If you read an ad for these apartments on upscale Palmer Square, right in the heart of Princeton, you might think there was a typographical error. Under $900 a month to live within a short stroll of the library, the university, and dozens of stores and restaurants? Yes, it’s true. As of Friday, March 14, there were at least two apartments available on Palmer Square for that price. There are a couple of catches, but for a single person or a couple with a yen to live downtown, these apartments could offer one of the few ways to secure prime living space. Renters who want more room, or who prefer a location with more outdoor space, might want to check out two bedroom affordable apartments currently being rented at the Mews at Princeton Junction.

The Palmer Square apartments are renting for between $821.03 and $885.03, plus utilities, these are affordable apartments ranging in size from small to minuscule at 888 to 260 square feet, but you can’t beat the location.

Offered on a first come, first served basis, the apartments may be leased by now, but there is a way to get in line for other affordable rental apartments, and even to specify a particular location. These Palmer Square apartments, along with many others in New Jersey towns, including Franklin, Greenbrook, Bernards, and Hillsborough, are leased through the Somerset County Coalition on Affordable Housing (SCCOAH). The non-profit, which has relationships with a number of towns, offers services for those who want to rent affordable apartments and who want help in purchasing affordable houses.

Renters interested in the Princeton Junction apartments can contact the Mews at Princeton Junction directly at 609-520-1999 or at www.themewsatprincetonjunction.com. That complex now has one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, complete with patios, 9-foot ceilings, marble and ceramic tile upgrades, and maple cabinets available to qualified individuals and families.

The rent for a 1,184-square-foot apartment in the Mews ranges from $810 to $1,088. There are units available for both low income and moderate income families. Low income families must make between $32,818 and $41,023, depending on family size, to be eligible. Moderate income families can make between $52,000 and $65,637.

There are also a number of affordable housing options in Plainsboro. Applications are available from the Plainsboro Non Profit Housing Corporation at 609-786-1101. There are both purchase and rental units available in Plainsboro. Complexes in which affordable homes are located include the Villages at Princeton Crossing, Tamarron, the Millstone Apartments, and Wyndhurst at Plainsboro. Rents are as low as $604 for a one-bedroom unit in the Wyndhurst Apartments and go up to about $1,168 for a three-bedroom unit in that same complex. Income limits are as high as $74,240 for a family of four.

In the SCCOAH units, including those in Palmer Square, potential renters and home buyers need to be certified before the organization can match them up with apartments. In the case of renters, this involves meeting income limits, passing credit checks, and possibly criminal checks, and having a certain number of people in the household.

The bar is set at different heights in different towns, each of which can determine what constitutes "low income" and what constitutes "moderate income." In Princeton low income for a single person comes out to between $19,000 and $28,716. Meanwhile, moderate income for a single person is set at between $28,717 and $45,946. For a couple the moderate income range is $32,818 to $52,509.

Other standards are set by each individual landlord. Generally, a credit score of 650 or above is required, but that can vary. Sometimes a co-signer will be allowed to help a person with a lower score get into an apartment. Some landlords run a criminal check, while others don’t.

In most cases SCCOAH requires that there be two people – and not more than two people – per bedroom. In very small units, like those in Palmer Square, one person is eligible to rent. But a single person would not be able to rent a two-bedroom unit.

After potential tenants – or home buyers – are certified, SCCOAH will keep an eye out for units that fit each person or family in the area in which they want to live, and will contact certified people who have shown an interest. If more than one person wants a unit opening up, for example, on May 1 on Palmer Square, there will be a lottery to determine who gets it.

Demand generally exceeds supply.

People who want to buy an affordable unit must show that they are able to obtain a mortgage. SCCOAH helps with this, holding classes and offering counseling on the realities of home ownership, on how to establish good credit, and on nitty gritty subjects such as home inspections, home insurance, and the role of a real estate agent can play in finding a home. The non-profit even runs a program through which banks will match down payment savings by a ratio of 4-to-1. Contact SCCOAH at 908-541-5756 for more information.

Relocation Company on the Move

California-based Movers.com, an online site providing a cornucopia information related to moving, has been acquired by North Brunswick-based software company NGA Group. The deal is the latest acquisition for NGA, which has already merged with several relocation-oriented websites around the country, including USRelocation.com, HomeRenew.com, MovePlanner.com, and PackingMaterials.com.

Movers.com will retain its site and name, and anyone with even vague thoughts about relocating might want to bookmark it. The website is chock full of guides, checklists, and demographic information not only for households ready to call for a moving van, but also for those that are scoping out good places to raise a family, buy a second home, or retire. It contains guides on moving the family car, the family pets, and even the family plants. It has an entire section for do-it-yourself movers.

NGA CEO Vidyadhar Garapati said the acquisition of Movers.com will benefit his company by aligning it with a major player in the online relocation market.

NGA, which also works in technology consulting, portal development and maintenance, and database-driven web services, was established in 2003.

NGA Group Inc., 20 Timber Ridge Road, North Brunswick 08902; 732-719-4444. Vidyadhar Garapati, CEO. www.ngagroupinc.com.

Residential Deals

Princeton Township

660 Pretty Brook. Knuppel to Altmeyer. $1,500,000. Closing: December 5, 2007.

10 Castle Howard Court. Rea to Burrows. $1,300,000. Closing: December 14, 2007.

98 Olden Lane. Warner to Serieyssol. $1,200,000. Closing: January 7, 2008.

4 Meetinghouse Court. Maclaren to Guan. $1,080,000. Closing: December 18, 2007.

75 Hardy Drive. Gager to Woolf. $1,030,000. Closing: December 5, 2007.

179 Brookstone Drive. Babinowich to Bragg. $999,000. Closing: December 18, 2007.

12 Meetinghouse Court. Henderson to Henderson. $995,000. Closing: December 20, 2007.

19 Littlebrook Road North. Hammer to Angelone. $980,000. Closing: December 17, 2007.

206 Riverside Drive. Coutin to Anderson. $958,000. Closing: December 4, 2007.

84 Hardy Drive. Sauthoff to Josephson. $840,000. Closing: December 20, 2007.

52 Governors Lane. Highton to Marshall. $815,000. Closing: December 6, 2007.

32 Dempsey Drive. Savidge to Cohen. $775,000. Closing: December 27, 2007.

405 Terhune Road. Lutkowski to Sacks. $735,000. Closing: December 10, 2007.

111 Braeburn Drive. Green to Bhatt. $660,000. Closing: January 3, 2008.

262 Moore Street. Walk to Hedges. $625,500. Closing: January 4, 2008.

55 Broadripple Drive. Reiss to Burd. $620,000. Closing: December 13, 2007.

42 McComb Road. Glesk to Martin. $555,000. Closing: December 6, 2007.

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