AddThis

Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Monday, October 30, 2017

Condo Renovations: Making The Most Of Your Space

In real estate, nothing ever stays the same. In Toronto, the types of condo buyers are constantly changing, says real estate agent Cynthia Goodchild of Royal LePage Real Estate Services, Johnston and Daniel Division.

Many buyers are now families or young couples with a baby on the way. They don't want to rent but can't afford to buy a house. Or some, regardless of age, don't have the time or inclination to maintain a home.

Condo suites are smaller than they used to be, so it pays to renovate to make the most of every inch and to make the space functional for everyday living and entertaining.

Designer Sabrina Bitton, an expert in all things space saving and clever, recently transformed her 825-square-foot suite into a showpiece of good, functional, flexible and space-efficient design. Her suite offers the clean-lined and less-is-more sensibilities today's buyers want.
She embraces European design, with a dash of Frank Lloyd Wright (bringing the outdoors in while ensuring no space is wasted, she says.)

Her original two-bedroom suite had large windows in the living room and master bedroom, the rooms side by side at the end of the suite. Bitton removed the master bedroom wall and incorporated the square footage and windows into the living space.

She sealed up the doors to the walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom and lined the walls with floor-to-ceiling custom millwork. Instead of extending the built-ins to the end of the living room wall, she added open solid walnut shelving to provide an airy feeling and to offer a place to display treasured items.



Walnut is used for several features throughout the suite, bringing a touch of nature and creating a sense of flow between rooms.

The kitchen includes walnut shelving and a walnut island. To create maximum storage space, Bitton took advantage of the nine-foot-high ceilings and extended the built-ins to the ceiling. The high space is ideal for storing large boxes of out-of-season clothing and seasonal items that don't need to be accessed on a regular basis.

Vents for heating and cooling are hidden behind cupboard doors and kick plates, with slits to keep the air circulating.

Storage space is always a challenge in condos, so finding creative ways of adding more makes the unit more functional. "I have so much storage space that some cupboards are actually empty," she says.

A clever "Bitton trick" is a bar-height island on wheels that fits over the existing kitchen island so it doesn't take up additional floor space.

When entertaining (be it for a sit-down dinner for eight, a buffet or a large cocktail party), the bar-height island can be wheeled out to provide a separate table. Or it can be used as buffet space, a place to enjoy cocktails or additional work space.

Downsizers who aren't ready to give up their sit-down eating space find this a particularly welcome idea, Bitton says.



She chose bar stools with lower backs so when they're tucked under the bar, they don't obstruct the view from the kitchen. Bitton added a clear rectangular blown glass chandelier over the island to add drama without distracting from the view.

Seamless, clean-lined built-ins on another wall in the living/dining space include a fold-up desk, and a surprise. Instead of hard-to-reach cupboards at ceiling height, Bitton added pull-down rods so hanging clothes are easily accessible.

When renovating, figure out what you want, how to achieve and what you want to invest your money on. Bitton splurged on a comfortable sofa.

"Comfort is important. Also, since it's a linear space, the curved couch adds a feeling of movement. You could also add an additional sleeping area by using a sofa bed."

In the second bedroom, which is beside the original master bedroom, a door was added to provide access to the walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. More custom built-ins were added in the closet.

In the bedroom, the original closet doors were removed and the closet space was lined with walnut to create a headboard/nook for her bed. The window seat was extended from 18 to 24 inches to create a cosy sitting area. Custom built-ins were installed below the window seat and extended along the wall. An unused alcove space was filled with shelves and glass doors to create a fun display space for Bitton's fancy shoes.

Light-coloured floors are used throughout, chosen over dark, which shows dust and visually closes in a space. Paint and window treatments are different tones of the same creamy neutral colour family. Doors are painted light grey to complete the Zen ambiance.



Before buying a new condo, Goodchild says it's important to speak to the builder to find out what changes can be made. You may not want the kitchen that's there or would prefer to omit a wall, but the builder may not be able to accommodate your needs.

Few developers will allow preconstruction changes. In that case, choose the least expensive finishes for features you plan to remove, and then renovate with an eye to creating functional and multi-functional space, says Bitton, of Sabrina Bitton Interior Design. "It's all about creating smart condos."

Times have changed from 20 years ago, when condos were purchased primarily by retirees, Goodchild says. Now people in their 50s are buying too because they want less upkeep, more freedom and the ability to do more of what they want, including travel.

"Retirees still make up a large percentage of purchasers, but the under 35-year-olds find condo ownership appealing because they want to be downtown and be close to work. They want to have the ability to work, live and play in the same neighbourhood," Goodchild says. "Then they have children and sometimes stay."

Whoever the buyer, making the most of the space is key, says Bitton, who along with in-person service, offers Skype design consultation. A portion of her fee goes to charity.


Written by Connie Adair



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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ready For Staging: 4 Repairs You Need Before Selling Your Home


Selling your home is a complex process that may take weeks to complete. This is partially because your house may need to be updated or renovated before it can go on the market. What are some of the most crucial fixes that you should make before listing your property?



Update the Exterior
The first thing that you will want to do is make sure that the home's exterior is in good condition. This may involve landscaping work such as removing trees or shrubs that are dead or dying. It may also involve inspecting the roof, siding or other exterior components that may need to be repaired or updated to make the house easier to sell. At the very least, a fresh coat of paint should be applied before putting the house on the open market.

Check the Air Conditioning
If you have a central air conditioning unit in your home, make sure that it works properly. This means that it should start easily and produce an even amount of cool air throughout the house.
Ideally, you will have it inspected once a year by someone like Doctor Fix-It. However, inspecting it and making repairs prior to selling your home should be considered mandatory. It may also be a good idea to check the furnace and clean the ducts before you show the home to buyers.

Make Sure the Floors Are Adequate
Whether your home has wood floors or carpet, make sure that they are in good condition. If necessary, wax and clean the wood or put down new carpet in areas where it may be frayed or dirty. If you are going to replace your carpet, make sure that it is the same color and style throughout a given space.

Check the Plumbing and Electrical Systems
Buyers aren't going to want to put an offer on a home that has poor water pressure. They are also unlikely to want to make an offer on a home that has dangerous electrical wiring. If the fixes to either system are relatively minor, you can do them yourself. However, it may also be a good idea to call a professional to make sure that the job is done safely.
Selling your home can be a great way to help you downsize or lock in profits. However, if the process is not done right, it could reduce the sale price of the home or result in the home staying on the market longer than you anticipated that it would.



Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.


Written by Meghan Belnap


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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tips For Getting Your Home Sold In The Winter


So you've decided to list your home this winter. Perhaps you've had a job change, need to relocate out of the area, or have financial or family reasons for moving. No matter what is driving the move, you may be concerned about selling at this time of year. But just because you missed the boat on the spring selling season doesn't mean you can't get your home sold quickly, and for a profit. A few tips can help get it moving.




Take photos early... or late
If you can take photos before the trees become barren and the grass goes dormant, do so! The last thing you want is for your home to look blah and depressing in photos. If you can capture a snowy day (with perfectly scraped walkways, of course), that works, too. It never hurts to have your home looking like a winter wonderland.

Go easy on the holiday d├ęcor
"Deck the halls, but don't go overboard," said HGTV. "Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes."

Always mind your curb appeal
Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can let things slide out front. Potential buyers won't give you a pass on chipping paint, a fence that needs repair, or a front door that's seen better days just because it's frigid outside.

Safety matters
Shoveling the walk from the street to your home is necessary to make it reachable, make it inviting, and also make it safe. The last thing you want is a slip and fall that could result in an injury, and a lawsuit. "Continually shovel a path through the snow, especially if snowflakes are still falling," said the balance. "Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk. Sprinkle a layer of sand over the sidewalk and steps to ensure your buyers' stable footing. Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so visitors aren't forced to crawl over snowdrifts."

Get a good indoor mat
Perhaps you never use a mat for indoors or yours is grubby or tattered from 10 straight years of winter wear. This one super easy move may not be noticed by visitors - but it sure will if it's missing or not in good shape. Little things like a $10 mat can give buyers the impression that your whole house is well cared for, or just the opposite.

Clear the front door clutter
If you live in a climate where there is likely to be snow or rain, there are a few more steps you'll probably have to take in order to keep your house looking great inside. How does your coat closet look? If it's stuffed with jackets, scarves, boots, and gloves, relocating some to make room for potential buyers to put their stuff away while touring your home is a good idea - plus, a tidy coat closet gives the impression that there is plenty of storage space in the home. It goes without saying that winter wear and shoes that tend to stack up in the entry should be banished while your house is on the market.

Make sure everything is functional
Imagine you live in a climate that stays relatively temperate year-round, and then you have a cold spell. You turn on the heater for the first time the night before your first showing, and…nothing. Same for the fireplace in the living room. Your freezing cold house is probably not going to make a great impression on buyers. As soon as you decide you're going to sell your home, go through it room by room, checking all major appliances and home functions and looking for little things that may escape notice on an everyday basis - cracked light switches, chipped baseboards, light bulbs that need to be replaced - so your home is perfect for showings.

Light it up
Shorter days with earlier sunsets limit the amount of natural light in your home. Turning on all the lights before showings is more important than ever. Think about the exterior when it comes to lights, too. If you only have a porch light, you might want to consider adding some landscaping lighting, which will help accentuate your outdoor space.

Listen to your REALTOR® when it comes to price
Will you be able to command top dollar for your home and get the same price you would have had you listed in spring or summer? That depends on so many things, including your neighborhood, the available inventory, the condition of the home, and, of course, your listing price. A trusted real estate agent will take all mitigating factors into consideration and use comparables in your area to develop a pricing strategy.

When it comes to offers, remember this tidbit from Realtor.com: "Just because your home's on the market during the slow, chilly months doesn't mean you have to accept a lowball offer. If you make your home attractive in all the right ways, qualified buyers will come."



Written by Jaymi Naciri


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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Real Estate Update October 26, 2017


EXPENSIVE OR REALLY EXPENSIVE:  A variety of options for the repair or replacement of the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge were offered in a study conducted by Greenman-Pedersen.  Options range from a $20-million rehabilitation to buy more time for the current bridge, to $150-million or more for a total replacement.  The nearly 80-year old bridge has undergone a series of repair projects in recent years, and was closed just prior to this past summer for emergency repairs.  Keeping the bridge open is a top priority for local officials.  A rehab of the current bridge could extend its life several years, while a replacement bridge could last many decades—but would require the most money, in addition to years of permitting and construction.  The Cape May County Bridge Commission will discuss the options at a meeting this week.

Beautiful scenes occur every day on Seven Mile Beach!


MONARCH BUTTERFLIES will have an area dedicated to them at Avalon’s Armacost Park.  The borough recently announced a new plan to create a pollinator-friendly area in the northwest section of the park, at 71st Street & Dune Drive.  The existing lawn will be removed, and new flora planted, providing an attractive stopping point for migrating monarchs.  The new flora will require less maintenance than the existing lawn.  The project is expected to be completed before next summer.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28TH is the day to enjoy Halloween-related activities on & around the Island.  Beginning at 10am “Boo at the Zoo” will take place at the Cape May County Zoo, featuring numerous kids activities including an obstacle course, scavenger hunt, and a costume contest.  In Stone Harbor, the Kids’ Harvest Festival gets underway at 11am in the business district, including trick or treating in the shops, plus free hay rides.  In Avalon, Trunk or Treat takes place in the 30th Street parking lot outside Avalon Community Hall from 5pm to 7pm.

PROPERTY CHECKS are conducted in Stone Harbor during the offseason by the police department.  Property owners may register their home so the police department can make routine exterior inspections to make sure that it’s secure even when unoccupied.  To register, click here: http://stoneharbornj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Off-Season-Residential-Property-Check.pdf

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Windows & Android Devices, open forum workshop for help with general questions, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11:30AM, Saturday, October 28
  • Stone Harbor’s Harvest Festival, hayrides, pumpkin decorating, trick or treating in the shops, more, 96th Street Shopping District, 11AM-5PM, Saturday, October 28
  • Avalon’s Trunk or Treat Event, 30th Street Parking Lot, 5-7PM, Saturday, October 28
  • Trick or Treating in Avalon & Stone Harbor, Property Owners who will be providing treats can add their addresses to the Trick or Treating Route for Kids by calling 609-368-1210 by Friday, October 27th, an identifying Trick or Treat pumpkin will be delivered to your door, 5-8PM, Tuesday, October 31
  • Big Band Dance featuring Tony DeLuca and the Paisans, Avalon Community Hall, 7PM, Saturday, November 4
  • American Legion Post #331 Veterans’ Day Ceremony, Veterans’ Plaza, 11AM, Saturday, November 11
  • Stone Harbor American Legion Veterans’ Day Ceremony, 11617 Second Avenue, Noon, Saturday, November 11
  • Brendan Borek High Tides Striper Tournament, visit www.brendansfund.org for details, Saturday, November 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Atlantic City Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit Food Bank of Southern Jersey, 2-4PM, Sunday, November 12
  • Cooler By A Mile, Greater By A Million, David LaPuma, Director of NJ Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory discusses how twice a year millions of birds migrate over NJ to & from breeding & wintering grounds across the Western Hemisphere, Avalon Public Library, 11AM-Noon, Saturday, November 18
  • Avalon’s Festival of Trees, The Whitebrier at 260-20th Street, 5PM, Wednesday, November 22
  • Brendan Borek 5K Turkey Trot at Cape May Fitness, visit www.brendansfund.org for details, Thursday, November 23
  • Festive Friday, family friendly activities for all, shopping, more, throughout Avalon’s shopping district, 11AM-6PM, Friday, November 24
  • Avalon’s Festival of Trees, The Whitebrier at 260-20th Street, Noon-8PM, Friday, November 24
  • Stone Harbor’s Island Holiday, family friendly activities for all, shopping, more, throughout Stone Harbor’s shopping district, 10AM-9PM, Friday, November 24 & Saturday, November 25
  • Avalon’s Snowfest Saturday, events throughout Avalon’s business district, 11AM-4PM, Saturday, November 25
  • Stone Harbor’s Gala Christmas Parade, music, floats, Santa, more, 6:30PM, Saturday, November 25


Featured Property:

This Avalon townhouse is move in ready, and sits on an oversized lot!
274 W. 26th Street, Avalon, $909,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177487


New Listings:

7800 Dune Drive, Avalon, $299,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 178888

177 80th Street, Avalon, $319,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178904

1114 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor Manor, $689,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178851

329 80th Street, Stone Harbor, $695,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178864

254 84th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,759,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178874

756 21st Street, Avalon, $2,250,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178900


Properties Sold:

9816 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $295,000, SOLD MLS#: 177566

628 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $494,259, SOLD MLS#: 171405

10726 Third Avenue, A10, Stone Harbor, $535,000, SOLD MLS#: 177176

3285 Dune Drive, Avalon, $675,000, SOLD MLS#: 166942

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

262 50th Street, Avalon, $1,105,000, SOLD MLS#: 177807

3248 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,260,000, SOLD MLS#: 177601

211 121st Street, Stone Harbor, $1,850,000, SOLD MLS#: 177509

4328 Dune Drive, Avalon, $2,210,000, SOLD MLS#: 177880

23 Heron Drive, Avalon, $2,550,000, SOLD MLS#: 174078

160 84th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,595,000, SOLD MLS#: 174028

50 E. 14 Street, Avalon, $3,450,000, SOLD MLS#: 177494








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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

See my Stone Harbor Manor NJ listing! This turn key three story town home home with four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths is Lowest priced unit available.

1114 Stone Harbor Blvd #114
Stone Harbor Manor, NJ 08210

Listing #171783 --- >>>> Virtual Tour

This turn key three story town home home with four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths is Lowest priced unit available. Roomy (2032 square feet), affordable, and convenient.This is a street side unit. Unit 106 directly behind this Sold for $625,000 11-4-16. Bay island is a private community of 16 town homes next to Stone Harbor marina. Boaters will love this location! The family friendly design of this three-story townhouse combines comfort with fun carefree lifestyle and has plenty of room for everybody. Less than a half mile to the center of town & 3 blocks from the beach (just a short stroll or a bike ride to the shops and restaurants on 96 street.) The family friendly design of this luxury three story town house combines comfort with a fun, carefree lifestyle and has plenty of room for everybody. Just a short stroll or bike ride to boutiques and restaurants on 96th street . Relax on the covered front porch, or catch some sun on the second or third floor deck with a peek of the bay, or out at the pool. You'll Enter foyer and first floor offers two nice size bedrooms a full bath and a laundry room.


See this listing on my website!

http://www.nancyalexander.com/homes-for-sale-details/1114-STONE-HARBOR-BLVD-114-STONE-HARBOR-MANOR-NJ-08210/171783/179/







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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

See my Stone Harbor NJ listing! Luxury South End Stone Harbor Home with 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths just a year old.

234 118th street
Stone Harbor, NJ 08247


Listing #175217 --->>> Virtual Tour


See this listing on my website!




Luxury South End Stone Harbor Home with 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths just a year old. This place is first class all the way! Fabulous floor plan for entertaining and for large family living. Every luxurious amenity including beautiful heated pool. Both the kitchen area and front deck are ideal for an after dinner gathering of family and friends. Master bedroom retreat with private bath. 4 bedrooms and 3 baths are located on the first floor along with the spacious family room which overlooks the outdoor pool and patio area. The fabulous outdoor area features a heated pool, fireplace, custom grilling area and bar, bar stools, even a TV. On the second floor, you will find open Great room with vaulted ceiling, fireplace, 7 expansive glass doors lead to the front deck. (providing even more entertainment space.) Also..two bedrooms with private spa like baths, a hall bath . The private master bedroom retreat suite spans the entire rear of the second floor with a private deck.Vaulted ceilings in each bedroom, and each bedroom has its own private bath. Large well appointed kitchen with an over sized marble top island, custom cabinetry, paneled appliances,a pantry, & 2 dishwashers! Family room with coffered ceiling off the pool area .Wet bar, Built-in speakers are ready to allow your iPhone or iPad control the sound! Grab your favorite drink, kick back, relax, enjoy beautiful ocean, bay views and sunsets from the front deck. Just a little over a block to the quiet, wide south end beaches and just around the corner from the Bird Sanctuary! Being Sold fully furnished and decorated .Everything you need for your new beach home! Custom touches throughout including, natural stone tiled baths, Italian porcelain distressed wide plank hardwood tile, no slip travertine tile in patio area & surrounding the beautiful custom pool! $119,000 in rental income mid June To Labor Day!



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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

See my listing in Stone Harbor NJ! In the heart of town! AFFORDABLE 5 bedroom,3 bath upside down home on oversized lot!

250 95TH STREET, STONE HARBOR, NJ 08247








Listing #178209 --- >>>> Virtual Tour






In the heart of town! AFFORDABLE 5 bedroom,3 bath upside down home on oversized lot! The perfect combination of convenience and affordability. This upside-down home is perfect for large family . The layout has lots of room for everyone. On the second floor level of this upside down home you will find the open living room, informal dining area and kitchen . There are home 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths, family room, second floor sundeck . The second floor deck is very large and partially covered to enjoy your peaceful back yard under the shade. There is plenty of storage with this home, including a large attached garage and shed in back yard. Big back yard for your swimming pool. Short walk to the boutiques, shops,the new Harbor Theater on 96th street or to Springer's for ice cream. Play tennis? The courts are close by at 96th street.







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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Building an Emergency Fund to Cover Unexpected Home Repairs

With homeownership comes new responsibilities, including repair and maintenance expenses. Sooner or later, you'll encounter a leaky faucet or a blown circuit breaker and quickly learn that keeping your household up and running is no longer as simple as a call to the landlord.

Deciding how much money to spend on fixing or replacing something that's broken is often a judgment call. Either way, you need the cash to cover the expense. Building an emergency fund to assist with unexpected costs can help you promptly take care of home repairs without disrupting your daily routine.



Establish an Estimated Baseline Cost of Annual Home Repairs
Saving for a home purchase requires persistence and dedication - good habits that should continue well past settlement day. The total amount you'll need in an emergency savings fund can vary widely from home to home, as certain home characteristics may cause you to spend more or less than average on annual maintenance and repairs. Make sure to consider the age of the property, as older houses generally require more upkeep. The quality of appliances, fixtures and underlying systems like heating, cooling and plumbing may also affect your projected home repair costs.
It's also important to consider your home's location. Homes in flood-prone areas may be more susceptible to water intrusion, which can be mitigated with flood insurance. Likewise, exposure to temperature extremes, both hot and cold, can have detrimental effects on your home that require additional repair and maintenance expenses.

Budget for Emergencies and Big Fixes
Your emergency fund should be an amount you save over and above the annual maintenance costs of your home. Pay for predictable monthly or quarterly bills like lawn care, utilities, association dues and regularly scheduled cleaning services out of your household spending budget, not your emergency savings. You can determine how much you're spending in ongoing maintenance by tracking payments and recording the bills you pay in a spreadsheet or a personal financial app.
You may need to increase your emergency fund balance as larger items in your home begin to age. Keep track of your appliances and other items that may need to be replaced in the next year or so, and set aside money to pay for new ones. A large expense such as a roof replacement may require an even longer savings period.
Even in new homes, unplanned repairs can arise from a severe weather event, like high winds or hail. As any homeowner knows, an appliance that was previously working just fine may begin to malfunction for no obvious reason. An emergency fund allows you to handle surprises like these and pay for repairs that aren't covered by insurance.

Plan for Future Upgrades
Once you're comfortable with your new home and your ability to handle the related expenses, you can start thinking about additional home improvement projects - ways to improve your space rather than simply keep up the existing features. When you're ready to tackle something new, start small with a minor project such as a bathroom remodel. Eventually, you can save for larger-scale remodels like a kitchen renovation or an addition that will add value to your home and transform your living space.

If you're about to become a new homeowner, expect the unexpected - build an emergency fund for unforeseen repairs. On top of annual maintenance expenses and the cost of your monthly mortgage and escrow, an emergency savings cushion will help you to breathe easier and make the homeownership experience a positive one.


Written by Realty Times Staff



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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update October 19th, 2017



MARKET STATS: 48 properties sold in September, an increase over August, and 35 properties are currently under contract, up significantly from a year ago.  For a detailed look at the latest market stats, see the Long & Foster Market Minute report:  http://marketminute.longandfoster.com/Market-Minute/NJ/Avalon-Stone-Harbor.pdf



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


 
EZ PASS IS COMING to Ocean Drive bridges in Cape May County.  The $500,000 upgrade was authorized in February, but installation work was delayed until after Labor Day.  Even when the installation is complete, bridge tenders will still be needed to open the bridges for boat traffic. 

FRIDAY NIGHT SPORTS begins this Friday at Avalon Community Hall.  Kids ages 5 through 15 are invited to try some dodgeball, wiffleball, flag football, or kickball.  Ages 5-10 will play each Friday from 6-7:30pm and ages 11-15 will play from 7:30-9pm, through November 17th.  For more info contact the Avalon Recreation Department at 609-967-3066 or email cmcdonnell@avalonboro.org.

FALL FOLIAGE TRIPS!  Cape May Seashore Lines will run two more Fall Foliage trips this weekend, between Tuckahoe and Richland.  Ride the rails through South Jersey’s pinelands as the greens of summer give way to the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall!  Tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for children.  Click here for more info and tickets:  http://www.capemayseashorelines.org/cmsl.php



Got milk?  Avalon, Peermont, and Stone Harbor did, thanks to J.O. Garrison!



MARK YOUR CALENDARS: THANKSGIVING WEEKEND is a great one here on the Island.  Festive Friday and Snowfest Saturday return to Avalon, and “It’s a Wonderful Life” returns to Stone Harbor.   The weekend is filled with  activities for families, music, shopping, and a huge parade Saturday evening.  If you’re able to be here, plan on it!

2018 SUMMER RENTALS:  Make your plans now!  It’s never too early to begin your search…call or email me with your specifications.  Property Owners: time to get those 2018 rates in!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Clean Ocean Action Fall Beach Sweep, Volunteers Needed, meet at the Stone Harbor Beach Patrol Headquarters at 95th Street & the beach, 9AM-12:30PM, Saturday, October 21
  • Representative from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine will speak on Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles of NJ including those that swim in our waters and the dangers they face, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-11AM, Saturday, October 21
  • Creative Writing Workshop, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday October 21
  • Avalon Dune Grass Planting, Volunteers Needed, Avalon Community Hall, lunch for volunteers at 11AM, planting to follow, Saturday, October 21 (Rain Date is Sunday, October 22)
  • Author David Dean will speak about his book, The Thirteenth Child, set in Southern NJ during the Halloween season, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-3PM, Saturday, October 21
  • Miss Avalon Pageant, Avalon Elementary School, 6PM, Saturday, October 21
  • AAZK Adults Only Night Walk at the Cape May County Zoo, after hours tour of the zoo, for reservations & tickets visithttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/adults-only-night-walk-at-the-zoo-tickets-38053100849?aff=ehomecard  up to two weeks prior to the event, 6:30-8:30PM, Saturday, October 21
  • Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey, statewide festival challenge to visit 11 lighthouses including Hereford Inlet Lighthouse & Cape May Lighthouse, visit www.lhchallengenj.org for info, Saturday, October 21 & Sunday, October 22
  • Windows & Android Devices, open forum workshop for help with general questions, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11:30AM, Saturday, October 28
  • Stone Harbor’s Harvest Festival, hayrides, pumpkin decorating, trick or treating in the shops, more, 96th Street Shopping District, 11AM-5PM, Saturday, October 28
  • Avalon’s Trunk or Treat Event, 30th Street Parking Lot, 5-7PM, Saturday, October 28
  • Trick or Treating in Avalon & Stone Harbor, Property Owners who will be providing treats can add their addresses to the Trick or Treating Route for Kids by calling 609-368-1210 by Friday, October 27th, an identifying Trick or Treat pumpkin will be delivered to your door, 5-8PM, Tuesday, October 31
  • Big Band Dance featuring Tony DeLuca and the Paisans, Avalon Community Hall, 7PM, Saturday, November 4
  • American Legion Post #331 Veterans’ Day Ceremony, Veterans’ Plaza, 11AM, Saturday, November 11
  • Stone Harbor American Legion Veterans’ Day Ceremony, 11617 Second Avenue, Noon, Saturday, November 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Atlantic City Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit Food Bank of Southern Jersey, 2-4PM, Sunday, November 12
  • Cooler By A Mile, Greater By A Million, David LaPuma, Director of NJ Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory discusses how twice a year millions of birds migrate over NJ to & from breeding & wintering grounds across the Western Hemisphere, Avalon Public Library, 11AM-Noon, Saturday, November 18

Featured Property:

An extraordinary location in Avalon’s high dunes, overlooking the ocean…enjoy this three story home or construct a brand new 11,000 square foot home!



5609 Dune Drive, Avalon, $8,495,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 175051



New Listings:

7900 Dune Drive, Avalon, $425,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178749

8306 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $875,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178772

218 118th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,950,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178785

315 58th Street, Avalon, $3,595,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178737

75 W. 37th Street, Avalon, $4,895,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178794
  

Properties Sold:

7800 Dune Drive, Avalon, $267,500, SOLD MLS#: 178632

284 67th Street, Avalon, $835,000, SOLD MLS#: 177818

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #308, Stone Harbor Manor, $835,000, SOLD MLS#: 174816

269 25th Street, Avalon, $850,000, SOLD MLS#: 175708

619 22nd Street, Avalon, $950,000, SOLD MLS#: 174312

376 94th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,351,000, SOLD MLS#: 177626

10522 Golden Gate Rd., Stone Harbor, $2,180,250, SOLD MLS#: 170930








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

Monday, October 16, 2017

6 Surprising Benefits Of Buying Or Selling Your Home In The Fall

Seeing fewer for-sale signs now that summer is over? That can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and buyers who want to get rid of their place and buy a new one. If you think you missed the boat on making your move this year, we're here to tell you why buying and selling in the fall can work for you.

Less competition
Yes, there may be fewer homes on the market, but there are also fewer buyers out there competing for the same home you want. That gives buyers an important edge. "Families on a mission to move into a new home before school starts are out of the picture," said Forbes. "Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale - and in some cases, there's just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer."
The benefit to sellers is that those buyers who are out there tend to be more serious, which means your REALTOR® can key in on the real buyers without having to sift through the riffraff.



AgentJet.com

Tax breaks
If you're a buyer who closes escrow before December 31, and you may get a nice write off on your taxes. "Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year's worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December," David Hryck, a New York, NY tax adviser, lawyer, and personal finance expert told Realtor.com. "Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year."
There are also potential tax breaks for home sellers. "You can include all sorts of selling expenses in the cost basis of your house," said The Balance. "Increasing your adjusted cost basis decreases your capital gain because this is what's subtracted from the sales price to determine how much of a gain - or loss in some cases - you've realized. If you have less of a gain, you're more likely to fall within the exclusion limit, and if you're gain isn't excluded, you'll pay taxes on less." And that's just the beginning. Closing costs and home improvements may also be write offs for sellers. Check out the full list here.

Home for the holidays
Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be nicely situated in your new home in time for the holidays and before winter weather hits. Moving during a calmer time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons.

The right price
Did you list in the spring or summer with an exorbitant number that you thought you'd have no trouble getting because it was a hot market? That's pretty common these days. Whether you've had a revelation about the price you should be asking or have made updates to your home to justify a higher price, you're probably in better shape to get your (realistic) asking price in the fall. If you're a seller and you establish a smart pricing strategy, you could find your home standing out in the crowd and selling while others sit on the market under a blanket of snow.
Buyers also may have a better time getting a home that's within their budget because when there is less competition for homes, there is less chance of bidding wars and over-asking-price sales.

Fall may be safer for buyers and sellers
Here's something you may not have thought of. "Did you know that burglars have peak seasons? They do, Sarah Brown, a home safety expert for SafeWise.com, told Forbes. "July and August are prime months for burglaries to take place. Waiting until the fall [to buy] gives you an advantage when learning about a home and the neighborhood. You'll be settled in your home and can take precautions—like setting up that new alarm system—before the next burglary season rolls around.
For sellers, less competition for your home can be a good thing if it means your home is safer from theft.

Great deals on stuff to fix up your home

Coordinate the timing right, and those items you need to fix up your home for sale in the fall or update and upgrade after a purchase might be priced to your advantage. Check Consumer Reports for a full list of the best times of year to buy everything, and keep in mind holiday and Black Friday sales. You could score some great deals at this time of year.


Written by Jaymi Naciri



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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Taking A Tax Loss On Your Principal Residence


Question. When my wife died several years ago, I sold the large house we were living in and bought a smaller house.. That purchase was at the top of the local real estate market. I have just purchased a retirement home and would like to sell my current property. However, after real estate commissions and sales expenses, I am facing a sizable loss -- and my accountant tells me this loss is not tax deductible. Can you suggest any solutions so that I do not lose my long-term investment?




Answer. Your accountant is correct. Current tax law permits a tax loss deduction for investment property but not for a principal residence. Although it appears that some day in the foreseeable future Congress will provide similar tax relief for the American Homeowner, at present no such laws are on the books. In fact, the current Congress appears intent on reducing homeowner rights and benefits.

You do, however, have a few options.

First, to the extent you can make projections, try to analyze the future marketability of your house. Will the house come back up in value, or will it continue to deteriorate? If you keep the house for a longer period of time, will you have to make a number of costly repairs and thus be throwing good money after bad? In other words, does it make sense to "take your loss and run?"

Second, if you decide it makes sense not to sell now, rent the house out for a year or two. Abandon the house as your principal residence; pay taxes where your retirement home is located, get a new driver's license and new voter registration card at a different address. Let your friends and relatives know that you no longer call that property your "home."

A year or two from now, depending on your financial and personal needs, you can then sell the property. Since it will then be investment real estate, you may be able to deduct some of your tax loss on your income tax return (although you should confirm the amount with your accountant).

If you do not need the money -- or the tax loss -- and if the rental income from the house is worthwhile, you can continue to rent out the house.

Third, once you have converted the property to that of an investment (rather than your principal residence), you might want to consider swapping the house under the "like-kind" (Starker) exchange. Such an exchange would permit you to obtain alternative real estate, without currently having to pay tax on any profit. Obviously, however, if you have no gain, there is no need to consider a Starker exchange. The rules for such an exchange are complex, and have been discussed in earlier columns.

Finally, if you have children, why not consider keeping the real estate until your death. Under current tax law, (which may change in the current Congress) your children will inherit the property at what is known as the "stepped-up" basis. Oversimplified, this means that the children's tax basis is the value of the property at the date of your death -- and not your tax basis. Your tax advisors should be asked to analyze all of these various options.

Your question also raised a very important issue facing many older homeowners-- and one that is often overlooked or forgotten. Many homeowners purchased their first home many years ago at low prices. Over the years -- especially in the l970s and l980s -- real estate appreciated rapidly. Many homeowners moved from one house to another, and took advantage of the roll-over. Now, when they want to sell their last house -- or purchase down in price as you are considering -- the tax issues become very important.

Let us look at the following example. Assume that in 1970, you and your wife purchased your first house for $30,000. Over the years, you added $20,000 in improvements, and thus the basis for tax purposes (purchase price plus improvements) for you and your wife was $25,000 each. In 1987, you sold the house for $200,000, thus generating what you probably believed was a paper profit of $150,000.

However, since your wife died before you sold the first house, your basis is increased by virtue of the "stepped up" basis. At the time of your wife's death, the property was worth $200,000. Under the tax laws, you inherited your wife's basis as of the date of her death; in our example, her basis was $100,000. Thus, for tax purposes, the basis of your first house when you sold it was $125,000 ($25,000 plus $100,000).

Your house was sold for $200,000, and thus your profit was $75,000. But since you purchased your current house within two years from the time the first house was sold, you qualified for the roll-over, and this profit was used to reduce the basis of the Alexandria house. Accordingly, although you paid $300,000 for the new property, in reality its basis is $225,000.

If you sell the house now for $220,000, even after paying real estate commissions and other expenses, your paper loss will not be as great as you think.

However, this is tax talk; you are looking at an actual loss of $80,000, since you purchased the house at $300,000 and now can only sell it for $220,000. There are a lot of people who purchased real estate at the peak of the market, -- and despite significant increases in value -- many homeowners are still unfortunately under water.


And the rollover has long been replaced by the up-to-$250,000/$500,000 exclusion of gain.


Written by Benny L. Kass


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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Financial Don'ts When Getting Ready To Buy A Home

If you're in the process of buying a home, you've probably already met with a lender who advised you on what to do and what not to do during the escrow process. But if you're just getting ready to buy or plan on doing so in the near future, following a few financial tips can mean the difference between qualifying...and not, and also getting a decent rate. These are a few universal "don'ts" that will help you stay on track, even before you get a lender involved.



Don't take out more credit

If you're thinking you're going to buy a house in a matter of a few months, forget that new laptop on the Best Buy card, forget that new car, and forget that Old Navy card. Sure, it's only a $30 pair of pants. But, taking out more credit can harm your debt-to-income ratios, which can make you look like a credit risk. And that's not worth it, no matter how cute the pants are.

Don't pay off all your current credit cards

Your lender will tell you specifically what you should pay down and what you should leave alone, but banks tend to like responsible credit management. In some cases, that may mean carrying a small balance on one or more cards.

Don't charge up all your cards to the limit

"Responsible credit management" does not mean running every available card up to the limit and/or only making minimum monthly payments. Banks will not look kindly on this when you go to get approved for a loan.

Be careful with old debts

You may think that in order to qualify for a mortgage or get the best possible rate you have to pull your credit and go back through every single entry to identify and take care of anything negative. You're right about the first part. Pulling your credit so you know what you're working with is critical, and financial experts recommend doing it annually, regardless of what you're planning (or not planning) to buy. But be careful with old debts. It doesn't hurt to ask a lender what should and should not be taken care of. But, in general, you'll want to:
Pay in full instead of making settlement arrangements - It's not uncommon for debt collection companies to send out settlement offers that allow you to settle debts for less than the total amount. While this can sound tempting, it likely won't yield the results you're looking for. Yes, it'll stop the harassing phone calls and persistent letters. But if your goal is to get the debt to disappear from your credit report, you'll be disappointed.
"When you settle your debt, the activity usually shows up on your credit report as ‘debt settled' or ‘partial payment' or ‘paid in settlement.' You can talk to the settlement company about the specific language they use, but the bottom line is: this is a red flag on your report," said clearpoint. "FICO doesn't reveal how much your score will drop, exactly, and your report doesn't indicate how much of the original debt was forgiven; it simply shows you settled. Either way, it still points to the fact that you may be a credit risk."
Stick to newer debts - Older debts that are getting close to falling off your report should be the last thing you pay. "You also want to consider the statute of limitations on your debt," they said. "Most past debts remain on your credit report for seven years, so if you're close to the time frame when the debt falls off, settling it may not make much of a difference. There's an ethical argument to be made here, but practically, you might just be settling a debt that was about to disappear anyway."

Be careful with debt consolidation

If you have a lot of outstanding debt, are in over your head with credit cards and store cards, and can only manage the minimum monthly payment on all your existing loans, you're likely going to have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage. You may be tempted to lump your debt together into one payment through a credit consolidation company, but beware the consequences. There may be startup fees, interest rates on the consolidation loan could skyrocket after an initial teaser rate expires, and, in some cases, an improvement in credit is years away.

Don't get lax with your payments

Your lender will reinforce this, but it bears repeating that even after you've been prequalified, you need to keep your payments current on your car, your Visa, etc. Your lender will do a recheck before closing just to make sure nothing has changed in your credit report, and if you have new issues, it could impact your loan.

Don't move money around

"We know a story of one homebuyer who almost lost his home because he had stated on his application that the down payment was coming from a mutual fund account. Then, two days before closing, he decided to sell a baseball card collection instead," said HSH.com. "The loan had to be underwritten all over, his ownership of the collection, its value and its sale had to be verified, the closing was delayed and the fees increased."

Don't change jobs before you buy your home

This is a big no-no don't if you're in the process of buying a home or are about to. Among all the other financial information your lender will be collecting in consideration of your loan, they will also be asking about your employment history. You're obviously less likely to be approved if you're unemployed (unless you're independently wealthy, and, in that case, Congratulations!). A recent job change may also be problematic if the bank is feeling jumpy about your job security.



Written by Jaymi Naciri





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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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



THE WETLANDS INSTITUTE has received a grant from the Leff Family Foundation in support of its Coastal Sustainability and Wetland Health Program.  The grant will allow Institute scientists to continue monitoring impacts to area marshes, and help guide decision making related to coastal sustainability, beneficial reuse of dredge materials, and wetland restoration.

HAVE OLD AVALON PHOTOS?  The Avalon History Center invites you to their “scanning party” on Saturday, October 14th, from 1pm to 3pm.  Bring up to ten Avalon photos, and the History Center will scan them for you, and with your permission, will retain a digital copy.  Browse the exhibits and enjoy refreshments while you wait!  (If you have more than ten photos, let the History Center know so that arrangements can be made to scan your collection at another time.)  What a great way to preserve Avalon’s history!

THE COASTAL RESEARCH CENTER from Richard Stockton College of NJ will be surveying the back bays of Stone Harbor twice per year in order to monitor the need for maintenance dredging, as well as bulkhead heights to help the borough research and plan for future flood mitigation efforts.


Blue skies and a steady breeze make for great sailing in the back bay!


DOCUMENT SHREDDING will be offered by the Cape May County Association of Realtors this Saturday.  Stop by the CMCAR building at 1546 Route 9 in Swainton from 11am to 12 noon with your boxes or bags of documents.  Paper only please—plastic bags and binder clips cannot be shredded (staples and paperclips are fine).

THE MARINE MAMMAL STRANDING CENTER will present a talk on marine mammals and sea turtles present in local waters, including the dangers they face in their everyday lives.  The talk will be hosted by the Avalon Free Public Library on Saturday, October 21st at 10am.  Learn about these fascinating creatures and how the Marine Mammal Stranding Center helps them!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Avalon Senior Center Presentation featuring Dr. John Ruskey, topic is Cape Regional Medical Center’s New Initiatives, 10AMSaturday, October 14
  • “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
  • Representative from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine will speak on Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles of NJ including those that swim in our waters and the dangers they face, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-11AM, Saturday, October 21
  • Avalon Dune Grass Planting, Volunteers Needed, Avalon Community Hall, lunch for volunteers at 11AM, planting to follow, Saturday, October 21 (Rain Date is Sunday, October 22)
  • Author David Dean will speak about his book, The Thirteenth Child, set in Southern NJ during the Halloween season, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-3PMSaturday, October 21
  • Miss Avalon Pageant, Avalon Elementary School, 6PMSaturday, October 21
  • AAZK Adults Only Night Walk at the Cape May County Zoo, after hours tour of the zoo, for reservations & tickets visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adults-only-night-walk-at-the-zoo-tickets-38053100849?aff=es2  up to two weeks prior to the event, 6:30-8:30PMSaturday, October 21
  • Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey, statewide festival challenge to visit 11 lighthouses including Hereford Inlet Lighthouse & Cape May Lighthouse, visit www.lhchallengenj.org 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 28
  • Avalon’s Trunk or Treat Event, 30th Street Parking Lot, 5-7PMSaturday, October 28
  • Trick or Treating in Avalon & Stone Harbor, Property Owners who will be providing treats can add their addresses to the Trick or Treating Route for Kids by calling 609-368-1210 by Friday, October 27th, an identifying Trick or Treat pumpkin will be delivered to your door, 5-8PMTuesday, October 31
  • Big Band Dance featuring Tony DeLuca and the Paisans, Avalon Community Hall, 7PMSaturday, November 4
  • American Legion Post #331 Veterans’ Day Ceremony, Veterans’ Plaza, 11AMSaturday, November 11
  • Stone Harbor American Legion Veterans’ Day Ceremony, 11617 Second AvenueNoonSaturday, November 11
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Atlantic City Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit Food Bank of Southern Jersey, 2-4PMSunday, November 12

  
Featured Property:
This exceptional oceanfront home offers fabulous ocean views!



95 E. 11th Street, Avalon, $5,600,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 174716


New Listings:

351 96th Street, #406, Stone Harbor, $679,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178662

46 Seabreeze Lane, Avalon Manor, $799,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178674

48 Seabreeze Lane, Avalon Manor, $849,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178706

2015 Harbor Avenue, Avalon, $899,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178645

324 92nd Street, Stone Harbor, $2,300,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178663

127 94th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,875,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178675

5878 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $6,875,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178681


Properties Sold:

432 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $355,000, SOLD MLS#: 176796

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

225 29th Street, Avalon, $965,000, SOLD MLS#: 175982

262 56th Street, Avalon, $1,150,000, SOLD MLS#: 171404

275 85th St., Stone Harbor, $1,152,500, SOLD MLS#: 176299

1019 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,645,000, SOLD MLS#: 168295

74 E. 13th Street, Avalon, $2,750,000, SOLD MLS#: 177091

10109 Sunrise Drive, Stone Harbor, $4,000,000, SOLD MLS#: 176423






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