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

co-op buildingWhat’s the difference between condos and coops?  This is a question I get so often from home buyers because it’s confusing.  A big reason why is because how they are displayed on line.

They are jumbled in together under one search category.  Buyers almost always see this incorrectly.  It’s either all one or almost as a competition – apartment vs condo vs townhome.  Neither is right.


What’s the difference between condos and coops

To break this down simply:

  • Condos are real estate while co-ops are shares in a corporation
  • Financing is a loan (co-op) or mortgage (condo)
  • Coop restrictions are much more invasive
  • Condos cost more, have lower fees and hold value better
  • Buying a coop is more involved with higher costs

Read on for a full explanation that explains the difference between condos and coops.

What Is A Condominium  condo townhouse

A condominium is real estate.  Condos are private homes within a complex where people share common area, maintenance  and amenity  expenses.  Bergen County condos have 2 primary styles – apartment and townhouse.  Additionally there are single family and office styles.

Whatever style your condo takes, you own it.  You’re just sharing the upkeep with all the other owners.  Because it’s real estate, there are less restrictions on your use.  If you want to rent it, you can.  There can be deed restrictions such as 55+ complexes.

Restrictions often come down to safety (no fire pits on the terrace) or aesthetics (no painted yellow dots on the exterior).

FHA Financing

Since it’s real estate, financing is a mortgage.  FHA works too.  Even if the complex is not FHA approved, you can still get FHA financing.  Your bank only has to send in a condo questionnaire for the management company to fill out.

If the answers satisfy FHA requirements, problem solved.  If not, consider yourself saved from a bad purchase.  This is why I advise my buyers to get the questionnaire done before spending money on a home inspection.  Most Bergen County condominiums are not FHA approved although there is hope this will change.

difference between condos and coopsWhat is a Coop

A co-op, or cooperative housing, is not real estate.  You’re buying shares of stock in a corporation that’s the structure.

Imagine an apartment building converted into a corporation.  Just like Wall Street except that it’s non profit.  Each apartment is worth so many shares of stock depending on size and how high up it is.  Your number of shares determines how much of the building’s mortgage and taxes are included in your monthly maintenance fee.

This is why co-op maintenance fees are so high.  In addition to normal maintenance expenses, your share of the building’s mortgage and property taxes are added.  The good news is that coops cost a lot less. Sometimes half of what it would be as a condo.  More good news for you – your portion of taxes and mortgage is a write off for you.

Here’s the bad news.  It’s difficult to buy a co-op.  Because you pay part of taxes and mortgage, not paying your monthly fee can throw a building into default.  Realistically this doesn’t happen  Buildings have reserves but they want to be guaranteed you’re a safe bet.  Once your offer is accepted by the seller, then you have to be approved by the coop association.

This can take several months.  You must fill out a lengthy application, wait for that to be okayed and be interviewed by the admittance committee.  Once approved, the co-op’s attorney (who you pay for) will schedule the closing where you receive your stock certificates.  Co-op fees are higher and admittance is not assured.

What’s the difference between condos and coops?

By now you should be able to answer this question.  If not, call me for more help at 201-741-8490.  What you are really buying whether a condominium or cooperative housing is a lifestyle.  While you don’t have the privacy of a single family home (nor the backyard), you don’t have the maintenance to deal with either.





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

Your home inspectionYour home inspection is to me the most critical part of buying a home.  Why do I say this?  Because your sales contract while the most important, is handled by your attorney.  If we assume you’re using a great real estate attorney, this should be fine.  Home inspections, on the other hand, can truly hurt you if not done right.


So how do we mess them up?  By not paying attention to the basics:

  • Cost
  • Location
  • Experience
  • Web Reviews
  • How You Behave  (I know, you don’t like hearing this but it’s important)

Choosing A Home Inspector By Cost

Customers buying my listings have paid less than $400 and over $2,000 for their home inspection.  I am not suggesting that either of these make sense because they don’t.

You are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house.  A great inspector is referred to you.  He charges $700.  Going online you find someone for $500 and book the appointment.

You know the $700 guy is excellent but the $500 guy has a great website.  Guess what – anyone can have a great website.

Location and Experience

If a home inspector does almost all of his inspections in NYC apartment buildings, what expertise does he have for a Bergen home inspector County Victorian home?  Or the opposite.  Southern NJ inspectors won’t be very experienced with Jersey City attached housing.

While an inspector might be licensed for all of NJ, local area hands on experience and a lot of it counts.  Make sure your inspector has done a lot of work where you’re buying.

Web Reviews

We all go online and look at reviews.  Who writes those reviews?  Can you verify them?  Websites like Amazon have tons of reviews so it feels secure. This doesn’t apply to home inspectors however.

When I tell you XYZ is a great inspector, I’m putting my reputation on the line along with my ethics.  That’s a whole lot better than some dubious web comments.

How You Behave At Your Home Inspection

Home inspections can be tedious.  Waiting while the inspector writes his notes isn’t fun.  You’re standing for 3 hours on average.  Believe me, I understand.  While this is true, resist the urge to turn this into a social situation.

Don’t talk to your agent about what’s going on in the world, sports, etc.  Stick with your inspector the entire time.  He will teach you a lot.  Be there too.

I have been at home inspections on my listing where it’s become almost a party.  This distracts an inspector.  Additionally there  were times when the buyer showed up over 1 hour late.  Inspectors whiz through then.  Good for my listing.  Bad for the buyer.  My buyers don’t make these mistakes.

bergen county homesA Home Inspection Disaster

A couple bought a Monmouth County home 18 months ago.  Going  online they found an inspector for $200 less than their agent’s recommendation.  Since they had bought and sold 2 homes before, they thought they knew what they were doing.

They moved in and over the next year, the wife became increasingly ill.  A blood test revealed massive amounts of mold spores in her lungs.  Consequently a licensed mold contractor was called in who easily found the cause.  Improper window and roof installations allowed rain water into the walls.  The solution?  $200,000 worth of work on a low 400’s house.

While these folks were experienced at buying and selling a house, they were not licensed inspectors nor professional Realtors.  Questions?  Call me at 201-741-8490

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

New Jersey is not New York City


New Jersey is not New York City.  Neither is Bergen County NYC.  Because so many of us see it as the same area, mistakes happen.  When this involves your mortgage, results are often disastrous.

New Jersey is not New York City

Bergen County is in New Jersey.  We’re the northeast corner of NJ immediately across the Hudson river from NYC.  Above Manhattan is Westchester and to our north is Rockland County.  Going east 45 minutes is Connecticut.

Since everything is within a 1 hour drive from each other, we think of this as one area.  It isn’t.  If you’ve ever been to these places, you’ll know how different they all are.  Additionally there are 3 different States – 5 locations in 3 States.  Isn’t it amazing that we think of this as one big area?

This is why its so easy for New York home buyers to make mortgage mistakes purchasing Bergen County homes.  They think a New York City based bank is fine in New Jersey.

Bergen County homes

Bergen County

Look at it this way:  Instead of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, call it Wyoming, Florida and New Mexico.  Would someone in New Mexico use a Wyoming bank for their mortgage?  New Jersey is not New York City.  Don’t use a NYC based mortgage bank to buy a Bergen County home.

The Bank Appraisal Disaster

Who orders the bank appraisal?  In New York it can be the bank, real estate agent or buyer.  In Bergen County it’s ordered by the bank.

Let’s say you are closing on April 23rd and your lease ends on the 30th.  This gives you 1 week to clean and paint before you move in.  Everything is in place or so you thought.

Your NYC mortgage bank doesn’t know NJ practice so they don’t order the appraisal.  By the time this mistake is discovered, it’s late.  You close on May 5th which costs you thousands.  No time to paint, you’re in a hotel and forced to store your things with a double move.

Condominiums Are Not Single Family Homes

NYC condos are treated similarly to single family homes.  Condos there are often FHA approved.  Not so here.  Bergen County condos are not FHA approved.

Condos here don’t want the expense and aggravation of getting FHA approval.  Does it matter?  Not really.  Banks solve this by using condo questionnaires.  While it’s pretty standard stuff, it can take days or weeks.  Each condo handles it differently.

Currently a Queens NY mortgage bank made this mistake on a Bergen County condo causing a 1 month delay.

How To Avoid Mortgage Disasters

  1.  Go local.  Even large national banks use local area bankers
  2. Get educated.  Know the home buying and mortgage process in and out.
  3. Trust your Realtor to recommend several bankers to interview

If you go to the Buyers section of my site, you’ll find a detailed description of how to buy a house in Bergen County.  I’ve written this specifically with you in mind.  Call me at 201-741-8490 to discuss this further.

The bottom line is that no matter where you come from, it’s in your best interest to go local.  Doing things differently can hurt you tremendously.





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

real estate is not slowing downReal estate is not slowing down because a lot has changed fundamentally.

New Jersey MLS

We’ve had low inventory for quite a while.  Every year it gets worse.  2020 is is the worst ever.  Right now as I write to you, we have 1,910 single family homes on the market for sale.  While nearly 2,000 homes for sale might seem like a lot to you, it’s not.  It’s roughly half or less for what is normal.

Let’s look at the number of homes under contract – 1,839 according to the NJMLS.  Contrast this with 1,910 for sale for a nearly 1 to 1 ratio.  There is no doubt that we have a strong seller’s market because you reach that level at 3 to 1.

Absorption rates measure how long it will take to sell all homes currently for sale.  You figure this by dividing homes for sale (1,910) by those sold over the past month (785).  This comes to 2.4 months.  Consider this – at 5 months you enter a seller’s market.

The Fed and Interest Rates

We have a crush of home buyers because of how the Fed has crashed rates into levels never seen before.  To give you a sense of perspective, look at Freddie Mac’s graph of mortgage rates.  Notice that points are shown.  This is because years ago rates were so high that buyers paid points to lower the rate (1 pt = 1/4%).

Home buyers today are well educated.  They understand the value of low rates.  The biggest cost of homeownership is your mortgage.  No one knows how much longer this will last but it beats the rise in pricing by a landslide.  For so many first time home buyers it’s the only chance they have to get away from renting.  Low rates are fueling this market.  It looks like the Fed will keep rates low through the spring too.  This means that real estate is not slowing down for quite a while.

The Move to the Suburbs  backyard

Everyone knows that you can’t social distance in a city.  As a result, Covid 19 began to push people to the suburbs.  Add in the deterioration of safety in NYC followed by civil unrest.  This has propelled people into the suburbs.

It used to be that people went into the City as young adults.  They married over time and then children came along.  The next step was a house in the burbs with a yard for the kids.  Or folks simply tired of city life and wanted a home.  Replacing them was the next crop of young adults.

This has been disrupted.  Urban flight took hold in a near panic to get out of New York City that still continues.  Because the City is no longer seen as a safe, pleasant place to live, fewer people are moving in.  According to Miller Samuel, August vacancy rates were the worst in 14 years at 5.1% (2019 was 1.9%).  Rental amounts dropped 10% too.

Lockdown Proved You Don’t Need Manhattan

The lockdown this spring also sped up what would have happened naturally over time.  Working remotely became an immediate  necessity.  Then something else happened.

Everyone realized this is better.  Both companies and workers learned that you can run your business successfully on a remote basis.  As a result how we work was fundamentally changed almost overnight.  While technology increasingly led us in this direction, it wouldn’t have done this overnight.

Companies have seen that they don’t need all that office space in Manhattan.  Suburban locations are cheaper with a nicer lifestyle.  In this world of internet connectivity, the value of a Park Avenue address has plummeted.  Workers are happier commuting less and still highly productive.  Companies reduce costs with less city space.

This puts more pressure on the suburban real estate market because companies will follow workers to the suburbs.  High NYC rents translate into affordable mortgages.  This is a huge change that happened at warp speed.

working remotelyReal Estate is not Slowing Down

The bottom line is that real estate is not slowing down in Bergen County.  Fundamental and permanent change has occurred.  Additionally because this happened so quickly, it’s disruptive on many levels.  The question is how much longer will this market last and how should you navigate these waters.

This is possibly the best time to sell a home for the next  7-8 years.  Rates simply cannot stay this low forever.  I do think they’ll be in this zone through early next year.  While they’ll start to go up, they’ll still be good through spring.  At least that’s how it looks right now.  Bear in mind that as rates rise, you will lose some buyers.

If you want to buy a house, go ahead.  Rates this low most likely will never be seen again.  Remember – the Fed is at zero.  Not even in the Great Depression did this happen.  Buy a home for the long term.  Prices will go up.  Prices will go down.  Over the long haul you’ll be ahead.  If you rent, you end up with nothing.

Take advantage of what is a very unique opportunity for both buyer and seller.  You can contact me for a free market evaluation on your home or to see what options you have as a home buyer.  Remember – it’s all about the rates ultimately.

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

154 Charlotte PlI have an amazing property coming on the market this week in Englewood Cliffs.  While there are many beautiful homes in Englewood Cliffs, there is nothing even remotely comparable to 154 Charlotte Pl.  154 Charlotte Place

This elegantly sophisticated residence is also a warm and inviting home.  Built by the present owner in 2011 to exacting standards, every room is uniquely beautiful.  It’s a combination of exquisite custom touches, superior materials and fine craftsmanship,  As a result, you have a true masterpiece of style and comfort.

First Floor Design

We enter through a grand foyer with a sweeping open staircase that frames your view with it’s beauty.  This is truly a work of art with  mahogany stairs and designer iron work.  This beautiful staircase transports you through all levels gracefully.  Because this is fully open, the view whether up or down is stunning.

Formal Living RoomThe blending of arched, straight and curved lines is fabulous.  This interplay of styles is throughout the home.  As a result, there is an artful aesthetic to this house.  Nowhere is it more evident than the entrance to the formal living room.

The living room is framed by an archway which sets the tone for it’s formality.  Detailing is linear and it all works wonderfully.

Ceramic floors give everything a crisp, clean look.  Additionally this allows for the luxurious comfort of radiant heat in winter and cool floors in summer.

The Formal Dining Room defines opulence with a gorgeous chandelier Formal Dining Roomsuspended from the hand painted inverted ceiling.  Shapes and colors complement each other perfectly.  It’s all set upon a backdrop of small paned window walls for a decidedly charming effect.

Located off the foyer is the home office.  Featuring a coffered ceiling, custom built ins and 2 walls of windows, this is as comfortable as it is practical.

Kitchen and Family Room

Kitchen and family room are at the back of this level.  This is where you’ll spend most of your time in this comfortable setting.  Each opens to the other for a perfect, relaxing flow.

Wolf OvenThe kitchen is truly spectacular with it’s high end high style character.  Equipment runs from a Sub Zero Refrigerator to Wolf Oven.  Granite has a beautiful custom cut.  Medallions accents decorate the tile floor.  Grainview cabinetry, a warming drawer, crumb vacuum, center island with breakfast bar and more.  This large room is itself a showplace.

The Family Room is anchored by the marble gas fireplace insert into beautiful custom built in cabinetry.  Light pours in through a wall of windows where you’ll also find French Doors to the patio.

There’s another set of French Doors in the kitchen dining area.  This is a perfect set up for summer barbecue parties.  Outside you’ll find a paver patio, outdoor kitchen and waterfall to soothe your cares away.

154 Charlotte Pl

This is merely an introduction to this magnificent home.  While large, the home has tremendous warmth.  It is over 5,500 square feet plus a fully finished basement.  It is a 6 bedroom, 4.5 bath 16 room house that has every amenity you want.  Everything is done with exquisite style and the best of materials.  There is so much more to tell you and to show you.  Located for a quick drive to Manhattan in prestigious Englewood Cliffs, call today for your private viewing.


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21 Canterbury LaneI just listed 21 Canterbury Lane in New Milford at $449,000.  This 2 bedroom and 2.5 bath townhouse is located right off River Road in the Canterbury Village complex.  Let me tell you about it.

What appeals to me about this complex is the fact that it’s older  construction.  Because it was developed in the mid 1980’s, it’s a whole lot quieter inside than some newer places.


The Value of Quieter Construction

I received a phone call about 2 years ago from a client.  His parents bought a new retirement condominium apartment recently out of the area.  They are not happy with this purchase because of noise.

They hear their neighbors, they hear water in plumbing pipes doing down the wall,  He describes this as “paper thin walls”.  I suggested that they contact the management association to see if some insulation can be blown in.  21 Canterbury

Canterbury Village was constructed in the mid 1980’s.  Construction was done differently then.  As a result, it’s quieter than some new complexes.  It really depends on which complex you’re talking about because they’re all different.  I’ve never had a noise complaint about Canterbury Lane units.

21 Canterbury Lane

Let’s talk about space.  Space is important.  So is a functional floor plan.  You’ll find both here.  Walking up a few steps you enter into a foyer.  Then it’s up a few steps more to the main floor.  Living and dining rooms are good sized.  Here is a luxury feature – the living room is sunken.  The dining room overlooks it because it’s open between both rooms.  While you have an open aspect, each room is separate.  As a result, you get the best of both worlds.  Additionally the living room has a fireplace and sliding glass door to the deck.

New Milford homesKitchen is great too and has room for a breakfast table and chairs.  Custom designed with wood cabinets and granite you will enjoy the terrific storage.  There’s also a guest Powder Room on this level.

Upstairs will impress you.  The Master Bedroom is very spacious with 3 double closets and a renovated full bath.  This is beautifully done plus there’s a skylight which adds abundant light.

There is a downstairs too.  You’ll find is a home office space, a storage room and access to the 2 car garage.  The garage is big.  You can line it with a storage system if you wish.  No squeezing out of your cars in this garage.

Great Changes

The owner made some wonderful changes.  He put in hardwood floors throughout.  Upstairs was completely carpeted before.  Also added was beautiful detailing and crown moldings on the 1st floor and the basement home office space was unfinished originally.

21 Canterbury Ln is a treat to behold.  It so has the feeling of a single family home even though it’s a townhouse.  You will be able to host large parties here or just unwind in the quiet.  Imagine the fun you’ll have!  Considerably superior in design, workmanship and luxury features than what you’ll find elsewhere, it offers much.  You can downsize here in style or start home ownership without the hassle of exterior maintenance.

Come on over to 21 Canterbury Lane in New Milford NJ this Sunday, Oct 4th, from 1 to 4 pm.  You’ll be glad you did!

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419 Golf Course Drive419 Golf Course Drive in Leonia is on the market at $959,000.  While there are others in this price range, none have the value you’ll find here.

Floor Plan

Constructed in 1984 at the top of  prestigious Vreeland Hills in Leonia, this expansive home was very well designed.  There are actually 4 levels of living space and it all works.  I like to think of this as a combination of the Sugar Maple and Front to Back split level homes.  

You come inside by way of a beautiful Foyer.  Going straight back is the Family Room.  You have another choice here too because you can opt to go up the stairs.  This leads you into the large Living Room, Formal Dining Room and Eat in Kitchen.

You will love how the floor plan works here:  There is only open space between the kitchen and lower level Family Room.  As a result, you have a beautifully dramatic effect.  Add in the 5th bedroom (currently a large home office) and full bath on this level too.  This is such a wonderfully designed home! 419 Golf Course Dr

Another level up is the private sleeping areas.  Because the Master Suite is on the other side of the hallway, you have the utmost in privacy.  Included in the Master Suite is a makeup counter, walk in closed and private bath.  There are 3 more good sized bedrooms and a full bath.  Because of how they are designed, these 3 good sized rooms are positioned for privacy as well.

You reach the 2 car garage through a hallway in between the Family Room and Foyer.  It seems that every inch of this house is intelligently designed.  While hallways are normally nothing special, this one is.  There’s a laundry closet and several storage closets.

Let’s go downstairs to the basement.  Because you have accommodating ceiling height, this room has welcomed serious exercise equipment.  No need to go to a gym because this is indeed the ideal spot!

419 Golf Course Drive419 Golf Course Drive Basic Facts

Here are basic facts on this home:

  • 5 Bedrooms & 3 Baths
  • Generac Home Generator
  • Multi Zone Gas Heat & Central Air
  • 100 x 100 Lot & $18,607.68 Taxes
  • Heated In Ground Pool w/Paver Patio
  • Professionally Landscaped w/Lawn Sprinklers
  • 2 Car Attached Garage w/Custom Gladiator Storage System

Leonia Open House This Sunday

This beautiful home has been a very special part of this family’s life.  Because children grow up, move out and lead their own lives, there comes a time to downsize.  That time is now and, as a result, it’s also time for parents to move on.

This Sunday come to 419 Golf Course Drive.  You’ll see a home that will not disappoint you because the value is so very obvious.  It has everything you need and everything you want.  You have all this plus one of Bergen County’s best – the wonderful community of Leonia, NJ.  I look forward to meeting you this Sunday between 1 and 4!



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

New Leonia NJ ListingComing soon is a new Leonia NJ listing.  It will go on the market once I have the marketing in place.  This will take a little time.  Most likely this home will be in the MLS system in just a few days.

Because all my listings get the very best, it takes an extra while to get ready.  Fusion Photography, a 3 D Matterport Tour and a Floor Plan are scheduled for this week.  Once this is all in, then the house goes on the market for sale.

To give you an idea of how it works, click here now to see what I’m talking about.  The example used is a home in Fair Lawn that I listed and sold recently.

Being on the cutting edge of marketing is essential because it’s so important to both buyer and seller.  Buyers should have full transparency and sellers need to be marketed as best as possible.  It’s a win/win for both.

My New Leonia NJ Listing

Details I can share with you now are the following:

  • $959,000 Asking Price
  • Sugar Maple Split Level
  • 5 Bedrooms & 3 Full Baths
  • 2 Car Attached Garage
  • 3 Levels of Living Space
  • Gorgeous Grounds
  • Paver Patio & Inground Pool

This is a beautiful and elegant home in outstanding condition.  There are so many updates that have been done over the years that I’m going to post a detail sheet on the house too.

Leonia NJ  Leonia NJ

If you don’t know about Leonia New Jersey you are in for a treat.  This is a wonderful community with a long history.  Settled in 1668, General George Washington led his troops down Fort Lee Road through town.  It was part of the Underground Railroad and officially became a town in 1894.  Population is around 9,000 and size is 1.63 square miles.  As a result it’s small in numbers and size.   While Leonia may be small, it has a mighty roar!

Residents come from many professions.  Nearly half are college or graduate degree recipients.  There are more than the average number of college professors and other professionals.

Leonia has always had a large number of people in the arts.  Included is everything from Broadway to TV.  As a matter of fact,  The Players Guild of Leonia has been providing terrific live theater since it’s founding in 1919.  I’ve enjoyed many of their productions over the years.

Schools are great too.  SAT scores averages are high at 591 for reading and 601 in math.  Leonia schools are renown and a big reason why people live here.  Additionally the high school has Leonia Academies where superior students can get an immersive education in everything from Culinary Arts to STEM.

Additionally Leonia is a fabulous commute.  Turnpike Express Buses get you into NYC in less than an hour typically.

Follow this blog because I’ll give you all the information on this Leonia home as soon as I can!

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

74 Lilac Street74 Lilac Street in Bergenfield, NJ just went on the market for sale at $439,000 and will be open this Sunday, September 20th from 1 to 4 pm.  This pristine Cape Cod home has a lot size of 90 x 90 and property taxes of $10,506.

Special Outside Features

Here are some of the special features in this home.  I’m sure you’ll appreciate and love all of them!

Let’s start with the outside:

  • Vinyl Exterior
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Paver Patio & Walks
  • Beautiful Landscaped Grounds
  • Underground Lawn Sprinklers

Special Interior Features  74 Lilac St

  • Living Room Marble Fireplace
  • Formal Dining Room
  • Eat In Kitchen
  • 5 Burner Viking Stove
  • Stove Hood Vented Outside
  • 4 Bedrooms + Nursery Room
  • Basement Summer Kitchen
  • Oak Hardwood Floors – 1st & 2nd Floors

Additional Pluses

  • Gas Heat
  • Central Air      Bergenfield
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Vinyl Exterior
  • Paver Patio & Walk
  • Underground Sprinklers

74 Lilac Street is located on a dead end street which gives you the wonderful suburban ambiance of peace and quiet.  You’re also a short walk to NYC commuting buses and Dunkin Donuts.  Nearby is shopping from Walgreens to supermarkets to a terrific car wash.

Bergenfield is a town with a rich history of diversity.  Once a center of Irish culture in Bergen County it has grown to encompass a wide variety of cultures.  I like to say that this is an all American town – we have everyone from everywhere.  This makes Bergenfield a wonderful welcoming community.

The school system consistently wins awards and was recognized by Governor Chris Christie.  He highlighted Bergenfield Schools as high performing without raising taxes.  He spent a day hewre and had a video done on the District.

Because lot sizes are small – typically 50 x 100 – homes are more affordable.  As a result, this is a great destination for 1st time home buyers.  One of the popular Bergen County locations, I’ve devoted a section on my website to the town.

Stop by on Sunday from 1 to 4.  Don’t wait to see it because we expect it to be gone in a flash.




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

stop renting and start investingStop renting and start investing is more than a cliche.  It’s smart money management especially if you have a low budget.  Why?  Because you’ll be paying yourself instead of someone else.

What Do Tenants Want

Since this will be a long term investment, it’s important to choose with a tenant in mind.  It should rent quickly because you don’t want months of vacancy in between tenants.  Additionally, easy to maintain is a must.  This is, after all, your first investment so begin with something manageable.

Here’s what tenants tell me they want in a small condo apartment:

  1. A good commute to NYC.
  2. Close to shopping – even better if it’s walkable
  3. Usable space is important with nice bedroom size
  4. Available laundry facilities
  5. Good storage if possible
  6. Move in updated condition
  7. Parking is a plus

This all boils down to convenience.  Everyone works hard so free time is limited.  As a result convenience is tops on a tenant’s list typically.

Englewood Estates at 63 W Hudson Ave  63 W Hudson Ave

Let’s start with a 1 bedroom condominium apartment in Englewood NJ.  I’m using Englewood Estates as an example at 63 W Hudson Ave.  It should come to around $190,000 for an updated 1 bedroom condo apartment there.

63 W Hudson Ave is typical of small garden apartment complexes.  It was converted from rentals to condominiums.  As a result heat and water are included in the monthly maintenance.  Additionally coin operated laundry rooms exist in building basements.  While there is a waiting list for parking, spots are available on W Hudson Ave.

Englewood Estates is a short walk to NYC express bus commuting.  You’ll pass by a bagel store, luncheonette and dry cleaner along the way.  Coming home Walgreens and other stores will be open.  Check off items 1, 2, 4 and 7.

Englewood as a location is terrific.  This is a highly diverse, vibrant city with a lot to offer.  It’s one of the most popular Bergen County locations.  You’ll find all sorts of stores, restaurants and even a live theater downtown.

Stop Renting and Start Investing

Because it’s realistic, we’ll use 3.25% for the mortgage rate.  This comes to $435 per $100,000.  Maintenance should be $283 per month, taxes at $2,800 or $233.34 per month and $650 for insurance ($54.16 monthly) Let’s total it up:

  • $283 + 233.34 +$54.16 = $570.50
  • $190,000 mortgage = $826.50
  • PMI = $61 per month (mortgage insurance for less than 20% down)
  • $1,458 monthly mortgage

stop renting and start investingHow much are you paying in rent?  I’ll bet its more than this.  So what’s the catch?  You buy less space than you can rent and closing costs.

Saving Up = Winning

After 30 years of renting you have nothing.  Owning gives you $190,000 free and clear.  Stop renting and start saving is the right idea for you.

Smart real estate investing creates wealth and financial security.  This 1 bedroom condo gives you so many future options.  You can sell it at a profit in the future, use it for additional income or trade up to a 2-4 family.


Here’s my educated guess on what it will come to:

  • $6,65o down payment (3.5% – the minimum for most)
  • $1,500 Attorney Fee
  • $500 Home Inspection
  • $2,200 Title Search and Insurance
  • $2,000 Banking Fees
  • $650 Homeowner Insurance
  • Total $13,500

I based this on a renovated 1 bedroom condo at 63 W Hudson Ave.  These units have been renting for $1,550 per month.  Live in it for several years while rental prices rise moderately.  As you’re doing this, save for a down payment on a house.

Stop renting and start investing.  For young, first time home buyers who are on a low budget, its possible and it’s oh so smart.  Over the course of 30 years, you’ll be so glad you did.