Which High-Tech Upgrades Should You Make Before Listing?

Millennials and other tech-savvy buyers make up a big portion of our market. So, which three upgrades will help your listing stand out?

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Millennial buyers are making up more and more of the market these days. This is a tech-savvy demographic that places a lot of value on gadgets both in and out of the home. 

So, if you are thinking of listing your home, you may want to think about adding these three high-tech upgrades to your home:

Millennial buyers aren’t the only ones who want more technology.
  1. A smart thermostat. This is one easy improvement that won’t cost much to install. This piece of technology will allow your home’s future owner to control the thermostat from anywhere inside the home and even from outside of it, as well. Millennials tend to care about the environment, ranking it as a top consideration in their home purchase, and this gadget can definitely boost your home’s energy efficiency. 
  2. Home surveillance. There are options for this feature at every price range. Wi-Fi-enabled front door cameras and individual cameras can cost as little as $30 while full systems will start at approximately $180. The added safety this provides will be a big draw for buyers.
  3. Smart kitchen technology. If you already plan to update your kitchen, you may want to look into adding some smart appliances. Smart refrigerators are a good example. Many smart refrigerator models even come with a built-in camera and Wi-Fi connection so that you can easily keep track of your groceries. You might also think about adding inexpensive, no-touch faucets.
According to HGTV, 46% of consumers see smart home technology as important for their current and future residences. Millennial buyers aren’t the only ones who want more technology. 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

3 Great Reasons to List Your Home This Fall

Don’t fall for the common misconception that this time of year is a bad time to list your home. Now is a great time to sell for three key reasons.

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Now that summer has come to a close, many homeowners may think they have missed their chance to sell their home this year. There is a common misconception that our market comes to a screeching halt his fall. That is simply not the case.

Since buyers have fewer homes to choose from this time of year, yours will be sure to stand out.

Keep these reasons in mind if you’re contemplating whether or not to list your home now:
  1. You will have less competition. Most homeowners think they have missed out on the selling season, so they decide to wait until the following spring to put their home on the market. By listing your home now, you’ll avoid the rush of new listings that we see in the spring. Since buyers have fewer homes to choose from this time of year, yours will be sure to stand out. 
  2. Buyers are more motivated this time of year. Now that school is back in session, buyers want to get into a new home before the holidays. They have a deadline, which gives you more leverage. It’s also more common for companies to relocate people this time of year. Relocation buyers are highly motivated to get into a new home before January 1. If you wait until next spring to list your home, you’ll completely miss out on this highly motivated group. 
  3. Your home looks great surrounded by fall colors. The lawns are still green, the leaves are just starting to turn, and full plants, like mums, are just starting to bloom. Now is a great time to take listing photos and wow potential buyers both in person and online.
If you have any more questions about listing in the fall or you’re curious about what’s happening in our northern New Jersey market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you.

Transform Your Offer Into a Winner

If you’ve found your dream home, only to discover that other buyers have their eyes on it, don’t worry. There are steps you can take to make your offer stand out against the others.

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Today, I’m here to talk to you about four ways you can make your offer on a home stand out.

When you’re putting in an offer for your dream property, it can be disheartening to learn that there are actually competing offers from other buyers on the table. There are, however, ways to make your offer stand out in a bidding war.

Sellers will often receive multiple offers on their home, and time will not be on your side. Do not sleep on it.

Here are some tips on making the strongest offer possible:
  1. Act fast. If buyer demand outpaces supply, as is often the case, it will result in low inventory. This means that sellers will often receive multiple offers on their home, and time will not be on your side. Do not sleep on it.
  2. Make a solid offer. A solid offer will be comparable to other recent sales in the neighborhood and will represent market value. Sellers will view your offer as more solid if you’re pre-approved for the listed price amount, or if it is a full-cash offer. It will also help solidify the offer if it is not contingent upon the sale of your current home. You can also include a personal letter in the offer, letting the seller know exactly why you want to make their home yours. These kinds of letters can be very helpful when a seller is weighing their options, especially if they have sentimental attachments to their property
  3. Don’t nitpick. Another way to make your offer stand out from among the others is to avoid nitpicking; you can do this by waiving certain contingencies, or by being lenient in your inspection. There are always things you can fix yourself once you’re in the home.
  4. Be prepared to negotiate. A seller will many times present a counteroffer to your original offer, and certainly if there aren’t multiple offers. Counteroffers usually revolve around price and closing time. Make sure you give a serious bid, and that you are pre-approved for the amount. With regard to closing dates, sellers usually have an ideal timeframe in mind. Once again, being less picky here may give you an advantage if there are other buyers.
As always, we are here for you and anything that you may need. We’re grateful to be your community resource, ready to serve you, your friends, family, relatives, and neighbors. Please feel free to reach out us at any time.

What 4 Things Will Bring More Calm to Your Life?

Managing stress is a skill that takes practice. Here are a few tips to help you out.

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Everybody feels stress. A little bit of it can be a good thing and help you improve your life by helping you push through obstacles. It helps us evolve, too. However, too much stress is not healthy. That’s why managing stress is something we should all practice.

Being calm is a skill and it takes time to learn, just like playing a sport or an instrument. However, just like football and the piano, the key to mastering calmness is practice. Here are four different ways you can practice serenity so that when the pressure mounts you will be ready to deal with it:

1. Focus on your breathing. This is the easiest tip to follow because it’s something you can do any time. Just take a minute or two to focus on your breathing and nothing else. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the feeling of the air moving in and out of your body.

2. Practice deep breathing. Research shows that few of us actually use our full breathing capacity. Instead, we take short and shallow breaths. Remind yourself a few times a day to take deep, deliberate breaths. You’ll start to notice a change in your demeanor.

Managing stress is a useful skill for anyone.

3. Laugh. Laughing has been shown to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Whether it’s a tweet, video, or funny friend on speed dial, simply having a laugh can help greatly reduce your stress.

4. Music. Make a playlist full of songs that put you at ease. Listen to some songs that bring back fond memories.

These tips will help ease you into practicing calmness. Whether you’re feeling peaceful or stressed, you can practice these tips and develop them into a weapon to use when you are in a stressful situation.

If you have any questions for us about managing stress or any questions about real estate, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

3 Simple Living Life Hacks

Moving toward a more simple life can be accomplished by doing one of the three things listed below.

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You’ve heard the old adage, “less is more.” You don’t have to throw out all your things and become a minimalist to live more simply. Here are three ways to live a happier, more simple life:

You’ve heard the old adage, “less is more.”

  1. Declutter your most-used spaces. Think of the spaces in your home that you use most often, like the bathroom sink, your beds, and refrigerator. Your fridge can become cluttered quickly and can affect your health if it isn’t cleaned regularly. Make sure all of your food is visible and clearly labeled to make eating a simpler and more enjoyable experience. This concept can be applied to other spaces as well.
  2. Simplify your morning and nighttime routine. If you take a long time to get ready in the morning, you may need to look at your routine. Simplify your day and night by preparing breakfast or picking out your clothes the night before. 
  3. Learn to desire less. Learn to differentiate between wants and needs. In order to have a rich life, you can either acquire more or want less. A rich man who wants more is not as content as a poor man who wants nothing. Being content is about reducing your unnecessary desires, not about fulfilling every one of them.
With these simple tips, we hope you’ll find yourself on the path to living a simpler life. We’re grateful to be your community resource, ready to serve you and your loved ones. If you need anything at all or would like to buy or sell a home, please give us a call. We look forward to being of service.

Avoid These 4 Renovations When Selling Your Home

There are four renovations you should avoid if you plan on selling your house.

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When you put your home on the market, you might look for ways to make it stand out from the competition. Everyone wants to get the most money for their home, and sellers will consider updating certain property features to persuade interested buyers that their home is worth more. 

However, there are a surprising number of renovations that are less likely to recoup value. Here are four projects that you should specifically avoid:

1. Expensive light fixtures: If you’re updating your home for yourself, these can be a great way to make your home your own. If your home will be someone else’s soon, though, you should probably sidestep this renovation.

2. New carpeting: If you need to remove old carpeting from your home, it’s best to replace that carpet with something other than more carpet. For instance: laminate, hardwood, and stone are some options that most buyers find appealing, and they’re also competitive with carpeting prices. The finished look will be very sleek. 

Neutral, calming colors always work best for a new paint job.

3. Bold paint colors: Walls are something every interested buyer will look at. Painting is a good way to bring a fresh look to a space and it’s relatively inexpensive, but it’s important to pick neutral colors when doing so. Bold paint choices may be fun for you, but there is no guarantee that those colors will work for a potential buyer. Neutral, calming colors always work best. 

4. Landscape projects: Or more specifically, overspending on landscape projects. Your home’s curb appeal is very important, as first impressions can make or break a buyer’s interest. You may be tempted to overspend on landscaping, but if you’re thinking of selling soon, your investment in this area won’t get you your money back. 

If you have any questions about home renovations or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email. We’d be glad to help.

5 Ways to Spoil Your Dog

Feel like pampering your beloved family pet? These are my five favorite ways.

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Just how much would you say you love your dog? Enough to spoil them? If so, it's your lucky day because I want to share with you a list of five easy low-cost ways to spoil your dog.
  1. Walk a new route: It's vital to walk your dog regularly even if you have a yard. It's not just a way to pass the time for dogs, it's an important exercise for mental stimulation. Try changing routes every few days to keep your dog excited and alert. It will also help teach them about the neighborhood in case they get lost.
  2. Make them a personalized meal: It sounds extravagant, but it's easier than you think and you can find recipes online. Be sure to avoid harmful food like onions, raisins, and chocolate. 
  3. Go for a ride: Dogs absolutely love car rides, and unlike people, the destination rarely matters to them. Talk to them as you ride, too.

  4. Social trips to the vet will make the necessary trips down the road less stressful.

  5. Full-service scratching: It doesn't cost a thing to pamper your dog with one of their favorite things—scratches! Dedicate five or 10 minutes to it, and for that time, your dog will feel like the top dog.
  6. A social vet visit: It may sound torturous, but many people don't realize that you can take your dog to the vet for a social visit. They'll not only enjoy the visit with other animals, it will help them associate the vet's office with good times. This will make future visits less stressful.
If we can be your community resource in any way, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to helping you!

What to Know Before Investing in an Airbnb Property

You’ve probably heard of Airbnb. Have you heard that people are buying investment properties for the sole purpose of renting them out on the site?

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You’ve probably heard of Airbnb and you may have even stayed in one before. It’s a great way for homeowners and investors to make some extra money, and a lot more buyers have been purchasing properties lately to use for this sole purpose. Before you decide to go all in on Airbnb, here are a few things you should know about first:

This is becoming an increasingly popular strategy.

1. Have you picked a good location? The first rule of real estate is location, location, location and it’s no different in this case. In order to be successful, the demand for lodging in the area must exist. It wouldn’t make sense to have an Airbnb property in a place that has little tourism. You want to be close to attractions and transportation. A good view certainly helps as well.

2. How much time and energy are you willing to invest? Airbnb properties don’t rent themselves, just like hotels don’t run themselves. You are expected to provide a clean space and guests will expect certain things like clean towels, tourist info, and a way for them to reach you if they have any problems. Hosting can be difficult, so you can hire a service to remove some of the burden for you if you’d like. It’s not cheap, however.

3. Are you hosting your Airbnb by the book? In places like New York and San Diego, they are cracking down on Airbnb properties because they are greatly affecting the hospitality industry. Laws and local regulations are always changing, so you need to make sure you are following all the rules and paying all the taxes you must in your area.

Renting out your place to Airbnb may not be a full-time business endeavor, but make no mistake, it requires effort and attention to detail. Consider that before buying a property for this sole purpose. If you have any questions for us about Airbnb properties or want to take a look at some promising ones on the market right now, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

7 Tips to Save Time on Home Maintenance

If you're like me, you don't have much spare time, and you certainly don't want to spend those precious few hours on a long to-do list for your home. Here's how to save time on regular home maintenance.

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Maintaining your home shouldn't have to take up all of your free time. If you're like me, you don't have much free time, and the free time you do have should be spent with the people you love and doing the things you enjoy, not working through a long to-do list.

How can you avoid wasting all of your free time keeping your home maintained? Just be mindful of what your home needs. Ditch that to-do list and train yourself to detect any warning signs that could indicate a problem, like these:
  1. Your dryer seems hotter than usual. If your clothes come out really hot or take longer than they should to dry, you could have a clogged lint vent, which can cause a house fire. 
  2. You smell something musty. If your home smells like mold or mildew, odds are your home has an issue you need to check out. 
  3. You can see mold or mildew. This means unwanted water is getting into your home, so find the source and call for help.

  4. Any unwanted water in your home can cause a lot of expensive damage.

  5. You spot a water stain. Even a faint stain should worry you, so you want to find the source and call for help in this case, too. 
  6. Your drain is very slow. This could be a sign of a sewer backup or just a simple clog. Play it safe and call a professional to check it out.
  7. You hear something alive in the attic. Evict those unwanted visitors fast because they can do lots of damage quickly. Once they're out, make sure they can't get back in. 
  8. Your gutters are making waterfalls. Keep your gutters clean and clear to keep unwanted water out of your home. Clear out gutter clogs as soon as you spot a waterfall.
If you have any other questions about how to save time with home maintenance or you have any questions relating to real estate, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be glad to help!

The Importance of Patience in Our Market

Patience is a very important thing when it comes to many matters in life, and the same goes for real estate. Let me explain why.

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Today I wanted to take a moment to talk about a subject that's been coming up a lot in personal and professional life—patience.

We've heard a lot about people living their lives in a state of impatience; more often than not, we're among that group as well. Impatience can cause both unhappiness and discontent. However, impatience is usually a stimulant for progress.

Lately, this has been showing up for us in physical fitness and weight loss. Any small step you can take to change your previous behaviors and state of health is a wonderful thing.

We're used to instant gratification; we go hop online and learn anything we want instantly or order something on Amazon and have it show up the next day. Some things, though, don't happen overnight. In the real estate world, people have grown accustomed to a fast-moving market, but markets change.

Sometimes, selling your home is just a matter of patience.

Here in Bergen County, we're in a stable market, meaning homes aren't selling in three days. In fact, they could stay listed for several months depending on price, location, and condition. As a result, clients ask us why their home doesn't sell as fast, as if there's something wrong. The truth is that there's nothing 'wrong,' but the market is in a normal state right now.

There are things you can do to your property to improve your odds of selling quickly, but sometimes, it's just a matter of patience.

If you have any questions about the market or you're thinking about buying or selling real estate this year, give us a call. We'd love to hear from you!