buyers as well as the appraiser. Wash the walls, dust the fan blades, shampoo the carpet, and shake out the rugs. Declutter the closets, the basement, and other clutter-prone places. Power wash your decks, driveway, and the home's exterior walls. 3. Fix and/or replace safety equipment. Test the smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and security system (if you have one). If you don't own a fire extinguisher, consider buying one and placing it under the kitchen sink. If any of these aren't working properly, replace them before the appraiser comes to show that your home's safety standards are up to date. 4. Preen your yard with a fine-toothed comb. Curb appeal matters in a home appraisal! Mow the lawn a couple of days before the appraisal visit. You'll also want to trim any unruly trees or shrubs. Make sure all pathways leading to and around your house are clear of obstacles. Put away any stray toys, bikes, or tools, and straighten the patio furniture. Plant some fresh flowers and pull the weeds from any flower beds. Mulch around the plants and trees adds a nice touch too! 5. Update fixtures and materials. There are countless DIY home improvement tutorials out there to help you get creative with your home interior updates. To give your home the modern treatment, update your countertops, remove old wallpaper, paint the kitchen cupboards, or replace old floors. Things like decades-old wallpaper and linoleum flooring can bring down the value of your home, even if they're in good condition. Modern textures and materials like subway tile, butcher block countertops, and shiplap can instantly make your home appealing to today's buyer. 6. Examine beyond the perimeter. Think about what has happened to your neighborhood since the time you bought it. Have any new parks, schools, stores, or other public amenities been built? New roads or footpaths? How about community gardens, farmers markets, or co-ops? If your appraiser isn't familiar with the area, point out these features because they can add more value to your home. 7. Research your neighborhood. Are you aware that the value of other homes in the area can actually increase or decrease the value of your own? Conduct some research and find out the value of the other houses on the block, the sales prices of homes recently sold in your area, and any problems during their appraisals. These are questions you may want to ask your neighbors (if you feel comfortable doing so) or you can usually find this information on the Internet.

DAY OF THE APPRAISAL

8. Be critical. On the day of your home appraisal, walk around your home with a critical eye. Did you miss anything? Is anything out of place? Like preparing to host a party, make sure that everything looks top notch! 9. Tell the appraiser about improvements you've made. It's O.K. to brag a little! Tell the appraiser about all the changes, replacements, and improvements you've made. Some of these things might not be so obvious to someone who's visiting your home for the first time. Are you getting ready for a home appraisal? Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you find an appraiser and prepare your home for an appraisal.

Put that extra cash toward your future.

Tax return season is upon us. As checks come in the mail, renters have the chance to put those extra earnings toward something more than clothes or food. But let's face it: coming up with that daunting 20% down payment isn't easy. In fact, saving for a down payment on a home is one of the biggest obstacles that renters face in the transition to homeownership. This year, consider taking your tax refund and putting it toward a down payment, like many other first-time home buyers do.

ANY AMOUNT HELPS

If you're a renter looking to become a homeowner, it's critically important to have accurate expectations. That means understanding that your tax refund probably won't be the entire 20% down payment you'd like to provide. It will likely be much lower than that, depending on your situation. In fact, the IRS states that the average tax refund in 2016 was $2,860. Good news for many first-time buyers is that borrowers who qualify for an FHA loan will only have to provide 3.5% and those who qualify for a fixed-rate Conventional loan may only need to put down 5%, through Cardinal Financial. In February 2017, the median U.S. home price was $228,400, requiring a down payment of only about $8,000 for an FHA loan and $11,420 for a fixed-rate Conventional loan. These estimations just go to show that any amount you receive as a tax refund can be a substantial contribution to a down payment on a home, even if it doesn't cover the entire cost.

IS IT A SMART MOVE?

There is wisdom in using your tax return money in this way, but it truly depends on the borrower. While mortgage rates are still historically low, borrowers have the opportunity to use their tax refund and move onto bigger and better homes that might have monthly mortgage payments that are lower than what they're currently paying in rent. However, the decision to purchase a home shouldn't be based on whether the market is good for buying. That may be a factor in your consideration, but before you buy a home, you should make sure that you're ready to buy a home. It's as simple as that. If you are relying solely on your tax refund as down payment money, that could be a sign that you haven't been able to save any money on your own. In actuality, the only reason why you've come upon this extra cash is because you overpaid in taxes last year. If you haven't been able to save for a down payment, there's a chance you also have revolving debt and lack an emergency fund. When you apply for a mortgage, you have to prove that you'll be able to sustain many monthly payments into the future, and if your tax refund is your primary source of down payment money, you may not be able to swing that. While these are important factors to keep in mind, don't forget about random repairs. Once the house is yours, your mortgage may truly be cheaper than what you were paying in rent—which is great. However, there are many extra costs of homeownership that can pop up or be forgotten. For example, you may be saving $200 a month to own, but during your first year you may have to cough up $4,000 to replace your HVAC unit. There are some things you just can't predict.

YOU DECIDE

How will you use your tax refund this year? If you're thinking about putting that money toward a down payment, call us and ask one of our Loan Originators if homeownership is possible for you right now.

Get In Touch

 

Send me a message and I will be in contact with you shortly!