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Friday, April 19, 2019

Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ - 40 Things To Do (All within a 15 to 40 minute drive.)


40 Things To Do (All within a 15 to 40 minute drive.)

1-Walk our beautiful beach and work on your tan. Build a sand castle.
2-Kayak through the back bay.
3-Bicycling on our bike path. ( can rent bikes at Harbor Bike Shop)
4-Bird Watching. Visit the Bird Sanctuary
5-Stop at Springers Ice Cream for a cone or a Sundae!
6-Visit Our Shops Downtown
7-Swim in the Ocean
8-Surfing
9-Fishing
10-Clamming
11-Crabbing
12-Skating
13-Movie Theater
14-Miniature golf
15-Jogging
16-Tennis
17-Classes at New Stone Harbor Recreation Center
18-Visit Avalon Public Library. Classes for computers, yoga etc.
19-Family Night
20-Lots of Fine Restaurants
21-Cape May County Park and Zoo( Cape May Court House, Exit 11 off Garden State Parkway.) This is a fun day trip and it is Free!
22-Whale watching boat tour in Cape May.
23-Wetlands Institute on Stone Harbor Boulevard.
24-Trolley Tour of Historic Cape May
25-Boardwalk with amusement rides in Ocean City or Wildwood. Water parks too!
26-Ride Cape May Lewes Ferry to shop All the Outlet stores in Delaware.
27-Visit Smithville NJ, Lots of shops and restaurants.
28-Visit Historic Cold Springs Village on Route 9 in Cold Springs. A step back in time.
29-Take the kids to The Water Parks at Morey's Pier
30-Visit an Art Gallery
31-Check out Harbor Square Mall on 96th street in Stone Harbor
32-Visit a spa. Several in the area.
33-Relax at Massage Works. (Ask for Steve or Jean)
34-Visit Cape May County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society. You'll find medical, military, toy, maritime tools and Native American displays.
35-At Cape May Point, see the sunken ship remains of the concrete ship USS Atlantus.
36-If you are up for climbing 199 steps, you must see the Cape May Lighthouse with a beautiful sweeping view of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
37-See vintage aircraft at the Naval Aviation Museum in an actual World War II hanger listed in the National Register of Historical places. 609-886-8787
38-See a show, or visit slot machines and crap tables at Atlantic City Casinos.
39-Take the little ones to Storybook Land on Black Horse Pike in Cardiff.
40-Work out at one of the many gyms in the area.

For more info visit my Long & Foster website! https://www.longandfoster.com/NancyAlexander



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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Great Spaces: Spectacular City Living

By Zoe Eisenberg
In our April edition of Great Spaces, we're looking at deluxe city living with some of the nation's most stunning urban homes!

Magic in Murray Hill

Explore this two-bedroom, two-bathroom terraced penthouse in New York City's luxury Murray Hill Windsor Tower. Stellar features include 18-foot ceilings studded with windows overlooking the East River and a 1920s-era fireplace. From the parlor, travel up the sweeping staircase leading to a mezzanine overlooking the great room below. A big bonus for film buffs: The penthouse resides in the same luxury apartment complex where scenes from "Scarface," "The Godfather" and "Spider-Man" were filmed.
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Listed by: Russell K. Miller, Brown Harris Stevens
Listed for: $2,850,000
Photos by: Brown Harris Stevens

Jersey City Condo

This sun-drenched, one-bedroom condo in Downtown Jersey City's Village West neighborhood spans over 725 square feet of chic urban atmosphere. Inside, you'll find high ceilings, wood floors, broad bay windows, ventless fireplaces, split heating/cooling systems, a fully decked-out kitchen and in-unit laundry.
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Listed by: Dan Pelosi, Irene Barnaby, Weichert, REALTORS®
Listed for: $510,000
Photos by: Helen Leeson

Contemporary Living in La La Land

Remodeled in 2018, this four-bedroom, four-bathroom home located at 9141 Thrasher Ave. is sweetly tucked into the Los Angeles Hills. Inside, the house stretches over 5,800 square feet. Outside, a 12,613-square-foot lot is bejeweled with a picture-perfect pool and spa. The gated home has a compound-like feel, equipped with a gym, built-in bar and glass walls. Cityscape views are abundant in the contemporary space—even from the bathtub.
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Listed by: Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Beverly Hills South office
Listed for: $11,999,995
Photos by: Adam Latham

A Warehouse of Your Own

Calling all artists! This recently renovated warehouse-style space in New York City's prestigious West Chelsea Arts District could be yours. Inside, ceiling heights soar over 30 feet with exposed brick walls, wood beams, skylights, a massive walk-in closet and an entertainment space expanding over 6,400 square feet. Truly one-of-a-kind, the 536 West 29th St. spot once doubled as a production and art studio for Broadway set designers.
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Listed by: Erin Boisson Aries, Nicola Bottero, Christie's International Real Estate
Listed for: $18,500,000
Photos by: Christie's International Real Estate




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

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Hottest Real Estate Markets in America for March 2019: Oh, Ohio?!



By Chelsia Rose Marcius


We've just closed the books on the first month of spring—and the beginning of the high season for home buying—and while the market slowed down in March compared with the same time last year, according to realtor.com® data, an unexpected hot spot has emerged.

Several markets in Ohio, which are some of the county's most affordable, are attracting lots of buyer interest, claiming three of the top 20 spots in our monthly ranking of the country’s hottest metros for real estate. Two more Ohio metros, while not in that top 20, chalked up the biggest improvement year over year.

The state capital, Columbus, came in at No. 1 on the list, which reflects a combination of how fast homes take to sell (days on market) and the number of listing views racked up in each market. Both of these are an indicator of buyer demand. Akron and Canton came in at No. 16 and No. 19 respectively. Meanwhile, Cleveland and Cincinnati were the large metros with the most year-over-year improvement. That's a big change from the days (last year, even!) when the list was regularly topped by pricey California markets such as San Francisco and San Jose. (Each metropolitan area may also include smaller satellite cities.)

While California continues to be the most-represented state in the top 20, its markets are also the most affected by the slowdown. Houses in Vallejo, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz saw a significant jump in days on market, with an increase of 11, nine, and nine days respectively. Overall, the data shows that current inventory is selling three days more slowly than last March. That drop-off remains unchanged from February, which was the first time since December 2014 that metros on the top 20 list experienced an increase in days spent on the market. The full analysis looked at the 300 largest metros in the U.S.

According to realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale, the slowdown in big cities has indirectly benefited housing markets in the Midwest.

"Historically there wasn’t much demand in those areas," she says. "Now that home prices are higher across the board, people are looking to those [more wallet-friendly] areas to buy. Columbus is super affordable, with a median $249,900 compared to the national listing price of $300,000, which attracts a lot of younger buyers."

Continue reading at link below.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pricing a Home Accurately: Mistakes to Avoid


By Bill Gassett
Do real estate agents make mistakes when pricing a home? Of course. This is why it's so important to go with an experienced agent and one you can trust at the same time.
Sometimes an agent will make a pricing mistake for no fault of their own. You'd be surprised by how many sellers try hard not to disclose all of the information about a property. An exceptional listing agent needs to be a detective, as well as a salesperson.
Finding out what's wrong with the property is just as important as learning about its top selling points. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid if you want to price a home accurately:

Should You Price a Property Using Price-per-Square Foot?

Using price-per-square foot to value a home is one of the oldest means of pricing. It's also one of the least accurate for many reasons. A significant amount of uneducated agents will use this method of valuation.
It sounds great, but it may not accurately reflect the true value of the property. For instance, another home in the same neighborhood could be in worse condition. It could require a lot of work and have other problems which need to be addressed. In that case, the price-per-square foot valuation is not a true reflection of the subject property's value. It's often worth paying a bit more for a property that's in better condition.
Another example is trying to compare a home in a far superior location. People pay a premium when they're located in the best area in town.

Does the Neighborhood Matter?

Most buyers are happy paying a bit more for a property in the exact part of town they'd like to move to. Sure, take a look at what properties are selling for in other neighborhoods, but if the property comes up where they want, they'll usually pay for it. So you could have two identically-sized homes and one may be worth more than the other if located in a premium neighborhood.
School districts are another reason why you can't just use price-per-square foot. The schools in a particular part of town may not be as good, or it could be further from work. Buyers are willing to pay more money for the same house in the top school districts.

The Seller Determining the Price

Should a real estate agent let a homeowner price the property? This is where the worst pricing mistakes happen. Most homeowners who try to sell on their own, or talk the listing agent into selling for a certain price, can wait a long time for a sale.
These properties are often overvalued and you should be aware of this problem. If you think that the price seems excessive, ask the agent who set the price of the property. If the owner is selling their home without a real estate agent, there's a decent chance they set the price. The vast majority of the time, For Sale By Owner properties have an unrealistic asking price. This is one of the reasons why so many of them end up listing with an agent.

The Agent Didn't Want to Lose a Listing Opportunity

Real estate is one of the most competitive industries around. Agents often compete with other agents to land business. Human emotions can come into play when a seller has to pick who they want representing them.
Unfortunately, instead of picking the best agent based on skills or merit, other factors are considered. If one agent comes in with a higher price, they may be picked for that reason alone. And lesser-skilled agents use this to their advantage—they'll intentionally mislead the seller on price to get a listing.

Using the Tax Assessment to Set a Price

This isn't a good idea. Most agents are aware of the value of the tax assessment, but seldom base their value of the property on it. There are some agents who don't know that there's no correlation between assessed value and fair market value—many things may have changed since the property was last assessed by the tax collector.
Assessed values can be much higher or much lower than the actual market value. Never make the mistake of using an assessed value to put a price tag on a home.

Basing the Price on an Online Estimate

Don't try to guesstimate a property value. There are many online valuation sites that publish valuations. Take these estimates with a grain of salt. More often than not, these are way off from the true market value. Always make sure that a property value is backed up by facts. An outstanding real estate agent should be able to tell you what a home is worth and back it up with facts as to why that is the case.
Don't be afraid to ask. Many buyers are still worried about asking why a home is worth a certain price. A professional buyer's agent will tell you why they think the home you are considering buying is worth X amount compared to others.

Key Factors to Check Out

In order to ensure no pricing mistakes have been made, here are a few things you should check out:
  • Is the plumbing up to date?
  • Does the homeowner have all of the necessary building permits for any remodeling done?
  • Are bathrooms and the kitchen up to date?
  • Are all home improvements and alterations legal?
  • How desirable is the lot?
  • How much traffic goes by the house?
  • What is the rating on the local school system?
It's easy to forget that it is your money. Many of us still "fall in love" with a property and find we "just have to have it." Some say that you buy dreams when you buy a property. That is very true. When you go on a home visit, take off your rose-colored glasses and make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
The market value of a home is always determined by the buyer. If you don't have a buyer, then you don't know what your property is worth. Agents and sellers can surmise all day about what they expect a home to sell for—sometimes it happens as planned and other times it doesn't.
Of course, any real estate professional does their best to accurately price a property. Some are better at it than others. Given it's such an important variable in selling a home, make sure you do your due diligence.
Homes that are priced correctly out of the gate sell for more than those that get price reductions. Always remember that when you are trying to stretch beyond what the data tells you. By following sound advice, you'll avoid all the common pricing mistakes that get sellers into hot water.




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

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Is Your Dream Home in a Cell Phone Dead Zone?



By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy
House-hunting is exciting, but it can be an exhausting process. Choosing where to live should be driven by factors like location, neighborhood and curb appeal. The last thing you should worry about is cell phone reception. If your dream home turns out to be in a cell phone dead zone, you can either switch carriers or boost the performance of your existing service.
The best solution in most cases is to switch to a carrier that has good coverage in your new home, as dealing with bad service will get frustrating. Here are four factors to consider when switching:
Find the best coverage. Since service can sometimes be affected by factors like building materials and nearby landmarks, you can't always rely on coverage maps to know which cellular provider will work best in your new home. The easiest way is to ask around—the current homeowners can tell you which network they use, and you can ask your new neighbors which provider works for them.
Narrow down your choices. Once you've determined which providers work in your neighborhood, use coverage maps to decide which one is the best choice for your new home. For the fastest speeds, look for a provider that offers the best 4G coverage. This map by RootMetrics also lets you zoom in to a specific area and choose from different carriers.
Shop around for the best value on plans. Switching carriers is a great way to save some money on your monthly bill, too. Once you've found the best network coverage, see if any Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) providers are available in your area. An MVNO is a company that resells service from the major carriers, generally at a lower price.
Confirm you can port your number. When switching to a new cellular provider, you'll want to make sure you can bring your old number with you. Carriers are required by law to let you port your number to your new provider; however, if you are moving to a new area code, you'll need to give up your current number if you decide to switch carriers.
If switching carriers is not an option or you can't find a cellular provider that offers good service in your new home, some technical fixes are available that can help you deal with bad reception. Consider these three potential solutions for bad cell phone service:
Enable WiFi calling and texting. WiFi calling routes your calls or messages using an internet connection rather than a cellular network. If you have broadband internet in your new home, you'll be able to make and receive calls, even if you have bad or no cell phone service. It works in the same way as messaging apps, only it's baked into your phone's operating system, so there's no need to launch a separate app. WiFi calling works with both free and paid Wifi connections.
Purchase a femtocell. A femtocell—also called a small cell or network extender—works like a mini cell phone tower in your home. It routes all your calls over the internet, so you'll need broadband and the ability to connect the femtocell to your router. Femtocells are carrier-specific and will only work on the network you use. Friends and family will still be in a dead zone if they use a different carrier, and only authorized users can connect to it.
Buy a signal booster. If you have a decent signal in one area of your house, you can buy a signal booster. These work by amplifying the cell signal from a good location and re-broadcasting it to the area with poor reception. Signal boosters are carrier-independent and will work on any cell phone, but you need good reception somewhere nearby for this option to work.
Buying a new home should never depend on your ability to make and receive calls. The good news? Whether you opt for a new carrier, use WiFi calling or buy hardware to boost your current signal, you're bound to find a solution for your poor cell phone reception.



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

Monday, April 8, 2019

4 Things Home Inspectors Look for During an Inspection


By Meghan Belnap
Selling a home often means getting a home inspection; in fact, only 5 percent of home purchases go through without a thorough check. This is typically paid for by the buyer, but if you're the one selling, you're going to want to ensure that the home inspection goes well.
If your home doesn't meet the mark, the door is open for the buyer to negotiate for a lower price, making it especially important to know what the home inspector will be looking for and what will ultimately impact your home's market value.
Here are four common parts of the home an inspector checks when performing a home inspection:

Range Fans for Outdoor Venting

Most houses have a fan over the stove to vent fumes to the outside. This vent pulls harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) out of the air when the food you're cooking begins to burn or when you're using the self-clean function on the oven. The inspector will check for proper vent seals and fan operation, in addition to making sure there are no vents going into the attic where mold can grow. Some new technologies have ventless hoods. These products do not need a vent to the outside; however, it's important that you know which you have, because if your model requires a vent and you don't have one, that will be a mark against you in the inspection.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters for Wet Areas

Building codes in many communities dictate that homes for sale must have GFCIs in kitchens and bathrooms. These outlets go in areas within six feet of water sources. These receptacles have a safety feature built in that turns off the electricity when the panel gets exposed to moisture. These outlets prevent fires and electrical shock, keeping you and the family safe. If you're not sure which you have, then it's important to consult with a professional electrician. Have them examine your kitchen outlets and ensure that they and their safety features are functional.

Proper Garage Door Operation

Showing prospective buyers that your home is in excellent shape includes checking the garage. Inspectors look at garage doors to make sure there's no crush risk, in addition to making sure the door operates safely. They look to see if the door has all mechanical parts, reverses when it comes down and hits something, and opens smoothly. Updating your garage door with a more modern model can provide a greater marketing edge. Make sure that all of your remotes and your garage door are working properly, because home inspectors will bring it up in the report if anything is out of order.

Number of Outlets Per Room

Another item inspectors check for is how many outlets are on each wall. Building codes differ from city to city, but each town requires a minimum amount of electrical outlets in the house. For example, many houses must have at least one receptacle on each wall or within a certain length. If you live in an older home, chances are that you have fewer or even outdated outlets. If you own an older home, your best option is to have an electrician come and replace the outlets, or add more to the system. You may also need to have the electrical system reworked if it's outdated, as it may not be able to handle the electrical needs of a modern home.
The home inspection can help show the value of your house, especially if you make improvements. Whether you're looking to sell or even refinance, it's important to know what home inspectors look at to determine your home's value. Having a successful inspection can also give you greater bargaining power with buyers so that you can get the full value that your home deserves.




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

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cape May County NJ Luxury Housing Market Update February 2019 #RealEstate #NJ

Luxury Housing Market Update
Cape May County, New Jersey - February 2019


The real estate market is always changing, and if you’re buying or selling a home especially a luxury property it’s critical to understand the current market conditions. More than simply seeing what’s
happening to real estate as a whole in your local area, you need insights on what’s taking place in the high end market, specifically with uncommon and unique homes like yours or those for which you’re shopping. That’s why Long & Foster publishes our exclusive LuxInsight report giving consumers like you invaluable information on the luxury market performance in your local area.

Published monthly, LuxInsight provides you with A broad overview of real estate trends in the high-end real estate market. From median sale prices and active inventory to the current housing
Demand and available active listings, LuxInsight gives you access to essential statistics you need to know.

Beyond this valuable market information, Long & Foster’s team of luxury sales associates is available to guide you through the real estate process. We believe luxury real estate is all about the individual, and when you work with us, you'll receive an experience tailored to your unique needs. You'll enjoy exceptional service and expertise, provided by agents who specialize in marketing and selling the most stunning luxury homes. You'll gain our exclusive connections around the world and get a luxury home experience with proven results.

http://longandfostermarketinfo.com/Reports/LuxInsight/Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.pdf




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

Monday, April 1, 2019

Wildfire Experiment Shows Affordable Ways to Protect Your Home

Photo credit: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
by Liz Dominguez
Two side-by-side test homes were set on fire. One burned, the other endured.
Researchers have been working around the clock trying to figure out a solution to the devastating wildfire problem that has destroyed more U.S. homes and buildings in the last year than ever before.
In an experiment conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center on March 6, the problems lit up while the solutions stayed flame-free. With some simple and affordable home fixes, homeowners can better protect their properties against wildfires. This could be an alternative solution for those who are struggling to find coverage or can't pay expensive insurance premiums.
What made the difference? Simply enough, it was mainly landscaping and siding. The home that was more fire-resistant was constructed with fiber cement composite shingles instead of wood shingles. The more traditional home was surrounded by bark or wood-based mulch, while the fire-resistant version had rock landscaping in its place.
Construction matters too. Open eaves for the standard build made for a more vulnerable home while closed helped to protect against fire. Windows also impact a home's fire resistance—dual-pane tempered screens protected against flames while single-pane windows with no screens can easily break during a wildfire, allowing embers into the home where they can ignite.
And don't forget the deck! Standard spacing is not the way to go. The home with increased joist space and bitumen—a material used for roofing and road surfacing—on the joists fared better.
"During 2018, wildfire caused more loss of life and more property damage than any other weather-driven peril in the U.S., including two major hurricanes," said Roy Wright, CEO and president of the IBHS, in a statement.
"These wildfires are becoming far more severe. Yet there are practical steps that can be taken by individual property owners, community planners, and state and federal leaders to reduce our collective risk from wildfire and make our neighborhoods safer and more resilient. Without question, building resilience against wildfires requires full engagement from all of these stakeholders and an all-of-the-above approach to actions they can take," he added.




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

Friday, March 29, 2019

Tips for Reviving Your Lawn After Winter


By Katie Kuchta
Waking up your lawn can be challenging, and there is added pressure if you want to put a home on the market. Early spring is one of the best times of the year to make your home look great. This busy season coincides with an uptick in activity in the real estate market, making it that much more critical for you to get your lawn back in great shape.
Here are a few helpful tips for reviving your lawn after the beating it likely took this winter:

Feed It Well

Spring is the most critical time to give your lawn a boost. Winter drags on in many areas of the country, which can deplete a yard come spring. If you find yourself in this situation, try applying a quick-release fertilizer to prepare your lawn for spring. This fertilizer will get to the roots and green up your yard in a few days. However, be cautious when applying a quick-release fertilizer, as putting too much in one spot can kill your grass.
Other fertilizer options include slow-release fertilizers that'll feed your lawn over time. This kind of fertilizer usually comes in granules or pellets that sit on top of your soil. They dissolve over time and provide the best long-lasting energy option for lawns.

Water in the Morning

Fertilizer applications need moisture to work best. Watering your lawn in the spring may seem counterintuitive given the rainfall that some climates receive, but watering your lawn regularly is essential to help the grass grow strong. Consider watering your yard in the morning before 10 a.m., as this will allow the lawn time to soak up the water and dry out under the afternoon sun. Watering in the evening or at night may seem smart, but it can actually cause lawn care problems such as disease and fungi.

Ease Into Mowing

While your lawn may have grown a little throughout the winter depending on your location, lawns need some time to ease into the spring. Refrain from mowing your lawn on a low setting as temperatures go up. Short lawns expose the root system, which can create a stressful situation for the grass. Consider doing a light mow early on in the season to take off the tips of the blades. Doing so will ease your lawn back into the growing season and will help keep it looking great.

Start Fighting Weeds

Homeowners looking to put their home on the market should combat any weeds in their lawn. There are many weed and feed chemicals to help prevent weeds. These mixes often include different fertilizers, so be sure to read the directions so that you don't give your lawn too much. Locate any problem areas in your yard and consider applying weed control to those areas, as well.

Seed Thin Spots

It's common for bare spots to appear after a long winter. Immediately care for areas of the lawn that have thinned or are completely bare. These spots can cause problems, not only with weed growth, but also in presenting a beautiful lawn to a prospective buyer. Rake out these spots in your yard and apply a good amount of seed. Give these spots extra water a few weeks after you seed them to encourage new grass roots to take hold.
There are many ways to help your lawn come back after a long winter. Mow the grass on a high setting until it has had time to recover, fertilize and water the lawn to boost growth, and be sure to keep weeds away by using preventive measures. Follow all the tips listed above and your lawn will be back to its former glory in no time.




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

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Are you looking for Vacation Rentals in Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ on "7 mile island"?

See properties and find the perfect vacation rental property for you!


2019 Flip book with links to each property,  amenities, location and availability.



https://www.flipsnack.com/rjsoensgroup/2019-long-foster-renting-at-the-shore_digital/full-view.html


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

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

How to Make Your Home Look Expensive on a Budget


By Shelley Alexanian
You want your home to look luxe, but your bank account has other ideas. Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot to make it look like you did.
With a little ingenuity and these 12 ideas, you can transform your home into a posh palace:
Splurge on Focal Pieces. You may not be able to break the bank on every item in your home, but consider splurging on attention-grabbing pieces. For example, a high-quality leather chair or fancy wallpaper on a prominent wall are good ways to spend money strategically. With these elements in place, you can be more budget-conscious with other purchases.
Layer Rugs. Rugs are a cost-effective way to add warmth and style to a room. To create a custom look, layer rugs beneath a furniture grouping. For example, use a large, rectangular sisal rug in a neutral color as the anchor. On top, place an animal print rug or use a series of brightly colored rugs in geometric patterns to create interest.
Employ Wainscoting and Trim. There's no way around it. Wainscoting, crown moldings and other types of custom trimwork make a home look elegant. Fortunately, they're not terribly expensive to install, especially if you have the tools and know-how to do it yourself. 
Use Paint to Your Advantage. Not only is paint affordable, but it is transformative. Simply painting walls a sophisticated color will achieve the high-end look you desire. Paint can also transform thrift-store furniture and decor. With many types of paint readily available at your local hardware store, you can easily alter textures within your design scheme. Use chalk paint to distress a vintage table or a metallic spray paint to refresh picture frames or decorative elements.
Paint Doors. Set the aesthetic from the moment a guest arrives at your house. Paint your front door a color that complements your home’s interior. The door's color will anchor your home's color scheme while adding drama and style to your entryway. Also consider painting the interior doors in your abode a signature color that makes your residence one-of-a-kind.
Opt for Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. Love the look of hardwood, but can't afford the price tag? Luxury vinyl plank flooring is an affordable alternative. The best part? You can probably install it yourself, which means you don't have to pay labor costs. Vinyl plank flooring can be glued or clicked in place for easy installation. It's also waterproof, which makes it a practical alternative in kitchens and bathrooms.
Layer Lighting. A layered lighting concept will add warmth, depth and glamour to any room. Along with overhead lighting, utilize lamps, plug-in sconces and possibly LED lighting to create a glowing lightscape.
Copy a Look You Love. During your window shopping trips, you've probably discovered furniture, light fixtures or other design elements that are way out of your price range. That's fine! Snap a photo so you can recreate the look for less. A quick search on Pinterest may reveal similar ideas. Or hit the thrift stores and flea markets to find raw materials for your design hack.
Fake It 'til You Make It. Expensive homes often have soaring ceilings. Your home's ceilings may be decidedly lower, but you can make them look higher. Just hang your curtains closer to the ceiling than the window frame. This creates an optical illusion that makes the room seem taller.
Embrace Your Artistic Side. Large-scale artwork is a great way to set your home apart, but it's usually quite pricey. Instead of blowing your budget, make it yourself. Simply buy a huge, white canvas and create a masterpiece. Abstract paintings are good options if you're not artistically gifted; if you have a little talent in this area, you might try your hand at a more contemporary composition. Display your art prominently in your home. When friends ask about it, just tell them you had the piece commissioned by an up-and-coming artist!
Don't Overdo It. Adding too many elements to a room will cheapen the look. If a room appears too cluttered, remove some knick-knacks, pillows or books. Remember, less is usually more when it comes to interior design. You'll end up with a more sophisticated space that feels light and airy instead of cramped and busy.
Camouflage the Television. While the television may play a prominent role in your family's life, it can also detract from your interior design. Hide it in a cabinet, piece of furniture or behind a screen when you have visitors.
Making your home look like a million bucks doesn't have to cost a fortune. You can achieve a high-end look for less using some creativity and these tips.




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