Is 2019 A Good Time to Buy a Home?

Scenario: you know exactly what type of home you want to live in, you know what city or town it’s in, and you even know how you’re going to buy it. This is all great! But what about the “when?” As in, when is the right time to buy? Your own personal financial situation is, of course, a substantial factor, but real estate prices, interest rates, and the time of year are just some of the key factors to consider in the homebuying process. If you want to get the best deal possible—which, of course you do—the “when” is an essential part of the equation.

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The ideal arrangement would be if you were able to buy the home you want, for the price you want, at the exact time that’s most convenient for you, when interest rates are at their lowest and your cash flow is at its peak. If the stars align for you and that becomes your reality, you’ve got yourself quite a cozy situation! More often, the case is that you must take stock of all these variables and prioritize them according to your needs, wants, and means.

Is the price right?

Home inventory is historically the highest from spring into summer. One significant factor contributing to this outcome is that families with school-age children want to get settled before school starts back up again around Labor Day. This type of saturation can drive sellers to price their homes more competitively. On the other hand, shopping around during the off-season can also give you the upper hand. December, November and January are the months with the least inventory, respectively. If a seller has listed their home during this time frame, it’s very possible it’s because they don’t have a choice in the matter, in which case they may be more willing to negotiate.

Quick tip: If you’re in the market for a home, make sure you know what you can afford before you start looking. Get a handle on this in the early stages of research by using NVE’s calculator, designed specifically to help you determine how much mortgage you might qualify for.

Is there ample inventory?’s Entry-Level Market Report found that entry-level inventory rose 4.1% this year, meaning buyers can expect to see an increase in inventory. According to a statement from General Manager, Justin LaJoie, “Potential buyers who tested the waters in recent years should have an easier time now, which should be especially good news for anyone who made an offer but lost their bid for a home. First-time buyers can give themselves an extra boost by being well-informed, prepared buyers. And the work they do – contacting more agents, doing more research and visiting open houses – should pay off this year.” Being well-informed and prepared is great advice for anyone in the real estate market, if you ask us!

What do interest rates look like?

Mortgage interest rates fluctuate constantly, so this is something you really need to keep a close eye on. It’s also important to compare rates to make sure you’re aware of your options. The rates offered to a borrower are based on various factors such as debt ratio, credit score, or how much of a down payment you can afford. All lenders have differing methods and models for assessing a borrower’s risk/reward ratio. Because community banks have more flexibility in terms of setting guidelines when it comes to mortgage interest rates, we are are often in a better position than big banks to provide borrowers with more options.

Ask your lender about a rate lock, which guarantees a certain rate, at a certain price, usually (but not always) for a term of 30, 45 or 60 days. If your loan doesn’t process within the allocated window, you’ll lose the rate lock, so timing is everything. Working with professionals you trust to guide you through this process goes a long way! NVE’s mortgage specialists will work with you every step of the way to help make the whole process smooth and hassle-free. We offer a full range of flexible mortgage products to meet your lifestyle needs. Call today at 201-816-2800, ext. 1233, or apply online at

Is it time to stop renting?

The notion that owning a home is more cost-effective than renting is widely accepted, particularly in New Jersey, which has the fifth-highest rent prices of any state in the nation, according to Census data. But how long does it actually take for buying a home to cost less than renting? Zillow looked at the cost of renting vs. owning in New Jersey and created this tool that allows anyone (that means you!) to find the answer to this question in almost any town in New Jersey.

Calculators like this should be used as one of many research tools, along with the help of trusted professionals. NVE offers a suite of convenient and helpful online mortgage tools, including four Home Financing Calculators, which can help you answer important questions such as:

Should I Refinance?

Should I Rent or Buy? 

How Much Will I Save By Increasing My Mortgage Payment?

How Much Mortgage Might I Qualify For?

You’ll also find 11 more calculators that address a range of personal financing, investment, and retirement topics.

Working with a mortgage specialist who knows the area you’re looking in makes things easier, faster and better. With headquarters in Englewood and branches throughout Bergen County, the mortgage professionals at NVE are also your neighbors. That means our customers have access to experts who can provide service quickly, efficiently, and with a local point of view.

Learn more by speaking with an NVE Lending Specialist! Call 201-816-2800, ext. 1230, email us for more information at, or apply for a mortgage on our website.



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What style of architecture once dominated Bergen County?

What style of architecture once dominated Bergen County?

A. Cape Cod

B. Dutch Colonial

C. Ranch-Style

D. Bi-Level

If you think the answer is Dutch Colonial, you know your stuff!

Like New York City and the Hudson Valley, Bergen County was settled by Dutch farmers. The earliest houses in Bergen County were made of wood, but they did not last, and Dutch Colonial homes—mostly known as sandstone—replaced them. According to the Bergen County Historical Society, today, 192 of those Bergen-Dutch Sandstone Houses are listed in a thematic nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The Steuben House at Historic New Bridge Landing is one of the earliest and largest, c.1752.

The Steuben House at Historic New Bridge Landing in River Edge, New Jersey [Photo credit: Bergen County Historical Society]

Today, the homes throughout Bergen County reflect almost every style of architecture imaginable! And some of them are for sale. If you’re in the market, make sure you know what you can afford before you start looking! You want to work with a mortgage specialist who knows the towns you’re looking in; with headquarters in Englewood and branches throughout Bergen County, you’ll find that person at NVE Bank.

When you’re ready, here’s what we can offer you

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Which Home Renovation Offers the Best Return on Investment in 2019?

Which of these home renovations tops the list of projects that will get you the best return on investment in 2019?

  1. Master Suite Addition
  2. Swimming Pool Installation
  3. Garage Door Upgrade
Hands Framing House Drawing and Photo Combination on White.

If you guessed, “C,” good for you! A new, upscale garage door is not only functional, but it also contributes to your home’s curb appeal. And as far as upgrades go, this one is relatively affordable! According to REMODELING magazine’s 32nd annual Cost vs. Value Report, ditching the standard 16′ by 7′ garage door and replacing it with an antique-style, four-section door with decorative handles and top panel windows can yield a 97.5% payback. In dollars, the report estimates a new $3,611 garage door — which is likely energy efficient, with foam insulation and thermal seals on the window — will yield a $3,520 return.

Need a hand? NVE is here to help with a flexible home equity line of credit or fixed rate home equity loan.


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How Many Acres Make Up Bergen County’s Park System?

A. 4,000+ acres

B. 6,000+ acres

C. 7,000+ acres

D. 9,000+ acres

Ramapo Valley County Reservation, Bergen County’s largest park area. (Photo credit:

Answer: D – The Bergen County park system is comprised of more than 9,000 acres.

That’s a lot of green! Finding the mortgage that’s a fit for you isn’t always a walk in the park, but NVE has been helping people secure mortgages in Bergen County since 1887.

Click here for a full lineup of our mortgage products, helpful tools and more!

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Six Fun Ways to Save As a Family

Teaching children about the importance of good money management can and should start at a young age. “Talking about family saving goals helps children understand that putting money aside for the future – whether to be prepared for unexpected expenses, for short-term goals such as summer vacation, or for longer-term goals such as paying for college – is important to you,” according to Elizabeth Kiss, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at Kansas State University. “They will also likely be interested in knowing how they can help. They may even want to set their own savings goals and be motivated to work toward achieving them!” This is one of many reasons saving as a family can be a productive and enjoyable exercise.

As we celebrate America Saves Week — an annual program designed to encourage and support Americans to save effectively — we’d like to share six ways you can save as a family while having fun, from personal finance website Wise Bread’sJanet Alvarez.

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Meeting financial goals as a family can be challenging. But inspiring your family to help and contribute to a financial goal doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially when the result is an exciting family vacation, a new family car, or college savings. In the spirit of America Saves Week, I’ll share some ideas on how to save as a family for all those items and bucket-list experiences.


Gamify It!

In my family, we often make a game of who contributes to a joint family pot for that month’s fun activity. A game of monopoly can turn into a real contest, as anyone who loses is asked to contribute a small amount to that month or week’s activity of choice (such as a meal out, or family movie). Of course, contributions should be proportional to earnings – teens might contribute $5 from their part-time job or allowance, while adults would be expected to contribute much more. Still, the spirit of the game is focused on sharing and enjoying together – and because everyone has a stake, we enjoy it all so much more.

Making Money Can Be Fun

Every year around the holidays, my entire extended family likes to take a vacation somewhere warm, so we start planning and saving a year in advance. By each contributing to the holiday vacation fund, our money goes much farther, and we’re often able to visit really cool places we might’ve not otherwise afforded. Of course, if we can easily afford to contribute our share, we do so, but when money is tight, we find fun ways to raise cash for our share of the contributions. Last year, for example, some of my cousins hosted a bake sale. Others sold items they’d knitted, art they’d produced, and so forth. All of the proceeds went straight into the family vacation fund.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

A family garage sale can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to raise extra cash for shared activities or purchases. If your family wants a new flat-screen TV, game console, or other piece of technology or furniture, why not start by selling what you already have and don’t need? A traditional garage sale is one good way to raise cash, as is selling unused items online (this tends to be the better option for selling electronics and gadgets).

Match It!

Often, children’s only way to save is to use their holiday or birthday gift money. It can be challenging for kids to save money they so badly want to spend and enjoy immediately, so it’s important to offer incentives for doing so. One idea is to match dollar for dollar every bit of money they save from their gifts. That ensures kids get the immediate gratification of knowing their saved gift money is being doubled, but also enables them to feel empowered by having chosen to save and contribute to family goals.

The Envelope Method

When saving for multiple goals, the envelope method is an excellent way of keeping all the monies separate for their intended uses. Simply mark each envelope with a stated goal, and contribute regularly to each until the goal amount is met. For small children, it can be rewarding to contribute to smaller family goals, such as ice cream or a movie rental. A $10 or $15 goal can mean a $1 or $2 monthly contribution from their allowance. This helps children learn the value of saving, and builds confidence in their ability to do so.

Your Bank Can Help

Your local financial institution can be an excellent resource for helping your family save together. From traditional savings accounts or CDs to holiday savings accounts, your bank can help you select a financial product that can help your family in reaching its shared goals faster. For larger goals, in particular, a shared family account can be an excellent resource for keeping your family on track to realizing your financial wishes.

Happy saving!

Janet Alvarez is the news anchor for WHYY/NPR and the Executive Editor of Wise Bread, an award-winning publication focused on promoting financial literacy.

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For more information on tools to help you save or how to get started with putting a saving plan in motion, visit our website. You can also stop by your convenient Bergen County neighborhood branch, or call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265).


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A Review of 2018 at NVE Bank

How many local businesses do you know of that have been around for more than a century? With more than 131 years under our belt, NVE Bank is proud to count ourselves among them. It is our pleasure to serve as a leading community mutual bank for people throughout northern New Jersey. We do this not only through offering excellent banking products and services, but by volunteering with and otherwise supporting regional organizations in myriad ways to help strengthen our communities. One of our favorite parts about starting the New Year is looking back at what we accomplished in the “old year.” Here are some highlights!


NVE Bank’s roots are steeped in supporting our communities. This comes in many forms, and frequently centers on philanthropic endeavors, such as the following:

National Rebuilding Day

At NVE Bank, we put a lot of people in their dream homes with our residential mortgage products and services. But some of our neighbors are in need of a different kind of service when it comes to their homes. That’s why, every April, the NVE team marks our calendar for National Reuilding Month. By sponsoring a local project in support of Rebuilding Together North Jersey’s (RTBC) National Rebuilding Day program, we help provide much needed, and sometimes critical and life-saving repairs, for vulnerable families in our communities. In April 2018, NVE employees volunteered to assist in renovations to a single-family home in Cresskill, New Jersey. Renovations included painting, landscaping and general home repairs.

The work done by Rebuilding Together volunteers is at no cost to the recipient families and monies for materials are raised through sponsorships, donations, and in-kind gifts. To that end, NVE happily presented RTBC with a $7,500 donation to assist with their mission.

Food Drives and Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution

As a community bank, NVE has a hyperlocal focus, allowing us to devlop meaningful, long-term partnerships with various organizations that serve the same areas we do — St. Cecilia’s Office of Concern Food Pantry is one example. We host several annual food drives to benefit local families in need on behalf of the organization. The Pantry supplies weekly groceries to more than 890 families in Englewood and surrounding communities; 500 of those families pick up food weekly. We are fortunate to have staff, customers and other neighbors whose generosity enables NVE to consistently make substantial donations to support their programs. Our 2018 Cereal and Thanksgiving Food Drives garnered many bags of food for the Pantry. NVE staff members also volunteered in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, helping to distribute hundreds of turkeys to families in need.

In June, NVE also made a $1,000 donation to fund the Office of Concern Food Pantry’s Product Protection initiative. The donation covered the cost of purchasing durable storage containers to ensure that the food products collected through donations are adequately stored and protected against heat and moisture. You can learn more about the Office of Concern Food Pantry in our recent blog post, where we interviewed John Nolan and George McKenna, who oversee the operation.


A big, exciting change that came in 2018 was the rollout of our improved website, which showcases a new layout, enhanced functionality and new user-friendly tools. One of the more notable features the redesign included was the conversion to a new domain; the URL now ends with “.bank” instead of “.com”. This verified banking domain, created by security and banking experts, has a higher level of mandated security than any other commercially available domain. Our customers’ security has always been, and will always be our priority, and in an era of increasing cybersecurity threats, these enhanced security features create a safer space than ever before. Visit the website at and read about all the updates and features here: NVE Bank Rolls Out New Website.


It’s never too early to help children learn about saving and managing money!

iPiggiBank Financial Literacy Program

In 2017, NVE embarked on an exciting partnership with iPiggiBank, sponsoring their Financial Literacy Class, Money Management 4 Kids, an innovative, eight-week educational program. NVE was delighted to return as a sponsor in 2018, supporting classes delivered to third-graders attending the Bergen Family Center after school enrichment program at the Dr. John Grieco Elementary School in Englewood. NVE made a $3,000 donation to fund the program.

Teach Children To Save

NVE Bank continued our support of the American Bankers Association Foundation’s “Teach Children to Save” program at schools throughout North Jersey in April 2018. Teach Children to Save Day was celebrated April 20, but volunteers from all our branches dedicated time to educating Bergen County students about good savings habits all month long. Our program included visits to The Right Start Learning Center in Teaneck, Englewood on the Palisades Charter School, the Hillside School in Closter, and Smith Elementary School in Tenafly. Since this program began in 1997, over 125,000 bankers have taught savings to more than five million students! 

11th Annual Scholarship Program

NVE Bank awarded $1,000 Scholarships to 10 area high school seniors at a reception hosted by the bank at its Englewood headquarters on June 19. The scholarships are part of a program that has been offered by the Bank for the past eleven years, and extends to area middle schools, where seven graduating eighth-grade students were selected to receive $500 Savings Product Scholarships. Since the inception of the program, NVE Bank has awarded more than $165,000 to deserving scholars in Bergen County. 

High School recipients included:

Haemi Lee – Leonia High School

Olivia Sher – Cresskill High School

Alyssa Mehl – Pascack Valley High School

Serena McKeon – Northern Valley Regional High School

Soo Hyum – Academies at Englewood

Candis Balkaran – Dwight Morrow High School

Chelse Salnave – Bergenfield High School

Jessica Perrone – New Milford High School

Patrick Williams – Teaneck High School

Miguel Angel Rosales Morales – Tenafly High School.

Middle School recipients included:

Robert Keating – Benjamin Franklin Middle School

Hannah Kim – Cresskill Middle School

Layla Williams – Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Nobonita Dimitra – Janis Dismus Middle School

Xavier Thompson – Leonia Middle School

Alyssa Fuld – David Owens Middle School

Marcelino Morales – Roy Brown Middle School.


Financial literacy is crucial, but providing children with arts education is important, too. NVE Bank partnered with Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) to bring live performing arts programs to schools in Bergen County throughout 2018. Through the organization’s “Arts in Education” program, NVE sponsored assembly programs in Englewood, Tenafly, Leonia, Teaneck, Cresskill, Bogota, Bergenfield, New Milford, Westwood and Closter. The programs offer students the opportunity to interact with live performers, learn about issues that impact youth today, and experience live theater in the comfort of their own school!


As a community bank, we have a people-first philosophy, which includes our staff. We’re always happy to see the NVE family grow, which it did towards the end of 2018 when several new team members arrived. They’ve already made an impact and we couldn’t be happier to have them on board!

Top left – right:   Matthew Isola, AVP/Commercial Loan Officer; Jermaine Watson, Universal Banker; Elaine McGee, VP/Residential & Consumer Lending.
Bottom left – right:  Brian Uhlfelder, Tenafly Branch Manager; Jonathan Bender, AVP/Senior Credit Analyst; Allison Larro, Branch Manager Palisades Avenue.

Here’s to a great 2018 and an even better 2019!

NVE Bank hosts and participates in various community service, fundraising and awareness events throughout the year. To learn more about these programs, or NVE Bank’s banking products and services, visit our website, stop by one of our convenient neighborhood branches in Bergen County, or call 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) to speak with a branch associate.

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Bergen County Spotlight on: Giving Back to our Communities

If you ask anyone familiar with Bergen County what they think the local poverty rate is, their guess would probably be “pretty low,” and relative to many other areas, they’d be right. But, a recent United Way study, called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), revealed that 36.6% of Bergen County homes are ALICE households — meaning above the federal poverty level but still struggling to make ends meet. In fact, an estimated 41 percent of all Garden State households are considered among the “working poor.” This is defined as struggling to afford necessities like food, healthcare, transportation, and housing. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of families right here in our backyard who are struggling even more. This is where our friends at The Office of Concern Food Pantry come in, and have been for nearly 40 years.

The outpouring of people helping others in need is one of the beautiful things about the holidays, but the dedicated volunteers at the Office of Concern do it year-round. NVE Bank has enjoyed working closely with this remarkable organization since 2013, doing what we can to help support their mission. We were delighted to sit down with John Nolan and George McKenna, who oversee the operation, to learn more about what they do, and how we can all help.

What is The Office of Concern Food Pantry’s mission?

Since 1980, the Office of Concern Food Pantry — now the largest single location food pantry in Bergen County and one of the largest pantries in New Jersey — has been supplying needy families in our area. Previously, we concentrated on the weekly distribution of non-perishable food items. More recently, we added lean meat and dairy, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables to increase nutritional quality; this effort is called “Nutrition Plus.” The “Health and Hygiene” program strives to improve family health by supplying hygiene items to all families. The “Diaper” program provides diapers to help families with infants under the age of three. The program also helps the family budget by defraying some of the expense of buying diapers.


Who are the clients the Pantry serves?

If anyone comes to our door and says they need food, we will give them an emergency package of food. In order to come to the pantry once a week, they must register with us and have family income at or below the federal poverty guidelines for this geographic area.

Do you find people are surprised to learn there are people in need at this level, right here in Bergen County?

Yes, and when they hear we have more than 890 families registered with us and that more than 500 of them are coming in each week to pick up food, they are even more surprised.

What is the biggest challenge the Pantry faces?

We are very fortunate in that we operate with over 50 volunteers (we only have three part-time employees), and our volunteer structure allows us to use available funds to buy food to distribute each week. But without question, our biggest challenge is the need for ongoing fundraising. We now distribute about five tons of groceries, hygiene items and diapers per week.

How has NVE Bank helped The Pantry to accomplish its mission over the years?

NVE Bank has been a wonderful supporter of our organization. Every fall, NVE supplies us with groceries collected from customers at all the branches. The Bank’s staff members have provided assistance in a variety of ways including personally helping us distribute turkeys at Thanksgiving. The financial assistance NVE provided to enable us to replace a van that was falling apart with a new one was also greatly appreciated. On top of that, the Bank recently funded the purchase of many large plastic containers to protect and organize food products in our warehouse!



What is your biggest fundraising or community initiative that takes place each year?

The Thanksgiving and Christmas season is the busiest time of the year in fundraising, as well as soliciting groceries and turkeys. We are blessed this year with particularly generous donations.

What would you most like people to know about the work The Pantry does?

Since 1980, the Office of Concern Food Pantry has been dedicated to serving the poor in our local area. We aim to supplement their food and other basic needs of daily life. We give to all, regardless of religion, race, or culture. Our families include the working poor, the unemployed, retired seniors, and those struggling to feed babies and small children. 

What are some of the ways people can help support the Pantry’s efforts? 

Monetary donations are always welcome and we also appreciate donations of non-perishable items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, toilet paper and diapers.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Only that we take pains to respect the dignity of the families who come to our door each week. In turn, they have responded with gratitude and affection. There is a familial atmosphere in our office.

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The Office of Concern Food Pantry, located in Englewood, New Jersey, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization sponsored by St. Cecilia’s church, but is independent functionally and financially. To donate, or learn more about volunteering and other ways to help call 201.568.1465 or visit

NVE Bank hosts and participates in various community service, fundraising and awareness events throughout the year. Get all the latest news, information and pictures on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. To learn more about NVE Bank’s products and services, visit our website, stop by one of our convenient neighborhood branches in Bergen County, or call 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) to speak with a branch associate.


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