Nutley Residents Keep Ears Tuned to Tax Issues

This is usually the time of year when Nutley residents have gotten through tax season, heaved a sign of relief, and gone back to working on more important matters – like earning enough to make reducing taxes a goal worth pursuing.

This year, the latter part of April may be a little different. Because this is an election year, tax matters are already being widely debated, and changes that could affect everyone are more possible than usual. I am bringing these topics up for discussion with the firm caveat that your own planning (including Nutley home buying decisions) should always be made after consultation with the financial experts you trust. Currently, federal and NJ rules carry tax benefits that can greatly reduce a homeowner’s tax liability. They are very unlikely to be eliminated, but you may want to keep your ear tuned whenever you hear these topics under discussion, because seemingly minor changes can have major impacts.

Mortgage Interest and Points
Many renters found that they were able to use the standard deduction tables to simplify their federal filings. Homeowners, on the other hand, were usually better off using itemized deductions because of the welcome mortgage interest deduction. Qualifying points paid to obtain a mortgage can also generally be deducted in the year they are paid.

IRA Penalties
Everyone with a standard Individual Retirement Account has heard about the penalties for withdrawing funds before retirement age. But currently there is an exception in some home buying situations. Generally, some IRA funds can be applied to home buying (or building) a first home without those tax penalties. The catch is that you can only withdraw up to $10,000 over your entire lifetime (not annually). Those with Roth IRAs may find additional tax advantages, too.

Real Estate Taxes
Qualifying local and NJ property taxes can amount to sizeable deductions. If, in the home buying process, you reimbursed a seller for prepaid property taxes, that amount can qualify, too.

As in all financial planning, you should consult your accountant or other tax professional before making any important decisions. And whenever buying or selling a Nutley property makes sense for your family, I’m standing by to answer all of your real estate questions.

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    Psychology Helps Nutley Home Sales

    When you choose the Nutley real estate agent who will be your home-marketing partner, you are choosing someone who will need to fill many roles: marketer, stager, tour guide, negotiator. And don’t leave out another role — psychology major!

    To build our kind of successful track record, a real estate agent needs to study and understand the way prospective buyers think about their search for a future home, how they are likely to react to different forms of presentation, and what builds or detracts from the value they assign to your property. It’s psychology, all right — and it’s usually an integral part of any sales or marketing success.

    A good example of how psychology can affect a real estate transaction comes from a study done at the University of Texas. There they have a Real Estate Finance and Development Program. A couple of years back, they began conducting some psychological studies, and one of them used sophisticated statistical tools and a huge sample of real estate transactions.

    What’s fascinating is what they discovered about using the word “new.” Real estate agents who marketed homes with phrases like “new paint,” “new carpets,” and “new roof” wound up selling them for slightly less than those who did not!

    The study’s explanation is that, for homes that are not brand new, touting “all new” features seems to call attention to the fact that the items mentioned needed to be replaced. It unnecessarily opened the door to suspicions about what went wrong that made replacement necessary.

    A more effective strategy is one that I frequently favor: under-promise and overdeliver. Rather than trying to convince buyers how “new” an older home is, do the renewal work, but don’t brag about it. Then when potential buyers walk into the home, they will be impressed by the new carpets and fresh paint. It’s the approach that uber-successful Zappos company founder Tony Hsieh calls “surprise and delight.” What is effective for leading a company and retaining customers can also be psychologically effective for selling a Nutley home.

    As a leading real estate agent in Nutley, I am constantly reminded of how important it is to never stop learning. If you are considering selling your home and are looking for cutting-edge marketing and advice, I hope you’ll contact me for a complimentary consultation.

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      Nutley Home Sales Outlook Brightened by National Report

      With more than 1,000,000 members the National Association of Realtors® is the nation’s largest trade association. It’s no wonder that what it says carries a lot of weight. When a gargantuan outfit like NAR makes a prediction, its words may not always make headlines, but they do influence everyone whose job it is to forecast the future of the nation’s economic activity.

      That’s why their most recent report dealing with pending home sales put smiles on many of those one million members’ faces.

      “The spring home buying season looks bright,” according to Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years.”

      Like all statistics, those he was describing can be looked at in more than one way. We know that some numbers are more reliable than others. This particular index is based on an unusually large sample: about 20% of all transactions for existing home sales. It’s a forward-looking indicator: in the past, it has signaled coming trends before they materialize. This index seldom produces a straight line of activity because of seasonal and monthly ups and downs, but this time a trend is evident that is “notably above the pattern from a year ago.”

      Our Nutley home sales patterns are not invariably tied to national trends — but they aren’t impervious to them, either. So we are pleased when our own impression that the spring market is looking up is borne out by the experts who deal in the broader picture. “Based on all of the factors in the current market,” Yun went on, he expects to see “sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”

      Real estate is a famously local phenomenon, and although we keep an eye on the national and state markets, our real attention is always centered right here in Nutley. If you have questions about your own real estate outlook, call me anytime for a consultation focused on your neighborhood.

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        Tax Time Brings Nutley Tenant/Owner Decision Home

        Tenant or Owner? With rental rates rising, a lot more tenants in Nutley are likely to be wondering whether they should be taking a new look at their residence situation.

        Conceptually, paying your own mortgage has always seemed more appealing than paying a landlord’s mortgage every month. Especially this time of year, when tax time puts the whole year’s finances out there on one piece of paper, seeing how thousands of dollars have slipped away for another year can be a little frustrating. Not surprisingly, then, this is a time of year when, as a buyer’s agent, I begin hear the phone ring a little more often!

        Seen from the long term perspective, dollars put toward a home you are buying go toward building a future — something rent dollars cannot do. But there are more intangible benefits to owning versus renting: control over the title being potentially the most valuable. Any tenant who has been forced to move because the homeowner needed to sell, or was foreclosed upon, or decided to move back in himself, is someone who has learned the value of controlling when their next family move should happen.

        For tenants newly considering becoming a first-time homeowner, consulting a reputable Nutley buyer’s agent is the place to start. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you determine a practical budget, and then guide the pre-qualifying process to make it happen.

        The next step will be to identify properties that fall within your budget. Are there neighborhoods you have always wanted to live in, but thought you couldn’t afford? In today’s market, just about every neighborhood – even the most chichi ones – have experienced some foreclosures. A buyer’s agent can help you identify potential homes at bargain prices. Some might need a little work, but the long-range payoff can be worth it.

        The bottom line? Everyone has to pay to live somewhere, and in today’s market, owning a home in Nutley is more attainable than ever. With mortgage rates still at near-historic lows, if you are on the verge of becoming a former renter, now is the time to consult a reputable Nutley buyer’s agent. I am always available for questions — and would be happy to schedule a pre-qualification consultation anytime you decide it is worth exploring.

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          Step-by-Step Outline for Selling a Nutley Home

          All of life’s major projects take preparation, and selling a home in Nutley requires just that. Contacting my office is a pretty good place to begin, because selling a home efficiently and within a reasonable amount of time most often takes extensive knowledge of the Nutley market. A checklist is a good way to introduce the steps you can take to prepare for selling a home. Here’s a quick overview of five of the items I include in that checklist:

          1. The obvious first step is identifying any major problems and determining what should be done about them. Decide whether you are going to fix items like roof leaks, rewiring, insect infestations or the presence of asbestos — or whether you are going to reduce your asking price to reflect any unremediated issues. I can provide input to help you establish where possible value may be added or lost, and what is worth your time and investment to fix.

          2. Whenever you return home, take a moment to pause and visualize what someone driving by for the first time will see. Make a solid first impression by tidying the front yard and keeping the lawn neatly cut and edged. Strategically place colorful flowers in planters where that is appropriate. Repair fences and gates, and be certain that they look freshly painted. And if Fido has the run of the place, be sure that his (ahem!) evidence is nowhere to be seen.

          3. Stage your home to maximize its appeal – and keep in mind that staging needs to be fresh for every prospect. Remove any unnecessary furniture. That may well mean renting a storage unit to place it and all other clutter into (it’s bound to be a better solution than trying to jam everything into closets or the garage!). Paint walls in light, neutral colors. Remove heavy window treatments to let in as much light as you can (the ‘cheeriness factor’). Keep the kitchen and bathroom as spotless as possible. Make sure that your home smells fresh by opening windows and using flowers, candles or air fresheners; but be careful not to overdo it. I can be especially helpful at this stage, and if it’s indicated, we can discuss whether it makes sense to hire a professional stager.

          4. Have the property’s value appraised, and educate yourself about the competition. For a bank to issue a loan, your home must compare favorably with similar properties on the market. When we sit down to establish a list price, we’ll need to keep that research and the recent and best comparables in mind.

          5. This is my favorite to-do item: Be prepared to go! If a move is going to be in your future, you should begin the hunt for a new home, and be prepared to move quickly once you have an executed offer!

          These are just a few of the steps I help my clients take before listing to get top dollar for their properties. If you are considering selling a home in Nutley, call me today to see how I can put my marketing experience to work for you.

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            New Activity Promises Uptick for the Nutley’s Market

            Buying homes and renting them are such distinctly separate aspects of Nutlye’s real estate scene that we tend to pay attention only to the sector we are most involved with. We pretty much ignore the other. Renters and real estate investors watch trends in residential rentals, while homeowners and soon-to-be homeowners check on prices and activity in the Nutley home market.

            All of which means that it’s easy to overlook how trends in one sector have major impacts on the other. And any sort of residential construction activity – new building or remodeling – has a direct and positive impact on our economy as a whole.

            So here’s some good news: this year, rental construction is expected to reach its highest level since 2005. Somehow that may not seem like such a big deal, but despite the way it looks, 2005 is SEVEN years ago (time flies, doesn’t it?)! Those have been seven painful years for most of the construction folks we know, so the change comes as welcome news. It’s also possible that a turnaround could mean that other turnarounds in different areas of the economy may be in the wind.

            The apartment experts at NMHC just published something that most of us already suspected. They found that nationally, apartment vacancy rates fell to a decade low of 4.9%. We have already written about how asking rents continue to rise (in March, up .5% from the previous month). The same experts noted that some empty-nesters seem to be increasingly likely to opt for the convenience of apartment living — even those who could easily afford to buy.

            It explains why more investors are stepping up to order the building of new rental homes even as many older apartments and rental homes are being renovated. Add to that recent government moves to encourage lenders to become at least temporary landlords, and the result is real activity. Budgets have been tight for families in recent years, which may have caused them to decide to choose rental homes that were older, hence less expensive. If the economy continues to strengthen, these same families may later be able to afford to look at one of the new rental homes now under construction. It’s likely that many tenants would choose to live in a place that is a product of new construction, or in a complex that has been recently renovated.

            All that increased building activity is another sign that the housing market as a whole is waking up. In the longer range, since newer rentals generally cost more money, more would-be tenants will ultimately reconsider the prospect of owning a home – in turn increasing demand for first-time or entry level homes.

            Wherever your family falls in the Nutley’s real estate mix, don’t hesitate to call our office when you have a question about the market and what is available for you. We’re standing by!

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              Nutley Home Prices Are Just a Starting Point!

              When it comes time to put their home on the market, the Number One topic Nutley sellers focus on is Nutley home prices: home prices historically, home prices this April, projected home prices in the future. What many sellers don’t truly realize is that they have more control over the price their home fetches than they may think.

              Smart application of remodeling dollars to maximize a property’s salability is the earliest and most important action a homeowner can take. If you plan to remain in your home for the foreseeable future, lifestyle and personal preference issues will rightly get your attention. But if a move is on your planning horizon, remodeling decisions should be hard-eyed business decisions. In my experience, there are three rooms that buyers are particularly interested in – and homeowners bent on raising their own Nutley home prices should share that interest!

              Kitchens can drastically raise or lower home prices. Since kitchens have evolved into the major social hubs of American homes, increasing its size can be superbly cost-effective. If there is a possibility of and opening it up to living space by knocking down a non load-bearing wall, it is well worth considering. Upgrading appliances to stainless steel, replacing countertops with granite or other stone, and refinishing kitchen cabinets can absolutely give some much-needed appeal to an outdated kitchen. Just switching out old hardware for contemporary substitutes can add appreciably to a kitchen’s appeal.

              Families spend much of their time in their living rooms – and even if they don’t, psychologically, it can seem the center of family activity. A cramped, cluttered and dark space will detract from other more attractive features of a home. A living room can be made into a bright and welcoming space by making inexpensive changes, such as removing all but essential furniture, painting walls a neutral color, and removing drab window coverings to let in as much light as possible. Replacing worn carpet with a wood laminate — or refinishing long-covered wooden floors — can take a bit more elbow grease and budget, but can be worth the cost.

              In the master bedroom, homebuyers want to visualize a sanctuary where they can escape from the trials of their busy lives. Simple but effective changes can make all the difference. Remove large pieces of furniture (particularly desks and computers)…in other words, aggressively de-clutter. Find pale, tranquil and soothing colors for the walls, and choose simple bed linens in complimentary colors (think “hotel luxury”). Make sure that clothes are not on show and that closet spaces are tidy, even if it means putting some of your apparel into storage.

              The goal is always to make changes that allow buyers to see the potential in a home; it’s how individual Nutley home prices can rise above general market trends. If you’re considering selling a property and would like to discuss home prices in Nutley and ways to maximize values, give me a call today so we can schedule a free consultation!

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                Open House Sunday, April 15th- Township of Washington

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                  You’ve Got 5 Seconds To Sell Your Nutley Home

                  As a whole, we Americans are an interesting group.  We are smart, educated, involved in our community…and, not unlike the rest of America, our attention span about 5 or 10 seconds.  It follows that when you put your home on the market and your agent places it among the Nutley realty listings, your home has about that long to grab potential buyers’ attention.

                  Time and time again, studies show that realty listings with superior curb appeal get markedly more attention than those with run-of-the-mill photos.  First impressions count. It’s how advertising agencies can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to get just the right angle with just the right lighting on their perfectly-designed product packages. In ad-speak, that photo with the perfect angle and lighting is called the ‘hero shot’.

                  Your home can have its own ‘hero shot’. Its landscaping, color, the condition of its driveway, walkway, garage and backyard, along with the overall neatness combine to make a true ‘hero shot’ that will stand out from the other Nutley realty listings. That same look (over and above the one in the photographer’s viewfinder) can also be counted upon to draw the attention of potential buyers who happen to be just driving by.

                   

                  It’s not surprising, either, that curb appeal also affects the value and salability of realty listings. A study by the University of Washington found that “mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7% – 19%.” On the other hand, overgrown trees that obscure the view of the home can delay its sale.

                  The curb appeal of homes almost defines a neighborhood’s appeal, and vice versa. Any home that is well kept improves the image of the rest of the houses on any street. In the same way, a home with a neglected look can bring down the general appeal of the entire neighborhood. You already know what it’s like to drive by a street lined with houses that are all beautifully maintained. Now that’s the kind of place where you would definitely want to live!

                  If you are giving serious consideration to selling your Nutley home, call me anytime for a “curb appeal” consultation.  Usually, just a few easy steps are all it takes to improve that vital first impression!

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                    Using Coldwell Banker Residential Vs. Mom and Pop Real Estate Companies in Nutley, NJ

                    When your thinking about selling a home, people tend to think about who they can list their home with to achieve the best results and then they think about how much its going to cost them and then they usually go with the agency that will not cost them the most but what they don’t realize is that not all Real Estate firms are created equal in Nutley. Listing your home at a lower commission with that mom and pop shop may cost you more in the long run. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage offers some of the best Exposure for your home that you want to sell in Nutley. We are not only strong locally but we are National and actually Global! we reach across the globe to bring you buyers, our marketing is Global as well, we have allot of clients re-locating around the globe that want to come into Nutley because of companies like ROCHE Pharmaceuticals and ITT, we dominate the Northern New Jersey area with our Online, Print, Radio & Television Presence and you wouldn’t just trust any Mom and Pop with your largest asset, YOUR HOME! So if your thinking about Selling your home in Nutley, NJ Make sure you call a “COLDWELL BANKER RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE” and benefit from all Coldwell Banker Offers!

                     

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