What Does the Roller Coaster Effect of Interest Rates Mean for You?

Today I wanted to speak with you about how the roller coaster interest rate trend affects buying and selling homes. For both buyers and sellers, rates have been up and down as of late, bouncing between 4.5-4.65%. This trend is expected to continue and for 2014, rates are expected to rise to 5%. However, the market still favors buying a home and to support this, the National Association of Realtors reports that 68% of people surveyed have purchasing a home at the top of their priority list. According to a recent home price survey, leading analysts predict a 5% in home values over the next year.

If you are on the fencing about buying or selling, don’t hesitate to call. Thanks and have a great day!

Is It Too Late For You to Move Into Your Next Home?

Is It Too Late For You to Move Into Your Next Home?

Today we wanted to speak with you about whether or not it’s too late in the year to move. The answer is no! If you are thinking about buying a home right now, there is a great selection of homes, great interest rates and lenders are excited to lend money. If you are thinking about selling, there are many people who are renting and looking to get back into the market. There is also plenty of time to get into your new home and settled for the holiday season. The market values have also stabled and are currently improving.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. Thanks and have a great day!

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Four Tips to Make Your Offer Stand Out Above the Rest

Four Tips to Make Your Offer Stand Out Above the Rest

With low inventory issues continuing, buyers have found themselves competing for homes. Multiple offer situations have become the norm in the marketplace which can make buying frustrating. To counter this, we have four tips that can help your offer stand out above the rest.

The first thing to do is to make sure you have a preapproval letter before you start looking for homes. This lets the seller know that you are serious and have the financing available to purchase the home. Secondly, write out your deposit check with the offer. Also, write your offer as an “as is” purchase which we have found to give buyers a special edge over competitors. Finally, stick to the 17 days for contingencies. This allows you to cancel or renegotiate if something comes up during inspection.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Have a great day!

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7 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Real Estate Expert

7 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Real Estate Expert

When it comes to buying or listing a home, most do not realize how much actually goes into the process. If you choose to hire us as your expert, we’ve provided seven reasons why.

First, we will always tell you the truth when it comes to market prices and anything comparable. We also aggressively prospect for 2-3 hours every day. We study the market every day and are aware of any statistics and trends. Providing the best customer service and clear communication are standards that we are dedicated to uphold.

Our team follows defined plans of action and we hold ourselves to a rigorous schedule where we keep track of the progress we’ve made with your home. Your equity’s protection is also vital and we will negotiate the best possible price for your future home. Finally, we are part of a network of highly trained agents in North America to attract buyers.

Whether you are buying or selling, we are always here to help you with your real estate needs. Thank you for your time and reach out to us with any questions you may have. Have a great day!

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How Does the Government Shutdown Affect You?

How Does the Government Shutdown Affect You?

Although the government shutdown is affecting Americans in ways ranging from obtaining a new Social Security card to visiting a national park, the housing market proves to be glimmer of hope. One of the biggest questions is how the mortgage market will react in regards to perspective buyers obtaining loans since 90% of home loans are underwritten, insured or owned by the government and its affiliates.

It’s likely, though, that mortgages will not be affected as new loans will continue to push through and mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be unaffected. All of this is great news to the home buyer. If you have any other questions or would like clarification, please reach out to us! Have a great day.

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Reasons to Live in Ramsey, New Jersey

Reasons to Live in Ramsey, New Jersey

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to our video blog!

Today, I wanted to show you around the beautiful Ramsey. This New Jersey borough has everything you can think of! We love supporting local businesses and we wanted to tell you about some of the great ones here!

If you like to shop and want quality clothing, you’ll love Barbara Ann’s Consignment Boutique. I’ve been to a lot of boutiques and this one is truly one of a kind!

Or maybe you like home projects; there’s an awesome hardware store, Ramsey Hardware. It has everything you can think of!

If you have a sweet tooth you need to visit L’Arte! Speaking of food, stop on by the Italian Market. Everything from their salads to their breads are wonderful!

Do you like to read a good book once in a while? The library here has programs for adults, teens and children. Any book you want, they can get it for you. Plus, they are open seven days a week!

Maybe you like to exercise. Ultimate Cycle is a fantastic bicycle store that can help the amateur to the novice.

Ramsey has something for everyone! Give us a call so you can visit homes in the area!

Thanks for watching! 

You CAN Get a Check at Closing – Start With Determining the Value of Your Home

You CAN Get a Check at Closing – Start With Determining the Value of Your Home

More and more homeowners are realizing that with current market conditions as they are, they actually have more equity in their property than they thought was possible. There’s a good reason for this despite the stigma we’ve experienced in recent years that came from the housing bubble (and subsequent bursting of that bubble). As a result of a combination of several factors – ranging from seller demand and current supply of homes, to the condition of your home and current market activity – sellers are back on top!

That’s great news for most homeowners looking to move on but the first step is to find out what the current market value of your home is so you can truly realize the potential for a great return on your investment.

Real Time Market Information Reports Shed Light on Value
Over the years we have helped so many people move on to a better situation for them. And in our experiences we’ve developed very effective tools and services to help our clients achieve their goals. One of the services we provide our many clients is to help them determine what buyers today would be willing to pay for their properties.

You may have heard the term “comparables”. In the real estate world we are talking about other homes of similar size, build, condition and locale that help us shape the value of your existing home. Additionally we look at how your municipality’s assessor values the property. After evaluating multiple aspects of your neighborhood’s current real estate environment we assemble a comprehensive report to prove our professional opinion of value.

Before making the important decision of whether to sell your home or stay put, it is critical to gauge in advance how much money you will walk away with at closing. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Detailed Walkthroughs With Customized Advice To Get You Top Dollar

Another service we provide that countless homeowners find invaluable is a walkthrough of your home where we help you compile a list of things you can do to enhance its value. This will ultimately get you top dollar at closing. Some of the suggestions include sharing insight about the trends that today’s buyers are seeking, or information about minor cosmetic or major renovations that will help yield a significant return on investment. After years of helping homeowners effectively sell their homes, we know just the things a home needs for the offers to come pouring in.

Property Upkeep During a Listing

Hi everyone. Today I wanted to speak with you about the upkeep of a property while under contract. When a home goes under contract, it is a unique state of limbo. That doesn’t mean, though, that the ownership has transferred yet.

We frequently get asked who is responsible for maintaining the property while it is under contract. Well, the answer is simple. Until the ownership is transferred, the seller has to keep the property in the same shape it was when the buyer first viewed the property. This means if a furnace breaks down, or any other damages, the sellers is obligated to fix it.

Until the contact it closed, the seller has full responsibility of the home, including keeping utilities on. If you have any other questions, please call us; we’d love to help!

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How Interest Rates Will Affect the Housing Market

Welcome to our video blog!

Today I wanted to talk to you about how interest rates affect the home market. We’ve been getting a lot of questions in lately about how rising rates will affect the buying market. There have been some dramatic increases!

Just a month ago, you could get a 30 year fixed mortgage for about 3.5%; today that same loan is at 4.65%. It’s not all bad news, though. Today’s interest rates are still historically low. That means there won’t be a steep price increase and interest rates will probably hover around 4.5%.

As a result of all of this, we are coming into a more normal and predictable market which will be helpful for buyers!

Thanks so much for your time! Please reach out to us if you have any questions!

For more information, click here:

Getting a Check at Closing

Traditionally, one of the benefits of owning a home is being able to eventually sell it for a profit. Because the market has hit on hard times, this has not always been the case. The market is changing, though, and some sellers are actually getting checks at closing.

A lot of people think they can’t sell their home because they do not have equity. This may not be the case! We want to help you make an educated decision on whether now is the best time for you to sell or remain in your home.

To determine the value of your home, we look at location, the condition of the home, what other homes in your neighborhood are selling at, etc. We also walk through your home and let you know what you need to do in order to get top dollar on your biggest investment. So if you are interested in selling and want to know the value of your home, please call us at 201.445.4300 ext.283

For more information, click here:

Home Maintenance Does More Than You Think

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For some, the phrase “home maintenance” might sound like a great way to spend a weekend, while to others it might seem like a dreaded, even avoided, task. However you view routine home maintenance, the fact of the matter is that this somewhat simple task, if done consistently, can increase your home’s value over time.

Increased Property Value

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure.” This is certainly true when it comes to your home. In fact, proactive maintenance is essential to preserving the value of your home. If you ignore this important task, your home could actually lose 10% of its value over time.

There are a number of benefits you can expect from just making sure you home is kept in decent shape with occasional maintenance. For one, your curb appeal is improved by just simple acts of routine upkeep from time to time. Ultimately, your home reflects your attention to detail, or lack thereof.

Neglecting a home can greatly bring down the value of any property. Things like a house with chipped or fading paint, sagging gutters, or worn carpeting leads to a problem when it is time to sell. Not only does the work accumulate over time, so do the costs. A few simple fixes every year can add up to an increased home value over time.

Cost vs. Value

It’s easy to look at the cost of regular home repairs as a burden that might be able to be avoided. However, it is important to look at the value that you are placing in your home by performing the regular costs of upholding a well-built and maintained home.

A study out of the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that home maintenance can actually increase a home’s value by about 1% each year. Instead of viewing the routine tasks around a home as “chores,” these tasks should be looked at as a money maker. When you sell your home, you will reap their rewards.

Dr. John P. Harding, Professor of Finance and Real Estate at the University of Connecticut’s School of Business and an author of the study said, “It’s like going to the gym. You have to put in the effort to see the results. People and houses are somewhat similar – the older they are, the more work is needed.”

Some years what needs to be down may be more expensive than others, but it is the overall strategy to keep a “fit” home that should be the ultimate goal.

Proactive Maintenance Strategies

Budgeting for home repairs each year will prevent them from seeming like a burden each year. Knowing there will be a certain amount of money going to home repairs and upkeep makes them a regular part of your annual routine. They won’t be a source of financial devastation they can be for many families.

Other things to keep in mind to take the burden out of home maintenance include:

Play offense, not defense. Being proactive is vital in preventing a small problem becoming a mountain of problems. By having a regular inspections and creating a maintenance schedule, you are in control, for the most part, of home expenses, instead of the other way around.

Focus on a room a year. If you home is generally in good order, you may be at a loss of where to start. By targeting a room each year, you can inspect each and every item in that particular room and know where improvements can be made. This prevents an overwhelmed feeling with you looking at your entire house, scratching you head of where to start.

Keep track. Maintain a notebook or computer file to keep track of all of the maintenance and upgrades you perform is important. Also, either keep a physical file of paper receipts or a file on your computer where can put your scanned receipts. This helps you keep track of what you have done and also helps you prove to a potential buyer exactly what you have done to the home. It also shows you are a conscientious homeowner who has paid attention to the details of your home.

Home maintenance is an important task that should not be overlooked. Not only does it maintain a nice home while you live there, it also helps increase your home’s value when you are ready to sell.

Home Warranty Advantage

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Homeowners Insurance is great – it covers a lot of things like fire, theft and vandalism – and in case there is a storm that causes significant damage, the policy’s right there to protect the owner.  But what about a policy that looks after the interests of the property while it listed on the market and one that works to the advantage of both sides of the buying and selling fence?  A home warranty is a perfect supplement to a homeowner’s insurance policy and it broadens the overall coverage in a variety of ways.  Here is a rundown of the variances between the two and how a seller getting a warranty policy on their home for sale is a great tool!

The Benefits of a Home Warranty Policy
While home insurance largely covers catastrophic incidences and damage, a home warranty policy goes far beyond in that it address the home including wear and tear items.  Also, maintenance and repair is typically includes in a home warranty policy.  As a selling tool, this is fantastic, because during the process – or even after the home is sold – for up to 13 months, the areas of the home covered under the policy are warranted.  Oftentimes, a buyer will come across an issue with something in the home that could become a deal breaker but with the added peace of mind of a warranty, the seller can sit back and relax knowing that most things will likely be covered.  Examples of things that fall into range of coverage on a home warranty are flooring, plumbing systems, electrical systems, and wear and tear of these areas plus also the furnace and in come cases, the roofing or other major components of the home.

Home Insurance Policy Advantages
The single biggest difference between a home warranty versus a home owners insurance policy is that the latter covers the basic replacement value in general if there is a major catastrophe such as a storm that cause damage, fire, theft or vandalism or personal liability.  There is not personal liability coverage under the home warranty policy, rather it focuses on the “used” contents of the home.

How a Home Warranty Policy Helps in a Real Estate Transaction
Home Warranty of America is a company that provides very good coverage under their policy (for a list of their benefits, clickhere) including 13-months of free seller coverage, with coverage beginning on the first of their home being listed for sale.  The free coverage period for the seller lasts for up to 180 days and the policy is only paid for upon sale of the home at closing.  The best part of a home warranty policy is that even after the buyer has taken possession of the property, the coverage continues.  That means that as a seller, you will not have to contend with any last minutes issues that can and do come up. When applying for the warranty, be sure to choose coverage that address all potential concerns you may have for the home so that if there were a need for repairs or coverage, you would have it provided as a benefit.

An industry association held a study in which it was determined that not only do homes sell up to 50% faster when there is a home warranty policy in place, but also the selling price typically comes within three percent of the list price.  In today’s real estate market – this is an advantage that any seller would want to avail!

What’s Up With the Local Real Estate Market?

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We have great news to report! Our local real estate market is enjoying a really nice upswing in several ways and it has a strong, positive impact on both buyers and sellers alike. Just a few short years after the housing market crashed in late 2007, we are finally able to say that our market has turned around. Here are some of the things happening these days and how they impact us:

Home Values Continue to Rise

During the period of time these past several years while the market was depressed, one of harshest effects was that on home values. Today, we are seeing more and more increases in many neighborhoods across our area and region, much like most of the nation. This makes it a great time for sellers to jump off the fence and sell, to either downsize or move up into a home that better suits their needs.

Interest Rates Will Remain At Historic Lows

As a way of controlling the marketplace and helping to drive our economy, the Fed has actively kept interest rates low. We predict that these rates will continue to hover at the historic lows that they have been for at least another year or more. This will help more buyers get into their dream homes since their buying power is increased with lower interest rates.

Lots of Buyer Activity and Demand

More and more buyers will be seeking out homes – whether to lock in interest rate opportunities, avoid renting or to release months of pent up demand. The 2012 Presidential Election and then subsequently the Fiscal Cliff issue had many buyers on edge as to whether or not the economy would stay strong. Now, buyers are ready to commit to a purchase and they are actively doing so.

Inventory Levels Dwindle Downward

Increased demand will continue to drive inventory levels down, despite more sellers coming on the market during the spring and summer months. The housing industry is expected to see lots of activity, more so with buyers eager to lock in very low interest rates.
If you would like to be apart of the American Dream and want to either buy a new home, sell your existing home – or both, contact us today! We would love to help make those dreams become a reality!

Understanding the Difference Between Online Resources and a Realtor When Pricing Your Home

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The Internet can be a great resource for a host of things centered on buying or selling your home but in some cases, the most you can expect to gain is a basic understanding of things.  For something as serious and important as pricing your home to either value it or sell it, relying on the Internet can only go so far.  Here we’ve outlined some key differences between the figures you will yield from online sources versus those that have been compiled by your local Realtor. 


In today’s market especially, accurately pricing your home to sell is essential.  With it being a buyers’ market, you will have to gain a solid understanding of allfactors that contribute toward your property’s value.  There can be negative repercussions of pricing a home either too low or too high.  One such scenario is if there was a seasoned buyer who had taken the time to research in advance of searching for homes.  That buyer’s knowing what to expect in the local market seeing your overpriced home could result in a turn-off and you could lose the sale.  By the same token, you stand to get the shorter end of the stick in case of not knowing what you could have charged.  Spending a little more time and/or expense can make a huge difference in the end outcome.  


There are more than several websites where anyone can log on, put in their zip code and be given an instant “analysis” of their real estate value. The figures that appear as results from searches made through online resources stem from a conglomeration of several weeks and sometimes months of data collected from a particular region.  

Websites such as www.zillow.com,www.realtytrac.com or www.trulia.comoffer a great way to get a generic idea of the value that homes in your region are going for or have gone for recently.  As an added resource to other services also offered on these sites, the goal is not to assist homeowners in assigning a selling price on their property based on the data, rather to offer a snapshot on sales and pricing data for the area.  In fact, for many people it is the perfect tool to add an extra edge when determining the fair market value of your home, along with other factors.  


While online real estate tools are a great way to get a preliminary idea, they are only going to yield a figure that will show you where to start.  To get an accurate assessment, you will need to avail the professional services of a Realtor.  The only way to get an accurate “reading” of what the market rates are for homes in your vicinity and your neighborhood in particular, is to have a comparative market analysis conducted by a Realtor who understands your neighborhood.  There is a good chance that they have dealt with properties in the area on a first-hand basis, regularly interact with the agencies and organizations that deal with very homes in your neighborhood and are familiar with the people in various facets that you will end up needing to interact with yourself, as the seller of your home. 

Realtors conduct a detailed Comparable Market Analysis (sometimes also called Competitive Market Analysis) through a series of data compilation of area homes and properties, considering factors such as amount of land, the square footage and number of bedrooms or typical amenities in the neighborhood.  But homeowners can also opt to delve into accurate detail about their property’s value by relying on an independent appraiser.  Also, through the use of CMA data the County Tax Assessor determines the value of your property taxes.  


When you are pricing your home to sell, it is vital that you use all available resources.  At first, it makes sense to “shop around” and get to know the generalities before you head for the specifics.  And as with most transactions dealing with your real estate world, it is always best to rely on your Realtor for quality, effective and accurate information that is relevant to you and YOUR market.