Keeping Current Matters

Thursday, June 20, 2019

WalletHub Report: Home Is Where…It’s Safest?

The world can get a little overwhelming these days with news headlines giving us bad news at every turn. That's why safety is high on the priority list for homebuyers. And with help from WalletHub's newly released report—2019's Safest States in America—consumers can help narrow down their choices for a place to call home.
The report considers 52 key safety indicators across five categories: Personal and Residential Safety, Financial Safety, Road Safety, Workplace Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Here are the findings:
Source: WalletHub

These are the top 20 safest states in the U.S., according to the report:
  1. Minnesota
  2. Vermont
  3. Maine
  4. Utah
  5. Connecticut
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Iowa
  8. Hawaii
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Wyoming
  1. Washington
  2. Indiana
  3. Virginia
  4. Oregon
  5. Maryland
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Wisconsin
  8. North Carolina
  9. Idaho
  10. Nevada

 If safe roads are a must, check out Massachusetts, Minnesota or New Hampshire. For a stronger police presence, New Jersey and Louisiana are the top choices. And if you've got kids and bullying is on your mind, focus your search on Delaware, Florida or Virginia.
Obviously, there's no one single place that is completely danger-free, but if you have specific concerns, there are areas that'll give you more peace of mind. So determine what matters most to you, whether that be a low crime rate, better weather conditions or safer workplaces, and let those factors guide your home-buying decision.
To read the entire report, visit

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

Monday, June 17, 2019

Great Spaces: Michael Douglas Narrates His Own Real Estate Video

Looking for a unique way to market a real estate listing? Hire an A-lister to narrate it! This is much easier, of course, when you're the A-lister who's listed the home for sale. Actor Michael Douglas recently narrated the listing video for his $32.4 million property on the island of Mallorca, Spain.
Douglas spent the past 30 years modernizing the stunning cliffside estate—dubbed S'Estaca—which was built in the mid-19th century by Archduke Ludvig Salvator, as Douglas notes in his video. He originally purchased the estate in 1989 for $3.5 million.
The property sits upon 250 acres of land, with two cottages and five apartments housing 10 bedrooms total and, according Douglas, up to 20 people can stay here in style and comfort.
How much style? The estate also has a pool, private vineyard, olive grove, wine cellar and intense views of the Balearic Sea. Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones listed the home for a staggering $60 million back in 2014, but have nearly halved the price, making it seem like a billionaire's steal.  
View the full video below:

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

Friday, June 14, 2019

How to Afford a Luxury Family Home With a Reasonable Mortgage

By Meghan Belnap
Living in a luxury home is a lifelong dream for many people, but purchasing a beautiful piece of property could end up putting you in debt for 40 years or longer if you aren't careful. Luckily, with a little bit of planning and some patience, you should be able to buy the house of your dreams with a reasonable mortgage. Here's how:

Improve Your Credit Score

When it comes time to apply for a home loan, the loan officer is going to carefully scrutinize every aspect of your credit history. If you have blemishes on your credit history, or your credit score is low, you will need to spend some time dealing with those issues. Boosting your credit score by just a few points could greatly reduce your interest rate, which will allow you to pay off your home loan much quicker.

Avoid Coastal Properties

Buying a house on the beach might seem like a great idea, but those homes can be incredibly expensive. It's also important to note that beachfront property is very difficult to maintain. You could end up spending tens of thousands of dollars on maintenance every year, and that will quickly eat into your budget. Instead of coastal properties, you might want to take a look at waterfront homes near lakes and rivers. If you’re flexible on scenery, you can find luxury mountain homes for sale at much lower prices than coastal or waterside homes that still have stunning views.

Work With an Experienced Agent

Purchasing a luxury home without an experienced real estate professional by your side could be a serious and expensive mistake. Your real estate agent will be able to find homes that meet your criteria, schedule walkthroughs and negotiate on your behalf. Bringing the asking price down by a few thousand dollars could end up reducing the total length of your mortgage by multiple years. One of those professionals can also connect you to different lenders so that you can choose the best deal.

Head Outside of the City

There are quite a few benefits to living within a city, but you're going to pay for those advantages. If you want to save some money on your home, then you might want to take a look at local suburbs. Homes that are located outside city limits are almost always more affordable, and you won’t end up paying as much on property taxes. With the money you would have spent on property taxes and higher living expenses, you can aggressively work on your home loan.
In addition to these few tips, you also need to make sure that you remain as patient as possible. This process is going to take quite some time if you have a strict budget, and you don’t want to make an offer until you've found the perfect piece of property at a great price.

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

Monday, June 10, 2019

Avalon and Stone Harbor Housing Market - April 2019
(Read Full Report here:)

Units Sold 

There was an increase in total units sold in April, with 41 sold this month in Avalon and Stone Harbor. This month's total units sold was higher than at this time last year.

Active Inventory

Versus last year, the total number of homes available this month is lower by 10 units or 5%. The total number of active inventory this April was 211 compared to 221 in April 2018. This month's total of 211 is lower than the previous month's total supply of available inventory of 227, a decrease of 7%.

Median Sale Price 

Avalon and Stone Harbor Housing Market Last April, the median sale price for Avalon and Stone Harbor Homes was $1,035,000. This April, the median sale price was $1,975,000, an increase of $940,000 compared to last year. The current median sold price is higher than in March.

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

Three Ways to Invest In a Home and Not Get Hurt

Buy low, sell high. That's the investor's maxim that never fails. The trick is in knowing when to buy and when to sell. Investing in a home is never as easy or as quick to deliver returns as you may wish. We all want to ride the boom and avoid the crash. Here are three ways to buy a home safely.

Don't try to time the market
Some homebuyers believe that waiting for prices or interest rates to go lower is the way to buy a home. But there are two things wrong with that approach.

First, what is the market going to do? Unless you have a crystal ball, it's hard to know. Between 2006 and 2011, home prices fell an annualized 7.7% a year, or 27%, according to Fiserv Case/Shiller. Since 2011 and 2014, they've gained back that much and more on an annual basis.

Mortgage interest rates follow the U.S. Treasury yields. A quarter point rise in interest rates will cost you roughly $25 more per month. Lock in an interest rate with your lender and don't second-guess yourself. You'll have more peace of mind as well as a stronger negotiating position with the seller.

Buy within your means
Irresponsible lending led to one of the biggest recessions in modern history. Many homeowners lost their homes. You don't want to join them by buying a home that's bigger, more luxurious or pricier than you can reasonably afford.

Lenders are facing heavy government penalties for lending to unqualified borrowers, so they're insisting that lending standards return to historically safe and sustainable parameters.

That means you won't be able to pay half your income toward housing which was common during the housing boom. Today, you'll pay approximately no more than a quarter to a third of your gross monthly income for a home.

As your income improves, your home becomes even more affordable, allowing you to meet other life goals, such as adding new members to your family or starting a business of your own.

Buy long term
The longer you own your home, the more equity you build. Equity is the percent of ownership you have in the home. Think of equity as money you'll get back when it's time to sell.

To protect your equity, reinvest in your home to keep it in top condition. Then when it's time to sell, your home will be more appealing to buyers and sell for more money than similar homes that aren't as updated or attractive.

If you buy a new home every few years, you'll throw away thousands in moving and closing costs. It's far better to hold on to your first home for as long as you can. At some point, you can turn it into a rental property that produces income for you.

Choose the best home you can for the money and it will return the favor.

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Designing Your Outdoor Living Space This Summer: 4 Hot Trends

From bohemian cues to minimalistic touches, the decor in our homes is migrating outdoors for the summer—and balance, in both colors and materials, is the overarching theme, according to a new report by Zillow.
"The lines have been blurred between what's indoor-only and what you can use outside, which means it's never been easier to create an outdoor space that's cohesive with your indoor design," says Kerrie Kelly, design expert at Zillow.
The Hottest Outdoor Trends
Comforts of Indoors, Out
Most of us delineate our indoor living spaces in a structured way, from arranging anchor furniture and hanging lighting to rolling out rugs. According to the Zillow report, this approach is appropriate for outside, as well, in accents like chandeliers and cushions in durable materials, centered around a fireplace or fire pit—ideal for interaction, movement and warmth.

Bright, Saturated Shades
Beyond the comforts of the indoors, citrusy colors are a top trend, with the beginning of the rainbow specifically in vogue. From corals and scarlets to tangerines, these bright hues liven up outdoor spaces, as well as coordinate with less peppy shades, making them simple to swap.

Scandinavian Touches
Classified by minimalism and a monochromatic palette, Nordic/Scandinavian design is also heading outdoors—think aluminum furnishings and neutral textiles. The aesthetic beautifully pairs with wood, according to the design experts at Zillow, complementing a deck or porch well.

Green as a Statement
Eco-friendliness is having its moment, the report shows. To add "green" to your outdoor space, consider installing LED lighting powered by solar, or a dramatic living wall, which won't detract from the natural surroundings.

For more information, please visit

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