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Turning Your Real Estate Dreams Into Reality

Exclusive Buyer's Broker

Exclusive​ Transaction Broker

Buying a property is not a walk in the park, especially if you have a limited budget. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or startup real estate investor, you can easily get lost in the complex world of real estate if you don’t play your options well. With the help of Coy C. Vickers, Jr., a Buyer's Broker, and Transaction Broker, and his coalition in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, you’ll be able to find a property you can proudly call your own without any hassle. We offer support and guidance for first-time, intermediate, and seasoned real estate investors. We'll provide strategies to increase your net worth, generate cash flow, and develop an investment portfolio through asset acquisition.


 just remember to call or text me first.    484-469-7673   It's just that SIMPLE.


What is a Exclusive Buyer's Broker?

Brokers are legally responsible for the actions of their agents, are licensed by the state to collect fees and to oversee negotiations for a purchase. In the case of the buyer broker, he or she represents the homebuyer in a real estate transaction.He or she earns a commission for assisting the buyer to find a property and represents the person in negotiations.

Deeper definition

It’s important to know the difference between a broker and real estate agent.

Real estate agents help people buy and sell property. Some agents will represent the buyer as well as the seller in a deal. They are known as dual agents.

In the agent-broker relationship, it is the agent who works for the broker. The latter is legally responsible for his or her agents. Brokers are licensed to collect fees. Then, they pay the agents working under them in a home transaction.

Once a potential buyer has a written agreement with a broker, that person becomes the buyer broker who advocates exclusively in the buyer’s best interest.

These people or firms also are referred to as exclusive buyer agents (EBAs), which is a real estate firm or an agent or broker who works for such a company. EBA firms never take listings and, therefore, never represent the seller in a real estate transaction. By doing so, they eliminate the potential conflict of interest when one firm represents both buyer and seller.

To be sure, buyer brokers focus on finding the best property for the buyer’s needs and preferences. They work to ensure that the sale terms are advantageous to the buyer rather than the seller.

Lastly, they also work with other real estate professionals, such as home inspectors, mortgage brokers and movers, to overcome obstacles and take any corrective action, if necessary.

Buyer broker example

Phil and Janet hire Walter as their buyer broker. He assigns a real estate agent to show the couple some properties that fit the description of what they are looking for.

Once they agree on a home to buy, Walter negotiates the transaction with the aim of getting them the best terms as possible on the selling price, the date they can move in and other elements in the contract.​

What Exactly is a Exclusive Transaction Broker?

An Exclusive Transaction Broker is a Licensed Real Estate Broker who is a neutral third party in a transaction. He or she provides services to

facilitate the closing of a deal but does not act on behalf of any particular client. The transaction broker's primary job is to assist with task that may be difficult for a buyer or seller to perform on there own. However he or she is expected to refrain from offering either client any advice on the sale or otherwise influencing the transaction. 

An Exclusive Transaction Broker is a mutual resource in a real estate transaction. Technically, they do not represent either the buyer or the seller. Instead, they can give both parties information and advice. As stated earlier, remember an Exclusive Transaction Brokerage represents neither party. This means that when and agent is acting as an Exclusive Transaction Broke, they are not invested in the deal at all. So they can give neutral advice and assistance to both parties.​

Here are just a few things that an Exclusive Transaction Broker can help you out with as a buyer:

* FSBO Transaction (For Sale By Owner)

* Preparing an offer on a property

* Communicating with the seller

* Writing the contract of sale

* Helping with closing

Transaction Brokers can also be a great help to sellers. Here are some of the things they can do for sellers:

* FSBO Transaction (For Sale By Owner)

* Setting a competitive asking price

* Communicating with the buyer

* Writing the contract of sale

* Helping with closing

What you Both can expect

* A Trusted Neutral Advisor

* Insider Advice

* No-Pressure Consultation

* An Experienced and Knowledgeable Neutral Advocate

* No Conflict of Interest

* No Brokerage Fees or Transaction Fees

* A Neutral Advocate with Credentials

House Then The Car is a national campaign to educate, empower and mobilize generations of African Americans about building wealth. This movement empowers communities that have GenX, Millennials, GenY, and GenZ's on the value of owning property as a generational wealth-building tool. House Then The Car speaks specifically to the African American community and offers real-life housing and financing options and solutions.

New Jersey First-Time Home Buyer: 2022 Programs & Grants

What to know about buying a house in New Jersey

Buying your first home can be a challenge. But there’s plenty of help available. The Garden State has a wealth of advice, counseling, and educational courses for first-time buyers.

And you might even be in line for substantial financial help with your down payment and closing costs. New Jersey has plenty of assistance programs for first-home buyers. Here’s how to get started.

Check your home buying eligibility in NJ.

NJ home buyer overview

Home loan options

NJ home buyer programs

First-time buyer grants

Buying in NJ cities


NJ mortgage rates

New Jersey home buyer overview

It’s no surprise that buying in the Garden State may come at a premium. With miles of shoreline, historic cities, and its proximity to New York, New Jersey is an ideal location for many to purchase their first home.

Residential real estate prices in New Jersey rose by 8% between March 2021 and 2022, according to the New Jersey Realtors Association. So first-time buyers in the state may find they want to take advantage of the assistance programs described below.

New Jersey home buyer stats

Average Home Sale Price1$561,790

Minimum Down Payment in NJ (3%)$16,850

20% Down Payment in NJ$112,360

Average Credit Score in NJ2725

Maximum NJ Home Buyer Grant3Up to $40,000 for the down payment and closing cost assistance in Jersey City

Down payment amounts are based on the state's most recently available average home sale price. “Minimum” down payment assumes 3% down on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

If you're eligible for a VA loan (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (backed by the US Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

First-time homebuyer mortgages in NJ

If you’re a first-time home buyer in New Jersey with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low-interest rate. And you never have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Of course, few first-time buyers have saved enough for 20% down. But the good news is, you don’t need that much. Not by a long shot.

Borrowers can often get into a new home with as little as 3% or even 0% down using one of these low-down-payment mortgage programs:

Conventional 97 — From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum credit score. You can usually stop paying private mortgage insurance after a few years

FHA loan — Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. But you’re on the hook for mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) until you refinance to a different type of mortgage, move, or pay off your loan

VA loan — Only for veterans and service members. Zero down payment is required. The minimum credit score varies by lender but is often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you’re eligible

USDA loan — For those on low-to-moderate incomes who are buying in designated rural areas. Zero down payment is required. Credit score requirements vary by lender but are often 640. Low mortgage insurance rates

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency loan programs — May include competitive interest rates and down payment assistance. More information below

Depending onyour mortgage loane, you could potentially get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket.

These loan programs even let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover the down payment and closing costs.

If you’re not sure which program to choose for your first mortgage loan, your lender can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

Find a first-time home buyer loan. Start here (Aug 7th, 2022)

New Jersey first-time home buyer programs

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) say it’s “happy to offer step-by-step guidance and accessible tools to enable you to make the right home purchase decision.”

An excellent place to start is to download The Road Home New Jersey: A Guide for the New Jersey Homebuyer from its website. That’s also available in Spanish.

The two primary programs are:

NJMFA First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage

NJHMFA Police and Firemen Retirement System Mortgage

Here’s a little more detail on each program.

NJMFA First-Time Homebuyer Mortgage

If you’re looking for assistance with your mortgage loan, the NJHMFA can hook you up with one of its approved mortgage lenders.

Provided you qualify, the lender should offer you a competitive 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. This will be a government-insured loan backed by the FHA, VA, or USDA (depending on your eligibility for each program).

To qualify, you’ll need to be:

A first-time home buyer (haven’t owned a home in the past three years)

Within local household income limits

Buying a property within purchase price limits

Buying the home as a primary residence

This PDF will tell you income and sale price caps are where you want to buy in most of the state. And this one gives similar details if you’re buying in an urban target area.

NJHMFA Police and Firemen Retirement System Mortgage

New Jersey police officers and firefighters with at least a year of service may be eligible for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan of up to $647,200. Plus, there’s no first-time home buyer restriction.

In addition to customary closing costs, this program’s loan terms also require additional lender and administrative fees.

New Jersey first-time home buyer grants

The NJHMFA can provide down payment and closing cost assistance of up to $10,000 through its DPA program.

The NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance program starts as a second mortgage of up to $10,000 with a 5-year loan term — not a grant. But the loan is interest-free and you don’t make any monthly payments. Better yet, it’s forgiven after you’ve lived in the home for five years without selling, refinancing, or paying off your loan early.

In other words, subject to those conditions, the down payment loan transforms into a grant after five years, and you don’t have to pay back a cent.

As described in the previous section, you’ll have to get an FHA, VA, or USDA loan as a first-time buyer to be eligible. And you’ll need to be within the income and home price caps.

Keep in mind that this is a statewide DPA program. There are likely other assistance programs available at the local level. So talk to your real estate agent and/or loan officer about other options where you plan to buy.

Verify your home buying eligibility in NJ. Start here (Aug 7th, 2022)

Buying a home in New Jersey’s major cities

Home prices in New Jersey cities are rising at fairly similar rates.

In Newark, for example, home prices inched up by 9.7% year-over-year in March 2022. Similarly, residential real estate prices increased 7.8% over the same period.

Newark first-time home buyers

The median home listing price in Newark was $329,000 in March 2022, according to That was up by 9.7% year-over-year.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

$9,870 for 3% down payment

$65,080 for 20% down payment

Newark itself appears not to have its home buyer assistance programs. But it is located in Essex county which does. Unfortunately, there’s little information available online. But you can call (973) 655-0200 to learn more about Essex county down payment assistance programs.

Jersey City first-time home buyers

The median home listing price in Jersey City was $635,000 in March 2022, according to That was up by 10.4% year-over-year.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

$19,050 for 3% down payment

$127,000 for 20% down payment

It’s not evident whether or not Jersey City currently offers any down payment assistance to residents. Still, loan programs and DPAs come and go. Your loan officer will help you explore your options.

Paterson first-time home buyers

The median home listing price in Paterson was $334,900 in March 2022, according to That was up by 7.8% year-over-year.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

$10,050 for 3% down payment

$66,980 for 20% down payment

If Paterson City has a down payment assistance program, the information is not up-to-date online. But you can call (973) 321-1600 to see what’s currently on offer.

Where to find home buying help in NJ

All the organizations we’ve listed above should provide advice freely to any first-time home buyer in the state of New Jersey.

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a few lists of statewide, regional, and local resources:

Statewide and regional first-time home buyer resources in NJ

New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA)

New Jersey State Division of Housing and Community Resources (DCHR): Affordable housing resources

New Jersey Housing Resource Center

New Jersey resources on housing

New Jersey affiliates of Habitat for Humanity: Through volunteer labor, builds and rehabilitates houses for families in need

US Department of Agriculture Rural Housing: Homebuyer programs in rural communities

Homeowner education programs: Learn how to purchase and maintain a home of your own

Housing counseling

New Jersey first-time home buyer resources by county
















What are today’s mortgage rates in NJ?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in New Jersey here.

When you’re ready to start the home-buying process, experiment with a mortgage calculator to see how down payment and interest rates will affect your monthly mortgage payment. Then make sure you get personalized rate quotes from at least three to five mortgage lenders.

Don’t just look at advertised rates online; actually, apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees you’re offered. That’s the only way to know you’re getting the best deal possible on your new home loan.

Making Philadelphia Better Block by Block

Urban Philadelphia PA - First Time Home Buyer Assistance Program

Thinking of buying your first home in urban Philadelphia and don’t have the necessary down payment and closing cost? As a first-time homebuyer, you’re in luck. There are multiple programs that can allow you to buy your next home with little to no money down. You can get up to $15,000, sometimes even more, in FREE MONEY to go toward closing costs and down payment. For example, The office of housing and urban development is currently offering a $10,000 First Time Home Buyer Grant. The “First Front Door Program” also offers a $5,000 Grant for first-time buyers and you can get an additional $500 for just sitting on a 2- or 3-hour, First Time Home Buyer class These are just a few examples of the FREE CASH you can get to buy your next home. For more details on how you can get started on your dream of homeownership, contact us today by phone: 484-469-7673 or email us today. If you’re serious about getting into a new home, don’t delay, most of the grants are given on a first-come basis. Make the right decision for you and your family.

What is a HomeStyle Renovation Loan?

A HomeStyle loan is a long-term renovation loan backed by Fannie Mae and available to owner-occupied homeowners as well as small buy-and-hold investors. ...HomeStyle loans combine the purchase and rehab of property together as a single loan. HomeStyle Renovation (HSR) mortgages are issued by Fannie Mae-approved lenders. 

What Is a 203k Improvement Loan?

A 203k improvement loan is a mortgage option guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Compared to other types of loans, FHA 203k is easier to get approved and less risky for lenders.

With 203k, you can borrow money using only one loan. It’s a great option if you’re interested in buying a property that has lots of potential but needs improvements. You can use the money to make the purchase and perform the necessary repairs to make the property more suitable for living. For more information, do not hesitate to text or email us!

Based on traditional conventional mortgage underwriting guidelines, a property 

in need of minor or major repairs that impact the livability of the home are not eligible for financing. 

The FHA 203k and other renovation loan programs provide for additional funding to fix this problem, 

which will obviously benefit listing agents who need to reach a broader buyer market.

  • Repair or replacement of roofs, gutters, and downspouts.

  • Repair, replace, or upgrade existing HVAC systems.

  • Repair, replacement, or upgrade of plumbing and electrical systems.

  • Repair or replacement of flooring.

  • Minor remodeling, such as kitchens, but does not involve structural repairs.

  • Painting, both exterior and interior.

  • Weatherization, including storm windows and doors, insulation, and weather stripping.

  • Purchase and installation of appliances (free-standing ranges, refrigerators, washer/dryer…).

  • Accessibility improvements for persons with disabilities.

  • Lead-based paint stabilization or abatement of lead-based paint hazards.

  • Repair, replacement, or addition of exterior decks, patios, porches.

  • Basement finishing and remodeling, which does not involve structural repairs.

  • Basement waterproofing.

  • Window and door replacements and exterior wall re-siding.

  • Repair or replacement of septic system and/or well.

  • Major rehabilitation or major remodeling, such as the relocation of a load-bearing wall.

  • New construction (including room additions).

  • Repair of structural damage.

  • Repairs requiring detailed drawings or architectural exhibits.

  • Landscaping or similar site amenity improvements.

  • Any repair or improvement requiring a work schedule longer than six months.

  • Rehabilitation activities that require more than two (2) payments per specialized contractor

  • VA Renovation Program

  • Are you eligible for a VA loan? This program will allow you to buy/refinance a home and roll in all repairs/renovations into one fixed loan. This loan allows you to finance up to 100%.

What is the Energy Efficient Mortgage Program?

The Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan program helps current or potential homeowners significantly lower their monthly utility bills by enabling them to incorporate the cost of adding energy efficient improvements into their new home or existing housing. This FHA program eliminates the need for homeowners who are interested in making their home more energy efficient to take out an additional mortgage loan to cover the cost of the improvements they intend to make to their property. The program is available as part of a FHA insured home purchase or by refinancing your current mortgage loan.

It is our government's goal to make energy efficiency and conservation a way of life. The FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage Loan program contributes to these efforts by providing better housing and creating a way for homeowners to make valuable improvements to their homes at a relatively low cost.

Get a property tax abatement

Property tax abatements exempt all or part of an improvement for a set number of years. This encourages new construction or rehabilitation of a property. Abatements:

•Help revitalize communities and retain residents.

•Attract home and business owners to Philadelphia.

•Reduce development costs for commercial and residential projects.

You can apply for an abatement through the Office of Property Assessment (OPA). The type of abatement may affect what you need to submit with your application.

Types of abatements

Development Abatement for New or Improved Residential Properties (State Act 175)

This is a 30-month abatement for:

•New, residential construction.

•Improvements to existing, unoccupied residential properties.

•Improvements to existing structures that are being converted to residential properties.

The abatement starts on the first day of the month after the building permit is issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).

Rehab Construction for Residential Properties (Ordinance 961)

This is a 10-year abatement for improvements to existing residential properties containing one or more units. It is not available for hotels.

The abatement starts on January 1st after the owner certifies that the improvements are complete.

You must file the certificate of completion and an affidavit stating the completion date with the OPA before the abatement value can be assessed and started.

Rehab & New Construction for Commercial & Industrial Properties (Ordinance 1130)

This is a 10-year abatement for new construction or improvements to deteriorated industrial, commercial, or other business properties.

The abatement starts on January 1st after the owner certifies that the improvement is complete.

You must file the certificate of completion and the certificate of occupancy issued by L&I. If an L&I certificate of occupancy is not needed, the owner must submit an affidavit stating the date the improvements were complete.

New Construction for Residential Properties (Ordinance 1456-A)

This is a ten-year abatement for the new construction of residential properties. It is not available for hotels.

The abatement starts the first month after the title date.

Where and when

The type of abatement affects when you’ll submit your application.

•For abatements under State Act 175 or Ordinance 961, submitted by December 31st of the year that the building permit is issued.

•For abatements under Ordinance 1130 or Ordinance 1456-A, submit within sixty days of the date when the building permit is issued.

You must submit your application to:

Office of Property Assessment, Abatement Unit

601 Walnut St.

Suite 300 W.

Philadelphia, PA 19106

Canceling an abatement

To cancel an abatement, all the property owners must sign the cancellation form. If there are more than two owners, they can sign and submit additional forms. Once abatement is removed, it cannot be put back on the property.

Properties with a 10-year residential tax abatement aren’t eligible for the Homestead Exemption. Once the abatement has expired, homeowners can apply for the Homestead Exemption

 What is a short sale?

A short sale, also known as a pre-foreclosure sale, is when you sell your home for less than the balance remaining on your mortgage. If your mortgage company agrees to a short sale, you can sell your home and pay off all (or a portion of) your mortgage balance with the

proceeds. Depending on your situation, you may be

required to make a financial contribution to receive a

short sale. 

A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure and may be an option if:

  • You are ineligible to refinance or modify your mortgage

  • You are facing a long-term hardship

  • You are behind on your mortgage payments

  • You owe more on your home than it's worth

  • You have not been able to sell your home at a price that covers what you still owe on your mortgage

  • You can no longer afford your home and are ready or need to leave

Are you at risk of foreclosure?

During the 2008 Financial crisis, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that mortgage servicers were committing frequent and egregious errors in the foreclosure process.  

From the time your first payment is missed:

  • Within 36 days, your lender must attempt to call you to discuss loss mitigation options like refinancing or a short sale.

  • Within 45 days, the lender must notify you of your options in writing.

  • After 90 days, the lender will send an Act 91 notice, telling you they intend to foreclose and listing state mortgage assistance programs.

  • After 120 days your lender can begin the foreclosure process.

  • As a homeowner, don’t ignore notices or calls from your lender. They are indicators that the lender is considering foreclosure, and can be an important early notice.

When can the foreclosure process begin?

After 120 days of delinquency, your bank can file with the courts for foreclosure, but they must express their intent to do so no later than 30 days before filing.

In Pennsylvania, the notice must include information on the PA Homeowner’s Emergency Assistance Program, known as an Act 91 notice. This is the last chance the lender must give you to bring your mortgage out of delinquency.

What is the Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program?

Pennsylvania’s housing finance agency has a program to issue mortgage assistance loans. If a homeowner qualifies for this program, their lender will be barred from proceeding with foreclosure as long as the homeowner makes their HEMAP payments.

  • The program can loan up to $60,000 to qualifying homeowners.

  • Homeowners are expected to pay up to 40% of monthly income towards HEMAP.

  • Loans can last up to 36 months from the date of delinquency.

  • If you are a Pennsylvania homeowner and you fell behind on your mortgage due to a short-term emergency, HEMAP could help save your home.

What are the steps in the foreclosure process?

Pennsylvania’s foreclosure process follows a similar course wherever you are in the state.

  • After the first missed mortgage payment, your lender will begin sending notices and calling you.

  • 30 days before your mortgage becomes 120 days delinquent, the lender will send you an Act 91 notice informing you of the Homeowner’s Assistance program and listing the Housing Finance Agency offices for your county.

  • 120 Days after the mortgage has become delinquent, the bank will file for foreclosure with the court in the county in which the property is located.

  • After filing, the bank must serve court papers, typically through the county sheriff.

  • In many counties, including Philadelphia, homeowners may be entitled to a Conciliation Conference and/or a temporary stay of the foreclosure proceeding. Delaware County offers a 30-day stay, Fayette County a 90-day stay, and many other counties have special diversion programs for homeowners to attempt to rectify their delinquent mortgages.

  • The homeowner will have 30 days to legally respond to the foreclosure with any objections or counterclaims.

  • After a court’s judgment in favor of the lender, the property can be listed for Sheriff’s Sale. The sheriff must give all occupants at least 30 days written notice, posted both on the property and in the county sheriff’s office.

  • If the property remains occupied after the Sheriff’s Sale, a complaint in ejectment must be filed. This civil action could end with a legal eviction served by the Sheriff.

  • Tenants residing in a foreclosed property must be given at least 90 days' notice, and in certain cases may remain until the end of their lease.

How long does the foreclosure process take in Pennsylvania?

The foreclosure process can take anywhere from several months to over a year, depending on the specific circumstances and any legal challenge to the foreclosure filing.

  • From the first missed payment, it takes 120 days before the bank can file a foreclosure.

  • From the date you receive an Act 91 notice of intent, the foreclosure can (and barring holidays or weekends usually will) be filed in 30 days.

  • After you have been served with the foreclosure complaint, you will have 30 days to respond to the court filing.

  • Contested foreclosures can take months, depending on the court’s schedule and how many motions are filed.

  • From the final judgment of the court, the Sheriff must give the residents 30 days notice of the sale date, and if they do not leave after the sale, the purchaser can then start eviction proceedings.

  • Tenants with a lease must be given at least 90 days notice, though it is possible they could be allowed to stay until the end of their lease.

  • Bringing the mortgage current within 30 days of being notified of the intent to foreclose will prevent a foreclosure from proceeding.

  • State and Federal programs, like PA’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance, will temporarily stop foreclosure until the program successfully brings the mortgage current or the homeowner fails to make a payment to the program.

  • Several Pennsylvania counties offer conciliation conferences and potential stays of foreclosure to bring the mortgage current.

  • Filing for bankruptcy will freeze the foreclosure (and any other debt-related lawsuits) from proceeding with a temporary stay.

  • Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can freeze the foreclosure and give you up to 5 years to get current on the mortgage while resuming your regular mortgage payments

  • FDIC Foreclosure Prevention Information – The FDIC is a government entity and created a great resource and “Foreclosure Prevention Toolkit”. If you’re in foreclosure check it out. Foreclosure Prevention Guide – The Urban Affairs Coalition has a great guide to walk you through the foreclosure process

New Jersey Foreclosure Procedures

Learn about the foreclosure process in New Jersey.

Mortgage Help for New Jersey Homeowners During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Eligible homeowners in New Jersey who've experienced financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic can get a piece of the $325 million allocated to the state from the federal Homeowner Assistance Fund—up to $35,000 per household—through the New Jersey Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (NJ ERMA) program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners pay mortgage payments and other housing-related expenses, like property taxes and homeowners' insurance.

Also, while the COVID-19 national emergency continues, homeowners with a federally backed mortgage loan, regardless of delinquency status, who're experiencing financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19, can get a forbearance.

In the State of New Jersey, if you fail to make your mortgage payments, the mortgage lender can foreclose on your property, but not without following certain specified procedures. New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state which means that if you default on your mortgage, the lender must go to court in order to repossess your home. (Some states use non-judicial foreclosures, which do not go through court.) The New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act provides the rules that lenders must follow before and during foreclosure.

To learn more about New Jersey's foreclosure process, read on.

When Does the Foreclosure Process Begin?

If you do not make your mortgage payments, you will be considered in default. In the past, the mortgage lender typically started the foreclosure process when you had missed three or more payments, but could initiate foreclosure proceedings after just one missed payment. Now, under federal law, in most cases, the lender can't officially begin the process by filing the foreclosure complaint until you're more than 120 days delinquent. (To learn more about federal mortgage servicing laws, see Federal Laws Protecting Homeowners: Foreclosure Protections.)

Under the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act, before your lender can file a foreclosure complaint against you, there are certain things it must do.

Notice of Intention to Foreclose

Prior to filing a complaint in foreclosure, the mortgage lender must send the homeowner, via registered or certified mail, the return receipt requested, a Notice of Intention to Foreclose. This is one of the most important protections that the Fair Foreclosure Act gives to homeowners. The lender must send the notice at least 30 days—but not more than 180 days—before filing a complaint. The notice notifies you that you are behind in your mortgage payments and gives you 30 days to cure the default. The law also requires that the following information be included in the notice:

A description of the lender's interest in the property. This includes notification that the lender has a mortgage on the property and the name and address of the lender and its representative if any.

The reason is that the lender is trying to foreclose on the property. For example, you have missed mortgage payments.

Information about your right to cure the default, and how to do so. Under the right to cure, if you pay the full amount owed, the mortgage lender must accept it and reinstate the mortgage. During this time, the lender cannot charge attorneys' fees or court costs.

A statement of how much you must pay to cure and the deadline to pay to avoid foreclosure. The lender must give you at least 30 days to pay.

An explanation as to what will happen if you do not cure the default.

A statement that you may stop the foreclosure process even after the filing of the foreclosure complaint.

A statement that you have the right to sell or transfer title to the property during the foreclosure process.

A statement advising you of the importance of contacting an attorney along with contact information for the county lawyer referral service and Legal Services.

A list of all available resources to help your cure the default along with contact information for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

The name and address of the lender and the telephone number of a representative of the lender whom you may contact if you disagree with the lender's assertion that a default has occurred or the correctness of the mortgage lender's calculation of the amount required to cure the default.

Information about New Jersey's foreclosure mediation program, which was made permanent in 2019.

The Lender Files the Foreclosure Complaint

If you are unable to cure the default on the mortgage and have not been able to come to an agreement with your mortgage lender within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Intent to Foreclose, the lender may then file a foreclosure complaint.

The lender files the complaint with the Office of Foreclosure, which is a part of the Superior Court of New Jersey. The Office of Foreclosure handles the foreclosure unless you file an answer to the complaint. In that situation, the foreclosure is sent to a judge in your county. The complaint must set forth all of the facts that would give the mortgage lender (called the plaintiff in the complaint) the legal right to foreclose.

The Lender Serves You With the Foreclosure Complaint

After filing the complaint, the lender must personally serve you with the summons and complaint. You will be called the defendant in the complaint. The lender may also send you a copy of the summons and complaint by regular and certified mail. If the lender is not able to personally serve you, it can request permission from the court to serve you by publication. This means that you will no longer receive notices directly. Instead, the lender will publish all notices in your local newspaper.

When you get the summons and complaint, you will again receive information about New Jersey's foreclosure mediation program. If you want to participate in the mediation program, you generally must make your request within 60 days of the date you received the complaint. If you do not request mediation within that 60-day time period, you will not be permitted to participate absent "exceptional circumstances." The mediation program does not stop the foreclosure process from continuing.

Look Out for Legal Changes

You can find New Jersey's foreclosure laws at N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A:50-1 to 2A:50-21, 2A:50-53 to 2A:50-63. Keep in mind that statutes change, so checking them is always a good idea. How courts and agencies interpret and apply the law can also change. And some rules can even vary within a state. These are just some of the reasons to consider consulting a lawyer if you're facing a foreclosure.

Filing an Answer to the Foreclosure Complaint

You have 35 days from the date you are served with the summons and complaint in which to file an Answer. An answer is the formal legal document that you prepare in response to the complaint. In your answer, you admit to the allegations in the complaint that are true and deny those allegations that you believe are false. You also set forth any defenses that you have to the foreclosure and state why you believe that the plaintiff does not have a valid case.

You must file your answer with the Office of Foreclosure which then reviews it to determine if it is a contesting or non-contesting answer. The type of answer you file will determine how your case will proceed.

If you file a contesting answer. If your answer opposes the foreclosure and sets forth valid defenses to the complaint, the Office of Foreclosure will transfer your case to the superior court in the county where the property is located and your case will be assigned to a judge. Once your case has been transferred, a trial date will be scheduled. At the trial, the lender will try to convince the court that it does have the legal right to foreclose. You, however, will try to convince the court that the mortgage lender does not have the right to foreclose on the property for the reasons you described in your answer. (To learn more about possible defenses to foreclosure, see Defenses to Foreclosure.)

If you file a non-contesting answer. If you admit to all of the lender's allegations, your case will not be transferred to a judge in your county.

Notice of Entry of Default and Entry of Final Judgment

In cases where no answer is filed, or if an answer is determined to be non-contested, the mortgage lender can ask the court for entry of default. The lender can do so after 35 days have elapsed since you received service of the summons and complaint. If you do not respond to the request for entry of default, the lender can then ask the court to enter final judgment.

However, 14 days prior to filing a request for entry of final judgment, the mortgage lender must send you a notice offering a final chance to cure the default. If it is possible for you to cure the default, you must respond via certified or registered mail, and return the receipt requested with a good faith estimate within ten days of your receipt of the notice. You will then be given 45 days from the date of the letter to cure the default.

If you are not able to cure the default, and the court grants final judgment to the mortgage lender, the court will issue a writ of execution ordering the sheriff to sell your house at a public auction. You will get a notice telling you when your home will be scheduled for sale.

Sheriff's Sale

When your home is scheduled for a sheriff's sale, you can request a two-week delay of the sale provided you pay a fee. The postponement is temporary only. If you want additional postponements of the sale, you must file a written request with the court. A Court order with a new date for the sale is required, even if the mortgage lender agrees to the postponement.

As of around mid-2019, New Jersey law requires the sheriff to conduct the foreclosure sale within 150 days, instead of within 120 days, of the sheriff's receipt of a writ of execution. Also under a 2019 law, the sheriff or other officer conducting a foreclosure sale may make up to five adjournments, two at the request of the lender, two at the request of the debtor, and one if both the lender and debtor agree to an adjournment.

Your Right to Redeem the Property

After your property is sold, you have 10 days to redeem (get back) the property. During this 10-day period, you can arrange to keep the property by refinancing or selling the property. (To get general information about the right to redeem, see Right of Redemption After Foreclosure: Getting Your Home Back.)

If the lender gets a deficiency judgment (see below), you get six months after the entry of the deficiency judgment to redeem. (Learn more about the right to redeem in New Jersey.)

Proceeds of the Sale & Deed Transfer

If you do not redeem the property within 10 days, the proceeds from the sale will be paid to the mortgage lender for the amount owed. if the property sells for more than the amount owed on the mortgage, the difference will be paid to you. If the house sells for less than that which is owed on the mortgage, the lender does have the right to sue you and get a judgment for the additional amount owed. This is called a deficiency judgment. (To learn more about deficiency judgments, see Deficiency Judgments: Will You Still Owe Money After the Foreclosure?)

The deed to the property will be transferred to the lender two weeks from the date of sale.

Talk to an Attorney

If you're facing a foreclosure in New Jersey and want information about different ways to fight the foreclosure in court or avoid foreclosure with a loss mitigation option, like a loan modification, consider talking to a local foreclosure attorney. A HUD-approved housing counselor is also an excellent resource for information about ways to avoid a foreclosure.

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