Ridgewood Homes Can Use a Summer Once-Over

July tends to be a busy month in most Ridgewood homes. If you have kids who are out of school, it’s up to you to dream up new ways to keep them out of trouble (and away from non-stop video gaming). Even if kids are not at homes, you probably have to get twice as much done anyway – you want to be ahead at work and around the house so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. Or recover from it.

And then there is the likelihood that in the back of your mind is the knowledge that you’ve been putting off what should be an annual maintenance once-over. All homes have areas that need looking after, and July and August are the best time to get at them.  On dry days that aren’t too blisteringly hot to work, it’s prime time to fix areas that the year’s wear and tear may be turning into future problems.

Warm weather is perfect for conducting a timely energy audit. Any gaps or cracks around doors or windows – the likely culprits if heat leakage raised last winter’s energy bills  – can most easily be filled in warm weather. Other possible spots where heat can leak is the junction between different materials, and around fireplace dampers. If you’re a dedicated DIYer, grab some caulk or other professional-grade material and get filling. If you’re less handy, the energy audit may suggest a call to an appropriate professional. A review of the year’s energy bills will tell you whether that makes dollars and sense.

This is the time to pay attention to the big one: the foundation. It’s prudent in all Ridgewood homes to clean visible concrete surfaces. Sidewalks and steps can be cleaned very effectively with the same pressure washer you use to clean your car. When it comes to the foundation, be sure to check for cracks, water or mold.. If mold or water is present, a trusted contractor or structural engineer will be able to recommend a solution that prevents real trouble later.

Summer is also a good time to take a look at your home’s deck or patios.  Standing water rots wood. The solution can be as simple as slipping planter “feet” beneath outdoor flower pots. As long as water is able to flow around or under stationary objects, the underlying wood will benefit.

These are only a few examples of what you can make part of your summer home maintenance checklist.  Call me anytime with home and maintenance-related questions, if you need a recommendation for a reliable local contractor or service provider, or if you want to check on the status of the Ridgewood homes market in your neighborhood.

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    Listing Language Can Trigger a Quick Sale

    Your Nutley home is in perfect shape – all set to go on the market. You’ve enlisted an experienced real estate agent with a solid track record. Now all that’s left is…what?

    What’s that next step?

    In fact, the next step can be all-important: creating a Nutleyl listing that does more than just describe the number of beds and baths. It has to stand out among all the competing listings that will be seen alongside it. That local listing is the keystone of the marketing campaign that will ultimately fetch a new owner: its job is to get buyers and agents to take a closer look. To get that job done, it has to be special!

    When I sit down to work up an effective listing, I try to pay attention to what creative writers from other forms of advertising advise: first discover what is unique, appealing, attention-getting, then present it with language that captures readers’ imaginations. Formulas are out, since following a set group of mechanical rules can only produce a dull, repetitious result. Even so, there are some useful tips that can help spark an effective listing:

    * Keep the context in mind. The job of any Nutley listing is to communicate many essential details in a limited amount of space – but there will be photographic information there, too. Highlight features that can’t be told through either its photos or specifications. For example, if a house offers a spectacular view of the sunset from its veranda, the listing should highlight it. Grandeur can be told nowhere else.

    * Listing language should be upbeat and tailored to sell, while at the same time,  filled with accurate and useful information. It’s a balancing act, and going overboard in either direction can be off-putting. Specific details help bring in readers and build believability (high quality brand names like Sub-Zero or Wolf are good examples). Details build credibility that bolsters less concrete descriptions. I leave out unsupportable claims altogether. It can be tempting to fall in love with flowery language that sails off into its own reality — but accurate information builds trust for the lead-up to a sale.

    * Setting the right tone is another important factor. It’s another balancing act.  Listings should be upbeat without exaggeration…accommodating without sounding desperate. The right tone can help bring in prospects, just as the wrong one will drive them off or raise suspicions that something is wrong.

    A successful Nutley agent has demonstrated the know how and experience to bring these and other elements together to produce powerful, effective home listings.  If you are considering selling your own home in our area, I hope you will give me a call so we can create a dynamic marketing plan to sell your property!

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      What Nutley Short Sales Involve

      Following some legislative changes, successfully navigating a Nutley short sale has become a little easier, but is still a transaction that takes care and vigilance. A short sale — the arrangement between seller and mortgage lender that allows the seller to sell the property for less than what is owed – can be quite involved.  It requires negotiation directly with the lender, and contractual arrangements that can carry over into the future. If you are considering short selling your house, or simply want to know more about what it would entail, these are a few pointers to bear in mind:

      Seek Financial Advice

      A short sale is not always the best solution.One alternative, for instance, may simply include opening a discussion with the lender to see if a revised payment plan would allow you to continue residence.  On the other hand, if the financial situation precludes less stringent measures, a short sale may save you from declaring bankruptcy by causing in the remainder of the debt to be forgiven. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act can relieve a short seller from some or all of the taxes otherwise due from the gain realized through such forgiveness – but that’s not certain (and another reason to consult a financial expert). Even with a short sale, you may still end up owing the lender quite a bit of money.  Speaking with a financial advisor and understanding your potential financial liability is absolutely key before committing to a short sale.

      Choose an Experienced Short Sale Agent

      Every bank is different, and so is every short sale transaction.  Hiring an experienced agent to list your home – one who has successfully closed previous short sales — will help arm you with the guidance you and the buyer will need to successfully complete the sale.  Don’t hesitate to ask any potential agent how many sales he or she has actually guided to completion.

      Be Patient –But Proactive!

      Once the lender has approved a short sale, marketing can begin.  However, you must be prepared to wait. Every decision that you and your buyer make has to be approved by the lender. This takes time – as much as 4-6 months or more. It can be maddening, but it’s not uncommon to lose several offers along the way.  Whatever you do, do not stop paying your taxes or HOA fees if applicable.  Keep in mind that short sales are all about cash: if you have waited 6 months to get approval from your bank, and your buyer finds out at the last minute that you owe hundreds (or thousands) to other entities tied to the property, that buyer may balk – putting you back to Square One!

      If you are thinking about the applicability of a short sale for your Nutley home, contact me to discuss a winning strategy. I have the experience to help – and I’ll be happy to put that experience to work for you.

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        Nutley Property Searchers Have High-Tech Expectations

        We all know that many Nutley property searchers are looking for homes with more modern, high tech-compatible features. But something that is also interesting is evidence that the trend has broadened to include retirees who are in a downsizing, property-searching frame of mind.

        From wireless availability to health monitoring systems, technology is one of the key hot buttons in the senior housing industry. “Many people are trading older houses for new [properties] that offer energy efficiency, great rooms, open floor plans,” according to Jane O’Connor, a specialist who studies trends in the 55-plus population. 

        Although earlier studies found that most baby boomers preferred to stay in their current home as long as possible, those times are a-changin’. That attitude may have been typical for most of the last 50 or 60 years, but perhaps due to skyrocketing energy prices over the past few years, willingness to downsize and move is growing among retirement aged advocates.

        As the publisher of Mature Living Choices magazine, O’Connor suggests other contributing reasons. “Boomers…were the first generation to question authority.  They changed everything they touched, from the creation of suburbs to mini-mansions.” Today’s retirees are also strong entrants into the virtual communities that the social networking explosion has created. They are using e-book readers, tablets, and other digital technology — including online services like Skype and other video chat enablers. A decade ago, members of the senior sector were generally considered to be interested in (but in need of instruction regarding) the latest electronic communication devices. No longer. Especially given how particularly useful the new gizmos are for keeping in touch with children and relatives in other states, more tech-savvy seniors consider strong cable and internet access absolute necessities.

        It seems like just yesterday when it was principally the 20-somethings who were wired. The senior population today can be nearly as high-tech as their offspring, and – when the time arrives to begin a Nutley property search at the start of retirement – they expect to continue. It’s no wonder that assisted living facilities, retirement communities and nursing homes are also being required to have all the amenities of today’s connected world.

        Whether you are one of the retiree generation setting out on your own property search, or a homeowner preparing to sell into this changing market, I’m here to assist in your plans. Give me a call anytime!

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          Time to Sell Your Nutley House?

          Every homeowner can have all sorts of reasons for selling their Nutley house. Those in the boomer generation can be in one of the traditional phases of retirement (planning, transitioning, initiating) or perhaps in one of the newly-popular phases (postponing, rejecting).

          For them and everyone else, the decision about whether to sell the house falls into one of two categories: those triggered by economic pressures — or all the other reasons. In all cases, being in control of the timing of your house sale will put you in control of the process. That pays off.

          Even if the money factor doesn’t rule, it’s vital to first do some hard-nosed dollars-and-cents calculations before putting your house on the market. Find out what a realistic listing price range will be. I or another experienced real estate professional can be a major asset in establishing this: you can count on a complimentary consultation that will offer comparable current values for Nutley house sales.

          Then consider current rental rates for a house like yours. Sometimes you will be surprised to find that the most beneficial course would be to rent your house for an interim period, especially in light of some evidence that a market rise is just beginning. When you are penciling out these factors, be sure to include realistic maintenance expenses and, if you are moving out of the area, property management fees. I can help here, too.

          If financial pressure is the key motivating factor, make sure you have weighed the alternatives before sealing the decision to sell your house. If you haven’t done so already, find out if refinancing is an option. The first answer isn’t necessarily the final one: check with other financial sources as well as your current mortgage holder. Mortgage rates are lower than ever, and if unmanageable mortgage payments are at issue, this could be the most direct route to reducing that outflow and giving you time to sell on your own timetable.

          Being methodical and patient when deciding about any house sale can make a big difference in the bottom line. I’m here to provide current Nutley information and guidance that will help make that possible.


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                  Nutley Real Estate Agent Relocation Tips

                  As moving time approaches, most internal stress meters start twitching around the time we have to figure out how many cartons it’s going to take. A cross-town move is one thing — sometimes you can even handle it yourself (with the help of bribable friends and relatives, of course).

                  But suppose you have just accepted a new job promotion in Nutley. Of course, you’re immediately excited by the adventurous prospect of the summer’s relocation.  But suppose our town is located in a new zip code – and maybe even a new state. Your move up the professional ladder could also mean spending a lot more time and money on the move itself…and once here, the demands of your new position will double your need to pay attention to business.

                  Fear not: your Nutley real estate agent has seen how clients achieve a smooth transition with a minimum of stress. And we are happy to share some of the strategies that work best:

                  1. Lighten the load. The more belongings you and your movers have to pack, carry, and unpack again, the more costly the move will be. You can significantly lower the cost by getting rid of all the possessions you no longer use on a regular basis (there are probably more than you think!). Hold a yard sale, donate to charity, or just give those items to friends and family.  We real estate agents are forever advising clients to de-clutter, but this holds doubly true when you are relocating.  When you’re done, you’ll feel like a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders! Stress meter: down.

                  2. Plan in advance.  Real estate agents and relocation pros will always stress advance planning. As soon as possible, sit down and list the steps you need to take, then put them in order. You will find this gives you more time to make decisions, and more time to shop (and save money). For example, if you are buying an area house and are working under a strict deadline, you could back yourself into a hurried decision instead of allowing time for your agent to expose you to all the additional options.  By planning ahead — meeting with your Nutley real estate agent as far in advance as possible — you can allot enough time to establish a relationship that allows your agent to introduce the full range of neighborhood options. Stress meter: down.

                  3. Consider using professionals. Before dismissing the idea of hiring professional movers because of cost, spend a day obtaining estimates from at least two or three companies, then compare with do-it-yourself moving costs.   You can often obtain a binding estimate that is valid for about 60 days.  Compare those figures with the cost of renting a truck, driving the distance, and hiring moving help on one or both ends.  Hiring professionals is a one-time cost that will relieve you of the hassle – not to mention the emotional toll – at a time when your attention should be directed to your profession. Stress meter: way down!

                  The move to a new town can be anywhere from nerve-jangling to serene.  If your future could include relocating to our area, please feel free to contact me for some practical local advice.  We have many excellent neighborhoods here in Nutley that I’d love you to see!

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