Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Saturday, September 30, 2017

4 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Buy a Luxury House

By Kara Masterson
Every individual has their own particular set of factors that can motivate them to buy a luxury home. At any given point in time, there will always be people in need of a luxurious home regardless of the economic conditions and other market variables.
The demand for luxurious houses among young people is driven by the increasing disposable income and the rising of living standards. As a successful young person, you want more than just four walls and a parking spot for a home. You need a luxury home that will raise your social status, security, and comfort at the same time. This article discusses four reasons why this is the right time for a young adult to buy a luxury house.

Interest rates are low

Current house interest rates are below four percent, a perfect time to acquire a luxury home. The cheaper rates make it affordable for you to purchase a luxury house that will give value for your money. Purchasing a home while interest rates are low means you will save money in your house budget.

House prices are down

House prices are low in recent times thanks to the high inflation rates. This makes now a better time to buy a luxury house. Once you buy your house, the appreciation will start working in your favor, gaining you money. With the recovering world economy, house prices are expected to increase. Acquiring a home at this time saves you the extra money you will add if you decide in purchasing at a later stage.

Affordable Insurance

Availability of cheaper mortgage insurance premiums makes it a better idea to buy a luxury house now. You should purchase a house now when the mortgage odds are favoring you instead of waiting until later when house prices and interest rates may rise. Working with a specialized real estate agent or someone similar can help you get the best possible deal on a luxury home.

Rent prices are increasing

Research in the housing market indicates that rent prices for a luxury house will continue to rise at a minimum of three percent per year. The ever-rising renting costs make it a perfect time for you to purchase a house of your own. If you are living in a rented house, you may end up paying a higher amount in rent expenses yearly than what you would have been paying as the monthly mortgage for your luxury home.
Deciding on the right time to buy a house is as important as planning the right moment to plant a tree. The quicker you plant the tree, the bigger it grows. In the housing market, the faster you become a luxury home owner, the sooner you will enjoy the benefits as a young adult.

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fall Maintenance for Your Rental Properties

By Brentnie Daggett, Rentec Direct
Do you own a rental property or several rental properties? Routine maintenance will ensure that your properties are protected from the harsh fall and winter elements, and most can be done without detracting too much from your time or pocketbook. This post will help ensure the process goes as smooth as possible, and that expensive items like your furnace last much longer, which means an increased bottom line for you.

Begin with a Tenant Check-In

It’s important to consistently check-in with tenants, and ensure that they are maintaining the rental unit to lease standards. Seasonal maintenance remains the perfect time to inspect the unit for issues that should be addressed. Ask tenants if they have questions or concerns, and remind them of tenant duties such as changing the HVAC filter or the smoke detector batteries. Checking in also remains the best way to establish open communication. Good communication remains the foundation of a healthy tenant-landlord relationship. Not to mention, when a tenant feels that there is a direct line of communication, they are much more likely to report on a minor but time-sensitive issue before it becomes an expensive repair.

Complete Indoor Maintenance

Windows and Doors: Apply weather stripping or caulk to any needed areas along windows and doors. This will prevent against overtaxing your heating system on those blustery fall days, and will keep your tenant’s utility bills down ensuring more tenant satisfaction with the unit.
Fireplace: If your unit has a fireplace, ensure that the chimney is swept and free of debris. A blocked chimney is an easily avoidable a fire hazard and a smoke inhalation risk. If you don’t already have one, take the time to install an animal-proof chimney cap to prevent further blockage from nesting critters.
Smoke and CO Alarms: Regardless of whether you require your tenants to change the batteries, it is crucial to check that they have indeed kept up with the task, and moreover, did not remove them altogether. Ensure your tenant’s safety—and your legal protection—by ensuring that the alarms are in working order.
Attic: Check your attic’s insulation. Poor insulation can lead to expensive roof repairs. Inspect for signs of small animals that can sneak in looking for a warm place to nest; they can destroy crucial insulation that prevents against ice damming on your roof.

Complete Exterior Maintenance

Gutters: Fall leaves can lead to clogged gutters. Clogged gutters can create ice dams in freezing weather, this can cause the gutters to break entirely. Trim trees or install gutter guards where necessary to ensure that your gutters will appropriately channel water away from the property and prevent water damage to the foundation or structure.
Animal Proofing: Attics and basements are very enticing to rodents and small animals who seek shelter from the cold weather. The Humane Society has recommendations to prevent nesting in your property: ensure animals are not inside the home already (you don’t want to seal them in) and then caulk small holes and staple hardware cloth over larger holes. To stand up against stronger animals, opt for 16 gauge 1x1 steel mesh.
Stairwells, Walkways and Patios: Verify that all supports, stairs, and handrails are secure. Make sure that the handrails can support a person who is slipping due to rain or sleet.
Irrigation Systems: Fall weather means that sprinkler systems can often be reset, since seasonal rains will keep the foliage appropriately hydrated. Follow your manufacturer's instructions to winterize your sprinkler and irrigation systems. This will protect the functionality of the system and ensure your property looks its best.
AC Units: Depending on where your rental unit is located, be prepared to wrap the outside box units in order to protect it from rust or weather damage.
Trees and Shrubs: Now is an excellent time to trim any branches or vegetation that touches the exterior of the building, as they can lead to damage over time. Protect your investment and ensure that all foliage is maintained before the wet season gets in way.

Hire a Professional

For some costly items on your list, it will pay to have a professional inspect them. Big ticket items like your HVAC system and your roof should be inspected yearly to ensure that any slight damage is dealt with proactively, before a serious issue occurs.
HVAC: Have it serviced, inspected and cleaned. Proper maintenance will extend the life of the furnace, so be sure to remind your tenants to change the filters. To be certain the task is done, consider supplying some extra filters yourself. This makes the task simple for tenants, and is a minor expense for you compared to an expensive system replacement.
Roof: Extreme temperatures, and general exposure to the elements can wreak havoc on your property’s roof. Have a licensed, certified roofing professional inspect the condition of your roof. Simple repairs like loose or damaged shingles can lead to water exposure that can lead to deterioration of insulation, wood and drywall, or make electrical or plumbing systems vulnerable. It’s much simpler to deal with a proactive repair now, than an emergent leak come winter.
Seasonal maintenance may be a chore, but proactive maintenance will ensure that your rental property remains in good shape and your investment is protected for the coming years.

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update September 28th, 2017

REPLACEMENT OF THE TOWNSEND’S INLET BRIDGE will be studied by Cape May County.  A three-month closure for emergency repairs just prior to the summer season brought the bridge’s condition to the attention of local officials, as well as residents, visitors, and business owners who rely on the bridge daily.  But the estimated cost of replacing the bridge—many tens of millions of dollars—and a permitting process that could take years, are roadblocks.  The Cape May County Bridge Commission operates the span, which links Avalon and Sea Isle City, but has said it does not have the funds for a replacement project, so funding from state and federal sources would be sought.  The study approved by the commission would also evaluate the possibility of rehabilitating the existing bridge.  The bridge dates back to the 1930s and has recently undergone many repair projects.  A $2.7 million project to replace the bridge railings was recently announced and is scheduled to begin soon.

TENTS AND “BEACHSPREADING” were discussed at Stone Harbor’s recent Borough Council meeting.  As portable tents become more common, families have used them to block the sun and wind—and the views of those behind them.  Council has decided not to ban tents at this time, and will monitor the situation in 2018.  For a Cape May County Herald article on the discussion, click here:

What could be better than some beach time in September?

REVERSE 911 notifications are available for both Avalon and Stone Harbor.  In the event of storms, tidal flooding, or other emergencies, borough announcements notify property owners and provide helpful information.  To sign up for Avalon’s notifications, click here:  To sign up for Stone Harbor’s notifications, click here:

CAPE MAY SEASHORE LINES will run “motorcar” rides again this weekend in Cape May.  Ride from Cape May Station on Lafayette Street over historic trackage, through areas of Cape May not usually seen.  Along the way you’ll see marshes and wildlife, and get a look at the Cape May Canal and the railroad swing bridge that once carried passengers into town.  The open air motorcars are enjoyable for passengers of all ages!  Rides depart hourly…for details visit

FALL FAVORITES COMING UP!  Great fall weekend activities continue!  Sea Isle City’s Harborfest takes place September 30th;  Avalon’s Seafood Festival occurs October 7th & 8th; Stone Harbor’s Harvest Festival takes place October 28th.  Can’t make these events?  Check out the list of others below!

YOUR REFERRALS are appreciated!  If you know of someone looking to buy, sell, or rent please ask them to call or email me!  I sincerely appreciate your confidence in me, and strive to provide the very best service to my clients!

  • Sea Isle City’s Harborfest, seafood, live music, clam eating contest, crafts & specialty vendors, Marina Park at 42nd Place & the bay in SIC, 11AM-4PMSaturday, September 30
  • Avalon Performing Arts Center Concert featuring Jerry Blavat (The Geator With the Heater), advance tickets at Avalon Community Hall, doors open at 6:30PM, music starts at 7PM, show at 8PMSaturday, September 30
  • Cape May Lighthouse Full Moon Climb, for info call 609-884-54048PM-10PMThursday, October 5
  • Slither & Snore Sleepover at the Cape May County Zoo, nocturnal tour of the zoo, campfire, s’mores, crafts, continental breakfast, call 609-465-5271 for info, Friday, October 6 at 6PM until Saturday, October 7 at 9AM
  • Avalon Chamber of Commerce Seafood Festival, local food vendors, chowder contest, beer, wine, music, crafts, more, 30th Street Parking Lot, 10AM-5PMSaturday & Sunday, October 7 & 8
  • Stone Harbor Garden Club Fashion Show, Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, for info email kmdallaham@comcast.netSunday, October 8
  • Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Admiral Thad W. Allen (US Coast Guard, Retired), topic is Always Ready: Stories of American Leadership & Unity During Crisis, order tickets online at,  Cape May Convention Hall, 4PMSunday, October 8
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items to curb up to 72 hours prior to pick up on Tuesday, October 10
  • Scan Party at the Avalon History Center, bring your old Avalon photos & they’ll send you home with digital copies & with your permission they will keep a digital copy at the History Center for addition to the town’s permanent record, 1-3PMSaturday, October 14
  • Big Band Dance featuring the Fred Hall Band, Avalon Community Hall, 7PMSaturday, October 14
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Al Harrison Dixieland Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern Jersey, 2-4PMSunday, October 15
  • Avalon Lions Club Pasta Night, Windrift Hotel, 4:30-7:30PMSunday, October 15
  • Avalon Dune Grass Planting, Avalon Community Hall, 8:30AMSaturday, October 21 (Rain Date is Sunday, October 22)
  • Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey, statewide festival challenge to visit 11 lighthouses including Hereford Inlet Lighthouse & Cape May Lighthouse, visit for info, Saturday, October 21 & Sunday, October 22
  • Stone Harbor’s Harvest Festival, hayrides, pumpkin decorating, trick or treating in the shops, more, 96th Street Shopping District, 11AM-5PMSaturday, October 21
  • Miss Avalon Pageant, Avalon Elementary School, 6PMSaturday, October 21

Featured Property:

This gorgeous home is located near the beach and the southern end of Avalon’s boardwalk!

62 W. 32nd Street, Avalon, $2,750,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 175412

New Listings:

151 95th Street, Stone Harbor, $475,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178370

8811 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $509,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 178409

1668 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $725,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178324

406 21st Street, Avalon, $899,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178381

623 E. 21st, Avalon, $960,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178315

2968 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,479,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178424

404 24th Street, Avalon, $1,599,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178402

312 42nd Street, Avalon, $2,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178388

10801 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $2,799,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178379

76 E. 26th Street, Avalon, $5,595,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178320

7668 Sunset Drive, Avalon, $6,550,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178331

Properties Sold:

290 79th Street, Avalon, $550,000, SOLD MLS#: 175074

8623 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $925,000, SOLD MLS#: 178355

17 Marine Way, Avalon, $1,200,000, SOLD MLS#: 176896

1369 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,225,000, SOLD MLS#: 177605

220 19th Street, Avalon, $1,250,000, SOLD MLS#: 173125

270 104th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,300,000, SOLD MLS#: 177474

237 66th Street, Avalon, $2,150,000, SOLD MLS#: 176862

65 W. 16th Street, Avalon, $2,175,000, SOLD MLS#: 177232

3268 First Avenue, Avalon, $2,275,000, SOLD MLS#: 176390

12 105th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,475,000, SOLD MLS#: 167203

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Live in a Loud Area? Here’s How to Reduce Sound Inside Your Home

Have you ever wished you lived on a remote island somewhere? A tranquil, calm and—most importantly— quiet place just for yourself? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Depending on where you live, whether in an urban city or in the suburbs, overpopulation remains an issue, and dealing with noise pollution has become a real responsibility.

Whether sound comes from loud neighbors, lumber trucks, domestic animals or construction workers, we live in a noisy world which can affect us where we need it least—in our homes. These days, we barely even notice the sounds of everyday occurrences such as lawnmowers and nearby roads, but if you think back to pre-industrial times, this amount of external stimulation would have made our distant ancestors nervous wrecks.
Take a moment to consider what you deal with every day regarding external noise. Perhaps it might be time to take action through these easy steps to protect you and your loved ones from unnecessary stress and even poor sleep.

Close up Your Gaps

The old advice rings just as true today as it did when you first heard it: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Ensuring as tight an envelope as possible is imperative to reducing the external noise in your neighborhood from invading your privacy and comfort, and this means closing all possible gaps.
Starting with the obviously visible holes and cracks, grab some flexible polyurethane or latex caulk to make your walls and window gaps airtight. Even the slightest of open areas around windows will allow sound to infiltrate. Be as thorough as possible in closing them all up. Perhaps you have an issue with exposure around the openings for pipes and wires where they enter the house—if so, use expanding foam or putty to tighten up your house!

Invest in High-Quality Windows 

High-quality windows are one of the most important elements for a soundproof home. Opting for models with seriously thick glass will be your saving grace, and that’s why many noise-conscious individuals choose storm windows with sturdy frames and decent weather stripping.
Some things to watch out for—the larger the airspace between your original window and the storm window, the better, i.e., three to four inches. DIY-ers with double-hung and gliding windows tend to gravitate toward storm windows, as they allow the easiest installation. However, there are various options to make window installation an easier job, regardless of the category of your existing windows.

Shape up Your Insulation 

Not only for the sake of your heating and electricity bills, good-quality insulation in your home will significantly reduce the internal disturbance from external noise pollution. Attics and walls are usually most vulnerable to noise infiltration due to under-insulation—start there first! Once again, quality, as opposed to speed, is of the essence with this procedure, as only meticulously installed fiberglass batt and blown-in insulation will ensure your sound pollution from the environment remains low.
Of course, installing insulation can still be a bit of a procedure, but there are plenty of guides online to help you perform a world-class job at a fraction of the price. Homeowners with DIY abilities often choose to install insulation between floor joists, and as long as you pay particular attention to safety such as dust masks, safety goggles, gloves and protective clothing, you should be good to go.

Consider Your Own Noise Contribution 

In the process of fixing up your house to protect it from future external sound infiltration, you will require the use of power tools. Spare a thought for your neighbors and choose your weapons wisely. We sometimes can be so accustomed to tolerating a noisy environment ourselves that we become oblivious to our own contribution to noise pollution.
The additions to your home can be a labor-intensive process, and power tools will certainly make your renovations much faster and easier. Chris Knuffman, reciprocating business line manager at Quincy Compressor, explains how you can be efficient while keeping home improvement noise to a minimum.
“Pneumatic tools powered by compressed air help complete tough and noisy jobs faster and more efficiently than manual options,” explains Knuffman. “Robust air compressors properly sized for such tools offer quicker recovery and are quieter work site solutions, delivering lower decibels and less fatigue than misapplied models.”
External noise has more of an effect on your quality of life than you think, and taking these simple steps will surely make a considerable difference to your comfort and sense of security in your own home. As the jobs are relatively easy within the world of active DIY-ers, the trick is ensuring you are as meticulous as possible with each alteration, as sound certainly does travel!

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

6 Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim After a Storm

Whether reporting storm damage to your property over the phone or through your mobile device, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) offers the following tips on how to file an insurance claim:

  1. Contact your insurer as soon as possible to begin the process. Provide your insurer with your policy number and the best phone number and email address at which to reach you. After a major storm, insurers visit those with the most severe damage first. Be prepared to provide an accurate description of the extent of the property damage. Explain any special needs of your family, particularly if personal circumstances require that you get priority. Ask your insurer when you can expect to be contacted by an insurance adjuster so you're ready for the visit. Since adjusters may be in areas in which cellphone towers are damaged, it's also a good idea to get the phone number of your adjuster's supervisor so you have an additional contact. If you have a flood insurance claim, contact the agent or broker who sold you the policy to start the claims filing process.
  2. Document your loss. The insurance adjuster will most likely inspect the damage to your home, auto and possessions in order to write a check to help you replace, repair and rebuild. It's a good idea to take photographs and document the details of damaged items, including the date of purchase and approximate value—and collect receipts, if you have them. Many companies will ask you to submit an inventory of the items.
  3. Check with your insurer before discarding damaged items and materials. You will generally need to show storm damaged items to your adjuster. If, however, you're required by your local municipality to discard them for safety reasons, take photographs to help with the claims process.
  4. Sign up for SMS/text alerts. Many insurance companies use SMS/text message alerts that will notify you of the status of your claim. You will receive text messages on your phone when you first report your claim, when your estimate is available, and when a payment has been sent.
  5. Know what emergency services are available. In the event you need emergency services, such as removing water from your home, covering your roof, or boarding up windows or doors, many companies will dispatch an approved emergency services company to protect your home from further damage. If your home has sustained severe damage, making it unlivable, your homeowners insurer will provide you with a check for additional living expenses.
  6. Keep a claim diary. Good record-keeping is important when filing a claim. Make a list of everyone you speak to about your claim. Note their name, title and contact information. Also, keep track of the date, time and issues discussed. The more organized you are, the simpler and easier the claims process will be. 
Source: Insurance Information Institute

If you’d like more homeowner information, please contact me.

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

How The Equifax Hack Affects Homebuyers And How You Can Protect Yourself

Half of the country is freaking out. That's about how many people are potentially affected by the unprecedented Equifax hack. If you're the average person who's afraid of having your data stolen - and by data, we mean your name, Social Security number, birth date, addresses, credit card numbers, and driver's license number that were reportedly involved in this breach - you may have already taken some steps to limit the damage. But what if you're in the process of buying a home or are getting ready to do so? How does this hack affect you, and what can you do to make sure you are protected?

Potential fallout for homebuyers

"Take this scenario: Say your Equifax file was looted but you've done little or nothing to detect fraudulent activity on one or more of your credit accounts. You sign a contract to buy a house, and you apply for a mortgage. The lender pulls your credit and confronts you with shocking news: Your FICO credit score is too low for you to qualify for the loan because you've been running up too much debt on one or more accounts. Your ‘utilization ratio' on your available credit is too high, and that has depressed your score," said the Washington Post.

"Or there's a newly established account in your files that has put you deep in debt, even though you had nothing to do with it. It turns out that financial thieves have been racking up thousands of dollars in debts at your expense, and now - smack in the middle of a major lifetime investment - you're stuck with having to get the file corrected, which takes time and can be a pain. In the meantime, what happens to your purchase contract? Will the sellers bear with you, essentially putting off the transaction indefinitely and possibly blowing up their own plans to move into another house on a specific date? It could all get really messy."

Those who are already in escrow could also be derailed when the lender runs your credit before the loan closes and discovers fraudulent new accounts or charges that raise the debt-to-income ratio beyond what is allowed. "At the very least, whatever rate locks you had could be blown as you scramble to get your files corrected," they said. "Or your entire loan transaction could be jeopardized if the process takes too long."

Steps to take now

Have you still not checked to see if you were potentially impacted by the hack that affected as many as 143 million people? Not having dealt directly with Equifax doesn't guarantee your safety. "You may have never used Equifax yourself, or even heard of it," said CNN. "Either way, the credit reporting agency could still have a lot of your personal information. To find out if your data was compromised by the hack, go here."

Keep in mind that you'll have to enter your last name and the last six numbers of your Social Security number to check. Regardless of whether or not they believe you were impacted, you'll be prompted to enroll in their TrustID Premier credit monitoring service, which will be free for a year. Despite earlier concerns, "Equifax has confirmed that signing up for TrustID Premier will not prevent you from joining a class-action suit over this issue," said PCWorld.

Armed with this information, you can go about taking further steps to protect your credit and prevent thieves from stealing your identity. Pull your credit reports for free once a year at Look them over carefully to make sure there are not any fraudulent accounts and/or charges. If you see anything, get on the phone with the creditor right away and start the dispute process. If you're in the process of applying for a home loan or are under contract, you'll also want to call your lender immediately to alert them to what you found.

To freeze or not to freeze

There has been quite a bit of discussion about credit freezes since news of the breach broke, with some consumers concerned that "turning off" their credit could potentially damage their score or negatively impact them in some other way, especially during the homebuying process. The fact is that a credit freeze is "the most extreme method, but it's also the most effective" at preventing your information from being stolen and used to open new accounts, credit expert Barry Paperno, who blogs at Speaking of Credit, told NerdWallet. And, it can be turned on and off as needed for, say, a mortgage application or credit re-check before a closing.

"There are no downsides to this: You can still use your credit cards with the freezes on," said "But no one will be able to check credit scores and personal information without your permission—so no bad apples can open up fraudulent new cards or get loans under your name. And you can undo the freezes at any time - typically for a small fee."

That fee varies depending on the state, and Equifax has said it will offer free freezes for 30 days, but the need for freezing will extend long after that is over. "Because a freeze can prevent fraud, it's better than a credit monitoring service, which only alerts you that fraud might have happened," said NerdWallet. "It's the difference between using a deadbolt to keep thieves out rather than a security camera to catch them after the fact."

You can easily request a freeze online for the three credit unions: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Fraud alerts

"If you don't want to lock out all creditors - perhaps you're in the middle of mortgage shopping or refinancing - you can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit," they added. "This tells potential creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name." A fraud alert is a good idea whether or not you freeze your credit. In this day and age, when hacks are more frequent and more damaging to more people, ongoing monitoring just makes sense.

"The biggest fears of identity theft "center around identity theft on an epic scale. It isn't tough to conjure up worst-case scenarios," said "Think about it: Bad guys with all of someone's information could, at least theoretically, try to buy a home under that person's name. It's more likely, though, they would use those stolen credit card numbers - or use SSNs to open up new credit cards - and rack up lots of debt in that unsuspecting victim's name. And that damage could make it much harder for someone to qualify for a mortgage or refinance an existing mortgage."

Consumers have largely been turning to ID theft protection company LifeLock, who the Los Angeles Times said could be "one of the big winners from the big data breach suffered by Equifax." Not surprisingly, the firm has upped its advertising outreach in the wake of the breach. The result: "An executive of Symantec, LifeLock's parent company, told Bloomberg that since the Equifax breach was reported, LifeLock's Web traffic has increased sixfold and enrollments per hour are running 10 times ahead of the pre-Equifax era."

But, there's a rub: "Here's what LifeLock isn't advertising so widely: When you buy its protection, you're signing up for credit reporting and monitoring services provided by, yes, Equifax. LifeLock signed a four-year contract with Equifax in December 2015," and the relationship is still active.

If any (or all!) of that makes you queasy, there are alternatives to LifeLock you may want to consider.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update September 21st, 2017

MARKET STATS:  The median sale price increased to $1,540,000 in July, up from July a year ago, while the number of active listings was down, thanks to continuing demand.  For a look at the latest Long & Foster Market Minute, click here:

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

THE TOWNSEND’S INLET BRIDGE will be receiving new railings, to be installed by Thomas Barry Marine Construction.  The new railings will be galvanized and painted to protect them from corrosion in the marine environment.  The bridge, which links Avalon and Sea Isle City, has undergone extensive maintenance & repair work recently after being closed last winter when structural problems were found during an inspection.  No word yet on when the bridge railings will be replaced.

STONE HARBOR FIREFIGHTERS responded to a two alarm fire on 87th Street Sunday.  A single family home in the 200-block was badly damaged before the blaze could be extinguished, but no one was injured.  Avalon and Cape May Court House firefighters responded as well.

Beachgoers enjoy the surf and sand in Stone Harbor on a perfect summer day!

PIPING PLOVERS may have been harmed in Florida and the Caribbean by Hurricane Irma, according to a recent Atlantic City Press article.  The limited population of small beach nesting birds had climbed to 115 pairs counted in New Jersey in 2016, but dropped to 105 pairs this year, including just three pairs in Stone Harbor and one in Avalon.  The birds winter in Florida and the Caribbean where storm-damaged beaches could affect their population further.

WEEKEND EVENTS highlight the calendar during the fall season.  This weekend features several popular events.  In Stone Harbor, the 6th Annual Savor September Wine, Beer & Food Festival takes place Saturday from Noon to 9pm, while The Wetlands Institute’s Fall Migration Festival runs all day.  In Wildwood the Irish Fall Festival runs through Sunday, as does the Cape May Food & Wine Celebration.  Check the event list below and fill your fall season with fun activities!

  • Cape May’s 21st Annual Food & Wine Celebration, visit for info, Now through Sunday, September 24
  • Wildwood’s Irish Fall Festival, music, dancing, food, crafts, more, 8AM-8PM, Now through Sunday, September 24
  • Wetlands Institute Fall Migration Festival, guided nature walks, back bay boat & kayak tours, live animal presentations, more, Wetlands Institute at 1075 Stone Harbor Boulevard9:30AM-4:30PMSaturday, September 23
  • Stone Harbor’s 6th Annual Savor September Festival, local food vendors, wine, beer, live music, kids’ activities, artisans, more, for info visit, 96th Street business district, Noon-9PMSaturday, September 23
  • Naval Air Station Wildwood’s Swing Dance & Big Band Concert, for info or tickets, Cape May Airport, 6:30-10PMSaturday, September 23
  • Avalon History Center’s ‘Celebrating Avalon’s Heroes,’ exhibits of Avalon’s police, fire department & emergency medical services, 609-967-0090 for details, 6:30-8PMWednesday, September 27
  • Avalon Performing Arts Center Concert featuring Jerry Blavat (The Geator With the Heater), advance tickets at Avalon Community Hall, doors open at 6:30PM, music starts at 7PM, show at 8PMSaturday, September 30
  • Cape May Lighthouse Full Moon Climb, for info call 609-884-54048PM-10PMThursday, October 5
  • Avalon Chamber of Commerce Seafood Festival, local food vendors, chowder contest, beer, wine, music, crafts, more, 30th Street Parking Lot, 10AM-5PMSaturday & Sunday, October 7 & 8
  • Stone Harbor Garden Club Fashion Show, Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, for info contact kmdallaham@comcast.netSunday, October 8
  • Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Admiral Thad W. Allen (US Coast Guard, Retired), topic is Always Ready: Stories of American Leadership & Unity During Crisis, order tickets online at Cape May Convention Hall, 4PMSunday, October 8
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items to curb up to 72 hours prior to pick up on Tuesday, October 10
  • Big Band Dance featuring the Fred Hall Band, Avalon Community Hall, 7PMSaturday, October 14
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Al Harrison Dixieland Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern Jersey, 2-4PMSunday, October 15
  • Avalon Lions Club Pasta Night, Windrift Hotel, 4:30-7:30PMSunday, October 15
  • Avalon Dune Grass Planting, Avalon Community Hall, 8:30AMSaturday, October 21 (Rain Date is Sunday, October 22)

Featured Property:

Everything is handled for you by on-site management—use this condo unit for yourself, or collect rental income without any hassles!

7800 Dune Drive, Unit 126, Avalon, $269,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 169083

New Listings:

700 First Ave., Unit #207, Avalon, $538,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178196

245 34th Street, Avalon, $849,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178193

35 W. 13th Street, Avalon, $2,075,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178266

222 70th Street, Avalon, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178267

165 75th Street, Avalon, $3,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178218

166 69th Street, Avalon, $4,250,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178233

94 E. 14th Street, Avalon, $4,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178200

Properties Sold:

300 79th Street, Avalon, $572,500, SOLD MLS#: 173258

1421 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $580,000, SOLD MLS#: 156252

1127 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor Manor, $650,000, SOLD MLS#: 169779

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #306, Stone Harbor Manor, $795,000, SOLD MLS#: 174814

281 88th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,150,000, SOLD MLS#: 177027

411 Berkley Road, Stone Harbor, $1,250,100, SOLD MLS#: 175513

642 7th Street, Avalon, $1,452,875, SOLD MLS#: 171932

3028 Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $1,500,000, SOLD MLS#: 175470

238 59th Street, Avalon, $1,675,000, SOLD MLS#: 175956

118 87th St., Stone Harbor, $1,789,450, SOLD MLS#: 176031

161 25th Street, Avalon, $2,080,000, SOLD MLS#: 175808

129 109th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,950,000, SOLD MLS#: 173829

9820 Corinthian Drive, Stone Harbor, $3,295,000, SOLD MLS#: 177409

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

August Round Up: Rates Continue to Drop

In Freddie Mac's results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), average mortgage rates continuing to move lower.

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.82 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending August 31, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.86 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.46 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.12 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.77 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.14 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.17 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.83 percent.According to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac:

"The 10-year Treasury yield fell to a new 2017-low on Tuesday. In response, the 30-year mortgage rate dropped 4 basis points to 3.82 percent, reaching a new year-to-date low for the second consecutive week. However, recent releases of positive economic data could halt the downward trend of mortgage rates."

Kids Have Big Say in Real Estate

Buyers with children put more weight on the neighborhood, local schools, and size of homes when shopping for the right property, according to the 2017 Moving With Kids report, produced by the National Association of REALTORS®.
The neighborhood, in particular, has a big influence on home buyers with children under the age of 18. Forty-nine percent of buyers who have children consider the neighborhood based on the quality of the school district, and 43 percent choose a neighborhood by the convenience to schools, according to the report.
Buyers with children also tended to purchase a larger home, at 2,100 square feet with four bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Buyers with no children tend to prefer a home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms at an average of 1,800 square feet.
The main reasons for selling a home for sellers with children were that the home was too small or they faced a job relocation or a change in their family situation.

Simple Home Fixes to Attract Buyers

Are you looking for easy ways to increase your home's value and get buyers' attention before your home hits the market? Here are three quick fixes for kitchens and bathrooms from Matt Karlin, president and CEO of Nemo Tile + Stone.

1. Refresh with color. When it comes to selecting a palette that looks fresh and has broad appeal, it's best to go with whites and neutrals, Karlin says. Plus, if your working with a small bathroom or kitchen, he recommends favoring a pale palette because it will also make the space look bigger.

2. Update the floors and walls. These areas receive serious wear and tear, Karlin says, so a smart move is to upgrade to a durable porcelain tile. Current design trends are replicating classic terrazzo and even wood textures.

3. Choose larger tiles. Oversized tiles not only are cost -effective (bigger tiles cover a larger area) but also help make a small room seem larger, Karlin says. He also recommends selecting simple patterns: Avoid anything too busy to ensure a clean yet modern look.

Outdoor Amenities Topping Buyers' Lists

Real estate professionals across the mid-Atlantic are finding home buyers are placing a higher value on outdoor spaces and their potential for entertainment, according to The Washington Post. Here are the specific amenities that are proving most beneficial to sellers in marketing their properties:

The outdoor kitchen These spaces are becoming more than just a simple dining set and grill. They are now being outfitted with an outdoor refrigerator, sink, and counter space. In luxury homes, outdoor kitchens may include bar areas, islands, ovens, stoves, and extra storage space as more cooking tasks move outside.

Pool and spa Real estate pros told The Washington Post that they're noticing a shift in the way pools and the spaces around them are being designed. Homeowners are getting more creative, adding waterfalls or even a hot tub in the middle of the pool. Agents also say buyers are looking for terraces and lounges overlooking the pool area, to create a more serene backyard.

Open access The transition between the interior and exterior is becoming more seamless. Homeowners achieve this look by installing collapsible window walls, though a more affordable option is the classic sliding glass door.

Outdoor fireplaces
Both simple pits and custom fire features are becoming more common as decor in outdoor landscaping. Fireplaces have long topped home buyers' wish lists for interiors, but they're increasingly becoming a popular amenity outside too.

Written by Realty Times Staff

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

What You Need to Know About Selling a Home in the Country

Much like a snowflake, no home property is exactly alike. Each has different assets, benefits and amenities, not to mention offering a different gut feeling once inside. As a real estate agent, your job is to understand and "sell" the unique features of the properties you put on the market.

Beyond knowing the ins and outs of a particular house, you'll need to intimately understand what styles, features and amenities potential buyers desire in a property they may one day call home. Depending on the areas of town you cater to most, you may need to scout out some additional locations, including more rural, country areas.

Here's what you need to know about selling a home in the country:

Find Your Ideal, Niche Market
You need to be willing to put in the extra hours and work to sell a home in the country. Unlike the city or suburbs, there aren't people walking or driving by on a regular basis to notice for-sale signs. In addition to a lack of on-the-street marketing opportunities, you won't encounter nearly the same amount of neighborhood foot traffic. This means you need to find your niche target market in order to start getting offers.
With that in mind, research where to advertise your home listings, including country real estate magazines, places of worship or even online. Additionally, get to know prospective homeowners or network with fellow real estate professionals to discover who may be looking for a country vacation home or to escape the city life.
According to Country Life magazine, sometimes the perfect property is miles away from where potential buyers have previously looked. Of course, if a property is right for a particular individual or family's needs, then that's what ultimately matters. In other words, make sure to cast a wide but targeted net when scouting new properties.

Be Able to Get Back and Forth Easily
Another difference between selling a home in the city or suburbs versus the country is the ease and time in which you have to get there. Because you may be driving on dirt or rocky roads in the country, you'll need to make sure your vehicle can handle the trip. Opt for a larger vehicle that has good clearance to navigate any bumps and/or dips in the road. Additionally, you should also make sure your tires are in good shape and can make it over rough terrain. If you need an upgrade, look for tires that provide good traction in all types of weather, offer a smooth ride, and don't pop easily.

Understand How to Stage the Property
Staging is critical for selling any property, but there are some nuances to win over prospective country homeowners. Most importantly, maintaining the home's exterior and a well-kept yard is critical. To provide a good first impression, be sure to clean up the garden, patio, porch and deck to make the house look enticing.
If the garden or other parts of the home's exterior are a mess, potential buyers might think it will be too much work to maintain or look new again. Of course, you should also play up the country charm and theme in the interior. Unlike an urban home's sleek, modern lines and minimalist appeal, country homes need to look like they've been lived in and are comfortable. In other words, don't go crazy on the decluttering.

Know the Areas You Represent
Selling a home isn't just about the property itself, but rather everything the surrounding area has to offer as well. Make sure you understand everything about the areas near these homes, including crime rates, nearby entertainment options and whether it's in a good school district. For ideal country living, you should get to know the surrounding areas that are ideal for exploring, observing nature and enjoying outdoor activities that city life can't always provide.

Written by Realty Times Staff

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