Category Archives: Uncategorized

Here’s how to know if you’re ready to sell your home.

I love to sell homes. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of the process. I get great satisfaction from making my living helping people move on to the next phase of their life, whether it’s upsizing, downsizing, or simply relocating to a new neighborhood.

But there is one sort of home seller I can’t really help: The seller who’s not really ready to sell.

If you’re thinkingsell about selling your home, don’t enter into the process lightly. It’s a big deal. There’s some stress and there’s a great opportunity for joy. There’s a big investment at stake. This, along with a lot of other reasons large and small, is why you want to be 100% sure you’re ready to sell your home. If you think you’re ready to sell, but it turns out you’re not, you waste a lot of time and energy (and sometimes money).

So how do you know if you’re really ready to sell your home?

1. You’re fine with the process. You must have no problem with the idea of a stranger poking around your house, talking about renovating it, or treating it like a used car. If you’ve lived in your house a long time, it’s natural to have emotional attachments. So if the process of selling the house makes you feel protective or defensive, you may not be ready.

2. You are flexible on the right price. Motivated sellers understand selling a home involves negotiation and competitive market pricing. If you have a number “you must get” in order to sell, then you might want to think again. Also, if all of the agents who price your home come back too low for your standards, take a breather and ask yourself if it’s go time or not.

3. You know where you’re going next. Prepared sellers have plans, even if those plans aren’t 100% firm. They’re anticipating the move and they are probably even shopping for houses, if only casually at the moment. moving day If you can’t clearly answer the question, “Where would you like to live after you sell?” then you’re not quite there yet.

If you’re iffy on any of these, take a step back and consider how you feel. While some markets favor sellers more than others, a home can sell in any market for the right price. Don’t jump into something before you’re ready.

However, when you’re ready, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call when the time is right: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square Realtors   realestate@thenicholasteam.com    973-509-2222

 

Adding an Independent Living Area to Your Home

suite2Years ago, it wasn’t so uncommon to have multiple generations living in the same home. Sometimes these were aging parents moving back in with their kids, and other times they were college students getting their finances in order after graduation. Many homeowners utilized extra space in their home to create independent apartments or separate living spaces. Though they go by many common names (in-law unit, granny flat, garden cottage, basement apartment), these types of spaces are known as ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units.

If you have extra space such as an above-garage loft, or extra land where you could build a freestanding structure, you might be interested in adding an ADU to your home. Even if you don’t have a family member in need of the space, they can be great for hosting out-of-town visitors or earning extra income from short or long-term rental agreements.

While communities have different rules regarding ADUs and their permitted uses, there’s a high likelihood that you can find a pathway to adding one to your property if the idea appeals to you. According to AccessoryDwellings.org:

Flexibility in housing makes sense for environmental, lifestyle, and financial reasons. Though many people buy houses and live in them for decades, their actual needs change over time. But the way that houses are currently built doesn’t reflect those changes, especially the way households may spend decades with just 1 or 2 members. Many American houses are too big for 1- or 2-person households, which is too bad, because size is probably the biggest single factor in the environmental impact of a house.

If you have a reasonably sized house, and an even more reasonably sized ADU, you’ve likely got a pretty green combination with some social benefits as well. You could have your best friend, your mother, or your grown kid, live with you. This kind of flexibility and informal support could really help as the nation’s population ages. Most people want to stay in their homes as they age, but finances and design can be problematic. An ADU could help aging people meet their needs without moving.”

(Source: https://accessorydwellings.org/what-adus-are-and-why-people-build-them/)

If you’re interested in exploring ADUs, be sure to check out AccessoryDwellings.org for an extensive library of resources on the topic.

If you’re looking for a home with an existing ADU, or want to find one with land or enough space to create an ADU, I’d be happy to help you find one ASAP. Just reach out to on of us today:  Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square  realestate@thenicholasteam.com  973-509-2222

Finding Resiliency in the Home Buying and Selling Process

Real estate deals are emotional roller coasters, often marred by unexpected setbacks. The dream house deal doesn’t come together. A closing fall through at the last minute. It happens. Sometimes the setback is so overwhelming we feel momentarily disoriented, unsure which direction to take next. We want to carry on, but we can’t quite muster the will to make the next right move.

If you’ve felt this way lately, perhaps the following process will help you:

1. Grieve the loss. If you’re feeling disappointment, loss, shock, or sadness, don’t gloss over it. Give yourself time and space to feel it. There’s nothing healthy in pretending the way you feel is wrong, shameful, or otherwise weak. Don’t expect to “get over it.” Rather, understand it is a loss you may carry forward with time.

2. Assess.buyer pitfalls What happened? What lead to this? What can you learn from the chain of events which lead to the setback? Did you miss deadlines with paperwork?  Sis the property not appraise? You might not have clear answers, but you will likely find something useful in reflection.

3. Recalibrate. Setbacks often redefine your reality, and change the conditions on the ground. The changes are often sudden and unpleasant, but it’s best to gain some clarity on the new situation. A setback isn’t the end unless you permit it to be the end. How does this new world require new strategies?

4. Look for opportunity and act. A setback does not negate your hopes or values. b3864988fca840cb873f224bf466b9d5 It may delay or redirect your path, but to let it annihilate your goals would be something far worse than a mere setback.  There are still opportunities, and if you want to recover, you will need to direct your productive energy to recognizing and acting on those opportunities.

As the late singer, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Even at his darkest, he had a bias for the unerring trajectory of hope. Look for the light through the crack in everything, even if it was your pending dream of home ownership or your next move. Believe the dream can shine through again.

I can help you through every step of the real estate buying or listing process, and I have plenty of experience to help you avoid common setbacks. Looking to buy or sell soon? Let’s have a chat: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square   realestate@thenicholasteam   973-509-2222

Two Years to the Down Payment You Need

home-buying-checklistEvery month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible.  Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn’t impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps. 

 Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment:

 Find out where your money goes. You can’t start saving if you don’t know where you’re spending. For a month or two, track each expenditure, no matter how small. Get an objective picture of where you’re spending the cash. thdpuyvjem If you are spending over $30 a month on coffee; maybe its time to buy a coffee maker and make your own? Most coffee houses sell ground coffee for at home brewing for a fraction of the cost of a daily cup.

Get specific about how much you need to save. Even if you’re not 100% sure what your down payment needs to be yet, it’s good to start doing a little math to figure out how much you need to save. Pick a dollar amount and a timeline to hit that dollar amount. For example, a $25,000 down payment in two years comes to $1,041/month. Sound unrealistic? Either scale down your home desires to something smaller or scale up your timeline. If you can wait three years, that monthly savings goal drops to $694/month.

 Determine the big moves you can make. If you’re in a three bedroom apartment and can stomach the idea of scaling down to a one  or two bedroom, how much would you save in rent? What about going from two cars down to one? If you can make it work, these sacrifices will have a huge impact on your savings goals.

 Setup a separate savings account. Don’t let your dream home money mingle with your regular checking or savings account. Establish a high-yield savings account with a credit union or money market account to protect and build your stash. It’s important to have a separate account with a “hands off” attitude. There are some great deals at some of the online bank institutes.

 Mind the risky investment schemes. Home Mortgage Down Payment, A Gray House, Brown Card And Calculator On Stone BackgroundOnce you have a little momentum, you might be tempted to take some of that cash and invest it in order to make it grow faster. Be very prudent about this, as investing in stocks, startups, or high-yield funds can easily decimate your savings. Be conservative.

 

Of course, it’s important to know how much home you want to buy when you’re saving up for your down payment. We’re happy to give you an idea what homes are selling for in your area.  And more importantly, we can put you in touch with a mortgage rep to determine how much house you can afford – reach out and we will help you make the first move towards your own home! 

Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square Realtors  realestate@thenicholasteam.com   973-509-2222

Eliminate Junk Phone Calls with Nomorobo

We’ve all been there. You’re just sitting down to dinner or your favorite Netflix binge and the phone begins ringing. hang-up If you’re like most people, you’ve probably gotten used to screening a lot of calls because so many are robocalls. You know the kind and you know the drill: Political ads, solicitations, scams. You pick up saying “Hello? Hello?” and then comes that eerie pause which tells you you’re about to hear a pre-recorded message.

It’s a rude waste of your attention, and yet many of us can’t just get rid of our home phone line. While you can ignore the call, often they call multiple times a day or every day of the week at the same time. The problem is widespread.

 In early 2013 the FTC held a contest to combat the scourge of robocalls. The winner of that contest was Nomorobo, a free service which can check incoming calls to your phone lines against a massive blacklist database of known robocall sources. If Nomorobo detects a robocall, it screens the call much like the way internet web forms use CAPTCHA graphics to make sure you’re human. If the caller is a bot, the call never makes it to your phone. nomorobo (Nomorobo will ring your phone once to let you know a call has been blocked.) Bingo! Peace and focus are preserved.

 

 The service is free, but your phone provider must be able to provide a feature known as “Simultaneous Calling.” The Nomorobo website provides a form which quickly allows you to determine if your carrier already provides this service. If not, you can request it be added.

 You can learn more about Nomorobo here:  xlarge   

 We love to share tips and tricks to make our lives more hassle-free. If you’d like to keep up with tips like these as we find them, get in touch with us today: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square realestate@thenicholasteam.com   973-509-2222 and we will happily add you to our monthly newsletter!

One Simple Exercise for a Great Day- Every Day in 2017…and beyond! 

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” -Aldous Huxley, (1894 – 1963) English writer

gratitudeDo you have a practice for dealing with daily stress? I thought I’d share a simple and surprisingly effective exercise you can do each day that will not only boost your spirits, but lighten the perceived burden of “the daily grind.” No running shoes required! You can do it without breaking a sweat, right from the comfort of your car, your desk, or even the line at Starbucks.

It sounds simple, but it’s quite powerful: Each day, think of five things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be big things.  In fact, it’s great to start with the little things. It helps get you in the flow.

Start with one or two basic things you take for granted, for example: “I’m grateful for a hot shower in the morning.” Or: “I’m grateful to be able to watch my nephew play with his new trucks.” austin

Come up with five new things each time you practice. You might find this challenging at first. There should be a little struggle, but push through it. “I’m grateful for the smile of the guy at the bagel shop.” Or: “I’m grateful for family dinner with my nieces and nephews on Sundays.”

It might seem silly at first, but you’ll notice that the more you express your gratitude, the more you’ll connect to a general feeling of benevolence for others and well-being. Really take a moment for each simple gratitude to sink in. Visualize what you’re grateful for and recall experiencing it.

This gratitude exercise connects you to the world in a positive way. It makes the trivial annoyances in life sting less, and reminds you to note what it is in the world you truly appreciate. When your focus shifts to gratitude, your attitude improves. Image result for cubs win the pennant

Give it a try this week and see what you think. Waiting in line, stuck in traffic, killing time between appointments… they’re all great windows to practice a little gratitude.

Sometimes my clients ask us how we keep my cool when dealing with a difficult real estate deal. Well, this is one of our tricks to keep everything in perspective. If you’re looking for a stress-free home buying or selling experience, we can help: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square  realestate@tehnicholasteam.com   973-509-2222

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Bring Kids House Hunting?

If you need more room for your growing family, or you’re simply relocating to a new town during the summer months, you may be wondering if bringing your kids along on the house hunting journey is a good idea.

In our experience, there are pros and cons to having kids with you as you try and find the next family home. Here’s what you’ll want to consider before you bring everyone along to open houses and showings.

  1. Liability matters. If you have a newborn strapped to your chest, it might not be much of an issue to walk through a prospective home, but toddlers are a different story. Your home may be kid safe, but not all homes on the market have been prepared to show with a free-range child in mind. childseats Kids don’t necessarily understand this new home isn’t a playground, and there may be areas which are not explicitly safe for your little ones. ( And another thought: car seats!  Be ready to drive in a separate car from your agent or have enough room  for an  extra adult in the car… see point #4 below).

 

  1. Is it an open house or a private showing? Open houses are often group affairs, and you’ll need to check your comfort level bringing your child along in these social settings. Kids can also get bored at these grown-up moments. Will you be able to focus on the home if your attention is split between the home and your kid? Kids are certainly allowed at open houses, but in general it is easier to maximize an open house kid free.

 

  1. Is it important to have your child with you? Sometimes, when you have an older child you want to help adjust to the idea of moving, it can be useful to lay the ground rules with your kid and make them feel as though they are important in the process. Teens can also provide valuable perspective on a new home, especially when it comes to checking out home amenities and the bedroom situation. Getting teen buy-in can ease the transition, especially when they’re leaving friends and familiarity behind.

 

  1. house-hunting with kids 3Sometimes you have no other option. If a babysitter is out of the question, or your schedule is such that having your child with you is a must, you should know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having your kid along for the ride. It can be useful to let your agent know, provided your agent is the one taking you on a tour of the property. This will help the agent remain alert for potential safety and liability issues, and may even help them tailor the time it takes to move through the homes.

 

We want your whole family to be safe during the home hunt and happy when you’ve found a place you like. Let us help you find the perfect home for your family… we can start our search today: Barbara & Gregg, THE NICHOLAS TEAM of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE 973-509-2222  EXT. 1126   RealEstate@TheNicholasTeam.com