What To Do When You Are Selling Your Home

Your home is probably the most valuable asset you own, so when it comes time to sell it, every advantage matters. There’s no doubt the process is hard; people describe selling their home as one of life’s most stressful events – on par with divorce, parenthood, and job loss. It sounds bleak, but in my experience, the preparation that goes into a homesale can make a big difference. If you know that you may be listing your home in the near future, here are a few simple steps you can take to keep the selling process on track:Step 1: Clean and declutter the house before listingWhen selling your home, take the time to thoroughly clean and declutter it. A messy home makes a potential buyer worry that the home is uncared for, even if it’s not. When decluttering, put items away in closets and clear countertops. Temporary storage should be … Read more »

The Ins and Outs of Getting a Mortgage in New Jersey

Whether you are a first-time or multi-time homebuyer, financing is an integral part of the homebuying process. In fact, understanding the nuances of the down payment requirements, the effect of interest rates, and the impact of your credit score are fundamental to a smooth home buying experience. There are a multitude of logistics that go along with compiling the required documentation which may include bank statements, home purchase contracts and credit card statements, and in addition, buyers need to shop for favorable financing terms and an experienced lender.With the ins and outs of getting a mortgage often confusing and intimidating, I thought I would share 5 mortgage must-knows to remember: 1. Know your credit scoreYour credit score and credit history can favorably influence your ability to obtain a low down payment and low interest home loan. Every homebuyer should obtain a copy of their credit score and check the accuracy of … Read more »

Finding Your Home Sweet Home

Are you the stay-at-home type who loves to snuggle up with a good book in the evening? Perhaps you like entertaining, cooking and long dinners outside during the summer months when friends and family visit. Or, maybe your family makes for a full house with young children, and you need plenty of space to grow and play. Whatever the case may be, when it comes to buying a home, it’s important to find a house that truly meets your needs and one you can happily call “Home Sweet Home.” While no house is perfect, it’s useful to make a list of “must-haves,” before you go house-hunting. Plus, you’ll want a more generous list of features you’d like to have in your new home too. A little preparation will go a long way. Before buying a home, here are a few thought-starters to consider:      Do you have an active lifestyle and want a … Read more »

Moving Homes – Sell First or Buy First?

For home sellers, it’s a classic dilemma and at its worst, a stressful juggling act. While selling your current home, you simultaneously try to buy a new one. In the meantime, you have children that need to get situated prior to the start of school, household goods sitting in storage, and buyers pressuring you to move up the closing date.It’s rare when the timing for the closings of two homes aligns, which means that either you must accept an offer on your home prior to finding a new one or buy a new house before your current one is actually sold. Although there is an option called a contingent contract when one contract is dependent on the other – you agree to purchase a new home but not to close until you’ve sold yours – few sellers will agree to this kind of condition. Plus, there are very few buyers … Read more »

5 New Jersey Home Inspection Must-Knows

“The understanding of a home’s condition is a fundamental part of determining value, and an inspection helps give you that important understanding,” explains Richard Montgomery, a real estate columnist, in a recent blog. It’s no wonder homebuyers fret over the home inspection process and fear they will buy a home only to find afterwards they are confronting an unexpected, costly repair. Perhaps because the stakes are so high, homebuyers describe the home inspection process as overwhelming, confusing and intimidating. Adding to the stress is timing, and as I describe in my Homebuyer’s Timeline, a home inspection occurs right after the Attorney Review Period has concluded – relatively early in the homebuying process. With only 10 days to complete a home inspection, it can be difficult for a buyer to cope with the urgency and a myriad of possible repairs.Here are 5 New Jersey home inspection must-knows which I hope will … Read more »

Getting To Know the South Orange and Maplewood School District

If you’re a homebuyer with children, the quality of the local school district is one of your top priorities, and you’re not alone in putting education at the top of the list. Highly-rated schools underpin property values and boost the desirability of a neighborhood. In New Jersey, families flock to beautiful Maplewood and South Orange in part for the schools, and the district encompasses the combined public school system for the two towns. With approximately 6800 students, graduates attend some of the best colleges and universities in the country. It’s a unique school district, and if you’re setting your sights on buying a home in Maplewood or South Orange, it’s worth taking a closer look at the school system’s inner workings. Let’s explore how the South Orange-Maplewood school district (SOMSD) provides a unique, rich K-12 education.History of the South Orange-Maplewood School DistrictThe school district’s history is rooted in the story … Read more »

Homebuyer’s Timeline: 10 Key Milestones To Know

According to a recent article on, “Buying or selling a home is more stressful than having a child, changing jobs or getting married….” In fact, buying a home ranked as the second most stressful life event surpassed only by getting a divorce. For first time homebuyers, in particular, the complexity of the process can be overwhelming. Organization is key as is an understanding of the homebuying process itself. After the house hunting is finished and you have found the right home, the challenge of actually acquiring the house begins.I thought I would share my homebuyer’s timeline with 10 key milestones to know. It will give you a homebuying roadmap from the opening offer to getting keys in hand. Milestone 1: The OfferYour real estate agent will put forward your initial offer to the seller’s agent. Along with the offer, your agent will submit:Signed Seller’s DisclosuresDisclosure of Information on Lead-Based … Read more »

Summit, New Jersey: An Emerging Foodie Destination

The city of Summit is one of my favorite towns. The downtown is a crisscross of streets with boutiques, restaurants, and stores. On a nice day, families are out and about with their children eating ice cream and enjoying one of the many playgrounds. In the summer, there is a delightful concert series and Sunday farmers market which brings residents out perusing the fresh produce and specialty foods. With so much to do in Summit, you may not have noticed that an incredibly diverse restaurant scene has emerged. I would venture to say that Summit has become a real foodie destination! International options abound, and the quality of the cuisine is fantastic. Whether you want a formal sit-down dinner or a soft serve ice cream to go, here are 10 of my favorite eateries in Summit, NJ, all of which are well worth a visit: Batavia Cafe (American) – A … Read more »

A 4 Step Financial Roadmap To Buying a Home in NJ

Just imagine – space, a big backyard, and a family-friendly neighborhood. You’ve been patiently waiting for the day when you can buy a new home and enjoy the perks of homeownership, and you’ve decided to take the plunge! This life-changing decision means you’ll need to have your financials in order because money matters that surround buying or selling a home can be daunting. Especially when it comes to buying a home in the towns of northern New Jersey – Short Hills, Millburn and Summit come to mind – the logistics that accompany purchasing a home can be challenging. Follow these 4 steps, a financial roadmap of sorts, when buying a home. They’ll take you through some of the affordability considerations of the homebuying process and on to a successful closing. Step 1: Ensure you have good credit before buying a homeOne of the very first things to consider prior to … Read more »

Transforming a Historic Home Into Your Forever Home

Have you always dreamed of updating a historic home, perhaps even tackling one that is listed on a national register? In the storied enclaves of northern New Jersey, towns such as Maplewood, Millburn, Short Hills, Summit and South Orange are dotted with houses that have an old world charm. For the intrepid homebuyer, there is opportunity galore. Although owning a historic home can be both an interesting and unique experience, buying one is not without its challenges, especially if it is listed on a National Register. There are many factors to consider when bringing an older home into the 21st century. If you’re thinking about purchasing and remodeling a historic home for modern living, here are 3 important considerations before you buy:1. Choose an Architectural Style and Layout That Meet Your Current NeedsCertain architectural styles have distinct floorplans and layouts. Perhaps the European flair of a Dutch colonial inspires you, … Read more »