Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

Spend This Weekend in Bergen CountySpend this weekend in Bergen County because, as usual, there are some great things happening.  We have quite a varied group of events from a major flea market to a nationally renown medium.

As promised, I will bring you a post every week on what’s happening on the weekend in Bergen County.  While I do my best to find major events, please let me know if I’ve missed something.

 

Craig McManus

Craig McManus is a high profile medium.  Featured in several news and magazine articles (including the NY Times & Martha Stewart Living), he’s also been on TV’s Today Show as well as other television appearances.

Craig has been channeling people for about 30 years or so.  Followed by many, Craig’s reading sessions are very popular and well attended.  He’s the author of several books about Cape May ghosts.

Craig will be at The Hermitage in Ho Ho Kus this Saturday from 1-4 pm.  While he’s doing his readings outside on the front lawn, this is limited to 120 people.  As a result, it’s smart to order your tickets now online.

Mad Science

Mad Science Shows

Children will love the Mad Science Shows this weekend at the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall.  Held on Friday and Saturday, there are 3 shows each day but you have to register for them in advance.  Admission is free – register for Friday and Saturday separately.  Since attendance is limited to 100 families, I’d advise doing this ASAP.

This free event is a production of . Since learning anything to do with STEM is so important, take advantage of this free program for your children.  Because it’s focused on the ocean, children learn about islands, tides, whirlpools, waves, coral reefs and more.  Location is Level 2 Macy’s Court near Shake Shack.  Register now before it’s too late.

Englewood Community Summer FestivalEnglewood Community Summer Festival

The City of Englewood is one of the major cultural centers in Bergen County.  It’s also a city with a fierce sense of pride and a vibrant business district.  Populated with a wide diversity of people, this kaleidescope of cultures creates one of the coolest places to live as a result.  Because Englewood is all this and more, it’s a highly desirable location from stater homes to among the most majestic in Bergen County.

Sunday is the day, 12-5 pm is the time and the MacKay Park Ice Arena is the place.  The Englewood Community Summer Festival is a fun filled afternoon event with food trucks, live music, 35 vendors, a petting zoo and games.

tenafly nature centerTenafly Nature Center

The Tenafly Nature Center has 2 adult events this Saturday beginning at 5 pm.  First is the Full Moon Gong Bath followed by the Full Moon Hike for Adults  The Gong Bath runs from 5 to 6:30 followed by the hike at 7 pm for 1.5 to 2 hours.  The Full Moon Gong Bath is a zen like experience where you will feel the healing effects of a gong’s sound and vibrations.  The Full Moon Hike covers about 1.5 miles through the nature center itself.

New Meadowlands Market

The New Meadowlands Market is an amazing, huge flea market.  Because it’s so big, it’s held at the Meadowlands Stadium in New Meadowlands Market East Rutherford as a result.  Located at Lot J, you’ll find hundreds of vendors, all sorts of things, food and entertainment.

Flea markets are fun.  There are crafts, toys, household items, antiques, etc.  You never know what bargains you’ll find.  Because it’s open on both Saturday and Sunday, if you’re busy 1 day you still have the other option.  Open from 8 am through 4 pm, parking and admission are free.  No pets allowed except for service animals.

Hasbrouck Heights Street Fair

Here is another of Bergen County’s fabulous street fairs.  This Sunday from 10 to 5 come to the Hasbrouck Heights Street Fair.  Because it gets a terrific turnout, this major street fair on the Boulevard is filled with a lot of everything.  You’ll find local Hasbrouck Heights Street Fair businesses and restaurants involved as well as other vendors, food trucks, live music, and a kiddie park area.  Additionally there is an entire section devoted to crafts.

The downtown business district becomes a walking park because this fair is held right on the Boulevard.  Since this eliminates downtown parking, expect to walk a few blocks to get there.  It’s well worth the 10 minute walk since this is a major street fair.

Spend this weekend in Bergen County.  You can see that we have a lot going on that’s fun and educational.

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Father's Day Weekend EventsFather’s Day Weekend events include State Fair Meadowlands, a church feast in Lyndhurst, Open Cockpit Weekend and a walking tour of Historic New Bridge Landing.

While the church feast began last night, I waited until today to post this.  Because I’m a mother, I didn’t want to announce anything in the middle of a school week.  So here we go!

Our Lady of Mt Carmel Feast

This began last night and runs through Saturday. Our Lady of Mt Carmel Feast is one of the largest Bergen County church feasts.  Because this is such a large feast, there’s also Musci Under The Stars.  Terrific live music happens every night at 7pm and 9pm.  As you’d expect, there are plenty of rides for children plus 50/50 raffles.

Delicious Italian food is a highlight.  You have everything from cannolis to pizza to sausage & peppers plus amazing Italian sausage and peppers desserts.  In addition to eating at the feast, people take food home too.

The feast opens at 6 pm tonight and Friday but 1 hour earlier at 5 pm on Saturday.  It goes late into the night.  Location is the Town Hall Park in Lyndhurst.

State Fair Meadowlands

Cancelled last year due to Covid, this very popular event is back.  MetLife Stadium is the location for 24 days of fun.  It runs from June 18th through July 11th.  Hours are afternoons through late evening.

There is so much to do and see at State Fair Meadowlands.  This is a seriously major fair that has all the rides, food and live  entertainment you’d expect and more.  Spectacular fireworks happen on July 3rd and 4th too.  There’s so much happening that I’d go on forever here.  Go to the State Fair Meadowlands website for more information and to purchase tickets.  Scroll down the entire page for all the details.

Meadowlands State FairOpen Cockpit Weekend

Did you know that Bergen County has an aviation museum?  Not many people do.  As a result, thousands drive by Teterboro Airport without realizing there’s an aviation museum right there.

The Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey is located at 400 Fred Wehran Drive in Teterboro NJ.  It’s a very cool place which is, I feel, the best kept secret in Bergen County.  This weekend they are having a special event – Open Cockpit Weekend on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until the doors close at 3 pm.

This fun event is very well attended because it gives you a chance to see what it’s like to sit in the cockpit of helicopters and a rare Lockheed Bushmaster plane.

Historic New Bridge Landing

New Bridge Landing was the scene of a major Revolutionary battle.  It was also George Washington’s headquarters.  There is soNew Bridge Landing much history here.  Because this truly is hallowed ground in the Revolutionary fight for freedom, the Bergen County Historical Society made it their mission to preserve New Bridge Landing and the buildings that remained.

Today this is a wonderful living museum with special events all year long.  This Sunday at 2 pm there will be a walking tour of New Bridge Landing.  You’ll learn it’s history, visit it’s restored buildings and have a lot of fun.  For more information and to purchase tickets just go to their website.

Father’s Day Weekend Events

I hope that everyone who celebrates Father’s Day has a wonderful Sunday with their Dad.  My father has been gone for a while now but I remember him with love.  He was also quite a character.  A member of the Greatest Generation who went through a lot pursuing his American Dream.  I’m thankful for everything he gave me.

So there you have it – 4 Father’s Day Weekend Events to choose from.  While some run at the same time, you can still go to more than 1 or all of them.

 

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

why are there so many buyers Why are there so many buyers?  Every time you find a house, it seems so do others.  While I know this is frustrating, it’s not going to end soon.  Because it won’t, waiting is not a good idea.  Let me explain it all for you.

We’ll start with traditional reasons why people buy a Bergen County home.  Then I’ll tell you how current market conditions made things worse.

Why People Buy Bergen County Homes

Bergen County is next to not only the largest US city but also one of the world’s major capitals – New York City.  NYC has been an exciting place to live and work.

When the allure of urban life wanes, Bergen County is on the A List of places to go.  This is because of our proximity to NYC, diversity and everything we have to offer.  We are a prime destination for people with school aged children. There are so many award winning school districts.  Recreation is huge too.  Town parks are bergen county everywhere plus there’s a vibrant County Parks Department.  We even have 9 public golf courses and in winter a ski resort.

70 different locations make up Bergen County; there’s something here for everyone.  With great suburban neighborhoods, excellent town and County services plus proximity to NYC, we are an unbeatable combination.  As a result, there is always strong demand for Bergen County homes.

2020 and 2021

While I love NYC, it has become an unwelcoming presence.  There was an absolute panic to get out of NYC last year due to Covid 19 and civil unrest.  This year New York buyers tell me that they no longer feel safe.  It’s become so bad that all Mayoral candidates say they’ll save NYC from the current adminstration.  As a result, more people than you’d expect are moving to the suburbs.

Covid 19 pushed people out of NYC and urban areas in general.  This is because it’s impossible to social distance in any city.  At least in the suburbs you have space, a backyard and privacy.  While 2021 is not the panic we had last year, Covid still has an impact.

There’s the other Covid effect too.  We have learned to work remotely.  It’s no longer essential to be in that Manhattan office.  This is a fundamental and permanent change.  Of course New York offices will open up in the future.  However not all of them will.  As a result, the suburbs will gain significantly.  All of this increases the number of home buyers here.

mortgageLet’s Do The Math

What is the most expensive part of owning a house?  The mortgage loan itself.  It’s the cost of the money you borrow that determines what you can afford.  This cost is at historic lows.

A $400,000 mortgage at 3.25% is $1,736.05 per month.  This increases to $1,902.07 at 4%.  Doesn’t seem horrible, does it?  Well it sure is because you now qualify for 9.5% less house.  Your $425,000 home today is a $385,000 house tomorrow.  Should rates rise 1% you’re really out of luck.  That’s 13% less house or $369,750.

Because people today are so well educated, they “get it”.  As a result, more buyers than ever want to get a home now.

Renting versus Buying

It used to be that renting allowed you to save up for a down payment.  Those days are gone.  Since rents have skyrocketed, this rent vs buying no longer works.  Consider this:  A reasonable 2 bedroom apartment is around $1,850 per month.  This equals a $425,287 mortgage

OK, I know.  Owning a house does cost more.  Let’s see:  $400,000 mortgage = $1,736 + $1,000 taxes/insurance = $2,736 or $886 more per month.  You do get some write off on your property taxes and mortgage interest which helps.  Additionally you get $400,000 or more tax free when you retire.  What do you get by renting?  Zero.

Why Are There So Many Buyers?  You know the answer now.  As you can see, nothing will change soon except rates.  Right now the Fed is keeping rates down artificially.  That day will end and when it does, I expect rates to rise quickly and severely.

Keep reading this blog and tell your friends about it.  I’ll make sure you’re up to date on everything.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

Fun Things This Weekend In Bergen CountyI’m bringing back my articles on fun things this weekend in Bergen County.  Masks are off outside, people are going out to dinner and all sorts of events are happening again.  Bergen County is back!  Let’s see what we have in special events this weekend:

The Hermitage Civil War Living History Weekend

The Hermitage is a mid 17th century house that has been preserved as a museum.  It is a National Historic Landmark that usually has a pretty active schedule of events.  Because of Covid, this was interuppted but it’s back with a terrifc civil war themed event.

From car shows to period re-anactments, The Hermitage Museum is known for it’s many special events and educational experiences.  Since it’s been closed up like everything else, seeing it come alive this weekend is wonderful.  You have 2 days of scheduled civil war themed activities.

Admission is $7 per person with children under 4 free.  If you go to their website you’ll see the schedule for both Saturday and Sunday.  It begins at 10 am on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday.  Come meet the 6th Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers and hear music by the New Hampshire Contraband.

Because the Civil War is of interest to so many, this is always well attended every year.

Westwood’s Crafts in the Park Sunday  crafts in the park

Crafts in the Park is one of the largest Bergen County street fairs.  Because so many people come, it gets bigger every year.

Crafts in the Park is being held this Sunday, June 13th, from 10 am to 5 pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park across the street from The Iron Horse Restaurant next to the Westwood Train Station.

They have over 100 exhibitors lined up coming from 3 different States featuring art, crafts and photography.  Food is a big deal at this street fair too.  You’ll find traditional (hamburgers and hot dogs) to trendy (chicken kabobs).  I’m going to forget my diet and zero in on the home made ice cream!

Admission is free, the weather is going to be great and Westwood is a really cool town.  Think about grabbing dinner there too because Westwood is known for it’s many fine restaurants.

I can tell you that hamburgers at the Iron Horse are among the best in Bergen but get there early – no reservations,  PJ Finnegan’s is a terrific Irish bar and restaurant.  Do you like Midle Eastern food?  Go to Mezza for wonderful food or to Osteria Crescendo for Italian.  I’ve been to all of these.  They’re great.  As a result, it’s no wonder they stayed open.

relay for lifeRelay For Life in Paramus

This weekend Paramus is where you want to be for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  Saturday it’s at the Paramus High School and Sunday it’s at the Westfield Garden State Plaza shopping center.

Relay for Life is a fun way to raise funds for cancer research. Saturday’s relay at Paramus High School is also having a luminaria ceremony.  This is a wonderful way to honor those you’ve lost, who are fighting cancer now and survivors.  It’s easy to purchase a luminaria too.

Because this is to raise funds for cancer research, they haven’t cut off registration.  As a result it’s not too late to participate in this weekend’s Relay Fo Life but get it done ASAP to be safe.

food truck Sunday Paramus Food Truck Festival

While you’re driving through Bergen County on Sunday, come on over to the Food Truck Festival. This is to promote the Paramus Food Pantry.  They’re asking everyone to bring at least 1 item of non perishable food.

Located in the Paramus Park Mall, 20 food trucks are participating so far; more are expected.  In addition to the food trucks, there will be pony rides, a petting zoo, inflatables and food art.  Beer is available too along with soft drinks.  Dogs are welcome as long as they’re leashed.

Fun Things This Weekend in Bergen County

Gov Murphy has been opening up New Jersey more and more.  As a result, events are coming back.  Because they are, normalcy is returning.  While we’re not completely back to normal, we’re getting there fast.  Since we are and things are happening, I’ll continue sending out fun things to do.

 

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

home buyers should demand moreHome buyers should demand more.  Why do buyers accept so little?  I see buyers accepting less than they should so often.

Absent Agents

I5 groups came to my open house Sunday on my new listing.  When I asked if they were working with an agent, 12 said yes.  However 9  didn’t know “their agent’s” name.  They had to fumble through their phones to find it.

Some said the agent told them to call when they found a house.  Others said the agent didn’t work on Sunday.  Additionally some buyers told the agent to wait until they got back to them with the home they wanted.

Let me ask you this:  Do you really have a relationship with someone whose name you can’t remember?  Do you think that person even remembers you until you call to wake them up?

Why would you buy a house, the most important purchase of your life, from someone you really don’t know?  How much do you think they care about you?  Frankly why would they care about someone they’re not working hard for?

Look, I get it.  It’s the age of disconnect.  Two things are at work:  You’ve been taught that#the internet gets you everything you need.  Plus no one wants to be tied to a Realtor but this is a huge mistake.  You have invited incompetence into the biggest purchase of your life.  No excellent Realtor behaves like this.  Why would you tolerate this?  Home buyers should demand more.

An A Student Model

Remember high school?  How many A students were there in your class?  Not a lot.  It’s like that in life.  A students stand out.  They’re not smarter or better.  They work harder to be the best

Don’t you want an A student Realtor?  Why do you think less than the best is good enough for you?  Home buyers should demand more.  You need a top professional for the most important purchase of your life.

The Definition of a Great Real Estate Agent

Great agents are available when you need them.  They’re not out playing golf on Sunday because they’re out with you.  You’ll get a degree of service that removes stress and makes the process fun.  top agent

Additionally they take the time to teach you about houses, mortgages, the market and the process.  Great agents are with you every step of the way.  They answer your needs to the best degree possible and anticipate them.

Top Realtors listen and take a consultative approach.  They have the strength to advise you against a purchase when it’s right to do so.  I’ve done that and it’s always been the right decision for my buyers.

There’s no disappearing act.  Top professionals work just as hard after you’re in contract.  They let you know what’s happening next and why.  Here’s something else too – they’re accessible.  This is not a 9-5 job.

Most of all, great agents care.  They truly want you to be happy with your home purchase.

Home Buyers Should Demand More

So why don’t you demand more for the most important purchase of your life?  I believe there are 2 reasons:  You don’t expect to get it and you think you don’t need it.

The Pareto Rule applied to real estate is 80% of sales are done by 20% of the agents.  While you bump up against the majority, it becomes what you expect.  Excellence is not average.

Then there’s the internet.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told “I do my own reserach online.”  Really?  There are so many things I provide that you’ll never access on the web.

It’s All About Character

It’s all about character.  A great real estate agent has your best interests at heart and works tirelessly to achieve it.  Take advantage of a top professional’s knowledge, experience and guidance.  Don’t shortchange yourself by devaluing what a top agent brings you.  Demand more.  You desrve and need it.

 

 

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

38 E Broad 38 E Broad St in Bergenfield is no longer coming soon!  I just listed it in the New Jersey MLS.  It will be open this Sunday from 1 to 5 pm.  You will really be impressed by this wonderful home.

Let’s start with the fact that this is a true Farmhouse Colonial.  Farmhouse Colonial homes are very popular because of their charm.  From the wrap around porch to a classic side hall floor plan, these homes have ideal 1st floors for entertaining.  High ceilings, lots of windows and expansive rooms give you plenty of light and great space.  As a result, you have a very comfortable home that is ready to party.

Custom Designed Kitchen

Additionally this house has had an expansion over the years to create 38 E Broad St tremendous kitchen space and a powder room.  The current owner took this a step further and installed a magnificent kitchen.  He had it custom designed for serious cooking so you have a terrific Chef’s Kitchen.

Storage is everywhere you could fit it.  I can’t imagine running out of cabinet space.  Gorgeous high end materials were used from the beautiful wood cabinetry to a tile mosaic.  Counter tops are, of course, granite and stainless steel appliances finish it off.  This is the kind of kitchen I see in multi million dollar homes.

An Amazing Yard

In addition to an unequalled kitchen in this price range, you have an 38 E Broad Stamazing backyard.  Imagine beautiful plantings, patios to relax in, plenty of grass for play and your own inground pool!  The pool is also heated at no cost because it’s thermal heated.  That’s right – it costs nothing to heat.  Add to this a beautiful koi pond and a good sized shed for your lawn mower and garden tools.

The seller has not only flowering shrubs but a rose garden too.  This is Heated Pool such a beautiful, serene yard but it’s also built for fun.  They’ve had so many pool parties here.  It’s just not for the summer months too.  You can extend the season with the heated pool and fire pit in the covered open patio.

Behind the pool is plenty of yard space too.  This is ideal for all sorts of play for youngsters to adults.  This is a truly spectacular yard that gives you everything from relaxing after to work to major barbecues.  You really can invite the whole gang over.  There’s more than enough room.

38 E Broad St Details

38 E Broad Street has a finished basement, 3 bedrooms upstairs and a walkup storage attic.  This is, in all ways, a complete home.  The basement has a rec room which you’ll enjoy when the weather turns cold.  There’s another room perfect for guests or as a home office which connects to a full bath.

Heat is gas fueled and there are wall AC units to cool you plus a whole house fan.  Taxes are a reasonable $10,728 and lot size is 59 x 249.  The garage is a full sized 2 car;.  Yes, you can fit your F150 or SUV inside.

If you want more information, let me know or just come on over this Sunday from 1 to 5 at the open house.  This is one house that in any market won’t last long.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Coming Soon in BergenfieldI have a listing coming soon in Bergenfield.  My expectation is that the marketing will be ready by Thursday.  As a result, you’ll see it in the New Jersey MLS that afternoon.  But first, let’s look at Bergenfield as a location.

Commuting to New York Advantage

This is a single family house on a quiet street that’s also a short walk to NJ Transit express bus service to New York City.  As a result, getting to New York by bus is a breeze.  While we’re all used to remote work this will change.  You might find that you’re not commuting to NYC as often as in the past.  However you’ll still need a comfortable commute to work.

The NJ Transit bus schedule for the 177X Turnpike express bus shows about 53 minutes during rush hour to NYC.  Coming home the last Turnpike express bus leaves NYC just after 8:30 pm at night.  Please keep in mind that schedules are going to change as we open up more and more.  There were tremendous cutbacks due to Covid 19; as more people return to work in NYC more routes will return as well.

Bergenfield Public Schools

The Bergenfield Public School District is an award winning school system.  It’s a big reason why people buy a home here.  I wrote a blog article about 10 years ago about how Dr Kuchar had turned this district around.  This school system has only built upon what Dr Kuchar did.  Today home buyers come to Bergenfield because of the strength of it’s school district.

The #1 question I get from home buyers is “What’s the commute?” and the #2 question I get is “How are the schools?”  Even if there are no children, schools support the value of your home.  As a result, how a school district rates is important to everyone who wants to buy a house.  Bergenfield schools support the value of your Bergenfield home.

Coming Soon Listing

The photographer, floor plan and 3D Matterport Tour are being done tomorrow afternoon.  I should have the pictures by Thursday morning.  Once they arrive, I’ll be able to enter the house into MLS systems.

This is a 3 bedroom farmhouse colonial on a wonderfully deep 249 foot lot.  This lot is so deep that it has a large in ground pool with plenty of yard behind it.  Gorgeous plantings adorn this yard and there’s also a koi pond.  You’ll love the patio with a tent-like covered and uncovered section.

Regarding the pool, it’s large and heated.  While heating a pool is quite costly, that’s not the case here.  This is because the water is heated by thermal panels so it costs nothing.  Because it’s heated, you have a much longer season for fun.  Imagine the pool parties you’ll have here!

The main level is spacious with an amazing chef’s kitchen.  Downstairs there’s a finished rec room, guest or home home office room plus a full bath.  It’s easy to see why this coming soon home will sell quickly.  Pricing is going to be in the mid 500 range.

You can call me now for more details or to schedule a showing at 201-741-8490.  If not, watch for it in the NJMLS on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Buying.

how 1st time buyers lose a houseHow 1st time buyers lose a house is a topic that can fill volumes. I see these mistakes so often.  Buying a house is challenging enough these days with so few homes available.

The inventory has picked up a bit; 1,425 homes are for sale in the NJMLS today in Bergen County.  While this is better than the 1,070 in January, it’s still not the 3,200 I’d expect at this time of year.

How 1st time buyers lose a house is a topic I want to discuss so you avoid the same mistakes.  On top of low inventory, you don’t need this.  Here it is in a short form and more detailed below:

  • Mortgage – Not using a full time professional banker who is fully accessible
  • Realtor – Not using a full time professional agent who knows what they’re doing
  • Home Buyer – Not understanding the market and being prepared
  • Credit – Making financial moves like leasing a car or moving money that kills your mortgage

Mortgage

This happened 2 weeks ago.  Mary wanted to buy a house and had an online pre-approval for $250,000.  She was looking for a small 1 bedroom condo with a reasonable commute to NYC.  There was a nice condo in Hackensack that had just come on the market with a short walk to the New Jersey Transit train.

Because I’ve had so many negative experiences with online pre-approvals, I wanted to verify things.

Her so called banker didn’t return calls; it took 2 days to catch him.  He under estimated taxes, monthly maintenance and insurance costs.  I guess if you’re in Kansas it’s easy to forget that things here are a lot more expensive.

Let’s not forget that you can’t reach him after 5 during the week or on weekends.  So what do you do if you need an updated pre-approval to make an offer by the Sunday night deadline?  Nothing.  You can’t make an offer.

He’s not a banker.  He’s an order taker who doesn’t work directly with loan processing.  Oops!  Another problem.  This almost guarantees that the process won’t be smooth or efficient.

Here’s something else too:  Mary’s bank was not a bank because it’s a mortgage holding company.  Would this impress a seller as much as Weichert Financial, Wells Fargo or JP Morgan Chase?

BUT they quoted her a great rate.  Guess what?  That does not matter.  Read my article on why rates today don’t matter.

Realtor

I ask everyone the same question:  Would you allow a part time surgeon operate on your brain?  I don’t think so.

Full time professional real estate agents are vastly different from the cocktail party stories you hear.  We are truly interested in your welfare and continually keep working to be expert in so many arenas.  I get it.  You think we’re just door openers because you’ve met a lot of less than professional Realtors.

Don’t make that mistake.  Find a full time professional agent.  You’ll be glad you did.  If you read what I wrote on the professionals you need, you’ll see what to expect.  Here’s an example of how a buyer lost out 1 week ago:

You’re sitting down with the homeowner going over the offers.  One comes in with a pre-approval for more than their offer amount.  Additionally the contract wasn’t filled in correctly and the math is wrong.  That agent during the showing didn’t adhere to the showing instructions either.  Do you think that buyer had a chance?

Home Buyer

Be prepared.  This scouting motto is true in life because being prepared is the difference so often between wining and losing.  Go to the Buyer’s section of my website and read it thoroughly.  I wrote it to help you get properly prepared.

You have to take responsibility for getting ready and knowlegeable in all aspects of home buying.  Please don’t think that everything you read on the web is correct.  For example, articles you find are written on a broad scale.  Real estate is hyper local from the materials in a house to market conditions.

Hire a great full time professional Realtor and let that person teach you.  On the other hand, do your own reasearch too of course.  Just don’t minimize the knowlege and guidance of a great Realtor.

I insist on going through paperwork before we find the house.  Why?  Because it removes at least half of your stress.  So why not take advantage of someone like me?  I spend the extra time it takes to make sure you know everything.  It’s so much easier for you and puts you in control.

Credit

Did you know that a car lease is a loan?  Not everyone knows this.  As a result, if you lease a car while you’re applying for a mortgage, this can kill your mortgage.  Why?  Because it adds to your debt.  At the very least your mortgage had to be re-configured.  You might now qualify at a higher interest rate.

Moving funds from one account to another.  Getting down payment help from mom and dad in cash.  Applying for a credit card so you get 10% off.  Buying that refrigerator with your VISA card for your new home.  All of this and more can cancel your mortgage or raise your rate.

The solution is do nothing until after you close.  IF you want to do anything, call your banker first and talk it over.  Your banker will tell you whether or not it works.

By the way, be careful too.  There’s a reason doing the above will hurt you.  Banks know what comfortable limits are.

I hope this article on how 1st time buyers lose a house has helped you.  If you have questions or want me to write about something, you can always let me know.

 

 

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

Title InsuranceWhat you need to know about title insurance is a lot.  What is title insurance anyway?  To put it in one word, it’s safety.  I believe that title insurance is one of the most misunderstood aspects of home buying.

Let me ask you this. How many of you hear about title insurance while you’re looking for a home?  I doubt you do.  Because agents are not really taught about it, they don’t explain how important it is to buyers.

Going online, do you see headlines on any of the major websites about title insurance?  The answer is you don’t.  You’ll see ads for mortgages, home inspectors, termite companies etc.  You won’t see anything about title insurance.

Why Title Insurance Takes A Backseat

When you’re shopping for a home what do you look at?  First and foremost it’s homes, right?  Of course it is.  You pour over pictures of houses, condos, 2-4 families or coops.

Next you start to look at the towns, your commute to work and if you have children or planning to, schools. This makes sense doesn’t it?

As a result, the actual process of buying a home isn’t your focus right now.  Title insurance, appraisals etc really aren’t a concern.  However what you need to know about title insurance is very important.

What Is Title Insurance For Anyway

Title insurance protects you against defects in your title which create a financial loss along with legal expenses required to defend your ownership rights.

When a house is purchased, that sale becomes a public record.  Any recorded liens on the house, like a mortgage, become  part of the home’s public record too.  Your title company does a search through all the public records for any claims against the house.  Once your new home’s title is deemed insurable, a title policy is authorized.

Sometimes mistakes happen or there are hidden claims not part of the public record.  Here’s a hidden claim example that happened a few years ago in Oradell:

A seller never disclosed to anyone that he had 3 private loans as liens against his house on top of his mortgage.  At the closing, 3 men showed up demanding checks from the proceeds.  This seller had planned to fly overseas from the closing.  Because there wasn’t enough money to pay off everything, screaming started followed by a fist fight.  The police had to be called in.  What a mess.  Fortunately for the buyer, the closing had not yet begun.  One of the lawyers I work with told me about this.

Because liens are on the house and not the owner, they stay attached to the house.  As a result, if liens are not cleared out when you buy your home, you just bought those liens too.  Title insurance protects you from all sorts of defects.

Lenders Policy & Owner’s Policy

Most people don’t know that the title insurance they see on a closing document isn’t for them.  It’s not for you.  While it’s protection, to be sure, you really need an owner’s policy in addition to a lender’s policy.

A lenders policy provides no insurance at all to you.  It insures that the lender has a legitimate and enforceable lien for the mortgage on your home.  Owner’s policies insure you for loss and legal expenses if defects are found in your title.

Here is where it’s more than worth the small extra you pay for a great real estate attorney:  Excellent attorneys don’t shove transactions through.  They make sure of all the details.  They carefully read the title search reports and have you get an owner’s policy.  I see a lot of closing documents that don’t have an owner’s policy listed.

Title Insurance Costs

First you need to get a title search.  That’s a few hundred dollars typically – often no more than $500.  New Jersey has a unique approach to what title insurance actually costs:  New Jersey tells the title companies what they can charge.  It’s based on the sales price of the house.  Because this system is NJ State dictated, it doesn’t matter which title company you use.  The cost for the insurance is the same.

Weichert Title is a big company focused on our customers.  Because we are, we’ll do the title search right away for you.  If there are problems that come up, it’s usually early enought to fix them and close on time.  Should you not buy the house, as a Weichert customer, you won’t be charged for the search.

I hope this answers your questions.  If not or you need the name of a great attorney, give me a call at 201-741-8490.

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

You Won't See A Market Like This AgainYou won’t see a market like this again.  You can bet on it because real estate is based today on extraordinary circumstances.  I believe it’s not going to last long either.

What’s so unusual?  The answer is nearly everything.  To say that the real estate market is anything but bizarre is missing the point.  You don’t want to make mistakes now or be left in the dust when it changes.

What’s A Normal Housing Market?

Is there really a so-called normal housing market?  We’ve actually had this often.  It’s called a balanced market.  This is where the number of homes for sale and number of buyers are balanced.  Mortgage rates are not too high too.

To be specific, it takes 5-6 months to sell a house from start to finish and rates are well below double digits.  This assumes 2-3 months to secure a buyer and another 2-3 months to complete the sale.  You might be surprised to learn that we’ve had strong balanced markets with mortgage rates at 13.5%

Bergen County Real Estate Today

There is nothing normal about Bergen County real estate today.  You know that the inventory of homes is low.  Do you know that it’s 1/3 of what it was last year?  How about mortgage rates?  You’ve heard that they’re very low.  Did you know they’ve never been this low before ever?

The last time I saw a multiple offer throw away every contingency market was in the 2004-2006 bubble.  Before that it was in the 1985-1987 bubble.  This is not a crazy bubble.  Bubbles are speculative.  This is based on the law of supply and demand + flight from urban areas due to Covid 19 + safety concerns in NYC.

Low rates arrive when we’re in a recession or other negative economy.  They drop to stimulate the economy and move real estate forward.  This is because housing is a major driving force in the US economy.  Home prices drop too at such moments.  Well not now.  We have price appreciation + low rates today.

Buying a house today, even with higher prices, will cost you less because rates are so low.  Imagine that?  No one could have before this market.  How about going under contract in 15 days and closed out in another 30-45?  That’s not your normal 5-6 months.

What Should A Buyer or Seller Do?

Thinking about selling your house?  Get it listed in the MLS immediately.  You won’t see a market like this again.  Bergen County real estate was impacted directly by Covid 19.  Consider how today’s market will change in the near future.

Herd immunity is supposed to come by June’s end.  We see the economy opening up more and more.  Traffic has increased, mall parking lots are filled again and people are starting to go out.  Confidence is returning.  Homeowners are likewise becoming more confident about moving as a result.  You’ll see more houses coming on the market before you know it.  I give this 6-8 weeks.  Still think you should wait?

You want to buy a house.  This market is strongly in favor of the seller.  Don’t expect that to change.  It will be tempered a bit with more homes for sale as we move further into the year.  Multiple offers and bidding wars will still happen.  Appreciation is projected for 2022 as well as this year.  What should worry you are mortgage rates.

While nothing is happening now, it surely will in the future.  Let’s say we have a recession in 3-4 years and prices come down 15-20% while rates are at 6-7%.  Guess what?  That reduced price house is going to cost you more at 6-7%.  It’s better to buy sooner than later.  Higher rates equal a much greater expense.  Why wait years for the next recession cycle anyway?

Final Thoughts

I realize that this sounds very self serving.  Believe me, I get it.  You don’t have to ask me to help.  It would be nice if you did but this isn’t the point.  I’m giving you my best advice based on data and over 34 years of full time experience.

This market is like no other.  Fueled in large part by circumstances we hope won’t repeat, it’s extraordinary in many ways.  As a result, it’s important to think strategically.

Sell your house now.  There’s been no better time.  Buy a house now and save more on what your mortgage costs than in any future reversal.  Here’s something else – you can’t afford as much house with higher rates in that future too.

Need more help?  Have questions?  Contact me today.