Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

Berbergen county homesgen County Homes For Sale

Bergen County homes for sale is something I track as well as Bergen County closings.  It’s important to look at both as well as homes going under contract.   Timing is important too.

House sales for the first quarter of any year tell us more about the year before than anything else.  While everyone wants to know what’s sold, sales then come from contracts written months ago last year.  We want sold homes to show us this year’s real estate trends.  They can’t until we get to mid year.

March 1st had 1,993 homes for sale in the New Jersey MLS.  You’d expect a normal year to have at least 2,500 if not more.  2018 seems to be repeating 2017 because the number of active listings since January 1st is quite similar.  2018 has 3,170 while 2017 had 3,102 for a 2% increase.

It’s only been over the past 2 weeks that homes have begun to come on the market at a good rate.  This year has truly started slowly.  Projections showed that we’d start quietly and they were right.  Inventory is slowly building as the pace of homes coming on the market is accelerating.  The bottom line appears to be that 2018 is another year of low inventory but slightly better than 2017.

Bergen County County Homes Under Contract

While looking at sales now makes no sense it does make sense to look at under contract figures.  If you’ve been reading my blog articles then you know why.

Under contract homes show the strength and pace of the market.  The status of a home changes to under contract once Attorney Review is completed.  Although UC home sales can fall apart, they’re not volatile enough to be irrelevant.  They are current too.  Think about it.

A home usually is reported as under contract 2-3 weeks after an offer is accepted.  Sales are reported 2-3 months later.  I analyze sales by looking back to see when they went under contract.  Sometimes it’s so far back that it’s too old to be statistically significant.

992 homes went under contract last year while we have 1,043 this year for a 5% increase.  Look at how this plays out.  We have over double the number of homes under contract than are coming on the market.  This tells us a lot.  Demand is up and buyers are taking action.  They are getting off the fence.

The Bottom Line

The question is Why?  The answer is because of rate hikes, prices going up and the tax reform bill.  Jeff Otteau said that as we get closer to April people will better understand that the tax reform is a win for everyone.  Even people who can’t write off as much will win because tax reform is revitalizing the economy and bringing jobs back to the US.

Please understand that this was not a political statement.  It was his unbiased analysis of the tax reform bill.  He felt that the public has bbergen county homeseen misinformed by the media and the Administration’s opposition because they don’t understand it or have other agendas.  Because of this buyers would be wary early on and the market would stall in the early part of the year.  Read my January article on this written after I attended his tax seminar.

The bottom line for 2018 is that we are coming out of an expected stall in the market and are on our way to a more robust real estate market.  Bergen County homes are going to have another good year while inventory remains a challenge for home buyers.

You can search the inventory directly from the MLS through my website to see what’s out there.  If you have any questions, want to chat or make an appointment, just call or text me at 201-741-8490.  Comments are welcome too!

Posted by & filed under Buying, Homeowner Tips.

tax appealHow To Do A Tax Appeal

It’s tax appeal season.  How to do a tax appeal is what this article is about so let’s begin.

Every year from January 1st through March 31st Bergen County property owners can file an appeal of their property tax assessment.  You can only appeal the assessment; you can’t appeal the property tax.

Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessment by the tax rate.  It’s the assessment that a tax assessor gives a home which really counts.  Tax rates change every year.  Assessments stay the same for several years.

Understanding Assessments

Assessments change on a home for usually 3 reasons:

  1. A town wide re-assessment
  2. Improvements
  3. Tax appeal

When tax assessments get out of whack with market values, a town will do a revaluation of all property.  This is expensive so it doesn’t happen often.  Improvements raise assessments because the house is worth more with, for example, a new kitchen.  Successful tax appeals lower assessments.  As a result, an owner’s path to lower property taxes is by successfully appealing their home’s assessment.

Tax assessors try to make everyone’s tax burden fair when they assess a home.  They look at what homes are selling for and know the market well.  Towns hire companies to do town wide revaluations.  Assessors try to get inside every home but not all owners cooperate.  This can backfire because you can be over assessed.  Remember that if an assessor does not get inside assumptions are made that can hurt you.

The Rule of Thumb

The rule of thumb is you must prove that your current assessment should be reduced by 15% or more.  The burden of proof is on you; not on the tax assessor.  You need at least 3 but no more than 5 comparable sales which closed before October 1st of the prior year.  Appeals are filed with the Bergen County Board of Taxation in Hackensack.

The Bergen County Board of Taxation will mail you the required petition of appeal form.   Here is a tip for you about finding information on this site: Bergen County redid it’s website.  Because, in my opinion, they didn’t want to make it easy for a tax appeal, it’s not very clear.  You have to scroll halfway down the page to find the links for a tax appeal.

Once you do find the links and get the form, you have 2 options.  You can complete it and mail it in or deliver it directly to their Hackensack location.  Email and faxing isn’t allowed.  You must also give your local tax assessor a copy.  Here’s a tip:  Call them at 201-336-6300 if their site is overwhelmed and not responding.

Comparable sales should be near your property, have similar lot and structure size, age, style and condition.  It’s also a good idea to take pictures of your property and comparables used.  It’s essential that you know every property intimately well so you can present a detailed presentation and a suggested new value based on the evidence you cite.

While not impossible to do yourself, this is an involved process done at a public hearing.  Everything you need to know is on the Bergen County Board of Taxation website  You can also hire an attorney who specializes in tax appeals.

It’s tax appeal season and it ends on April 1st.  Do your hotax appealme work.  You must be able to prove that your assessed value should be 85% or less than it is now.  Good luck!

NOTE:   I wrote this article 3 years ago.  I’ve received several calls lately on tax appeals so it seemed right to update and re-publish it.

Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

a crown view townhouseA Crown View Townhouse

A Crown View townhouse is back on the market.  I just re-listed 1091 Smith Manor Blvd at Crown View in West Orange NJ.  This is a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath stand alone townhome with some nice custom touches.

The kitchen has a center island, the family room has a built in wet bar, the Master Bedroom has a gas fireplace and the 3rd bedroom closet has been turned into a home office carroll.

The Crown View Community

Crown View is a very unique condominium complex.  There is both an 8 story condo apartment building (179 units) and individual stand alone luxury townhomes (100 units).  It cradles a lake with walking/jogging trails alongside as well as having tennis courts and an outdoor pool.  There is a decidedly warm community feeling and the complex is pet friendly.  Access is by a 24/7 Concierge at it’s gated entry for this upscale condominium.

There’s a bit of history here too because it’s built on part of what was the Orange Quarry where bluestone was mined. a crown view townhouse The townhomes here are all stand alone so it’s really like having your own house with concierge services.  Exterior maintenance takes care of all grounds and snow removal includes shoveling your front steps and walk.

West Orange Values

Bergen County residents will be surprised to find that this townhouse is half or less of what it would cost there.  Property taxes are higher but that doesn’t make up for the cost difference.  I used to travel to West Orange in the 80’s and 90’s watching all of the condominium development that was going on then.  When I have buyers who want a townhouse but can’t afford northern New Jersey pricing, I take them for a ride here.

Taxes are higher in Essex County but prices are lower.  Because of this, values are better.  I sold this townhouse to the present owner while we were looking in Bergen County.  Explaining that their money would go further, we checked out the many developments off of Prospect Avenue.  There are several and some are gated communities like this one.  They were amazed at the difference.

The cost of a similar townhome in Bergen County at the time was nearly double.  Mortgage costs would have been $300,000 more or around $1,500 per month.  Taxes came to $300 more per month in West Orange.  This was a no brainer.

a crown view townhouseMoving On

My buyers worked in Madison and Rochelle Park.  Highway systems in New Jersey are so great that the commute to work for both was good.  As a result, they opted to buy at Crown View.   I am allowed to disclose that the only reason they are leaving is because one of them is now working in Philadelphia.  That’s not an easy commute.

Because of this a Crown View townhouse is back on the market.  Pricing is at $419,000.  Call me at 201-741-8490 if you’d like to take a look.  This is a great complex and a terrific townhome.  I love living in Bergen County because it has so much to offer.  It is sometimes better for you elsewhere.  I know how to guide you to where it’s best for you.  Get in touch with me when you’re ready.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

adopt a pet in bergen countyHealth Benefits of Owning A Pet

Adopt a pet in Bergen County and be prepared to fall in love.  There is nothing better than the unconditional love a pet gives to its owner.  Studies tell us that they significantly improve your health.

Pets decrease depression, anxiety and stress.  Additionally they improve your immunity and lower your blood pressure.  As a result they reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.  There is no doubt about this.  Having a pet has many emotional and physiological benefits.  Pet ownership is a big positive for humans.

While pets are very good for most of us, people with allergies become ill.  There are hypo allergenic animals however so even people with pet allergies can find one that works.  My niece is extremely allergic to dogs and cats.  However hedgehogs are not a problem.  As a result she is a very happy hedgehog owner.

6 Good Reasons to Adopt A Pet in Bergen County   adopt a pet in bergen county

  1. You’ll save a life
  2. Unconditional love
  3. It costs less
  4. Supports pet rescue organizations
  5. Fights puppy mills
  6. Improves your health

Unwanted animals are often killed in a matter of days in so called animal shelters throughout the US.  According to the ASPCA 1.5 million dogs and cats are killed every year in animal shelters.  I’ve read figures as high as 3 million from other organizations.  These are healthy animals who only needed a home.

Adopted pets know they’ve been saved.  They give you unconditional love and often being a bit older (not 10 week old babies) they are already house trained.  It’s also much cheaper than spending thousands on a pedigreed dog.  Pet rescues often help with vaccination and spay or neuter expenses too.

When you adopt an animal you support the animal shelter or pet rescue and fight puppy mills.  Buying a dog in a pet store is often supporting a puppy mill.  I said it above.  Pets are good for our health.

adopt a pet in bergen countyAnimal Rescues and Animal Shelters

Homeless animals need homes.  Bergen County has many pet rescue organizations and a County run animal shelter.  Here are links to several excellent Bergen County animal rescues:

Angels For Animals Network

Bergen County Animal Shelter

Bergen County Protect and Rescue Foundation


Halfway Hounds

Humane Society of Bergen County

Pet ResQ Inc

Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge

Save The Animals Rescue Team

adopt a dog in bergen countyAlways remember that adopting a pet is a long term responsibility.  You may want to discuss whether or not getting a pet is a good idea for you.  Even if it isn’t, you can still help out.  Pet rescues need money, volunteers and donations.  There are so many ways to help homeless pets. If you decide to adopt a pet in Bergen County I’m sure you’ll find the right one at any of these animal rescues.  Need more help?  Just get in touch with me.

Posted by & filed under Buying.

Fort Lee co-opWhat Is A Co-Op

Buying a Fort Lee co-op is different than buying real estate.  It helps if you understand what a co-op is.

Let’s start with defining real estate.  Real estate is real property.  It must be one of the following: a single family home, condominium, 1-4 family or land zoned for residential real estate.

A co-op is an enterprise.  It’s a corporation.  Because you’re buying part of a corporation, you’re buying shares of its stock.  That’s not real property.  Fort Lee co-ops are in the form of an apartment.  Think of it this way – an apartment building is turned into a corporation with each apartment worth so many shares of stock.

As a result, you are buying the space inside the walls.  You don’t own the building because the corporation (known as the Building Association) does.  When you close on a co-op unit you receive a proprietary lease.  If you buy real estate you get a deed.

Because a co-op unit is really shares of stock in the building, each owner pays their share of the building’s costs.  This includes, among other things, the mortgage and property taxes.

Buying A Fort Lee Co-Op

Buying a Fort Lee Co-Op involves getting the Building Association’s approval.  This is not publicly traded stock.  It’s a private association.  Because shareholders (apartment owners) are responsible for their portion of the mortgage and property taxes, qualifying to purchase is very different.  If an owner fails to pay their monthly maintenance fee they can throw the building into default.  As a result, Association requirements are rigorous.

A co-op buyer must, of course, qualify for a loan to buy the unit.  Additionally extensive financial disclosures are required plus an interview by Association members.  Typically you need at least a 25% down payment and prove a 4 to 1 ratio (income to all debt/expenses).  Sometimes cash buyers are granted a lower ratio of 3 to 1.  Each building sets its own rules and has its own entrance document package.

Positives and Negatives

Compare this to real estate.  You can buy a residential property with as little as 3.5% down and you need far less income than 4 times your expenses.  It’s also quicker to close on real estate.  You don’t have to wait for an Association Board to review your document package, schedule an interview and then let you know if you’ve been approved.

While this sounds negative, you don’t have the risk of condominiums.  Condominiums suffered terribly due to the Great Recession.  Many faced unpaid maintenance fees and high numbers of short sales and foreclosures.  This happened because it was so easy to get mortgages.  As a result, many people purchased condos as investment property or with dangerous levels of income to debt.  When the recession hit, they walked away from investment properties or stopped paying fees.  Inflated bubble prices crashed resulting in condos worth less than their purchase cost.

In order to keep a condo complex solvent, fees were raised and/or assessments made to make up the difference.  There was a lot of pain out there for some condo complexes.  Because of the rigorous qualify standards of co-ops, this rarely happened if at all.

Fort Lee Co-Ops

Fort Lee has more co-op buildings than anywhere else in Bergen County.  There are 16 high profile co-op buildings that immediately come to mind as well as a mini city of it’s own.  Additionally there are many smaller rental buildings and garden apartments that are now co-operative associations.

You’ll find most high profile Fort Lee buildings to be co-ops.  They have concierge doormen and monthly fees that include everything.  My experience is that they’re well run beautiful buildings with great personalized services.  They range from moderately expensive to high end.

While co-op maintenance fees are higher than what you’ll find in a condo, it makes sense.  Remember that your portion of a building’s taxes and mortgage are included.  As a result, you can write off part of the maintenance fee.  This is usually around 40%.  Co-ops, however, cost less than condos so your monthly nut is often nearly identical.

The view is everything too.  People come to these buildings for NYC skyline views, great services and the convenience of location.  However, western views can be gorgeous too as you can see the Ramapo Mountains.  They have been and remain a very popular choice for residential clients.

Because Fort Lee is where the George Washington Bridge meets New Jersey, commuting is a big deal.  Buses to New York City stop at these buildings so commuting is a breeze.  If you’re thinking of living a lifestyle of convenience on top of NYC consider a Fort Lee co-op purchase.  I can help you with this – call me if you’d like to investigate co-ops.  I think you’ll be impressed.


Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

Leonia NJTiny Leonia NJ Roars

Tiny Leonia roars back at out of town traffic by closing off their streets.  Saying they’ve had enough, the town Council passed a resolution aimed at out of town commuters.  It bars anyone but a resident  from driving through it’s side streets during rush hour daily.

The Problem

Driving to work here is no different than any other major metropolitan center.  Traffic backs up because there are simply more cars than highways can handle.

New York City contributes to this mess too because the George Washington Bridge connects traffic to the Cross Bronx Expressway.  That is possibly one of the worst city throughways you can find.  An accident on the Cross Bronx backs up traffic throughout the entire area.

Driving to work is a challenge in all of our major metropolitan areas.  So we are not unique here in Bergen County.  However, Bergen County is one of the most densely populated Counties.  We have fully developed towns made up of small streets.  Small side streets are no place for commuting traffic.  This is why tiny Leonia roared back.

Leonia’s Unique Position

Leonia is located on top of the GW Bridge.  I grew up at 159 Broad Ave in Leonia.  We moved to Leonia because it was so close to the GW – our house at the southern end of town was only 1.8 miles away.  There’s really no place in Leonia that’s more than 2 miles from the Bridge.  This plus it’s great school district and decidedly quaint, small town feel is why my parents loved the town.  It’s truly small at only 1.65 square miles and 9,195 people.

My workaholic Dad loved being so close to NYC.  He bought 159 Broad Ave in 1957 when towns didn’t plow snow on side streets.  Broad Avenue was the answer.  Because it is a major local thoroughfare, it was always plowed.

This was Nirvana for Dad.  He could barrel out of the driveway onto Broad Ave, drive to Fort Lee Road and up the hill to the GW Bridge entrance.  He was at the toll booths in 10 minutes.  Traffic in 1957 wasn’t anything like it is today.

Today it’s a mess.  1957 was so different.  We had farms here and acres of undeveloped land.  Bergen County is approaching 950,000 people now and farms are a thing of the past.

There is also the fact that US 95 – known here at the NJ Turnpike and it’s extension – pours traffic into the George Washington Bridge. Because none of our highways were designed for today’s needs, traffic is often backed up.

The town says that 12,000+ cars choke it’s streets at rush hours.  Dodging highway backups, commuters used Leonia’s  small side streets.  Residents couldn’t get out of their own driveways.  Police and Fire Departments warned about safety issues.  Side streets are not engineered to handle rush hour traffic.  Children walking to school are endangered.  Fire trucks and ambulances can’t get through clogged streets.

The Results

Residents have said that they’re happy about this and that their streets are back to normal.  Other residents have voiced concerns over the legality of it and potential cost of litigation.

I noticed a big increase in traffic during the day on Grand Avenue.  I have a friend who lives on Grand Avenue.  She is not happy at all.  I guess if you live on Grand, Broad or Ft Lee Road it’s gotten worse for you.  Residents on side streets once clogged with commuters must be celebrating.

It remains to be seen if this will stick.  An attorney who lives in nearby Edgewater has just initiated a lawsuit against the town about this (Edgewater sends it’s high school students to Leonia High School).  This might become bigger than anyone thinks.  Leonia can find itself facing class action lawsuits and Friend of the Court Briefs too.

I wonder, as a real estate agent, what effect this will have on the market.  Managing problems is a positive while putting a focus on problems is not good.  Highlighting the fact that Leonia has traffic issues can hurt.  Seeing signs saying you can’t drive up a street all over town can hurt. Although this is a solution it tells potential home buyers that there are congestion issues.

Another possible negative is how this affects local shopkeepers.  Commuters sometimes stop to get a bagel, coffee etc.  Blocking commuters might hurt local businesses.

Leonia retains terrific core qualities – it’s a wonderful small town with great schools and a fabulous commute.  Any location with such great attributes will always be in high demand.  The current situation might cause a short lag in the market.  Time will tell.

So far traffic problems in town have lessened.  Side streets are no longer clogged.  Most residents seem to be happy.  The nation is watching this experiment because small towns near major cities have the same issue.  Leonia NJ is most definitely leading the charge on this.  Leonia NJ roars is more than a cheer at a a football game.  It’s a solution by a tiny town to their traffic woes.






Posted by & filed under Renting.

townhouse for rent in Cliffside Park I just listed a townhouse for rent in Cliffside Park NJ for $3,400 per month.  This is a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath home with a 2 car attached garage.  This home has good space and nice custom detailing.

This townhouse is actually half of a duplex.  Fort Lee and Cliffside Park are popular locations for duplex homes.  As a result, you will find a lot of them here as well as in neighboring Palisades Park.  You can’t miss them if you drive through this area.

There is a strong demand for these side by side duplex houses.  As a result, builders are constantly constructing them.  What’s great about these townhouses is that they provide what a lot of people here want:  The space and feel of a single family home without the maintenance needs of a large yard.

Like my listing here many are new or newer construction too.  There are not many duplexes for rent in Cliffside Park now.  As a result, this is an opportunity if you are looking for a home for rent in Cliffside Park with space and modern features.

The living room is large with a gas fireplace and gorgeous inlaid wood floors.  There is a full sized formal dining room and you’ll find beautiful custom detailing throughout this area.

townhouse for rent in Cliffside ParkThe modern eat in kitchen has stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and wood cabinets.  Off the kitchen is a laundry room with storage cabinets.

Additionally there is a powder room for guests and a balcony deck for warmer months.  Consequently this is a great floor plan for relaxing, having fun or entertaining.

The Master Bedroom Suite is huge with a gorgeous Master Bath.  There’s also a large rec room downstairs with a full bath and door to the fenced yard.  Commuting to work is easy too.  You are steps away from NJ Transit buses to NYC and the shuttle to the ferry.  As a result, New York City commute couldn’t be easier.  townhouse for rent in Cliffside Park

Heat is multi zone gas hot water baseboard and there is separate central air.  For more information or to see this gorgeous townhouse for rent in Cliffside Park just call or text me at 201-741-8490.




Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

who is homes for sale in Bergen County2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Who is buying homes for sale in Bergen County?  You can find the answer in the National Association of Realtors annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The NAR has been publishing it’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers for 37 years now; this has become a very important and anticipated report.

It gives you a tremendous amount of information that’s both valuable and interesting.  Because you get a good insight into the market it is a big help for anyone buying or selling real estate.

Report Introduction

The report starts with these basic key points about buying a home:

  1. Buying a home is both a financial and an emotional decision
  2. The desire to own a home is the #1 reason why people move
  3. Lifestyle changes are other strong reasons
  4. Purchasing a home is often your biggest financial decision

These points are mostly well known but not everyone understands all the lifestyle reasons for moving.  Job changes fuel the relocation industry.  It’s a huge reason why people move but space and family changes are important reasons too.  I have many customers who need more room for growing families and others who want to downsize.  Families add babies or children leave changing your needs in housing too.  Because of all this the reasons people move are varied.  The #1 reason why people say they moved when they did is because they felt it was the right time.

Home Buyer Characteristics

Although the NAR report is for New Jersey, it applies to Bergen County too.  I did find some areas where my experience is different and I’ll call buying homes for sale in bergen countyyour attention to this. Here is a review of who is buying homes for sale in Bergen County –

First time home buyers make up 39% of the market and I’d certainly agree with that.  However, my experience has been that buyers are primarily 30-40 years old.  Entry level condos and coops attract younger buyers and the luxury market often sees 40-45 year old buyers.  Again, this is what I’ve seen over the years.  The NAR report has the average buyer age age at 50 which is puzzling at best to me.  It’s so inconsistent with what we see in Bergen County that I really thought it was a mistake.  Oh well.

Because we continue to have strong 1st time home buyer demand, the market is strong.  I’ve always said first time buyers are the first cog in the wheel that moves the real estate engine.  If you don’t have 1st time buyers, the market stalls out.

Let’s look at the breakdown of these buyers –

  • 56% married couples
  • 24% single females
  • 9% single males
  • 8% unmarried couples

Two major influences in what people buy are taking parents in and adult children staying at home or coming back.  As a result, multi generational housing is becoming more popular.  For example, a bi level style house lends itself well to adult children who can literally have their own apartment downstairs.  Ranches are great to have mom and day stay with you.  This is cheaper for many than sending them to assisted living.  Multi generational home buyers are now 13% of the market.

The report confirmed what my customers have told me.  For those who had the choice of a new or used home, those buying new homes wanted to avoid renovations and future problems while those buying used homes were focused on getting the best value.

How far do people move?  Within 15 miles.  That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?  It isn’t when you consider that from one end of Bergen County to another it’s roughly 20 miles.  15 miles isn’t as far as you’d think.

buying homes for sale in bergen countySingle family home buyers make up 75% of the market.  That makes sense because we have many condo and coop choices as well as 1-4 family homes.  Bergen County really answers every need.

More and more buyers use agents or builder’s agents to purchase.  Buyers see websites and their agent as the best source of information although websites score a bit higher than agents do on that score.  Photos are still #1 with them followed by detailed house information.  They spend 10-12 weeks looking online and with an agent and actually see 12 homes with their agent before making their decision.  Because buyers do so much online (92% search online for a home) they are more educated than buyers who came before them.  This is why they don’t spend months and months looking.  They’re more ready and they often go out to open houses for a while before getting serious.

I hope this gives you a better idea of who is buying homes for sale in Bergen County.  If you’d like a copy of the report on home buyers, just let me know and I’ll send it on to you.



Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

bergen county homes was hackedBergen County Homes Was Hacked

I have to admit that Bergen County Homes was hacked.  To be more specific, the hackers invaded this blog and created a large amount of problems.

They changed sentences in an article.  They inserted weird links and weird sentences that had nothing to do with the article’s subject.  In addition, this was done sporadically through the entire inventory of blog articles.

Because there was no rhyme or reason to how they did it, I had to check every blog article.  As a result, it took a few days and the help of my excellent webmaster, Sizzling Studios.

Hacked Examples For You

I bet you’re wondering what exactly happened.  Here’s some examples for you.  I wrote an article on how the real estate market was performing.  The hacker inserted a sentence in the middle of a paragraph about paint with a link to a paint store in New Mexico.  Sometimes they added to a sentence to an article that made no sense whatsoever and had a very weird appearing link.  Additionally they would change a sentence or paragraph into something that was very rude or negative.bergen county homes was hacked

I was very lucky, however, because nothing off color was involved.  That can happen too.  Although what they did might seem trivial to you, it’s really not.  Because of this anyone reading my blog would find it unprofessional at best or worry that it was sending them a virus.  Clients expecting to hear from me didn’t because I was afraid to do anything until this mess was fixed.  There is also the amount of time it took to get this fixed.  As a result, this was quite an unhappy situation.

Protecting Bergen County Homes & My Internet Ability

My Bergen County Homes website – – was created at the end of 1994 and officially launched in January bergen county homes was hacked1995.  That is 23 years without any trouble like this.  It could be that I took things too lightly.  Because I did, I have not changed my password for a long time and that’s the problem.

They hacked my site and got into my blog because they somehow got my password.  For sophisticated hackers this is not all that hard to do.  It is really a lack of concern on my part that made me vulnerable.  When I teach real estate agents and other people about technology, I always emphasize the need to change passwords regularly.  Oh well.

Because we all use the internet extensively we are more and more vulnerable.  We do so much needing so many passwords that it simply becomes overwhelming.  This is where a password manager comes in.  It solves the problem because it makes changing passwords regularly easy.  As a result, I am currently investigating this and plan to get one within the next 24 hours.  Consumer Reports has a terrific article on password managers by the way.

So if you went to my Bergen County Homes website or my blog and saw something weird, you have my apologies.  Use my unhappy experience as a kind warning and change all your passwords today.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

shop till you drop in paramus njShop Till You Drop in Paramus NJ

Shop till you drop in Paramus NJ is more than a slogan.  Bergen County is famous for its concentration of shopping malls located on Route 17 and Route 4 in Paramus.  There are so many malls here that Paramus has more mall space per capita than anywhere else in the US.  Because shopping malls have defined this area, it is being watched closely by the retail industry as brick and mortar stores struggle to survive online competition from Amazon to their own websites.

Bergen County’s 5 Major Shopping Malls

Although Paramus has 4 major malls, there is a 5th right on it’s border – Riverside Square.  While actually in Hackensack none of the shoppers going there know it.  Everyone considers the Shops at Riverside to be the first major shopping center as you travel west on Route 4.

Right on Route 4 you’ll find the very upscale Shops at Riverside and the discount mall Bergen Town Center .

shop till you drop in paramus nj

A minute or two west at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 17 is the Garden State Plaza which is one of the largest shopping malls in the New York metro area.  Further up Route 17 is the Fashion Center and the Paramus Park Mall and connecting all of these are countless other smalls.

New Jersey does not tax clothing so on any weekend you’ll see a large number of cars with New York license plates.  However Paramus enforces it’s blue laws which means no retail shopping on Sundays.  Still Bergen County’s demographics as one of the most affluent areas in the US is a strong support system for mall shopping and it’s a big part of our culture here too.  You can shop, go out to dinner and take in a movie all in one mall.

The Future Remains Bright

Online competition is having an effect but the news is good.  Saks Fifth Avenue left a few years ago but has been replaced by a very popular upscale dine in movie theater at Riverside.  The Garden State Plaza added a AMC 16 movie theater many years ago and has been increasing the number of restaurant offerings.  When large stores close it seems that in Paramus, at least so far, creative solutions or other successful chains have dropped in.  For example, Fairway came to the Fashion Center.  This is a highly successful gourmet supermarket.  Sears closed at Paramus Park and will become a huge Stew Leonard’s.

Because of the effect of online shopping on retail stores, Paramus is re-zoning to allow residential construction at a mall location.  As a result, Paramus will remain a shopping center while incorporating other uses

shop till you drop in paramus nj

Local Shopping

In addition to the major malls and countless others on the Paramus highways you have other options too.  Major local shopping centers with national brands exist in robust local town business districts.  Englewood has a bustling downtown with high end boutiques, Starbucks, numerous excellent restaurants, the Bergen County Performing Arts Center and more.  Ridgewood has the most extensive business district in Bergen County that is peppered with 4 star restaurants, national chain stores like The Gap and Chicos as well as multi generational retail establishments.  Westwood is smaller but boasts stores that are into 3rd generation owners as well as national chains, a true 5 & Dime plus some excellent restaurants.  Westwood also has one of the best camera stores in the NYC metro area – Bergen County Camera.

Paramus remains the epicenter of shopping however.  If you need to “shop till you drop” Bergen County has will make you smile!