Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Top 5 Single-Family Home Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

By Yuka Kato
Trends are an excellent way to predict things like homebuyer behavior over the coming months or years. Unlike a fad, which ends quickly, a trend is something that may continue on for 10 or more years.
Each year, Fixr conducts a survey of influencerswithin the building and design industry—those professionals who are helping to shape the trends that impact homeowners and homebuyers alike. This year’s survey results have shown some surprising (and not so surprising) trends that real estate professionals can use to help sell homes more quickly and influence homebuyer behavior.
Pay close attention to these five trends to help make the most of all your real estate transactions in 2018:
Smart Home Technology
The No. 1 trend influencers say homebuyers are going to be looking for in 2018 is smart home technology. Smart homes have taken off in the last few years with the introduction of systems like Apple Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Adding smart home features to a home makes it much more attractive to younger homebuyers who currently make up the largest population of buyers.
Adding smart home technology to a home costs around $5,000 to $9,000 on average, but can increase the value of a home by about 5 percent. Keep in mind that this is only true if the upgrades were made in the last five years; after that, the technology becomes outdated. The most sought-after items include smart lights and thermostats—which can reduce energy consumption—and security features like locks and cameras.
Open Floor Plans
The second most popular trend is a continuation from years past: the open floor plan. Particularly on single-story homes, open floor plans continue to be one of the most requested options among homebuyers, possibly because of the flexibility this type of floor plan offers. An open floor plan allows you to configure the space in ways that work for you, rather than working around what’s already there.
As long as you aren’t removing load-bearing walls in the structure, opening up rooms and removing walls can bring up to 60 percent ROI at time of resale, while also making the home much more attractive to today’s buyers.
Solar Energy
Solar energy isn’t a new trend, but it's one that’s making big gains in today’s market. In fact, homebuyers are much more likely to want to invest in a home with solar power today than they were just a few years ago. As energy costs continue to soar, having solar power available can be a very enticing option.
The national average cost to install solar panels on a home is between $20,000 and $25,000. The ROI on solar power does vary by state, but because the cost is usually offset over time by reduced energy costs, most people find the investment worth it in terms of decreased energy bills and how much more attractive it makes the home to younger buyers.
Tiny Houses
Wondering where to steer your potential buyers? Consider showing them tiny houses. First-time homebuyers, as well as minimalists, are showing considerable interest in the tiny house movement, making this a trend that can’t be ignored by home builders or real estate professionals alike.
More than half of the influencers surveyed believe that the tiny house trend is growing. Tiny houses can be built for anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000, which makes purchasing land and building a more attractive option than finding one already for sale.
Voice Control Systems
Artificial intelligence (AI) and voice control systems round out the top five growing trends in the home-building and design industry. Nearly all influencers agree that smart home systems that are controlled via AI or voice will be one of the biggest trends of 2018. While the controller may be personal to the user—Google, Alexa and Apple Home are just a few of the offerings—the systems they can control (lights, thermostat, door locks and appliances) can all be added to the home and ready to use in a timely manner, making the property very attractive to new homebuyers.
Get Ready for the Year Ahead
By encouraging sellers to make these changes to their homes, and steering buyers in the direction of homes that contain these trends, you will find it more likely to make quicker and easier sales in 2018. Not only are many of these investments quick, but they don’t require a lot of invasive procedures to incorporate into existing properties. Watch for these trends to start getting more attention from buyers and sellers alike in 2018.

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

11 Reasons Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

By Charles Muotoh
When you first put your house on the market, you might be hopeful for a quick sale—especially if you've put a lot of money into improving the house over the years and if the neighborhood is one that has historically attracted a lot of buyers. While you shouldn't panic if the house doesn't sell the moment you list it, you should begin to worry if the months start flying by without any real offers. If this is the case, here are 11 reasons why your house may not be selling.
  1. You overvalued your property. If your house is overpriced, it's simply not going to sell. Compare your property to similar properties that recently sold within your area to get a better idea of its true value. An experienced real estate agent can give you an accurate value of your home. Additionally, don't make the mistake of tacking on the cost of any renovations you made. You can't just assume that the cost of a renovation translates to added value.
  1. Your listing is poor. If the listing of your home includes a poorly written description without any images, a lot of buyers are going to skip over it. Make sure you and your REALTOR® put an effort into creating a listing that attracts the attention of buyers. Make sure to add high quality photographs of both the interior and exterior of your home. Don't forget to highlight unique features as well.
  1. You're always present at showings. Let your agent handle your showings. Buyers don't want to have the seller lurking over their shoulder during showings, especially during an open house. This puts unwanted pressure on the buyer, which will make them uncomfortable and likely chase them away.
  1. You're too attached. If you refuse to negotiate even a penny off your price, then there's a good chance that you've become too attached to your home. If a part of you doesn't want to sell it, or you think your house is the best house in the world, odds are you're going to have a lot of difficulties coming to an agreement with a potential buyer.
  1. You haven't had your home professionally cleaned. A dirty house is going to leave a bad impression on buyers. Make sure you have a professional clean your carpeting and windows before you begin showing your house.
  1. You haven't staged your home. If you've already moved out, then don't show an empty house. This makes it difficult for buyers to imagine living in it. Stage your house with furniture and decor to give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. You want the buyer to feel at home when they are taking the tour.
  1. You kept up all of your personal décor. Buyers are going to feel uncomfortable touring your house if you keep all of your family portraits up. Take down your personal décor so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
  1. Your home improvements are too personalized. You might think that the comic book mural you painted for your child's room is absolutely incredible, but that doesn't mean potential buyers will agree. If your home improvements are too personalized, it can scare off buyers who don't want to pay for features they don't want.
  1. Your home is too cluttered. Even if your home is clean, clutter can still be an issue. For example, maybe you simply have too much furniture in one of your rooms. This can make the house feel smaller than it is.
  1. Your home is in need of too many repairs. The more repairs that are needed, the less likely a buyer will want your house. Many buyers simply don't want to deal with the cost or effort of doing repair work, even if it's just a bunch of small repairs, such as tightening a handrail or replacing a broken tile.
  1. You chose the wrong real agent. In my opinion, choosing the right real estate is simply the most important decision you make in selling your home.  A good REALTOR® makes all the difference in selling your home within a reasonable time.
All these things can be fixed once you realize your mistake; however, the longer your property stays on the market, the less likely it will sell at listing price. One of the best ways to avoid making these common mistakes is by working with a professional real estate agent.

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Backyard DIY Projects

You don't have to pay through the nose to have the best backyard on the block. If you have a few simple DIY skills and know how to use a tape measure and level, you can easily upgrade and update your backyard all on your own.
If you've ever dreamed of a lovely garden path, perennial garden or a privacy fence, but you've hesitated because of cost, now is the time to invest a little sweat equity to create the backyard of your dreams.

Plant a Perennial Garden
Tending perennials may seem daunting to inexperienced gardeners, but in reality, they're some of the easiest flowers to grow. Best of all, plant them once and they return to bloom every year. Perennial gardens make lively backgrounds for your annual plantings. Use them along fences and border porches and decks to add color from early summer to late fall.
To ensure the stability and livelihood of your perennial plants:
  • Keep the roots wet until you put them in the ground
  • Plant them in improved soil
  • Apply regular helpings of water and fertilizer
  • Place a 3-inch layer of mulch around, but not touching, the plants.

Install a Privacy Fence

Photo by tristanf via Flickr

If you crave a secluded backyard oasis, consider installing a 6-foot or 8-foot section of privacy fence. Your local home improvement store sells this type of fencing in sections. All you have to do is level the terrain and dig the post holes. Use a quick-setting cement to anchor your fence posts, making sure everything is level and square before moving on to the next section.
With a little tenacity, you can install a privacy fence in one weekend. Done properly, it adds privacy and enjoyment to your backyard and value to your home.

Replace Your Pool Liner

Photo by Creative Ignition via Flickr

It sounds like a difficult challenge, but replacing your pool liner is quite simple when you start with the right tools and quality supplies. Visit webpages such as inground liner to find the materials you, as a DIYer, need to perform simple maintenance on your in-ground pool. Keep the following points in mind as you replace your pool's liner:
  • Replace your liner during warm weather
  • Remove all water and debris from your pool
  • Avoid over-stretching your replacement liner
  • Utilize sandbags to secure the base seal
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the process before starting.

Hardscape Your Backyard

Photo by ARNOLD Masonry and Concrete via Flickr

The addition of pavers, retaining walls, fire pits and patios all add value and comfort to your backyard, but many homeowners don't realize they can easily complete these upgrades without the help of professional landscapers.
Lay decorative pavers on a bed of tamped sand to make an easy patio that stands up to the elements, or layer simple bricks with or without mortar to make attractive and functional retaining walls. A meandering garden path guided by decorative cobblestones can lead to a simple water feature or wooden bench in your garden. Delight your backyard guests and yourself this summer by creating a simple hardscape that complements the design of your home.

Written by Realty Times Staff

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

How Much Home Can You Really Afford?

So, you're getting ready to buy your first home, and you feel like you're at the mercy of the market. And your mortgage lender. In some ways, it might even feel like they're working against each other - especially if you're in a really hot market in which you can't qualify for the amount you'd need to buy what you want.

When it comes to providing pre-approvals for would-be homebuyers, lenders today are more careful than they were in the years leading up to the market crash, and that means your financial picture will be more rigorously scrutinized to determine your credit-worthiness and develop your max approval amount. Trust us, that's a good thing. The last thing you want is to be house poor. Having a great place to live that you can't enjoy or furnish or even leave because you have no money left won't be fun.

"Just because a lender says you can afford a certain mortgage doesn't mean you should," said TIME: Money. "Consider your take-home pay - what actually goes into the bank after taxes, health insurance, and savings for retirement and college. Then add up all your monthly bills, not just debt but also things like utilities, phone, and groceries. You want to feel comfortable that you can cover all your household obligations while still meeting your other financial goals and keeping six months of expenses in an emergency fund."

That's why it's so important to consider all of your monthly expenses related to buying a home. Beyond the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance that the lender, there are other line items to weave in that will help you determine your purchasing power and also help you to be comfortable from month to month.

Increased commuter costs
Are you moving out to the ‘burbs? That hour-long commute each way is going to add to your bottom line. Of course you'll be using more gas. Will you also incur tolls? Then there is the wear and tear on your car, which could mean additional costs. You can estimate your commuter costs here.

Higher utility bills
A larger place could mean higher utility bills. Then again, more energy-efficient appliances, windows and doors, and HVAC could potentially result in lower bills, which could be a reason to look for a newer home over something older. It's not out of line to inquire about utility bill costs from the existing owner (through your Realtor is probably best). This information could be critical in helping to make the best decision when buying a new home.

Homeowner's association
Your pre-approval amount is an all-in number, but that number only includes principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. If you are buying in a community that has a Homeowner's Association, your fee will be a separate cost that needs to be considered. An HOA fee can range greatly depending on your location, the number of homes in the community, and the amenities and services included.

Home improvements
You're likely going to have a mailbox full of credit card pre-approvals and offers from places like Home Depot and Lowe's after you close escrow - and they can be tempting. Reeeaaallly tempting, especially if you need new appliances or countertops or flooring (or all of the above). Ditto for furniture stores, because, like Lowe's and Home Depot, those offers are often zero-interest deals. It may make sense to take advantage of one (or more) of them to make some necessary or wanted updates to your home - if you can swing the payments. They obviously add to your monthly obligations, even at no interest. And keep in mind that if you miss, or are late on, a payment, that zero interest is replaced with a much larger number, and that means you'll face a much larger balance to pay.

If you're coming from an apartment or a rental where the outside maintenance is taken care of by someone else, get ready to either: buy a lawnmower and an edger and spend your Saturday mornings in the yard, or pay someone else to take care of it.


If you're buying a brand-new home, you'll typically have a warranty provided by the builder or developer, often for one year. You have the option of extending that, or buying/extending an existing warranty on an older home, and all of those options will cost you.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update February 22, 2018 #RealEstate

MARKET STATS:  The number of active listings fell to 215, down 17% from this time last year.  Meanwhile the average sold price to list price ratio has increased to 95%, up 2.5% from this time last year.  For a full market report, click here:

Click above for the latest Market Minute report from Long & Foster Real Estate!

IS THE STOCK MARKET TOO VOLATILE for you?  Consider real estate!  Known for its stability compared to other, more volatile asset classes, real estate may be just what your portfolio needs!  Whether you’re seeking an investment property with rental income, or a place to park some cash while you park yourself on the deck and take in the view, please call me--I’ll help you find the property that best fits your needs!

STONE HARBOR JOB FAIR:  Those seeking summer jobs in both Stone Harbor and Avalon should plan to attend the Stone Harbor Job Fair on Saturday, April 14th, from 10am to 2pm.  The job fair will be at Coffee Talk, at 299 97th Street; employers from Seven Mile Beach will be present to meet with applicants.  Job opportunities are also available with the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, including marketing, vessel operations, and food services.  For more info on Ferry jobs, visit

ONE ALTERNATING LANE will be available to motorists on the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge, as an ongoing maintenance project continues through mid-June.  Deteriorated railings on the bridge are being removed and replaced in four phases, as the alternating traffic is controlled by a temporary signal system.  Marine traffic is unaffected by the current project.  The recent repairs and associated shut-downs of the bridge have officials examining all options for the future of the 80-year-old span, including a major overhaul (the least expensive option) or a full replacement (the most expensive). 

DREDGING OF THE INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY is slated to take place this month behind Stone Harbor.  The US Army Corp of Engineers is overseeing the small project, which will take place between ICW buoy markers 419 and 421.  Dredged sand will be placed on the Ring Island nesting bird habitat over a period of about a week.  The Wetlands Institute will monitor conditions at that site.

  • The Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Supper featuring a guest speaker sharing important issues in environmental science & biology, admission fee & please bring a covered dish to share, 6-8PMFriday, February 23
  • Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge in North Wildwood, visit for details, Saturday, February 24
  • Drop In Open Forum for questions regarding your computer, phone, software or app, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11:30AMSaturday, February 24
  • Yoga at the Zoo, all donations go to the animals’ well being, meet at the gate at 8:45 AMSaturday, March 3
  • Finding Amelia (What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart), discussion at Avalon History Center, 1-2PMSaturday, March 3
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics Event, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday, March 8-Saturday, March 10
  • Avalon Home & Land Owners Association Meeting discussing Boro Finances with Council Members Chuck Covington, Nancy Hudanich and CFO Jim Craft, Avalon Senior Center, 10AMSaturday, March 10
  • Genealogy Workshop, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, March 10
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Traditional Jazz Concert, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern Jersey, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May2-4PMSunday, March 11
  • Stone Harbor Bulk Pick-up, items  to curb up to 72 hours prior to pick-up on Monday, March 12
  • Pre-Stone Harbor Shiver Party, Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, 6PMFriday, March 16
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Polar Bear Plunge, register at Fred’s Tavern, 9:30AM, parade to beach followed by the plunge, 11AM-1PMSaturday, March 17
  • Cape May County Zoo’s Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park, open weekends beginning Saturday, March 24
  • Cape May County Zoo EggstrvaganZoo, Easter bunny, educational displays, scavenger hunt, crafts, more, visit for info, 10AM-2PMSaturday, March 24
  • Stone Harbor’s Easter Egg Hunt, 1-2PMSaturday, March 24
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Supper, guest speaker to share knowledge in the field of environmental science & biology, admission fee & covered dish to share, 6-8PMFriday, March 30
  • Turtle Fest, pancake breakfast, arts & crafts, search for turtle hatchlings, live animal presentations, visit for info, 9AM-3PM, Wetlands Institute, Saturday, March 31
  • Never Break the Chain, songs of Fleetwood Mac, Harbor Square Theater, 8:30 PMSaturday, March 31

Featured Property:

Renovate this two bedroom home, or build a new home on the 50x110 lot!

144 15th Street, Avalon, $1,049,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179800

New Listings:

162 96th Street, Stone Harbor, $414,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 180444

144 Meadowview Lane, Avalon Manor, $649,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 180433

100 96th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,125,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180415

268 22nd Street, Avalon, $1,199,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180442

518 20th Street, Avalon, $1,389,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180421

214 50th Street, Avalon, $2,747,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180455

125 78th Street, Avalon, $3,125,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180406

3465 First Avenue, Avalon, $3,149,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180418

65 W. 24th Street, Avalon, $3,899,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180440

99 E. 27th Street, Avalon, $5,495,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180423

Properties Under Contract:

8001 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $475,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 158988

1605 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $539,500, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180040

9709 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $899,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180283

6043 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,000,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 178530

1689 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,495,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180405

3448 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,520,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 178641

100 107th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,885,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 178529

313 76th Street, Avalon, $2,995,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 179145

36 W. 34th Street, Avalon, $3,195,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180311


Properties Sold:

8305 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $207,000, SOLD MLS#: 177346

46 Seabreeze Lane, Avalon Manor, $765,000, SOLD MLS#: 178674

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

309 76th street, Avalon, $2,300,000, SOLD MLS#: 175305

6 Pelican Drive, Avalon, $2,650,000, SOLD MLS#: 177191

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

4 Steps to Take Before a Home Showing

By Hannah Whittenly
Buyers want to know exactly what they're getting when purchasing a home. As it's a major investment, all potential homebuyers will want to inspect your entire property while keeping an eye out for any signs of damage. What can you do to make sure your home is ready for public scrutiny? Here's what you need to know:
Thoroughly Clean the Home
Before allowing anyone into your home, you should have it thoroughly cleaned. This means dusting, vacuuming and taking out the trash. It may also mean taking steps to remove smoke or other odors from the air. If walls or other surfaces have mold on them, be sure to clean them prior to an open house. In addition to increasing the odds that someone makes an offer, taking the time to eliminate mold will go a long way toward reducing the risk of potential buyers getting sick.
Take Time to Stage the Home
Prospective buyers want to get an idea as to how a given space within a home can be used. For instance, they may want to see if there's enough room for their bed in the master bedroom or if there's enough room for the couch in the living room. If you have a finished attic or basement, be sure to showcase it as a space a buyer can make good use of.
Remove Potentially Offensive Items
When you show a house, you want to present a neutral look to potential buyers. This may mean getting rid of posters that make political or religious references. You may also want to hide items with sports logos, especially if you live in an area where rivalries are huge. By doing so, you will allow those who visit your home to imagine themselves living in the space without having anything to cloud their vision.
Make Necessary Repairs Before an Open House
If you're planning on making repairs prior to selling the home, do them before allowing anyone to see the space. For instance, you may want to repair the leaking water heater or replace shingles that have fallen off the roof as soon as possible. You should also make sure the garage door opens and closes properly and that all of the lights work.
If you want to sell your home in a timely manner, you must know how to prepare the space for public viewing. Making repairs, removing offensive items and properly staging the property may all increase the odds of selling your home.
By taking these steps before a showing, you may very well increase a buyer’s confidence that the home is worth putting an offer on.

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

Should I Buy a House as I’m Switching Jobs?

By Megan Wild
If you’re switching jobs or plan to in the near future, you might want to know how that impacts your ability to buy a house. After all, purchasing a home is a lengthy, stressful process once you tally up the time for mortgage approval and pounding the payment to find a home.
If you’re in the middle of considering a job change, your company has transferred you to a new area or you’re thinking of starting a new business, it’s prudent to think about how that affects any home-buying plans. Because, frankly, any job switch can have major impacts on your ability and plans to buy a home.
What Lenders Review When You Buy a Home
Lenders want to know you’ll be able to make your mortgage payments on any house you purchase. To that end, they carefully review a number of factors to assess your job security.
That means following the usual advice like not making any large purchases or deposits as you apply for a loan. You also shouldn’t apply for new credit, switch banks or co-sign on another loan. They'll explore how often you’ve changed jobs and scrutinize any period of unemployment. Most lenders also give weight to:
  • The health of your industry and company
  • Your training and qualifications
  • Whether there are other jobs that fit your pay and training
  • Your work history beyond two years
  • Any increases you’ve had in pay and responsibility
They also often ask employers to confirm that employment will continue for the first three years of the mortgage. As you can see, changing jobs or job-hopping and obtaining a mortgage can be challenging.
Loan Approvals Continue Until Closing
“But,” you say, “I’ve already been approved for a loan. The coast is clear. I can switch jobs now and purchase a house with my approved loan!”
Well, not so fast. Yes, you are approved for a loan initially. You can switch jobs, and then go out and look for a house. However, be aware that the lender will also review your materials and circumstances at closing. Lenders are cautious and keen to know that those mortgage payments will definitely be forthcoming.
If you no longer have a two-year history with a firm, can no longer confirm likely employment for three years or other circumstances develop related to your job and income stability and income, it is entirely possible a lender will reject the loan.
If you have a loan guaranteed by the United States Federal Housing Administration (FHA), for example, which allows low down payments, it can reject a loan even after approval. So it can be risky to start the homebuying process if you plan to switch jobs.
Factors to Consider: When Job-Switching Would Have No Impact
That said, there are circumstances where job-switching would not derail your plans to purchase a home. If you change jobs but are still in the same industry, the lender will review your materials, but it is not likely to stop a loan. This kind of move shows the stability lenders like to see.
If your pay and benefits increase in the same line of work and industry, that would be fine with most lenders. In fact, it can increase the size of the loan for which you are eligible. Here, too, there will be a period when lenders require documentation on the new position, and they will ask your employers about the three years of expected job stability. If you plan to switch jobs during the home-buying process, it’s a good idea to let your lender know.
Factors to Consider: When Changing Jobs Would Have a Negative Impact
If you change to a job with lower pay, however, even if it is in the same line of work and industry, it might negatively affect your chances of obtaining or keeping a mortgage. The negative effect on your income is considered a sign of instability.
Similarly, if you switch your job title significantly or move into an entirely different line of work, you may have difficulty obtaining a mortgage until you have two years of history. So if you were a teacher and become a baker, getting lender approval might be challenging.
Lenders Get Nervous When Salaries Shift
Changes in the salary structure of a job may have hurt your chances of securing a mortgage as well. If you move from a salaried (W2) position to one where you will receive commissions, lenders may get nervous.
Why? Because commissions are variable income rather than stable. Most lenders require a 24-month history of any position that has variable pay, even if a commission-based job is likely to give you a higher income than a salaried one.
So if you are currently a tech support person and switch to technology sales, you will likely have to wait at least 24 months before a lender will approve you for a mortgage.
Similarly, if you move to a contractor or consultant role from a salaried position, you will need 24 months of income before a lender will consider you for a mortgage. Contractor and consultant income is not as stable as salaried income.
If your job switch involves starting your own business, you also would likely not secure a mortgage. Your lender will want to see at least 24 months of results on your business before making any mortgage decisions.
Consider the Possible Drawbacks of Switching Jobs While House Hunting
Buying a home while switching jobs can be challenging, because lenders require both income and job stability to approve a mortgage. Lenders will also check with employers to see if continued employment is likely during the first three years of a loan.
If you show job and income stability even while switching, you may be able to purchase a home as you go to a new company. But if you suddenly make less money, move to a different line of work, change salary structure or start your own business, you will likely need 24 months of stability before buying a home becomes feasible.

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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Are Barn Doors Here To Stay?

If it seems like what was dismissed as a flash-in-the-pan trend has stuck around a lot longer than many of us predicted, you're right. Barn doors are now becoming a staple in homes from new construction to renovations for their unique appeal and space-saving properties. If the word "barn" is turning you off, rest assured that there are a variety of styles that can bring a fresh look to your home along with new function. Not only that, barn doors can also bring increased value - important if you're thinking of selling your home or just want to make smart renovations.
"It's official: Barn doors are incredibly hip," said Pro Remodeler. A recent study "found that these contemporary yet rustic sliding doors can help a home sell as many as 57 days faster and at a higher price point. The study analyzed descriptions on the listings of more than 2 million homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 to see how certain keywords affect a home's sale. Of all the terms analyzed, ‘barn doors' brought the highest premium, with homes whose listings mentioned this door type selling for an average of 13 percent above expected values."

According to Google Trends, interest in barn doors "quadrupled between 2012 and 2017," said Victoria Advocate. Another advantage of barn doors: they're easy to install, and are even DIY friendly for the average person.
"In addition to their powerful visual appeal, barn doors can also be an effective way to partition open spaces," said Pro Remodeler. "Many homes today have two larger rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, connected by a wide opening. While a barn door added to such spaces will likely stay open more often than not, it can act as the perfect feature to suggest spatial separation."

These oversize, reclaimed wood barn doors look great in a commercial space, creating privacy for a conference room in the same way they would in a living space.

These more traditional doors set off a private living room.

Black-framed, glass-paneled doors are on trend and bring a modern look to the space. Plus, you can close off the kitchen without losing light.

Instead of more traditional doors
A little bit rustic with contemporary flair, this barn door has some heft to it, which gives it a substantial feel and the size required to slide past a wide bathroom door opening.

Steel is another material that is being used for barn doors, and one that brings in an industrial feel. In this space, a steel sliding door looks is the perfect choice to separate the living space from the bedroom.

There's a bedroom tucked behind there. A swinging door may take a way from the flow of the room or impede into the living space. Instead, the blue door adds an architectural element to the space.

This version looks like a decorative wall, but it's actually a 12-foot barn door that slides away to reveal a hidden laundry room.

Beyond room-sized doors
Barn doors or even showing up in items like bathroom vanities, which are especially useful in a small space that might not allow for a swinging door.

They're also being woven into furniture, like this entertainment unit.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

8 Hot Kitchen Trends For 2018

Kitchen design has been about three things for the past few years: white cabinets; quartz or marble countertops; and subway tile backsplashes. The good news is, 2018 trends are veering away from a couple of these mainstays (quartz and marble aren't going anywhere anytime soon!). If you're getting ready to do or redo your kitchen, here are eight ideas to consider.

Concrete countertops
Perhaps due to the influence of Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, who favor the material for kitchens, concrete is growing in popularity for countertops.
"Blame Pinterest, blame Joanna Gaines, blame marble madness overload - but concrete countertops have taken over farmhouses in the past few years," said Country Living. "It's easy to see why: Installing concrete counters is a sure way to infuse your home with a rustic yet industrial feel that's at once trendy and unfussy. And the durability of the cement-and-sand mix has some hailing it as a rock solid (we had to) design choice." 
They caution, however, that concrete counters can stain, scratch, and crack. They're also not quite as low-maintenance as you might think. While you can DIY this project, beware: it's not as easy as it looks. If you want to try it anyway, diy Network has a good tutorial.

Antibacterial materials
Your solid-surface countertop may soon get an exciting upgrade, with antibacterial properties and also the ability to eliminate "chemicals that come into contact with it, as well as (purifying) the surrounding air," said Houzz. "Imagine a countertop that helps take care of that salmonella bacteria for you after preparing chicken for dinner. That's the idea behind several materials presented at the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings (CERSAIE) in Italy back in September. The new K-Life technology incorporated into Porcelanosa's Krion solid surface uses a process called "photocatalysis, which uses a semiconductor in the surface to enhance a reaction to light, killing bacteria and breaking up pollutants."

Disappearing vent hoods
The statement hood has been a focal point of the kitchen for the last several years, but as a more minimalist approach to kitchen design peeks in, vent hoods may be a casualty of new trends.

Statement ranges
Statement hoods may be replaced by bold ranges that bring in a burst of color. "So what is the new kitchen focal point? Look to the statement stove to keep the interest simmering," said House & Home. "In fun colors, high-end purveyors such as Aga and Lacanche are more than willing to grab all the glory, and prove they are worth every penny."

Flat-panel cabinets
Is this the end of the shaker cabinet? Flat-front cabinets have been showing up in modern kitchens for years, but they're growing in prominence. According to Inman's look at what's hot and what's not in kitchens for 2018, "Fifty-seven percent of homeowners chose shaker-style cabinets, followed by flat-panel (18 percent) and raised-panel (17 percent) cabinets," but look for those numbers to start changing this year.

Wood cabinets
As for finishes, look for wood cabinets to make a comeback, giving white a run for its money. "The return of wood cabinets was almost inevitable, but, instead of the heavy, figured doors of the 1990s, today's wood cabinets are either very modern, or in basic rustic styles…which feel authentic and organic - as if they were born there," said Apartment Therapy.

Mix-and-match finishes
It may be time to ditch the idea of a one-color space. "The days of monochromatic kitchens are far behind us, Sue Wadden, the director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, told Elle Décor. "She explains that, this year, it's all about mixing and matching color, no need to keep it all the same: ‘Using multiple colors in kitchens has become a popular trend this year. For example, painting base walls or cabinets in a dark charcoal tone and upper cabinets and walls in creamy off-white tones is something we're seeing more and more of."

Black fixtures
Fixtures have been moving out of silvery finishes and into gold tones, but black is another option that is gaining heat. "Black is classic in the fact that it will always work with just about every style and color palette that you have going on," said Emily Henderson.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update February 15, 2018 #RealEstate

NOW UNDER CONTRACT!  Check below to see what properties have been placed “Under Contract” this week!  I’ve added this feature as it’s a great way to keep tabs on the very latest market activity.  Have a question or thinking of selling?  Please call me!

TAKE A PLUNGE this weekend at Sea Isle City’s 24th Annual Polar Bear Plunge!  The Plunge will take place Saturday at 2pm on the beach between 38th and 40th Streets in Sea Isle.  See below for a link to other events taking place in Sea Isle this weekend, as well as other area events.

You never know what you’ll see coming down the street in Avalon!  Instead of demolishing this home, it was dismantled in sections so it could be saved and rebuilt in a new location. See below for details.

WRECKING BALL AVOIDED:  Instead of demolition, an early Avalon home at 254 Sixth Street was dismantled in large sections and moved to a storage facility so that it could be preserved and reconstructed at a later date.  The granddaughter of the former owners led the effort to save the home.  See this article for more:

STONE HARBOR: WORTH $4.8 BILLION:  The Cape May County Herald reported that the new assessed value of Stone Harbor properties increased by $363 million to $4.838 billion.  About two-thirds of all properties increased in value as a result of the recent reassessment project, according to the article. 

BUDGET PRESENTATIONS will be made in both Avalon and Stone Harbor.  This weekend Stone Harbor’s 2018 budget will be discussed at 10am on Saturday, February 17th at Borough Hall.  Avalon Council members and CFO Jim Craft will discuss Avalon’s finances on Saturday, March 10th at 10am, at the Avalon Senior Center.

THE TOWNSEND’S INLET BRIDGE will be closed overnight from 7pm Thursday evening until 5am Friday morning to allow for the relocation of concrete barriers and temporary traffic signals.  One lane of alternating traffic will resume Friday morning as the ongoing railing replacement project continues.

  • 24th Annual Polar Bear Plunge Weekend in Sea Isle City, visit for details, Saturday, February 17
  • Stone Harbor 2018 Budget Presentation, Stone Harbor Borough Hall, 2nd Floor Council Meeting Room, 10AMSaturday, February 17
  • Creative Writing, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library. 10AM-NoonSaturday, February 17
  • Abraham Lincoln Presentation by author and professor Gerald McNeff, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-3PMSaturday, February 17
  • 3rd Saturday Comedy Event featuring Julian McCullough, Harbor Square Theater in Stone Harbor, doors open at 8PM, show begins at 9PMSaturday, February 17
  • The Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Supper featuring a guest speaker sharing important issues in environmental science & biology, admission fee & please bring a covered dish to share, 6-8PMFriday, February 23
  • Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge in North Wildwood, visit for details, Saturday, February 24
  • Drop In Open Forum for questions regarding your computer, phone, software or app, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11:30AMSaturday, February 24
  • Yoga at the Zoo, all donations go to the animals’ well being, meet at the gate at 8:45 AMSaturday, March 3
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics Event, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday, March 8-Saturday, March 10
  • Avalon Home & Land Owners Association Meeting discussing Boro Finances with Council Members Chuck Covington, Nancy Hudanich and CFO Jim Craft, Avalon Senior Center, 10AMSaturday, March 10
  • Genealogy Workshop, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, March 10
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Traditional Jazz Concert, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern Jersey, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May2-4PMSunday, March 11
  • Pre-Stone Harbor Shiver Party, Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, 6PMFriday, March 16
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Polar Bear Plunge, register at Fred’s Tavern, 9:30AM, parade to beach followed by the plunge, 11AM-1PMSaturday, March 17
  • Cape May County Zoo’s Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park, open weekends beginning Saturday, March 24
  • Stone Harbor’s Easter Egg Hunt, 1-2PMSaturday, March 24
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Supper, guest speaker to share knowledge in the field of environmental science & biology, admission fee & covered dish to share, 6-8PMFriday, March 30

Featured Property:

Second from the beach with ocean views and a pool!

84 E. 23rd St., Avalon, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179933

New Listings:

331 W. 41st Street, Avalon, $825,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180347

2019 Dune Drive, Avalon, $849,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180255

9709 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $899,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180283

263 34th Street, Avalon, $975,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180308

267 22nd Street, Avalon, $1,695,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180321

10552 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $2,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180271

56 E. 24th Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180250

10546 Corinthian Place, Stone Harbor, $3,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180231

36 W. 34th Street, Avalon, $3,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180311

64 W. 30th Street, Avalon, $3,249,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180341

11910 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, $3,695,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180293

3107 Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $3,795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180242

1 97th Street, Stone Harbor, $5,695,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180303

5878 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $6,875,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 180243

Properties Under Contract:

212 33rd Street, Avalon, $450,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 179902

700 First Avenue, Unit 208, Avalon, $465,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180340

441 21st Street, Avalon, $750,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 179411

309 99th Street, Stone Harbor, $949,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 179908

139 108th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,750,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180187

2689 Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $1,995,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 179002

234 118th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,600,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 175217

258 70th Street, Avalon, $2,795,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 180292

200 89th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,895,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 176914


Properties Sold:

7900 Dune Dr., Avalon, $150,000, SOLD MLS#: 179568

449 22nd Street, Avalon, $585,000, SOLD MLS#: 177856

9501 First Avenue, Stone Harbor, $619,000, SOLD MLS#: 179731

404 24th Street, Avalon, $1,558,000, SOLD MLS#: 178402

35 W. 13th Street, Avalon, $1,825,000, SOLD MLS#: 178266

474 104 Street, Stone Harbor, $2,024,875, SOLD MLS#: 179384

162 63rd Street, Avalon, $10,500,000, SOLD MLS#: 180322

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