Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Market Stats March 2019 and Upcoming Events this weekend in Avalon and Stone Harbor

MARKET STATS: With relatively few transactions, there was an increase in total units sold in March, with 27 sold this month in Avalon and Stone Harbor. This month's total units sold was higher than at this time last year, an increase from March 2018. For detailed look at the market, see the latest Long & Foster Market Minute links below:

View The Latest Long & Foster Market Minute Report  |  Download/Print PDF

Upcoming Events:

Author Talk: "Cape May County New Jersey: the Making of an American Resort Community"

May 4, 2019

Enjoy a lecture at the Avalon History Center given by Dr. Jeffery M. Dorwart, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University, and author of the book "Cape May County, NJ: The Making of an American Resort Community". Hear and learn about the history of Cape May County from the first recorded discovery by Henry Hudson in 1609 to its emergence as the twentieth century vacation-land.

Cape May County New Jersey: the Making of an American Resort Community

Spring Tide Festival & Merchant Sidewalk Sale

May 4, 2019

Spring Sidewalk Sale throughout Stone Harbor, boats, pirates, good eats, artisans & family fun!

Avalon Garden Club Spring Plant & Bake Sale

May 4-5, 2019

Stop by and peruse through the tables of the many varieties of annuals and perennials in various sizes on sale; as well as baked goods.

Avalon Garden Club Spring Plant & Bake Sale

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

Monday, April 29, 2019

Baths, Beds and Kitchens: Key Projects for a $10,000 Renovation

When it comes to home improvement, additions to the bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchen are popular—and pricey—upgrades. According to Remodeling magazine's 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of a kitchen remodel is $21,198; the average bath remodel runs $19,134; and adding a bed and bath combined for a master suite totals $123,420.
The average homeowner in a recent survey by Trulia is budgeting (a realistic) $8,879 for a remodel this year—and according to Trulia's Design Panel, they can defray expenses and stay on-target. The best projects (for a steal!) are:
  • Add storage (go the inexpensive route with shelving) and tile.
  • Install modern plumbing.
  • Replace the cabinets with a vanity.
  • Add a rug. (A design and disguise element.)
  • Brighten up with an accent wall and lighting.
  • Get a high-quality mattress, but lower-cost linens and pillows.
  • Add contemporary countertops and door knobs/pulls.
  • Customize the pantry with storage.
  • Give cabinets a facelift with new paint.
These budget-conscious improvements can keep you from overspending, the panel says, coming in, generally, at $10,000 or less for each room. It pays to spend wisely!
Trulia's Design Panel is comprised of experts in design, staging and storage.
Source: Trulia 

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

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Is Your Kitchen Top Chef-Worthy? You Could Pocket a Premium When You Sell

premium kitchen

The heart of the home is the kitchen—and buyers are eager to fork over for a showpiece.
According to an analysis conducted recently by Zillow, adding commercial-grade features to the kitchen pays a premium. Evaluating 4.6 million home listings in the past year, Zillow discovered that the features garnered anywhere from 24-34 percent more at sale.
Of the 10 biggest moneymakers, six are common in custom, entertainer's kitchens—and restaurants:
Steam Oven – 34 percent premium
Professional Appliance – 32 percent premium
Wine Cellar – 31 percent premium
Pot Filler – 27 percent premium
Waterfall Countertop – 26 percent premium
Prep Sink – 24 percent premium
The boost comes with a caveat: longer timelines. Because these amenities appeal to specific tastes, and are common in higher-end homes—and homes in the luxury market move slower, typically—cashing in could take a while. Against comps, homes outfitted with a steam oven, for instance, were on the market for 22 days more than the others.
What about buyers at the entry level, not in the luxury market? They're also drawn to well-appointed kitchens, and prepared to spend on them:
Pot Filler – 49 percent premium
Wine Cellar – 47 percent premium
Pizza Oven – 46 percent premium
Prep Sink – 39 percent premium
Dual-Range Oven – 36 percent premium
"Having a steam oven, a heated floor or other luxury features in the home is a signal that there are more than the home's basic features at play," says Skylar Olsen, director of Economic Research at Zillow. "These homes are special. They likely come with an elevated design sense and the extra touches valued by home shoppers who are willing to pay.
"If you have these features, flaunt them," Olsen says.
For more information, please visit

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

Thursday, April 25, 2019

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a Home? New Report May Surprise You

Purchasing a home often comes with a hefty price tag, but a surprising new report from Zillow shows that it costs a pretty penny to sell a home as well. In 2019, the average U.S. home seller spent $20,851 to sell their property, according to Zillow and Thumbtack's 2019 Hidden Costs of Selling analysis. This number includes the obvious closing costs, as well as improvements made when people are preparing to sell a home.
"Selling is often a complicated process that can sometimes require extensive prep work in order to put your best foot forward for a successful sale," said Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research, in a recent release. "It also comes with huge transaction costs that aren't necessarily top-of-mind to someone who hasn't sold a home in a while or never has had the pleasure. Selling was hard even in the sellers' market of recent years, and it's going to get harder as markets soften."
According to the report, closing costs—including agent commissions and sales taxes—add up to an average of $14,281. Since the costs are built on the selling price, those in high-priced markets can shell out much more to close. In San Jose, Calif., sellers pay an average of $76,015 in closing costs, compared to Cleveland, Ohio, sellers, who cough up an average of $9,046.
Nearly 80 percent of sellers undertake at least one home improvement project before listing their home. What are sellers shelling out for? According to Thumbtack, the most popular selling costs were: carpet cleaning, interior and exterior painting, full-service lawn care, home staging, house cleaning and local moving costs.
So is paying out to sell worth it? According to the report, yes. Sellers who make improvements to their homes are 22 percent more likely to sell for more than their asking price, compared to only 16 percent for those who make no improvements at all.  
For more information or to view the full report, click here.

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Home Sellers: 7 Ways to Make Your Landscape Pop This Spring


By Katie Kuchta
Homes with great curb appeal typically have a well-maintained yard. Taking the time and energy to create a beautiful garden is the best way to bring the best offer.
Draw potential buyers through the door by creating an enticing landscape. Consider these seven ways to make your landscape pop this spring:
Plant a Tree
It may seem silly to plant a young tree in your yard given the fact that it won't provide much immediate shade, but homebuyers will see the potential that new trees have. This can help create an idea of what the home will look like years after they purchase it. Trees are also beneficial because they grow deep root systems which help keep water from running off the soil.
Add New Color
An easy way to make your landscape pop is to plant new colors in your garden. Choose a bloom that will be in season while your home is on the market. Plant larger flowers, but also include some smaller blooms in pots near the entryway or walkway. Adding reds and yellows will help create interest in the home.
Tend to the Lawn
Dead spots in the lawn can be an eyesore and may deter buyers. Be sure to keep your yard maintained by cutting and watering it often. Feed your lawn with a quick release fertilizer that'll provide hardy growth and reseed any visible bare spots. Also, if you don’t have time to maintain the lawn, consider hiring a landscaping company that can bring your yard back to life quickly.
Spread Some Mulch
Mulch is one of those landscaping elements that puts a finishing touch on your entire yard. Spread organic mulch—such as bark dust—under and around plants to help keep weeds from growing. Mulch also provides a beautiful base color to your yard and keeps plants hydrated all year long.
Place Outdoor Seating
Potential buyers will want to be able to sit outside and enjoy the landscape that you've created. Make sure both your front and backyards have a spot to rest. Front porches should feature a small cafĂ© table and/or rocking chairs. Place a full outdoor dining set on your back patio. Providing a spot for new owners to spend time outdoors is an essential part of making your landscaping intriguing.
Install New Lighting
Landscaping isn’t always just about the plants. Lighting will provide homebuyers with the best view of your garden. Consider installing new lighting in the yard that'll help draw attention to your home no matter what time of day it is. Potential buyers who tour the home after dusk will still be able to see the yard with the right lighting. Solar spotlights can make certain plants stand out, and string lights can help create ambiance in the backyard.
Clean up Hardscapes
The structure of your yard is another place that either makes or breaks a home tour. Pressure wash walkways, patios and decks. Also, be sure to remove any weeds around the pavement so the hardscapes look their best.
You spend a lot of time making sure the interior of your home is clean and inviting. A few improvements to your landscape will help entice potential buyers through the front door!

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ - 40 Things To Do (All within a 15 to 40 minute drive.)

40 Things To Do (All within a 15 to 40 minute drive.)

1-Walk our beautiful beach and work on your tan. Build a sand castle.
2-Kayak through the back bay.
3-Bicycling on our bike path. ( can rent bikes at Harbor Bike Shop)
4-Bird Watching. Visit the Bird Sanctuary
5-Stop at Springers Ice Cream for a cone or a Sundae!
6-Visit Our Shops Downtown
7-Swim in the Ocean
13-Movie Theater
14-Miniature golf
17-Classes at New Stone Harbor Recreation Center
18-Visit Avalon Public Library. Classes for computers, yoga etc.
19-Family Night
20-Lots of Fine Restaurants
21-Cape May County Park and Zoo( Cape May Court House, Exit 11 off Garden State Parkway.) This is a fun day trip and it is Free!
22-Whale watching boat tour in Cape May.
23-Wetlands Institute on Stone Harbor Boulevard.
24-Trolley Tour of Historic Cape May
25-Boardwalk with amusement rides in Ocean City or Wildwood. Water parks too!
26-Ride Cape May Lewes Ferry to shop All the Outlet stores in Delaware.
27-Visit Smithville NJ, Lots of shops and restaurants.
28-Visit Historic Cold Springs Village on Route 9 in Cold Springs. A step back in time.
29-Take the kids to The Water Parks at Morey's Pier
30-Visit an Art Gallery
31-Check out Harbor Square Mall on 96th street in Stone Harbor
32-Visit a spa. Several in the area.
33-Relax at Massage Works. (Ask for Steve or Jean)
34-Visit Cape May County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society. You'll find medical, military, toy, maritime tools and Native American displays.
35-At Cape May Point, see the sunken ship remains of the concrete ship USS Atlantus.
36-If you are up for climbing 199 steps, you must see the Cape May Lighthouse with a beautiful sweeping view of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
37-See vintage aircraft at the Naval Aviation Museum in an actual World War II hanger listed in the National Register of Historical places. 609-886-8787
38-See a show, or visit slot machines and crap tables at Atlantic City Casinos.
39-Take the little ones to Storybook Land on Black Horse Pike in Cardiff.
40-Work out at one of the many gyms in the area.

For more info visit my Long & Foster website!

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Great Spaces: Spectacular City Living

By Zoe Eisenberg
In our April edition of Great Spaces, we're looking at deluxe city living with some of the nation's most stunning urban homes!

Magic in Murray Hill

Explore this two-bedroom, two-bathroom terraced penthouse in New York City's luxury Murray Hill Windsor Tower. Stellar features include 18-foot ceilings studded with windows overlooking the East River and a 1920s-era fireplace. From the parlor, travel up the sweeping staircase leading to a mezzanine overlooking the great room below. A big bonus for film buffs: The penthouse resides in the same luxury apartment complex where scenes from "Scarface," "The Godfather" and "Spider-Man" were filmed.
Listed by: Russell K. Miller, Brown Harris Stevens
Listed for: $2,850,000
Photos by: Brown Harris Stevens

Jersey City Condo

This sun-drenched, one-bedroom condo in Downtown Jersey City's Village West neighborhood spans over 725 square feet of chic urban atmosphere. Inside, you'll find high ceilings, wood floors, broad bay windows, ventless fireplaces, split heating/cooling systems, a fully decked-out kitchen and in-unit laundry.
Listed by: Dan Pelosi, Irene Barnaby, Weichert, REALTORS®
Listed for: $510,000
Photos by: Helen Leeson

Contemporary Living in La La Land

Remodeled in 2018, this four-bedroom, four-bathroom home located at 9141 Thrasher Ave. is sweetly tucked into the Los Angeles Hills. Inside, the house stretches over 5,800 square feet. Outside, a 12,613-square-foot lot is bejeweled with a picture-perfect pool and spa. The gated home has a compound-like feel, equipped with a gym, built-in bar and glass walls. Cityscape views are abundant in the contemporary space—even from the bathtub.
9141 Thrasher-1013
9141 Thrasher-1018
9141 Thrasher-1036
Listed by: Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Beverly Hills South office
Listed for: $11,999,995
Photos by: Adam Latham

A Warehouse of Your Own

Calling all artists! This recently renovated warehouse-style space in New York City's prestigious West Chelsea Arts District could be yours. Inside, ceiling heights soar over 30 feet with exposed brick walls, wood beams, skylights, a massive walk-in closet and an entertainment space expanding over 6,400 square feet. Truly one-of-a-kind, the 536 West 29th St. spot once doubled as a production and art studio for Broadway set designers.
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Listed by: Erin Boisson Aries, Nicola Bottero, Christie's International Real Estate
Listed for: $18,500,000
Photos by: Christie's International Real Estate

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

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Hottest Real Estate Markets in America for March 2019: Oh, Ohio?!

By Chelsia Rose Marcius

We've just closed the books on the first month of spring—and the beginning of the high season for home buying—and while the market slowed down in March compared with the same time last year, according to® data, an unexpected hot spot has emerged.

Several markets in Ohio, which are some of the county's most affordable, are attracting lots of buyer interest, claiming three of the top 20 spots in our monthly ranking of the country’s hottest metros for real estate. Two more Ohio metros, while not in that top 20, chalked up the biggest improvement year over year.

The state capital, Columbus, came in at No. 1 on the list, which reflects a combination of how fast homes take to sell (days on market) and the number of listing views racked up in each market. Both of these are an indicator of buyer demand. Akron and Canton came in at No. 16 and No. 19 respectively. Meanwhile, Cleveland and Cincinnati were the large metros with the most year-over-year improvement. That's a big change from the days (last year, even!) when the list was regularly topped by pricey California markets such as San Francisco and San Jose. (Each metropolitan area may also include smaller satellite cities.)

While California continues to be the most-represented state in the top 20, its markets are also the most affected by the slowdown. Houses in Vallejo, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz saw a significant jump in days on market, with an increase of 11, nine, and nine days respectively. Overall, the data shows that current inventory is selling three days more slowly than last March. That drop-off remains unchanged from February, which was the first time since December 2014 that metros on the top 20 list experienced an increase in days spent on the market. The full analysis looked at the 300 largest metros in the U.S.

According to Chief Economist Danielle Hale, the slowdown in big cities has indirectly benefited housing markets in the Midwest.

"Historically there wasn’t much demand in those areas," she says. "Now that home prices are higher across the board, people are looking to those [more wallet-friendly] areas to buy. Columbus is super affordable, with a median $249,900 compared to the national listing price of $300,000, which attracts a lot of younger buyers."

Continue reading at link below.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pricing a Home Accurately: Mistakes to Avoid

By Bill Gassett
Do real estate agents make mistakes when pricing a home? Of course. This is why it's so important to go with an experienced agent and one you can trust at the same time.
Sometimes an agent will make a pricing mistake for no fault of their own. You'd be surprised by how many sellers try hard not to disclose all of the information about a property. An exceptional listing agent needs to be a detective, as well as a salesperson.
Finding out what's wrong with the property is just as important as learning about its top selling points. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid if you want to price a home accurately:

Should You Price a Property Using Price-per-Square Foot?

Using price-per-square foot to value a home is one of the oldest means of pricing. It's also one of the least accurate for many reasons. A significant amount of uneducated agents will use this method of valuation.
It sounds great, but it may not accurately reflect the true value of the property. For instance, another home in the same neighborhood could be in worse condition. It could require a lot of work and have other problems which need to be addressed. In that case, the price-per-square foot valuation is not a true reflection of the subject property's value. It's often worth paying a bit more for a property that's in better condition.
Another example is trying to compare a home in a far superior location. People pay a premium when they're located in the best area in town.

Does the Neighborhood Matter?

Most buyers are happy paying a bit more for a property in the exact part of town they'd like to move to. Sure, take a look at what properties are selling for in other neighborhoods, but if the property comes up where they want, they'll usually pay for it. So you could have two identically-sized homes and one may be worth more than the other if located in a premium neighborhood.
School districts are another reason why you can't just use price-per-square foot. The schools in a particular part of town may not be as good, or it could be further from work. Buyers are willing to pay more money for the same house in the top school districts.

The Seller Determining the Price

Should a real estate agent let a homeowner price the property? This is where the worst pricing mistakes happen. Most homeowners who try to sell on their own, or talk the listing agent into selling for a certain price, can wait a long time for a sale.
These properties are often overvalued and you should be aware of this problem. If you think that the price seems excessive, ask the agent who set the price of the property. If the owner is selling their home without a real estate agent, there's a decent chance they set the price. The vast majority of the time, For Sale By Owner properties have an unrealistic asking price. This is one of the reasons why so many of them end up listing with an agent.

The Agent Didn't Want to Lose a Listing Opportunity

Real estate is one of the most competitive industries around. Agents often compete with other agents to land business. Human emotions can come into play when a seller has to pick who they want representing them.
Unfortunately, instead of picking the best agent based on skills or merit, other factors are considered. If one agent comes in with a higher price, they may be picked for that reason alone. And lesser-skilled agents use this to their advantage—they'll intentionally mislead the seller on price to get a listing.

Using the Tax Assessment to Set a Price

This isn't a good idea. Most agents are aware of the value of the tax assessment, but seldom base their value of the property on it. There are some agents who don't know that there's no correlation between assessed value and fair market value—many things may have changed since the property was last assessed by the tax collector.
Assessed values can be much higher or much lower than the actual market value. Never make the mistake of using an assessed value to put a price tag on a home.

Basing the Price on an Online Estimate

Don't try to guesstimate a property value. There are many online valuation sites that publish valuations. Take these estimates with a grain of salt. More often than not, these are way off from the true market value. Always make sure that a property value is backed up by facts. An outstanding real estate agent should be able to tell you what a home is worth and back it up with facts as to why that is the case.
Don't be afraid to ask. Many buyers are still worried about asking why a home is worth a certain price. A professional buyer's agent will tell you why they think the home you are considering buying is worth X amount compared to others.

Key Factors to Check Out

In order to ensure no pricing mistakes have been made, here are a few things you should check out:
  • Is the plumbing up to date?
  • Does the homeowner have all of the necessary building permits for any remodeling done?
  • Are bathrooms and the kitchen up to date?
  • Are all home improvements and alterations legal?
  • How desirable is the lot?
  • How much traffic goes by the house?
  • What is the rating on the local school system?
It's easy to forget that it is your money. Many of us still "fall in love" with a property and find we "just have to have it." Some say that you buy dreams when you buy a property. That is very true. When you go on a home visit, take off your rose-colored glasses and make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
The market value of a home is always determined by the buyer. If you don't have a buyer, then you don't know what your property is worth. Agents and sellers can surmise all day about what they expect a home to sell for—sometimes it happens as planned and other times it doesn't.
Of course, any real estate professional does their best to accurately price a property. Some are better at it than others. Given it's such an important variable in selling a home, make sure you do your due diligence.
Homes that are priced correctly out of the gate sell for more than those that get price reductions. Always remember that when you are trying to stretch beyond what the data tells you. By following sound advice, you'll avoid all the common pricing mistakes that get sellers into hot water.

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