Innovative, High-Tech Music Systems That No Homeowner of the 21st Century Can Live Without

Watch on your mobile device >>

What home would be complete without the surround sound of pristine quality music? Even if you’re not a music enthusiast, the moment you hear the notes vibrating through the air you are instantly transformed to another place.

Today, I wanted to share with you an amazing company that has been around for a long time now and continues to provide the utmost of quality service and products. We meet Ralph Tarnofsky of Professional Audio Consultants and he shares with us some of the most innovative products out on the market today.

As a new homeowner or even an existing one, there are some great things the company can do, ranging from assisting with existing music, audio and such systems to helping to install new systems. It can be anywhere from a simple set-up to as complex as you need.

Serving the Millburn and Short Hills area plus surrounding communities, some of the things PAC provides include home entertainment and electrical systems that can be remotely controlled from your smart devices. Lights, music, HVAC and other systems can be seamlessly integrated and controlled with ease from afar. Home theatres, unique music and media systems such as state-of-the-art wireless controlled music libraries that are accessible through your existing music network are just a few of the things PAC offers.

If you are in the process of moving, they also come out to your place and help to de-install, store and then redeliver and reinstall your complete home music and entertainment system. This is an ideal undertaking particularly during renovations as the walls and other building components are open and exposed, allowing added flexibility.

Some new products that are very popular are the Sonos system, which wirelessly gives you access to all Internet and iTunes based music systems plus Sirius, Pandora, Rhapsody and more. The new mirror TV is futuristic yet very much available today. You can set up a mirror that actually turns into a TV with the push of a button; ideal for bedrooms, bathrooms, rec rooms, even offices – the possibilities are endless!

You HAVE to check out this company! Push button, turnkey music, entertainment and convenience that you will realize you never could live without in the first place. Contact Ralph and his team. Visit their website at Check out their showroom: 182 Essex St. in Millburn. You will NOT regret it!

And of course, if you need anything at all with your real estate endeavors, please call your trusted real estate advisor Shannon Aronson at 973 214 0691.

Hurricane Sandy Momentarily Stalled the Real Estate Market But We Are Back and Stronger Than Ever Before!

Watch on your mobile device >>

When Hurricane Sandy hit our region there was obviously much despair going on and subsequently a lot of damage suffered by many homeowners to their property. I want to take a moment to reach out and extend my deepest concern for those that have endured the suffering that can only be expected from such an enormous storm. Please know that in my many years of service in this industry, I have come to know and trust a lot of quality contractors. So if you need anyone to help repair, renovate or rejuvenate your home after the wrath of Sandy’s damage, let me know.

In terms of our real estate outlook, things could not be better. Just before the hurricane hit our region we had been seeing a continued strong surge of home sales as well as inventory levels that continuously dropped. Today, we are back in the same swing of things and our market is very strong. In fact, we are seeing very strong indications of a highly active spring market yet to come.

With inventory levels as low as they are and buyers out there very eager to lock in amazing interest rates that are still available at historic lows, this is an excellent time to buy AND it’s an excellent time to sell.

For buyers: it goes without saying that this kind of opportunity may never happen again in our lifetimes. Rates this low have never been seen and they might never be available again so at savings that amount to several hundred dollars as compared to what you might have paid at just a couple more percentage points, buy now!

For sellers: Fewer homes on the market during the cooler months of the year means less competition. In fact, sellers today are enjoying the best time in years to sell their home, often with multiple offers and even price wars for some homes. As long as you price competitively and show the home well, you should be able to sell it for top dollar.
If you have been unsure of whether to list your home, trust me when I tell you that now or even the spring is going to be one of our strongest markets ever. If listing in the spring seems more in the cards, utilize the holidays’ down time to spruce up your home and prepare it for sale. You’ll be glad you did come closing time when you are able to get the most money for your property in the least amount of time!

As always feel free to call me, your trusted real estate advisor, for more information about this or any other real estate needs you may have. I would be happy to identify some of the things you can do to get the home ready for the market.

Harness Your Selling Power As Inventory Levels Continue to Drop in Summit, NJ

Watch on your mobile device >>

For a long time now, we have been receiving the same inquiry from homeowners that are unsure whether or not it is a good time to sell their homes. And for equally as long a time we have been cautious in our advice keeping in mind the struggling market we saw after the housing industry crashed in 2007. But today is a new day and now we have new advice.

Inventory levels have consistently dropped over the past couple years – so much so that today, we are looking at one-fifth fewer homes on the market as compared to just one year ago. That is a huge difference and the impact it has on our marketplace is also very significant.

For sellers, this means that there is less selling competition on the marketplace allowing them to expect better returns for their home. Buyers will have to get really creative as inventory levels decline further since there will be fewer and fewer good choices available to them.

Looking at statistics again, when you compare the number of homes that have gone under contract during the past year – that is when things really start to stand out. With a twenty-four percent increase year-to-date as compared to the same time frame last year, we can clearly see that there is more buyer activity despite fewer homes on the market.

This amounts to one thing for our sellers; now is a great time to list your home.

Now, many people are wary of the upcoming election and concerned that it may have some bearing on the success rate of homes that are for sale. That is simply not true. In fact, if you spend some time online and browse reputable websites you will see that much of the speculation about election-based housing marketing fluctuations, are just that – speculations. And it is important to keep in mind that even if the election outcome had an impact on the real estate market, those changes would take a considerable amount of time to show up on the ground.

All in all, right now the signs point to a favorable market for both sellers and buyers alike. Sellers will likely be successful in their endeavor to sell their home and buyers can continue to enjoy record setting low interest rates – that seem to be here for at least a bit longer.

If you would like to sit down and discuss your real estate situation, contact us today for a no-pressure conversation about your options and how the current marketplace would translate your real estate needs. Call 973 214 0691 or email I look forward to serving you!

Maplewood, New Jersey Offers Quaint New England Living in a Charming Town

Watch on your mobile device >>

Drive through Maplewood, New Jersey and you will immediately feel right at home. With the perfect, quaint New England town feel as you move through downtown to the lovely landscaping you will find throughout – Maplewood has a lot to offer its residents.

Dotted with local businesses that have been around in the community for a long time, locals love to frequent the mom and pop shops that make up much of downtown Maplewood’s backdrop.

Restaurants are also plenty here with some of my favorites including Arturo’s, a great place for pizza and Italian fare. There is also the Coda Kitchen and Bar for those of you that don’t know what you feel like for lunch for dinner (they have anything from grilled cheese to Thai food). And if you are into cooking yourself you will absolutely love the Freeman’s Fish Market – offering all kinds of fresh fish delivered to your front door and still locally owned and operated.

In terms of transportation, the Maplewood Station offers flexibility to residents – with the commuter short train lines that take people from their homes or blocks in their neighborhoods directly to town, saving them from parking hassles. The education system in Maplewood has recently taken a huge climb in the New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s school rankings going from 75th in line of the state’s best school systems to number 47.

No matter where you turn to look, you will be charmed by the beautiful New England style traditional homes that mostly dot the landscape of Maplewood, New Jersey. This is the perfect place to consider if you are looking at this area to buy a home. We are seeing a continued decline in the number of homes available, with 31% down from last year. With interest rates as low as they continue to be, this is a great time to invest in a home – and Maplewood is the perfect place!

If you would like to explore this community or others in our area – I invite you to contact me at 973.214.0691 or email I look forward to working with you!

October 2012 Mortgage Update – Your FAQs Answered

Watch on your mobile device >>

As a real estate agent, I am often asked about the state of our market. Within that also comes a desire for people to keep up-to-date with the latest mortgage news. Of course ever since our housing market crashed back in 2007, there has been much activity going on and the news can and does change at the drop of a hat.

Interest Rates Continue to Remain at Record Setting Lows

Talking with Susan Petrocco of Investors Home Mortgage located in Millburn, NJ, we get to hear of some of today’s mortgage news and how it impacts you as a buyer (and seller). For starters, she says that interest rates have never been lower. Now we have all heard that – especially lately as the government keeps the base rate down to a minimum for at least another year. But did you know just how low the rates are today? Right now, on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage qualified buyers are getting 3.25%. The rate is even lower for 15-year notes at 2.875%.

This is an unprecedented low and it will not last forever. Though one can only tell once the rates have already hit bottom and begin to rise again, we can advise you that now is THE time to take advantage of these rates.

Varying Types of Loans Are Available

One of the most confusing aspects of mortgages for some borrowers is the difference between conforming and jumbo loans. Susan clarifies this for us by explaining that loans amounting up to $417,000 are considered conforming loans while notes from $625,000 and up are jumbo loans. The range in between each of these are considered conforming high balance loans.

It’s a Great Time to Refinance

Many homeowners are unsure whether they ought to seek to refinance their home – in fact many have no idea of the potential benefits of doing so. The truth is that though in the past borrowers had been advised to apply for a refinance on their mortgage anytime it would have saved them a percentage point or more, things have changed in today’s mortgage world. Today, Susan advises that if there is a change of anything more than a half percent, borrowers should consider refinancing.
If you would like to sit down with Susan Petrocco, contact her today at Investors Home Mortgage (973.219.0213). And as always if you have any real estate needs, whether to buy, sell or invest – contact me today at 973.214.0691 or email I look forward to meeting with you!

South Orange, New Jersey Seeing a Lot of Activity as the Real Estate Market Continues to Strengthen

Watch on your mobile device >>

One of the things we look for as we study the market trends in our local areas is how public interest spikes in certain locales. South Orange is one of those places. During the last year alone, we have seen a huge surge of interest from buyers, with a significant jump in the number of homes sold and just as few homes remaining available on the market.

There are so many reasons that living in South Orange is becoming more and more popular. For starters, there is a great school system (shared by Maplewood). Ranked by the New Jersey Monthly Magazine as being the 47th best high school – up from last year’s ranking at number 75 on the list.

Not only that but residents of South Orange also enjoy many great entertainment options on top of the already gorgeous landscape that comes with the New Jersey lifestyle. The South Orange Performing Arts Center is just one of many entertainment options – with a host of exciting events held throughout the year. Concerts, comedy shows, live theatre, mainstream films as well as the more trendy artistic film productions and dance productions are all available to residents and visitors in the state-of-the-art SOPAC facility built in the early 2000s.

In terms of market statistics, we have seen a tremendous jump in the number of homes sold during the past year, with as many as 30% more homes coming off the market through 2012 as compared to the same time frame last year. The real estate market is definitely very strong in South Orange, making it an excellent time to buy a home. In fact, with increased demand and continued historic low interest rates, buyers are finding it harder and harder to find the perfect home since there is so much buying competition out there right now.

For those of you that like to get back to the big city regularly there are many transportation options available in terms of traveling out of South Orange. Two New Jersey Transit train stations plus three bus lines provide ample avenues of getting to Manhattan.
If you would like to explore South Orange as a place you’d like to call home, contact me today at 973.214.0691. I’d be glad to show you around and help you find your perfect place!

Millburn-Short Hills Area Restaurants – An Eclectic Mix of Great Restaurants

Watch on your mobile device >>

I’ve always loved talking about the fabulous features that come with living in the Millburn-Short Hills area. In fact, I’ve done some blog posts in the past that mention some of the amazing aspects of this community. Today though, I wanted to focus on the vast array of cuisine options you have in the locale.

Though I am only mentioning a few here, you will quickly see that despite not being in the Big Apple, as many of our local residents fondly think of when it comes to our dining options, Millburn-Short Hills still has a lot to offer! Here are a few of the restaurants I talked about in the video as well as their websites, information about their location and more. Of course, I’d love to meet with you to talk about other joys of living in this great locale. So if you would like to discuss the possibilities or even if you’d just like to explore some options, contact me today at 973 214 0691 – I look forward to hearing from you!

Khun Thai

504 Millburn Avenue
Short Hills NJ 07078
973.258.0586 or

Lunch: Tuesday-Friday, 12:00pm-3:00pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5:00pm-10:00pm;
Friday-Saturday, 05:00pm-11:00pm;
Sunday, 4:00pm-9:30pm


MoonShine Supper Club

55 Main Street
Millburn NJ 07041

MoonShine is located in Millburn's center of town
at 55 Main Street. Click here for map

Complimentary Secured Parking is provided at 75 Main Street / 1 Taylor Street
(enter on Taylor Street) during the following hours:
Monday–Friday 6:30 pm Until Closing

Saturdays and Sundays – All Day

Holidays – All Day


61 Main Street
Millburn, NJ

Phone: 973-564-9600

Fax: 973-564-9603

Lunch: Monday-Thursday, 11.30am-2.30pm
Monday-Thursday, 5.00pm-9.00pm
Friday-Saturday, 5.00pm-10.00pm
Sunday, Closed


Café Luna

32 Main Street

Millburn, NJ 07041



324 Millburn Avenue
Millburn NJ

Lunch: Monday-Saturday, 11:45am-2:30pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5pm-9:30pm
Friday-Saturday, 5pm-10:30pm
Sunday, 4:30pm-8:30pm


New Providence, NJ is the New HOTSPOT for Buyers!

Watch on your mobile device >>

There is nothing more wonderful than being surrounded by natural beauty, gorgeous history and unparalleled standards of education, community and great cuisine! That’s why my latest rave is the New Providence area to buy your next home. Not that it wasn’t always a great place, but with this year’s vote from the coveted New Jersey Monthly as having the top rated school system makes this an even better place to live in!

Leaving aside just the fantastic education in this quintessential New Jersey town, there are also a lot of fabulous restaurants, plenty of shopping (both national and local shops and stores) plus a lot of parks for recreation. The stunning backdrop of greenery, cherished by residents, will also be a highlight when you choose a lifestyle in this town of just under 13,000 residents.

People that love nature will bask in the gorgeous surroundings of the Second Watchung Mountain and creek beds that swirl through the terrain – all connected to Salt Brook. The center of the town marks the place where all these creeks join and then flow into the Passaic River. One of the favorite pastimes of residents is to enjoy any of the several parks owned by the Borough; Clearwater Park close to the end of Central Avenue, Lyons Park on Livingston Avenue and Veterans Memorial Park on South Street.

Just 28 short miles from the Big Apple, people living in New Providence have the best of both worlds; perfect small town living yet easy access to the big metropolis of New York City.

If you are considering locales close to New York City, this is a great place to check out! Call me today for a tour of New Providence and I would be glad to share all the fantastic things about this little town. Call me at 973.214.0691 today.

August 2012 Real Estate Update

Watch on your mobile device >>

As we sit back and relax during this otherwise slower month for real estate I wanted to share with you some of the happenings in our marketplace and how they impact you. As of this time in August last year, many of our markets were seeing a significant amount of inventory on hand. Fast forward to the same time this year and the change is fantastic!

Breaking down each area, here is a look at how our local real estate market performance has been plus a few tips on how this impacts you as a buyer or seller today.

South Orange, West Orange
We saw a surge of inventory last year and slowly over the past 12 months this has come down. Today, we have approximately 20% less inventory in these areas coupled with a sales increase of about 32% from last year. This is phenomenal news! Even though prices remained the same, what this tells us is that we are on the road to recovery from the harsh outcomes of the housing crisis back in 2007.

The Maplewood area saw a huge decline in the number of homes available on the market with as much as about 40% fewer homes this year compared to last! Sales improved during that time too, with a 9% increase in sales from the same time last year.

Millburn, Short-Hills and Summit
We have not seen a lot of change in these markets but mainly because there were no major struggles in these areas to begin with. Last year, inventory levels were fairly stable as were home sales. The same holds true this year, making Millburn, Short-Hills and Summit fairly level year over year. We did see a slight improvement in the number of sales.

Borough of Chatham
Like the Millburn, Short-Hills and Summit markets, the Borough of Chatham also experienced a fairly level real estate outlook this year as well as last. No real change in inventory levels were reported and a slight increase in sales took place this year versus the same time in 2011.

Chatham Township
There was more change reported in the Chatham Township area compared to the Borough, with Chatham Township registering 10% more homes available on the market. There was also a 13% decline in the number of sales in this area.

The most significant change we have seen was reported in Madison. With a huge dip in inventory this year from 70 homes on the market in 2011 to just 47 at the same time this year, this market is on track for a balanced market. With sales up 7%, it is a good time to sell right now especially as demand increases with fewer homes.
Considering the overall changes in our marketplace now is a great time for both sellers and buyers alike. The super low interest rates are holding steady for now so that means the cost of borrowing is significantly lower than it has been in years. In terms of selling your home, as the competition continues to increase with fewer and fewer available homes for sale, you can expect multiple bids and top dollar sales.

Contact me, your trusted real estate advisor, today for a customized consultation so we can discuss your real estate needs and get to work on achieving those goals right away! My email address is or you can call me at 973.214.0691. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Summit, New Jersey Offers Residents Quaint, Small Town Living With Plenty to Do

Watch on your mobile device >>

Today’s video was recorded as I stood among the trees and cool breeze of the Summit Arboretum. If you look around, you will see plenty of locals enjoying the gardens, having picnics, spending a gorgeous day outside.

Nestled comfortably as a transportation hub that accesses all areas in the region through trains, Summit is one of the area's most sought after commuting towns. Gone are the days of living exclusively in the cramped quarters of a city – especially for families. Consider the schools system in Summit – this school district has consistently been voted among the best schools systems in the entire state of New Jersey!

There is plenty to keep you busy in Summit too – whether that means visiting the many restaurants, enjoying the pleasant weather in the backdrop of some amazing parks and recreational facilities or experiencing the history and charm of a colonial town.

For residents that like to live in a relatively quiet community while still living the hustle and bustle of city life there is easy access to other cities via the MidTOWN DIRECT train line – getting you to Penn Station is under 40 minutes.

You will love the people, places and things to do here. If you are exploring places to move to and New Jersey in on the map – contact me today! I’d love to show you all the places I love around town in Summit! Call me at 973.214.0691 today.

Top Rated Schools In Millburn-Short Hills New Jersey Contributing Factor in Its Desirable Real Estate Location

Watch on your mobile device >>

What are the things that make your list of important reasons to move to a certain locale?  Is it the type of people that live there?  Is it something more personal like the number of family or friends in the area? Are area shopping centers and other attractions desirable? Or is the integrity of the school system an important deciding factor?

As your trusted real estate advisor, I can tell you that one of the top reasons many buyers choose a particular vicinity is the quality of school system in the area. And when it comes to this, the Millburn-Short Hills area is top rated and second to none. In fact, rated the number 1 high school in the entire state of New Jersey by the New Jersey Monthly Magazine, residents are consistently proud to call out this distinction year after year.

The structure of the Millburn Township Public Schools is tiered with all schools leading to the renowned high school. This excellent district’s middle school houses all children that have come up from the five area elementary schools (two in Millburn and three in Short Hills).

I invite you to visit my website and see the area where I have included links to all the school websites (among other useful links) for your convenience. You can also click the school district’s site above in this article.

Our area is not limited to just the Millburn school system – in fact, there are many locales where you can ensure top rated, quality education for your children. To find out more about those, or the ones I have discussed in this article – contact me at my direct number 973.214.0691. And as always if you decide you would like to pursue purchasing a property in the area or if it is time to list your home on the market, I welcome your call and look forward to serving you!

Downsizing: When The Time Comes To Move Into A Smaller Home

Watch on your mobile device >>

Are you considering downsizing from your home and moving into something more small and manageable?  What are the circumstances behind that consideration?  Becoming an empty nester is one of the many things that lead homeowners to want to downsize.  Is maintenance becoming too much to handle and you would rather let someone else handle all that?  No matter what the reason, countless Americans each year are making the commitment to sell their existing home and move into something smaller.

But a lot of people are also having a hard time actually implementing that commitment. What are some of the reasons to expedite this life-changing event?  You will not only save money on tax payments, but your utility bills will be more manageable and mortgage payments smaller. And in cases where homeowners will be moving to a condominium or cooperative, there will be a lot more time and energy once you have freed up the need to maintain your property.

Here are some of the ways you can get stuck in the process and how you can manage each situation. Once all is said and done, you will finally be able to focus on the more important things in life!

Not Knowing Where Or How You Will Go

For many homeowners the sheer idea of having to move from their home elicits fear and uncertainty. If you live in an area where there may not be a lot of options for downsizers, what are you to do to find a smaller place?  Usually people moving from a larger home into a smaller one have a lot of stuff to deal with before the move.

The solution is to meet with a Realtor that will prepare a list of properties ideal for your situation. Whether it is a condo with extra storage or a community designed to accommodate certain age groups – your Realtor can steer you to suitable properties in your desired location.

Unsure About How Much You Can Spend On a Downsize

In most cases when a homeowner makes the decision to downsize they will utilize the equity in their existing home to purchase the new property. But if you have lived in the home for ten, twenty, thirty or even longer than that – chances are you have little idea of what you can actually afford. This can also impact your decision of where you want to move.

Contact your real estate agent for a customized assessment (also called a CMA) of what you will likely be able to sell your home for in today’s market. Once you know what you can expect, looking at other homes in the area that recently sold, you will have a better idea of what you can afford.

Accepting That You Will Need to Reduce Your Stuff

This is the hardest step for most people making the decision to move to a smaller home. After living in one home for years and years, there is a lot of stuff to deal with that must be managed. Some items will of course be of sentimental value, others are things you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of and still other things might be items of another family member that has moved away.

The best way to deal with this situation is to make the commitment to downsize and then undergo a cleanup operation. Either you can hire a professional organizer or set up four categories and organize your things by the labels “Keep”, “Donate”, “Sell” and “Trash”. Your real estate agent can put you in touch with various professionals to help you manage this undertaking whether through estate sales, auctions, donation centers or other avenues.
For help with these or anything else related to your real estate and home life goals, contact me today!

With Market and Interest Rates Down – Does That Mean Property Investment Is a Good Idea?

Watch on your mobile device >>

So many people are wondering these days whether it is a good time to invest in property.  It’s no secret that interest rates are at an all-time historic low and when combined with the low housing prices we are still seeing these days, more and more people are considering real estate investment.

How can you tell if it is the right thing for you?  And if you do decide you want to venture into buying property for the sake of investment, how do you go about it and what type of dwelling makes the most sense? 

The answer is largely dependent on your individual investment goals.

Overall Appreciation Perfect for Long-Term Security
The easiest way to enjoy significant returns on investment is through the purchase of a single-family home.  Historically more popular, these properties are easier to rent out, entail less day-to-day management and they can be assumed as primary residence at any given time the investor would so choose, providing an added sense of security.  Home values do appreciate with time and single-family homes typically rise in value faster than other rental property types.

It is important that the property is located in a desirable location and also that it is easily rentable.  Your Realtor can assist you with an analysis of the area’s statistics in term of rent versus buy situations as well as a look at what other similar properties are renting out for.

Slow and Steady Monthly Income
Rental units that comprise of anywhere from 2 to 12 (or more) family units within the property are perfect for monthly real-time cash flow. While they may not appreciate as much as single-family homes, they provide the comfort and safety net of steady monthly income.  If increased cash flow is the goal then opting for multi-unit rental properties may be the best route to take.

Demographics play a key role in determining your investment.  For instance, if you live in a college town then a rental home near the college or downtown would be ideal for many senior or grad level students that prefer easy access yet quality housing.  Conversely, resort homes are also attractive and as long as they are located near some tourist attractions you may be able to yield decent rental income. Rental units in big cities are also popular in the more bustling areas of town.


Given the increase of rental units and investment properties being rented out, there has been an influx of property management companies set up.  Ideal for the silent investor or someone that does not have a lot of time to put into the actual management of properties, property management companies handle anything from market analysis, finding and screening tenants plus managing the move-in process to handling day-to-day affairs like collecting rent or property maintenance.

If you can afford it and have investment goals that line up with some of the returns that are apparent with property investment, contact your Realtor to get a feel for what is available out there.  This is definitely a very interesting time to pursue an investment property.

What’s a Real Estate “Short Sale” and Why Should I Buy One?

Watch on your mobile device >>

The best way to explain a short sale is with an example:

Assume a homeowner has an unpaid loan mortgage balance of $200,000, but the property will sell for only $175,000. The lender holding the mortgage agrees to sell the house for the $175,000 amount, which, of course, leaves it “short” of the full amount of $200,000. Thus, the name “short sale!”

Obviously, lenders don’t like short sales since they’re not in business to lose money. But such situations do occur for various reasons often related to “hardship” situations. Examples include:

• Permanent injuries
• Financial insolvency
• Job layoffs, etc.

This is a sad situation for the homeowner, but it does offer an opportunity for you to pick up a bargain. However, there are several potential downsides you should be aware of before you make an offer.

Pitfall 1: Allow time for the lender’s decision.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, the contract will be sent to the seller’s lender for approval. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months, and there’s oftentimes no way to know beforehand exactly how long the lender will take.

Pitfall 2: The lender is under no obligation to accept the short sale.
Often times, lenders will come back with a counter of a higher price, or will sometimes reject the offer outright. There is no way to know beforehand exactly what the lender is thinking. This risk can be reduced by pre-qualifying the seller and making sure he or she has a genuine hardship, and by making sure you offer close to market value.

Pitfall 3: The seller must be committed to the process.
A great deal of paperwork and commitment will be required of the seller. There have been cases where the seller does not complete everything that is necessary and causes the lender to reject the deal. Additionally, there have been cases where the seller backs out to declare bankruptcy. Make sure the seller is committed to the process before you begin!


You can pick up great bargains in the short sale market, but you have to be very knowledgeable and very patient! And, as mentioned earlier, there are risks and often times you will face disappointment. Hiring a professional realtor who has experience with the ins and outs of short sales can help reduce these risks.

Home Buying Trend: Builders Buy Homes to Build New Construction on Existing Lots

Watch on your mobile device >>

When you are selling your house does it really matter who buys it?  And what they do with it once they purchased your home?  Well, yes – it does matter.  Many buyers are actually builders that are seeking the perfect location or lot to be able to build a new home on the premises.  As more and more of these types of buyers enter the scene, sellers are increasingly asking how and why those buyers being builders has an impact on the sale.

The main reason sellers will benefit from advance knowledge of builders’ intentions to build on their property after tearing down the existing home is that it would alter the level of preparation done prior to the sale.  For most conventional sales, homeowners usually spend money to spruce up the back yard, enhance curb appeal with some landscaping, and repair things that need attention in the home plus make some cosmetic changes.  If a home is being bought with the intention to demolish it then there is no real reason to make the home more saleable thus saving the sellers a significant amount of money.

There are several reasons that a homeowner would benefit from selling to a builder:

No Property Inspections

Since the builder does not plan to use the structure in any way, most of the time there are no home inspections done on the property.  Unlike traditional sales where an inspection clues the buyers in on any potential pitfalls with the home, a builder is unconcerned with most types of problems that show up in a home inspection.  The benefit to the seller that knows a builder is vying for their property is less hassle at the negotiation table where buyers in a conventional transaction might have expected sizable credits for repairs.

No Dealing With Mortgage Companies

Most of the time builders engage in cash-based transactions.  This translates to no mortgage contingencies and fewer hang-ups or hold ups that would normally arise as part of the normal mortgage process.  For example, obtaining an appraisal or even the process of the buyer getting approved for a mortgage.  The absence of these, and other, parts of the sale ends up in a faster sale altogether.

Flexibility With Closing Dates

Usually builders are very flexible when it comes to closing dates and they are willing to work around homeowners’ schedules. This allows the seller to have some control of when they vacate the premises.  The entire time the home remains under contract, offering them the security of knowing the sale is done.  

How To Tell If Your Home Would Appeal to a Builder

Depending on what the buyer is looking for in terms of lot size, location and even neighborhood – builders will assess the figures and decide whether it is worth their while to build new construction on the property.  If there is significant value to the end user (that is the person that will end up living in the home) then sellers will likely be able to obtain a higher selling price for the home if they sell it to potential homeowners.

Builders will typically not be interested in homes that have updated kitchens and bathrooms, appealing amenities and nice features.  If your home has a strong aesthetic and functional appeal to begin with, then it would be more beneficial to invest in preparing for the sale as described above.  Unkempt, outdated homes will be attractive purchases to builders.

To find out how your property fares in all this, contact me today so we can assess your property and determine whether you would get top dollar by selling to end users or builders.

New Jersey Area Sellers Finally Enjoy the Upper Hand – Maplewood, South Orange, Summit, Millburn – Short Hills

Watch on your mobile device >>

After years of a strong buyers’ market the tide seems to be changing.  In fact, in our area we are reporting a staggering change in year over year figures in terms of the number of homes sold as well as the number of homes that have gone under contract.  The perception is that the spring market is one where many people come out to put their homes on the market, given the warmer temps and festive attitude unlike the cold winter months. Despite this perception, the truth is that we have fewer homes on the market than we have had in a long time.  As you can see below the numbers have changed dramatically in each respective vicinity of our area from the same time last year over now.

Millburn – Short Hills
Currently there are 112 homes for sale, a number very close to the same time as last year.  Conversely, the number of homes that have gone under contract is up 17% this year from last year signifying a strong and positive selling trend in the market.

Maplewood and South Orange
Both neighborhoods struggled last year and each locale has significantly fewer homes on the market this year.  In spring of 2011 Maplewood had 150 homes on the market as opposed to 137 in the present market.  South Orange witnessed a sharp decline in inventory this year over last as well, with 150 listings last year versus 137 this year.

As far as homes that went under contract, Maplewood is up by 53% this year versus last and South Orange is reporting a 45% increase in homes under contract for this time of year compared to last.  With the same number of buyers but that much more selling activity the market has clearly shifted to a seller-controlled marketplace.

Chatham, Madison Springfield
There have not been too many changes in the Chatham, Madison and Springfield markets this year over last but as usually happens in a changing real estate market, these areas will likely follow suit eventually.

What Do These Numbers Mean To You?

The most significant impact these numbers have is on sellers and with fewer homes on the market to choose from sellers can enjoy less selling competition.  This translates to more interest from the buyers that are out there, multiple offers and even sale prices that are at or even above asking price.

If you have been sitting on your property waiting to sell it in a better market, now is that time.  Buyers are still eager to seize record-setting low interest rates before they go up again and they do not have that much to choose from at the moment.  At the same time the market has not been flooded by shadow inventory, expected to hit the real estate arena sometime this year.
If the latest market update motivates you to list your home for sale, move into something better or anything else, please contact us so we can assist you with your real estate endeavors!  We’d love to be of service!