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Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Save on That Summer Energy Bill

Often, summer’s spike in heat can bring a spike in your utility costs. Duke Energy offers 10 low-cost to no-cost energy-efficiency tips to save on your energy bill all summer long:



Set your AC to the highest comfortable setting. Every degree increase saves about 5 percent in cooling costs. Energy Star recommends a minimum set point of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Change or clean your air filters monthly. A dirty air filter can make a cooling system work harder, which uses more energy.

Inspect and service your HVAC. Have your HVAC system checked by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to make sure it is operating efficiently. This will also help extend the life of the system.

Don't cool an empty house. If you'll be out and about, adjust or program your thermostat to work around your schedule.

Close the blinds. Shutting blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day can keep the sun's rays from heating your house.

Grill outdoors. Cooking in the oven and on the stovetop creates a lot of indoor heat. Help save energy by firing up the grill outdoors or prepare meals that don't require cooking.

Use fans in occupied rooms. They circulate air to supplement air conditioning. Make sure the fans are set to operate in a counterclockwise direction.

Turn off unnecessary lights. Be sure to turn off lights when you leave a room. Lights emit heat and cause your air conditioning system to work harder.

Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient lighting options. LEDs use up to 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last at least 15 times longer.

Seal air leaks with caulking and weather stripping. And keep the door closed as much as you can to keep the cool air inside.


Source: Duke Energy



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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update June 22nd, 2017


MARKET STATS:  Sales remain strong in the local market, with steady demand and reduced inventory of homes for sale.  188 properties sold through the first five months of the year, up from 139 during the first five months of last year.  This year’s average sale price is $1,568,464, up 20.0% over last year.  This year’s median sale price is $1,157,500, up 5.2%.

Summer’s here!  Are you ready?

EXPENSIVE—BUT WORTH IT!  Avalon and Stone Harbor both made NJ.com’s list of the 20 New Jersey towns with the highest percentage of million dollar homes.  Per the article, Avalon has 2,771 homes (51.9% of its properties) assessed at $1 million or more.  Stone Harbor has 1,667 homes (57.4% of its properties) assessed at $1 million or more.  Check out the rest of the list here:    http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2017/06/the_20_towns_with_the_highest_percentage_of_million_dollar_homes.html#incart_2box_nj-homepage-featured
THE 96TH STREET BRIDGE REPAIRS have been completed, meaning no more overnight closures.  The completion of the $700,000 project allows the bridge to carry a full 40 tons; the bridge had been restricted to 15 tons during repair work.
OCEAN DRIVE STRIPING:  Portions of Ocean Drive in Avalon will be restriped this month, including 7th Street to 28th Street, and 62nd Street to 80thStreet.  The striping work is weather dependent and will only take a few hours; no long term lane closures will be necessary. 
BEACH VOLLEYBALL, ANYONE?  Avalon’s 30th Street beach now features two volleyball nets.  Stop by and play whenever they’re open!
BEACH MOVIES are back again this year, beginning Tuesday, June 27th in Avalon, on the 30th Street beach, with a showing of the animated movie “Sing”.  Other upcoming showings include Star Wars Rogue One, Secret Life of Pets, Jaws, and Jurassic World. 
THE STONE HARBOR FARMER’S MARKET is back every Sunday through Labor Day, under the water tower at 95th & Second Avenue.  More than 30 vendors are at the market from 8am to 12:30pm each Sunday; stop by and check out their offerings!
IMPRESSIVE FISHING REPORTS continue, with limits regularly being reached.  Some of the more exceptional flounder catches include a 25-inch, 5.5 pounder weighed in at Strathmere’s Whale Creek Marina, and a 22-inch, 3.76-pounder weighed in at Avalon Hodge Podge.  Offshore action is beginning to pick up with reports of tuna in the canyons and other offshore locations.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Opening Day at Stone Harbor’s 82nd Street REC field, children will experience 4 sports in 2 hours (soccer, tennis, basketball & baseball), free for kids from 4-14 years of age, visit www.stoneharborrecreation.com for times & details, Friday, June 23
  • Avalon Performing Arts Council 30th Anniversary Art Show, ‘Three Decades of Art,’ Avalon Elementary School, visit www.avalonperformingarts.org for details, 6-9PM, Friday, June 23 & 10AM-4PM, Saturday, June 24
  • Avalon Public Library Open House & Story Book Bash, face painting, stories, giveaways & fun for the whole family, 10AM-1PM, Saturday, June 24
  • Stone Harbor Farmers Market, 95th Street & Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, June 25
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Sunday, June 25
  • Stone Harbor’s Family Night, free fun, Stone Harbor Fire House, 7PM, Monday, June 26
  • All Aboard…How the Railroad Made Avalon, History Center Interpreter Bill Mengel presents the history of the Avalon railroad & shares great old photos, Avalon Public Library, 7-8PM, Monday, June 26
  • Avalon’s Beach Movie featuring ‘Sing,’ 30th Street & the beach, dusk, Tuesday, June 27
  • Beach Book Picks Lecture by Carol Fitzgerald, Avalon Public Library, 7PM, Wednesday, June 28
  • Thursdays on Dune, activities start at 5:30PM throughout Avalon’s business district, concert starts at 7PM at Veteran’s Plaza, Thursday, June 29
  • Avalon Field Races & Family Fun, 10th Street Field, 10AM, Saturday, July 1
  • Harbor Hustle 5K & 2 Mile Fun Walk, Stone Harbor Recreation Field, 6:45AM registration, 8AM race, 8:05 fun walk, Sunday, July 2
  • Lutheran Church of Our Saviour Chicken BBQ, 9212 Third Avenue, 5-7PM, Sunday, July 2
  • Stone Harbor Independence Day Celebration, live music at 95th Street Beach Pavilion, 7-9PM, fireworks at 9:30PM, Sunday, July 2
  • Mummers Band Parade, Avalon Community Hall to Veterans Plaza, 6PM, Monday, July 3
  • Avalon Beach Movie featuring ‘Star Wars Rogue One,’ 30th Street & the beach, dusk, Monday, July 3
  • Stone Harbor Recreation July 4 Field Day, races at 9AM, Home Run Derby at 10AM, Stone Harbor Recreation Field, Tuesday, July 4
  • Beach Concert featuring Andrew Jude, 30th Street Beach, 1-3PM, Tuesday, July 4
  • Avalon Independence Day Celebration, 30th Street Parking Lot, 6-8PM, Tuesday, July 4
  • Bay Atlantic Symphony Concert,  Avalon Community Hall, 7PM, Tuesday, July 4
  • Avalon Fireworks, off 30th Street Beach, 8:45PM, Tuesday, July 4

Featured Property:

Second from the beach with extraordinary views of the dunes and ocean!




New Listings:

500 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $244,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 176799

665 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $409,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176785

8001 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $469,500, ACTIVE MLS#: 176773

695 21st Street, 1st Floor, Avalon, $509,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176830

388 83rd Street, Stone Harbor, $749,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176800

4451 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,239,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176833

244 82nd Street, Stone Harbor, $1,699,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176751

4248 Dune Drive, Avalon, $1,789,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176841

246 103rd Street, Stone Harbor, $1,950,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176874

263 7th Street, Avalon, $2,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176813

237 66th Street, Avalon, $2,290,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176862

151 65th Street, Avalon, $4,300,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176858

5024 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $7,900,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176880


Properties Sold:

285 80th Street, Avalon, $645,000, SOLD MLS#: 175955

12 Seabreeze Lane, Avalon Manor, $1,115,000, SOLD MLS#: 172583

326 88th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,382,000, SOLD MLS#: 175047

128 10th Street, Avalon, $1,640,000, SOLD MLS#: 174747

1918 First Avenue, Avalon, $2,625,000, SOLD MLS#: 174252

4603 Fifth Avenue, Avalon, $3,400,000, SOLD MLS#: 175456

7 106th Street, Stone Harbor, $4,375,000, SOLD MLS#: 175057







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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How to Stretch Those Travel Dollars

Planning a vacation? With a few smart tweaks to your travel planning, you can save big money, according to travel resource Hotwire. Below are several Hotwire suggestions for getting more value out of your vacation.

When planning your trip, keep an open mind and focus on the type of vacation you want (beach, city, etc.), then search a variety of related locales to find the best deals.



- Check alternative airports if you're flying into a busy metropolitan area (e.g. LaGuardia and Newark if you're flying into New York City; Burbank and Long Beach if you're flying to Los Angeles).

- Consider finding a cheaper airfare and then driving to your destination to save money.

- If you can handle waiting, you'll often get the lowest rates if you delay and book a rental car or hotel room once you've landed in your destination. Use your Hotwire app for great Hot Rate deals.

- Once you have that car, fill it up yourself. Do not prepay for gas - it is almost never worth it.

- Most flights get delayed (or cancelled!) due to weather, and incoming planes being unable to land. Book your travel for early in the morning, and you'll be less likely to have to deal with the headache of cancellations.

- Try to eat before boarding your flight to be less tempted by dehydrating salty snacks and sodas during the flight. Staying hydrated is a must for combatting fatigue and headaches - especially on long flights across multiple time zones.

- If you exercise regularly, try and stick with your routine. If not, just some easy walks can help you acclimate to new surroundings and time zones.

- Be polite. Flight crews work especially hard during busy travel times; being nice to your crew (and your fellow passengers) will always enhance your travel experience.

- Do your homework – Try to spend a little time before you travel familiarizing yourself with your travel plans and airports you'll be traveling to. If you know you need to make a connection in Dallas, take some time to review the terminal maps to try and ease anxiety and frustration that can sometimes come with travel.

- And while we're on the topic of easing travel woes…just remember that with travel (and in life!), it's important to be flexible and embrace the unexpected – you can get a great experience in so many different ways.

Source: Hotwire



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

Friday, June 16, 2017

The 10 Worst Money Mistakes You Can Make

Successful money managers share a simple strategy: spend less than you make over a long period of time and invest the difference.

But the author of ESI Money, an online blog written by a reclusive “50-something retiree who has amassed a sizable net worth,” suggests a list of the 10 worst things you can do to sabotage your financial independence:



Not having an emergency fund – Emergencies arise in every life, and not being prepared to cover them can throw you into debt. A rule of thumb is to sock away six months of living expenses.

Not having a will – Money Magazine reports 57 percent of Americans don’t have a will, including 69 percent of parents with kids under 18. But without a will, the state decides what happens with your finances. Make a will and update it regularly as your life situation changes.

Not having enough insurance – Like an emergency fund, insurance can protect or replace your assets in the event of almost any misfortune. In addition to life insurance, you should have health, auto, homeowner or renter’s, long-term disability, and, arguably, long-term care insurance.

Marrying the wrong person – Spouses should have similar financial goals and habits. If one is a spendthrift, you’re in trouble. It’s a good idea to discuss your financial objectives before you tie the knot.

Not saving – Putting money aside is essential if you are going to be able to invest. Experts suggest saving 10 percent of your salary.

Buying too much house – It’s well-known that Warren Buffet lives in the same modest home he purchased many years ago. Don’t buy a home that requires a mortgage that is more than twice your household’s annual realized income.

Waiting to invest – the factors that determine how well your investments turn out are the amount you invest, the return rate, and how long you are invested. The longer you wait to invest, the more you are costing yourself.

Being in debt – paying interest on debt can cost you big-time over the years. Avoid it like the plague.

Not maximizing your career – Develop and execute a plan to make the most of your working life. Your earning potential is dependent on your good health and initiative.

Overspending – It’s tempting to splurge, but develop a budget and stick with it.




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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update June 15th, 2017



IT FEELS LIKE SUMMER!  After cool weather much of the spring, a recent spike in temperatures has it feeling like summer again.  Temperatures were in the 90s several days this week, but are expected to fall back to the 70s for the weekend.  In case you’re wondering, the ocean water temperature is already a delightful 70 degrees!

IS THE BRIDGE OPEN YET?  Maybe by July 4th!  The Townsend’s Inlet Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic while undergoing emergency repairs since a crack in its structure was discovered during an April inspection.  Residents and visitors on both sides of the bridge are anxious for it to reopen.  After weeks of repair work from aboard a barge stationed next to the bridge, officials say they are hoping to have the bridge reopened by the July 4thweekend if things go as planned.  Having the bridge open helps businesses and visitors in Avalon and Sea Isle City by saving a twenty-minute ride “the long way around!”

HABITAT  ReSTORE OPEN IN CMCH:  Habitat for Humanity opened its ReStore in Cape May Court House last week at 20 Court House-South Dennis Road, offering building materials and household items for resale.  The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm.  If you have gently used household items in good condition, consider donating them to the store for resale.  Items may be donated to the store during business hours, or a free pick up service is offered for larger items.  Call 609-463-0244 or visit www.habitatcapemaycounty.org for details. 


Looking for lunch…an egret makes his way toward a small pond in the marsh behind Avalon.


AVALON HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S Photography Competition winners and other entries will be on display at the Avalon History Center through Tuesday, June 27th.  Stop by the History Center to view not only the photography, but the Avalon artifacts in the museum’s collection.  For info on the Avalon Historical Society’s upcoming Olde House Tour, plus a talk on railroads in Avalon, see the event list below!

MAKE A SUMMER BUCKET LIST!  What’s on your “I wanna do it!” list this summer?  Perhaps you want to catch a sunrise on the beach?  Catch a fish with your grandchild? Climb to the top of the Cape May Lighthouse?  Whatever is on your Summer Bucket List, set aside some time and make a point of doing it!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Maritime Festival, on the grounds of the lighthouse in Anglesea (North Wildwood), Saturday and Sunday, June 17 & 18
  • Avalon Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, Avalon Community Hall, 8-11AM, Saturday, June 17
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, June 17
  • IPad Computer Class focusing on photos & files, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, June 17
  • NFIP Flood Insurance Seminar, bring your flood elevation certificate for a free review, Stone Harbor Library, http://stoneharbornj.org/nfip-flood-insurance-seminar-scheduled-saturday-61717/ for info, 1-3PM, Saturday, June 17
  • Avalon Historical Society Olde House Tour, www.avalonhistorycenter.org for details, 1-4PM, Saturday, June 17
  • Big Band Dance featuring Tony DeLuca & the Paisans, Avalon Community Hall, 7PM, Saturday, June 17
  • Stone Harbor Farmers Market, 95th Street & Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, June 18
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Sunday, June 18
  • St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Strawberry Festival, 95th Street & Third Avenue, 6PM-8PM, Sunday, June 18
  • Opening Day at Stone Harbor’s 82nd Street REC field, children will experience 4 sports in 2 hours (soccer, tennis, basketball & baseball), free for kids from 4-14 years of age, visit www.stoneharborrecreation.com for times & details, Friday, June 23
  • Avalon Performing Arts Council 30th Anniversary Art Show, ‘Three Decades of Art,’ Avalon Elementary School, visit www.avalonperformingarts.org for details, 6-9PM, Friday, June 23 & 10AM-4PM, Saturday, June 24
  • Avalon Public Library Open House & Story Book Bash, face painting, stories, giveaways & fun for the whole family, 10AM-1PM, Saturday, June 24
  • Stone Harbor Farmers Market, 95th Street & Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, June 25
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Sunday, June 25
  • Stone Harbor’s Family Night, free fun, Stone Harbor Fire House, 7PM, Monday, June 26
  • All Aboard…How the Railroad Made Avalon, History Center Interpreter Bill Mengel presents the history of the Avalon railroad & shares great old photos, Avalon Public Library, 7-8PM, Monday, June 26
  • Avalon’s Beach Movie featuring ‘Sing,’ 30th Street & the beach, dusk, Tuesday, June 27
  • Thursdays on Dune, activities start at 5:30PM throughout Avalon’s business district, concert starts at 7PM at Veteran’s Plaza, Thursday, June 29

Featured Property:

Four bedrooms, convenient to town and all of Avalon’s amenities!



280 27th Street, East Unit, Avalon, $789,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176560



New Listings:

206 110th Street, 2nd Floor, Stone Harbor, $525,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176682

10726 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $539,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176716

636 21st Street, Avalon, $599,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176724

54 E. 27th Street Unit 4, Avalon, $949,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176723

244 82nd Street, Stone Harbor, $1,699,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176751
  

Properties Sold:

3956 Ocean Drive, 2nd Floor, Avalon, $580,000, SOLD MLS#: 169100

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #205, Stone Harbor Manor, $729,000, SOLD MLS#: 170595

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #309, Stone Harbor Manor, $886,500, SOLD MLS#: 174785

266 43rd Street, Avalon, $935,000, SOLD MLS#: 176291

7458 Dune Drive, Avalon, $1,450,000, SOLD MLS#: 170625

8307 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $1,550,000, SOLD MLS#: 172084

8513 Pennsylvania Avenue, Stone Harbor, $1,595,000, SOLD MLS#: 173959

25 E. 23rd Street, Avalon, $1,750,000, SOLD MLS#: 173894

10540 Corinthian Drive, Stone Harbor, $1,790,000, SOLD MLS#: 171984

511 20th Street, Avalon, $1,800,000, SOLD MLS#: 161228

4515 Fourth Avenue, Avalon, $1,875,000, SOLD MLS#: 172872

2400 Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $2,150,000, SOLD MLS#: 173170

2388 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $2,313,333, SOLD MLS#: 174279

45 W. 26th Street, Avalon, $2,450,000, SOLD MLS#: 173638

660 First Avenue, Avalon, $2,910,000, SOLD MLS#: 174545

4510 Fifth Avenue, Avalon, $4,750,000, SOLD MLS#: 174604

4838 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $5,025,000, SOLD MLS#: 172016

9911 Sunrise Dr., Stone Harbor, $5,300,000, SOLD MLS#: 172665









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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Advice for Grads: Act Like a Leader

Newly minted college grads usually have one overarching goal: find a job. While most are understandably consumed with where to work and what kind of salary they may be able to score, some say that those first entering the workforce should also be thinking about how to become an exemplary leader.



"When you're looking for that first job, keep in mind that 97 percent of employers believe that leadership development should begin by age 21," says Jim Kouzes, coauthor along with Barry Posner of the sixth edition of The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations (www.leadershipchallenge.com). "If you haven't started your leadership development by now, you should. You probably won't be in an 'official' leadership position immediately, but from your very first day, you can set the example for others, inspire others, challenge yourself to improve, collaborate with others, and encourage others to do their best."

Kouzes and Posner emphasize that leadership is not about a title and delegating to others - it’s about relationships, credibility, passion and conviction, and ultimately about what you do.

"Everyone has the capacity to be a leader," says Posner. "It's not some mystical inborn quality. It's an observable pattern of practices and behaviors, and a definable set of skills and abilities. As one young leader told us, 'You never know where one step will take you. And you never know where the next one will lead. The difference in being a leader is that you take that step.'"

Kouzes and Posner’s research led them to develop the following Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®:


Model the Way. Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others. Eloquent speeches about common values, however, aren't nearly enough. Leaders' deeds are far more important than their words, so words and deeds must be consistent.

Inspire a Shared Vision. People talk about their personal-best leadership experiences as times when they imagined an exciting, highly attractive future for their organization. To enlist in a shared vision, people must believe that leaders understand their needs and have their interests at heart. Leaders forge a unity of purpose by showing constituents how the dream is for the common good.

Challenge the Process. Every single personal-best leadership case involved a change from the status quo. Not one person claimed to have achieved a personal best by keeping things the same. Leaders venture out. They also know that innovation and change involve experimenting and taking risks. One way of dealing with the potential risks and failures of experimentation is to approach change through incremental steps and small wins. Try, fail, learn. That's the leader's mantra.

Enable Others to Act. Achieving greatness requires a team effort. Leaders foster collaboration and build trust. The more people trust their leaders, and each other, the more they take risks, make changes, and keep moving ahead. When leaders enable people to feel strong and capable, they'll give it their all and exceed their own expectations.

Encourage the Heart. The climb to the top is arduous and steep. People become exhausted, frustrated, and disenchanted. They're often tempted to give up. Genuine acts of caring uplift the spirits and draw people forward. Recognizing contributions can be one-to-one or with many people. It can come from dramatic gestures or simple actions. It's part of the leader's job to show appreciation for people's contributions and to create a culture of celebrating values and victories.

"There are many opportunities to make these five practices part of your life, while you're working at a temporary job, before you get a position in your desired field or even before you have a paying job at all," says Kouzes. "You can inspire others right now. You can encourage others. You can shake up the status quo and take some risks. These are the hallmarks of exemplary leaders."



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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Cheapest (and Priciest) Places to Live

Strapped for cash and struggling to live in your current locale? You may want to consider making a move. A new study from GoBankingRates.com shook down the most and least expensive cities across the country. Below are the results.




Top 5 Cheapest Places to Live

- Virginia Beach, Va.
- San Antonio, Texas
- Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Omaha, Neb.
- Arlington, Texas

Top 5 Most Expensive Places to Live
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Oakland, Calif.
- New York City
- Anaheim, Calif.

Looking for a bit more info? The study shows that Virginia Beach, Va., has the highest median income ($66,634) of the 15 best cities for saving money. Of the cheapest cities to live, Wichita, Kan., has the lowest median list price ($137,250).

At $4,500, San Francisco, the worst city for saving money, has the highest median monthly rent of any city included in the study. San Francisco also has the highest average gas price ($3.16) and highest median home listing price ($1,195,000). Bakersfield, Calif., has a 10.9 percent unemployment rate, the highest of any city in the study.

Of all the cities examined, Honolulu, Hawaii, has the highest average monthly cost of groceries ($490.53).

Source: http://www.gobankingrates.com



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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tips for Summer Travel with Your Pet

(Family Features)--The warm summer months call for some fun traveling with loved ones, however, trips can be less fun if four-legged family members aren't able to come along. Pet parents already know not to leave pets in the car on a hot day, but there are other factors to consider when your pets are tagging along for the ride.



"Your pet's safety and comfort while traveling are extremely important to help reduce stress for both the pet and owner," says Jam Stewart, director of corporate communications at Mars Petcare. "Creating a safe space for your pet to travel not only shows responsible pet ownership, but also allows additional quality time for you and your furry best friend."


Keep these tips in mind when taking your pet on vacation this summer:


Be sure your furry friend can join you in all areas. Unfortunately, not all accommodations love pets as much as pet owners do. Don't forget to call ahead to the places you plan to visit to be sure your furry loved ones are welcome. It's also imperative for owners to understand any rules for their pets at their destination, like keeping their pets on a leash. Making sure your pet is well socialized and comfortable visiting unfamiliar places also helps make the new experience fun and positive for your pet and for you.

Don't forget your pet's ID. Microchipping your pet is one of the most effective ways to ensure he or she can be reunited with you if lost. Combine it with on-collar identification tags and a GPS pet tracker, such as Whistle 3, which lets owners track their pets wherever their travels take them.

Make sure your pet is comfy on road trips. It's important to introduce your pet to your car slowly before embarking on a long adventure. You can also bring your pet's favorite toys, blankets or bed to help him or her feel more at ease. If your pet is still uneasy in the car, your veterinarian can provide options like essential oils, over-the-counter supplements or, if needed, prescriptions.

Don't forget the treats. 

While traveling, make sure your pet has healthy treats for the long ride. Treats such as Greenies and Pedigree Dentastix promote fresh breath and clean teeth for dogs. For treats your cat will love, try Temptations, which offers tasty treats in multiple flavors.

"Pets make our lives healthier, safer and happier, and owners should take the time to plan properly before heading out on the road with their pets to ensure a fun, safe and comfortable trip for all," Stewart says. "Pets are part of the family and we want them to enjoy the trip as much as we do in order to have more opportunities to introduce them to new experiences and places."

Source: Mars Petcare



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

Business Owners: Prep Your Tech During Hurricane Season

While you may be used to prepping your home for hurricane season, have you given any thought to how to prepare your business. Power outages, data loss and emergency evacuations can be a huge hassle post storm, not to mention ensuring your team is safe, so prep with the following suggestions from AT&T.



Set up a call-forwarding service to a backup location.

Set up a single or multiple hotline number(s) for employees, their families, customers and partners so they all know about the business situation and emergency plan.

Back up data to the Cloud. 

Routinely back up files to an off-site location. Tools like AT&T Enterprise Recovery Services are cost-efficient and help ensure your important data is there when you need it.

Outline detailed plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place.

Practice these plans (employee training, etc.). Establish a backup location for your business and meeting place for all employees.

Assemble a crisis-management team. Coordinate efforts with neighboring businesses and building management. Disasters that affect your suppliers also affect your business. Outline a plan for supply chain continuity for business needs.

Consider a back-up cellular network. 

Services like AT&T Remote Mobility Zone protect critical communications for businesses. If a disaster disables primary communications networks, the back-up cellular network can help you stay connected.

Source: AT&T



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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Plan Ahead for a Kid-Friendly July 4 Party


By Barbara Pronin

July fourth is a perfect time for a patriotic backyard celebration. Invite family and friends, create lasting memories, and make it kid-friendly with these fun and flavorful tips:

The d├ęcor:
Keep it simple with red, white and blue streamers festooned from the fences – and dress up your picnic tables with plastic tablecloths, paper goods and cutlery in the same patriotic colors. Carry out the theme by hanging a flag and/or by placing small American flags strategically in the lawn around the yard.

Edible centerpieces can be as simple as popping a bowl full of red, white and blue jelly beans on every table.

The food:
Make it kid-friendly with hot dogs and hamburgers. There’s nothing more classically American than that – but appeal to adult tastes with a sideboard full of interesting toppings, like chili, salsa, or guacamole.

Add side dishes that appeal to kids and adults alike; potato salad, cole slaw, chips, and baked beans. Or share the work by asking guests to bring their favorite side dish or dessert – and keep to the theme by heaping a white platter with fresh blueberries and slices of watermelon cut into star-shaped designs.

Make the focus of the dessert table a plate of white iced cupcakes with a tiny flag in the center of each. Round it out with a selection of store-bought cookies and/or with guest contributions.

The entertainment:
For kid-friendly fun while the adults are chatting, set up an all-American crafts table. Provide drawing paper and crayons along with a selection of red, white and blue construction paper, pipe cleaners, beads for stringing, scissors, white glue and patriotic stickers. (Adults can take turns manning the craft station to assist or settle any arguments.)

For kids seven or older, charge them with putting on a play. Provide some costume pieces, like hats or wigs, and suggest they come up with their own script, using characters like George and Martha Washington, Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin and others to act out the events of the day – and be prepared to gather as an audience to watch their home-made entertainment.

Backyard fireworks are an option if legal in your town. Or have the kids light sparklers with adult supervision, and/or bring out a large screen TV set and watch televised fireworks shows together.



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

Friday, June 9, 2017

How to Minimize Moving Stress

Among the top stressors is packing. In fact, in a recent survey, commissioned by Duck® brand, conducted online by Harris Poll, 86 percent say packing to move is frustrating. It doesn't have to be this way. Here are some tips to reduce packing pain.



Purge before packing:
Diminish the workload by first cleaning out items you no longer need.

Pack carefully:
40 percent of those who would find it frustrating to pack when moving worry about items breaking. Eliminate anxiety by wrapping fragile items with cushioning material, like Bubble Wrap. Dish and glass kits provide pouches and dividers to protect delicate goods. Lastly, secure your boxes with quality packing tape, like EZ Start® Packaging Tape or Duck® MAX Strength Packaging Tape.

Plan ahead:
Before you even think about boxing up or hiring movers, take some time to plan in advance. If you need help figuring out exactly what and how many supplies you need to pack up your home, Duck® brand has a new online moving calculator at duckbrand.com. All you have to do is input the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you have, as well as any other rooms and spaces you are packing up (family room, office, closets, basement, etc.) and Duck brand will provide you with a shopping list to print or share. Or, you can simply purchase the recommended moving products right then and there through duckbrand.com.

While moving will always contain some stress, the right moving supplies and strategies can streamline the task of packing.


Source: duckbrand.com/move-ship.



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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update June 8th, 2017



7 MILE RESTAURANT WEEK runs through Sunday, June 11th.  Enjoy the last few days of the promotion—try a new restaurant or visit an old favorite!  Check out your options here:http://visitavalonnj.com/where-to-dine/restaurant-week-menus

A 537-POUND mako shark was weighed in at Canyon Club Marina in Cape May last weekend.  Another Wildwood-based boat landed a 293-pound thresher shark.  That’s some good fishing, just in time for the South Jersey Shark Tournament, which begins Thursday the 8th and runs through Saturday. 

BOATERS IN NEW JERSEY are required to have a boating safety certificate in their possession while operating a vessel in New Jersey waters.  To find a boating safety class near you, use the US Coast Guard Auxiliary website:  http://www.cgaux.org/boatinged/class_finder/index.php


Sunrise along the beach: golden light reflects off the surf and sand.


RESIDENT’S DAY:  Cape May County residents can take advantage of free admission to several attractions in Cape May on Sunday, June 11th, thanks to the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities Community Day, sponsored by Sturdy Savings Bank.  Proof of residency gets you free admission to the Cape May Lighthouse, the World War II lookout tower, the Emlen Physick Estate, or a trolley tour through historic Cape May.  Bring one of the following to prove your residency: driver’s license, voter registration card, passport, or a utility bill.  Children under age 18 need not prove residency, but must be accompanied by an eligible adult.

NEED A FUN, educational camp for your child this summer?  Check out the variety of programs offered by the Wetlands Institute.  Kids from 4 through 13 can attend various camps and learn about fish, mammals, shore birds, weather, and habitats, with programs for older kids including field trips and beach days.  Programs run weekly in July and August.  Check them out here:http://wetlandsinstitute.org/education/summer-nature-program/

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • 7 Mile Restaurant Week, island wide specials at many restaurants,  http://visitavalonnj.com/where-to-dine/restaurant-week-menus  for details, Now through Sunday, June 11
  • Stone Harbor Property Owners Association General Membership Meeting, Harbor Square Theater in Stone Harbor, social at 8AM, meeting at 8:30AM, Saturday, June 10
  • Avalon Historical Society Miniature Golf Competition, GoFish Mini Golf, www.avalonhistorycenter.org for details, 9AM, Saturday, June 10
  • Avalon Home & Land Owners Association annual public safety meeting, speakers are Chiefs McCormack & Dean, Avalon Senior Center, 10AM, Saturday, June 10
  • Avalon Garden Club Flower Show, Avalon Community Hall, Noon-4PM, Saturday, June 10
  • Stone Harbor’s Farmers Market, 95th Street & Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, June 11
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10-11AM, Sunday, June 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Atlantic City Jazz Band, proceeds benefit Food Bank of Southern Jersey, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, 2-4PM, Sunday, June 11
  • 3rd Annual Paper Peddler Trivia Night, Avalon History Center, 7PM, Tuesday, June 13
  • Avalon Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, Avalon Community Hall, 8-11AM, Saturday, June 17
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, June 17
  • IPad Computer Class focusing on photos & files, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, June 17
  • NFIP Flood Insurance Seminar, bring your flood elevation certificate for a free review, Stone Harbor Library, www.stoneharborbeach.com for info, 1-3PM, Saturday, June 17
  • Avalon Historical Society Olde House Tour, www.avalonhistorycenter.org for details, 1-4PM, Saturday, June 17
  • Big Band Dance featuring Tony DeLuca & the Paisans, Avalon Community Hall, 7PM, Saturday, June 17
  • Stone Harbor Farmers Market, 95th Street & Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, June 18
  • St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Strawberry Festival, 95th Street & Third Avenue, 6PM-8PM, Sunday, June 18
  • Opening Day at Stone Harbor’s 82nd Street REC field, children will experience 4 sports in 2 hours (soccer, tennis, basketball & baseball), free for kids from 4-14 years of age, visitwww.stoneharborrecreation.com for times & details, Friday, June 23
  • Avalon Performing Arts Council 30th Anniversary Art Show, ‘Three Decades of Art,’ Avalon Elementary School, visit www.avalonperformingarts.org for details, 6-9PM, Friday, June 23 & 10AM-4PM, Saturday, June 24
  • Avalon Public Library Open House & Story Book Bash, face painting, stories, giveaways & fun for the whole family, 10AM-1PM, Saturday, June 24
  • All Aboard…How the Railroad Made Avalon, History Center Interpreter Bill Mengel presents the history of the Avalon railroad & shares great old photos, Avalon Public Library, 7-8PM, Monday, June 26

Featured Property:

This Cornell Harbor corner unit offers great bay views!



43 Marine Way, Avalon, $879,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 176019


New Listings:

295 78th Street, Avalon, $579,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176601

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #202, Stone Harbor Manor, $744,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176583

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #203, Stone Harbor Manor, $789,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176584

280 27th Street, East Unit, Avalon, $789,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176560

22 Seabreeze Lane, Avalon Manor, $825,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176565

284 7th Street, Avalon, $1,375,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176539

444 22nd Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176600

125 78th Street, Avalon, $3,125,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176594

5088 Dune Drive, Avalon, $3,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176589

511 42nd Street, Avalon, $5,795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 176579
  

Properties Sold:

351 96th Street, #205, Stone Harbor, $425,000, SOLD MLS#: 174769

234 21st Street, Avalon, $470,000, SOLD MLS#: 175864

10726 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $500,000, SOLD MLS#: 175408

125 80th Street, Avalon, $670,000, SOLD MLS#: 174865

3347 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $830,000, SOLD MLS#: 175457

14 E. 27th Street, Avalon, $956,000, SOLD MLS#: 175357

223 35th Street, Avalon, $980,000, SOLD MLS#: 175486

179 20th Street, Avalon, $1,279,135, SOLD MLS#: 175972

128 10th Street, Avalon, $1,640,000, SOLD MLS#: 174747

56 E. 11th Street, Avalon, $2,325,000, SOLD MLS#: 176533

45 E. 12th Street, Avalon, $2,575,000, SOLD MLS#: 176077

45 E. 15th Street, Avalon, $3,245,000, SOLD MLS#: 174221










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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hey Millennial, Go Buy a House! 9 Reasons to Stop Paying Rent Today

Still unsure about whether or not you should buy a house? It's a big commitment, obviously, and not just from a financial standpoint. But the rewards generally far outweigh any potential downsides for those who take the plunge. Need more convincing? How about the fact that:

You're already paying a mortgage
That money that comes out of your account every month? It's going right into someone else's account. Doesn't that make you just a little bit mad?

To be clear, that someone else is making money off you
How about now, when you think about the fact that real estate continues to appreciate and you're not getting to appreciate that appreciation. "The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $232,100, which is up 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016 ($217,200) and the fastest growth since the second quarter of 2015 (8.2 percent)," said the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Aren't you tired of watching someone else make money while you sit in the place they own and try to figure out how to get ahead?




You need to express yourself
Not being able to put a coat of paint on the walls or hang some wallpaper or enjoy the countertops, cabinets, or flooring you picked out because your landlord won't let you make any changes is not cool. Sure, there are some temporary solutions to make your place look better, but nothing compares to having the freedom to do what you want, when you want, with your space.

It doesn't cost as much as you think it does
In fact, you may be paying more in rent right now than you would be for a house payment. A new NerdWallet.com analysis "showed that a majority of millennials would prefer owning to renting, but they appear to be postponing homeownership because of real and perceived difficulties in affording it." But, a report from Investor's Business Daily shows that, "Paying a mortgage is cheaper than renting in 42 states." Is yours one of them?

Hardly anyone pays a 20 percent down payment anymore
Were you under the impression that you had to come up with a huge stack of cash to buy a house? Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are among the most popular options for all homebuyers, and for first-timers, they make a lot of sense. First, because the credit requirements are less stringent than other loans - in many cases, you can have as low as a 620 score. Also, you can qualify with as low as 3.5 percent down. On a $250,000 house, that's only $8,750.
"For home buyers, FHA mortgages require a 3.5 percent down payment with the fewest ‘strings' attached," said The Mortgage Reports. "This makes the FHA mortgage one of the most lenient mortgage types available nationwide. There are very few credit restrictions with the FHA loan and the agency allows your 3.5% down payment to comes as a gift from a family member, employer, charitable organization or government home-buyer program."

Rates are still ear their lowest point ever
Yes, they've gone up a bit recently and are currently sitting a bit above four percent. But when you think about the fact that a decade ago they were over six percent and in the 1980s they were almost 18 percent, four percent looks a lot better, no?

Dogs are cool
Living in an apartment that doesn't allow animals? That's pretty common. Trying to find a rental with a generous pet policy is near impossible. If you do find one, you can usually expect to pay a hefty pet deposit and monthly pet rent.

Your student loan debt isn't as much of a big deal as you think
Yeah, it stinks to have to be saddled with that debt just because you decided you should expand your education, get a degree, and make yourself more hirable. But jut because it's a reality doesn't mean you can't improve your standing.
If you have student debt, mortgage investor Fannie May's new rule changes "should make it easier for you to purchase a first home," said the Chicago Tribune. The rules include:
  • A change in how student loan affects debt-to-income (DTI) ratio calculations if you had payments reduced through an "income-based repayment" plan. "If your payments were originally supposed to be $500 a month but you've had them reduced to $100, only the $100 will be added to your monthly debts for DTI purposes," they said. "Previously lenders were required to factor in 1 percent of your student loan balance as your monthly payment on the student loan, even though you were actually paying a fraction of that. As a result, many borrowers' debt ratios were pushed beyond most lenders' underwriting limits."
  • Debt ratios can also improve if you have other outstanding debts that are being paid by someone else. "Say, your parents pay your monthly credit card balances - these no longer will be included in your DTI computation, provided the payments have been made steadily for 12 months. This should improve the debt ratios of young buyers who are still getting a little help on their cash flows from Mom and Dad."
Everyone's doing it
Are your millennial friends starting to buy houses? They're part of a sweeping national trend. "Get ready to see more first-time home buyer clients. In the first quarter of 2017, the number of new-owner households was double the number of new-renter households," said the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the most recent edition of their Realtor magazine.
There were about 854,000 "new-owner households" during the first three months of this year, which is more than double the 365,000 "new-renter households in that period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. What's more, it's the first time in a decade that new buyers outpaced new renters."


First-time buyers also account for 42 percent of homebuyers this year, up dramatically from 31 percent in 2011, which was the lowest point recorded by Fannie Mae.




Written by Jaymi Naciri



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

Friday, June 2, 2017

How To Buy A House Without Going House Poor

How much house can you really afford? Is it the amount the bank tells you when preapproving your loan? That's what most people go by, oftentimes spending up to their max approval amount to get as much house as possible - or to be able to afford something at all in tight markets.
The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, along with your credit score, is what is used by lenders to determine your loan approval and amount. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) efforts to keep this number low notwithstanding, it has been rising to levels that are concerning to industry insiders who fear a widespread wave of homebuyers overextending themselves and becoming unable to support their mortgage payment and other obligations.

The CFPB's Qualified Mortgage (QM) Rule went into effect in 2014, intended to curb overleveraging by capping a borrower's debt-to-income (DTI) ratio at 43 percent. "This means that a borrower's total debt expense (including total mortgage payment) does not exceed 43% of their gross income (before taxes are withheld)," said the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). The rub: Many loans Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), are exempt from the 43 percent DTI limit.

The impact higher DTIs are having on the market is clear; a new WalletHub report "analyzed data from 2,533 U.S. cities and ranked all of them on the basis of a ‘WalletHub Home Overleverage Score,'" said 24/7 Wall St, finding that, in many cities, overleveraging is becoming the norm. "The score was derived from a city's median mortgage debt, median house value, median income, mortgage debt-to-income ratio and mortgage debt-to-house value ratio." The top 10 are all well over the 43 percent threshold, with the top three - San Luis Obispo, California at 59.62; Williamsburg, Virginia at 58.76; and Brooksville, Florida at 57.44) pushing 60 percent.

Getting in over your head with a house, either from the get-go when first purchasing, or later on with a home equity line that increases your monthly payments, is a dangerous scenario for homeowners (and for the market in general). So how do you keep yourself in check to make sure the house you're buying is one you can actually afford and that you're not in danger of becoming house poor?

Do your own calculations
The bank may be telling you that a $350,000 house is within your means, but are you OK with the monthly payment attached to that price? No one is more familiar with your spending habits than you. Are you really going to be able to cut $500 a month in discretionary spending (eating out, movies, clothes shopping, morning lattes) to comfortably make your new house payment?

Don't forget about the extra expenses
If you're buying your first home, you may not be estimating your new monthly expenses accurately. Did you include the HOA fee, if the community in which you're looking to buy has one? What about any special assessments, if there are any? And private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you have an FHA loan and are putting less than 20 percent down on your home. That couple hundred dollars could put you over the top.
Have you also considered your utilities? You may not be accustomed to paying gas and electricity and water and trash if you've been living in an apartment. There could also be an increase in the cost of electricity if you have more square footage to heat and cool.

Watch out for HELOCS
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) can seem harmless. I mean, it's your money, right? And you're using it improve your home, which will only raise its value, right? But what seems like a great idea can also get you in trouble when you tap your home equity. You may be calculating the additional payment for now, but what happens later?
That's the conundrum thousands are facing right now, as "HELOCs are resetting higher rates and overleveraging homeowners," said Inman. "An analysis by Black Knight Financial shows that 1.5 million home equity lines of credit will see interest-only draw periods end this year with outstanding unpaid principal balances that average $62,500 per HELOC. The data reveals that average borrowers whose lines of credit reset will face an additional cost of $250 per month, more than double the current average payment."

Keep an open mind
Finding a house you can afford may be challenging - especially for first-time buyers and those in competitive markets that push the affordability index. If you have tight parameters for your house hunt that are making it hard to find something within your budget, consider:
  • Extending your area search. You may not be aware of (but your Realtor probably is!) adjacent cities or communities that offer a similar lifestyle at a lower price or up-and-coming areas that provide a great value because they're still slightly under the radar.
  • Buying a condo or townhome instead of a single-family home. Some buyers have an automatic aversion to condos and townhomes because they don't like the idea of living attached. But your real estate agent may know of properties that are end units, that have private yards, and that are two-story units with no one above or below you. It may be that this is your best bet for homeownership you can really afford at this point, and you may find you like it far more than you expected - especially because so many of these communities come with great amenities like a pool and gym, plus front-yard landscaping that is taken care of, saving you time and money.
  • Looking at fixer-uppers. A little-known loan called an FHA 203(k) mortgage may be your "in" to a home you can afford and make your own. The bonus is that it's also great for borrowers who may not have the credit and/or down payment to qualify for conventional loans. "The FHA requires a credit score of at least 580 if you want to make the minimum down payment; if you have 10% down, your score can be as low as 500," said Interest.com. "You can borrow more than the home is worth, as long as the repairs will increase its appraised value. The most you can borrow is 110% of what an appraiser estimates it will be worth after renovations, or the cost of the home plus the estimated renovation cost, whichever is less, minus your down payment. The minimum down payment on an FHA loan is 3.5%."


Written by Jaymi Naciri



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