Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How To Create Year-Round Home Curb Appeal

Exceptional curb appeal will add to the enjoyment and value of your property and home. Maintaining your curb appeal throughout each season may pose its challenges, but with these tips, you can ensure that your home and landscaping will look their very best throughout the year.

#1 Clean It Up
A thorough power wash is essential for maintaining the cleanliness of your home, driveway and walkways. Many homeowners prefer to do this in the spring, but you might consider an additional wash in the fall as well. By keeping your landscape free of debris like broken branches and dead trees, you can better maintain the appearance of your property.

#2 Planting for Seasonal Interest
It's helpful to plant with each season in mind to ensure that your landscape looks great year-round. Spring bulbs and flowering trees add visual interest to your landscape at the start of the growing season. A lush lawn and pots of colorful annuals can provide eye-catching appeal in the summer. Think about late summer perennials and deciduous trees or shrubs that boast spectacular fall colors. Evergreens are classic winter plants, but you might also wish to plant trees like birch or interesting shrubs to draw the eye.

#3 Vertical Interest
To avoid flat looking landscaping, be sure to include vertical interest. Arches, even when bare during the winter season, will add visual interest to your front yard. Hanging plants, vines, climbing plants, trellises and even a decorative light post will ensure that your yard has a visual balance year-round.

#4 Hardscaping
Plants aren't the only method of achieving excellent curb appeal. Consider replacing a worn-out front walkway with elegant cobblestone or brick pavers. Replace mulch with stone or encircle trees and shrubs to achieve a more formal look for your property. Boulders can be strategically placed to draw the eye and provide further visual interest for your setting.

#5 Tackle Problem Areas
If you have a slope that's difficult to mow or a sunken section of landscaping that always seems to flood, consider a solution. A low-maintenance, terraced garden is ideal for sloping sections of land that are difficult to mow. On the other hand, there are no-mow grasses that can replace a traditional lawn. Installing adequate drainage for low-lying areas of your landscape can help reduce the flooding that occurs during stormy seasons.

#6 House Appeal
You can increase the year-round curb appeal of your home by maintaining its outward appearance. A pleasing door, elegant fixtures, contemporary railings, eye-catching shutters and stylized window boxes will go a long way to boost your curb appeal. For an additional wow factor, consider expanding your porch or replacing worn siding to improve the appearance of your home.

Great curb appeal begins with assessing your current setting. When you do install new features, it's important to consider how they will appear during each season.

Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.

Written by Andrea Davis

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

Saturday, December 23, 2017

East vs. West: Which Coast Sells More Million-Dollar Homes?

From the wondrous witches of "The Wizard of Oz" to Tupac and Biggie, the East and the West have always been natural rivals, and the feud now continues when it comes to million-dollar homes. Recent research from PropertyShark looked at how many homes sold for over $1 million in the largest cities on the East and West coasts during the past three years, and the results were not all that surprising.
Sorry to the Wicked Witch of the East; West Coast cities took the million-dollar prize with a total of 57,006 homes sold at over $1 million in the past three years. This trumps the East Coast's 39,113 homes sold.
No surprise here—leading cities include New York City, which boasts 81 percent of the million-dollar homes sold on the East Coast, whereas L.A. landed 21,722 sales closed for over $1 million. San Francisco is also worth mentioning, with 10,912 homes selling at the $1 million mark or more. In the East, D.C. took second place with 2,759 sales, followed closely by Boston with 2,529 sales.
Of course, the term "million-dollar home" no longer refers to that glammed out mansion with a lagoon out back, especially in higher-ticket cities. In fact, in some cities, a million dollars can barely get you a studio spot.
So how did the analysis work? PropertyShark looked at all cities with a population size of over 300,000. On both coasts combined, a total of 96,119 people bought homes priced at $1 million and over.
You can read more about the PropertyShark research here, or glean what you can from this infographic:

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

Friday, December 22, 2017

Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You’re Making on Your Home

By Cary Teller
Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are 10 of the most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.
1. Using Traditional Light bulbs
If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home's bottom line.
2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet
A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.
3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size
We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won't regret it.
4. Not Customizing Temperature
Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you're away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you're gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.
5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly
Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.
6.Over Watering Lawn
Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you're never around to see what you're actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you're not around.
7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High
Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don't keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.
8. Leaky Windows and Doors
Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.
9. Paying a Handyman
Don't pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you're unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.
10. Ignoring Curled Shingles
It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.
Use these 10 tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update December 21st, 2017 #RealEstate

Check out those lights!  Avalon and Stone Harbor are fully decorated for the holidays!  Take a drive through each town’s business district on your next visit to the Island.

MARKET STATS:  During the month of November the number of active listings declined to 244 while the average “days on market” decreased slightly to 179 as strong demand continued.  For a detailed look at the latest market stats, click here:

GIVE THE GIFT OF MEMORIES!  There’s nothing more valuable than time spent making vacation memories with your family!  Surprise your family by booking your 2018 vacation in Avalon or Stone Harbor—click here to browse my latest vacation rental brochure:

THE AVALON/STONE HARBOR UPDATE will return the week of January 8, 2018.

THANK YOU for your business and referrals in 2017.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  From my family to yours, warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season, and best wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2018!

  • Stone Harbor Holiday Beach Tags are available for sale at the Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce Office at 212-96th Street, 10AM-3PMFriday, December 22
  • Battle of the Boards Basketball Tournament, area & out of area teams competing in showcase games, visit for further info, Wildwood Convention Center, 3PM start, Saturday, December 23
  • Cape May County Zoo Winter Camp, activities galore for children ages 5-10, $60 per child including a t-shirt, visit for info, 9AM-NoonWednesday, December 27Thursday, December 28 & Friday, December 29
  • Cape May Stage presents ‘The Ultimate Christmas Show,’ visit for details, Thursday thru Saturday shows at 7:30PMSaturday & Sunday shows at 3PM, NOW thru Saturday, December 30
  • Harpist Lucia Marone plays classical & holiday songs on The Porch, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, December 30
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, JFK Boulevard & the beach in Sea Isle City, visit for info, Sunday, December 31
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, over the beach in Ocean City, visit for info, midnightSunday, December 31
  • Open Forum Workshop for help with questions regarding your computer, phone, software or an app, no prior registration required, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11:30AMSaturday, January 6
  • Old Photo Slide Show, dozens of photos from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s not previously displayed, Avalon History Center, 1-2PMSaturday, January 6
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-NoonSaturday, January 20
  • Fralinger String Band Performance, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PMSaturday, January 20

Featured Property:

This large lot is steps from Avalon’s south-end beach!

198 72nd Street, Avalon, $2,600,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179375

New Listings:

7900 Dune Dr., Avalon, $225,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179567

10726 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $569,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179566

580 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $895,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179535

223 96th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179570

4099 Bayberry Drive, Avalon, $9,500,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179576

Properties Sold:

7751 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $435,000, SOLD MLS#: 174076

341 87th Street, Rear, Stone Harbor, $752,000, SOLD MLS#: 177917

8403 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $850,000, SOLD MLS#: 170576

276 85th Street, Stone Harbor, $925,000, SOLD MLS#: 176189

375 21st Street, Avalon, $999,999, SOLD MLS#: 176137

4268 Dune Drive, Avalon, $1,285,000, SOLD MLS#: 178525

3106 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,350,000, SOLD MLS#: 179111

35 E. 23rd Street, Avalon, $1,950,000, SOLD MLS#: 178670

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

4 Most Common Forms of Disaster Fraud and How to Avoid Them

In today's climate, it's more important than ever to be aware of the various forms of fraud. The tactics used to steal your money, property or identity change regularly. A new opportunity that's taken hold with the stark increase in extreme weather is disaster fraud.
Just this year, we're seeing massive fires ravage California—not to mention the more than $5 billion in damages tornadoes caused and the two major hurricanes that made landfall in the U.S. For scam artists, these offer a clear opportunity.
Since 2005, the U.S. Justice Department's National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) has received over 70,000 complaints involving over 50 natural and man-made disasters. Here are some of the most common ways in which fraudsters are taking advantage of survivors:
Identity Fraud
Certainly not limited to when disasters occur, identity fraud is one of the most common forms of fraud; however, during a natural disaster, identity fraud takes on far more sinister implications: stealing the identity of a victim to obtaining a survivor's name and Social Security number over the phone.
"I have never witnessed, nor will I live long enough to witness, a more simplistic crime than me stealing your identity," Frank Abagnale, fraud detector and subject of Steven Spielberg's film "Catch Me If You Can," said at a security event in 2015. "That would be like you asking me to count to three: one, two, three. That simple."
Abagnale recently addressed attendees at RISMedia's Power Broker Reception & Dinner, held at the Palmer House Hilton during the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
Like most cases of identity fraud, following a disaster, scam artists will open a credit card account using the information they obtain from a victim. It becomes far more difficult to not fall prey to these schemes when you're looking everywhere for help, but it is incredibly important to remember to never give your Social Security number out over the phone. Keep in mind, also, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doesn't charge any sort of fees.
Home Repair Scams
"Storm Chasers" are some of the most infamous fraudsters. The public should be aware of these individuals; they essentially travel across the country to all the major natural disasters that occur and pose as repairmen. The scam is that they'll take a large fee in exchange for getting your name to the top of their wait list. Then you'll never see them again.
For people who may have lost everything, it's easy to understand how this would be an easy fraud scheme to fall for; however, you can avoid falling for this scam if you follow two rules: never pay in full now for services that will be done later, and always avoid paying cash.
Donation Scams
Here's another one that certainly isn't exclusive to in the aftermath of a disaster; however, following a major catastrophe, people in the U.S. are far more willing to open their wallets and help. This is exactly what fraudsters are banking on, and they work exactly how you expect: The scammer convinces someone over the phone that they're part of a legitimate charity taking donations to help relief efforts. More crafty fraudsters actually set up sham charities.
This form of fraud proves that you could easily fall victim to a fraud scheme without even being near where a disaster took place. The same rules apply for whether or not you live in the epicenter of a disaster or in another country: Do not give out your personal information over the phone and never send cash.
Insurance Fraud
This form of fraud is less a threat to individual homeowners, as fraudsters usually are trying to defraud large institutions. "The Internal Revenue Service paid out $4.5 billion in tax refunds to people who filed them using other people's names. The big money is in the big banks and the government, so that's who [fraudsters are] going after," Abagnale said at the RISMedia Power Broker Dinner.
This one is of note because of how rampant it is following a natural disaster. Perhaps one of the few ways an individual could be defrauded, however, is if a fraudster made a claim on a home that was legitimately impacted by the disaster and received compensation before the homeowner made a claim. Always remember to be on guard and be wary of anyone on the phone asking for information.

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Home-Buying in 2018: Purchase in the Winter or Wait Until Spring? #RealEstate

By Megan Wild
There are only a few weeks left in 2017, and if you’re looking for a house, you might be down to the wire. Should you go all in and purchase now or wait until the spring?
There are multiple things to consider before purchasing a house; location, square footage and style are just three of the many factors. Whether or not to buy a home during the winter or wait until the spring is something to consider, as well. Here are six reasons why it might be beneficial to buy before the flowers start to bloom.
You Face Less Competition in the Winter
Most Americans look for houses in the spring and buy in the summer. Approximately 50 percent of all homes are sold during the summer months. Why? Well, many people prefer to close on a home purchase and move when the children are out of school. That way, they’re established in the new house by the time the new school year starts. Many people also prefer to look when the weather is warmer and there is more daylight in the evening.
As a result, if you purchase in the winter, there will be less competition. Fewer buyers will be out there looking, so you’ll likely face less of a bidding war. Many people also want to close during the winter, as the spring market starts very early in the year.
Sellers Are Likely to Be Motivated
Because the majority of buyers purchase in the summer, sellers may be more motivated in the winter. This is especially true if they need to be out of the house due to a job relocation or other consideration with a specific time frame. A motivated seller is good news for a buyer. You can get them to sweeten the deal, either by coming down on the asking price or throwing in some goodies.
Does it look like the stove or refrigerator may need replacing soon, for example? You can ask the seller to purchase a new one as a condition of your purchase. The same goes for a number of other things you might have to upgrade or replace soon.
Interest Rates Are Likely to Rise Next Year
Interest rates, of course, have a large impact on your house payments. The higher the interest rate, the higher the payment will be. While the direction of interest rates is never certain, many observers think that interest rates will rise some time next year. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the government body that sets interest rates, meets several times per year. Not only that, but they meet multiple times a year and tend to hike interest rates in a strong economy to prevent inflation. They could raise interest rates several times next year. In other words, the sooner you buy, the lower the interest rate you can lock in is likely to be.
Housing Prices Are Climbing
In general, housing prices have been climbing steadily over the past several years in most areas of the country. That trend is expected to continue, fueled by the strong economy. If it does, housing prices are likely to be higher by the spring.
Each region and area varies, of course. It’s always wise to check the direction of housing prices in the location you want to buy in by contacting your real estate agent.
Inventory Shrinks in the Winter
Because fewer people look in the winter, many real estate agents and sellers act accordingly. They remove houses from the listing market in the winter, waiting for spring to come. There are approximately 10 percent fewer houses on the market in the winter.
You may have fewer housing options if you’re looking in the winter, but you can ask your real estate agent if they know of any homes that were on the market but withdrawn by sellers. If the sellers are planning on putting their homes on the market as spring approaches, you could be the early bird.
Should you purchase a home now or wait until it starts to get warmer outside? There are many things to think about. The decision depends on what is best for you and the home of your dreams. Happy hunting, in whatever year you choose!

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

How to Make Your Home Attractive to Environmentally-Conscious Buyers

By Hannah Whittenly
More buyers are becoming attracted to houses that are designed with the environment in mind; therefore, sellers must package their homes in a way that scores some eco-friendly points. Below are four ways you can make your homes more attractive to this type of buyer.
Install Solar Panels
Having solar panels installed makes potential buyers quickly see how they can save energy and thus save money. Solar panels make the eco-friendly efforts visible and tangible. In addition to conserving power, any extra energy the solar panels generate can be sold off to the national grid. It might look like a costly investment, but it can attract more buyers, and you can recover your solar installation costs from the proceeds of the sale.
Use Plants
Plants make a property seem more lively and cheerful. You can also use artificial plants, as they do an excellent job of beautifying the place without requiring constant care. Place some potted plants and flowers throughout the rooms to inject life into your home. In addition to adding plants, Apartment Therapy advises that you invest in an air purifier to improve the air quality in your house.
Perform Environmental Assessments
To ensure that your home and yard are eco-friendly, you can employ the services of environmental assessment consultants. These professionals will assess your home environment in various areas like health and ecological risks, monitoring of air quality, and management of waste, among others. Through this, they will ensure that you have complied with all relevant regulations and have met the necessary environment-related thresholds.
Get Certifications
There are different certifications given to houses that prove they were designed with eco-friendliness in mind. Secure a certification for your home, and, if provided by a widely acknowledged accreditation bureau, it will improve the value of your house for eco-minded buyers.
Failure to present your house as an environmentally-friendly property can be a deal-breaker for buyers. The eco-friendly nature of the house must not just be intrinsic; it must be visible. Potential buyers must be able to see that the house is just right for them. Coupled with your explanations, ensure no element of your home fails to be noticed by buyers.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and ocean explorer.

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

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Using Your Home's "Dead" Equity

Question. Our house is free and clear. We have a $100,000 home equity line of credit, and the interest rate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 percent. We itemize tax deductions and are in a high federal tax rate, and hoping that any new tax laws will reduce our taxes.
My question concerns using the home equity loan for investment. We are considering using $50,000 of the home equity line of credit and investing it in a growth stock for the next five years. Our accountant/tax advisor, however, is strongly in favor of having an unencumbered house especially as we are close to retirement.

Answer. It is my strong belief that homeowners -- of any age -- should make use of the equity they have gained from their real estate investments. As this column has suggested in the past, there are too many retired persons who are "house rich and cash poor." Hopefully, your house will appreciate in the future, and this appreciation will continue whether you have equity or not in the home. Thus, for all practical purposes, that equity is "dead equity."
There are, however, a number of parts to your question.

First, should you use the equity in your home for investment purposes? My answer is a qualified yes. Are you prepared to lose your investment if the stock market tumbles? Growth stocks may grow -- or they may not. If you are in any way concerned about risk, you should consider investing in government insured programs or tax free bonds. Of course, the higher rate of potential return will also carry a higher risk.

I am sure that readers will ask: why borrow money at 4 or 5 percent only to invest it in a security which has a 2 or 3 percent rate of return? Here, you have to do the numbers, and also look to your own future situation.

At first blush, it makes no sense to pay more interest than you are receiving from your investment -- especially if that investment has no (or little) growth capacity. But there is one important factor that must be considered, namely the liquidity of your investments. If you find at a later date that you need money for emergency purposes, if may be difficult -- if not impossible -- to tap into the equity of your home when you are retired and no longer employed. The investments you are considering -- whether stocks, mutual funds, or government securities -- do have immediate liquidity.

Second. If you decide to invest the equity in your home, what is the best route to take? You have indicated that your current home equity line of credit is around 7 percent. This seems rather high in today's market.
More importantly, most home equity loans fluctuate in rate; the rate of interest is pegged to some index -- such as "prime." If the prime rate rises or falls, so will the interest rate on your home equity loan.

Instead of using your home equity, you may want to consider refinancing your home, while interest rates are relatively low and stable. You can probably get a fixed 30 year rate for around 4 percent. While I understand you may be reluctant to borrow for such a long time -- especially when faced with retirement -- the alternative is to keep the equity in your home.

How will you make the monthly mortgage payments when you are retired? If you do not have other sources of income -- such as a pension plan -- you still have the liquidity of your investments that should be able to carry you for a long period of time.

Additionally, if you decide to refinance your home, although the refinance funds will pay off your home equity loan, nevertheless, you definitely should keep the home equity loan available. As you know, a home equity loan is a line of credit; you only pay interest on the amount of the money you have actually borrowed. If you obtain a refinance mortgage, make sure that you can also keep the existing (or obtain a new) home equity loan. There are some logistical legal issues that your attorney can handle to make these arrangements.

Third. You must understand the tax implications of borrowing on your home equity. Interest deductions for tax purposes are based, in part, on what the IRS calls "acquisition indebtedness." In your case, this indebtedness is zero, since your house is free and clear. You will only be entitled to deduct interest on the first $100,000 that you borrow -- whether this money comes from a new first mortgage or a home equity loan. And this may all change if Congress enacts a new tax code.

These are difficult -- and clearly personal -- decisions that everyone must consider. Talk to your tax advisors, and "crunch the numbers."

Written by Benny L. Kass

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Is Now The Right Time For A Kitchen Remodel?

It's totally normal for those kitchen remodeling pangs to go crazy during the holidays. If you've spent time at a friend or family member's house that has a freshly updated kitchen, you may be feeling a little envious. If you hosted over the holidays, your kitchen's shortcomings may be top of mind. But is this the best time of year to finally go ahead with that remodel? It may just be.
"Many people think spring and summer are the best times to do a remodel because the temperature is warm and can be beneficial for the work crew especially if they have to work outside," said C. Haynes Construction. "The best time to remodel is not necessarily a when but a what. It's best to remodel when your budget and hassle will be at a minimum."

About that budget

Say you set a $20,000 budget for your remodel - just under $22,000 is a national average for a mid-range kitchen remodel. That number may be solely based on what you can afford, but not necessarily enough to cover what you want. Working closely with a designer and/or contractor to establish your budget based on needs and wants is step #1.

Things like walls being taken down, whether or not your cabinets need to be replaced or if they can be refaced or painted instead, the quality of new appliances you want, and the cost of other materials will help determine the cost. And, you may be able to get a better deal on some of what you need at certain times of the year.

"This principle of supply and demand can determine how much we pay for items. For example, December 26th is a great day to pick up Christmas decorations for next year," said C. Haynes Construction. "Why? The holiday is over and they're on sale. The same can be said for home improvement items. Large appliances like refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers are pretty cheap before the holiday season kicks in. Another example is flooring. Flooring is often affected by the price of oil (for shipping and production). During the winter, the cost of crude oil is cheaper so you may want to buy the flooring then. It's also a good time to buy in the late winter and very early spring because new flooring lines are coming out and there are deals on lines being discontinued or upgraded."

Indeed, flooring, as well as items like backsplash tile and faucets have been among the Black Friday deals we've been seeing at big box stores this year. Home Depot and Lowe's have both been running 40% off appliance specials that go through November 30 and which can save you thousands of dollars. Even if you're not planning to remodel right away, purchasing appliances now may be a good idea.

Labor Costs

Remodeling your kitchen during the winter, which can be the slow season for many, may also save you money on labor costs because you're not paying a premium for subcontractors and skilled labor.
"If we're talking seasons, winter is ideal for deals," said Build Direct. "Among cold weather's natural benefits, such as curing paint faster, is that it traditionally represents a time when contractors are hungry for work."

Look for openings in your contractors' schedule

Even top contractors and designers may have a light time, and it's probably right now. While some remodeling projects may not be best to undertake in the winter (like building a pool in a snowy climate, perhaps), hacking away at your kitchen in December or January may be a great way to get what you want quickly, and for less money out of pocket.

"With some early planning and a little flexibility, you might be able to get your project in motion well before the main rush, allowing you to finish a little earlier and allowing your contractor to work more efficiently, as he or she won't have any other projects to contend with," said Home Advisor. "Since you'll be providing work for your contractor when little is available, you are likely to get excellent service. Since the mistakes and backtracking are likely to be greatly reduced, the ‘slightly off-season' is one of the best times to remodel!"

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update December 14th, 2017 #RealEstate

FIVE STARS FOR THE AVALON LIBRARY!  For the tenth time the Avalon Library has been awarded a five-star rating by the Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service.  Only six libraries in New Jersey received that level of recognition.  Visit the library on your next trip to town—between the book collection, classes, labs, and other programs, you’ll be impressed!

The Santa Express is running again this year between Tuckahoe and Richland.

CAPE MAY SEASHORE LINES has been escorting Santa over the rails between historic Tuckahoe Station and Richland.  The Santa Express will make several more runs between now and Christmas, with trains running on December 14th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.  There is even a Winter Limited running December 27th, though Santa will be back at the North Pole by then.  Check CMSL’s Santa Express website for scheduled departures, or to order tickets:

MORE ISLAND SHOPPING ideas!  Here are a few more “stocking stuffer” ideas to help put a little “beach” in your holiday shopping:
-a gift certificate to the Harbor Theater and Burger Bar in Stone Harbor
-stop by Slack Tide Brewing Company and pick up a few selections
-adopt a diamondback terrapin or horseshoe crab at The Wetlands Institute
-purchase pre-season discounted tickets for one of the amusement piers or water parks in Wildwood
-pick up a gift certificate for a round of golf at a local course

ZOO CAMP will take place at the Cape May County Zoo December 27th-29th from 9am to 12 noon.  Campers ages 5-10 will learn about wildlife and explore their habitats.  The $60 camper fee includes a t-shirt.  For info and registration click here:

  • Cape May Stage presents ‘The Ultimate Christmas Show,’ visit for details, Thursday thru Saturday shows at 7:30PMSaturday & Sunday shows at 3PMFriday, December 15 thru Saturday, December 30
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-NoonSaturday, December 16
  • Stone Harbor Holiday Beach Tags are available for sale at the Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce Office at 212-96th Street, 10AM-3PMSaturday, December 16 & Friday, December 22
  • Cape May County Zoo Enrichment Day, zookeeper talks & educational presentations throughout the day, schedule posted at the zoo entrance, 11AM-2PMSaturday, December 16
  • Seven Mile Island Singers Holiday Performance, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-1:45PMSaturday, December 16
  • Fantasia Christmas, Linda Gentille & The Jersey Shore Pops perform a traditional Christmas concert with a Disney twist, for additional info, Middle Township Performing Arts Center, 3PMSaturday, December 16
  • Brunch With Santa for children 10 years or younger at the Sea Isle City VFW Post #1963, 301 JFK Boulevard, pre-registration required by calling 609-263-0050 by 12/11, 11:30AM, Sunday, December 17
  • Battle of the Boards Basketball Tournament, area & out of area teams competing in showcase games, visit for further info, Wildwood Convention Center, 3PM start, Saturday, December 23
  • Cape May County Zoo Winter Camp, activities galore for children ages 5-10, $60 per child including a t-shirt, visit for info, 9AM-NoonWednesday, December 27Thursday, December 28 & Friday, December 29
  • Harpist Lucia Marone plays classical & holiday songs on The Porch, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, December 30
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, JFK Boulevard & the beach in Sea Isle City, visit for info, Sunday, December 31
  • Old Photo Slide Show, dozens of photos from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s not previously displayed, Avalon History Center, 1-2PMSaturday, January 6

Featured Property:

This beautiful townhome is an easy walk to the beach and convenient to shopping and dining in town!

3470 Dune Drive, Avalon, $899,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179457

New Listings:

450 20th Street, Avalon, $675,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179522

2125 Harbor Avenue, Avalon, $675,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179482

236 25th Street, Avalon, $979,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179500

246 45th Street, Avalon, $1,425,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179471

Properties Sold:

9501 1st Avenue, Stone Harbor, $619,000, SOLD MLS#: 179128

292 33rd Street, Avalon, $660,000, SOLD MLS#: 177747

623 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $770,000, SOLD MLS#: 174121

491 21st Street, Avalon, $860,000, SOLD MLS#: 177700

330 87th St. #1, Stone Harbor, $1,625,000, SOLD MLS#: 177209

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