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Monday, January 21, 2019

The Hottest Homebuyer Demographics? Hispanics and Female Millennials

The female millennial homebuyer has arrived—and in grand fashion. In the housing market, single women are one of the fastest-growing demographics, and those that are born between 1981 and 1996 are leading the way.
According to a realtor.com® analysis, which took a look at the first names of homebuyers in this country, seven of the top 10 fastest-growing names are largely attributed to female millennials. Last year, the five fastest-growing first names on home sales deeds were Hannah, Austin, Alexis, Logan and Taylor—three of which are traditionally female names.
Deed data also revealed an uptick in Hispanic names for 2018. Home sales associated with traditionally Hispanic names and partially Hispanic names increased 4.1 percent and 3.7 percent year-over-year—sales to homebuyers with non-Hispanic names remained stagnant (0.1 percent year-over-year).
"Hispanics and millennial names overall also saw a surge in home purchases last year. If these buyers can continue to break through the affordability barrier, they are likely to make up a larger share of owners than ever before and dominate the market for years to come," says Javier Vivas, director of Economic Research at realtor.com.
Additionally, home sales to individuals with names often attributed to baby boomers and the Silent Generation (those born before 1945) saw notable dips, at 2 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. Here's an infographic compiled by realtor.com that illustrates this change in the tides when it comes to the typical U.S. homebuyer:
female millennial homebuyer
Credit: realtor.com



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

Friday, January 18, 2019

Delinquency Rates Drop to the Lowest Level in 18 Years



Things are looking up for mortgage delinquency rates across the country, according to a recent report from property information and analytics provider CoreLogic. The company's October Loan Performance Insights Report showed that only 4.1 percent of mortgages nationally were in some stage of delinquency, as defined by 30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure.
The report also revealed that the foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process, settled at 0.5 percent, down 0.1 percent since October 2017—the lowest for any month since September 2006 and also the lowest rate for an October since 2005. In both instances, the foreclosure inventory rate was 0.5 percent.
What's more, these numbers seem to be trending. The October 2018 foreclosure inventory rate tied with the April, May, June, July, August and September rates this year for the lowest for any month since September 2006.
Natural disasters made their mark on delinquency rates, according to CoreLogic.
"Despite some regional spikes related to hurricane and fire impacted areas, overall delinquency rates are near or at historic lows," says Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic.
Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, echoes Martell's sentiment: "While the strong economy has helped families stay current and push overall delinquency rates lower, areas that were hit hard by natural disasters have seen a rise in loan defaults. The 30-day delinquency rate in the Panama City, Fla., metro area tripled between September and October 2018 as a result of Hurricane Michael."
Below is a year-over-year overview of loan performance across the U.S. in October:

Credit: CoreLogic




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

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update January 17th, 2019 #RealEstate #NJ


Even a chilly, gray sky can be beautiful!  Here, an almost colorless sunset takes place along Avalon Boulevard last week. The blues, oranges, and reds of summer sunsets will be back soon!

A FEW INCHES OF SNOW blanketed most of Cape May County this past Sunday morning, after falling most of the overnight hours.  Cold temperatures for several days prior meant the snow stuck to most surfaces, but by the afternoon, streets on the Island were clear.  Most of the remaining snow should be gone by the weekend.

A FIRE DAMAGED A HOME on 102nd Street in Stone Harbor Sunday afternoon.  Stone Harbor fire crews extinguished the fire and contained it to the rear of the home, which was heavily damaged.  No one was injured in the fire.  Crews from Avalon, Cape May Court House, and Green Creek assisted Stone Harbor.

SEA ISLE BOULEVARD PAVING was to resume this week, but frigid temperatures delayed the start of the work until next week.  If completed it would leave paved travel lanes plus shoulders in each direction, with no concrete barrier in between.  A final topcoat will be added to the roadway in the spring.  The Sea Isle Boulevard project was undertaken to raise the roadway several feet to alleviate flooding concerns.

THE HISTORY OF AVALON, NOW ONLINE:  Bill Mengel of the Avalon History Center has given some fascinating talks detailing the early years of Avalon, complete with slides illustrating all aspects of the town’s development.  If you haven’t been able to catch one of Bill’s talks live, you can enjoy the next best thing: a three-part video series narrated by Bill, detailing Avalon’s history.  From early developers to railroads, hotels, homes, maps and more, Bill provides a fascinating description of how Avalon used to be.  You can watch part one right here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIH4mWm7UNg&list=PLXu0STZVlDUZbg8PssOiIIP-BvooxFPgm

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Teatime at the Avalon History Center, enjoy tea & share memories of Old Avalon, 11AM-Noon, Thursday, January 17
  • Drop in Tech Workshop for Apple computers, iPads & iPhones, help with your Apple devices, Avalon Free Public Library, 5:30-7PM, Thursday, January 17
  • Food Bank Collections for Holy Redeemer Food Bank & Cape May County Animal Shelter in observance of the National Day of Service, staff will be accepting donations at the Avalon Free Public Library, 9AM-5PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Lego Competition for kids Grades K-8, Legos provided, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM, Saturday, January 19
  • Art Workshop with Joyce Kuhn, use your creativity & decorate your own Valentine Wreath, pre-register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, January 19
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, January 19
  • Comedy Uncorked, 3 course wine paired dinner & a comedy show, Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, 6-10PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner with Guest Speaker, $7 for members, $12 for non-members, bring a dish to share, 6PM, Friday, January 25
  • Windows Computer & Android Smartphones Drop-In Tech Workshop, help with your computer, phone, software or an app, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-11:30AM, Saturday, January 26
  • Presentation by historian Jerry McNeff, “John & Abigail Adams, The 1st American Power Couple,” Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PM, Saturday, February 2
  • Friend in Need Super Bowl Bash, silent auction, raffle, big screen TV’s, food, beverages, The Princeton, beginning at 4:30PM, Sunday, February 3
  • Genealogy & Ancestry with Casey Zahn, learn about your family history & tracing your roots, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-4PM, Saturday, February 9
  • Avalon Beach Party, bring the kids for an indoor beach party including the limbo, music, crafts and a game, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11AM, Saturday, February 16
  • Beck’s Philadelphia Brigade Band, music from an authentic Civil War era brass band performed in dress uniform to commemorate Presidents’ Day, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-3PM, Saturday, February 16


Featured Property:
Located just steps from Avalon’s South-end beaches, this 5 bedroom, 5 bath home awaits you!



238 77th Street, Avalon, $2,300,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185554


New Listings:
 
10120 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $272,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185596

208 99th Street, Stone Harbor, $564,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 185624

580 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $895,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185578

149 10th Street, Avalon, $1,395,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185602

4521 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $2,099,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185572

238 77th Street, Avalon, $2,300,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185554

295 55th Street, Avalon, $2,795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185590


Properties Under Contract:

287 14th Street, Avalon, $679,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 185626

291 41st Street, Avalon, $1,725,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 184299

65 W. 34th Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 184169

65 W. 21st Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 185186

517 20th Street, Avalon, $2,495,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 184868



Properties Sold:

243 22nd Street, Avalon, $682,500, SOLD MLS#: 184113

237 48th Street, Avalon, $1,275,000, SOLD MLS#: 182607

36 W. 19th Street, Avalon, $1,595,000, SOLD MLS#: 185082

2109 Harbor Avenue, Avalon, $1,650,000, SOLD MLS#: 184599

235 122nd Street, Stone Harbor, $2,850,000, SOLD MLS#: 182049

84 E. 22nd Street, Avalon, $3,825,000, SOLD MLS#: 183850












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

Monday, January 14, 2019

Should You Buy a Home Warranty?



“We’re buying a house. Should we buy a home warranty?” Seems like a relatively tame question, right? But post it on Facebook or Nextdoor and watch the impassioned responses roll in. You might as well ask, “What political party should I belong to.”

Who knew people were so fervent about home warranties! Everyone has their own experience; expect to hear a few people call them “a scam” or at the very least a waste of money. Others will regale you with their tale of how having a warranty saved them from a freeing winter because they couldn’t afford to fix their furnace without it.

In the end, the decision is personal and largely based on how comfortable you are coming out of pocket if one of the more expensive items in your home, like the air conditioning unit or hot water heater, should malfunction and need to be replaced. We’re breaking down three important particulars so you can make an education decision.

Know the cost

“A basic home warranty costs about $350 to $500 a year or more,” said Money Talks News. “A warranty typically covers kitchen appliances, plumbing, water heater, heating and electrical system components, sump pump, whirlpool tub, and ceiling and exhaust fans, according to Angie’s List. “‘Enhanced’ plans, purchased for another $100 to $300, provide added coverage for such things as a washer and dryer, air conditioning system, refrigerator and garage door opener. Optional coverage can be added, including for pools and septic systems.”

You can typically break down the annual cost into monthly payments if that’s more comfortable for you, but the cost of the warranty itself isn't the only thing you’re responsible for paying. Service calls will typically also cost you; put in a work order for a broken microwave or a tub that won’t drain and you’ll be responsible for paying for the privilege of having a professional come check it out, and—hopefully—fix it.

“Home warranty deductible, or service call fees, is an important concept to master if you want to understand how to find the cheapest home warranty plans for your needs,” said Review Home Warranties. With most home warranties, a deductible or service call fee will be required, “with an industry average of approximately $75 per visit. Some companies, like American Home Shield or TotalProtect Home Warranty, let their customers choose the amount of a deductible, which depends on the amount of premium. The higher the premium, the lower the deductible.”

Consider your peace of mind

Many homeowners opt for a home warranty for major “just-in-case” scenarios. Just in the case the air conditioning unit crashes and burns. Just in case the hot water heater dies. Just in case there’s some other expensive repair that pops up, without the ability to comfortably pay for it. With the cost of some of these items running into the thousands—the average for a new air conditioning unit and installation, per HomeAdvisor, is $5,413!—the peace of mind factor is huge.

“For a homeowner who doesn't have an emergency fund or who wants to protect their emergency fund, a home warranty can act as a buffer,” said Investopedia. “Home warranties also make sense for people who aren't handy or who don't want to worry about tracking down a contractor when they have a problem. Warranties can also make sense for people with expensive taste in appliances.”

But…understand that not everything is covered

There’s always a chance that the item you need repaired is not covered under your warranty for one reason or another. “Having a home warranty doesn't mean the homeowner will never have to spend a penny on home repairs,” said Investopedia. “Some problems won't be covered by the warranty, whether because the homeowner didn't purchase coverage for that item or because the warranty company doesn't offer coverage for that item. Also, home warranties usually don't cover components that haven't been properly maintained. Furthermore, if the warranty company denies a claim, the homeowner will still have to pay the service fee and will also be responsible for repair costs.”


In our case, limitations spelled out in our home warranty contract regarding the replacement of outdated parts and refrigerant costs for our broken air conditioning unit meant we had to come out of pocket for $1,500. The lesson here: Read the fine print so you’re prepared.


Written by Jaymi Naciri



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

Friday, January 11, 2019

Are Investments in Temporary Rentals a Good Investment?



With the popularity in Airbnb [for discussion purposes, we are using Airbnb, but there are other similar companies that could be substituted in] gaining traction in the market place, many real estate investors have been looking at purchasing residential real estate for the specific purpose of renting the real estate on a short term basis similar to the hotel model.

Rather than attempting to garner a month to month tenant or a longer term lessee, some real estate investors have been looking at a model wherein they forgo the security of known monthly rent in exchange for the hope of higher income per month by renting to vacationers on a short term basis. This type of rental is especially the case in popular vacation destinations such as San Francisco and the Napa Valley as well as the outlining areas.

There are pros and cons to this model. From a pro standpoint, many times, renting to vacationers for less than half a month can earn more than a full month under a typical month to month tenant. In the Bay Area, monthly rental may be $3,000 on average, but the nightly rental of an Airbnb for the same house may average $300 per night. Also, eviction is not usually a factor in the vacation model. Most vacationers are not squatters by nature, and lessee evictions [especially in tenant friendly states such as California] can be expensive in time, aggravation, and money. Although there will always be the horror stories of the vacationer who does a fair amount of damage to the house, these instances are much less than the usual monthly renter.

On the con side of renting via Airbnb, there is no security of rental income surety. One never knows how many days the house will be rented. Also, some months may be more seasonal than others. For instance, attempting to rent your Napa Valley place out in February may rent for far fewer days than in August when the vineyards are more in bloom. Other cons include the movement by cities to either tax the income via a “transient” tax or to not allow rentals for shorter than 30 days. This has recently been a big issue as neighbors complain about noise, constant flow of traffic, and so many different renters coming and going as well as the belief that property values go down when living next to this type of rental. Since the number of renters using Airbnb for more than 30 days is much smaller, the odds of getting a renter for more than 30 days to make up for the lack of days being rented in totality as compared to the desired occupancy of the Airbnb rental are very slim. In addition, someone desiring to rent under these circumstances is usually not willing to pay the typical nightly rent for the whole 30 days. Either the “landlord” will advertise a bargain rate for 30 days, or the prospective renter will negotiate a lower rent. A typical $300 per night rental using Airbnb might go for $150 per night for a 30 day rental.

Security deposits are normal for both Airbnb and typical rental situations, but Airbnb will most likely have an additional cleaning fee that may or may not match the actual cost of cleanup. In addition, the Airbnb rental will need to be furnished including bedding, towels, and other necessities whereas most typical rentals usually come unfurnished. This adds to the cost of the set up and continuing maintenance of the Airbnb as well as having someone keep an eye on the rental to make sure the unit is in the same condition from tenant to tenant.

As with Uber, Airbnb has gained traction. With Uber, it took some time for the general public to see that this was similar to taking a taxi and, once people got the hang of it, it became the norm. With Airbnb many vacationers feel comfortable staying in someone’s house that they know has been prepared for them in the same way a hotel makes up a room. There is no room service with Airbnb, nor are the sheets changed on a daily basis, but the costs can be quite attractive to the renter as well as the usually much larger space they get by staying in a house versus a hotel room.

From a lending standpoint, most lenders will severely discount the anticipated rent expected from the borrower who wants to buy a house to place in the Airbnb system. In fact, many traditional lenders will not look at lending in these circumstances with unknown income. Traditional lenders may impute income if the rental is a typical leased situation [although usually discounted somewhat], but Airbnb income is not like a hotel that has many rooms. Either the Airbnb unit is 100% rented or 100% vacant. Hotels have the luxury [from a lenders point of view] that the hotel’s experience may show 60-80% occupancy. Especially if the Airbnb owner is a first timer, most banks will be very wary of lending to borrowers looking to buy a house for Airbnb income. How does the new owner know how much to charge? These and other questions will make banks turn down more often than approve these types of loans.

If the buyer of an Airbnb house has experience and other rentals in their portfolio, the bank may be more inclined to take a closer look. Otherwise, the buyer of the Airbnb house will have to look for alternative lenders. If the buyer/borrower puts a significant down payment, the alternative lender may be able to be convinced to make the loan since this type of loan would be considered a non-owner occupied [no consumer] loan and not have as many restrictions in its lending practices due to Dodd Frank, TRID, ATR, and other regulations. The alternative lender is more willing to look at what can be done with the house upon a foreclosure. Can the property be sold easily to an owner/user? Can it be rented to a normal tenant lease? Most likely, the alternative lender will not look at keeping the house [upon foreclosure] as an Airbnb; that is a business rather than a rental and in need of more management.


The prospective buyer of an Airbnb should look at what a typical lease would look like should the Airbnb model not work for any number of reasons previously mentioned. If the typical lease income is too far below what is prudent from the standpoint of NOI, the buyer may decide to choose a different property to Airbnb if that model is so desired.


Written by Edward Brown

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

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update January 10th, 2019 #RealEstate #NJ


The remains of a shipwreck at Hereford Inlet, as they appeared on December 23rd, 2018.  Photo courtesy of Ron Soldano.

SHIPWRECK AT HEREFORD INLET!  Tides and currents at Stone Harbor Point revealed the wooden frame of a ship, long buried in the sand.  Located roughly a mile south of 122nd Street, the ship’s timbers were exposed at low tide and awash at high tide.  Word of the visible wreck spread locally and eventually was covered by mainstream media, including several newspapers, television news stations and Time Magazine.  Dozens of visitors at a time made the trek on the sand to visit the wreck and get a glimpse of the large timbers, wooden pegs, and copper sheeting used in its construction.
Based on its location many believe the wreck could be the D.H. Ingraham, which was carrying lime bound for Virginia when it ran aground in Hereford Inlet on the night of December 4, 1886, in a nor’easter.  The D.H. Ingraham crew lit a torch to signal for help, and all five members of the crew were saved by the crew of the Anglesea Lifesaving Station, who rowed a lifeboat a mile into the wind, waves, and snow in order to reach the helpless vessel.  The lifeboat crew rowed the D.H. Ingraham crew back to the lifesaving station, where they spent several days.
In the time since the ship was exposed, the tides and winds have worked to cover it again; each day a bit more of the wreck disappears into the sand.  See more photos below.  For more on the D.H. Ingraham and the rescue of its crew, visit http://sunbythesea.com/ww/the-wreck-of-the-d-h-ingraham/

Most of the wreck remained exposed after Christmas Day.  Wooden pegs used during the ship’s construction are visible in this photo by Noelle Guest.

Dozens of visitors observed and photographed the wreck on New Year’s Day, as sand was beginning to cover it.

By January 7th much of the wreck had been reclaimed by the sand.  Here, Austin Lavis observes the visible portions of the timbers.  Photo courtesy of Kim Lex.
FLOOD INSURANCE POLICIES are still being written and renewed during the government shutdown, says Mike Mento of Prosperity Home Mortgage.  However, Mike reports that federal tax return transcripts are not being processed during the shutdown.  Prosperity is NOT requiring tax transcripts prior to closing, so as not to delay transactions.  Have a mortgage question or need Mike’s help?  Give him a call at (609) 839-1203, or email him at Michael.Mento@PHMLoans.com.
NEW SMOKE ALARM REQUIREMENTS:  The State of New Jersey has adopted new requirements for stand-alone (battery powered) smoke detectors.  Effective January 1st, all stand-alone detectors must be of the 10-year sealed-battery type, rather than the replaceable-battery type used in the past.  Note, if your smoke detectors are of the interconnected 110-volt type (i.e. “hardwired,” with a battery backup, as installed in all recent new construction) they are exempt from the change.  But older homes with only battery powered detectors must switch over to the new sealed, 10-year battery type for transfer inspections.
INTEREST RATES, after creeping upward, have come back down from their recent highs.  The average 30-year rate was 4.51% on January 3rdaccording to the Freddie Mac weekly survey.  If you are considering a purchase, it’s an excellent time to lock in low borrowing costs!
START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT!  Plan your 2019 vacation!  Want to browse our 2019 Rental Guide?  Check out dozens of oceanfront, bayfront, beachblock, and inside homes by clicking here:  https://www.flipsnack.com/franzeographics/long-and-foster-avalon-stone-harbor-rental-brochure-fd1kyp3nr.html
BETTER YET, make it permanent!  Let’s talk about your very own shore home!  Whether you’re after relaxation and a water view, or rental income to help pay for your purchase, I’ll help you find the perfect shore property!  Call me today to get started!
UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Lunch & Learn at the Wetlands Institute, explanation of topics important to coastal & wetland ecosystems, bring your lunch, coffee & dessert provided, 11:45AM-1PM, Friday, January 11
  • Fire Pit Friday at the Willow Creek Farms & Winery, music, enclosed outside Wine Bar, full wine & tapas menu, 609-770-8782 to reserve seating, 5:30-9PM, Friday, January 11
  • Beer Dinner at the Cape May Ferry Terminal in North Cape May featuring a 5 course meal paired with a selection of Slack Tide beers, 6:30-9:30PM, Friday, January 11
  • Drop in Tech Workshop for Apple computers, iPads & iPhones, help with your Apple devices, Avalon Free Public Library, 11:30AM-1PM, Saturday, January 12
  • Teatime at the Avalon History Center, enjoy tea & share memories of Old Avalon, 11AM-Noon, Thursday, January 17
  • Food Bank Collections for Holy Redeemer Food Bank & Cape May County Animal Shelter in observance of the National Day of Service, staff will be accepting donations at the Avalon Free Public Library, 9AM-5PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Lego Competition for kids Grades K-8, Legos provided, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM, Saturday, January 19
  • Art Workshop with Joyce Kuhn, use your creativity & decorate your own Valentine Wreath, pre-register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, January 19
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, January 19
  • Comedy Uncorked, 3 course wine paired dinner & a comedy show, Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, 6-10PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner with Guest Speaker, $7 for members, $12 for non-members, bring a dish to share, 6PM, Friday, January 25
  • Windows Computer & Android Smartphones Drop-In Tech Workshop, help with your computer, phone, software or an app, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-11:30AM, Saturday, January 26
  • Presentation by historian Jerry McNeff, “John & Abigail Adams, The 1st American Power Couple,”  Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PM, Saturday, February 2
  • Genealogy & Ancestry with Casey Zahn, learn about your family history & tracing your roots, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-4PM, Saturday, February 9

Featured Property:

This six bedroom, six-and-a-half bath Tom Welsh-built home includes an elevator, a pool, and is located in Avalon’s beachblock!


New Listings:
 
9501 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $575,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185523

3249 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $799,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185442

388 39th Street, Avalon, $999,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185370

4125 Fourth Avenue, Avalon, $1,469,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185388

2768 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,850,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185437

75 W. 24th Street, Avalon, $1,895,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185539

818 1st Avenue, Avalon, $2,050,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185503

272 90th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185469

10609 First Avenue, Stone Harbor, $2,200,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185540

261 60th Street, Avalon, $2,249,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185535

169 89th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,495,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185510

11817 Paradise Drive, Stone Harbor, $2,595,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185455

226 67th Street, Avalon, $3,795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185395

179 114th Street, Stone Harbor, $4,395,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185481

319 62nd Street, Avalon, $7,500,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185411










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

Friday, January 4, 2019

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home in 2019



Sure, you can make a resolution to start hitting the gym or eating better, but don’t neglect your home! These New Year’s resolutions will help your space look better, which will naturally make you feel better—and there’s no kale or cardio involved!

Declutter!

Not only will it look great to have cleaned-out those closets and cleared-off those counters, but it will feel great, too. “It turns out that your well-being could also become victim to what we might call the ‘clutter effect,’” said Psychology Today. “A collection of recent studies on stress, life satisfaction, physical health, and cognition all speak to the value of streamlining.”

Donate, donate donate

There are so many worthy organizations out there who are desperate for clothes, shoes, linens, and housewares. Let The Pinnacle List help you decide what to let go of. “Employ the 6-month rule,” they said. “It’s undeniably hard to get rid of things you have fond memories of, but if you need to reevaluate your space needs, it’s time to start donating or throwing out some of your stuff. If you have clothing, odds and ends, or even appliances that you haven’t used in the past six months, odds are that’s not going to change out of the blue. If it’s hit the half-year mark and those items are gathering dust, put them in the donation bin.”

Get your credit in check

Do you check your credit report every year? You can do so for free, and keeping up with your credit report frequently will ensure that you can quickly take care of anything that’s incorrect. Make this the year that you also take care of legitimate issues on your credit. Whether you’re already a homeowner and aren’t intending to move anytime soon or are looking to buy this year, getting your credit in order and improving your score can leave you better prepared for anything that pops up.

Clear out the entry

You don’t notice the pile of shoes and tangle of jackets and umbrellas right inside your front door, but everyone who comes through your house does. Take a fresh look at your home this and resolve to streamline that entry. You know what they say about first impressions.

Invest in a good mattress

We don’t want to invoke the selling proposition of mattress companies, because, frankly, that whole seven-year rule (and the reason they say to replace your mattress every seven years) is disgusting. So, we’ll just leave it at this: You deserve to be more comfortable. And, you can do that these days rather inexpensively. Business Insider’s most recommended option is the Leese Sapira Mattress for $1,360, while the much-loved Nectar is just $699.

Clean your showerhead

Your shower could be SO. MUCH. BETTER. And don’t you deserve a better shower in 2019? Chances are, the flow is being compromised. Thankfully, the fix is easy. “If the flow from your showerhead is growing weaker, the cause is probably mineral buildup,” said Family Handyman. “Many manufacturers recommend that you remove the showerhead and soak it in a half-and-half mixture of warm water and vinegar (any type). But there’s really no need to remove the head. Just pour the mix into a heavy-duty plastic bag and attach it to the shower arm with a rubber band. The acid in the vinegar dissolves minerals, but prolonged contact can harm some plastics and metal finishes, so remove the bag every 15 minutes and check the shower flow.”

Make your money make money

This is a great time to review your bank accounts and credit cards to see if you’re getting the best yield and interest rates. There are some great high-yield bank accounts offered by online-only banks, while zero-interest credit cards are a great option for those who want to transfer a balance so they can pay it off more quickly.

Pump up your emergency fund

If you already have one, it may be time to up the amount you contribute. If you don’t have one and think you’re too strapped for cash to start putting away money for a rainy day, even the couple bucks you save here and there from skipping Starbucks can help. An “emergency savings fund provides a financial safety net, and your new home is the perfect reason to start one,” said NerdWallet. “Remember, if the furnace quits on a cold night, there’s no landlord to call. Laid off unexpectedly or surprised by major car repairs? Mortgage payments are still expected on time and in full. Without an emergency fund, these expenses could force you into credit card debt or worse.
Ideally, your emergency fund should cover several months of expenses, but it’s OK to start small. Set aside a portion of every paycheck with the goal of saving $500 as quickly as possible, and then contribute as much as you can moving forward.”

Take a look at your insurance

Are your homeowner’s insurance and car insurance policies handled by separate companies? You could be missing out on big discounts. Ask friends and family for a referral to an insurance broker who can review your current insurance, make recommendations, and hopefully find you better options. Depending on where you live, you may also want to ask about insurance for things like earthquakes, floods, and fires, which may not be required but would give you greater peace of mind.

Become more water-wise



A few simple changes can reduce the amount of water you use at home and save you money “Our houses are thirsty,” said Houselogic. “The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day, or almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Making a few simple changes, such as installing EPA-certified WaterSense products, could trim up to $200 from your annual water bill. Add to that energy savings from reduced costs to heat water, and your yearly savings could reach $300 or more per year. Replacing your pre-1994, water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow toilet prevents $90 worth of water costs from being flushed away. HE (high-efficiency) toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than 1 gallon of water; older models required up to 8 gallons.”


Written by Jaymi Naciri






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

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Power of Staging Your Home to Sell



Often times the smallest changes can enhance a home's "showability" when it is offered to the public for inspection. Sellers don't seem to realize when "too much of their home" is showing. Staging your home for its finest presentation requires a room by room critique to offer the best first impressions.

Accentuate the Positive
When studying a room, the first point your eye catches should be a positive one. For example, a home with a massive fireplace commands the first attention spot. However, poor placement of furniture, too many "comfy" afghans and plenty of books and magazines will distort the simplicity of the rooms greatest asset. Add last night's empty pizza box and full ashtrays and any prospective buyer will less appreciate the fine points the home would have offered.

Here is a list of ten points to keep in mind when staging your home for buyer inspections:

1. Start packing the belongings you absolutely do not need to "live." Extra books, magazines, kids artwork, afghans that don't match the decor should be boxed and labeled for your next home. Extra knick-knacks from Christmas, cluttered bulletin boards and several months bank statements can easily be stored away. Kitchens are the biggest culprits as they are such a busy meeting place in the home. Discount coupons, excessive decorative magnets, photos, etc. really catch the eye of the overwhelmed buyer. The top of the refrigerator is the largest collector of sometimes used gadgets. Unless you use your "wok" daily, it is better to clear the top and the front of your refrigerator to make the kitchen a little simpler. Convenient appliances also do better when tucked away so counters look cleaner and sharper. Please check switchplates for fingerprints and smudges, as those are the first places to get noticed. Doorbells are another place that fingerprints are evident. Be sure you are making the right first impression.

2. Family rooms are for relaxing, and need to be staged for crisp impressions and not your lazy evenings! Fold up grandma's afghans, get rid of tired pillows, and pack up slippers, and cribbage sets for neat and clean appearances. Leftover smolderings in the fireplace can add a stale scent to the room. Give extra attention to removing ashes to avoid the less appreciated smokey smells from last nights fire.

3. Bedrooms are other places we enjoy our conveniences the most. Having our robes and slippers waiting for us does not offer top exposure to a viewing family. Get closets slimmed down for a generous look. Freshen with a soft potpourri to diminish the stale odors that come with humidity and small confined places. Although we like our shades and blinds pulled for sleeping hours generally all buyers are drawn to a light, airy and bright room, so open up all window treatments to maximize brightness. With windows being exposed, be sure they are really clean and sparkling. A house really shows its best when it looks like it has been cared for. Remove jewelry and other small personal items from dresser tops. Clean and simple sells the best.

4. The most inexpensive way to brighten a home besides a fresh coat of paint is to increase the wattage in light bulbs. That small guest room may be seldom used, but needs to look bigger and brighter to an interested buyer. Be sure the lamp can handle a stronger bulb and invest in a 3-way if possible. When you know that a showing is scheduled be sure to turn on every light bulb in the house for the best showing potential. Look around model homes, you will notice all the lights are always on, even on sunny days! This is not the time to conserve electricity - it's part of your marketing plan. If you have a room that shows particularly dark, put in an interesting lamp and leave it on most of the time. It will help the buyer leave with a brighter impression of the rest of the home.

5. Everybody has a "junk" room or closet. It's acceptable not to be perfect throughout, but minimize the clutter to one room, desk, or area and you are ensured of a better showing. If it is impossible to move around you could be adversely affecting that buyer's perception of the size of the home, so give careful consideration to overstuffed rooms.

6. Everyone's basement and garages are relatively the same, full of seasonal equipment, holiday decorations and tools. Garage sales are the best remedy for liquidating extras that you have accumulated over the years. Better to sell than to pay to have incidentals moved you really don't need anymore. The biggest offender in basement commentary is the strong mold odors from high humidity. A dehumidifier can assist greatly in relieving that damp "basement" feeling and can alleviate concerns of water problems that don't exist. It's worth the effort to alleviate this common problem.

7. The worst offenders for dust and dirt are the cold air returns and heating vents. If they won't clean up with soap and water and painting doesn't improve them either, purchasing new ones is not that expensive and a great alternative. A house with cobwebs and loaded vents really gives the wrong impression about the cleaning standards of the present owner.

8. Pet dishes of water and food should be relocated to a spot where they will not get kicked accidentally. Water provides the perfect setting for falls or slips that can cause an accident. Cat boxes and pet beds should be clean and fresh and out of sight if possible. Those that don't appreciate pets as much as you, will be turned off to pet "evidence."

9. Junior's bedroom posters of rock groups minimize the true picture of the room. Limit the "artwork" to 1 or 2 posters and promise him that he can resurrect the rest at his next destination.



10. Bathroom grouts must look like new. Bleaching can take care of some of the problems, but it's worth the money to have a professional tile person patch and regrout problem areas. This is not a good time to try extensive grouting yourself. Often times amateur attempts convey the problem more than it is. Shower tracks from doors should glisten, along with the mirrors. Remove prescription bottles, pills, old toothbrushes, and worn towels. This room should get the most attention and look its best at all times. Dated colors in sinks can be replaced for generally a low investment and can render a much-updated feeling when a yesteryear color is no longer an objection. Remove old moldy shower curtains and limit shampoos to a few.


Written by Saul Klein





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

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Home for the Holidays: 4 Reasons to Buy During the Off-Season


By Lizzie Weakley
Instead of decorating your home for the holidays, why not buy a new one? While winter is part of the off-season in real estate, many buyers find that it's the perfect time of year to buy the home of their dreams. After all, you'll have a lot more fun decorating a new home than your current one. Here are some reasons to consider buying real estate in the off-season:
Fewer Buyers
More people choose to move during the spring and summer months than at other times of the year; therefore, when you choose to buy in the winter, you have fewer people looking at properties. This ultimately means you'll be up against less competition as you search for your new home.
Low Figures Accepted
When you buy during the off-season, you may be surprised that people accept your low bid amount. People don't want to wait long to sell their house, and they'll often settle for less during the winter. Most sellers who list their home in the winter are motivated to sell. Since there are fewer purchases being made, you can also usually get home inspections done at a faster rate, and mortgage companies may speed through your paperwork.
Personalized Attention
Your real estate agent only has 24 hours in their day. During busy times, those hours must be divided among more clients. During slower periods, however, the agent can focus more on your needs and desires. This allows them to find you the perfect property without having to see properties that aren't suitable for your needs. Most experienced real estate agents can tell amazing stories of houses that they saw sell during winter at a low price because the seller didn't want to wait until the warmer months.
Winter Heating
Approximately 30 percent of home energy is spent on heating and cooling a home. When you buy in the winter, you can find where the cold drafts are in a prospective home, allowing you to insist that they are fixed before you buy the home. Alternatively, finding these drafts quickly and fixing them yourself allows you to save money quickly. Fixing a draft may be as simple as applying weatherstripping to a gap.
There are many reasons not to wait until spring to buy your home. Buying in the off-season when not as many people are looking often allows you to get a home that you want at a lower cost. Then, you can be singing "I'll be Home for Christmas" this year!



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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?


Editor's Note: This post was originally published on November 6, 2014. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.
There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. "How much will my home sell for?"  "How much should I list my home for?"  "Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?"  "What if the real estate agent overprices my home?"  Last but not least, "Is this a good time to be selling a home?" is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.
As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.
Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:
Less Competition
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.
Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.
Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.
The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.
The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn't have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.
Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be "sold" on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.
Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.
By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.



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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update December 20th, 2018 #RealEstate #NJ


Merry Christmas from Avalon & Stone Harbor!  Lights decorate the business districts of both towns for the holidays.


MARKET STATS: The number of properties sold during the month of November decreased compared to October, but was still higher than last November’s figure.  The median sale price increased dramatically in November.  For a detailed look at the market check Long & Foster’s latest Market Minute report:  View The Latest Long & Foster Market Minute Report  |  Download/Print PDF

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  From my family to yours, Merry Christmas! 

THANK YOU for your business and referrals in 2018.  I sincerely appreciate it and look forward to working with you in 2019.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  If you’re here on the Island consider ringing in the New Year at ICONA Avalon, The Princeton, The Reeds at Shelter Haven, or another local establishment!

THE AVALON/STONE HARBOR UPDATE will return the week of January 7th, 2019.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Teatime at the Avalon History Center, enjoy tea & memories of Old Avalon, Avalon History Center,11AM-Noon, Thursday, December 20
  • Live Music at the Cape May Winery in North Cape May, 5PM-8PM, Friday, December 21, Friday, December 28 & Friday, January 4, 2019
  • Horse and Carriage Rides in Ocean City, 9th & Asbury Avenue, Saturday & Sunday, December 22 & 23
  • Cape May County Zoo’s Winter Jr. Zookeeper Program for ages 10-15, animal training, species survival, more, 9AM-2PM, Saturday, December 29
  • Happy ‘Noon’ Year, celebration for the kids, 11AM-12:30PM, Avalon Free Public Library, Monday, December 31
  • Exhibit of holiday traditions through the years including model trains, toys, & more, Carroll House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May, 8AM-9AM, Tuesday, January 1
  • Job Search Workshop with Sean Farrell presenting options for best ways to get a job online, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11AM, Saturday, January 5
  • The First Frontier:  Yeoman-Whalers & the Origin of Cape May County, presentation by Jim Stephens of Historic Cold Spring Village discussing the 17th century whaling industry on the Delaware Bay and how it led to the creation of CMC, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PM, Saturday, January 5
  • Lunch & Learn at The Wetlands Institute, explanation of topics important to coastal & wetland ecosystems, bring your lunch, coffee & dessert provided, 11:45AM-1PM,  Friday, January 11
  • Drop in Tech Workshop for Apple computers, iPads & iPhones, help with your Apple devices, Avalon Free Public Library, 11:30AM-1PM, Saturday, January 12
  • Food Bank Collections for Holy Redeemer Food Bank & Cape May County Animal Shelter in observance of the National Day of Service, staff will be accepting donations at the Avalon Free Public Library, 9AM-5PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Comedy Uncorked, 3 course wine paired dinner & a comedy show, Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, 6-10PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner with Guest Speaker, $7 for members, $12 for non-members, bring a dish to share, 6PM, Friday, January 25


New Listings:
    
7800 Dune Drive, Avalon, $292,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185292

1114 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor Manor, $599,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185334

4345 Fourth Avenue, Avalon, $3,999,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185327

86 E. 23rd Street, Avalon, $4,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185326


Properties Under Contract:

444 21st Street, Avalon, $429,900, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 176513

756 21st Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 184779

4506 Fifth Avenue, Avalon, $3,200,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 185277



Properties Sold:

663 21st Street, Avalon, $675,000, SOLD MLS#: 184740

1125 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor Manor, $950,000, SOLD MLS#: 182527

246 28th Street, Avalon, $975,000, SOLD MLS#: 184351

9415 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $2,025,000, SOLD MLS#: 183632

213 64th Street, Avalon, $2,125,000, SOLD MLS#: 184945

223 121st Street, Stone Harbor, $2,445,000, SOLD MLS#: 183837

216 6th Street, Avalon, $2,625,000, SOLD MLS#: 183703

11713 Paradise Drive, Stone Harbor, $2,687,500, SOLD MLS#: 179742

24 Heron Drive, Avalon, $5,200,000, SOLD MLS#: 181805











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