Westfield, NJ Real Estate News

By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Over the past couple of years, mortgage rates hit their all-time lowest point. At that time, financial experts encouraged buyers to get a fixed-rate mortgage loan to purchase their properties. However, with interest rates on the rise these last few months, many buyers began looking at adjustable-rate loans instead. Which one should you consider for your next mortgage loan? It depends.Fixed-Rate Mortgage vs Adjustable-Rate MortgageFixed-Rate MortgageA fixed-rate mortgage is exactly what it says: one set rate for the life of the loan. Even so, your monthly payment could change depending on current property taxes and insurance rates. But the actual monthly mortgage payment remains the same the entire time. However, lenders charge more interest for fixed-rate loans than they do for adjustab...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. With the new year upon us, you may want to start planning for your 2023 taxes. I know. Not the most fun topic. But Uncle Sam rests for no one. If you have questions about your property taxes, please sign up for the 2023 Property Tax Appeal Seminar hosted by Coldwell Banker Realty.What: 2023 Property Tax Appeal SeminarWhere: Coldwell Banker Realty (209 Central Ave)When: 7:30 pm on Thursday, February 9th, 2023Admission: FREEContact: Scott Gleason (908) 698-26302023 Property Tax Appeal SeminarHave you been in your Westfield area home for a while? Have you seen your property taxes skyrocket over the past couple of years? Moving soon? Then your property taxes may hit you even harder. The lower the property taxes, the more that buyers can afford in m...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
2022 was quite a wild ride for mortgage rates. We started off the year at an average of 3.22% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. By the end of October, rates peaked at 7.08%. After dipping slightly for a couple of weeks, they hit 7.08% again in early November. But since then, rates began to decline. As of the writing of this post, Freddie Mac puts the average at 6.27%. The higher your interest rate, the higher your mortgage payment. What should you do to get the best mortgage rate for your next home purchase? Follow these simple steps.How to Get The Best Mortgage RateWhip That Credit Into ShapeHigher credit scores translate into lower interest rates. Start by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com for a free copy of your credit report. Look for any errors. Each reporting agency (Equifax, Trans...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Most of the headlines lately talk about how the market has turned in the buyer's favor. Well, that may be true in other areas of the country but not in the Westfield real estate market. Sellers still have the upper hand here. In fact, a five-bed/one-and-a-half bath Westfield property just sold recently for $36,000 over asking after just 20 days on the market. So, if you plan on buying a home in the Westfield area, you need to get your financing in order first. Should you get a pre-approval letter or will a pre-qualification work? What's the difference?What's the Difference Between Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?Pre-QualificationFirst of all, pre-qualification only takes a matter of minutes. Your lender asks you about your income, your debt, and if you have any assets. Then, they tak...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Brrr. The weather outside is frightful. But the holidays are so delightful. If you want to celebrate the season with the family, make Westfield Winter Wonderland 2022 your destination of choice.What: Westfield Winter Wonderland 2022Where: Foundation ParkWhen: December 18th, 12 pm to 4 pmWestfield Winter Wonderland 2022City officials transform Foundation Park into a Westfield Winter Wonderland on Sunday, December 18th. Let the kids warm up and get that excited energy out at Bouncy House Park. Watch magician Peter Juris perform two separate shows inside Acting Out Studios. And take a photo with Santa at Just a Soul Photography. Lots of fun for the entire family!Menorah LightingThe first day of Hanukkah also falls on December 18th this year. To celebrate, Rabbi Block officially lights the ...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
When purchasing a new luxury NJ home, it is important to do in-depth research on all facets of the home buying process. One thing you’ll need to understand is how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. Check out the information on homeowners insurance versus home warranty below to educate yourself on your options.Homeowners Insurance vs Home WarrantyHomeowners InsuranceHomeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and loss that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail. However, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to V Home Insurance, t...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to focus on the next big holiday: Christmas! But we cannot forget about Hanukkah (which begins on December 18th) or Kwanzaa (which runs from December 26th to January 1st). A couple of Westfield area tree lighting ceremonies take place over the next week to celebrate all of these holidays.Westfield Area Tree Lighting Ceremonies 2022 Westfield Tree LightingCome to the North Ave Train Station tonight (November 26th) for fun and festivities. Beginning at 5 pm, nosh on cookies while listening to the DJ play classic holiday music. Our local fire department escorts Santa on one of their trucks at 5:30 pm. Once on stage, he promises to take pictures with the kids until 6 pm. At that time, the tree officially lights up.However, before the Westfield tree ...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
First, sit down for a huge Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones. Then, tackle those Black Friday sales. But on Saturday, make plans to visit the Westfield Area Y Men's Club Christmas Tree Lot to get started on your Christmas decorations.What: Westfield Area Y Men's Club Christmas Tree Lot 2022Where: Field Across from Stop & Shop on Elm StWhen: 9 am to 6 pm Sat & Sun, 5 pm to 9 pm Mon through Fri starting November 26th (while supplies last)Westfield Area Y Men's Club Christmas Tree Lot 2022For more than 70 years now, the Westfield Area Y Men's Club has hosted a Christmas Tree Lot for the community. And I am proud to say that I have been personally involved for many, many years now. In fact, the Christmas Tree Lot is our biggest fundraiser for the year. Every single penny raised from ...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
For most people, Thanksgiving means sitting down with your loved ones over a wonderful meal and sharing the blessings they received throughout the year. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Statistics show that one in five adults suffers from a mental illness. So, chances are good that you know of someone with a mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness stated that 64% of people with mental health issues report that the stress of the holidays made them feel even worse. Instead of hiding these afflictions in the dark, we need to bring them out into the open. Westfield United by Light wants to provide a safe space for people to discuss their issues.Westfield United by Light 2022On Sunday, November 27th, the Westfield United Fund invites the public to join their Un...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Hunting for a new luxury NJ home online is a great place to start your search. In fact, a National Association of REALTORS® study found that 90% of home buyers use the internet to look for homes at some point during their home search. However, this should not be your "end all be all" to house hunting. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of a home. But keep in mind that there may be more to it than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture when house-hunting online, keep the following three things in mind.Top Tips for House Hunting OnlineStay Up to DateWhen you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Ah! Fall is in the air. After the wet weather we saw last weekend, this weekend appears to offer sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Sounds like the perfect time for the annual Westfield AppleFest to take place. What: Westfield AppleFest 2022Where: Reeve House Lawn (314 Mountain Ave)When: Saturday, October 15th, 12 pm to 4 pm (Raindate: October 16th)Admission: $5 per personContact: Westfield Historical Society (908) 654-1794Westfield AppleFest 2022Westfield AppleFest 2022 takes place on the lawn outside of the Reeve House. Funds raised from the event benefit the Children's Specialized Hospital. Learn about the hospital's history through a special presentation and slide show. Local author Fran Bovella conducts a reading of her children's book "A Day at the Beach". The little ones will e...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
It's that time of year again. Team Guys and Dolls is saddling up to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Bike MS NYC 2022 takes place on October 23rd. And we need your help to reach our goal of $5000 before race day.Bike MS NYC 2022Why We Do ThisFor over 20 years, Team Guys and Dolls has been participating in Bike MS NYC events. We lovingly started out in support of my wonderful sister-in-law Diane. She fought a brave battle with MS for many, many years. We wanted to help her and many others like her who utilize special programs and equipment to perform the day-to-day tasks that many able-bodied people take for granted. Unfortunately, Diane ultimately lost her life to COVID in 2020. So, this year, we ride in her memory and to support others living with MS.About the R...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Downtown Westfield fills up with live music during the summer, thanks to the Sweet Sounds Music Festival. Now, fall is in the air. And October in Westfield means only one thing: AddamsFest! This year, organizers practically filled up the entire month with great events. Which one are you looking forward to the most?AddamsFest 2022Haunt Your House Decorating ContestDozens of Westfield homeowners participate in this contest each year. While only three homeowners win an actual cash prize, anybody who sees these displays considers themselves a winner, too. If you want to participate, there are five spots open (as of the writing of this post). Visit the AddamsFest website to register. But even if you don't register your home for the contest, you can still participate. Organizers need your hel...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Last week, I talked about common contingencies to ask for when buying a home. I recommend including these in your typical sales contract. However, there are times when it is OK to waive contingencies. This works in a buyer's favor when they wish to stand out among other buyers. And even though the Westfield area real estate market appears to be starting to level out a bit, it still favors the seller. So, keep these situations in mind when crafting your offer.When Is It OK to Waive Contingencies?Finance ContingencyIf you need to borrow money to finance your new Westfield area home, you might want to include a finance contingency (aka "mortgage contingency"). This allows you a specified amount of time to complete the loan process. But, if you pay for your home in cash, this is one conting...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Just like much of the rest of the country, the Westfield real estate market appears to be transitioning from a hot seller's market to a more balanced one. We see fewer and fewer bidding wars nowadays. In turn, buyers now seem more comfortable asking for certain conditions (aka contingencies) than they have in a while. Even so, buyers need to temper just how many of these conditions they include in their offer. Otherwise, the seller may decide to refuse it. However, there are a few common contingencies that buyers can feel comfortable including as part of the sale.Common Contingencies to Ask for When Buying a HomeHome Inspection ContingencyWhile not legally required for most New Jersey home sales, I always suggest that buyers put this contingency in the sales contract...even with new con...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
You sold your Westfield area home this year. You also earned a nice profit from your sale. Congratulations! But, come April 15th, you may end up owing some money because of what you made from your home sale. That is called the Capital Gains Tax. However, there are a few ways you can reduce and sometimes even eliminate this tax. How the Capital Gains Tax Affects Home SellersWhat are Capital Gains?First of all, it helps to know what capital gains means. In real estate, the difference between what you paid for your luxury NJ home when you initially bought it and what you received when you sold it is called "capital gains". For example, you paid $300,000 for your property a few years ago. You sold it for $850,000 this year. you received $550,000 in capital gains. Uncle Sam considers this in...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
You found your dream Westfield area home. Now it is time to cross all your "T's" and dot all your "I's" before it becomes all your own. And one of the first items on your closing checklist is the home appraisal. So, what exactly is that?Your Guide to a Home AppraisalThe home appraisal is essentially a value assessment of a home and property. It is conducted by a certified third party and is used to determine whether the home is priced appropriately. It is also one of the "hidden fees" every buyer needs to be aware of when purchasing their home. According to Manta.com, Westfield area home buyers should expect to pay $363 on average for their appraisal.During a home appraisal, the appraiser conducts a complete visual inspection of both the interior and exterior of the home. He or she fact...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Purchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. As you start your hunt, do not forget there will be costs associated with your purchase in addition to  price of your luxury NJ home. Here are five "hidden fees" to keep in mind as you begin to budget.Hidden Fees to Be Aware of When Purchasing a HomeHome InspectionThis is a crucial step in the home buying process. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate the price and repairs. According to HomeYou, Westfield area home buyers can expect to pay between $344 and $419 for a standard home inspection.Title ServicesTitle services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property’s records to ensure to no one will pop up with a cla...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of a real estate transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a house?What to Negotiate When Buying a HouseClosing CostsYour closing costs are determined by a variety of factors. According to New Jersey Lenders Corp., you can expect them to be between 2% and 3% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.Inspection and Closing TimingBuyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who...
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By Scott Gleason, CRS, Westfield NJ New Homes Specialist
(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Westfield loves the arts in all of its forms. Visit any one of the dozens of galleries in the downtown area to see artwork of all kinds (paintings, pottery, photography, etc.). Sweet Sounds Downtown offers four different live concerts every Tuesday through the end of August. And right now, the Westfield Public Arts Commission is accepting submissions from local artists to create an Artist Alley right in the heart of downtown Westfield.New Westfield Artist AlleyThe WPAC wants to create a permanent public installation in downtown Westfield. But they need talented artists to submit their ideas. Westfield's brand new Artist Alley will be set up on the side of the old Rialto theatre connecting Broad St. to the parking lot. They wish to see both 2D and 3D works of art (mosaics and wall sculpt...
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