Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Staten Island Leads the Way

I just came across an article from the National Association of Homebuilder's announcing that Toll Brother's now has a Mortgage Protection Plan. Essentially, the plan aims to reassure prospective buyers who are unsettled by the current economic downturn and rising unemployment by providing its home buyers with greater financial security by paying their mortgage in the event of a job loss. The program is provided at no cost to Toll Brothers’ home buyers provided that they finance their new home through Toll Brothers' mortgage company and covers up to $2,500 in monthly mortgage payments for six months if the new home owner suffers a job loss within the first two years after closing on their home.

However, what I found interesting was the fact that while we think of Staten Island as a borough that just follows national trends and ideas, this is an instance where Staten Island beat the big boys to the punch. The program that Toll Brothers is offering has already been in place here on Staten Island at The Estates at Opal Ridge at least a week if not more before Toll Brother's launched their program.

I called up the sales center, and the guy who picked up the phone told me to come in to learn more about the program. While I didn't have time to do that, I did manage to get out of him that they have had a great response to the program, that they have actually expanded the coverage to up to $5,000 and that unlike Toll they don't require you get a mortgage from their own company.

I think it is pretty awesome to see Staten Island leading the way in real estate, rather than just going with the flow. Admittedly, this was not a huge scoop, but still it is encouraging that this kind of innovative thinking is happening here. I think its the kind of thing that the market needs to convince people that its safe to buy a home.

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