New Jersey Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 14, 2020

Avoid the web of bidding wars in Montclair real estate

If you've spent time seeking a new home in Montclair the current real estate market it isn't unusual to have lost a home you were interested in to another buyer.  They may have offered better terms than you were comfortable offering.  They may have simply offered more money.

The minimal supply of homes for sale has certainly left more buyers finding themselves competing for less houses!  Your local marketing specialist is the best source for gaining an advantage in this marketplace. 

In seeking your new home, you definitely shouldn't let yourself be spooked into losing your head and end up paying more than a house is worth.  However, to make certain you avoid emotional reactions to an already stressful circumstance, you may want to consider adding this special caveat to any offer to purchase you are considering making.

This special caveat would be an escalation clause. An escalation clause may very well head off a bidding war that leaves you in an awkward position, and just may land you the home of your dreams without you having to walk through a nightmare to get there!

Here's how this would work in your favor when you add it to an offer to purchase.

By including an escalation clause as part of the original offer you make, you clearly signal to the seller that you intend to close on this transaction without wasting their time on endless back and forth while dealing in advance with any competing offers they may receive at the same time your offer is presented. 

In practical terms, it would look like this:

  • You offer X amount to purchase the home along with all other normal terms and conditions
  • The specific escalation clause should state clearly that you will beat any legitimate competing offer by X amount up to the maximum you have determined beforehand based on market values and conditions including the actual appraised value
  • Include language outlining proof necessary to determine a legitimate competing offer

Although an escalation clause should make your offer far more attractive to the seller, there is no guarantee of a sale until a fully executed Purchase and Sale agreement is completed at closing. Ready to bid on and win the home of your dreams?  

Visit to view available homes NOW!

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 28, 2020


When one home in any neighborhood of Montclair sells, the curious cat in all of us can’t help but wonder - “what did it sell for?”  It isn’t at all about being nosy and it is your business to know, because each sold home affects the value of your home.  Even if you aren’t selling and don’t plan to sell in the near future, home prices affect more than value at sale time.  Home prices affect the property taxes you pay.  Being aware is being prepared.  

If you are curious what your property would be worth should you choose to sell, determining the value takes many facets into consideration.  Ultimately, a home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to sell for.  Pricing right based on accurate market data is just one of the ways your local marketing specialist serves your real estate needs.

Getting to those numbers, the main factors to weigh will include:

  • Square footage, which should include living space and unfinished areas such as the basement, attic and attached garage
  • Condition of the home is a main concern, especially the roof, siding and foundation
  • Landscaping and outdoor areas such as a deck, patio and any outbuildings
  • Functionality of the layout and size of interior rooms and closets
  • Renovations and upgrades to appliances, flooring, hardware, heating and cooling systems

Location - urban, suburban, with or without views; where the home is located will impact the value a buyer attributes to the property

Current market conditions and recent sales of similar properties will be taken into account as well.  

Details specific to your real estate marketplace are part of the essential conversation with your local marketing specialist.

Desirable features buyers are specifically seeking in the current marketplace will play a part in setting a market value that isn’t too high or too low.  Some buyers will be eager to make the home their very own, by doing some work themselves, like choosing paint colors or installing new flooring.  Others want a move-in experience where they don’t make any changes at all.

Thanks to easy internet access, most buyers will check those elements that are of paramount importance to them in advance of touring your home.  Some of these items will typically include:

  • Public transportation availability
  • Commute times they can expect
  • Crime statistics 
  • Shopping and entertainment facilities within walking distance or easy access
  • Amenities such as gyms, childcare or other desired activities

Schools are one of the most popular reasons a property buyer chooses a certain geographic area to conduct their home search.

Overestimating your properties value could see your home sitting on the market longer than necessary just as underestimating could leave equity earnings on the table at closing. 

Get preliminary data on available homes in the market now, and an idea of values in the area by visiting:

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 22, 2020

Autumn TO DO List Priorities for NJ Homeowners

You wouldn't drive your car day after day for an entire year without ever checking, and changing, the oil, would you? We all understand the value of maintenance for our automobiles, and how that increases our gas mileage and preserves not just the life, but the proper functioning of our car.

You could skip the homeowners annual maintenance TO DO list - but why not take 30 minutes to an hour now to save time, money and major possible headache later?

The fall into winter TO DO list may be the most important and greatest preventative of major repair problems - AND COSTS - down the road!  

For all the loyal clients past, present and future of your local marketing specialist, as we head into October:


 + Replace that air intake and furnace filters (extra bonus savings - you can reuse existing filters; just clean them carefully!) You get both cleaner air in the home and more efficient operation of the HVAC

 + Clean your duct work for even greater interior air and system efficiency!

 + Check all HVAC system components for proper functioning.  Many Heating and Cooling companies offer annual service that includes all of these check points and more for a nominal fee.  

 + Inspect all weather seals on doors and windows.  

+  Install caulk or weather stripping if any leaks are discovered.

 + Repair or replace window and door screens as needed before storing for the winter.

 + Install storms windows and doors.

Spring rains and early fall storms may have caused soil erosion.

 + Carefully walk the perimeter of the house and any outbuildings, watching for cracks or shifting of the foundations.

 + If necessary, replace any soil loss at the foundation, being sure to spread away from the building at an angle so water drains away from the foundation.

 + Check gutters and downspouts; clear away debris build-up. Check downspouts using your garden hose; clear any debris hindering the clear flow of water away from your roof line.

Clear silicone or specialized gutter sealant will be useful for any leaks you may encounter.  If you haven't already, now would be a great time to attach extenders to downspouts to direct water flow away from your foundation.  

 + While you're up on the ladder, give your soffits a good once over.  Reseat wind-loosened panels.

 + Check basement windows and/or vents.  Repair any damage or replace to prevent small animals from making their winter home in your home!

 + For a lush lawn next year, ferilize and reseed bare spots.  Use those lovely fall leaves as cover so birds don't make off with your new grass blades!

 + Trim and Prune those trees and shrubs, and cut back your perennials for optimum growth in next years garden. 

We're almost done!  What a satisfying afternoons work that will pay you back in dividends for years of enjoyment in your home!  A couple more spot checks and your home is ready to protect and shelter you all through the winter!

 + Insulation is a favorite for burrowing buddies to make away with to line their own nests for the winter!  Check yours to make sure it's intact and up to the task of keeping your tootsies warm all winter!  Are the water pipes covered with pipe insulation?  This is the best time to prevent burst pipes and unintended swimming pools in the basement!

 + Last on our list - if you have a chimney, this is the time to clean, before that first blaze of the season!  Don't forget to check your flue, too!

Now you and your home are ready to tackle whatever winter throws your way! Although this list isn't exhaustive, maintenance is necessary not only to keep up the appearance of your home, but to preserve value, build equity and enjoy the benefits and savings that come with efficient operation of all fixtures and appliances.


Search all new and available listings for sale, or find out the value of your current home, by visiting

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 7, 2020

Single, Double or a Big Family House in northern New Jersey!

Meat with potatoes and asparagus

Cooking for one takes as much effort and planning as cooking for a large number of people.  Some have actually claimed it's easier to cook for four or more than plan meals for just one or two people.  

Dining for two or for ten presents its own challenges, and house hunting offers many of the same concerns.  A single or couple will be seeking to meet very different needs than a family.  Families come in all sizes, too.  From parents and children, to multi-generational configurations, not every home will suit every need.

The number of rooms, in particular the number of baths and bedrooms, will be of importance.  Just as important will be the location of those rooms and how they fit into the daily living habits of the inhabitants of the home.

As you consider the needs and wants for your next home, keep in mind the layout as well as the number of the desired bedrooms, baths and living spaces.  Will anyone be working from home?  Will the children be schooling from home or homeschooling and how will those needs be addressed?  If multiple generations will occupy the spaces, is there need of more private living area?

A few layout items to keep in mind; if you have youngsters at home, an open floor plan that allows easy sight lines from work areas such as the kitchen or home office into the play areas including the back yard may be preferable. Speaking of young children, the configuration of the outdoor space should be given consideration.  It may be problematic to deal with a steeply sloped lot or lack of outdoor play area.

If seniors will be living in the home, stairs may present challenges.  Are there options for single floor livability that include bedroom, bath and living area?

Finding just the right property to fit all the needs of your family, whether a family of one or more, takes planning, just like cooking a great meal! Your local marketing specialist is familiar with the marketplace, and an excellent starting point to begin the process.

To search all new and available listings for sale, or find out the value of your current home, visit


Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 2, 2020

Before Moving Day in New Jersey

Minimal concept. interior of living yellow tone on yellow floor and background.

The closing day is set and you’re planning your move into your new home; CONGRATULATIONS!

(If you would like to be the one setting a closing date and planning your move into a new home, just connect with your local marketing specialist for all you’ll need to make that happen!)

Moving is exciting and nothing gets you started like a fresh, clean house to begin.  DIY or hiring it out; these three tips make it just a bit easier in the long run.

ALL THE MECHANICAL DETAILS:  Do a final walk-through with the previous owner or real estate agent to make sure you know:

where all the light fixtures and system controls are and how to work them (like the gas fireplace for instance)

check the fuse box and label any blank switches as necessary.  Now is a better time than when all the lights go out!

Note main shut off valve for the water main, natural gas if appropriate, how to change the heat or AC filters and location of any reset buttons, humidifier’s that may need to be emptied regularly, and settings and use of appliances staying with the home. (Not every stove timer or microwave works the same!)

FROM THE TOP: A good dustmop is all you’ll need to get started, clearing away cobwebs and dust from corners, tops of door and window frames, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures

A damp mop down the walls with a product like Simple Green leaves a fresh smell behind, too!

Run that same mop over the baseboards to clear away dust shaken down from above

Steam wash wood floors, damp mop laminate and linoleum and steam carpets 

A wood cleaner or bucket of cleaner to wipe inside and outside all cabinets and built-in shelving completes the job and leaves your new home smelling and looking FRESH & NEW

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Worth the cost and effort as well is the changing of the locks.  The owner may have turned every key they were in possession of to you, but the key they gave  Great-Aunt Shirley may still be at large, the neighbor may never have returned the key from under the rock in back when they watered the plants that time… it isn’t worth the risk.

Moving can be stressful and exhausting, so taking care of these three things before the boxes and furniture and knick knacks arrive can help you feel safer and make settling in a little easier. Once done, you can sit back and enjoy your new place.

Search all new and available listings for sale, or find out the value of your current home, visit

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 24, 2020




It's true, northern New Jersey gets cold in the winter and HOT in the summer!  It takes a considerable amount of energy all year long to keep your house comfortable.  Reducing energy usage is good for the environment, good for increasing a homes value and good for your finances, too!

Thinking green has benefits short term and long term, so maybe you'd like to GO GREEN with one or more of these eco-friendly, energy efficient upgrades for your home.

INSIDE THE HOUSE: Eco-friendly starts literally with bringing the green into your home.  Indoor air quality is instantly clearer when greenery that removes allergens and pollutants from the air are part of your decor. Studies show that indoor plants do even more; improving mood, reducing stress and boosting emotional well-being.  Who knew that ficus could actually be your best green friend?

BRIGHTEN EFFICIENTLY: The cost of bringing light into your home can add up substantially over the course of a year.  Simply changing light bulbs to LED can really cut back on that cost by as much as 70% or more!

Changing window dressings to sheers that allow the sun to flood through is the single most cost effective, eco-friendly lighting available. Increase natural lighting and encourage growth of your air cleaning greenery with skylights.  Speaking of window dressing, closing off windows flooded with heat causing sunlight during the hottest portions of summer days decreases the energy it will take to cool the house!

SOLAR POWER: Add a little or add a lot; solar panels provide energy that can reduce or even free you from relying on nonrenewable energy sources.  Solar can provide enough energy to power HVAC systems, home appliances and lighting.  

Best of all, any or all of these energy efficient changes may also pay you back with tax credits and possibly add to the value of your home on top of the monthly utility bill savings.  Your local marketing specialist can help you determine the current market value and how the green efficiency additions may change that value.

Looking for an energy efficient home?  Take a look at all the choices in Essex County NJ communities to consider!





Aug. 12, 2020

Weighing Pros and Cons of northern NJ HOA's

Little houses holding hands representing a neighborhood watch program, EPS 8 vector illustration

What should you know if the home in northern NJ you are thinking of buying is governed by a Homeowners Association? Beyond the probability of greater interaction with the neighbors, these four concerns should be answered before you accept the terms:

  1. FEES: Most HOA's include monthly fees to cover the care and maintenance of common areas and often include exterior and roof of buildings.  Depending on the the type of community, they may also come with privileges for use of certain amenities such as fitness centers, banquet rooms and even pools for residence use only.  Fees vary greatly depending on what is provided, so you need to be sure to include those in your monthly budgeting.
  2. RULES: Tend to encompass a wide variety of subjects, from colors of exterior buildings, parking spaces, pets and how much involvement residents have in making or changing the rules and regulations.
  3. RESOLVE DISPUTES: Living in any community, it's a fact of life that sometimes you and the neighbors may not agree on everything.  One benefit of an HOA Board is a way to resolve any such disputes quickly and hopefully painlessly. No need to agonize over a dog who barks all night; the HOA will resolve it for you and possibly preserve your friendships in the process.
  4. MAINTENANCE: Imagine NOT having to shovel snow, rake leaves or call a repairman for every little thing. 


HOA's come with restrictions, and you'll want to make sure you are in agreement with those restrictions.  Covenants control everyone's actions for the good of the whole community.  There are positives and negatives to be considered and it comes down to your personal preferences.  

With or without a Homeowners Association to watch over things, take a look at all the homes available to consider in your home search:

Want more information or answers to any questions?  Contact your local marketing specialist to assist you with both!



Aug. 11, 2020

Gone Crazy! - 2nd Quarter Sales - Essex County NJ and Beyond







As we look towards the rest of the year for real estate in northern NJ, here's an update on the 2nd quarter in Essex County - as these indicators can affect your selling and buying decisions.  Two words:  SELLER’S MARKET!  


The number of closed sales fell dramatically in the Essex County (and surrounding counties) market areas this last quarter.  That’s no surprise as we spent that time in quarantine.  The health crisis however, is not leading to a housing crisis here.  While inventory levels declined significantly, buyer demand increased substantially, causing prices to rise in nearly every community. As such, available properties received multiple offers.


It’s certainly challenging with an under-supply of available homes. 


In Montclair for example, there was over a 40% decline in closed sales from the same period last year - with selling prices averaging 108% of their offer price.


Glen Ridge saw its average sale price of single family homes increase almost 30% for the quarter over last year, with only 18 closed sales (verses 31 in the 2nd quarter of 2019).


In West Orange there was a 33% drop in closed sales from this period a year ago, and Verona saw 3% fewer closed transactions.


Cedar Grove’s average sale price increased 10%, with the number of sales falling 40%.


Bloomfield’s closed sales decreased 27%.


In Millburn/Short Hills, there were 71 closed sales which was 19% fewer and the median sale price increased 7% to over $1,210,000 here. 


For Livingston, the median sale price increased 11% - with closed sales having a 35% decline.


Maplewood closed sales dropped to only 64 sales compared to 114 in this same period a year ago, with sellers gaining an average of 102% of their asking prices.


South Orange had 42% fewer transactions, with the average sales price seeing a 5% increase over last year. 


With numbers like these, and interest rates so low - what we can expect going forward in 2020 is the same scenario.  (Except 3rd quarter data will show an additional increase of selling prices!)


As education remains a remote choice for many, with more buyers with school children at home - more people may be inclined to make a move outside of the traditional school year, which could result in continued robust buyer interest and activity throughout the fall and winter months.  


If your plans had been put on hold to sell your home - now is the time to re-consider your options and have the conversation as to what this market can offer.  All of northern NJ has seen an increased demand for housing and the area desperately needs inventory!


And if you are a buyer looking to purchase in 2020 and 2021 anywhere in northern NJ, and especially in NJ’s top towns such as those communities above, and do not want to grossly overpay — you must choose your realtor wisely who can align with your goals, has strong relationships along with the experience and credentials to advise you.


Contact me today for the latest information on neighborhoods, sales data, and questions.


Power search the latest homes for sale at and market reports, or receive an instant price on what your property may be worth here


July 21, 2020

The Features to Feature in Your Essex County NJ Home Sale

hello August. beautiful composition with chamomile flowers in Cup, old book, braided hat in garden. Rural landscape background with Chamomile in sunlight. Summertime season. soft selective focus

The types and styles of homes desired by buyers have always undergone shifts from year to year, as social norms have shifted.  There have been a great many changes over the last 20 years, evidenced in the style and size of new homes being built.

Upgrade and remodel projects reflect many of those shifting needs and wants as well.  One of the more prominent shifts is one the coronavirus has revealed.  Working from home has gone from a trendy and even desirable but not very practical business model to a necessity, making the home office currently the single most sought after feature by those surveyed who are seeking to purchase a home this year. Your local marketing specialist has experience in this area and can offer suggestions for practical solutions to work-from-home concerns.

Determining what will be the most sought after features from year to year. takes more than guesswork. Fortunately, the National Association of Home Builders conducts a nationwide survey each year to drill down on what builders say are the most popular home features. For example, at one time the single most important feature desired was the walk-in closet for the master bedroom. 

As a homeowner, why should you pay attention to the trends of buyer want lists?  If you are like most, when the time to sell arrives, you'll want to know what features will attract the buyer and get you the best selling price!  If you are planning any home improvement projects, keep these items in mind:

  • Storage areas are always big with buyers. Closets big enough and organized enough to handle more than hanging rods are one feature buyers appreciate when considering a home to purchase.
  • Low-energy windows along with energy efficient lighting, appliances and fixtures rank high on the list.
  • A laundry room that does double duty is a definite hit with potential buyers! Where possible, add a hanging rod and counter for folding.  It will wow when buyers are doing a tour.
  • Central kitchen islands that do double duty also remain very popular, but stay away from laminate countertops! Open shelving in the kitchen remains a matter of personal taste.  

A watchful eye on what new home builders are unveiling is the single most informative method of choosing what upgrades or remodels a home owner may want to undertake.  If they want to sell homes, they have to be finely tuned in to what potential buyers want!  After all, if they're building homes that don't have the features and amenities that buyers desire, they're going to have a hard time selling houses.

Take a look at what is available, what's selling and what the most popular home features on the market now are by visiting:

July 21, 2020

New Construction Home Sales are GOOD for northern NJ Real Estate

Existing home sales, usually the bulk of real estate sales statistics, have been suffering from a long stretch of low inventory woes.  Thanks to builders stepping up this past spring and summer, new built home sales are proving to be an excellent indicator of regained real estate market health.  


In fact, and in spite of restrictions placed on home showings, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development released equally good news concerning the state of the New Jersey market's recovery. According to these results, sales of newly built single-family homes rose 16.6% and are now 12.7% higher than they were last year at the same time.


The strength new home sales lent to this rebound was an unexpected but welcome boost to the New Jersey real estate market.  In spite of a slow start to the spring market, home buyers - momentarily sidelined by coronavirus concerns, are energetically active and fueling a surge in home sales as we move into the fall season. 


Wondering if you should consider a move?  Consider these market conditions:


  • Mortgage interest rates at or below 3% means a LOT of buying power in every dollar!
  • Work from home solutions in most industries means buyers are qualifying for loans!
  • The move-up luxury market in New Jersey has higher inventory levels providing greater choice!
  • The need for those homes usually considered "starter homes" is growing!

Continuing strong buyer activity in the market has sparked excellent equity gains for current home owners. Your local marketing specialist is actively monitoring the marketplace to be sure to provide you with the very latest updates and data necessary to assist in determining how these market conditions have changed the value of your home.

Wondering what you can expect to find available?  Take a look at all the current homes available for sale by visiting: