Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

Northern Valley Earth FairThe Northern Valley Earth Fair is this weekend.  It’s going to be an amazing event.

Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Norwood, Old Tappan and Tenafly worked together to create what is one of the most popular local fairs of the year.

The Northern Valley Earth Fair is really a festival.  It’s both a learning experience and fun filled day.   From youngsters to seniors, there’s something for everyone.  Because of it’s wide appeal, turnout is great.

The focus of this festival is learning about and appreciating the environment.  This is accomplished in entertaining ways.

Children enjoy a live animal petting zoo.  There’s a car show made up of green and hybrid cars.  You can learn how to become a bee keeper.  A walk along the Tenakill Brook teaches how to check the health of a stream. Owls and butterflies get up front and close to you.

There many more fun exhibits and activities that are also educational.  One item that really caught my eye is the soil sample test.

Bring a soil sample from home because you can get it tested for lead for free.  This is something you don’t normally think of.  Let alone know about.

Live music is on hand all day too and it’s quite varied – local high school bands playing jazz and contemporary tunes, West African, Indian, Classic Country, the best of the American Songbook and more.

Food comes from some notable local restaurants as well as a few further out.  All of it is delicious and there’s quite a selection from fresh made pizza to smoked barbecue.

Northern Valley Earth FairThe Northern Valley Earth Fair keeps growing every year.  It adds more exhibits, activities and has increasingly welcomed crafts.  As a family fun day it can’t be beat but singles have a great time too.  It’s simply a fabulous day out and you’ll learn so much.  As a result, you’ll come away with a greater appreciation for our local environment as well as the entire earth.

This year Closter is hosting The Northern Valley Earth Fair.  It’s this Saturday, April 22nd,  from 11 to 4 at the Tenakill Middle School located at 275 High Street.  You really won’t want to miss it.

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

town-wide garage saleThe town-wide garage sale in Teaneck NJ is happening this weekend.  Are you ready to find some great bargains?

If you own a Teaneck home or are a Township resident, there’s still time to sign up and join in.  The cut off date for signing up is this Wednesday at 5 pm.

The garage sale dates are 8 am through 6 pm otown-wide garage salen both Saturday, April 22nd, and Sunday, April 23rd.  If it’s rained out, the rain date is the following weekend on April 29 and April 30th.

The entire Township of Teaneck becomes one huge town-wide garage sale.  There are so many to choose from – right now there are over 40.  This has become one of the most popular local events of the year because it’s a win-win for everyone.

Residents sell items they would otherwise toss out and shoppers get some incredible bargains.  It’s a lot of fun for everyone.  Since this is such a popular event, Teaneck does this bi-annually. Over the years it has become a major event in Bergen County.

Here’s how it works –

There’s several ways for Teaneck residents to sign up for free –

  1. Use a sign up form online
  2. Call Omar Stovall at 201-837-1600, Ext. 1003
  3. Email Mr. Stovall at ostovall@teanecknj.gov

First and foremost, be sure to sign up by this Wednesday, April 19th, no later than 5 pm.

Shoppers go to the Township of Teaneck website for a list of garage sale addresses.

town-wide garage saleEach participating resident puts their garage sale items out at their own private residence.  Teaneck posts the list of addresses on it’s website and publishes the final list on Friday, April 21st at 5 pm.

 

Right now the list posted on the Township website is through April 21st at 5 pm.  This totals 37 but there will be tons more. Because new applications are received daily, it’s simply too time consuming to constantly update it.

Come out this weekend and have fun at the Teaneck town-wide garage sale!

 

 

Posted by & filed under Buying.

Your home inspectionYour home inspection is one of the most important parts of purchasing a house.  We’ve just gone over finding a home inspector; now it’s time to focus on the home inspection itself.

What do  you inspect for?  The typical home inspection is for the structure (aka the house), wood destroying insects and radon.  You should also do a tank sweep inspection to make sure there are no unknown abandoned oil tanks underground.

How long should it take?  Figure 2.5 to 3 hours from start to finish for an average home. You should be there too.

Believe it or not, I have had some customers who say they don’t have the time.  This is not a debate – you need to be at your home inspection.  We need to find a time that’s convenient for you.

You should stay with your home inspector as he goes through the house.  A good home Your home inspectioninspector will teach you how to maintain your house, what to look for, what to be careful about.  So many things.  He will make himself available for questions afterward as well.

I advise my customers to think about what concerns they have and to write them down.  It’s easy to forget things.  Coming prepared with your questions is best.

When you meet your inspector don’t bombard him with your concerns because you’ll throw him off track.  As a result, you won’t get as good an inspection because he’ll be focused answering questions.  Once he’s at a pertinent part of the house, then ask him.

Your home inspectionThe inspection report is sent out one or two days later.  You discuss this with your attorney and agent.  Your attorney sends a letter to the seller’s attorney with any concerns you have.  You negotiate this with the seller and adjustments made become part of the contract.

Buyers work things out with sellers almost always because no one wants to cancel the contract and start over..

That is upsetting for both sides and hurtful.  Seller’s most of the time get lower offers after one fails.  Buyers have to go through the inconvenience of finding another house.  No one wants this so they work it out.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

dog park

Give your dog a run at a dog park in Bergen County.  It’s good for you and your pet.

Dogs need exercise.  Without adequate exercise, dogs become frustrated and act out behaviorally in ways no owner appreciates.  A dog is a 10-15 year commitment and part of dog care is exercise.  As a result dog parks are often the best answer for many owners.

There are several Bergen County dog parks.  If you’re a dog park person you also know that it’s fun.  You get to socialize with the other owners while Fido is playing.

Moving can be tough on dogs.  Not only is your pup adjusting to a new environment, he’s not getting enough exercise while you’re in the middle of unpacking boxes.  Finding time to meet your neighbors isn’t easy either with all you have to do.  You can solve both problems by taking your dog to a local dog park.

Dog parks aren’t for everyone but if you and your dog enjoy going to them, the local dog park will help Fido run off some steam and socialize with other dogs. You’ll also get to meet many local residents and maybe book a play date or two for your pet.  dog park

There are 6 dog parks maintained by the Bergen County Parks Department. If you have a small dog Wood Dale Park in Woodcliff Lake lacks a separate area for small dogs. This park is being renovated so that might change.

You need to bring water for your pet because most parks don’t supply this.  You should know that all parks are closed at sun down.

Dog runs are located in following 6 Bergen County parks:

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Buying.

mortgage commitment Weichert has a 1 week mortgage commitment including the appraisal.  This is nothing short of revolutionary.

Weichert Financial Services has been hiring processors, streamlining systems and doing everything possible to help buyers.  You really need an edge in this highly competitive market .  This explains why:

You find a home you love and make an offer.  The house has a crowd of buyers and consequently multiple offers.  Most likely many are similar to yours.  So how do you stand out and win?

This scenario happens every day and it’s been going on for a while.  It’s not fun and very stressful for home buyers. mortgage commitment

Weichert introduced the escalation clause to help our buyers several years ago.  Since then the Bergen County real estate market has become tougher due to increased demand and low inventory.

So how can you stand out?  We can make you stand out with superior financials.  This is why Weichert has a 1 week mortgage commitment.

Conditions are simple.  You need a Weichert pre-approval, a signed contract and whatever documents are required.  No extra cost for this too.

Why do you need a Weichert pre-approval?  Because our pre-approvals are preliminarily underwritten loan approvals.  As a result, a lot has already been done toward mortgage processing.

Imagine what this does for you in a bidding war.

Homeowners always worry about the mortgage.  Most contracts these days have 30-45 day mortgage commitment times.  Sellers hate having to wait this long.  So which offer do you think they’ll choose?  One that makes them wait 30-45 days?  Or the offer that only asks for 7 days?

mortgage commitmentIt seems like a no brainer.  Probably every offer you’ll make will be up against others.  Since you’re the only one with a 1 week commitment date, you’re very likely to be the offer they choose.

Jim Weichert puts his focus on customer service.  What better way to service a home buyer than this?

Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

property valuesProperty values in Bergen County are definitely on the rise.  We’re through the 1st quarter of the year and New Jersey MLS residential figures are all positive comparing 2017 to 2016.

Bergen County had 3% more closings with an average sales price that’s 5% higher.  Median prices rose 2% and it took 1 week less to get a home sold.

Under contract figures point to an even stronger year ahead. Demand certainly has grown with 5% more homes going under contract.  This means more closings for 2017.

Property values in Bergen County are doing better this year with solid price appreciation, quicker sales and stronger demand.

It’s way too early to track average and median pricing for individual towns.  We use under contract figures to show us what’s happening.  Inventory issues have affected this.property values

For example, Fort Lee shows 35% fewer homes under contract.  However this past Sunday a Weichert agent held an open house at a Fort Lee home where 100 people came.  They were lined up outside waiting to get in.  So why 35% fewer homes under contract?  Lack of inventory.

Same situation with Bergenfield.  Bergenfield homes are flying – 1.5 month absorption rate.  That is a blistering pace.  Even so, there are 11% fewer under contract transactions.  Again, lack of inventory.  There just aren’t enough homes to meet the demand.

While under contract figures can be useful, the lack of inventory is so severe that you can’t always rely on this.

Tenafly, where the market is more balanced, has a tremendous 25% increase in the number of homes going under contract.  Neighboring Cresskill is up 22% and Dumont is up 2%.

This is not going to get better.  For the coming years we will continue to see a lack of inventory and that puts pressure on prices. Look at the Home Price Expectation Survey results for appreciation over the next 5 years.  Bulls see it 26.7% higher, bears 6.3% and all projections at 19.4%.

The 1st quarter of 2017 tells us that this will be a terrific year for property values in Bergen County and the reasons for it project things to continue for years to come.

 

 

 

Golf Is In Full Swing In Bergen County

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

golf is in full swingGolf is in full swing in Bergen County.  Once you get to mid March, Bergen County opens it’s 5 golf courses to the public – weather permitting of course.

March 13th was the official opening date but the weather hasn’t been cooperating.  Once we get past this rainy week all courses should be playable.  Call 201-336-7280 to get the daily status and course conditions.

Our 5 public golf courses are no more than a 15-20 drive away from any Bergen County home. They are Darlington in Mahwah, Orchard Hills in Paramus, Overpeck in Teaneck , Rockleigh near Northvale in Rockleigh, and Valley Brook in River Vale.

Every course except Orchard Hills is 18 holes.  Rockleigh has both an 18 and 9 hole course designed so both courses can be played simultaneously.

During the golf season there are a variety of tournaments from Parent/Child to Scrambles to Seniors.  These tournaments are a lot of fun and very popular.

golf is in full swingThe Pioneer Program is an excellent opportunity for young golfers from 8 to 18.   There are 3 separate programs for junior golfers from teacgolf is in full swinghing them the game of golf to competitive play with their own tournaments.

Children under 12 can play any course after 4 pm with an adult once they’ve earned a Pioneer Tour Card.  Those who haven’t are restricted to Rockleigh’s 9 hole course.

Golf is in full swing for children with autism too. AllPar Golf  is a wonderful, carefully designed program to meet the needs of autistic children.  Call Bergenfield School’s Special Services Office at 201-385-3600 for more information.

Once you register you can book your tee times online.  You need to bring cash.  The system can’t handle credit cards.

Bergen County has every reason to be proud of it’s beautiful and challenging public golf courses.  Golf is huge here.  Bergen County estimates 90,000 of us play golf.  That’s nearly 10% of us.  Commercial driving ranges are often filled with duffers practicing before they go out on the links. Many are set up for year round play too.

Golf is in full swing in Bergen County adding a wonderful fabric to life here.

Rockleigh in Rockleigh near Northvale

Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

moving into Bergen CountyMoving into Bergen County or changing towns?  Get there by mid August if you have children and to make your life easier.

Most people want to close at the end of the month and Friday is the most popular day of the week.  During summer it seems everyone wants to move in at the end of August.

This can become quite a problem for you.  The end of the month and Fridays in particular get crazy.  moving into Bergen CountyWhen you’re talking about late August, it’s even worse.

There are only so many hours in a day.  Banks can handle only so many closings in a day.  If everyone wants to buy their home at the same time it’s simply not possible.

I bet you’ve heard horror stories about closings delayed last minute by the bank.  I’ll also bet you’ve heard how everyone waited and waited for the bank to clear the loan to close.

Evil bank?  Nope.  Impossible situation.

One day I’ll have my wish – home buyers and sellers will be told that closing on a Friday at the end of a month is not always assured.  It’s a whole lot safer to avoid end of month Friday closings.

I understand why you want to close then – its expensive to pay rent and a mortgage at the same time.  Some folks do want an overlap to spruce up their new home.  If you don’t, consider moderating things even a little bit.  You will be much safer.  Imagine what it will cost you to stay in a motel for 1 week with your things in storage.

moving into Bergen County Do you have school aged children?  Then closing earlier is extremely important.

Registering a child for school is quite a project.  It takes a lot of documentation from you and it takes a school more than a few days.  If you want your child to start school on the first day of school in September you can’t wait past mid August.

If you’re moving into Bergen County or changing towns, get there by mid August.

Posted by & filed under Buying.

home inspectorGet your home inspector now and you’ll be so glad you did. Unless, of course, you enjoy being stressed out while buying your home.

Here’s what usually happens:  Attorney Review concludes and your lawyer gives you a call.  He explains that it’s time to do the home inspection.  He tells you that you have 10 days to get your home inspection done.  As a result, you panic.

OMG! 10 days??? is what goes through your mind.  You call your real estate agent in a near panic telling the agent A – How can I do this in only 10 days? and B – Do you know any good home inspectors?  Your agent gives you some names and insists that you get it scheduled for the upcoming weekend.home inspector

Pressure, pressure, pressure.  Is this any way to buy a house?  Do you need this kind of stress?  I don’t think so.  The solution is to get a home inspector and research home inspections now.

Do you have friends in the area who own a home?  Ask them about their home inspector.  It’s better if they’ve been in the home a while – not just moved in.  Problems missed don’t always show up the first week.

Ask your attorney.  Attorney’s don’t recommend inspectors but might know who’s not doing the best job because they see hundreds of inspection reports every year.

Check to see if the inspector is currently licensed.  NJ has a verification website for all licensees.  Under Profession Type go to Home Inspector and then fill in the inspector’s name.

home inspectorCheck to see if the inspector is a member of The American Society of Home Inspectors, aka ASHI.  Go to this website where you’ll also find helpful information.

You should also go to the National Association of Realtors website for consumers called House Logic  They have a terrific article there on home inspections and tons of excellent tips and information.   home inspector

Be prepared as much as you can so the home buying process is fun and as stress free as possible.  This is the theme of all my articles on buying a home.  Get a home inspector and start learning about inspections before you find your home.  That’s the right way to go.

Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

the best time to list your homeThe best time to list your home and the best time to buy a home are really the same – it should always be the best time for you.

The National Association of Realtors has tracked this for decades.  The #1 answer is “Because it was the right time.”  There is no need to turn yourself inside out because you want to move.

The NAR also tracks when homes go on the market; for 2016 here is what they found:

The most popular months for listing are April followed by March, Maythe best time to list your home, June and July.

The top 10 listing dates in 2016 are:  April 1st, April 15th, March 1st, June 1st, April 8th, April 14th, April 28th, March 31st, June 3 and April 22nd.

Clearly homeowners feel that the best time to list your home is spring.  Winter is over and flowers are blooming.  Most buyers want to move during summer.  It’s either due to school schedules or because it’s easier to take time off then.  They look during spring so they can schedule a summer closing.  It sure seems that the best time to list your home and the best time to buy a home is spring.

There are positives and negatives to this.  Sellers do have more buyers looking but they also have more homes to compete against.  Buyers have more homes to look at but face much stiffer competition.

the best time to list your homeWhat if you want to stay this summer and move at the end of the year?  What is your company transfers you in the middle of winter?  That’s OK too.  Homes are sold every day of the year.  The fall market can be just as strong and with less competition, the 1st quarter can be very advantageous.

The best time to list your home and the best time to buy a home does seem to be spring strategically.  However, strategy doesn’t matter if that’s the worst time for you.  A great real estate agent will get you excellent results any day of the year.