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"I Just Need My Family, Friends, Decorator, Builder, Pool Guy, Patio Guy..." - 03/30/12 11:54 AM
Why is it that as Realtors we don't do a better job educating our Buyers about how the process of buying a home works? The Buyer of one of my listings has already re-visited the home five times, and is asking for "a few more visits" to gather her construction crew together. When did listing agents become tour guides? I explain to my Buyers, the first time we sit down, exactly how the home buying experience works, and give them the outline before they leave. It takes them step by step through the entire transaction through the closing. They learn that (3 comments)
The EPA Walks Away From Its Responsibility. Radon is Back in The Headlines. - 03/29/12 10:08 AM
Today's NY Times reminded us of the threat Radon still poses to our families. As you might remember, it wasn't until 1988 that Radon was found, conclusively, to be a carcinogen linked directly to lung cancer. (An interesting factoid: Marie Curie worked on the early version of Radon, in the early 1900s.) But, even though the EPA required homes to be tested and found to be within the limit they set on indoor Radon activity --- 4 picocuries per liter of air --- they have made the decision to remove from their 2013 budget all monies to promote Radon awareness. I get that there's (2 comments)
Home Sales Predictions - 03/28/12 06:26 AM
For those who don't know him, Jeffrey Otteau, of the Otteau Valuation Group, is a real estate consultant and appraiser, whooften appears on CNBC and is quoted in various publications. He puts together a terrific report, "The Otteau Report" which is very comprehensive, and a great listing tool. Otteau is very optimistic about today's real estate market, and was quoted as saying, "We are at a turning point in the housing market and the economy...the bounce in home sales (in January and February) is nothing short of astounding...up to 30% in the first two months of this year, compared with last (0 comments)
Health Care vs Mortgage Payments - 03/26/12 07:41 AM
Health care has become omnipresent in the media, for the last several years. We know we need it, and yet we can't agree on the best way to get it. I was thrilled when the President made it a priority for his administration, but knew it would be, at best, an uphill battle --- the fight du jour between Republicans and Dems. It hit home for me, the survivor of breast cancer and a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, when I realized that I would still be deeply in debt had I not had health insurance when I got sick. It hit me (3 comments)
Home Renovations on the Web! - 03/22/12 11:23 AM
http://www.houzz.com/ The coolest site for anyone considering a home renovation. Called the "best site for house porn" on the web, it was designed by a couple who , when they decided to take on a full home renovation, were told by their architect to "just cut pictures of what you like out of magazines." I was once told to that by an alleged interior designer. I told him that if I were going to do half of the work, I wanted a 50% discount. (1 comments)
Why Can't Liberals and Conservatives Play Nicely? - 03/22/12 10:34 AM
I read a very interesting article in the NY Times, by one of my favorite columnists --- Nic Kristoff --- about a recent book about the minds of Liberals and Conservatives. "The Righteous Mind" was written by a U.VA professor, Jonathan Haidt, and it deals with how each group views the other. Kristoff says, "...for liberals, morality is largely a matter of three values: caring for the weak, fairness and liberty. Conservatives share those concerns (although they think of fairness and liberty differently) and add three others: loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity." See, that's where they lose me. If those (2 comments)
...And Throw in the Furniture, Revisited - 03/19/12 12:45 PM
And yet another transaction, in Franklin Lakes, NJ, involving furniture. What am I, the Antique Road Show? I recently had a transaction where the Sellers wanted to leave several pieces of furniture that really had no real value, but they didn't want to have to pay to have it moved. Since the home was very large, and the Buyers wouldn't be able to immediately furnish it, they welcomed the offer. That is, until their Lender asked them to place a value on it. "Well," he told them, "it really has no value. It's really old." They told him that since the furniture was (3 comments)
It Ain't Over Til It's Over --- and Not Even Then - 03/18/12 09:17 AM
Contrary to what some people think, being a Realtor/Broker is not a cushy job! Even back in the 80s, when many of us were writing contracts on the back of our cars --- so worried that we wouldn't get our offer in before the 10 people in front of us --- the process was fraught with landmines you couldn't anticipate. Well, I wish I had taken more time to enjoy those days because it's a whole lot more difficult now. I call it the "Everyone's P_ _ _ed Market." Sellers believe they're giving their homes away, and swear up and down (5 comments)
Bullying - 03/16/12 11:01 AM
I just read that the young man whose camcorder videotaping of his fellow roommate was found guilty of several charges, and could face up to 10 years in prison. As the mother of a gay man, I have watched this case with both a deep sadness and a keen interest. Many people don't understand when I say that there's a huge difference between being an insensitive, and probably angry, schmuck, and being a criminal. Don't misunderstand --- I want this kid punished, but not with jail. As a country, we seem terribly unimaginative when it comes to punishment --- it's either (2 comments)
Bank of America and Other Thieves - 03/15/12 09:34 AM
Just when you thought you'd read everything possible about lenders like Bank of America and Countrywide, this week's Rolling Stone Mag comes out with a block-buster article by the great Matt Taibi that will curl your hair. It has always been astonishing that these lenders got away with unsavory, and even illegal loans to people who could never afford to pay them back. But, when you read what Taibbi researched, you won't believe they're all not in jail. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of these latest findings. We all had our concerns about the Occupy Wall (3 comments)
Are Dryer Sheets Carcinogenic? - 03/14/12 12:16 PM
As an 18-year breast cancer survivor, I'm always interested in any new science on the subject, so I read with interest a recent post by the Silent Spring Institute. Some of you may remember the name "Silent Spring." It was a book written by a biologist and conservationist named Rachel Carson. Carson had a friend who started noticing dead birds on and around her property. She and Carson mounted a campaign that lead to the ban on DDT, a chemical thought to have no harmful effects to living things. Carson went on to write the book, Silent Spring, and endured relentless (2 comments)
Appraisals ---Where do Lenders Get These People? - 03/14/12 08:27 AM
Yesterday, I got a call from an appraiser wanting to gain access to one of my listings --- a 6.000+ Manor home, in Franklin Lakes. Seconds into the conversation, I knew we were going to have a problem. He told me to expect to be at the house with him "...for at least 2 hours. Nobody does what I do." Well, at least he was right about that. He arrived about 25 minutes late, complaining that I should have told him Rt. 208 is "a ridiculous road to nowhere." Once I got him to focus on the home, he started taking (4 comments)
Tax Appeals --- It's Not As Easy As You Think - 03/13/12 07:29 AM
Let's start with a give --- everyone thinks his taxes are too high. And they might well be. the problem is this: your taxes are what pay for all the services you moved to town to enjoy. Several towns are struggling to keep their doors open --- some have already closed their Municipal Buildings a day or two a week , and have had to reduce their staff in order to preserve services. But, I've never had more requests for help in appealing taxes than I have this year. I gt it --- your hor is no longer worth what it (2 comments)
Downsizing Isn't Always Easy - 03/12/12 09:30 AM
Many of us reach a stage in life where we've had enough of the big house, and are looking forward to living life on a smaller scale. For those people, the change can be exciting --- less work to do often means more free time to have the fun we've been missing. But, this isn't true for everyone. For many families, downsizing isn't a choice. Whether it's the loss of a job, illness or some other lighning bolt life throws at us, it's never good, and coping with it in front of our children is painful. As John Lennon said, "Life (2 comments)
Wyckoff Vistas --- the Christian Health Care Center Proposed Expansion - 03/10/12 09:07 AM
For years, there has been talk of Christian Health Care Center expanding its current footprint, allowing them to serve more people needing some level of care. After 40 years of living in Bergen County --- most spent in Franklin Lakes and Wyckoff --- I must admit I didn't know much about CHCC. Until about 5 years ago, that is. I had an elderly neighbor who had no family, and who was growing increasingly medically challenged. The most obvious and troubling issue was her eyesight. She had lived alone, after caring for her elderly parents, and had every intention of spending the (0 comments)
More on Franklin Lakes' Taxes - 03/08/12 11:40 AM
To continue the discussion about taxpayers, in Franklin Lakes, wanting their taxes reduced, with the pending decision to install sewers in the Business District, you can bet taxes are going down. Public Forum - Sewers for Downtown Business District
Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 7:00 PM The Northwest Bergen County Utilities Authority and the Borough of Franklin Lakes are holding a public information forum on the installation of sanitary sewers in the Borough's Downtown Business District along Franklin Avenue and adjoining areas on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 7:00 PM, in the Council Chambers at Borough Hall, 480 DeKorte Drive. (0 comments)
Bergen County Tax Appeals --- Good Luck! - 03/08/12 11:34 AM
A Buyer who purchased one of my listings, in Franklin Lakes, NJ, called my office, to voice his (loud) displeasure that I reported (on MLS) that he paid $875k for the home, when he had gotten a $65k credit (unbelievable!) at closing. Since I was told by the attorney for the Seller that the sale price was $875,000, that was how I reported it. Because this had been an unpleasant closing for my clients, the Sellers, and because they were ill, they agreed, at the last minute, to the Buyers' demand for the credit, but not until they signed an agreement that (0 comments)
Confusion About the 10% Deposit and the Inspection Contingency - 03/07/12 10:37 AM
So often Buyers confuse when their 10% deposit is due, and the contingency date for the resolution of Home Inspections. Most Buyers think the deposit isn't due untill all the Inspection issues have been resolved. Wrong! As per the standard New Jersey Contract of Sale, the remainder of the full 10% deposit is due, in most cases, 10 Days from the end of the Attorney Review Period. Period! If the Inspection issues can't be resolved, the deposit will be returned to the Buyer. We no longer have a "Liquidated Damages" clause in our contracts so, the Seller really can't keep the deposit (0 comments)
NJ Townhouse Living for the Young and the Old-ish - 03/06/12 12:00 PM
I always marvel at the dramatic lack of upscale townhouses with a first floor Master Suite. I'm not talking about the Leisure Village kind of living, nor am I talking about the new Saddle River complex starting at $1.5 mil. Have builders forgotten the middle class entirely? Many of us have had enough of home repairs, lawn-mowing and leaf-blowing. We're ready for townhouse-living, but not the 70s version! We all understand that building a two-story dwelling is cheaper, and requires less land, than building a ranch-style home. Unfortunately, many of us reach the age and physical condition that requres fewer, if any, (0 comments)
Home Inspections --- The Beat Goes On... - 03/04/12 09:18 AM
When I'm representing a Buyer, and we're conducting the Home Inspection on the home they've chosen to purchase, I try hard to not just represent my Buyer to the very best of my ability, but to keep the Seller in mind, as well. By that, I mean that Buyers and their attorneys can treat inspections as another bite at negotiating, and that was never the intent of the Home Inspection. Home Inspections are meant to reveal to a Buyer those things that he couldn't know or see as he determined an offereing price. Such things might include, but wouldn't be limited (3 comments)
Pre-Listing Inspections --- Know Everything You Need to Know About Your Home. - 03/03/12 09:26 AM
I always advise my clients to have a home inspection before they put their homes on the market. There's nothing worse than having a contract fall apart because of a lot of inspection issues the Sellers were unaware of. Buyers always inflate the cost of repairs, and Sellers completely dismiss them --- "We've lived in this house for 30 years, and we never had a problem with the septic!" Come to find out, they also never pumped the septic. But, it's often not just one thing that comes back to haunt the Sellers, but a laundry list of repairs the Sellers (2 comments)
Summer Homes are Selling at the Jersey Shore! - 03/02/12 12:12 PM
We keep getting barraged with articles warning that the recession is far from over, but when I recently called a Long Beach Island Realtor to refer a client to him, he told me that (1) most of the best summer rentals are gone, and (2) my client would have to spend over $2.5 mil to buy a home near the ocean. When I told him I'd prefer he look in Mantaloking, West Point Island and Bay Head, he told me the price would go up substantially to live on the ocean in one of those towns. What in the world has happened in my (0 comments)
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PERMITS FOR ALL THE WORK YOU DO ON YOUR HOME! - 03/01/12 11:34 AM
My clients hired a very reputable company to remove an oil tank on their property, in Franklin Lakes. We're now preparing to close on the house, and still don't have the final approval from the town. We haven't been able to talk to anyone at the company, except a secretary who claims in a loud NY accent, "I just ansah the phone. Waddaya want from me?" I've gone to the town to see if they have the permit, and, God willing, the approval, but they're too busy to look. (??) Both Buyer and Seller want a quick closing, but until we (2 comments)
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.