Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent, Selling.

  1. what do higher rates mean for youWhat do higher rates mean for you?  Does it even make sense to talk about this now?  After all, while rates sometimes rise, they reduce a few days later.

However, change is coming.  Because the future will be different,  I believe the time is now to discuss this.

Expect mortgage rates to be higher next year.  Let’s talk about why this will happen and what’s best for you.

The Fed, Monetary Policy and Rates

The Federal Reserve Bank sets US monetary policy by pumping money in or out of the economy.  They do it by purchasing securities and bonds.  The more the Fed buys, the more money flows into the economy stimulating it.  The Fed slows down the economy by buying less (known as tapering).

Raising and lowering the Federal Funds Rate is another tool used by the Fed.  While this is the rate banks charge each other for overnight borrowing, it has a ripple effect.  Add in buying fewer mortgage backed securities and you have higher mortgage rates.

Inflation is a key concern too.  Once it reaches a certain point, the Fed will slow things down before it gets out of control.  This is where we are today.

What do higher rates mean for you?

What do higher rates mean for you?  Borrowing will cost you more.  Look at the numbers:  Let’s buy a $500,000 house with 10% down.  When rates rise 1% next year, this will cost you $255 more each month.  Furthernore, a 1% rise in rates equals 9% less buying power.  Ouch!

When this happens next year, a lot of entry level buyers will no longer qualify for a mortgage.  Everyone else will either have to pay more for the same house or buy a smaller home.

Don’t forget this too:  Slowing down the economy creates a recession.  There will be job losses and uncertainty thereby reducing the number of buyers even more.  The good news is that this will be a “soft landing” and not a crash.

Meanwhile everyone is telling you that there’s no end in sight to a booming real estate market.  Don’t you just love it?

What about the Bergen County real estate market?

I have to tell you that even in the worst real estate markets, Bergen County homes sell and sell well.  I’m not a crazy optimist.  Quite to the contrary.  I’m a highly realistic person.  Bergen County meets all the requirements for a strong real estate market.  Recessions might slow us down, cause a reset of values but it won’t stop the market.

The real estate market is cyclical.  We’ve had the longest positive run ever with another year ahead.  I feel that we’ll be OK through the spring but that the coming change will be very evident after June.

If you’re selling your home, don’t wait very long for 2 reasons:  The cost to own your home every month is more than any appreciation you’ll get.  As a result, you’re losing money every month essentially.  Also, you are in a stronger seller’s market now than you will be after the spring.

If you’re buying a home, consider these 3 things:  Even a 10% reset won’t make up for higher rates coming; you’ll never see rates this low again; long term homes go up 1.5% over the GDP so forget the ups and downs –  just enjoy your new home.

If you want specific data and to know whose forecasts I believe in, reply to me below.  It’s encrypted and confidential.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

closing in on halloweenClosing in on Halloween you’ll find more Halloween themed events this weekend.  From a scary trip to Ravenscroft Manor to a Haunted Forest in Tenafly, ghosts and goblins are in store for you this weekend.  Add in food trucks, Dutch settlers, nature festivals and a 5k run for a wide variety of events.

I’d also like to mention a suburban driving tip.  This time of year falling leaves and rain combine to make streets especially slick.  For those of you coming in from city streets, please keep this in mind.

Ravenscroft Manor

Come to the Mahwah Elks Club (1 Foxwood Ave) Saturday night for  a Ravenscroft Manor very scary the Ravenscroft Manor live performance.  Performaces are 7 to 11 and CDC protocols are strictly observed.  Because this is a live fundraiser for the local Girl Scout Troop, Scouts help in the background both helpin and learning about how a live production is put on.  Tickets are $10 and can be ordered on the website.

Since this is a very scary live show, childen under 10 are not permitted.  So very popular, it was brought back again this year and sold out last weekend.  Be sure to get your tickets ASAP.

Tenafly Nature Center

The Tenafly Nature Center has 2 truly terrific events this weekend – All About Owls and The Haunted Forest.  Don’t wait to get your tickets because these are extremely popular events.  Click on the links I have for you to get your tickets now.

Saturday – All About Owls all about owls

You’ll learn everything about owls on Saturday from 2-3 because the Tenafly Nature Center has it’s All About Owls class then.  As well as hearing about owls, you’ll get to meet one in person too.  Tickets sell out quickly so book yours now.

Sunday – Annual Haunted Forest

The Tenafly Nature Center Haunted Forest sells out fast.  This is a Bergen County favorite that people look forward to every year.  Ongoing 15 minute slots are held from 3:30 to 6:30 on Sunday.

Flat Rock Brook Walkathon & Fall Festival Flat Rock Brook

Flat Rock Brook in Englewood is a 150 acre nature preserve and education center.  You have over 3 miles of walking trails in this beautiful sanctuary for both animals and vegetation.  There are 2 fund raising events – a Walkathon from todary through the weekend and their Great Fall Festival.

The Great Fall Festival is from 1 to 4 on Sunday and features a barbecue, Bluegrass music, birds of prey exhibition, nature walks and more.  It’s a fun day especially for children that is always a big hit.  Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for ages 6-17 and free for children 5 and under.  You’ll find the Walkathon donation levels on the Flat Rock Brook website.

Paramus Food Truck Festival

Do you love to sample food at food truck festivals?  Then come to the Paramus Park shopping mall grounds this Sunday from 11 to 6.  There will be 20 food trucks, a DJ, all sorts of vendors, pony rides, petting zoo, beer & margarita garden, face painting and more.  Admission is $5 and please bring at least 1 non perishable food item for the Paramus Food Bank.

Wortendyke BarnWortendyke Barn in Park Ridge

Enjoy Bluegrass music and apple cider while you’re taking in the museum at the Wortendyke Barn (13 Pascack Rd, Park Ridge) this Sunday from 1 to 3:30. The Wortendyke family were Dutch settlers who built this barn in 1735 and farmed their 500 acres of land here.  Today it’s a wonderful Bergen County treasure showcasing how 18th century Dutch seT Sanctioned Run.  This annual run is a fund raiser for the Mahwah Schools Foundation and also features a 2k walk and children’s run.  Known as the Thunderbird Run this popular event attracts runners from all over.  You’ll find all the information you need on the their website.  This event begins and ends at Mahwah High School (50 Ridge Rd).

This is what we have coming up as we are closing in on Halloween.  It’s less than 2 weeks away.  If you have children, check with your local school and recreation department to see what’s scheduled.  I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when I told her the 3rd grade costume parade was tomorrow.  Needless to say, she hadn’t figured out my costume yet.

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent, Selling.

from covid to todayFrom Covid to today, Bergen County homes have been in high demand.  At the same time, I can report that a change is happening.  To understand the real estate market today, we need to go back to 2020.

Everyone knows that we are living in a very different time.  Covid, social unrest and the mortgage market are all uniquely different in their own way.  All of them have had a very specific effect on the Bergen County real estate market.  This is why going back explains what’s happening now.

Natural Market Rhythms

A good part of what’s happening is normal.  Did you know that over half of all house sales are sold to families with school age children?  Those families must close by mid August to register their children in time for school.

Back this up the normal 60 days the home buying process requires.  While this can be done in 45-50 days, contracts on homes need to be in by mid-late June.

Do you find a house in 1 day?  Of course not.  You spend time researching, casually open house looking and then seriously for 3-5 weeks.  As a result, over half of all home buyers are out in earnest during springtime.  While the fall remains strong, it’s naturally less robust than during spring.

Covid Effect Then

The March 2020 shut down created an over heated summer market because it canceled the spring market.  This threw spring home buyers into the summer.  Add in fewer homes for sale than in 2019 and you had a perfect storm.

Additionally we had urban flight.  Since cities are densely populated, it was impossible to social distance plus there was rioting in Manhattan.  We had a near panic to get out of NYC along with other urban areas and into the suburbs.  Remote work enabled this further.

Covid Effect Now + Inventory

This continued into 2021 for several reasons.  Bergen County began the year with 1,050 homes for sale.  That’s roughly 1/3 the number we should have had and half of 2020.

Rates dropped increasing the number of home buyers for 2 reasons – more people qualified and it turned tenants into buyers.

Covid concerns became much less intense.  Vaccinations and improved therapies got people to relax.  As more of ust were vaccinated, we started going out to dinner, to shopping and to gatherings.  The economy slowly began to open up.  While this is certainly a time to be cautious, it is also true that normality is returning.

In addition, businesses are opening their offices.  There is a movement back to urban locations to be closer to work.  You can see it in how commuting schedules have grown.  While remote work is here to stay, it’s not going to be 100% of the time.

From Covid to Today

From Covid to today the market has really improved.  Bergen County had 1,050 homes for sale on Jan 1, 2021 in the New Jersey MLS.  This rose to just over 1,600 at the height of the spring market (53% increase).  Today it’s 1,365 (30% gain) while 1,400 are also under contract.  Clearly this remains a hot seller’s market.

The difference is that the number of buyers is more in line with the number of sellers.  We’re not getting 20 offers on a house; it’s more like 3-5.  In a normal world 2 would be fabulous.  But this isn’t a normal world.

So where are we today?  It’s still a great time to buy a home and to sell a home.  Isn’t this crazy?  Usually it’s better for sellers or buyers, not both.  Here’s why:

There are still more home buyers than houses for sale.  Rates remain low maintaining the home buyer population.  Great for sellers.  Plus appreciation is forecast at 3% next year which means you’ll lose value.  It will cost you more to hold your house for another year than 3% will give you.

Rates are so low now that it’s smarter to buy rather than rent plus it’s often cheaper too.  Additionally, when rates rise next year it will make it impossible for a lot of buyers to get a mortgage.  Rising rates next year means the same house will cost you more every month.

The bottom line is that right now is better for buyers and sellers.  Like I said, this is a crazy time.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

art street fairs halloween food truckArt, street fairs and Halloween in New Milford are what you’ll find going on this week in Bergen County.  Because it’s still warm enough in October, expect something outside every week.  November might be a different story of course.

Going out to eat is back and so is indoor entertainment.  Bergen PAC and Hackensack PAC are almost always selling out performances.  Since live entertainment is back, I’ll include more of this in the future.

Here’s this weeks lineup for you:

  • Art in the Park
  • Maywood’s Harvest Craft and Food Truck Festival
  • Montvale Street Fair
  • Tenafly Street Fair and Craft Show
  • Nightmare on River Road
  • Baronfest at Historic New Bridge Landing
  • Veterans Car Show

Art in the Park Show

Come to Van Saun Park this Saturday 11-3:30 for Bergen County’s 57th annual Art in the Park Show and concerts.  Music is art show from 12:30 on by Mike Bracato’s Sharp Edge band.  This is a juried art show with everything from acryllics to photos.  A lot of it is for sale too.  So come on out to Art in the Park and enjoy Van Saun Park too.

Maywood’s Harvest Craft and Food Truck Festival

It seems that every weekend a different town has a  Fall craft fair and food truck festival in Bergen County.  This Saturday is Maywood’s.  On top of the craft fair and food trucks there’s ongoing music and even a pumpkin patch.  Location is Memorial Park and it’s on from 11 to 5 this Saturday.

Maywood has an extensive shopping district on Pleasant.  It’s famous for, among other things, the Maywood Market where you’ll find amazing prepared food choices and restaurants like the Maywood Pancake House, Seafood Gourmet or The Maywood Inn’s Twin Door Tavern.

food truckMontvale’s Family Fun Food Truck & Street Fair Festival

Montvale’s Family Fun Food Truck and Street Fair Festival is being held along Paragon Drive this Sunday from 10 to 5.  This is a big festival with 150 exhibitors, 2 food courts, Kids Traveling Shindig (face painting, mechanical & pony rides, petting zoo) and all sorts of food trucks.

Tenafly Street Fair and Craft Show

Tenafly turns it’s entire business district into one big street fair on Sunday from 11 to 5.  You’ll see truly outstanding crafts, all sorts of vendors plus music and usually at least 1 or 2 bouncy rides for children.

While you’re in Tenafly, why not plan on going out to lunch or dinner?  Enjoy upscale dining at top rated Axia Taverna, terrific Israeli food at Tavlin, fine Spanish cuisine at Sayola, delicious Indian food at Veda, authentic fare at Simply Vietnamese or the ever popular family Italian TPR

Nightmare on River Road  nightmare on river road

The Nightmare on River Road in New Milford has become a beloved Halloween treat.  I can’t describe this – you have to experience it.  What I can tell you is that it’s a lot of fun and children love it.  Because it’s a local Boy Scout fundraiser, you’re supporting a worthy cause.  Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.  Hours are every Friday and Saturday night for the rest of October from 6 to 10 pm.  Since New Bridge Farm & Garden is helping out by allowing the Boy Scouts to use it’s facility, how about getting your pumpkins there this year?

Baronfest at Historic New Bridge Landing

This is a celebration of Major General Baron Von Steuben.  If you don’t know who he is, you should.  Gen. Von Steuben came from Germany to help George Washington win the American Revolution.  He gave the rag tag Revolutionary Army the baronfesttraining and discipline it needed to win the war.  Without Von Steuben’s help, there would be no United States today.

Hours are 1-5 on Saturday for Baronfest at Historic New Bridge Landing.  You’ll learn how they shot canons, talk to American Revolutionary soldiers and generally have a really good time.  Additionally 3 New Jersey craft beer breweries will be giving out samples.

Veterans Car Show

You can be sure that there’s another car show happening in Bergen County.  While last week’s was the biggest, the Veterans Car Show in Hasbrouck Heights is another good one.  It’s this Sunday from 9 to 3 at the VFW Hall (513 Veteran Place) in town.  They have a lot of custom and stock cars along with motorcycles and all sorts of classic cars.

If you haven’t been to Hasbrouck Heights you’re in for a treat.  This is a very cool town with a wonderful shopping district.  In addition you’ll find some outstanding restaurants.  There’s the Ivy Inn, Sophia’s Mediteranean Grill, Tom Yum Koong Risotto House or Sombrero’s Mexican Grill among many others.

Art, Street Fairs, Halloween and More

There’s so much going on now.  October weather is warm to moderate so this is a very busy time of year.  Check back too because another article is coming Wednesday on the market.

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent.

how do i know if i found the right houseHow do you know if you’ve found the right house?  This isn’t a rhetorical question.  It’s also not a simple one either.  Because so many home buyers wonder about this, I thought we should discuss it.

Let’s start with it’s normal.  My first time buyers usually ask me about this early on.  I hear this less frequently from trade up buyers.  While they might not voice it directly, it’s still on a lot of their minds.

Any time you buy a “big ticket item” you’re going to have doubts. Buying a home is the most expensive purchase most people make.  Doubt comes along with it so try to relax.  It’s normal to wonder if what you’re doing is right.  So let’s take control and get rid of this worry.

The 2 Parts of a Real Estate Transaction

There are 2 parts of a real estate transaction and both are equally important.  Buying a house is both a business and an emotional transaction.  It’s my job to keep you on track with both.  What sometimes happens is that one overtakes the other.  You can’t afford that.

Here are 2 examples on how it works to mess you up in no particular order –

  • You fall so love with a home that you overlook important negatives &/or stretch financially to get it
  • Keeping to a rigid budget and/or set of requirements, you choose the house to purchase

You can easily see that the 1st is too emotional and the 2nd is not at all.  So how do we avoid getting stuck in either?

Follow The Process

How do you know if you’ve found the right house?  Easy.  Follow the process and it all works out.  Buying a home is a journey.  What’s hard about it is that you are doing a balancing act between the ying and yang of emotions and practicality.  Integrating both successfully gets you into the right home.

Have you been to my website?  I have written an entire section on how to buy a house in Bergen County.  You’ll see how I emphasize the need for a process.  If you follow this, you’ll learn enough to know when you’ve found the right home.

Why Following The Process Works

Sucessfully balancing the ying and yang of emotions and practicality keeps you on track.  Knowing the process and following it does this for you.  When you’re in control, your head is clear so you can make the right decision on all levels.

It Really Is Emotional

You’ll never be happy with a home you don’t love.  It really is emotional.  One of the  questions I ask my home buyers is whether they’ll look forward to coming home here after a day at work.  Using those old generic, agent questions like “Do you see yourself here?” doesn’t work.  Think specifics.

For me (I love Christmas) it was where I’d put the Christmas tree and host parties.  Having a big back yard is often another emotional wish.  Don’t just imagine yourself in a property – imagine yourself relating specifically to the house.  You’re buying an emotional feature and the house comes with it.

Home Buying Is A Business Deal

There is no doubt about it; buying a house is a business deal too.  You want to get a god value that’s within your financial ability.  It has to make sense on both accounts.

People who stretch to their financial limit are, in my view, always making a mistake.  Frankly I refuse to take my customers to that point.  Nothing is worth being financially precarious.  There is always another house.  Home buyers who do this worry every month about paying bills.  That’s no way to do it.  This has to make financial sense.

So How Do I Know If I’ve Found The Right House?

You’ll know by following the process.  If you’ve done your homework on what you really need, learned about the buying process, got an affordable budget, you’ll know.  Why?  Because you’re now financially and emotionally ready.  Once you’ve seen enough homes, you’ll walk into the right one, fall in love and be able to afford it.  It’s all the preparation the process has given you that allows you to see it.

Don’t worry.  Have fun.  Go out and find your new home.  Sure it’s not easy in this market but you’ll succeed if you buy a house the right way,  Let me know if you have any questions.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

Garretson Forge, hayrides and classic carsGarretson Forge, hayrides and classic cars are just some of the happenings this coming weekend.  Fall is in full swing and Oktoberfest is here as well at the Demarest Duck Pond.

Let’s not forget pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch along with those hayrides too.  Because the weather is still warm and since so much is going on, October is a wonderful time of year.

Moreover this is especially true in Bergen County due to our fabulous County Parks.  Golf, horseback riding, hiking, camping, bocce and more are all available to Bergen County residents.

Here’s what we have for this weekend:

Garretson Forge & Farm Harvest Festival

garretson forge and farm

Garretson Forge & Farm is one of Bergen County’s oldest historic sites dating back to the early 1700’s.   It’s open this Sunday 10-4 for it’s Harvest Festical.  Admission is free – donations are greatly appreciated.  They have a Civil War re-enactment, open hearth cooking demonstrations (with recipes), organic herbs and vegetables for sale, tours of the home and all sorts of fun things for children.

Hayrides and Pumpkin Patches

Hayrides Pumpkin PatchBelieve it or not, Bergen County still has family owned (for generations) working farms  You’ve heard me mention them many times in my blog articles.  As a result, you are in for a treat – go on a hayride, pick a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch, buy a home made apple pie, gobble up fresh donuts and spend an afternoon at a farm.

Before you go, be sure to make hayride reservations because rides can get booked up quickly.  Here are the farms as links for you in alphabetical order:

  1. Abma’s Farm in Wyckoff
  2. Demarest Farms in Hillsdale
  3. Secor Farms in Mahwah

In addition, don’t forget to also check out Ward’s Pumpkin Patch in Ridgewood and Lupardi’s Nursery in Closter.

Classic Cars at the North Jersey Auto Show

This is a serious antique auto show.  Presented by the Restored Rusty Relics Antique Auto Club, the North Jersey Auto Show is Bergen County’s biggest.classic cars  You’ll find 400 cars, 50 vendors and an extensive flea market.  Everything in classic cars is at this incredible antique car show.  Since there’s also food for sale, you can easily spend the day.  Hours are 8 am – 3:40 pm on Sunday and location is Bergen County Community College in Paramus.  Admission is $5 (max $10 per carload).

Oktoberfest & Crafts at the Duck PondOktoberfest and Craft Fair

Come to the Demarest Duck Pond this Saturday for a simply wonderful day.  A combination of an important juried craft show and Oktoberfest celebration, there’s enough here to keep you busy all day.  Because it’s so popular, canoe rides on the Duck Pond are back.  There will be 75 crafters, German food, beer and music, Korean delicacies, a bake table and more.  The Demarest Duck Pond is easy to find.  Use Park Ave in your GPS.

This is a highly popular event which attracts people from all around.  The crafters are excellent and, as a result, many folks come to buy holiday gifts at this craft fair.  All proceeds go to support the Demarest Nature Center which also has a table there about the environment.

Ridgewood Sidewalk Sale Days

Ridgewood has the largest local business district in Bergen County.  Since it also includes many highly rated restaurants and bars, Ridgewood is a very popular destination for both shopping and nightlife.  During warm months you’ll see it’s sidewalks filled with people going out to dinner and window shopping.  This week from Thursday through Saturday the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce is putting on what it calls a blowout sale event.  Hours are 10-6 daily and you’ll find the many shops participating on it’s website.  People wait for this annual event to do their holiday shopping.

Garretson Forge, Hayrides and Classic Cars

While Garretson Forge, hayrides and classic cars headline this week’s happenings, we do have 2 more great options for you.  Although I didn’t write a segment on this, for young children and their families, check out the Tenafly Nature Center Scavenger Hunt this weekend.  There’s still spots available.  If you know of anything I’ve missed or you have an event to add, please let me know.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

quilts, crafts, fairs and moreQuilts, crafts, fairs and more are in store for you this coming weekend.  As we move further into fall, more special events happen in Bergen  County.

You’ll continue to see our towns put on special fair days and Oktoberfest themed events.  Additionally our local live theater will be opening up with truly wonderful productions as we get further into the fall.  Before you know it, those cancelled events of last year will all be back.

Let’s see about quilts, crafts, fairs and more:

  1. Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show
  2. Felicia Temple Concert
  3. Po-Shen Loh Math Event for Grades 5-8
  4. Harvestfest Craft Fair
  5. Rutherford Day & Classic Car Show
  6. Woodcliff Lake Oktoberfest

Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show quilt

This is a not to be missed spectacular event.  Over 2 day period there will be lectures and guided tours.  You’ll learn the history of these magnificent quilts and coverlets as well as take guided tours to see them on display.  What you will see is a never before assembled collection that came from cooperating museums, churches and individuals.  The Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show is at 650 & 660 E Glen Ave in Ridgewood.  Hours are Friday 11-5 and Saturday 11-4.  Go to the website and be amazed.

Debonair Music HallFelicia Temple at Debonair Music Hall

Felicia Temple is a fabulous R&B singer who was on an amazing upward trajectory until Covid stopped everything.  She’s appearing at the Debonair Music Hall Friday night  (8 pm at 1409 Queen Anne Rd).  Tickets are selling fast so go to the Events tab to get yours.  No matter where you sit, you’ll love this concert.  It’s rare to hear a songstress at this level locally so be sure to go.

Po-Shen LoMath in Games, Strategy and Invention

Professor Po-Shen Loh is an internationally reknown mathematics professor who is passionate about bringing math to life for people.  He has created an outstanding program for children and their families which is available this weekend.  Math in Games, Strategy and Invention is on Saturday at 10:30 am in Pavillion B at Pascack Brook County Park in Westwood (150 Emerson Rd).  This is a unique opportunity for 5th-8th graders and their families.

Harvestfest Craft Fair

Sunday is the day at Westwood’s Veterans Park (corner of 3rd and Broadway) for the Harvestfest Craft Fair.  Starting at 11 am and ending at 4 pm you have an entire day to admire and shop for crafts of every kind.  There will be over 100 vendors, a pumpkin patch and some antiques dealers too.  Don’t forget to grab a meal at one of Westwood’s many fine restaurants too.

car showRutherford Day & Classic Car Show

While Rutherford Day is really about promoting Rutherford’s community organizations and businesses, there’s also a classic car show.  If you know anything about classic car shows, get there early.  Rutherford is reknown for it’s extensive business district and many fine restaurants.  Consequently going out to dinner in town would be a very good idea.

 

Woodcliff Lake Oktoberfest woodcliff lake oktoberfest

Woodcliff Lake is putting on it’s annual Oktoberfest celebration.  This is really a fun day with everything you’d expect from a Biergarten to food trucks of all types.  Location is Marc Rinzler Memorial Field (off of Oak Ave) on Saturday from 4-9 pm

Quilts, Crafts, Fairs and More

This is what we have coming up in quilts, crafts, fairs and more.  Don’t forget about Fort Lee Restaurant Week either.  It’s ending this weekend. Go out to dinner or lunch and take advantage of special pricing.

 

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

Coming up this week in Bergen County is a wide variety of fun things to do.  Take a look at what’s in store for you:

  1. For Lee Restaurant Week
  2. Glen Rock Arts Fest
  3. Children’s Fairy Garden Workshop
  4. Greek Festival
  5. German Oktoberfest
  6. Halloween Light Show Begins

coming up this weekFort Lee Restaurant Week

Beginning today Fort Lee restaurants are opening their doors to you with very special promotions.  Because Fort Lee is such a mix of cultures, you’ll find a wide selection of cuisines.  Sponsored by the Fort Lee Business District Alliance, this event gets bigger every year.

Fort Lee Restaurant Week runs for nearly 2 weeks from today, September 20th, through Sunday, October 3rd.  Go to their website for the list of participating restauants.

Glen Rock Arts Fest Glen Rock Arts Fest

The Glen Rock Arts Fest is this Saturday, Setember 25th, 11-5 at the Glen Rock Boro Hall (1 Harding Plaza).  Sponsored by the Arts Council of Glen Rock, this is a juried event.  Since it’s a juried show, it attracts high level artisans.

There will be artists, painters, photographers and crafters.  You’ll see beautiful items on display and for sale.  This is a unique opportunity to buy magnificent hand crafted works of art.

abmas farmChildren’s Fairy Garden Workshop

Bring your young children over to Abma’s Farm this Thursday (Sept 23) at 4 pm for a terrific art workshop.  You must buy tickets in advance and everything is supplied for this project.  Imagine the fun they’ll have creating their own fairy garden.

Abma’s Farm partnered with Art by Renee to present hour long art and crafts classes for children every Thursday.  So check this out and the other classes available.  Abma’s Farm also has a petting zoo, hay ride and pumpkin patch.  This family owned farm is, for me, a very special place for children.

Greek Festival

Last week is was Tenafly and this week it’s Wyckoff.  How lucky can you get?

St Nicholas Greek Church in Wyckoff (467 Grandview Ave) is once again having it’s Greek Festival in the fall.  Just like so many st nicholas greek festivalbeloved Bergen County events, this was cancelled last year because of Covid.  As a result, everyone is excited about this.

Hours are Friday/Saturday noon through 11 pm; Sunday is noon through 7pm.  This celebration of Greek culture has Greek food, music and dancing plus a Greek Supermarket, 50/50 raffle, Greek cafe and more.

German Oktoberfest in Leonia

leonia oktoberfestThe Leonia Oktoberfest began In 2000 because of visiting Germans.  They “spontaneously” had a Bavarian festival cookout in town.  Continued as an annual event, it grew bigger every year.  The Rotary Club of the Palisades took it over in 2010 as a fundraiser.  Isn’t this an amazing story?

There’s live entertainment, music, a beer garden (of course) and delicious German food.  You won’t want to miss the annual Beer Stemming Contest too.  Tickets sold in advance are $5 and $10 at the door.  Leonia Oktoberfest is from 2 to 8 pm at American Legion Post 1 (399 Broad Ave).

Halloween Light Show

The Halloween Light Show at Demarest Farms is on!  It runs through October 31st so there’s plenty of time but get your tickets halloween light show ASAP.  This gets sold out.

Drive through the farm’s 32 acres of magnificent Halloween themed light displays in your car.  Once you’re done, get some hot cocoa and sit down by a fire pit.  Why not a cookie too? The Demarest Farms Halloween Light Show website has more information and a link to buy tickets.

So here’s what you have coming up this week in Bergen County in special events.  Have a great week ahead as we end Summer and begin Fall!

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent.

Freddie Mac Multi Faminly Financing ChangeFreddie Mac Multi Family Financing

There is a major change coming soon to Freddie Mac multi family financing.  It takes effect on November 15th for all 1st time home buyers who want a 2-4 multi family home.  Freddie Mac is making it easier to buy these properties by lowering the mortgage down payment requirements.

This is a huge change which will certainly increase the number of buyers for 2-4 family homes.

Let’s discuss what Freddie Mac is and how this change effects you.

What Is Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac is the nickname for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.  Freddie Mac was created by Congress in 1970 to help middle income families secure a mortgage. Backed by the US Government, it’s owned by investors who buy it’s stock.

Freddie Mac provides stable liquidity to the mortgage market.  What does this mean?  Simply stated it works like this:

Liquidity in the Mortgage Market

Freddie Mac buys mortgages given out by small banks.  This sends money back to small banks.  As a result, small banks can keep lending.  They make a profit by charging Freddie a premium.  Freddie Mac sells the loans to investors at a profit.  This gives Freddie money to lend out and a profit.  As a result, money keeps flowing into the mortgage market preserving liquidity.

Freddie Creates Stability

Banks must follow Freddie’s lending requirements called mortgage guidelines.  Because they must, guidelines are standardized creating stability in the mortgage market.  Imagine the mess we’d have if each bank had it’s own different demands to get a loan.

Additionally mortgage guidelines require a buyer to be financially solid enough to pay their mortgage.  Because of all this, Freddie gives both liquidity and stability to mortgage financing.

Multi Family Financing Changes

While many 1st time home buyers would love to invest in real estate, they can’t.  Freddie Mac currently requires a 15% down payment.  Rates aren’t the issue because they’re at historically low levels.  As a result even low FICO scores get a rate that beats what used to be the norm.

This changes November 15th for Freddie Mac multi family financing.  Every mortgage application submitted from November 15 forward only needs a 5% down payment.

This is huge. Let’s take a $500,000 2 family.  15% requires a $75,000 down payment while 5% only needs $25,000.  How much more will this difference cost in your mortgage?  $217 monthly for the average customer.

Qualifying for the Mortgage

You can qualify for Freddie Mac multi family financing soon with only 5% down.  Rick Casatelli, my Weichert banker, said  guidelines allow for as low as a 620 FICO score.  He advises against this and works with buyers developing a plan to improve their score.  Rick does not believe anyone should buy a home with a payment that’s not comfortable for them.

I’ve found a lot of pre-approvals to be very unreliable because they’re sophisticated pre-qualifications.  Rick delivers pre-approvals that have gone through the 1st level of underwriting.  As a result, you have a budget you can trust.

Start With A 2 Family Home

Buying a 2 family home as your first purchase is a smart idea.  It’s a fabulous long term investment that becomes an income stream in your retirement.  Although you don’t have the space and privacy of a single family home, you are building wealth.  I believe in these as great opportunities for 1st time home buyers.

Let’s go back to that 2 family home.  Assume 1 side rents out for $1,200 per month or $275,000 in mortgage dollars.  That’s like buying a $500,000 property for $225,000.  If you want to talk about this, contact me or some other professional Realtor.  Nothing builds wealth long term like real estate.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

september events this weekendThere are 3 teriffic September events this weekend –

  • Pearl River Auto Show
  • St John Orthodox Cathedral Greek Festival
  • Bergen County Fall Harvest.

It’s so nice to see the Pearl River Auto Show back.  So much was cancelled last year.  While Pearl River is in New York State, it’s also next to Bergen County.  As a result, events there are virtually in our backyard.

Bergen County borders New York on 2 sides.  The Hudson River and Manhattan are on our eastern edge.  Rockland County runs across our northern border.  This is why we go to Rockland County for fun and actiivites as we do New York City.  We are so close to everything.  Bergen County’s fabulous location is a big reason why homes here are in such demand.  Let’s see what’s coming up:

Pearl River Auto Show 2021

Pearl River Auto ShowThe Pearl River Auto Show is the biggest auto show in Rockland County.  There will be more than 225 cars coming from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsiylvania.  It’s on Sunday (Sept 19) from 9 am to 3 pm at the Central Ave Field (58 E Central Ave). The Pearl River Annual Auto Show is co-hosted by the Rockland Rodders and the Pearl River Hook & Ladder Company.  Bcause the Rockland Rodders is a vintage and antique auto club, this show attracts the best of this class.  I bet the Fire Department will have it’s best on display too.Tenafly Greek Festival

St John Greek Orthodox Cathedral Greek Festival

It you want to go to a Greek Festival, this is one of the best and biggest Bergen County has to offer.  It’s so big that they have shuttle buses going back and forth to the Kaplen Jewish Community Center parking lot next door.  You don’t want to miss the A Taste of Greece festival.

Come this weekend to the St John Greek Orthodox Cathedral Festival at 353 East Clinton Ave in Tenafly.  Times are Friday 4-11, Saturday 12-11 and Sunday 12-8. Called A Taste of Greece, you’ll find everything Greek there this weekend.

You’ll enjoy the best of Greek cuisine and culture.  There are ongoing classes and events every day from wine tasting to Greek cooking to learning about Greek herbs and more.  Enjoy music, dancing, Greek items for sale, a White Elephant table and, of course, delicious food.  This is so much fun and attracts thousands every year.

Bergen County Fall Harvest Festival at Van Saun Park

Get ready for one of our major September events.  The Bergen County Fall Harvest Festival at Van Saun Park is located at 216 Forest Ave in Paramus.  Times are Friday 6-9, Bergen County Fall Festival Saturday 10-10 and Sunday 10-8.

Put on by Bergen County, this is serious fun because it’s a combination of so many things.  It’s a made up of a carnival, crafts fair, midway rides, Zumba, 4H exhibits, food trucks and more.  There’s even fireworks on Saturday night.  I’ve been to this annual festival and it’s so much fun.  There’s a large number of food trucks, so many rides and the crafts and 4H exibits are great.

I think by now you’ll agree that we have comeing up some great  September events this weekend.  However there is something else that’s also very special – Dumont Day.

Dumont Day 20 2021

How about going to a town-wide event in Bergen County?  Would you like to know about our local town community spirit?  Then go to Dumont Day 2021 on Saturday.  Held at Veterans Memorial Park (199 Pershing Ave) from 11 to 5 pm, you’ll be amazed at the turnout.  It seems like the entire town comes out to enjoy the day together.

Dumont residents are fiercly proud of their town.  Schools here are excellent and it’s not uncommon to see generations of families living here.  Many people grow up in town and come back to raise their own family here.

You’ll see thousands at Dumont Day 2021.  There will be all sorts of amusements, live music, a Beer Garden and fireworks at night.  Every year there’s a broad mix of things to do and see.  It’s simply a fun day where neighbors come together to celebrate their town.

So there you have it.  September events this weekend are a blast no matter which one you visit.  Why not go to all of them?