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National Association of Realtors

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update November 30th, 2017 #RealEstate

AN ARTIFICIAL REEF will be built on the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay several miles from Cape May.  The reef will be located in water that’s 19 to 35 feet deep, and constructed of rock, concrete, and other materials.  The hope is that the reef will soon become home to mussels, crabs, small fish, and eventually larger fish popular with fishermen.    Several artificial reefs already exist on the Delaware side of the bay, but this is the first on the New Jersey side.  The new reef will be roughly equidistant from Cape May and Fortescue.  Construction is expected to begin in December.

These fishermen enjoyed a magnificent November sunset on their way home!

BIG STRIPERS are on their way!  Striped bass typically move southward and arrive here in the late fall as local waters cool.  Large stripers have been caught in locations further north, including a 54 pounder off Long Beach Island.   If you’d like to try your hand at landing a large striper, Smuggler’s Cove is hosting the annual Scott Bevan Striped Bass Bonanza tournament on Saturday, beginning at sunrise, with weigh-ins to be completed by 5pm.  Stop by Smuggler’s Cove in advance for tickets and information.

A FIRE IN SEA ISLE destroyed three homes at 91st Street and Pleasure Avenue in the early morning hours last Friday.  A large plume of smoke over the ocean could be seen from neighboring towns as firefighters from Sea Isle fought the blaze, with assistance from Avalon, Strathmere, Ocean View, and Marmora.  Fortunately all the homes were unoccupied at the time of the fire. 

NEW TAX ASSESSMENTS ARE COMING in Avalon, as the Tax Assessors office is sending out value notices to property owners this week.  Owners interested in discussing their new assessment will have the opportunity to set an appointment (instructions will be included with the value notice).  If you’d like information on recent comps please call me.  We can discuss them in advance so you’re prepared to meet with the assessor.

LOOKING FOR THE ULTIMATE HOLIDAY GIFT?  How about a shore home of your very own?  Your family will thank you for years…and make memories that will last a lifetime!  Call or email me…I’ll even supply the big red bow! 

  • Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, train rides, bounce castle, Santa & more, Cape May County Zoo, 4:30-6PMFriday, December 1
  • Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Tree Lighting, Santa will be visiting, 5:30PMFriday, December 1
  • Avalon Historical Society’s Annual Open House, refreshments, music, holiday cheer, 215-39th Street, 4PM-7PMSaturday, December 2
  • Stone Harbor’s Caroling & Tree Lighting, 9508 Second Avenue4:45-7PMWednesday, December 6
  • Holiday Stroll, town wide in Sea Isle City, visit for info, Saturday, December 9
  • Santa’s Family Workshop, Santa photo ops, crafts, candy, music, scavenger hunt, more, Cape May County Zoo, 11AM-2PMSaturday, December 9
  • Big Band Dance featuring The Star Band, Avalon Community Hall, 7PMSaturday, December 9
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-NoonSaturday, December 16
  • Seven Mile Island Singers Holiday Performance, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-1:45PMSaturday, December 16
  • Fantasia Christmas, Linda Gentille & The Jersey Shore Pops perform a traditional Christmas concert with a Disney twist, for additional info, Middle Township Performing Arts Center, 3PMSaturday, December 16
  • Harpist Lucia Marone plays classical & holiday songs on The Porch, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, December 30
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, JFK Boulevard & the beach in Sea Isle City, visit for info, Sunday, December 31

Featured Property:
Five bedrooms and a pool, within easy walking distance to 96th Street!

265 87th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,899,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177721

New Listings:

3465 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $869,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179352

470 20th Street, Avalon, $1,250,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179323

198 72nd Street, Avalon, $2,600,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179374

Properties Sold:

10726 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $515,000, SOLD MLS#: 176716

700 First Ave. Unit #207, Avalon, $530,000, SOLD MLS#: 178196

700 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $675,000, SOLD MLS#: 177921

10918 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $700,000, SOLD MLS#: 173119

2310 Dune Drive, Avalon, $815,000, SOLD MLS#: 177815

384 20 Street, Avalon, $875,000, SOLD MLS#: 178442

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

623 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,700,000, SOLD MLS#: 176657

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

Best Financial Investments for Your Home

By Craig Middleton
Over the last couple of years, rehabbing TV shows have become increasingly popular. In these shows, people fix or introduce new features to their homes while adding substantial market value to the house in the process. If you own a home, you can make many of these types of fixes or additions to increase the value of your home, too. You can also enjoy these changes for as long as you live there. Some of the best financial investments you can make to your home include:
Major Problem Fixes
The first high-return investment you should make in your home is to correct all major problems. If your home has serious issues, such as a broken air conditioner or a pipe leak, fixing those issues should be priority No. 1. Repairing or replacing the roof and siding can be a great investment, and potential buyers will generally factor in both the time and cost of having to fix it. Problems like these are always easier to fix when they're small than later after having put them off.
Exterior Improvements
Investing in the facade of a home can also bring great returns. Replacing garage doors is one of these investments. If your garage door looks new, your house will look new, as well. Painting the outside of your home is another good investment in the exterior. If you don't want to take the time and money to fully repaint your home, pressure-washing can be a quick way to make the outside of your home look much more presentable.
Entryway Improvements
Another good investment is to invest in a new entryway door. Like the garage door, the front door is important in making a good first impression on a potential buyer. Replacing your front door with a steel door can also make your home safer; increasing the safety of your home can be another great selling point for a potential buyer. Replacing windows is another way to make the outside of your home look better, as well as improve the home's energy efficiency.
Fixes and additions to the inside of your home can be a great financial investment. A fresh coat of paint to the interior can add value by making the home look cleaner and brighter.
Update Bathroom, Kitchen and Appliances
Improving your home's bathroom, particularly visible elements such as vanities, lighting, toilets and tubs, can create a high return. For bathroom improvements, you may obtain a better return on investment by spending your money on items in the bathroom that a potential buyer would see, instead of completely gutting the bathroom.
Kitchen remodels can be another way to significantly improve the value of your home. For kitchen remodels, you'll want to spend money on functional items such as cabinets, drawers, pantry doors and appliances. Appliances such as refrigerators don't have to be completely new, but they should keep up with current trends. Kitchen remodels should also suit the home. A kitchen that looks like it belongs in a $300,000 home will feel out of place in a $150,000 home.
Adding high-efficiency appliances to a home can modernize it and also save you money on electricity. Some states and cities have tax programs that could reduce your taxes if you buy and use high-efficiency appliances that require less electricity.
Overall, you should research the investment potential of your home before making any purchase. If you are trying to increase the value of your home, you need to make sure your fix or addition will increase the value of the home not only for you, but also to potential buyers.

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

4 Gadgets To Techify Your Home

The value and usefulness of your home goes beyond its foundation, walls and roof in 2017. Automated home assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, and smart thermostats like the Nest are just a few of the electronics transforming modern homes into livable computers.
Whether it's to increase your home's value and sellability or just get with the times of a modern home, these are four gadgets that will help bring you and your house into the 21st century.

Nest Protect
Most people are familiar with the Nest thermostat, that smart device to control your home's temperature and reduce energy costs, but the Nest Protect could save more than dollars off your utility bill — it could save your life.
The Protect is the next evolution in the same old smoke detector which, let's be honest, hasn't changed much in the last 50 years. The smart detector picks up both smoke and carbon monoxide and sends alerts to your phones, whether you're home or away, to let you know something is wrong. The Nest Protect also carries other nifty features like differentiating steam and smoke and knowing not to bug your about a low battery at two in the morning.

Goal Zero Yeti Generator
Speaking of technology from the past, most people don't need gas-powered generators in 2017. They're obnoxiously loud, can't be used indoors and you must have gasoline on-hand for them to be any use. Goal Zero solar-powered generators are the backup power source of the 21st century.
These battery-powered and very portable generators connect to solar panels to recharge or can power up right from your wall outlet. They offer tons of output options to charge all your devices and are used from everything from tailgating to a power outage. There's no hiding the fact that these generators aren't cheap, but they're sold at major outdoor retailers such as Cabela's.

Logitech Harmony Elite
The list of electronic devices in the home is growing rapidly — TV, streaming box, cable, surround sound, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos speaker systems, even that Nest Protect mentioned above. Many of them come with their own remotes and managing all those clickers can be a huge pain in the subwoofer.
That's why Logitech, which is been making the best universal remotes for years, has the perfect solution in the Harmony Elite. It connects seamlessly to 270,000 entertainment and smart devices to create one remote to rule them all. This makes controlling your devices more convenient and cleans up your living room look.

Smart Lock
Runners will love this one. Never sure what to do with your keys when you hit the pavement? Now you can leave them inside and lock the door at the same time. The August Smart Lock goes over your door's dead bolt lock and uses Wi-Fi to connect to your smartphone to lock and unlock.
Ever leave the house and you're not sure if the door is locked or not? August will tell you via your smartphone. You can give lock access to friends and family with the app and even set the door to auto-lock when you leave for the day.

Written by Realty Times Staff

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update November 22nd, 2017 #RealEstate

MARKET STATS:  In October the median sale price increased by 9% over October 2016, while the number of units sold increased by 16%.  For a detailed look at the market, check out the latest Long & Foster Market Minute report: 

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

GIVING BACK:  Long & Foster’s annual food drive was successful again this year, as our agents, staff, and clients donated dozens of bags of food items and frozen turkeys, plus gift cards and monetary donations, to the Holy Redeemer Food Pantry.  Holy Redeemer will distribute the food to local families in need.  Special thanks to Gina Reynolds, Branch Administrator, for coordinating our food drive effort, and Paul Leiser (13) for his help in collecting and delivering items.

Two car loads of food items were donated by L&F agents, staff, and clients.  The food was  collected and delivered to Holy Redeemer Food Pantry earlier this week by Paul E. Leiser and his grandson Paul, age 13.

FESTIVE FRIDAY & SNOWFEST SATURDAY arrive in Avalon after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Activities include music, shopping, a bounce house, ice skating, a tree lighting, and visits with Santa.
For a list of activities in Avalon, click here:

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE in Stone Harbor again this year.  Kick off the holiday season with family friendly activities, including caroling, shopping, refreshments, face painting, train display, and a downtown holiday dash.  Saturday night’s Christmas Parade caps off a weekend of fun.  For a list of activities in Stone Harbor, click here:

If you’ve never experienced Thanksgiving Weekend here on the Island, give it a try.  You’ll have a great time!

SEASHORE SHOPPING goes hand in hand with a visit to the Island at this time of year.  Find the perfect gift, including items you can only find at the shore such as holiday beach tags, a box of fudge from the Fudge Kitchen, coffee from Avalon Coffee, or a gift certificate to a local restaurant. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your family!

  • Avalon’s Festival of Trees, The Whitebrier at 260-20th Street, 5PMWednesday, November 22
  • Brendan Borek 5K Turkey Trot at Cape May Fitness, visit for details, Thursday, November 23
  • Mrs. Claus will share holiday stories & crafts for kids of all ages, Avalon Free Public Library, 10:00-10:45AMFriday, November 24
  • Festive Friday, family friendly activities for all, shopping, more, throughout Avalon’s business district, 11AM-6PMFriday, November 24
  • Avalon’s Festival of Trees, The Whitebrier at 260-20th Street, Noon-8PMFriday, November 24
  • Brass Quintet Performance, holiday music performed by the Bay Atlantic Symphony Quintet, Avalon’s Veterans’ Plaza, 4:15-5:30PMFriday, November 24
  • Stone Harbor’s Island Holiday, family friendly activities for all, shopping, more, throughout Stone Harbor’s shopping district, 10AM-9PMFriday, November 24 & Saturday, November 25
  • Avalon’s Snowfest Saturday, activities for all the family, shopping, more, throughout Avalon’s business district, 11AM-4PMSaturday, November 25
  • Stone Harbor’s Gala Christmas Parade down 96th Street, music, floats, decorations, Santa, more, 6:30PMSaturday, November 25
  • Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Tree Lighting, Santa will be visiting, 5:30PMFriday, December 1
  • Avalon Historical Society’s Annual Open House, refreshments, music, holiday cheer, 215-39th Street, 4PM-7PMSaturday, December 2
  • Stone Harbor’s Caroling & Tree Lighting, 9508 Second Avenue4:45-7PMWednesday, December 6
  • Holiday Stroll, town wide in Sea Isle City, visit for info, Saturday, December 9
  • Big Band Dance featuring The Star Band, Avalon Community Hall, 7PMSaturday, December 9
  • Fantasia Christmas, Linda Gentille & The Jersey Shore Pops perform a traditional Christmas concert with a Disney twist, for additional info, Middle Township Performing Arts Center, 3PMSaturday, December 16
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks, JFK Boulevard & the beach in Sea Isle City, visit  for info, Sunday, December 31

New Listings:

330 40th Street, Avalon, $649,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179278

8201 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $750,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179286

801 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor Manor, $849,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179272

214 28th Street, Avalon, $925,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179271

148 15th Street, Avalon, $1,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179220

763 Sunrise Drive, Avalon, $2,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179227

5959 Dune Drive, Avalon, $2,295,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179218

7708 Sunset Drive, Avalon, $3,500,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179287

24 Heron Drive, Avalon, $5,685,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179225

Properties Sold:

177 80th Street, Avalon, $320,000, SOLD MLS#: 178046

201 100th Street, Stone Harbor, $829,350, SOLD MLS#: 178560

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

9001 First Avenue, Stone Harbor, $3,066,000, SOLD MLS#: 174770

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Indoor Air Toxins to Be Aware of This Holiday Season

By Alison Grimes
As the holidays approach, there are many things to prepare. Some will even prepare an exercise routine or schedule to keep up with healthy weight fitness goals. However, few will consider the quality of air throughout the holiday season.
Holiday activities such as heating, cooking, cleaning and even decorating can affect your indoor air quality. So, this month, we’ve partnered with the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center to shed light on some common indoor air toxins to be aware of this holiday season.
Holiday decorating means frequent visits to mold-prone basements, attics or storage units. Decorations used every year carry dust and, if stored in cardboard, likely develop mold spores over time. It's important to store decorations in dry, plastic containers, and to clean them before entering them into your living spaces. Also, Americans will buy between 25 - 30 million live Christmas trees to decorate their homes this year. However, little consideration is given to how these trees affect indoor air quality. About seven percent of the general population with allergies suffers from Christmas tree allergies or Christmas Tree Syndrome.
Little attention is given amid the holiday rush to the treatment of cut trees—tightly bundled and packed into moisture-prone environments, either refrigerated or non-refrigerated, and distributed to a retailer near you. At this point, Christmas trees can carry more than 50 species of pathogenic mold spores and, in many cases, when trees arrive to your home, mold formations can begin to reproduce in as little as 12 hours. Here are a few ways to keep the indoor air in your home safe from mold produced by Christmas trees, wreaths and more:
  • Clean and wipe tree trunks thoroughly
  • Use a leaf blower to remove residue and pollen grains from pine needles
  • Consider cutting your own tree to reduce bypass, storage and transportation that promote mold growth
  • Consider disposing of your tree immediately following Christmas, as mold can colonize in as little as 1 - 12 days, depending on the type of mold.
Asbestos is a natural, fibrous silicate mineral with an estimated presence in over 35 million homes in the United States alone. Due to the abundance and fire-resistant properties of this natural resource, asbestos was widely used in construction and manufacturing throughout 1930 - 1970. As a result, many schools, buildings and homes built during this time period are likely to have asbestos-containing materials, such as shingles, siding, adhesives and paints, among other things. Years ago, asbestos was used to make decorative snow for windows and seasonal installments; however, in the 1960s, it was scientifically proven that asbestos was very dangerous to human health.
Exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis (a chronic lung disease), lung cancer, pleural effusion and a rare disease affecting the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart—mesothelioma. When asbestos-containing products become disturbed, releasing its fibers into the air, the fibers can become inhaled or ingested. Therefore, it is important to safely encapsulate asbestos-containing materials to keep safe this holiday season. Have your home tested for asbestos and learn more about asbestos here.
Radon Gas
Radon gas is a present no one wants for the holidays, yet radon levels can soar during colder months when residents keep windows closed and spend more time indoors. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as many as 8 million homes throughout the country (or one in five) contain elevated levels of radon. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths, following cigarette smoke, and is responsible for 22,000 lives each year. Radon gas is produced naturally as a result of the radioactive breakdown in uranium in rocks and soils. As a result, radon gas can enter households by way of dirt or unfinished basements; therefore, the EPA recommends having your home tested for radon. Also, have a radon scanner installed in your home to safeguard your family from prolonged radon gas exposure.
Particulate Matter
Traditional holiday meals and dinner preparation can result in elevated indoor air pollutant levels. Particularly, reports of elevated ultrafine particles (UFP) smaller than 100nm are associated with gas and electric stoves, and cooking appliances. Gas cooking also emits nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, associated with increased risk of asthma and cardiovascular disease. Consider using an indoor air purifier during the holidays and propping open a window for added ventilation.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Candles are festive and aromatic, but should also be used with caution. More than 1 billion pounds of wax are used in producing candles each year, in 2,000 varieties and over 1,000 scents. However, similar to wood burning, candle flames can produce soot, as well as ultrafine particles containing metals as a result of color pigments. Avoid candles made of paraffin, a petroleum byproduct, as they are most likely to emit carcinogenic soot aggravating the breathing environment for those with asthma, lung or heart problems. Also, avoid candles made prior to 2003 as they may contain lead-core wicks, which release five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children, and exceed EPA pollution standards for outdoor air. Consider natural candle alternatives made with 100 percent beeswax or vegetable-based wax and cotton wicks. To reduce soot, trip wicks to one-eighth of an inch and do not burn candles in drafty areas.

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Should You Build in the Winter? #RealEstate #Construction

By Megan Wild
Maybe it has taken longer than expected to find the perfect house, or perhaps you've always wanted to build. You find construction exciting and adore the idea of designing a home from the ground up. Surprisingly, an ideally situated plot just landed on the market, and it's priced to sell. Unfortunately, there's an issue.
Winter is approaching, and it doesn't intuitively feel like a good time for building or renovating. On the one hand, you're concerned about getting involved in a project challenged by cold weather conditions. On the other, you don't want to lose your auspicious real estate opportunity.
Variables unique to wintertime construction are worth consideration. Below we've compiled several things to consider to help you make well-informed decisions and implement effective project plans—even in freezing temperatures.
Sub-Freezing Temperatures
If the thermometer reads below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, any task that requires water is compromised. Mortar used in brickwork, for instance, will not bind properly. If a brick structure is in progress, freezing temperatures may cause cracks to form as water in connective mortar expands. This can significantly damage the structure's stability, resulting in the need to demolish and rebuild.
Rendering exterior walls, paving with asphalt and pouring cement are also problematic. It's vitally important to monitor both outdoor and ambient temperatures carefully, as well as future-forecasted probabilities. Delaying projects because of the weather can be costly, but perhaps not as much as having to redo them entirely if caution is not heeded.
Some contractors find a happy medium setting up heat lamps or arranging portable fuel heaters. These temporary measures work well, as long as potentially dangerous fumes are vented out, and site electrical wiring supports added wattage.
Other cold weather strategies include use of materials developed with year-round efficacy in mind. Precast concrete, for example, is cast and cured in a temperature-controlled factory setting. From there, materials are shipped straight to construction sites for installation. Concrete panels for walls, flooring, beams and planks are guaranteed for strength and durability, as well as fire resistance.
Extra Safety Considerations
Contractors who work in winter bundle up. Extra layers of clothing, bulky jackets and insulated gloves all lend distinct safety concern to any cold weather project. Not only does added padding slow laborers down, but it also increases the potential for accidental clashes with running equipment and valuable materials.
Snow and ice onsite present another challenge. Extra time to shovel out and sufficiently warm up machinery takes its toll on overall productivity, while great care must be exercised to avoid slip-and-fall injuries.
Projected time loss, however, should be reviewed in comparison to cost. Many bid contracts that reflect lower pricing to secure work during the slow winter months. If your deadline is not urgent, consider saving on labor-related fees. As long as site safety remains the focus, together with flexible completion requirements, it's a win-win.
Early Nightfall
Diminished daylight is an inevitable winter trademark. If proposed tasks take longer than expected—perhaps due to weather conditions or even the slow pace of bundled-up laborers—and require closure after nightfall, spot or floodlights may be needed.
Again, this is a question of potential added cost versus overall bid, as well as all-important electrical support.
Batten Down the Hatches
Early nightfall presents site-specific security risks. It is not uncommon for expensive machinery to be parked in the lot overnight. Metal scraps, hand tools and boxed appliances awaiting installation are easy enough to stow away in storage trailers, but large equipment and piles of heavy material remain outdoors, open to the possibility of criminal damage and theft.
Contractors can minimize such threat with a number of strategies including employment of overnight security guards, arranging for webcam surveillance and placing motion detector floodlights in strategic locations.
Move-In Ready
Consider broadening your definition of what constitutes move-in ready. If your preliminary home structure is up and passes inspection, you can move in. Put decorative touches such as exterior paint, fence installation, gateway erection and property landscape on hold for warmer months. By that time, after living in the house and familiarizing yourself with its flow, you may have a completely different vision altogether of how you'd like the outside to look.
Choosing to build in winter can be cost-efficient and advantageous as long as weather and safety-related issues are identified and addressed proactively. Go ahead—get that perfect piece of real estate. It'll make an unforgettable holiday project!

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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Damage-Free Decorating Ideas for Your Home #Decorating

Decorating and organizing your home with damage-free techniques is something we all can get behind. If you are a renter, you want to ensure you don’t damage your rental space and risk losing your security deposit. As a homeowner, it’s always better to preserve the integrity of your space, although you have the leeway to make modifications. Some of us have resale value at the back of our minds, and reverting a space back to its original, saleable state can be costly and time-consuming.
While it can seem like your options are limited, there are a lot of damage-free and creative solutions to ensure that your space is looking flawless and incredibly organized.
Command strips: One thing I always recommend is a healthy application of command strips—the removable damage-free hanging devices. These magic little inventions can do everything from hang curtain rods (primarily for a sheer, lightweight fabric drapery) to organizing an entryway with hooks and shelves to hold keys, bags, coats and mail. All this without holes in your drywall! You may also want to consider poster putty which allows users to  adhere paper products to walls without leaving any residue or holes behind. It's perfect for hanging photographs or posters and even temporary party decorations. Poster putty can be found online and at most office supply and craft stores.
Wall decals: If you are a renter, you’ve probably been instructed not to paint any walls in your home or apartment. As a homeowner, you may want to keep things neutral for resale value. After all, the next buyer may not like lime green as much as you do! Vinyl decals are an option. These removable adhesive images can be stuck to walls and removed without causing any harm to your property. Wall decals come in a variety of designs from silhouettes, quotes, trees and much more. Some online companies offer customized wall decals for personal photos or phrases.
Shelves: While installing shelves on walls for decoration or storage can definitely cause damage, there are many alternative solutions for stand-alone shelving units that can add charm and utility to your home. Thrift stores, garage sales and even IKEA are great places to find free-standing, affordable shelves or bookcases. Since the holiday season is almost upon us, you may also be thinking about how to make an appealing spot for Santa to visit—even if you don’t have a mantel. Check out how to spread holiday joy with a beautiful faux mantel, that’s removable after the season closes.
Washi tape: Washi tape boasts an adhesive similar to that of masking tape but comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns. It’s used for sprucing up everything from notebooks, furniture and walls. Washi tape is inexpensive and available at most craft stores or online. Most importantly, it’s damage-free and easily removable. A quick Google Image search reveals all the creative ways people have used washi tape for decorating. If using tape to cover an entire wall seems overwhelming, try wrapping paper instead to accent a space with a burst of color. Bigger sheets of beautifully patterned wrapping paper are perfect temporary solutions to decorating.
For other decorating ideas that might require a nail or screw here and there, renters should always check with the landlord or property manager first. Some apartment communities have iron clad leases and will not budge, but smaller property management companies or private landlords might be willing to let you install a curtain rod or light fixture to add value to the house. Just make sure to get permission in writing before putting any holes in the wall if it is not allowed in your lease.
Maintaining an organized space and curating a great look without lasting damage or impact on the property has its obstacles, but a handful of creativity can go a long way toward making your space your own. After all, developing a space you love is part of what “home” is all about.

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Common Real Estate Fraud Schemes and How to Avoid Them #RealEstate

By Jameson Doris
Most high schools don't teach students best practices in real estate. In turn, young buyers are often completely in the dark when it comes time for them to find their first home. Along with that comes far greater risks than someone who's shopping around for a second or third home. One risk that can have an impact on any potential homebuyer, however, is fraud. Here are some of the most common real estate fraud schemes:
Mortgage Fraud - This is a wide term that is used to describe any sort of misrepresentation or omission on a loan. It generally falls into two categories: fraud for profit (committed by someone in the industry) and fraud for housing (committed by a borrower), according to the FBI. Below are some tips to avoid becoming the victim of mortgage fraud. You can read the rest of our tips here.
  • Ask your REALTOR® to refer you to a reputable lender (keep in mind, though, that do not have to use the lender he or she recommends). Consult your local regulatory agency to confirm the lender's licensing and other credentials.
  • Be honest and transparent when completing a loan application. Do not include false information in the application, even if another party attempts to convince you otherwise.
  • Read (and re-read) all mortgage documents before signing them, or have a third party review them with you. Assess the information in the documents for accuracy. Do not sign documents that are blank or incomplete.
Wire Fraud - With transactions as long and complicated as those in real estate, it isn't difficult to make a misstep. This inevitably makes an individual vulnerable to wire fraud when the transfer of such huge sums of money is taking place. Jon Goodman, a real estate attorney with Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein, P.C., recently spoke about wire fraud at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Here are his tips on avoiding wire fraud:
  • Seek to work with people you know. Ensure you can recognize their voice and know something personal about them that you can ask to confirm their identity.
  • Do not be the direct source of wire instructions to clients, and let clients know that you will not be the source of those instructions.
  • Educate clients to not rely on wiring instructions that come through e-mail or from a website. Wiring instructions should come from a secured system or confirmed verbally from a voice the buyer knows.
Identity Fraud This is far more broad than the other two types of fraud schemes noted above, but can be far more devastating to an individual. Frank Abagnale, author and film subject of Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can," recently spoke at RISMedia's Power Broker Reception & Dinner. He discussed, among many things, the current state of cybersecurity and how to keep your identity safe. Here are a few of his tips:
  • Be careful with social media. "Ninety-eight percent of stealing a person's identity is just finding their date of birth and an image of them," said Abagnale. Facebook and other social media pages are the easiest way for fraudsters to get this information.
  • Don't own a debit card. The credit card is the safest form of payment on Earth because the liability is always zero. People that use debit cards are making themselves vulnerable.
  • Don't write a lot of checks. Anyone who sees the information on a check—bank account number, routing number, name and address—can wire money out of that account.
You can read the rest of Abagnale's tips here.

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

9 Ways You Can Score Great Deals For Your Home On Back Friday #BlackFriday

For many of us, Black Friday shopping is key to a successful holiday gift-buying strategy for friends and family. But have you taken a look around your home lately? Maybe you need to put it on your list this year.
There are some great deals out there this Black Friday that can help you fix up, fancy up, update, and upgrade the place you call home. Here are nine ways to go about scoring the best deals.

Home improvement
One of the most exciting sale items we've seen for home this year is at Lowe's. Wood-look tile is one of today's hottest trends for flooring, and on Black Friday, the home improvement store has it starting at just 99 cents per foot, down from $2.02 per foot.
Lowe's also has some great deals on tools and home improvement items in their Black Friday ad. If you can get past the ho-hum-ness of buying yourself tools at this time of year, you'll love the prices on this Kobalt 227-piece tool set with case and $39 Shop-Vac Vacuum.


Smart home
Bring the smart home craze to your front door. This Kwikset SmartCode Satin Nickel-Single Cylinder Motorized Electronic Entry Door Deadbolt with Keypad is just $39 on Black Friday, down from $69.

Head to Lowe's for this Samsung 4.5 cu. ft. ENERGY STAR High Efficiency Top Load washer and 7.4 cu. Ft. Electric Dryer are $499 each, a savings of $600 for the pair.
This Samsung Energy Star ® 26 cu. ft. 36" Wide 3-Door French Door Refrigerator with Filtered Ice Maker is regularly priced at $1,999 and will drop to $995 at JC Penny on Black Friday. Other appliances are on sale for up to 40% off at both Home Depot and Lowe's.

Also for the kitchen
Looking to do some renovations in your kitchen? This brushed nickel pull-down kitchen faucet is just $59 on Black Friday, down from $109, at Lowe's.
Those who love to bake swear by KitchenAid mixers, and the must-have item is typically attractively priced over the holidays. The best price we've seen so far is $249 for the KitchenAid® Ultra Power Plus 4.5 Qt Tilt-Head Stand Mixer at Target. It's currently prices at $279, down from $349. You can also get the KitchenAid®ClassicTM Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer at Walmart for $199, down from $259.

Also for your gourmet kitchen needs, Target has two great deals on Ninja products for Black Friday. Both the Coffee Brewer and the Professional Kitchen System are being offered as doorbusters for $99 - that's half off! Perhaps no single Black Friday deal will make home cooks happier than this one: Walmart has the insanely popular Instant Pot, regularly $100, for $50 on Black Friday.

Home Assistants
Google Home is predicted to be one of the hottest items this year, and Walmart's Black Friday sale has it at $79 - a savings of $50. The $49 Google Home Mini Smart Speaker, which offers "hands-free help in any room" and is powered by the Google Assistant, goes on sale for $29 with a $10 gift card at Target. At that price, you'll want to buy one for yourself and a few for gifts. If you'd rather ask Alexa, head to target for this Amazon Echo Dot, which will drop from $49 to $29.

TVs are a staple of Black Friday shopping. Personally, we have images of stampeding shoppers hoisting flat-screen boxes over their heads seared in our collective brain forever, but that won't stop us from trying to slide in there for a screaming deal. Forbes calls Best Buy's Sharp 50-inch LED 2160p Smart 4K Ultra HD Roku TV for $179.99 - a savings of $320 - possibly "the best deal during the entirety of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017."


Television accessories
Once you buy that flat screen, you'll need a sound bar. Walmart has a 37" RCA Bluetooth version for just $29 (currently priced at $49). Or, pick up this VIZIO 32" 5.1 Soundbar System package, which includes a wireless subwoofer, for $139 (currently $198).
And don't forget a mounting system. This one has tilt and fits TVs ranging from 47-80", Black Friday priced at just $19 (currently on sale for $59).

A vacuum may not seem like the most exciting thing to buy on Black Friday, but you may change your mind when you see the price of this Dyson DC59 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner at Walmart. We did! Regularly priced at $369, it goes on sale on Black Friday for just $189!

Walmart's high-thread-count hotel sheets are famous to smart Black Friday shoppers and are one of the most anticipated (and quickest-selling) items. Used to be you had to buy them in store, but they're now online. If you want a set (or four), here's a tip: get them in your cart ASAP when sales kick off, because they'll be gone in a flash. $24 per set. Macy's has a worthy alternative with their Devon 4-Pc King Sheet Set, 900-Thread Count, regularly priced at $59; on Black Friday, they will be $29.


Another great sale item that'll make you say, "One for you, one for me," Target's chenille and sherpa throws are just $10 on Black Friday.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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