Posted by & filed under Buying.

westside Englewood homesEnglewood homes are highly prized for their gracious old world charm.  The East Hill is famous for its many grand estates that are surrounded by towering oak trees, 15 foot high native rhododendrons and flowering fruit trees.  Such beauty and ambiance is not only found on East Hill acre estates; west side Englewood homes are equally beautiful just on a smaller scale.

Traditional colonial and Tudor style homes with gorgeous woodwork framed by 30-40 foot trees are in abundance here.  Many of these Englewood homes also feature stained glass windows, gorgeous inlaid wood floors and chestnut trim.  Traditional floor plans create ideal flows for entertaining and the friendly neighborhoods are exceptionally stable – turnover isn’t high here because people love living here.  In fact it’s not at all unusual to see people stay in their Englewood home for decades after their children have grown up and moved on.  As a result you’ll find long time residents on every street as well as new young families.

A perfect example is my listing at 315 Katherine Street.  This traditional colonial is located on a hidden street – ask mowestside Englewood homesst folks and they’ve never heard of Katherine Street and when you try to find 315 Katherine Street 07601 on your GPS you are bound to get lost.  This 1 block long street is at the end of St Nicholas Street which is itself a dead end.  Extremely quiet with 100 year old trees, it’s as if you’re on a country lane yet you’re only a 15 minute drive to New York City.

Englewood homes on the west side are also quite affordable as far as Bergen County homes are concerned – at an asking price of $345,000 this 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home sits on a 50 X 110 lot in a terrific location.   Come see 315 Katherine Street – you’ll be glad you did!

Posted by & filed under Buying.

If you’re a typical home buyer you’ll be on the web looking at all the real estate websites gathering information on homes for sale.  It’s really very easy to get plenty of information on the real estate market through the internet but its not very easy to get information on the communites where the homes are located or to get a feeling for a town.  If you’re thinking of buying a Westwood home  New Jersey Monthly Magazine will help you.

New Jersey Monthly Magazine  has a simply great article on taking a day trip to Westwood that highlights the business district and all it has to offer.  Westwood has one of the best local business districts in Bergen County which has a very positive impact on the value of Westwood homes.  Many of the local stores, restaurants and boutiques have been in Westwood for decades and have gone through several generations of owners.  Westwood homes are always in high demand and the many features this town has to offer is a big reason why.  You can find more information on Westwood at the Borough Website at http://www.westwoodnj.gov/

Posted by & filed under Buying.

Short sales explained in a terrific new book.

Inman News is the leading source of news for the real estate industry.  I receive it’s news updates twice daily and this afternoon short sales there was a book review on a new book that I thought would be of great use to any home owner who is thinking of selling his home as a short sale.

The book is titled “How to Use A Short Sale to Stop Home Foreclosure and Protect Your Finances”.  What I liked about it was the clear way the material is presented.  The reviewer, Tara-Nicholle Nelson,emphasized that the author made everything involved in a short sale easily understandable.

Short sales can be a great solution to avoid foreclosure.  This book is a great help because what I’ve observed is that most homeowners and real estate agents simply don’t understand them.

I’d also recommend that any home buyer who is thinking about purchasing a short sale get this book.  From what Ms. Nelson wrote in her review, the material is very comprehensive and a lot of it would also help to educate a buyer.  You can get it at Amazon and the 2 reviews there were positive.

Get this excellent book so you have short sales explained in depth and understandably.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

Englewood trolley

Trolley service is back.  Use the Englewood trolley to commute from your home.

Trolley service was  used in Bergen County until the advent of the Automobile Age in the 50’s and 60’s which made them seem old fashioned and restrictive.  You could drive anywhere in a car at any time – not so with the trolley.  Another change was development of large scale shopping malls on Route 4 and Route 17.  The Bergen Mall and Garden State Plaza were the first major shopping malls opening in the late 50’s.  People flocked to these new malls in their cars.  Even with a great business district locally, if you owned an Englewood home, chances were that you drove to these malls.

In the affluence of the post World War II era, the American Dream of owning a home with your own backyard and a car in the driveway took over.  Soon even public buses  linking all 70 communities in Bergen County became a thing of the past.  People went everywhere in their cars.  I remember watching trolley tracks being paved over on Broad Avenue in Leonia when I was a young girl.  Everyone was proud of how “modern” Leonia now appeared.  But, times have changed and trolley service is one of the advantages of owning an Englewood home.

Green is in which means using public transportation to commute to work, shop and dine out is  more important than ever.  People who are thinking of buying a home now use such websites as Walk Score to measure how accessible homes are to basic services.

In December of 2008 the City of Englewood began an experiment – free trolley service to the downtown business district where an Englewood resident could connect to NJ Transit and Coach USA express buses to work.  In addition to  normal rush hours, the trolley operates until 8 pm during the work week so commuters can shop and dine downtown on their way home at night.  (Saturdays it runs from 1 to 8 pm).  Having this free service is quite an advantage if you own an Englewood home.

The Englewood trolley experiment has been a huge success and is another benefit for Englewood homes.  For more information , Englewood has a detailed brochure and a map of the trolley line .

Posted by & filed under Buying.

home buyer tax creditClaim Your Home Buyer Tax Credit with IRS Form 5405

On January 15th the IRS released a new form for home buyers who want to claim the tax credit when they file their taxes this year.  This is Form 5405.  Form 5405 is a revision of the previous 2009 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.  This is so that the current 2010 Home Buyer Tax Credit program is covered.

I would like to point out 2 important changes:

  1. You MUST include documentation such as your RESPA closing statement along with Form 5405.
  2. You must file manually.

Because there is more documentation required your tax return must be filed manually.  This applies to both a repeat and a first time home buyer who are claiming the tax credit.  Remember that both more documentation and manual filing is what you’ll have to do.

For more information, just go to the IRS website .  It’s really not hard to take care of this and since you will have purchased your home recently, it shouldn’t be difficult to access your RESPA closing statement.  As always, I recommend that you consult with a tax professional.

The home buyer tax credit is a benefit of home ownership.  Make sure you do what’s required so you get this advantage.

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

performing artsI bet you didn’t know that Bergen County is a performing arts center.  Performing arts is one of our greatest assets.

Bergen County has the advantage of being just a short hop across the George Washington Bridge from New York City.  As a result, we are next to Manhattan’s world class theater and entertainment.  You don’t have to cross the bridge, however, because we have that right here.

The Bergen Performing Arts Center is located right in downtown Englewood.  Known as Bergen Pac  it presents live performperforming artsances 12 months of the year.  Bookings run from the New Jersey Symphony to international stars. Musical performances have included Ray Charles, Pink Floyd, Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole and the Beach Boys.  Comedian have included Don Rickles, Bill Cosby and Wanda Sykes just to name a few.

Begen PAC is extremely popular because it gives you world class entertainment that’s easy.  You don’t have to drive to Manhattan and pay exorbitant parking fees in NYC garages.  Englewood has so many great restaurants.  What a perfect setup for a full night out.

You start with dinner out at one of the many excellent restaurants in downtown Englewood.  You follow that up with a great live show at Bergen PAC.  When the weather allows, Englewood has a downtown that is filled with people during the evening enjoying dinners, cappuccino or just walking up and down Palisade Avenue looking at all the shops.

Bergen PAC is fabulous but it’s not the only reason that Bergen County is a performing arts center.

Bergen County boasts many local theater companies including the Garage Theater Group in residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  Garage has a focus on grooming younger performers.  There are very popular community theater groups including Bergen County Players and The Player’s Guild of Leonia.

Opera is not forgotten because we have our own opera company.  This is The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera.

Ramapo College has the Berrie Center for the Performing Arts.  This theater is situated on a beautiful campus and is host to quite a variety of plays, concerts, lectures.  Because it’s at the northern end of Bergen County it attracts Rockland County residents too.

Bergen County is a performing arts center for both it’s residents and those from bordering locations. Performing arts is well supported and something we treasure here.  Our high schools have strong performing arts programs.  Many students go on to professional careers.  High school plays are so good that you’d think it’s Broadway.  This is another reason why Bergen County is a great place to live.

Posted by & filed under Homeowner Tips.

House LogicHouse Logic was a new website when I wrote a blog article on it in 2010.  Since then it has become an extremely popular resource for home owners and both buyers and sellers.  As a result, it’s an very popular website and what it offers has grown with consumer demands.

It covers everything you can imagine.  Topics include a repair or renovation to tax credits to protecting yourself from a scam artist.  Created by the National Association of Realtors, it’s in beta testing on the web right now.  I have taken a good look at it and, frankly, I’m very impressed.  Because it’s so comprehensive and user friendly I think the NAR did an excellent job with House Logic.

Go to http://www.HouseLogic.com and take a look yourself.  Buying a house in Bergen County is the start of a long term relationship with your home and your community.  House Logic helps you “protect, maintain and enhance the value of your home” in so many ways.  I found tips on how to do economical repairs that pay big dividends to how to get tax credits for energy efficient improvements.

The site is very detailed about all sorts of things.  For example, House Logic has an entire section on improving your insurance score.  Most people don’t realize how devastating a bad credit score can be.  When I tell my clients that a poor credit rating even affects your insurance premiums they are usually surprised.  Here you will learn how a credit rating affects your homeowner insurance premium.  It’s a fabulous website for consumers.

Because the site is focused on helping people to learn about and maintain a home, it is not focused on home buyers and home sellers exclusively.  As a result, if you aren’t a homeowner or thinking of buying a home, this site is for you too.  There is so much excellent information about home ownership that you’ll get a great education.

There are sections for home buyers and home sellers of course.  My point is that this payday loans uk was designed to help everyone.  Take the section on finance for example.  Scroll down the page and you’ll find topics completely unrelated to buying or selling real estate.  This is because it was designed to be very comprehensive.

Take a spin through House Logic.  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, Selling.

Bergen County real estate has stabilized.  This was my projection last year and I am very happy to say that I was right on target.  What I’d said and written was that by the end of 2009 the market would stabilize.  It has done exactly that.

Our housing market is improving.  New Jersey MLS data, bank appraisers and housing reports all say the same thing:  We have clearly bottomed out and are in a period of stabilization. Because so many different points of view agree, this must be the case.

Today’s ratio of homes for sale to under contract is 4 to 1; early in the year it was in double digits. This is quite a recovery.  Appraisers and market analysts teach us that when the ratio is less than 5 to 1, we are in positive territory.  Because of this ratio it is clear that we have turned the corner and the market is moving forward.

Last spring Bergen County was classified by the mortgage industry as an “area in decline” meaning that values were falling.  Appraisers were deducting 1% per month of value; if a home appraised at $200,000 and was closing 2 months later, the appraisal was fixed at  $196,000.  Bergen County’s housing market is no longer classified as “in decline” and a Valley National Bank appraiser on Monday told me that price depreciation has ended.

Jeff Otteau in his latest real estate newsletter termed the NJ real estate market’s performance “remarkable” and forecast continued improvement.  The monthly Credit Suisse agent survey said that for the first time in a long time a majority of agents reported positive home buyer traffic and houses selling quicker.

With all time low interest rates, prices no longer dropping and falling inventory levels, there should be no surprise to find that Bergen County real estate has stabilized.  We are moving toward a positive market after quite a rough ride.

Posted by & filed under Buying.

If you are a home buyer and qualify for the first time home buyer tax credit, listen up.  Time is running out for you to find a home.  You must buy a home by November 30th.  Because getting a mortgage these days often takes 45 days, many buyers feel pressured to make a decision now.  As a result, first time buyers who qualify for the $8000 Tax Credit are scrambling to get into contract now.

I am, however, wondering if some of you aren’t making a mistake.  Rushing into things is never the best strategy.  So I ask you to consider another option.  Is the $8,000 tax credit causing you to overlook even better short sale opportunities?

$8000 is nothing to sneeze at but a buyer may be missing out on a home value that far exceeds it.  Short sale opportunities are still available.  There are many homes for sale with steep discounts because they are a short sale.  You may find a house that is a better “fit” for you in a short sale than trying to buy a home that you really don’t love just because of the tax credit.

In the New Jersey MLS this morning, I found that of the 3,796 single family homes for sale, 352 are a short sale.  There are also many that are described as potential short sales.  For our purposes, let’s say that a bit more than 10% of the Bergen County housing market is a short sale.   This figure has been pretty constant this year.  The bottom line is that there are other opportunities out there.

Even if you can’t find a home that works in time for the tax credit, you shouldn’t go into contract on something that isn’t the right home for you and your family.  Opportunities come in many ways.  Call me at 201-741-8490 if you’d like to discuss this or just have a question.

Posted by & filed under Buying.

PSEGBergen County has a primary and a secondary utility company for electric and gas service.  Public Service Electric and Gas is our primary.  I love this company.  I have lived in Bergen County for most of my life and they have never disappointed me.  Orange and Rockland provides just electrical service to northern Bergen County.

One of the special advantages of living in Bergen County, at least from my point of view, is Public Service Electric and Gas.  Go to their website at http://www.pseg.com where you’ll find excellent information and their terrific Worry Free Contract system.

PSE&G has very reasonably priced maintenance contracts on your gas and electric heating, air conditioning and appliancPSEGes.  I have always recommend this to my clients for at least their gas furnace.

This is one of the best values you can find in Bergen County.  You can sign up for this in advance.  As a result, it starts the day you buy you home.  Worry Free Contracts is especially great for your gas furnace.  This furnace maintenance program costs $5.90 per month for parts and labor.  It includes a furnace check and cleaning every year.

Go to their Residential Worry Free Contract Enrollment and scroll down the page toward the bottom.  This is where you find the a la carte menu if you don’t need the bundled options at the top of the page.  The cost is billed monthly on your utility bill which makes this affordable service even easier to handle.

It just makes sense, especially now that the heating season is almost here, to get yourself protected.  I always recommend to my clients who have gas furnaces in their home that they at least get this coverage.  It’s simply the best deal around at an annual cost of $70.80 for parts and labor with no deductibles.

When you buy a home the last thing you need is an unexpected bill for a furnace repair.  $5.90 per month gives you peace of mind.  Trust me – it can happen any time.  Years ago I had a 3 year old furnace that stopped working because the circulator pump broke.  PSEG came in a few hours and replaced it.  No problems after that and it was well worth the $5.90 bill that month!