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National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Countertop Pros And Cons: What To Choose And Why

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

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

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


Pinterest

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


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While granite has been replaced by quartz as the countertop of choice today, it remains a popular option for homeowners.

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


Angie's List

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


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

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

Stone Source

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


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

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


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


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

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


Concrete Network

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

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

Written by Jaymi Naciri



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

Monday, January 30, 2017

7 Things You Can Do Now To Instantly Up Your Home Value For Under $100

Looking to add a little value to your home? You don't need to take out a second mortgage or get a second job to make some valuable changes. Skip that dinner out, spend a few hours of sweat equity, and you'll be surprised at the results.
These 7 things can be done for less than $100 this weekend.

Frame out your bathroom mirror
Know how to use a saw and have some understanding of how to calculate angles? You can make your builder grade bathroom look more custom by creating a quick and easy frame. According to DIY Network, "This easy project should cost about $25 in materials and take approximately four hours to complete," and that's using cedar boards. MDF molding may cost even less. Give it a quick splash of paint or stain to finish it off.

Change out your chandelier
Be honest. How old and/or ugly is your dining room light fixture? A quick trip to Home Depot can seriously amp up your style. This trendsetting, Kenroy Home Anemone 7-Light Bronze Chandelier will make a huge impact in your space, and, at just $96.25, will have friends and potential buyers (if you're planning to sell) thinking you spent 10 times as much.



Home Depot


Change your lightbulbs
How many lightbulbs are actually functioning in your house right now? The errant light that's out in the bathroom or the two (or three) overhead lights in the living room or kitchen that haven't worked in a while can give the impression of a dark and dreary home. Fresh bulbs can lighten up your home, and your mood.

Buy a new fan
If your ceiling fan is as old and ugly as your dining room chandelier, it's probably time for that to go, too. Winter is a great time to buy ceiling fans because stores are looking to move inventory that might sit until spring and summer. This Westinghouse 7876300 30" Chrome Three Blade Reversible Ceiling Fan with Light will definitely give your space a fresh new look, and it'll only cost you $78.49, on sale from $143.46.


Overstock


Mulch your yard
Mulch is cheap, easy to install yourself, and can add valuable curb appeal that makes your home look fresh and well-taken-care-of. A two-cubic-foot bag will cost you $3–4 a bag, but watch for sales at Lowe's and Home Depot, when they go on sale for two bucks each.

Add a backsplash
You can give your kitchen a little love and make it look more updated easily by adding a backsplash. Subway tile is an easy choice because it's classic and neutral and has been the favorite backsplash option for several years. This case of 100 porcelain tiles is $85.99.


Overstock

If you don't want to deal with grouting, opt for a peel-and-stick glass tile that gives you the look of the real thing with almost zero effort required.

Jazz up your front door
A freshly painted (or brand-new, if needed) front door is repeatedly counted among the best updates to make to your home. You can easily complete this task yourself for less than it would cost you to take a friend to the movies, choosing a color that will help make your house memorable. Not sure what color to pick? This HGTV quiz should help.

Add a new set of towels
Are towels really going to up of the value of your home and get it sold, if that's your objective? No. But a crisp new set can give potential buyers the idea that your home is well put together, an important factor for any seller.


Written by Jaymi Naciri


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

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update January 26th, 2017


BEACH REPLENISHMENT PROJECT UNDERWAY:  Mobilization of equipment has begun as Avalon and Stone Harbor anticipate a major beach replenishment project over the next several weeks.  Equipment has been staged on Stone Harbor’s beaches and the 123rd Street parking lot.  Sand pumping could begin at the end of this week as the dredge contractor is waiting for inclement weather to subside.  Once Stone Harbor’s portion of the project is complete, the dredge and equipment will move to Avalon to begin work there.

SALES UP, INVENTORY DOWN:  The latest Long & Foster Market Minute report shows a slight increase in sales during December 2016 compared to a year ago.  Solid demand over the past couple of years has reduced the number of active listings to 267, down from more than 300 a year ago, and down from 350 two years ago.   Click here for the full report:  http://marketminute.longandfoster.com/Market-Minute/NJ/Avalon-Stone-Harbor.pdf

Click above for the latest Long & Foster Market Minute report. 

STONE HARBOR BACK BAY DREDGING progress continues.  The most recent report on the project shows it to be 43% complete, with over 40,000 cubic yards dredged so far.  Five basins are complete, one is underway, and three have not yet been dredged.  According to the report, in addition to the basins, Access Channel, Stone Harbor Hole, and a number of private slips remain unfinished.  The current phase of the project is expected to conclude in February, with final completion of the project due next year.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO CATCH A GLIMPSE of Monday’s nor’easter at Townsend’s Inlet, click here to watch this brief video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCdIblq9OXk  In 24 hours the wind turned around, flattening out the waves.

SEA ISLE BOULEVARD is in the midst of an elevation project, designed to raise the roadway by several feet to avoid potential flooding.  But NJ Department of Environmental Protection regulations will halt the project from March 15th through August 15th due to the presence of nesting ospreys within 1,000 feet of the roadway.  The project initially began in 2014, and final completion is not expected until 2019.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner, bring a dish to share that serves 8, guest speaker will be Cameron Cox discussing tropical birding & identifying migrating birds, 6-8PMFriday, January 27
  • IPad Workshop, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, February 4
  • Avalon Home Movies hosted by the Avalon History Center, watch fascinating films depicting streets, beaches & buildings of Avalon from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s, 1-2PMSaturday, February 4
  • A Tribute to The Last Waltz, local musicians perform songs played at the band’s final concert, Harbor Square Theater, 8:30PMSaturday, February 4
  • 14th Annual Super Bash XIV raising funds for Friends in Need organization, The Princeton, 4PMSunday, February 5
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Wine Dinner, Cape May Lewes Ferry Terminal, www.CapeMayLewesFerry.com for details, 5:30-8:30PMSaturday, February 11
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, February, 18
  • Lecture in honor of Presidents’ Day, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-71551PMSaturday, February 18
  • Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Plunge, 40th Street beach, 2PMSaturday, February 18
  • North Wildwood’s Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge, proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Fallen Heroes Fund, visit FallenHeroPlunge.com for details, 15th Street & the beach in North Wildwood, 11AMSaturday, February 25
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics, The Princeton & The Whitebrier, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Event, registration at 9:30AM at Fred’s Tavern, parade at 11:45AM leading to the plunge at the 96th Street beach, Saturday, March 11
  • Sea Isle City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, 3:30PMSaturday, March 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street in Cape May, 2-4PMSunday, March 12
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items curbside up to 72 hours prior to pick up, Monday, March 13
  • Ocean Drive Marathon & Ocean Drive 10Miler Course, visit www.odmarathon.org  for details, 9AMSunday, March 26

Featured Property:

Beautiful, high end Bayfront home convenient to beach & town!
308 92nd Street, Stone Harbor, $3,695,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 171930


New Listings:

7929 Dune Drive, Avalon, $330,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174152

8001 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $529,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174155

623 21st Street, West Unit, Avalon, $949,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174186

6592 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,150,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174143

2208 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,200,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174149

1306 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,399,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174170

11020 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $1,750,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174177

10500 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $2,495,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174138

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

45 E 15th Street, Avalon, $3,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174221

56 W 35th Street, Avalon, $8,250,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174166

174 S Pelican Drive, Avalon, $9,900,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174168


Properties Sold:

390 39th Street, Avalon, $610,000, SOLD MLS#: 171227

5049 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $862,500, SOLD MLS#: 165025

422 24th Street, Avalon, $895,000, SOLD MLS#: 174183

590 24th Street, Avalon, $999,000, SOLD MLS#: 173224

151 88th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,450,000, SOLD MLS#: 173534

3465 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,460,000, SOLD MLS#: 173274

35 W 32nd Street, Avalon, $3,200,000, SOLD MLS#: 170444



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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Wrong Way to Share on Facebook (and How to Do It Right)

By Suzanne De Vita


Are you sitting down?

We need to share something—a harsh truth that (we promise!) you'll be all the better for realizing.

You're doing Facebook wrong.

Huh?

You read that right. If you're a real estate professional using Facebook to market your services, you've probably erred when it comes to communicating with your social media sphere at one time or another.

We're here to tell you: It's okay.

The fault is with Facebook, which, after introducing "the Wall," has added a head-spinning number of options to connect with friends, friends of friends, and followers. Chat, comments, Messenger, messages, shares, updates, visitor posts…not to mention, a constantly changing algorithm that makes even the savviest Facebookers scratch their heads. Still wondering how you could get it wrong?

Carrying on a conversation across Facebook's many connect options is generally admissible—say, responding to a lead who commented on your page with a message. The mistakes happen when you intend to post or share information to your page to engage your followers (read: prospects), but instead comment on another page's post, message another page, post to the source's page (it has happened!)…anything but associate that information with your page and your real estate business.

Oops.

Allow us to illustrate with real-life examples from our own Facebook pages (RISMedia and Housecall):







Think these folks intended to connect with us, or their friends and followers?

Though it's likely some of your friends and followers will see your activity regardless (thank Facebook's algorithm again for that), a comment or visitor post (buried with others) are much less impactful than sharing the information on your profile or page, where you can control not only your branding, but also your messaging. Sharing valuable information to your page (the Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You're Making on Your Home, say) breeds familiarity and builds credibility with your followers. You're incubating your follower leads.

How can you avoid getting tripped up? Let's demonstrate using the examples above.

In the first and second examples, the users posted to the RISMedia Facebook page, as opposed to sharing the RISMedia story from that page to their own profiles or pages, and friends and followers. The best practice here? Click Share underneath a post you want to share with your friends and followers and review the options in the dropdown menu at the top before sharing it. You can share it on your timeline (ideal), on a friend's timeline, on a page you manage (ideal if you have a separate page specifically for your real estate business), in a group or event, or in a message.

In the third example, the user messaged the Housecall Facebook page, as opposed to commenting below the Housecall story posted on Housecall's page, or sharing the story to his/her own profile or page, and friends and followers. The user would have better connected with friends and followers had he/she shared the Housecall story on his/her timeline or page, with "Call me!" as the caption of the shared post.

Bottom line: You know real estate inside and out. Showcase your savvy when marketing that know-how on Facebook by staying aware of not only what you communicate, but also how you communicate it. It's well worth the effort!

Want to do Facebook right? Visit ace.rismedia.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia's online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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



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

Monday, January 23, 2017

10 Tips to Apply Before Your Next Open House

By Joe Sesso, National Speaker for Homes.com
Have you ever left your open house feeling like something wasn't right? Perhaps you wondered if one of your open house visitors wasn't there for the right reasons. Maybe you simply felt that something was off. Trouble is the last thing you want at an open house or showing, so we've compiled the following tips to prevent it from ever appearing.



Secure the Property
Make it clear and evident to potential troublemakers that your property will not fall victim to mischief.
  • Convince the property owner to invest in motion sensor lights so no one can creep about your listing unseen!
  • Ensure all guns, medicines, jewelry, personal photos, bills, and spare keys are removed from the premises to prevent visitors from walking away with your client's belongings.
  • Check that all doors and windows have proper locks and ensure that they stay locked before leaving each showing.
  • Complete a perimeter check of the home to ensure that trees and bushes are trimmed back from the house, making it harder for troublemakers to hide.
  • Lock any ladders in the shed or garage to make sure no one can enter through the upper levels of the house.

Prepare for Your Open House
During your open house or showing, make your personal safety a priority.
  • Introduce yourself as the listing agent to the neighbors beforehand.
  • Bring a friend. If there's no one that can sit with you, consider using an app like SafeTrek.
  • Try to schedule all open houses and showings during the daytime. If you have to schedule after dark, arrive early and open all curtains and blinds to make it easier for neighbors to look in.
  • Require all open house attendees sign in digitally (a Google Sheet works great) and request they show their ID at the door. Knowing their presence has been recorded will discourage visitors from terrorizing your listing.
  • At the conclusion of your open house, make sure you're alone in the home, double-check that all windows are locked, and relock all the doors. 

Being an agent means that you are always on the go. One of the many challenges that today's agents face is being more responsive to today's consumers. When a new potential client has an inquiry on a listing, or is looking to connect with a local real estate pro, the longer it takes for an agent to respond, that less likely he or she will convert such lead. Homes.com's new Lead Concierge program solves that problem by pre-screening your leads moments after they come in. Lead Concierge sorts the serious buyers from the "lookie loos," saving you valuable time and connecting you with the most qualified buyers and sellers.

For more information, please visit connect.homes.com.

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

Friday, January 20, 2017

Is Now The Best Time Ever To Buy Your First Home?

If you've been thinking about buying your first home, talk of rising mortgage rates may have you worried. But, the reality is that this may be one of the best opportunities for first-time buyers in recent memory. Conditions were already good for first-timers with new, super-low down payment loans. But the FHA's announcement that they would be cutting mortgage-insurance premiums makes buying even more advantageous.

"The annual fees the Federal Housing Administration charges to guarantee mortgages it backs are being cut by a quarter of a percentage point," said Bloomberg of a statement released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). "With the reduction, the annual cost for most borrowers will be 0.60 percent of the loan balance."
According to HUD, "The fee cut would save new FHA-insured homeowners an average of $500 this year. The cut would take effect on Jan. 27."
What other factors should you be paying attention to if you're looking to buy your first home?

Mortgage rates
Yes, rates are up from their lowest point. But the average 30-year fixed-mortgage rate right now is 4 percent, down a bit this week and waaaaaay down from decades ago when they were in the teens. You'll pay a few bucks more per month now than you would have at this time last year, but, if you're getting an FHA loan, those new mortgage interest cuts will help.

The Winning Team

More than anything, it's important to be realistic. We're not anywhere near gloom-and-doom time, despite some of the more hysterical talk out there. In fact, today's rates are still near historic lows, which make buying a home more affordable than rent in many cities.
But, if you need to find a way to lower your monthly payment on your future home, and you're not eager to search for less expensive homes, remember that your credit helps determine your mortgage-worthiness, and the better it is, the better your interest rate. If you're not being offered the best rate out there, it's time to…

Get your credit in order
Have great credit? Great! Your lender will be pleased and, presumably, you will be, too. But many of us need some help in this area, and even a small bump in your score can make a big difference not just to the rate you get but also whether you will qualify for a loan at all.
"The homebuyer's credit score is among the most important factors when it comes to qualifying for a loan these days," said Bankrate. Your lender will be able to give you tips for improving your score, which can range from checking your report for errors to paying off old delinquent accounts.
It's also important to keep in mind that what you consider to be responsible credit management may not necessarily be seen as a positive when you go to qualify for a loan. "Just because you pay everything on time every month doesn't mean your credit is stellar," they said. "The amount of credit you're using relative to your available credit limit, or your credit utilization ratio, can sink a credit score. The lower the utilization rate, the higher your score will be. Ideally, first-time homebuyers would have a lot of credit available, with less than a third of it used."

Bankrate

Low down payment loans
For many first-time buyers, the down payment is the largest barrier to homeownership. But new loans with lower down payment requirements are helping to eliminate it.
The most popular loan for first-time homebuyers continues to be through the FHA, for a number of reasons: Because this loan is government-backed and because it requires only 3.5 percent down if you meet their credit and income requirements, and a minimum of a 620 credit score.
The new Affordable Loan Solution Mortgage from Bank of America gets those down payments even lower—to three percent—and without Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). But, there are restrictions related to income that "could rule out a lot of potential borrowers," said The Street.
"The program, a partnership between Bank of America, Freddie Mac, and non-profit Self-Help Ventures Fund, is targeted towards low - and moderate - income borrowers. To qualify, borrowers can't make more than the HUD area median income and must have a credit score of 660 or higher. As an example, for 2016, New York City-based borrowers with a household of one would need an income below $65,200 to qualify for the program."
SoFi, an online lender that started out focusing on student loan refinancing, has also gotten into the mortgage game, offering a loan that has a higher down payment at 10 percent, but without PMI.

Investigate situation-specific loans
Are you a veteran, a police officer, or a firefighter? There may be a special loan for you with conditions that can make purchasing a home easier and more affordable. There are also specific loans for those who are buying a home that has (or needs) energy-efficient features, one that can be bundled with home improvement funds, and another from the USDA that can save those who are moving to a rural area money.

"This one may surprise you," said nerdwallet. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a homebuyers assistance program. And no, you don't have to live on a farm. The program targets rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees. There are income limitations, which vary by region."


Written by Jaymi Naciri


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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor Weekly Update January 19th, 2017


BEACH REPLENISHMENT WORK will begin soon in Avalon and Stone Harbor, with mobilization of equipment to begin in two weeks, and pumping to follow.  Work will begin in Stone Harbor at 123rd Street and is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete as sand pumping progresses northward.  After that,  work will move to Avalon’s 9th Street beach and progress southward for approximately four weeks.  The dredge “Texas” can pump about 50,000 cubic yards of sand per day if weather conditions are favorable, and the project is expected to conclude well in advance of the summer season.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT?  Yes!  Avalon will soon launch an app allowing beachgoers to purchase beach tags via their smartphones.  Stay tuned for more details!


A full moon hovers over Avalon’s fishing pier.  Winter is just as beautiful as summer here on the Island!

BAYFRONT DREDGING CONTINUES in Stone Harbor.  The relative quiet of the bay on winter days is punctuated by the sound of machinery, as silt is dredged from the channels and transported off site.  Earlier this week the dredge and barges were stationed off the western side of Golden Gate Drive.

AVALON COMMUNITY HALL reopened Monday after the wood floor was sanded and refinished.  A new logo and striping were added to the floor as part of the refinishing.

SLACK TIDE BREWING COMPANY is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, having produced more than three dozen different beers since opening.  Slack Tide favorites include Five Fathom, Bell Buoy, and Angry Osprey, as well as several others.  Visit them online at www.SlackTideBrewingCo.com or visit them in person at their Clermont location the next time you’re in the area!

57 PROPERTIES ARE UNDER CONTRACT in the local market—meaning 57 families are looking forward to great seashore memories during the 2017 season!  Why not become one of them?  If you’re ready to begin your search for the perfect seashore property, call or email me today to get started!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Yoga at the Cape May County Zoo, donations will go directly to the animals, reserve a spot at www.itswellyogaandpaddle.com, meet at zoo entrance at 8:45AMSaturday, January 21
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, January 21
  • Snacks the Healthy Way, led by Cooking Instructor Mark Kalla, snacking ideas & recipes, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-71551PMSaturday, January 21
  • Harbor Square Theater’s 3rd Saturday Comedy Show, headliner will be Yannis Pappas, 8PMSaturday, January 21
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner, bring a dish to share that serves 8, guest speaker will be Cameron Cox discussing tropical birding & identifying migrating birds, 6-8PMFriday, January 27
  • IPad Workshop, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, February 4
  • 14th Annual Super Bash XIV raising funds for Friends in Need organization, The Princeton, 4PMSunday, February 5
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Wine Dinner, Cape May Lewes Ferry Terminal, www.CapeMayLewesFerry.com  for details, 5:30-8:30PMSaturday, February 11
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, February, 18
  • Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Plunge, 40th Street beach, 2PMSaturday, February 18
  • North Wildwood’s Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge, proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Fallen Heroes Fund, visit FallenHeroPlunge.com for details, 15th Street & the beach in North Wildwood, 11AMSaturday, February 25
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics, The Princeton & The Whitebrier, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Event, registration at 9:30AM at Fred’s Tavern, parade at 11:45AM leading to the plunge at the 96th Street beach, Saturday, March 11
  • Sea Isle City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, 3:30PMSaturday, March 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street in Cape May, 2-4PMSunday, March 12
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items curbside up to 72 hours prior to pick up, Monday, March 13
  • Ocean Drive Marathon & Ocean Drive 10Miler Course, visit http://www.odmarathon.org for details, 9AMSunday, March 26

Featured Property:

This large Bayfront home offers a serene setting and a dock for your boat!


For a virtual tour, click here:   http://tours.shorevirtualtours.com/idx/303984


New Listings:












Properties Sold: 




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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is Your Smart-Home Device a Security Threat?

Did you recently welcome a Google Home or Amazon Echo into your home? How about a smart TV or a fancy new Apple Watch? While all of these devices can work wonders in terms of making our lives easier, they can also pose a security threat to your privacy. Internet-connected devices provide endless possibilities, but they rely on technology and collected data to deliver on their promises.



"I don't necessarily think about someone hacking into my new smart thermostat and accessing temperature preferences,” says Steve Platt, global executive vice president of Fraud and Identity for Experian. “But if they can access my thermostat, they can get into my Wi-Fi network. From there they can access my computer or other connected devices where I have a lot more private and valuable information. The Internet of Things is only as strong as its weakest link. That's why it's so important to understand and treat each connected device as part of a broader network."


According to Platt, you can have both convenience and privacy, as long as you know how to secure your devices along the way. Here are eight tips from Experian for protecting your identity while enjoying your new gadget:
  1. Make sure the products and services you are connecting were purchased from reputable companies.
  2. Take a few minutes to review the privacy and data usage policies for each product or service. These privacy policies and data-use statements should be clear, easy to read and easy to understand. It's important to know how your personal data is used, stored or shared and to be comfortable with the terms before using the device.
  3. Look for devices that use end-to-end encryption, meaning third parties can't read or listen to your communications. More and more products are including this terminology right in the product description. If it's not there, ask.
  4. Be careful when turning on features for less secure devices. Remember that a less secure device can open a door into your network, which can lead to access to other connected devices.
  5. Change the default password before connecting the device to your network and enable two-factor authentication options, when available, for additional security. For example, you might use a username and password plus something else that only you know.
  6. Pay extra attention to your Wi-Fi network and leverage all available security options, including things like router and network passwords, encryption, firewalls and firmware.
  7. Be aware of the applications installed on devices, and download applications only from reputable providers. Also, only download apps created by trusted entities.
  8. Make sure children are supervised when using Internet-enabled devices, especially when downloading apps and connecting to other devices.

Following these tips will allow you to make your home smarter and safer.

By Maria Patterson


Source: Experian



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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

America Weighs in: Save More, Spend Less

January is famous for its resolutions, many of which often revolve around creating a better financial picture for ourselves. According to a recent survey from GOBankingRates.com, the top financial resolution for 2017 is “save more, spend less,” chosen from the following options: 


  • Create a budget and stick to it 
  • Build an emergency fund 
  • Improve my credit score 
  • Save more, spend less 
  • Increase my income 
  • Pay down debt 
  • Save more for retirement 
  • Have more spending freedom 
  • Make a large purchase (home, car, etc.) 

The majority of respondents, nearly 23 percent, are committing to save more and spend less this year, a worthy goal given the results of GOBankingRates’ 2016 Savings survey, which revealed that 69 percent of Americans report having less than $1,000 in their savings account.


The second most popular financial resolution for 2017 is paying down debt, chosen by 19 percent of respondents. This is also an important goal considering the burden of debt, such as the $1.3 trillion student loan debt (source: StudentLoanHero.com) and the $747 billion consumer credit card debt (NerdWallet).


So, how can you save more and spend less and start paying down debt? Here are some suggestions from Forbes: 

  • Bundle your car, home and life insurance. Many companies offer steep discounts for package deals. 
  • Evaluate your cable and internet needs. Do you really need 500 channels and the highest speed internet? Perhaps not. 
  • Consider refurbished electronics, which work just as well as brand-new models and are generally offered at a reduced price. 
  • Join retailer mailing lists (selectively!). While you don’t want your inbox inundated with junk mail, signing up with your favorite retail outlets allows you to take advantage of sales and discount coupons. 
  • Don’t forget to negotiate. Don’t assume the sticker price is set in stone, especially when it comes to large furniture or electronic purchases, so try bargaining before buying. 




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

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fourth Quarter 2016 Market Report for Avalon & Stone Harbor NJ

TRENDS 2015 vs 2016

There was a 40% increase in the Total Sales Volume ($157,000,000 vs $112,000,000) and a 21% increase in the number of transactions (98 vs 81) for the Fourth Quarter of 2016 vs 2015 in the overall marketplace for Seven Mile Beach Island.


Fourth Quarter 2016 Market Report - View PDF





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

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Top 10 Housing Markets Heating Up in 2017

Nashville, Tenn. is making a play for the hottest housing market this year, heating up with a forecast of 4.3 percent home value appreciation, 1.1 percent income growth and a 4.0 percent unemployment rate, according to Zillow's 2017 10 Hottest Housing Markets list. The list, determined using data from Zillow's Home Value Forecast, income growth and unemployment rates, assigned a 'hotness score' to the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S, with Nashville ranking No. 1.


Music City U.S.A.—a departure from the West Coast hubs dominating the list—represents a shift in housing activity to mid-size cities inland, says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.

"Zillow's 2017 list highlights that jobs and opportunities are increasingly growing in smaller markets away from the coasts," says Dr. Gudell. "Mid-size cities like Salt Lake City, Portland and Nashville are desirable places to live, with good employment opportunities and steady economic growth. The growth and demand for housing will drive up home prices in 2017, and these hot markets are experiencing change as more people discover them."

The full top 10 list:

1. Nashville, Tenn.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 4.3 percent
Income Growth: 1.1 percent
Unemployment Rate: 4.0 percent

2. Seattle, Wash.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 5.6 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 4.4 percent

3. Provo, Utah
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 4.3 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 2.7 percent

4. Orlando, Fla.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 5.7 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 4.5 percent

5. Salt Lake City, Utah
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 4.3 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 2.8 percent

6. Portland, Ore.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 5.2 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 4.8 percent

7. Knoxville, Tenn.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 4.4 percent
Income Growth: 1.1 percent
Unemployment Rate: 4.7 percent

8. Ogden, Utah
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 4.7 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 2.9 percent

9. Denver, Colo.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 3.6 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 2.9 percent

10. Sacramento, Calif.
Expected Home Value Appreciation: 4.8 percent
Income Growth: 1.0 percent
Unemployment Rate: 5.2 percent

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 609-425-7521.


Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.


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

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update January 12th, 2017


SNOW AND COLD TEMPERATURES blanketed the Island this week, after a significant snowfall last weekend.  The dry, powdery snow hung around for several days as daytime temperatures only reached the mid-20s.  A dramatic but brief warm up is expected--by the end of the week daytime highs are expected to be in the mid-50s before settling back down over the weekend.

Snow, cold wind, and temperatures in the 20s made for a chilly walk on Avalon’s 60th Street beach!
  
IT’LL BE WARM AGAIN SOON, and that means it’s time to plan your 2017 summer vacation!  Whether you want to visit for a week, or stay for a lifetime, call me and I’ll help you find the perfect place!

AVALON’S COMMUNITY HALL closed on December 27th for refinishing of the floor.  After sanding, a new logo and new lines for sporting events will be added.  The stage at the front of the building is also due for renovation.

JUDITH DAVIES-DUNHOUR was sworn in as Stone Harbor’s new mayor last week, before a crowded reorganization meeting at Borough Hall.  Davies-Dunhour worked for the Stone Harbor Police Department for 25 years, and spent seven years serving on borough council before running for mayor.

FISHERMEN ARE QUESTIONING a federal plan to reduce the summer flounder quota this season.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says the flounder population has been overfished and that stricter requirements are needed to reduce this year’s catch by 40%.  Specific regulations have not been proposed but options include a two fish limit at 18 inches each and a three fish limit at 19 inches each, according to the Atlantic City Press.

$400,000 IN REPAIRS may be needed on the 96th Street Bridge, which links Stone Harbor to the mainland.  After being closed for a month last fall for repairs after a crack was found in one of the bridge’s main girders, the additional work is expected to be performed this spring ahead of the busy summer season.  During the repairs, temporary lane closures are expected during the day, with full bridge closures possible during nighttime hours.

THE 2017 OLDE HOUSE TOUR is being planned by the Avalon Historical Society.  Do you have a pre-1950s property?  Call the Historical Society at 609-967-0090 and help keep this event going!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Law Enforcement Polar Bear Plunge, Wildwood Convention Center & the beach, register at 10AM, plunge begins at 1PM, event supports training & competition for more than 25,000 athletes of the Special Olympics of New Jersey, Saturday, January 14
  • New Year’s Strut with the Fralinger String Band, Avalon History Center, 1PM, (re-scheduled from the original January 7th date due to snow) Saturday, January 14
  • Boardwalk Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show, Wildwood Convention Center, visit www.BoardwalkKennelClub.com for details, competitions 8:30AM-6PM daily, Wednesday-Sunday, January 18-22
  • Yoga at the Cape May County Zoo, donations will go directly to the animals, reserve a spot at www.itswellyogaandpaddle.com, meet at zoo entrance at 8:45AMSaturday, January 21
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, January 21
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner, bring a dish to share that serves 8 & enjoy a guest speaker, visit the Wetlands Institute website for more info, 6-8PM, Friday, January 27
  • IPad Workshop, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, February 4
  • A tribute to ‘The Last Waltz’ with live singers and musicians, Harbor Square Theater in Stone Harbor, Saturday February 4
  • 14th Annual Super Bash XIV raising funds for Friends in Need organization, The Princeton, Sunday, February 5
  • Creative Writing Seminar, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-715510AM-NoonSaturday, February, 18
  • Sea Isle City’s Polar Bear Plunge, 40th Street beach, 2PMSaturday, February 18
  • North Wildwood’s Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge, proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Police Fallen Heroes Fund, visit FallenHeroPlunge.com for details, 15th Street & the beach in North Wildwood, 11AMSaturday, February 25
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Event, registration at 9:30AM at Fred’s Tavern, parade at 11:45AM leading to plunge at the 96th Street beach, Saturday, March 11
  • Sea Isle City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration, 3:30PMSaturday, March 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street in Cape May, 2-4PMSunday, March 12
  • Ocean Drive Marathon & Ocean Drive 10Miler Course, visit www.odmarathon.org for details, 9AMSunday, March 26

Featured Property:

An inexpensive way to enjoy the benefits of shore ownership, plus rental income and on-site management!

7800 Dune Drive, Avalon, $274,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 169083

New Listings:

7929 Dune Drive, Avalon, $319,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173932

234 21st Street, Unit 204, Avalon, $485,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173961

243 20th Street, Avalon, $750,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173891

554 24th Street, Avalon, $845,500, ACTIVE MLS#: 173958

8513 Pennsylvania Avenue, Stone Harbor, $1,696,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173959

148 20th Street, Avalon, $1,895,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173890

25 E 23rd Street, Avalon, $1,950,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 173894


Properties Sold:

246 99th Street, Stone Harbor, $575,000, SOLD MLS#: 161680

1708 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $658,000, SOLD MLS#: 170243

166 15th Street, Avalon, $847,600, SOLD MLS#: 173114

125 25th Street, Avalon, $1,300,000, SOLD MLS#: 173338

11825 Paradise Drive, Stone Harbor, $1,833,125, SOLD MLS#: 169905

159 84th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,200,000, SOLD MLS#: 170527

177 68th Street, Avalon, $3,250,000, SOLD MLS#: 173916



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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

As If We Needed a Reason to Move to the Bahamas



By Nick Caruso

When approaching this sprawling home located at The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, you can't take your eyes of its massive mahogany double door that serves as the main entrance. With six bedrooms and six baths, this is one beachfront property that gives us a reason to pack our bags and move to the Bahamas for good. (Yes, we're already singing "Kokomo," as of press time.)

The contemporary design of the house and its location on the property (lot 28) provides for spectacular views of Winding Bay and the pristine 2.5 mile-beach from every room. Views are particularly exquisite through the Nano walls that seamlessly open up to a covered deck with a luxurious yet cozy sitting area on one side and a beautiful outdoor dining area, complete with a gas grill, on the other.

Just beyond are beautifully landscaped grounds dotted with palm trees and a glorious pool, complete with a cabana and a double outdoor shower that looks out on the beach.

Each of its six large bedrooms come with en-suite full bathrooms, an enormous open plan with vaulted ceilings, coral stone accents, pendant lighting, a well-equipped custom kitchen with stainless steel appliances, exquisite custom cabinetry and a large island.

The master bedroom and bathroom could be your very own spa retreat. A standalone tub is the focal point of the master bathroom where double French doors lead out to a very private outdoor shower that is surrounded by native plants and walls that are clad with a combination of mahogany and stone.

A recreation room on the ground level comes with ping-pong and pool tables and a spacious sitting area. Two of the six bedrooms are on this level, along with the media room and a double car garage surrounded by additional indoor storage areas. Exquisite quality furniture and finishes and verdant native landscaping complete this luxury estate home. This fabulous residence is just a short stroll or golf cart ride away from Busters Beach Bar & Grill, the pro shop, all beach amenities, the site of the future golf Clubhouse and the Scottish-style tropical links golf course.

Listed for: $8,750,000








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

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

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis and Market Area Statistics, please contact me at 609-425-7521.


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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

7 Important Steps To Help You Buy Your First Home In 2017

Thinking about buying your first home? What an exciting time this is bound to be. And, also, what a (potentially) overwhelming, confusing, and stress-filled time. It can easily veer into scary territory if you're not prepared and not surrounding yourself with professionals who can help guide you in the right direction. These seven tips can help you make that dream of homeownership come true in 2017.

1. Work with the right real estate agent

The guy next door or your brother's girlfriend's cousin who just got his real estate license may be hungry to get your business, but that doesn't mean he's your best bet. An experienced agent quite simply knows things that someone who is brand new probably doesn't. An experienced agent will also have important relationships in place that may be able to help buyers in every facet of the home purchase, including:

  • Finding houses that aren't even listed yet
  • Finding homes that may be slightly outside of a buyer's criteria but that are worthy of consideration
  • Leveraging industry relationships to get you great deals or better terms
  • Managing appraisals and inspections
  • Working through every step of the purchase process and handling any issues that pop up along the way
  • Negotiating a deal that works for both sides


realtymyths.com

2. Don't be afraid to talk to multiple lenders
Your Realtor will most likely have several lenders they have worked with and can refer you to. You may also want to speak to loved ones and get a referral or two from someone they've worked with successfully. Each lender may have a different recommendation and/or knowledge of a special loan that works for you, so it makes sense to look at a few different options.

3. Mind your credit
Many people have no idea what their credit score is, but if you're thinking about buying a home, knowledge is power. Different loans have different minimum credit score requirements, and it could be that your score doesn't measure up for the best loan rates, or maybe you need to do some work to qualify for even the most lenient loan.
A good mortgage lender can advise you on your best options to raise your score, from removing any errors on your credit report, to paying any delinquent accounts, to exploring credit repair options. The earlier you learn your score and delve into the details with a qualified lender, the more time you have to address any issues you find.


Total Mortgage

4. Save, save, save
For many people, getting the down payment together is the hardest part of buying a home. And the closing costs can be an unwelcome surprise for those who weren't expecting to have to come up with even more cash. When you first set out to buy a home, make sure you know how much you have to save. Your lender should be able to give you a pretty good ballpark based on a certain home price. Housing experts recommend adding 5% to that number just to be safe.
Even if you've never been a great saver in the past, there are strategies you can use that will help you build the nest egg you need for your down payment and closing costs, including these tips from nerdwallet:
  • Automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings can help to make the process mandatory - and maybe a little less painful.
  • Save raises and bonuses rather than spending them.
  • Set aside tax refunds.
  • Keep the change. At least a couple of banks have variations on this theme. For example, Bank of America allows debit card users to sign up for a service that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the change into a linked savings account.
  • Visualize your goal. Slap big, beautiful photos of your dream house on the refrigerator, near your office workspace - and wrap a small one around the primary credit card in your wallet. You might charge less and save more."
As for where to put that money while you watch it grow, experts recommend that "If the plan is to become a homeowner in the next 12 months, the money should be kept completely liquid. That means you can easily access it at any time," said CNN Money. "The best way to do that is in a good old-fashioned savings account, Schulte said. Look for one with a higher yield. In today's low rate environment, that probably means an online-only account like Ally or Synchrony Bank, which currently pay around 1% annually."

5. Lock in your rate
Rates can be unpredictable. Locking in a rate when you get close to buying, which your lender will undoubtedly recommend, can protect you if rates rise. Many lenders also offer a one-time adjustment in case rates go down.

huffingtonpost

6. Stay at your job
Not happy at work and thinking about making a change? If you're looking to buy a home, you may have to delay that plan. Part of your qualification for a mortgage will be based on your job history. Making a big change just before you buy or during the escrow process will be problematic. Lenders advise buyers to stay the course until after the home closes escrow.

7. Don't open new credit cards or buy a new car
Your lender will spell out the do's and don'ts of how to protect your credit when trying to buy a house, but if you haven't yet talked to anyone and you think you're getting close to be purchase-ready, that Kohl's card you take out to save 20% on your $100 bill could cost you. Before you take out any new debt, check with a lender.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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