Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Home for the Holidays: 4 Reasons to Buy During the Off-Season

By Lizzie Weakley
Instead of decorating your home for the holidays, why not buy a new one? While winter is part of the off-season in real estate, many buyers find that it's the perfect time of year to buy the home of their dreams. After all, you'll have a lot more fun decorating a new home than your current one. Here are some reasons to consider buying real estate in the off-season:
Fewer Buyers
More people choose to move during the spring and summer months than at other times of the year; therefore, when you choose to buy in the winter, you have fewer people looking at properties. This ultimately means you'll be up against less competition as you search for your new home.
Low Figures Accepted
When you buy during the off-season, you may be surprised that people accept your low bid amount. People don't want to wait long to sell their house, and they'll often settle for less during the winter. Most sellers who list their home in the winter are motivated to sell. Since there are fewer purchases being made, you can also usually get home inspections done at a faster rate, and mortgage companies may speed through your paperwork.
Personalized Attention
Your real estate agent only has 24 hours in their day. During busy times, those hours must be divided among more clients. During slower periods, however, the agent can focus more on your needs and desires. This allows them to find you the perfect property without having to see properties that aren't suitable for your needs. Most experienced real estate agents can tell amazing stories of houses that they saw sell during winter at a low price because the seller didn't want to wait until the warmer months.
Winter Heating
Approximately 30 percent of home energy is spent on heating and cooling a home. When you buy in the winter, you can find where the cold drafts are in a prospective home, allowing you to insist that they are fixed before you buy the home. Alternatively, finding these drafts quickly and fixing them yourself allows you to save money quickly. Fixing a draft may be as simple as applying weatherstripping to a gap.
There are many reasons not to wait until spring to buy your home. Buying in the off-season when not as many people are looking often allows you to get a home that you want at a lower cost. Then, you can be singing "I'll be Home for Christmas" this year!

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on November 6, 2014. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.
There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. "How much will my home sell for?"  "How much should I list my home for?"  "Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?"  "What if the real estate agent overprices my home?"  Last but not least, "Is this a good time to be selling a home?" is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.
As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.
Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:
Less Competition
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.
Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.
Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.
The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.
The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn't have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.
Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be "sold" on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.
Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.
By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.

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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update December 20th, 2018 #RealEstate #NJ

Merry Christmas from Avalon & Stone Harbor!  Lights decorate the business districts of both towns for the holidays.

MARKET STATS: The number of properties sold during the month of November decreased compared to October, but was still higher than last November’s figure.  The median sale price increased dramatically in November.  For a detailed look at the market check Long & Foster’s latest Market Minute report:  View The Latest Long & Foster Market Minute Report  |  Download/Print PDF

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  From my family to yours, Merry Christmas! 

THANK YOU for your business and referrals in 2018.  I sincerely appreciate it and look forward to working with you in 2019.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  If you’re here on the Island consider ringing in the New Year at ICONA Avalon, The Princeton, The Reeds at Shelter Haven, or another local establishment!

THE AVALON/STONE HARBOR UPDATE will return the week of January 7th, 2019.

  • Teatime at the Avalon History Center, enjoy tea & memories of Old Avalon, Avalon History Center,11AM-Noon, Thursday, December 20
  • Live Music at the Cape May Winery in North Cape May, 5PM-8PM, Friday, December 21, Friday, December 28 & Friday, January 4, 2019
  • Horse and Carriage Rides in Ocean City, 9th & Asbury Avenue, Saturday & Sunday, December 22 & 23
  • Cape May County Zoo’s Winter Jr. Zookeeper Program for ages 10-15, animal training, species survival, more, 9AM-2PM, Saturday, December 29
  • Happy ‘Noon’ Year, celebration for the kids, 11AM-12:30PM, Avalon Free Public Library, Monday, December 31
  • Exhibit of holiday traditions through the years including model trains, toys, & more, Carroll House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May, 8AM-9AM, Tuesday, January 1
  • Job Search Workshop with Sean Farrell presenting options for best ways to get a job online, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11AM, Saturday, January 5
  • The First Frontier:  Yeoman-Whalers & the Origin of Cape May County, presentation by Jim Stephens of Historic Cold Spring Village discussing the 17th century whaling industry on the Delaware Bay and how it led to the creation of CMC, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PM, Saturday, January 5
  • Lunch & Learn at The Wetlands Institute, explanation of topics important to coastal & wetland ecosystems, bring your lunch, coffee & dessert provided, 11:45AM-1PM,  Friday, January 11
  • Drop in Tech Workshop for Apple computers, iPads & iPhones, help with your Apple devices, Avalon Free Public Library, 11:30AM-1PM, Saturday, January 12
  • Food Bank Collections for Holy Redeemer Food Bank & Cape May County Animal Shelter in observance of the National Day of Service, staff will be accepting donations at the Avalon Free Public Library, 9AM-5PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Comedy Uncorked, 3 course wine paired dinner & a comedy show, Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, 6-10PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner with Guest Speaker, $7 for members, $12 for non-members, bring a dish to share, 6PM, Friday, January 25

New Listings:
7800 Dune Drive, Avalon, $292,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185292

1114 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor Manor, $599,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185334

4345 Fourth Avenue, Avalon, $3,999,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185327

86 E. 23rd Street, Avalon, $4,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185326

Properties Under Contract:

444 21st Street, Avalon, $429,900, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 176513

756 21st Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 184779

4506 Fifth Avenue, Avalon, $3,200,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 185277

Properties Sold:

663 21st Street, Avalon, $675,000, SOLD MLS#: 184740

1125 Stone Harbor Boulevard, Stone Harbor Manor, $950,000, SOLD MLS#: 182527

246 28th Street, Avalon, $975,000, SOLD MLS#: 184351

9415 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $2,025,000, SOLD MLS#: 183632

213 64th Street, Avalon, $2,125,000, SOLD MLS#: 184945

223 121st Street, Stone Harbor, $2,445,000, SOLD MLS#: 183837

216 6th Street, Avalon, $2,625,000, SOLD MLS#: 183703

11713 Paradise Drive, Stone Harbor, $2,687,500, SOLD MLS#: 179742

24 Heron Drive, Avalon, $5,200,000, SOLD MLS#: 181805

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Stay Warm and Save Money With These Efficient Heating Tips

By Brentnie Daggett
Year after year, many homeowners find themselves surprised when their first heating bill arrives. The frugal-minded tend to turn to extra blankets and multiple layers in lieu of paying expensive heating bills, but at the end of the day, you should be comfortable in your own home.
With a little knowledge and a few behavior tweaks, you can heat your home much more efficiently, without sacrificing your comfort or your hard-earned paycheck:
Turn down the temperature.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your winter thermostat to 68 degrees while you're awake, and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating (and cooling) costs by simply turning your thermostat back anywhere from 7-10 degrees for approximately eight hours a day, like while you're at work or sleeping.
Change your filters.
Dirty air filters restrict airflow and increase your energy use. Changing the filters on your furnace or heating unit at least every three months can save you anywhere from 4-6 percent a year on heating costs! If you have pets in your home, your filters are probably even dirtier—changing them once a month is recommended. Taking this step will not only save you money, but also likely prolong the life of your furnace. Be sure to regularly service your furnace to make sure things are running properly.
Seal cracks and ducts.
Windows and doors account for a large amount of heat loss in homes; in fact, installing weather-stripping or caulking leaky doors and windows can save you up to 10 percent on heating costs. Ducts are another culprit of heat loss—leaking ductwork accounts for 25-30 percent of heating costs in the average home. Consider hiring a contractor before the cold weather hits to test the tightness of your ducts and repair any leaks or restrictions.
Keep your chimney closed.
If your home has a fireplace, remember to keep the damper closed when it's not in use. Consider a chimney balloon—an inflatable device that goes in the chimney—to further keep the cold air out and the warm air from escaping.
Use your fan.
While ceiling fans are excellent tools for staying cool in the summer, they can also be adjusted to help you stay warm in the winter. Many fan models have a switch that allows the blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air that rose to the ceiling back down into the room.

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

Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Find the Perfect Neighborhood to Live In

Location, location, location. Half of buying a home is all about finding where you want to live. You might've found your dream house, but it's not in your dream neighborhood.
So, what should you be watching out for? Here's how you can find the perfect neighborhood:
Check It Out Online
Ah—the internet. It provides an immense amount of information. It’s easy and entirely accessible for everyone, so you don't have any excuses not to take advantage of it. Look up what everyone is saying about a neighborhood you're interested in. Do people actually enjoy living there? What do they like and dislike about it?
Google the crime statistics for the area; safety should be top of mind. You don’t want to get stuck in a neighborhood with a high break-in rate—take your safety and security seriously. At the same time, if you have kids, look up schools in the area. What are they rated? Most school systems have a rating scale based off mostly academics. Find out if they're good options for your children.
Scout It Out
Literally. Do drive-bys. And do them at different times of the day. Get a feel for a certain neighborhood. Is there a soccer field or baseball diamond close by? You'll want to know before it's too late whether or not cars will be lined up on your street. Make sure you’re in the know. You don’t want things like that to come up as a surprise after you’ve moved in. Furthermore, check out the traffic patterns in the area. What's that intersection near the home you're interested in really like during rush hour?
How Far Is Your Potential Home From Your Job?
This might not matter to some. If you’re near retirement, it might not matter at all! But a long commute has the potential to become an everyday stressor—one that you don’t need or want. If you take the bus, look up the route and times. If you drive, check out the route during your normal commute times on Google Maps.
Do Your Research on Property Taxes
This could majorly impact your cost of living. Property taxes greatly differ from one region to the next. Do your research and find out what to expect. Don’t let this come as a shock. You want to make sure you can afford the area you want to live in. Be sure to do your due diligence with some good research! Also, take this a step further, and look at other costs of living—think utilities and food prices.
Ensure your perfect home is in your ideal neighborhood. It’s worth taking the time to do research and be sure it's really what you want.

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

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Holiday Real Estate: Take a Look Inside Santa’s Home

santa's home
Santa’s North Pole home has jumped in value again! St. Nick’s estate is valued at $764,389 and Zillow, where the home is listed, predicts that the 2,500-square-foot home will appreciate 6.9 percent next year.
Built in the 1800s, much of the home’s spike in value can be attributed to a recent remodel. The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom log cabin now boasts a gourmet kitchen with hot cocoa on tap, as well as a new floor-to-ceiling fireplace constructed using river rocks.
These features add a modern touch to the estate’s otherwise classic look. However, there are other details outside the main home that are just as impressive, including a toy workshop and stables for the reindeer, as well as a garage for Santa’s sleigh.
"We're excited to let kids around the world get a first-hand look at how Santa lives when he's not out delivering presents,” said Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman.
In order to calculate the value of Santa’s home, which is currently off the market, Zillow looked at comparable properties that are also in remote locations. Taking the median price of those homes, they added a “Santa premium” which brought the total value of the home to $764,389.
Take a look below at some of the featured photos from the home’s Zillow listing. Additionally, a photo of a tiny village on the property where Santa’s elves live is also included:
santa's home

Screenshot (111)

santa's home

santa's home

To view the full listing for Santa's home, click here.

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

History and Housing: 4 Benefits of Living in an Historic Neighborhood

By Meghan Belnap
A better neighborhood comes with a lot of advantages for your family. Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a nice place to settle down, neighborhoods with a rich historical background carry many benefits for yourself and for children that grow up there. Here are some of the great things that you may experience by living in an historic neighborhood:
Potentially Lower Crime Rates
Finding a neighborhood that's safe is important to anyone seeking a new home. Neighborhoods with a rich historical background have clearly been around for a very long time, often resulting in older, lifelong residents that are invested in the maintenance of their neighborhood. Regular maintenance of the streets, as well as implementation of effective crime-prevention programs by the local police, are all something that these folks may have voted for in local elections.
More Educational Opportunities
Another benefit of living in a well-established, historical neighborhood is that the schools tend to be better funded. Generally, residents have been there for a long time, allowing them to build up financial stability that would contribute to taxes that fund public programs like schools, libraries and parks. They may also have local events held to celebrate the heritage of the neighborhood, giving you and your family a peek into history and a greater understanding of what brought about the place you live in now. Live reenactments of historical events, fairs and artistic performances are frequently found in cities that carry their history with them.
Improved Neighborhood Dynamics
Homes for sale in established neighborhoods are often more sought-after because of the ability to form connections with your neighbors. Tight-knit neighborhoods can be safer in general because, if a disaster hits, you'll be surrounded by friends who know you and will help you through hard times. This can also give you greater peace of mind when allowing your children to play in the neighborhood on their own, because you know the people living in it. With the decreased turnover, you have the opportunity to form lasting friendships with your neighbors, and be a part of a familiar community and culture that'll really feel like home.
Grand Architecture
An established neighborhood tends to have a higher density of older homes maintained to preserve their historical appearance. Depending on the area and history, these homes are likely to have arching ceilings, pillars, decorative awnings, towers, balconies and other features that will make even a small home feel like something out of a storybook. Living in an artistic structure will remind you on a daily basis of the history of your home and neighborhood, as well as give you greater satisfaction in general in regard to your living situation.
If you're considering moving to a historically-rich neighborhood, whether alone or with a family in tow, you'll reap many benefits from the culture and the stability that comes with it. Don't turn away a home solely based on the year it was built, but rather, consider the possibilities that come with superior architectural design and living in a safe and stable neighborhood.
No matter where you live, your house is only a home if it's where you love to be.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update December 13th, 2018 #RealEstate #NJ

Santa has been riding the rails between Tuckahoe and Richland aboard vintage railcars owned by Cape May Seashore Lines.

CAPE MAY SEASHORE LINES has been escorting Santa on the rails of South Jersey the past few weeks.  Catch a ride with Santa aboard vintage passenger cars that used to ply the same rails, hauling visitors to and from the Jersey Shore on a daily basis years ago.  Santa Express trains depart from nearby Tuckahoe and Richland Stations through December 23rd, with an additional Winter Express on Saturday, December 29th (minus Santa, who will be back at the North Pole by then.)  Adult fares begin at $18 with child fares beginning at $12.  Learn more here: or check the full schedule here:

THE SAILBOAT that was stranded on Sea Isle’s beach for four days has been pulled off the beach, and was towed to a marina in Longport for repairs.  The captain of the sailboat, who lives aboard the boat, was enroute to Key West to spend the winter before running aground last weekend.  After repairs are made he intends to complete his journey to Florida.

LOCAL HOLIDAY GIFTS AND STOCKING STUFFERS:  Add a little bit of Seven Mile Island to your holiday!  Consider purchasing gifts and stocking stuffers right here on the Island!  Here are some ideas:  a box of fudge or salt water taffy; movie tickets from Harbor Square Theater; a bottle of wine from Fred’s Tavern or Liquor Store; a visit to a local spa; a gift certificate to a local restaurant.  What a great way to put a little bit of the seashore under your Christmas tree!

GIVE THE GIFT OF A WEEK at the shore!  Your family will have something to look forward to—and memories to cherish afterward!  Browse our latest catalog of rental properties right here:

THE ULTIMATE GIFT:  Want to treat your family to the ultimate gift?  Make Avalon & Stone Harbor a permanent part of your life with your very own vacation home!  From summer fun to getaway weekends to winter escapes, your very own shore home will provide year-round fun, and memories to last a lifetime!  Call me to get started and I’ll provide the big red bow!

  • Stone Harbor Elementary School Holiday Concert, Thursday, December 13
  • Breakfast With Santa at the Cape May Ferry Terminal including story time with Mrs. Claus, 9AM & 10:30AM seatings, visit  for details & reservations, Saturday, December 15
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on books, stories, etc., Avalon Free Public Library, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, December 15
  • Christmas Music Lecture & Sing Along, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PM, Saturday, December 15
  • Breakfast with Santa presented by Girl Scout Troops 42358 & 46436, crafts, Christmas cards for the Military, bake sale, WIBG personalities, more, Avalon Community Hall, 9AM-Noon, Sunday, December 16
  • Teatime at the Avalon History Center, enjoy tea & memories of Old Avalon, Avalon History Center,11AM-Noon, Thursday, December 20
  • Happy ‘Noon’ Year, celebration for the kids, 11AM-12:30PM, Avalon Free Public Library, Monday, December 31
  • Job Search Workshop with Sean Farrell presenting options for best ways to get a job online, Avalon Free Public Library, 10-11AM, Saturday, January 5
  • The First Frontier:  Yeoman-Whalers & the Origin of Cape May County, presentation by Jim Stephens of Historic Cold Spring Village discussing the 17th century whaling industry on the Delaware Bay and how it led to the creation of CMC, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-2PM, Saturday, January 5
  • Drop in Tech Workshop for Apple computers, iPads & iPhones, help with your Apple devices, Avalon Free Public Library, 11:30AM-1PM, Saturday, January 12
  • Food Bank Collections for Holy Redeemer Food Bank & Cape May County Animal Shelter in observance of the National Day of Service, staff will be accepting donations at the Avalon Free Public Library, 9AM-5PM, Saturday, January 19
  • Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Dinner with Guest Speaker, $7 for members, $12 for non-members, bring a dish to share, 6PM, Friday, January 25

Featured Property:

Newly built on an oversized lot in Stone Harbor’s south-end!  Check out this magnificent new home!

226 108th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,599,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 182725

New Listings:
65 W. 21st Street, Avalon, $2,395,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185186

128 31st Street, Avalon, $2,750,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 185231

Properties Under Contract:

6890 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,150,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 185162

36 W. 19th Street, Avalon, $1,595,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 185082

6 Pelican Drive, Avalon, $5,750,000, UNDER CONTRACT MLS#: 181922

Properties Sold:

8001 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $470,500, SOLD MLS#: 184148

10009 Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, $750,225, SOLD MLS#: 184343

241 28th Street, Avalon, $895,000, SOLD MLS#: 184311

455 21st Street, Avalon, $1,180,000, SOLD MLS#: 183383

260 105th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,780,000, SOLD MLS#: 181868

265 17th Street, Avalon, $1,800,000, SOLD MLS#: 182487

308 92nd Street, Stone Harbor, $3,525,000, SOLD MLS#: 183849

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Study Shows: More Americans Using Real Estate Agents Than Ever Before

Any industry pros out there that may be nervous about soon becoming obsolete can sleep easier tonight. Results from a recent Harris Insights housing consumer study shows a massive 90 percent of consumers surveyed use real estate agents to buy and sell their homes.
The study was last done in 2014 and these results are up 5 percent from then, and 9 percent from a 2001 study.
Underwritten by the California Association of REALTORS®, The CE Shop and REAL Trends, the study surveyed 1,000 people who had either bought or sold a home in the last six months.
Major findings include:
Millennials rely on agents. Rumor has it that millennials rely so heavily on technology that they consider real estate agents unnecessary. Well, this study disproved that gossip; 91 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 used agents in their real estate transaction. That number is comparable to the habits of Gen Xers, aged 35 to 44 years old, who weighed in at 94 percent.
Baby boomers rank lowest. Surprisingly, it's the older generations that abstaining from hiring agents. Just 81 percent of baby boomers aged 55 and older reported using a real estate agent—still a respectable number overall, but lower than their younger peers.
Smarty pants pick agents. Consumers that have attained higher levels of education prefer working with agents. The survey revealed that 94 percent of those with a college degree used agents, whereas those with only a high school diploma were 83 percent likely to use an agent.
The higher the income level, the higher the chance of using an agent. The survey showed that those with higher incomes are more likely to work with an agent. Around 79 percent of those earning $50,000 a year or less used an agent, while consumers who made between $75,000 and $100,000 used agents in 98 percent of the cases.
Tech matters, too. Even though most consumers still choose to work with an agent, the report showed that 92 percent of consumers browse websites for information about real estate agents, with millennials using websites 96 percent of the time. This means agents should not skimp on their online presence—it could very well make or break your client appeal.
To read the study's full findings, click here.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Renting a Flipped Property: 5 Things to Look Out For

By Linzi Martin
As a renter, finding a flipped property can be great. After all, you're moving into a recently renovated space that's clean, modern, up to code and more visually appealing, right?
Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Take care when renting a flipped property. Some of these homes are flipped very quickly, and in the process, hazardous short cuts might have been taken. It's important to know what to look out for when renting a flipped property so you can ensure you're getting a home that's been cared for rather than neglected. Here are five things to consider when renting a flipped property:

Water damage

Water stains on walls, floors or ceilings are a strong indication that an underlying problem was covered up and not addressed. This could be caused by an internal leak from a pipe or cracks in the exterior.
Water stains can also be indicative of future issues of flooding and damage, but one thing renters often won't think about is how a water stains impact their health. Where there's water, there's moisture—where there's moisture, you'll likely find mold, which is a serious health hazard.


If flippers are unqualified and are installing appliances themselves to cut costs, these appliances may not be installed properly. Given that you'll definitely want to use your stove, oven or microwave when you're renting, it's important to turn everything on when you're viewing the property to make sure it's all in working order.

Electrical issues

When renting a flipped property, this is a big one. Outlets next to water sources need to have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet installed. GFCIs quickly shut off power at an outlet when it detects a short circuit or a ground fault.
If your hair dryer comes into contact with water, for example, a GFCI outlet will shut off power to the hair dryer to prevent you from getting electrocuted. To know if an outlet is GFCI or not, look for a reset button and test button on the front of the panel.

Sturdy hand rails

Installing railings can be one of the last steps after you've redone stairs, carpet, flooring, drywall or paint. Some flippers may take shortcuts and install the railings by directly screwing them into the drywall.
This isn't safe because the railing will pop out of the wall if you find yourself grabbing onto it to prevent a fall. Give the hand railing a good wiggle to test its stability when you're viewing your potential rental.


When you're looking at rentals, you'll likely spend most of your time investigating the inside of the house, but the exterior of a house can tell you a lot about a flipped property.
If a home was flipped well, the last thing the investor would do is neglect the outside of the home where rain, snow, rodents or insects could get in. Take a walk around the outside of the house and look for these red flags:
  • Rotting wood
  • Loose deck boards
  • Visible cracks
  • Poorly secured eaves
When investors are looking at purchasing a property to flip, the house is not going to be in tip-top shape; after all, these investors are looking to invest in the property to make it more appealing and generate profit.
As a renter, it's important to know what signs you should look for to help you determine if you're renting a winner, or a house that may not be safe to occupy. Next time you're checking out a house that was recently flipped, be sure to look for the red flags above to help determine if you should say yes or pass.

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

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Construction Nightmare?

How do you make sure that renovating or building your dream home does not turn into a construction nightmare?

If a massive renovation or a new-home build is in your immediate future, how will you guarantee there’ll be no “if only we’d…” or “in hindsight, I wish we had…” recriminations once the project is well underway or ready for move-in?

When you’re undertaking a revolutionary project based on brand-new technology and new techniques, there may be surprises ahead. However, most of us are working within the range of the practical experience and tested expertise of the professionals hired to construct a dream home. This knowledge foundation makes anticipation the essential construction strategy for heading off expensive surprises:
     Anticipation in renovation involves starting with a thorough inspection of the existing structure, including evaluation by a structural engineer. An expert who knows the work of the original home builder could anticipate possible challenges or expenses with renovation. An experienced local contractor will have seen the problems typical of area homes: aluminum wiring, knob-and-tube wiring, cut joists, asbestos insulation, water damage, unstable foundations…. The resulting contingency budget will cover appropriate possible “surprises” like these. 
     Anticipation in new builds includes learning about past projects undertaken by the construction team, which may include an architect, interior designer, and a project manager along with the contractor team. Their combined ability to anticipate problems and opportunities will be visible in deadlines met, budgets held, design flow achieved, durability ensured, and very short “if only we’d…” lists from homeowners. The construction team’s track record will be reflected in your project, so choose wisely: what they did before, they’ll do again, good or bad.
Five Key Construction Myths undermine anticipation. Learn how to avoid them. Then, you and your construction team will be on the way to anticipating and achieving success for your dream home:

Myth #1: The biggest decision for you is deciding to go ahead with a renovation or a new build—after that it’s clear sailing. Homeowners are often overwhelmed by the range and number of decisions involved. Big decisions about foundation walls, window design, and type of heating/cooling system often pale beside the thousands of small and significant decisions that go into finishing every square inch of the interior. Which floor materials, which wall coverings, which light fixtures, which cabinetry, which kitchen hardware, which door hardware…. All of these elements and more must be integrated for overall functionality and that “look” you want. If these decisions are not made in advance or at least narrowed down, ordering and delivery dates may snarl up work schedules.

Myth #2: No one can accurately project how much it will all cost because there’ll be surprises along the way. Anticipating problems typical for the house type and construction plans will result in a realistic contingency budget to head off the unexpected need for additional financing. Commitment to a realistic overall budget and solid project management means that if expenses arise, savings will be found elsewhere to keep the project on track financially. Don’t underestimate the value of an excellent, experienced project manager.

Myth #3: No need to worry; things can always be changed. Often the biggest expense is change. Making changes on the go can also undermine timelines, budgets, design functionality, and relationships—yours and those with the construction crew. Invest time deciding, in advance, what will work and sourcing the best price. Changing one thing often sets off a string of changes, so stick to these decisions and save money and headaches. The smart way to get ahead here is hiring an interior designer who understands your priorities, requirements, and taste. They’ll develop an inspired, practical design that you can stick to with help from their stress-reducing professional troubleshooting. It’s not finding ideas or inspiration that’s the challenge—the internet and social media like Pinterest will swamp you with them. The key is deciding which ideas to adopt and then refining them to fit together—on budget, on time, in line with the skills of the construction team, and on-target for your goals. The architect, project manager, and/or interior designer (depending on the scope of your project) will help you anticipate and resolve these challenges. Where you’re overwhelmed, they have been through the construction maze many times before.

Myth #4: You can trust contractors and workers to do their jobs without the need for you to get involved. Striking a balance between interfering and being vigilant, so things happen as expected and to agreed standards, is essential. Miscommunication is as disruptive during a renovation or a new build as it is in any other setting. If you don’t keep an eye on what’s going on, walls can end up in the wrong place, wrongly ordered materials will be installed, finishing standards may be ignored, deadlines will be missed, and many other annoying and costly slips and errors may occur. During a personal friend’s renovation, he allowed the crew to install the kitchen according to detailed plans—without getting involved. Unfortunately, they managed to get everything in place except the pantry which disappeared— a source of continuing irritation for the family.

Myth #5: Big box stores are the only place to get things at good prices. It’s not just about 
paying less. Functionality and durability matter a lot for long-term enjoyment and ease of maintenance. A few years in the future, will you easily find parts for taps, door hardware, or other items with moving parts? If you go to the expense of creating a unique dwelling, does it make sense to exclusively use mass-market fixtures and finishes? Online shopping and buying local will reveal a wide range of clever options. For insight into the range of ideas, products, and issues involved in designing for a major renovation or a new build, check out resources like Metropolis Magazine, Interior Design Magazine, and The Architect’s Newspaper.

Written by PJ Wade

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