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Monday, February 20, 2017

8 Things You Should Do Before Moving Into A New House

Moving into a new house? Your task list doesn't end once you pack up your old place - and we're not just talking about all the fun unpacking you have ahead of you. There's a few more things you're going to want to do before you get in and start living it up.

Change the locks
It doesn't make you paranoid to want new locks on the doors to your home. It makes you smart. "Who knows how many people have keys to what's now your home? The fix is easy: ‘It's usually a minimum charge for a locksmith to come to the house," said Ron Phipps, principal with Warwick, Rhode Island-based Phipps Realty and past president of the National Association of Realtors, on Bankrate. Phipps' advice: Don't just re-key the locks - replace the hardware, too. You get a nice update, plus peace of mind."
Don't forget to change your garage door opener code, too.

Do an in-depth tour of the house
Do you know where the water and gas shut-off valves are? How about the electrical box and water heater? Any idea how to use your sprinkler system? Familiarizing yourself with all the ins and outs of the house and making sure key members of the household are also aware can help avoid disasters.

Seal off rooms you don't use - or won't be using right away
The first few months in a new home might be a revelation financially - and not in a good way. Between moving costs, new furniture, any renovations that need to be done, and the cost of turning on all your utilities, you're probably going to want to save a few dollars where you can. Sealing off rooms you won't be using for a while can help lower your heating and cooling costs.

Meet your neighbors
Your neighbors may be planning to come by once they see that you've moved in, but think about beating them to it. You never know where you might make a new best friend (or find one for your kids), and being friendly and outgoing from the get-go establishes good will.


Mindful CommUNITY

At the very least, being able to see a friendly face or two in the neighborhood will help you acclimate - and it won't hurt to have someone point out the neighborhood gossip, tell you which Starbucks makes the best lattes, and help you find the most traffic-free route to the elementary school.

Join Nextdoor
Need a babysitter, a dog walker, a handyman, or a recommendation for the best Chinese restaurant in your new neighborhood? Nextdoor will help you find it.

Clean your carpets
A thorough cleaning of the home should have been done when the sellers were moving out. In some cases, it's stipulated in the contract, and a seller who fails to live up to that aspect is "at risk for a lawsuit," said Realtor.com. But unless specific cleaning tasks are called out, the house may not be as spic-n-span as you want.
Even if the house looks clean and tidy when you move in, they may have skipped the carpets. A good cleaning can extend their life, improve air quality, and remove allergens.


Mallary Carpets

"Little do most of us realize that what we are seeing is only a tiny fraction of the soil that a carpet contains," said the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA). "The visible grime we notice is only the tip of the iceberg; up to 85 per cent of the dirt the carpet holds is buried deep within the pile. And when you consider that a carpet can eventually trap its own weight or more in soil - as much as 150 pounds for an average-sized living-room - you'll agree it's no trivial matter."

Wipe out drawers and cabinets
This is another oft-ignored task, and one that could be responsible for leaving germs, or at least crumbs, behind.

Change your fire alarm batteries
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that fire alarm batteries get changed twice a year. Since you probably won't know when the last time this was done, it's best to change them when you move in. That way you won't be awakened at 3am by a blaring alarm your third day in the house.


Written by Jaymi Naciri



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Real Deal on Rising Rates: What It Means for Your Home-Buying Plans

You’ve taken all the necessary steps to get ready to buy a home. You’ve saved for a down payment, improved your credit score, got all your financial documentation in line, and figured out what price range you can afford. And then the interest rates went up. Is your dream of homeownership now unachievable?


According to recent data from realtor.com®, the share of first-time buyers planning to buy a home this spring fell sharply when mortgage rates began to rise toward the end of 2016. According to realtor.com®’s January survey of active homebuyers, 44 percent of buyers planning to buy in spring 2017 are first-time buyers. This has dropped significantly since the survey was conducted in October, when 55 percent of buyers planning a spring purchase indicated they were looking for their first home.

However, with inventory shortages and rising home prices, the urgency to buy now has never been greater. So before you shelve your plans for buying a home this spring, know the facts about rising rates and home prices.

The average 30-year conforming rate rose to more than 4.2 percent by the end of December 2016 from 3.4 percent at the end of September 2016. With average rates today about half a percentage point higher than they were in 2016, a median-priced home financed with 20 percent down would cost an additional $720 per year in added interest. That equals more than 1 percent of the median household’s income.

With affordability being a top concern for first-time buyers, a rising interest rate can be enough to scare you off. Kiplinger's expects the 30-year mortgage rate to reach 4.6 percent by year’s end, with the 15-year rate at 3.8 percent. Add to that the continued increase in home prices due to low inventories in many parts of the country and you can see that holding off on a home purchase will probably only cost you more down the line.

Take a cue from repeat homebuyers who are actually being spurred into action by rising rates. Even with the current increases, interest rates remain historically low, and the movement in rates hasn’t yet tipped overall buyer demand down. Experienced buyers, in fact, are trying to close before rates increase further, as evidenced by increased realtor.com® listing views and decreased inventory. In the short term, the rate movement seems to have encouraged, rather than dampened, overall demand.

While concerns about affordability are valid, waiting may not help your long-term financial picture. Instead, consider looking for a home in a slightly lower price range, finding a way to increase your down payment, or looking in a neighborhood that may be more affordable. The good news? In today’s competitive market, your home will most likely increase in value and prove to be one of the smartest investments you could’ve made.

For more information about how rising interest rates will impact your home purchase, contact me today.

By Maria Patterson

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Friday, February 17, 2017

Childhood Identity Theft: Warning Signs and Prevention Tips

You may just chuckle and toss those credit card offers that come in the mail for your fourth grader, but there may be something more nefarious at play: identity theft.

According to the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Javelin Strategy & Research group, one in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised. It all starts with the child’s Social Security number, which is then paired with a different name, birthdate and address to apply for credit. This is called a synthetic identity, and is very hard to detect.


"Using the stolen Social Security number, identity thieves can open credit cards, rent apartments, buy cars, secure jobs and apply for welfare or other government programs," says Trevor Buxton, fraud awareness and communications manager at PNC Bank.

PNC offers these warning signs that your child may be a victim of identity theft:
  • Notification by the IRS of unpaid taxes in your child's name.
  • Notification that a child's Social Security number was used on another tax return.
  • Receiving collection calls for a minor child.
  • Receiving bills in a child's name for products or services not ordered or delivered.
  • Declined for government benefits because benefits are already being paid to another account using the child's Social Security number.

Fortunately, there are proactive steps a parent can take to protect their children from identity theft, such as:
  • Keep your child’s Social Security card in a safe, locked place at home; never carry it on your person.
  • Find out if you can opt out of providing your child’s Social Security number on school and medical forms. Many will allow the use of just the last four digits.
  • Shred all documents that show your child's personally identifiable information before throwing them away.
  • Most importantly, request an annual credit report for your child at annualcreditreport.com. Everyone is entitled to one free copy per year. Your child’s report should show no credit history at all. If there is a credit history, he or she has most likely become a victim of identity theft. Contact the credit agency and notify the authorities immediately. 

Source: PNC Bank



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update February 16th, 2017


BEACH PROJECT:  Strong winds over the weekend delayed the placement of the dredge “Texas” near Hereford Inlet due to safety concerns.  The dredge was expected to move into position and begin pumping sand on Tuesday, February 14th.  Once underway, the beach replenishment project will run 24/7, unless weather or mechanical problems cause delays.  The Stone Harbor portion of the beach project will occur first, followed by the Avalon portion.

Glorious sunsets appear regularly throughout the winter season here on Seven Mile Beach!
 

SHORE RENTERS: RESERVE EARLY.  That’s the advice offered by a Philadelphia Inquirer article that appeared in the Sunday, February 12th edition of the paper.  A limited supply of properties—and only so many weeks of summer—means it’s important to get an early start on your search for a property.  To read the article, click here:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/WHAT-RENTERS-AT-THE-NJ-SHORE-WANT-NEW-MATTRESSES-STEMLESS-WINE-GLASSES-AND-ROOMS-WITH-A-VIEW-.html   Call or email me, so I can help you find the perfect place.  It’s time to get started!

STONE HARBOR GAS MAIN REPLACEMENT is underway.  Aging steel pipes are being replaced with new plastic pipes in two phases, the first of which will run until June.  The second phase will begin in September and run into 2018.  Look for most work to take place on weekdays, with some Saturday work possible.  As the mains are replaced, gas service to individual homes will need to be shut off, and cannot be turned back on until a property owner is present to allow a worker inside to test the new connections.  Property owners will be contacted via a mailing to their billing address as well as a “door knocker” hung on their door knob.  Owners with questions can contact South Jersey Gas at (609) 465-2900, extension 6250, and reference the “Stone Harbor Project.”

“HABITAT RESTORE” is coming to Cape May Court House.  Habitat for Humanity will open its new ReStore location in May after a renovation project.  Located in the former SuperFresh space on Court House-South Dennis Road, Habitat ReStore will sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, and more to the public at a fraction of retail prices.  Goods are donated by individuals, distributors, and manufacturers, and sale proceeds from ReStores are used in local communities and around the world.  Help is needed in renovating the new location.  Volunteers of all skill levels are needed—if you can swing a hammer or a paintbrush, you’re qualified!  Click here to view the project schedule and volunteer for a shift: http://habitatcapemaycounty.volunteerhub.com/events/indexv1   Click here to read more about the project: http://www.habitatcapemaycounty.org/habitat-restore.html

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Flood Insurance Premium Reduction Seminar, bring your elevation certificates for review, 609-425-9717 for info & reservations, Avalon Community Hall, 10AM-Noon, Thursday, February 16
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, February, 18
  • Lecture in honor of Presidents’ Day, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 1PM, Saturday, February 18
  • Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Plunge, 40th Street beach in Sea Isle, 2PM, Saturday, February 18
  • 3rd Saturday Comedy Show with Shuli Egar & Kevin Israel, Harbor Square Theater in Stone Harbor, 8PM, Saturday, February 18
  • North Wildwood’s Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge, proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Fallen Heroes Fund, visit www.FallenHeroPlunge.com for details, 15th Street & the beach in North Wildwood, 11AM, Saturday, February 25
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics, The Princeton & The Whitebrier, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Beer Dinner, Cape May Ferry Terminal, featuring beers from the Flying Fish Brewery, www.CapeMayLewesFerry.com for details, 5:30PM, Friday, March 3
  • IPad Workshop, designed for beginners, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, March 4
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Event, registration at 9:30AM at Fred’s Tavern, parade at 11:45AM leading to the plunge at the 96th Street beach, Saturday, March 11
  • Sea Isle City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, 3:30PM, Saturday, March 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street in Cape May, 2-4PM, Sunday, March 12
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items curbside up to 72 hours prior to pick up, Monday, March 13
  • Irish Dance Performance by the Emerald Isle Academy of Irish Dance in celebration of St. Patty’s Day, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-1:45PM, Saturday, March 18
  • Ocean Drive Marathon & Ocean Drive 10Miler Course, visit http://www.odmarathon.org for details, 9AM, Sunday, March 26
  • Avalon’s Spring Dune Grass Planting, Volunteers Needed, 609-967-3066 or 609-967-5924 for info & registration, Avalon Community Hall, 8:30 AM, Saturday, April 1

Featured Property:

This beach block getaway is just steps from Avalon’s South-End beaches!
7929 Dune Drive Unit 307, Avalon, $319,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173932


New Listings:

8201 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $650,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174531

449 22nd Street, Avalon, $650,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174525

700 Ocean Drive - B1, Avalon, $795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174505

45 W 16th Street, Avalon, $2,695,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174569

660 First Avenue, Avalon, $3,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174545

10546 Corinthian Place, Stone Harbor, $3,475,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174528

6718 Dune Drive, Avalon, $3,595,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174559

107 122nd Street, Stone Harbor, $4,399,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174590

4510 Fifth Avenue, Avalon, $4,900,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174604
 

Properties Sold:

8001 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $480,000, SOLD MLS#: 171097

494 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $540,000, SOLD MLS#: 167951

200 89th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,250,000, SOLD MLS#: 170986

4020 Dune Drive, Avalon, $1,450,000, SOLD MLS#: 141167

4598 Fourth Avenue, Avalon, $1,795,000, SOLD MLS#: 171363

93 E. 22nd Street, Avalon, $3,600,000, SOLD MLS#: 173633

3 84th Street, Stone Harbor, $6,770,000, SOLD MLS#: 172269



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bel Air Buys: The Most Expensive U.S. Listing, Moat and Heli-Pad Included

By Zoe Eisenberg




While the White House may be the most expensive fake home listing, this listing for a newly built Bel Air estate takes the cake for the priciest pad at a shocking $250 million.

With its own heli-pad and a 12-car garage, this space looks more like a mod office complex than a private dwelling. Some of its lux amenities include: a moat (?!), an arcade with a wall of candy dispensers, a four-lane bowling alley, an 85-foot Italian glass infinity pool fitted with a hydraulic theater-sized movie screen, and a 40-seat, James Bond-themed home cinema.


Located in Bel Air (where else?), the 38,000-square-foot property features 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, five bars and three kitchens. More bars than kitchens? We like that style.


Listed for: $250 million







Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia's senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.




Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

5 Habits That Boost Productivity, Generate Leads and Lead to Success

Many people want to know the secret to success. In reality, there is no secret to reaching lasting success; however, if you take a hard look at your habits, you'll see what's holding you back from becoming more successful. Our habits—those things we do automatically every day—can either help or hinder us on our journeys to achieving our goals. While we may create goals to be more productive and generate more leads in order to be successful, our bad habits often act as barriers to reaching our goals and our true potential. What habits do the most successful people share? Here are five good habits to adopt this year.



Wake up early. Ben Franklin famously said, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." While it's tempting to sleep in, the most successful people in business start their days with the sun, if not before. Starting your day early doesn't necessarily mean you jump right into working. Instead, take advantage of the peace and quiet the early morning brings by doing activities that lay the groundwork for a more positive and productive day. For example, write in a journal, go for a run or hit the gym, write a personal note to a mentor or loved one, or set aside time to read. The point is to escape the frantic pace of our mornings and make it a reflective time to fortify our mindset. If you're not a morning person, start slow and set your alarm 10 or 15 minutes earlier than usual. After a week, increase it to 20 minutes. Over time, you'll look forward to having a quiet morning of calm reflection before you tackle the events of the day.

Prioritize. As a busy real estate professional, you're certainly no stranger to writing a to-do list every day. However, many of us simply write down the tasks we need to do without separating the most important activities from the rest. Instead of just adding tasks to the list, prioritize it. This habit takes no more time than writing your daily list of tasks. Choose one or two tasks you have to get done each day, and when you finish those, do the next most important tasks. Not only will you get more done, but also you'll get the most important tasks done, which will streamline your day and make your more productive.

Delegate. The more successful you become, the longer your to-do list will grow. Not every task has to be done by you. Delegate the easier but time-consuming tasks to your assistant, such as preparing and mailing your monthly marketing flyers, filing paperwork, etc. By delegating the smaller tasks, you'll have the time and energy to focus on the tasks that drive your business.

Commit to daily personal/professional development. If you want your business to grow, grow your mind. When you improve your skills and mindset, you'll be able to offer your clients the highest quality service. Read, attend seminars and conferences, watch positive and uplifting movies, and surround yourself with like-minded, successful people. Do something each day that helps you grow, whether you meet your mentor or coach for lunch or attend a real estate seminar every quarter.

Stay in touch. When we get busy, communicating with our clients, colleagues and loves ones often falls by the wayside. However, if you work by referral, communicating with your clients and colleagues is essential to leading a thriving business. Keeping the lines of communication open with your family and friends is vital to cultivating healthy relationships with them. No matter how busy you get, stay in touch with your clients, network, peers and family. Schedule a set time each day to catch up with correspondence, pick up the phone to check in, write a personal note or set up a time to meet for coffee or lunch. Over time, this activity will become a habit—one that will pay off in leads and solid relationships.

If you want to achieve success, it's essential to cultivate the habits that foster it. Since habits take time to develop—especially if you're replacing bad ones—be patient and start slow. Work on one habit at a time, and when you've mastered it, move to the next habit. Over time, you'll develop good habits and achieve success.

For more information, please visit www.buffiniandcompany.com.

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update February 9th, 2017


INSURANCE SOLUTIONS: that’s the topic of discussion at a public class offered Thursday, February 16th from 10am until 12noon at Avalon Community Hall.  Discussion will include current regulations, elevation certificates, and identifying and correcting costly mistakes.  All are welcome to attend the session. Bring your elevation certificate, and your questions!

The shore is beautiful all year long!  Here’s a peaceful winter sunset from the Avalon Boulevard bridge.

FRIDAY: FULL MOON + LUNAR ECLIPSE!  February’s full moon occurs on Friday, with the moon rising at 5:18pm.  Later on, look for a “penumbral lunar eclipse” as the moon slides into the earth’s shadow.  Scientists say the effect will be subtle, but look for the peak of the eclipse at 7:44pm.  For those awake in the wee hours of the morning, the “New Year” comet will reach its closest point to Earth in the very early hours of Saturday morning.  At 7.5 million miles from Earth, the comet will be visible with the naked eye, but scientists say a pair of binoculars will help!  The beach often proves to be a good location for observing the skies, since it’s a bit darker than most other areas.

CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S DAY here on the Island?  The Reeds at Shelter Haven is offering Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe dinners on Saturday, February 11th and Tuesday, February 14th.  Call 609-368-0100 for info.  The Icona Golden Inn follows up with a 5 Course Dinner and Wine Pairing on Saturday, February 18th.  Call 609-368-5155 for info.

THE STONE HARBOR MUSEUM has announced that it will be moving into the former William Ris Gallery location at 9410 Second Avenue.  Having outgrown its former location at 235 93rd Street, the museum has been searching for a larger location to house its 50,000 artifact collection.  The museum expects to be fully moved and open in the spring.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Wine Dinner, Cape May Ferry Terminal, www.CapeMayLewesFerry.com for details, 5:30-8:30PM, Saturday, February 11
  • Flood Insurance Premium Reduction Seminar, bring your elevation certificates for review, 609-425-9717 for info & reservations, Avalon Community Hall, 10AM-Noon, Thursday, February 16
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, February, 18
  • Lecture in honor of Presidents’ Day, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 1PM, Saturday, February 18
  • Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Plunge, 40th Street beach, 2PM, Saturday, February 18
  • 3rd Saturday Comedy Show with Shuli Egar & Kevin Israel, Harbor Square Theater in Stone Harbor, 8PM, Saturday, February 18
  • North Wildwood’s Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge, proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Fallen Heroes Fund, visit www.FallenHeroPlunge.com for details, 15th Street & the beach in North Wildwood, 11AM, Saturday, February 25
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics, The Princeton & The Whitebrier, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Beer Dinner, Cape May Ferry Terminal, featuring beers from the Flying Fish Brewery, www.CapeMayLewesFerry.com for details, 5:30PM, Friday, March 3
  • IPad Workshop, designed for beginners, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, March 4
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Event, registration at 9:30AM at Fred’s Tavern, parade at 11:45AM leading to the plunge at the 96th Street beach, Saturday, March 11
  • Sea Isle City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, 3:30PM, Saturday, March 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street in Cape May, 2-4PM, Sunday, March 12
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items curbside up to 72 hours prior to pick up, Monday, March 13
  • Irish Dance Performance by the Emerald Isle Academy of Irish Dance in celebration of St. Patty’s Day, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-1:45PM, Saturday, March 18
  • Ocean Drive Marathon & Ocean Drive 10Miler Course, visit http://www.odmarathon.org  for details, 9AM, Sunday, March 26

Featured Property:


792 Sunrise Drive, Avalon, $1,095,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 172721


New Listings:

7929 Dune Drive, Avalon, $364,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 174415

2169 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $629,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174377

25 Seabreeze Lane, Avalon Manor, $729,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174412

9 Leonards Lane, Avalon Manor, $800,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174432

3470 Dune Drive, Avalon, $875,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174393

464 20th Street, Avalon, $999,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174445

138 111th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174407

304 77th Street, Avalon, $1,999,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 174466

424 42nd Street, Avalon, $2,199,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174396

7558 Dune Drive, Avalon, $2,495,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174394

273 58th Street, Avalon, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174428

102 119th Street, Stone Harbor, $10,000,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174461


Properties Sold:

177 80th Street, Avalon, $465,000, SOLD MLS#: 173241

227 117th Street S/S, Stone Harbor, $795,500, SOLD MLS#: 172485

23 Marine Way, Avalon, $1,075,000, SOLD MLS#: 169292

9123 First Avenue, Stone Harbor, $1,605,000, SOLD MLS#: 168277

9835 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $4,000,000, SOLD MLS#: 163748

177 63rd Street, Avalon, $4,171,597, SOLD MLS#: 170301

108 116th Street, Stone Harbor, $4,212,500, SOLD MLS#: 169989

8800 First Avenue, Stone Harbor, $4,477,500, SOLD MLS#: 167300

12 106th Street, Stone Harbor, $4,720,000, SOLD MLS#: 173150



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Selling Your Home This Year? 6 Reasons To Renovate Now

Face it. Your home's not perfect. You may keep up with general maintenance, and perhaps you're meticulously clean. But how old is your kitchen? Do your paint colors reflect current trends? Could your living room use some updating?
When it comes to selling your home today, it's got to be perfect, or buyers will simply move on to the next option. Doing some renovations, whether that means overhauling areas that are long overdue for a facelift or making some simple changes that freshen up the place, is typical. But if you're thinking they can wait until you're ready to list your home, these 6 reasons may make you rethink that plan.



1. You get to enjoy the new look
"A worthy update can either serve to reduce your cost of living while you remain in the home or add significant value to the home's sale price when you decide to put it on the market," said Scott McGillivray, a real estate investor and host of the HGTV show Income Property to US News.
But if you're going to spend some cash on updating and renovating your place, you should at least be able to get some enjoyment out of the updates before turning the house over to someone else, right? If you've been waiting for 10 years for new appliances, it would be a shame to not have the opportunity to at least cook a few meals and throw a dinner party or two.

2. They always take longer than expected
It's a fact of renovation. If your timeline is six weeks, it'll take 12. At least. Giving yourself plenty of time before you're ready to list your home will help you avoid a stressful scramble at the end when you're trying to get it on the market.

3. There may be issues you're unaware of
Your Realtor will point out areas that need to be addressed and recommend changes to make your home more saleable. But, getting your home ready to sell might be harder than you expect if problems like mold or termites are uncovered. Getting a jump on any big issues or anything that goes beyond the cosmetic will give you the time you need to fix the problems and hold onto your sanity.

4. They don't have to be huge
No one said you have to take your home down to the studs. Sometimes, a light touch is all that is needed. "Start by thinking small," said Realtor.com. "Minor cosmetic upgrades go a long way in getting more buyers through the door for a quicker sale - and time on market is key to determining what you'll net at closing."

5. You're going to need them
You may not love the idea of having to do anything to - or spend any money on - your home, especially if you already have your eyes on a new one. But, most every home needs a little upgrading, updating, or, at least staging. You don't want to have the one place in the neighborhood that won't sell because potential homebuyers see a project house, without the project price.

6. You'll get a return on your investment...if you renovate smart
Speaking of price…updated homes typically sell faster and for more money, if the updates have been done well and they're the ones buyers are looking for. If you're not sure which renovations to consider, take your cues from the Cost vs. Value Report, which tracks the "average cost for 29 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 99 U.S. markets." It's a great way to look at national trends but also break down what's trending in individual areas. "How much work you'll need depends on your home's value, your market, and the comps in your neighborhood," said Realtor.com.

US News also has a great list of "popular updates that are worth the money," including adding a backsplash in the kitchen and updating bathroom vanities.


Written by Jaymi Naciri



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Monday, February 6, 2017

Wayne Gretzky's Hotel of an Estate Sells for $6 Million

By Zoe Eisenberg

Former professional ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky recently sold his plush Los Angeles Sherwood Country Club estate for $6 million. The Canadian hockey great designed the home's interior to emulate his favorite boutique hotels, and the luxury both inside and outside the estate is endless.

Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones, bought the property in 2009 for $2.765 million. It features five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and 7,600 square feet of living space. Drenched in finery, the estate's amenities include a guesthouse, a gym overlooking the palatial pool, a sauna, an outdoor kitchen and an office with a roaring fireplace.

The property sold to Trixy Weiss, co-founder and co-chair of the Board of Directors of Genesis Capital.
Sold for: $6 million












Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Top 5 Tips to Help Your Message Connect across Digital and Social Platforms

Digital marketing has exploded the opportunities available for business owners to expand their market share, advertise their product or service, and connect with potential customers around the world. Previously, businesses were limited by physical location and the bandwidth of their individual staff members in presenting their messages to consumers. Today, you can reach millions of consumers with just a few clicks of a button. The fact of the matter is, if your business is not using digital marketing to its full potential right now, you're already behind. 


While digital marketing presents a huge opportunity for savvy business people, getting your message across the multiple digital platforms is not a simple task. You have to compete with an endless barrage of online content, social media activity—and yes, even cat videos—every minute of every day. This is not an exaggeration. According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, if you take the total amount of information created from the beginning of time until 2003, that's the amount of data we now generate every 48 hours. This leads consumers to be overwhelmed, as the infinite supply of content constantly competes for their attention.

Whether you are trying to connect with a prospective client or ramp up your engagement on social platforms, or are ready to take the leap into Facebook advertising, having a strong understanding of the digital marketplace will undoubtedly help you achieve your objectives. NAHREP Consulting Services has teamed up with our partners at AC&M Group, a full-service multicultural marketing agency, on a few best practices to help you cut through all of the clutter, or 'content shock.'

1. Get friendly with Facebook advertising.
Facebook represents a giant potential market for your social media efforts, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to get content in front of consumers in an organic way. Facebook is by far the most advanced and powerful social media advertising option out there, and when used properly, it can be very cost-effective. Facebook allows you to precisely target your content to specific audiences, e.g., by geography, demographics, consumer profile, income levels, etc. For example, Facebook has developed a solution to reach the U.S. Hispanic Affinity Audience—the most mobile and socially active group in the U.S. Learning how to boost and target your content and advertise on Facebook can make a big difference. New advertising tools like lead ads and canvas ads have infinite possibilities for the industry.

2. Live video is a BIG opportunity.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram give preference to live video content by giving them more prominence on news feeds and automatically sending notifications when a profile or page starts a live stream. You have the opportunity to interact with viewers and create engaging content in a creative way. Every day, more than 100 million people view Instagram Stories. People spend three times longer watching live video compared to previously shot footage. Take advantage of this opportunity by using Facebook Live video and Instagram Stories as a part of your everyday social media presence. Touring a house? Go live! Discussing a success story with a client? Ask if they'd mind capturing that moment.

3. Interact as much as possible.
Being on social media requires you to be active in responding and interacting quickly and regularly. Users expect quick responses to their comments, concerns or questions. A study by Lithium Technologies found that 53 percent of customers who ask a brand a question on Twitter expect a response within one hour, regardless of when they tweeted, with that percentage rising to 72 percent if it's a complaint. If you decide to have a social media presence, whether it's on Instagram, Facebook profile/page, Twitter, or other platform, make sure to monitor and react quickly to comments. It is also important to interact with what other people post to engage on a deeper level with your client base. By engaging with others on social media, it creates a feeling of community that is impossible to achieve through advertising alone.

4. Be ready for mobile visitors.
One million new active mobile social users are added every day—that's 12 each second. Make sure your personal/business website is ready for the mobile consumer. According to the Pew Research Center, mobile internet use is on the rise in the U.S. overall and may even be superseding home broadband subscriptions. Most Americans say they use a mobile device to access the internet, especially Hispanic (94 percent) and black (94 percent) internet users than among white internet users (85 percent). Make sure that your site offers a good mobile experience for your visitors. If they are viewing a listing on their mobile device and can't properly load property details, see photos, or obtain more information, you may miss a chance to connect and ultimately lose with the lead—in fact, nine out of 10 people will leave a mobile website if they can't find what they're looking for right away.

5. Don't forget about online search traffic.
Did you know that Google processes 2.4 million searches every minute? Despite social media's importance, don't forget that search is still a key part of the consumer's house research process. Make sure you keep an active website/blog with relevant keywords to help users find them. Make sure that your keywords match the terms your potential customers would use to find your products or services. Offer up content on your site to also help with online searches, and then leverage that content on your social media platforms, as well.

For more information, please visit www.nahrep.org.

By L. Maria Zywiciel, President, NAHREP Consulting Services



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Greatest Football-Inspired Real Estate Memes on the Internet!

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, and regardless of who you'll be rooting for in the big game, we know you'll be rooting for your next closing to go according to plan.

In honor of one of the biggest games of the year, we decided to create a football/real estate mash-up of epic proportions to pay homage to your jobs in the field, not on the field.








By Nick Caruso

Check out the rest of Housecall's football-inspired real estate memes here.

Nick Caruso is RISMedia's senior editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at nick@rismedia.com.
 




Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update February 2nd, 2017


SAND PUMPING could begin as early as February 7th, according to a recent update on the Avalon/Stone Harbor beach replenishment.  Sand will initially be dredged from Hereford Inlet and pumped onto Stone Harbor’s beaches and once that portion of the project is completed, operations will move to Avalon.  Approximately 28 days of pumping will be required in Stone Harbor, and 37 days in Avalon.  Equipment has already been mobilized for the project.

A LITTLE BIT OF SNOW blanketed the Island early this week.  A couple of inches fell Sunday evening into Monday morning, making for some peaceful scenes along the beach and on the dunes!

A layer of fluffy snow blanketed Avalon’s dunes earlier this week.

A PORTION OF OCEAN DRIVE in Avalon will undergo a sewer main replacement, drainage improvements, and a complete repaving.  Work will be conducted in phases over the next several months, with portions of Ocean Drive closed during construction.  However, work will be suspended during the summer season so as not to impact visitors.

PROPOSED FLOUNDER FISHING LIMITS for 2017 have united both recreational as well as commercial fisherman in opposition to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  The commission has proposed a thirty percent reduction in the flounder haul of commercial fishermen, and a forty percent reduction in the recreational catch.   Recreational fishermen could be limited to keeping flounder that are at least 19 inches, up from last year’s 17 inch minimum.  The flounder season could also be reduced to just 59 days.  Several state and federal representatives based in New Jersey have recently voiced opposition to the proposed limits, too, out of concern for the economic impact the proposed regulations could have.

SPREAD THE WORD!  I love working with family and friends of my existing clients, so if you know of someone who’s ready to explore the shore marketplace, please let me know!  You can be sure that I’ll give them the attentive and knowledgeable service they expect and deserve!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • IPad Workshop, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, February 4
  • Avalon Home Movies hosted by the Avalon History Center, watch fascinating films depicting streets, beaches & buildings of Avalon from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s, 1-2PM, Saturday, February 4
  • A Tribute to The Last Waltz, local musicians perform songs played at the band’s final concert, Harbor Square Theater, 8:30PM, Saturday, February 4
  • 14th Annual Super Bash XIV raising funds for Friends in Need organization, The Princeton, 4PM, Sunday, February 5
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Wine Dinner, Cape May Ferry Terminal, www.CapeMayLewesFerry.com for details, 5:30-8:30PM, Saturday, February 11
  • Flood Insurance Premium Reduction Seminar, bring your elevation certificates for review, 609-425-9717 for info & reservations, Avalon Community Hall, 10AM-Noon, Thursday, February 16
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, February, 18
  • Lecture in honor of Presidents’ Day, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 1PM, Saturday, February 18
  • Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Plunge, 40th Street beach, 2PM, Saturday, February 18
  • North Wildwood’s Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge, proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Fallen Heroes Fund, visit FallenHeroPlunge.com for details, 15th Street & the beach in North Wildwood, 11AM, Saturday, February 25
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics, The Princeton & The Whitebrier, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Event, registration at 9:30AM at Fred’s Tavern, parade at 11:45AM leading to the plunge at the 96th Street beach, Saturday, March 11
  • Sea Isle City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, 3:30PM, Saturday, March 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street in Cape May, 2-4PM, Sunday, March 12
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items curbside up to 72 hours prior to pick up, Monday, March 13
  • Ocean Drive Marathon & Ocean Drive 10Miler Course, visit http://www.odmarathon.org for details, 9AM, Sunday, March 26

Featured Property:

A gorgeous home, near Avalon’s south-end beaches!

305 74th Street, Avalon, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173023


New Listings:

2108 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $629,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174294

619 22nd Street, Avalon, $959,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 174312

328 83rd Street, Stone Harbor, $1,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174305

151 36th Street, Avalon, $1,500,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174264

3088 Ocean Dr., Avalon, $1,545,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174323

149 105th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,699,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174254

9411 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $1,795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174246

2388 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $2,499,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174279

159 86th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174226


Properties Sold:

150 96th Street, Unit 1, Stone Harbor, $485,000, SOLD MLS#: 173404

494 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $540,000, SOLD MLS#: 167951

1127 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor Manor, $675,000, SOLD MLS#: 173769

222 87th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,155,000, SOLD MLS#: 170547

213 62nd Street, Avalon, $2,875,000, SOLD MLS#: 168327



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Who Is Responsible When Your Tree Falls?

A few years ago, some of us had ever heard of a "Derecho"; now, faced with fallen trees, damaged property and even a few deaths, Derecho - meaning super-strong windstorm - is a household word. One we really never want to hear -or see - again.

Who is responsible if your neightor’s tree falls on your property? The general rule is that unless the neighbor knew - or should have known - that his tree was unsafe - even if it caused damage to person or your property, he is not responsible. Our courts follow the old common law: it’s your property, so take care of it, unless you can prove your neighbor was negligent.



The legal answer to this is quite simple; however, the interpretation and implementation of the law is rather complex.

How do you prove that your neighbor’s tree was unsafe and that your neighbor was negligent in not assuring that the tree would not fall? What constitutes negligence?

The answer depends on all of the facts. Did your neighbor have any knowledge that the tree was a potential hazard? Should the tree owner have been on notice of a problem because the tree was not showing leaves but only bare limbs?

Did you complain about the safety of the tree, and yet he took no action?

Here we have to look to specific cases. Take the leading case in the District of Columbia (Dudley v Meadowbrook, 1961). The Defendant’s tree fell onto the Plaintiff’s property, and damaged a garage. The evidence indicated that there was no strong wind blowing when the tree fell. The Court wrote that "a healthy tree does not ordinarily fall of its own weight without some exterior force being directed against it. Though some evidence indicated that the tree looked sound, it was in fact full of decay. At least 13 years earlier it had been subjected to surgery and a large area filled with concrete."

In conclusion, the Court suggested that a land owner has a duty to periodically inspect the trees on his property or at least have them examined by an expert to determine whether they are safe to continue to stand.

In order for negligence to be found, the Plaintiff (the injured neighbor) would have to file suit against the tree owner. Most cases are not clear cut; they require extensive background research, expert testimony and a potentially lengthy trial. This is both time consuming and expensive for a Plaintiff. And it should be pointed out that our legal system has adopted what is known as the "American Rule of Legal Fees". In the absence of a written contract or a statute authorizing attorneys fees, each side pays their own attorneys fees.

And even if a lawsuit is brought, the tree owner can raise the defense that an "Act of God" (or in this case an Act of Derecho) caused the tree damage. If the tree owner was on notice before the storm that the tree was likely to fall down, this defense may not be accepted by a Court of Law. But it nevertheless is a legal defense which every defendant will raise when sued.

There is yet another defense, namely "contributory negligence". The general rule throughout the United States is that if a tree limb or a tree root protrudes on a neighbor’s property, that neighbor has the right to exercise self-help -- i.e. the offending root or limb can be cut off.

Some Court cases have determined that the tree owner was not liable, since the neighbor -- who knew that the tree was dangerous -- did not exercise this self-help. In other words, the neighbor’s own negligence defeated his claim against the tree owner.

What if your tree falls on a public roadway? According to a recent Supreme Court case in Virginia, a landowner does not have a duty to inspect and cut down sickly trees that have the possibility of falling on a public roadway and inflicting injury. This is the duty of the local government to periodically inspect to assure the safety of the public. This is also the law in the District of Columbia, where the high court here made it clear that government must exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of well traveled thoroughfares.

What is the role of your insurance policy? Homeowners should carefully review their home owner’s insurance policy -- often called the "hazard policy". Many policies are now written in relatively simple English, so you should be able to understand what position your insurance carrier will take should you decide to file a claim. In most cases, your carrier will reimburse you for any damage caused to your property when a tree falls, subject of course to the level of your deductible. If, however , no damage resulted, there will be no insurance coverage and you have to bear the cost to remove the tree.

And according to Robin Manougian, an insurance agent in Silver Spring, Maryland, "should a live tree be struck by lightening - which is a covered peril in the policy - the insurance would pay for the tree up to the policy dollar limits, but generally not for the removal of the tree."
But, do you really want to file a claim against your insurance policy?

We have all heard stories that the carrier -- when faced with a claim -- will either significantly increase the next years premium or decide not to renew the policy.

Thus, if your damage is minimal, give serious thought to picking up the cost yourself. Let’s say you have $4000 in damage and your deductible is $2,000. If you file a claim, and you can produce proper evidence that the repair cost is really $4000, you will receive $2,000 from your carrier. But is this money worth facing possible non-renewal (or an increased insurance premium) next year?

If there is damage to your property, talk with your insurance agent, but make sure that he/she understands you are only seeking information and advice -- and are not yet ready to formally file your claim.

There is a long -- often convoluted and contradictory -- legal history relating to the development of "tree law". Our legal system is predicated on what we refer to as the "Common Law" -- the laws which came over from England before the founding of our nation. Under the common law, the land owner owed no duty to those outside his property to correct natural conditions on the property -- even though those conditions might present a hazard to outsiders. My home was my castle and I was master of that property.

But as our nation grew from a rural to an urban environment, this common law rule began to lose its impact. Houses were next door to each other, and homeowners had to be concerned about injuring or damaging their neighbor -- or their neighbor’s property.

Accordingly, Judges faced with such tree-falling cases began to carve out exceptions to the common law. Some Courts held that a falling tree was a trespass; others held that such a tree was a nuisance. Both theories evolved into the current rule of law, namely that the tree owner is only responsible if that owner was negligent.

The clear moral to this legal history is that litigation may not be the best approach. If your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property -- whether or not it causes damage -- you should talk to your neighbor and propose that you share in the cost of removal and repair. Clearly, this is probably the least expensive way to resolve your issues, and you also can avoid filing that claim against your insurance carrier.

How do tree owners protect themselves to avoid the allegation of negligence? One safe harbor is to have your trees periodically inspected by a certified arborist, and get a written report stating that the trees are healthy.


Written by Benny L. Kass




Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Countertop Pros And Cons: What To Choose And Why

Wondering how to choose a countertop for your kitchen? With so much to pick from, it can be challenging - especially with changing trends and so many options that are at similar price points. This pro and con list should help.

Quartz
Quartz is the most popular choice in countertops today because of its easy maintenance and seemingly unending array of looks, from sleek and modern to options that mimic the appearance of exotic stone and classic marble.

Pros: It won't stain, so go ahead and drink that red wine. Let your kids have at it with the markers and paint. Go crazy and chop those veggies right on the surface since it's pretty hard to scratch. Quartz also requires no sealing, unlike granite and other countertop materials.


Pinterest

Cons: High-end quartz can be pricier than real stone like granite, and while it's much easier to care for, it's not indestructible. Hot pots should still be placed on a trivet to avoid burning the surface.


Granite
While granite has been replaced by quartz as the countertop of choice today, it remains a popular option for homeowners.

Pros: The natural stone comes in a variety of colors and styles, and individual patterns and markings give each slab a unique look. "Granite has a rich beauty that few other countertop materials can match," said Countertop Guides. "It is a natural product with a timeless aura and appeal." Granite is also stain- and scratch-resistant, if properly sealed.


Angie's List

Cons: It's that "properly sealed" part that can make people shy away from granite. Improper maintenance can leave you with a stained, scratched counter. And don't place a hot pot directly on it or you run the risk of it an ugly burn.


Marble
It's gorgeous, it's classic, and it's showcased all over TV in high-end, remodeled kitchens. But marble has a downside that makes it hard to love for many people: the care involved.

Pros: "Is there anything that looks and feels more glamorous than a marble countertop?," asks Houzz. "Nothing beats marble for sheer elegance. It stands up to heat well, and because it remains perennially cool, it's a traditional choice for pastry and baking stations."

Stone Source

Cons: It's going to stain, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean, and even if you seal it responsibly. It's also a softer material, which makes it more likely to scratch and chip.


Stainless Steel
Stainless steel countertops are most commonly found in commercial kitchens but have become more popular as home kitchens have transformed into chef-worthy spaces.

Pros: "Professional chefs love stainless steel because it's non-staining, heat-resistant and easy to clean," said Houzz. "While it certainly makes fingerprints and scratches stand out, it's a great choice for hardworking kitchens that don't need a perfect look." It can also be more affordable than stone.


Pinterest
Cons: About those fingerprints…that's a deterrent for many people. If you can't stand little marks on your stainless steel fridge, you probably won't enjoy them on your counters, either. Stainless steel can also look a little cold, and may not be embraced by the masses - something to think about for when it's time to sell your home.


Concrete
Concrete countertops have gained in popularity over the past few years as industrial looks have become more trendy, and are also a favorite of HGTV personality Joanna Gaines, one of today's most influential tastemakers.

Pros: Because concrete is poured and not quarried, it can look like almost anything you want, with custom shapes, sizes, and colors. It's also durable, "and both scratch and heat resistant," said Angie's List. "Because each countertop is individually handmade, there are endless ways to customize them."


Concrete Network

Cons: Concrete is porous, shows errors and imperfections, and can easily stain. Some people like that because the changes over time are organic; those who want their countertop looking pristine may want to opt for a product other than concrete. Even with diligent sealing, it'll never be "perfect."

Another consideration for people looking to use concrete on their counters is how, or rather, where, it is poured. "Concrete countertops that are poured in place (not precast) may develop a hairline crack," said Angie's List. "The cracks aren't necessarily the result of poor workmanship, rather perhaps a new house settling or tension caused by a faucet screwed in too tightly. Hairline cracks can be tricky to fix - ironically the larger the crack, the easier it is to fill and repair - so you might chalk up any such flaw to being a part of concrete's natural patina."

Written by Jaymi Naciri



Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate NancyAlexander.com