Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's Time to Be Fearless in Real Estate!

It's a new year and with that comes lots of change. Don't worry though. In real estate, change = opportunity! Smitha Ramchandani explains what this means for buyers and why you should be fearless in real estate in 2017.





National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Monday, January 9, 2017

Start 2017 Off Right... List Your House for Sale

As we start the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house and move into their dream home. Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring "buyer's market" to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years. The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year. Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

inventory-levels-kcm


Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the time.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Fed Raised Rates: What Does that Mean for Housing?




You may have heard that the Federal Reserve raised rates recently… But what does that mean if you are looking to buy a home in the near future?

Many in the housing industry have predicted that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve, would vote to raise the federal fund's target rate at their December meeting. For only the second time in a decade, this is exactly what happened.

There were many factors that contributed to the 0.25 point increase (from 0.50 to 0.75), but many are pointing to the latest jobs report and low unemployment rate (4.6%) as the main reason.

Tim Manni, Mortgage Expert at Nerd Wallet, had this to say, “Homebuyers shouldn’t be particularly concerned with [last week’s] Fed move. Even with rates hovering over 4 percent, they’re still historically low. Most market observers are expecting a gradual rise in home loan rates in the near term, anticipating mortgage rates to stay under 5 percent through 2017.”

Bottom Line


Only time will tell what the long-term impact of the rate hike will be, but in the short term, there should be no reason for alarm.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 45x Greater Than A Renter’s




Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that by the end of 2016, the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:

net-worth-kcm

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can guide you through the process.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

3 Surprising Ways Public Schools Affect Your House Hunt

sharpened colored pencils in a circleEven if the public school district is not an important factor in your home search, the location of public schools can still have a significant impact on your home buying decision.

If you are looking for a home near a school, you may want to take these factors into consideration.

1. School Speed Zones

Pay attention to the speed limit around schools and times that the school zone speed is enforced. You may want to consider a home that has convenient alternate routes around the school zone.

the stop sign on the side of a bus2. School Bus Stops

Whether there is a bus route through your neighborhood or on a major thoroughfare, it can affect traffic around your home. Call the school district and ask if there is a bus that stops near your home to pick up students.

3. Morning and Afternoon Traffic

Traffic congestion near public schools may be an issue during the weekdays. Crowded carpool lanes and frequent bus stops can turn a short trip to the grocery store into a frustrating ordeal.

When you are searching for your home, visit the area during peak morning and afternoon hours. Again, you may want to consider a home that is farther from the school or has convenient alternate routes.

We Are Your Guide to the Area

Realtor showing a buyer a homeA school’s location can affect your decision to buy a home, especially if you are new to the area. But a real estate agent is your local expert, giving you everything you need to know about how the nearby schools will affect your morning commute or afternoon trip to the store.

We can help you find the best home in the best location. Call us and let’s talk about your home search.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Monday, December 19, 2016

4 Home Staging Mistakes That Frighten Buyers Away

house with dark staircaseHome staging is a crucial part of home selling preparation. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 32% of buyers’ agents and 37% of sellers’ agents believe that a staged home increases the amount buyers are willing to pay up to 5%. On a $200,000 property, that’s $10,000!

But is your home effectively staged to sell? If you are preparing your home yourself, beware of these staging mistakes that scare away home buyers — and potentially thousands of dollars.

1. A Dark and Spooky Entryway

Your front entry is one of the first things buyers notice about your home. Peeling paint, deep shadows, and uninviting colors don’t create the best first impression. Turn your front entryway into a focal point by painting your door a bright color that complements your home.

cobwebs on dusty night stand2. Cobwebs in the Corners

At a showing, buyers are going to inspect virtually everything: light fixtures, closets, ceilings, you name it. Thoroughly clean your home from top to bottom (or hire a professional) to make it look like new. You can always ask a friend or neighbor to take an objective look at your home.

3. Startling Colors on Your Walls

The goal of home staging, besides selling your home for top dollar, is to help buyers visualize themselves living in your home. If you have bold, bright colors on your walls, switch to more neutral colors to appeal to all potential buyers.

standing in a long dark hallway4. Hovering Like a Ghost During Showings

How you present your home when it’s on the market goes hand-in-hand with home staging. Make your home available and make yourself scarce during showings. Potential buyers might find it creepy if the current homeowner is lurking somewhere in the shadows.

Thinking of Selling Your Home?

Selling your home doesn’t have to be scary. We have a wealth of home staging tips and home selling resources that will help you sell quickly and for top dollar. Contact us to learn more.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Downsizing Your Home? Use These Tips to Plan Your Move

kitchen and dining roomMaybe the thought of moving to a smaller, low-maintenance home has only briefly crossed your mind, or maybe you’re seriously considering downsizing. But before you trade your too-large house in for, say, a cozy condo downtown, there are a few things to consider.

Downsizing requires quite a bit of planning: You may need to figure out what to keep and what to discard, choose between the love seat and the sofa for your new living room, and determine which furniture pieces can serve multiple functions.

Here are a few downsizing tips to help you prepare to sell your current home.

Start Reducing Your Possessions Now

The sooner you are able to get rid of furniture, household items, and knickknacks you no longer use or need, the better off you’ll be. When you do decide to sell your home, you will thank yourself for spending a few hours a week decluttering now rather than waiting to do everything all at once.

If You Can, Sell Instead of Discard

Many homeowners choose to downsize to spend less money on a mortgage and more money on fun experiences. If you are able to start decluttering weeks in advance, you will have the time to sell unwanted possessions and save the money for future vacations. Consider hosting a yard sale, posting items for sale online, or having high-end items appraised.

Have a Plan

notepad with wadded paperTo avoid getting overwhelmed by all the work involved in downsizing, form a plan to keep your stress at bay. Consider these planning tips:
  • Make a checklist of possessions you cannot live without in your new home.
  • Create a checklist of wants and needs for your new home.
  • Determine which items you can pack now and which items you need to keep handy.
  • Start packing your nonessential belongings.

Get Started by Working with a Real Estate Expert

One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make, whether or not they’re downsizing, is not hiring a real estate professional to make the most of their investment. An agent’s experience and knowledge will help you sell your home for the most money possible, allowing you to use the proceeds to purchase a smaller home.

Are you thinking about downsizing? Start the process by requesting a market analysis for your property. Contact us to learn more.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How 2016 Technology Has Changed Your Home Search Forever

scrolling through mobile phoneWhen was the last time you hopped in your car to start your home search? Most home buyers today just pick up their phones to instantly view properties all around the country — no car required.

Each year, new tech changes the way that we interact with the world. Here are just a few of the ways 2016 technology has changed the way buyers find real estate.

You Can Access Anything On the Go

Your home search doesn’t stop while you’re out and about. Today’s technology has made it easier to access information when you need it. While you’re waiting in line at the store or idly scrolling through your phone, you can find articles about the home buying process on social media, see listings on a mobile search app, or check commute times from homes you’re considering.

Video Tours Have Evolved

Listing photos are incredibly helpful for home buyers who are looking online for properties. But now, video tours make deciding on homes even easier. Instagram, Facebook Live, and even Snapchat are just a few of the many platforms that you can use to find video tours.

“Smart” Home Features are Becoming a Priority

Remember earlier this year when the Pokémon Go mobile app was released? Proximity to a “Pokéstop” — a point of interest where players could collect items for the game — was listed as a feature in property descriptions, at least for a little while. The Pokémon Go craze is just one of many instances where technology is becoming a priority in and near homes that buyers are considering.

home with smart featuresToday’s home buyers can purchase smart home security cameras, install programmable thermostats, and invest in the security systems of tomorrow. Green homes, energy-efficient appliances, and home energy monitoring systems help homeowners save money. With the right mobile apps, your smartphone can control just about anything in your home, from lights to locks.

One Thing That Will Never Change…

The Internet is saturated with information, both good and bad. But one thing you can’t glean from technology is the ability to navigate the complex real estate process. Even with all the innovations in technology, you’ll still need an experienced real estate agent to help you buy a home.

Are you searching for a home in our area? We’ll help you find just what you’re looking for and handle every detail of your transaction. Contact us and let’s get started.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Essentials for Entertaining Big in a Small Home

homeowner setting dining tableWith the holiday season approaching, many homeowners are starting to plan get-togethers with friends or family. While entertaining can be more of a challenge in a smaller home, it’s not impossible to host a memorable dinner party with your loved ones if you’re working with limited space.

Here are a few tips for throwing a large dinner party in a small area.





Before Guests Arrive, Clean and Clear Your Home

You don’t have to put as much effort into cleaning and decluttering as if you were selling a home; the basics will do.

Put away any unnecessary furniture, home décor, and kitchen appliances before the dinner party. Clean and dust the rooms that guests will visit: bathrooms, the kitchen, and the dining area. If you have pets, don’t forget to vacuum upholstery and stash toys or the litter box out of sight.

Get Creative with Guest Seating

You likely don’t keep a dozen matching chairs in storage just for dinner parties. Show off your creativity by relocating chairs, stools, benches, or ottomans currently in your home around the dinner table.

appetizers on raised food standsMaximize Your Table Space

Invest in a tiered platter for dinner parties. Raising the serving plates gives the appearance of more space on your counters and tables and keeps your serving stations from looking cramped.

To further free up space on your dining room table, keep the centerpiece decorations to a minimum. Instead, hang decorations from your walls or ceiling to maximize your space.

Trying to Make the Most of Your Space?

If you’re downsizing but still want to entertain friends and family in your new home, there are many ways to make the most of your space while still enjoying memorable occasions with your loved ones. As real estate experts, we can share downsizing tips and help you find a home that’s just the right size. Contact us to learn more.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall:

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors' Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase... and are in the market right now! Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR's latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months. This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall. Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month's new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don't wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. According to Freddie Mac's latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It's Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Friday, July 29, 2016

Home Sales Accelerate During The "Dog Days of Summer"

20160729-Dog-Days-of-Summer


Some Highlights:

  • Existing home sales have accelerated to the highest pace since February 2007 at an annual pace of 5.57 million.
  • Inventory of homes for sale remains below the historically normal 6-month mark at a 4.6-month supply, down 5.8% year-over-year.
  • Median home sales prices rose to $247,700, 4.8% higher than a year ago and replaced the previous peak in May of $238,900.
National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Monday, July 25, 2016

Brexit 1 Month Later: The Impact on Mortgage Rates




Just over a month ago, the United Kingdom decided to withdraw from the European Union in a decision commonly known as Brexit. At that time there was a lot of speculation on how that decision would impact the U.S. residential mortgage market. Today, we want to look at the impact of the first 30 days. Most believed that the Brexit decision would drive mortgage rates down and keep them down for some time. As CoreLogic reported:

"First-time buyers can count on continued low mortgage rates to help with affordability issues. Similarly, re-setting adjustable rate loans will have less of a rate shock, and in some cases may even go down."

What has actually happened?


Initially, rates did fall. However, Freddie Mac has reported that rates have stabilized and have actually increased marginally each of the last two weeks. This prompted Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Beckett to say:

"Post-Brexit volatility tapered off over the last two weeks, allowing interest rates to bounce back a bit from their near-record 30-year mortgage rate lows."

And, Capital Economics Property Economist Matthew Pointon believes rates will continue to increase:

"Given we expect Brexit will have a minimal impact on the U.S. economy, we see no reason to change our forecast for mortgage rates to reach 3.85% by the end of this year, and 5.0% by the middle of 2018."

We will continue to follow the effect of Brexit on the U.S. housing market. But for now, it appears the impact is not as dramatic as some thought it could be.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Homeowner's Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter's!

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner's net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400). In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater. The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun's prediction:

increasing gap in family wealth


Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

Simply put, homeownership is a form of 'forced savings.' Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord's net worth. The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

"Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn't be overlooked."

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can guide you through the process.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Would You Qualify for a Mortgage Now?


Looking at the chart above, it becomes obvious that not only do you not need a 750+ credit score, but 54.9% of approved loans actually had a score between 600 and 749. More and more experts are speaking up about the fact that if potential buyers realized they could be approved for a mortgage with a credit score at, or above, 600, the distribution in the chart above would shift further to the left. Ellie Mae's Vice President, Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage:

"The high median credit score is due to many millennials believing they won't qualify with the score they have - and are therefore waiting to apply for a mortgage until they have the score they think they need." (emphasis added)

CoreLogic's latest MarketPulse Report agrees that the median FICO score does not always tell the whole story:

"The observed decline in originations could be a result of potential applicants being either too cautious or discouraged from applying, more so than tight underwriting as the culprit in lower mortgage activity."

It's not just millennials who believe high credit scores and large down payments are needed. Many current homeowners are delaying moving on to a home that better fits their current needs due to a belief that they would not qualify for a mortgage today. 


So what does this all mean? 


Moe put it this way:

"Many potential home buyers are 'disqualifying' themselves. You don't need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy." 


Bottom Line 


If you are one of the many Americans who has always thought homeownership was out of their reach, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you start the process of being pre-qualified to see if you are able to buy now!

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Friday, July 8, 2016

BREXIT: What's the FIXIT for U.S. Home Buyers and Sellers?


US British Flags

Now that much of the dust has settled and the panic has waned, let's take a look at what impact Britain's exit from the European Union may have on the U.S. housing market. The most immediate impact of Brexit will be on mortgage interest rates. Interest rates have remained at historic lows for the last several years. Contrary to what many experts believed, rates have remained low throughout the first half of 2016.


Possible impact of Brexit on mortgage rates?


In a recent article, the Washington Post explained:

"Brexit has spawned the recent bout of volatility in global financial markets. That has anxious investors scurrying for safety -- and few assets are safer than U.S. Treasuries. High demand for government debt pulls down interest rates. That all translates into ultra-low mortgage rates for American households. And with Britain voting for Brexit, they could go even lower."

However, the lower rates caused by Brexit may be short lived as Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin pointed out in a recent post:

"While the departure of the UK from the European Union has driven down the 10-year bond, and thus mortgage rates, we expect them to rebound later in the year as uncertainty over the economic consequences of the departure lifts."

Bottom Line


Rates are already at historic lows. The UK's exit from the EU almost certainly guarantees they will remain low (and possibly go lower) over the next few months. If you were thinking of buying your first home or trading up to the house of your dreams, this may be the time to act. The cost of money may never be better for a potential buyer.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hurry Up and List your House TODAY!




That headline might be a little aggressive. However, as the data on the 2016 housing market begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME! The May numbers are not in yet, but the April numbers were sensational. Jonathon Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com, explained:

"We had a triple crown of April home sales reports, so 2016 is in the pole position to earn best year of home sales in a decade."

And Freddie Mac also expressed a tremendous optimism regarding home sales for the rest of the summer:

"Home sales typically rise in the spring and summer months, and we anticipate acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace by late summer."

The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a five-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 3.6% from the same time last year.

Bottom Line


With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Contact a local real estate professional today to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Friday, June 10, 2016

Single Women Make Up 2nd Largest Home Buying Group

asian woman against wal

According to the National Association of Realtors' (NAR) 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, single women made up 18% of all first-time homebuyers last year, second only to married couples who made up 54% of total buyers. Whether they are young, single and no longer want to rent, or newly divorced, the amount of single women becoming homeowners greatly outnumbers single males (11%). A survey of recent home buyers revealed some interesting trends about this rapidly growing group:

Single women are more likely to become preapproved for a mortgage in order to know their budget at the beginning of the home buying process and to be able to make a move if they find their dream home.
  • Average Age: 32 years old
  • Average Income: $49,400
  • Many female homebuyers think long-term when considering buying a home, often considering what amenities they may need in the near future.
"So what do women like best about homeownership? They believe that they are investing in their future by building equity and financial security. They are also very happy to no longer be paying their landlord's mortgage payment. Being independent and having control over their environment is a key factor."

It appears that it is not marriage before mortgage any longer, for either gender. Unmarried couples make up 13% of buyers, while single males account for 11%.

Bottom Line

If owning a home of your own has always been your dream, meet with a local real estate professional who can help determine if your dream can become a reality sooner than you think.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why This One Little Town Is New Jersey’s Best Kept Secret

While most of us New Jerseyans have heard of Morristown, this little gem is a secret to much of the world. When tourists come to the Garden State, it’s often to see the bigger cities surrounding us or visit our beautiful shore towns. Historic Morristown, with its 18,000 residents, often gets overlooked. Even those of us familiar with Morristown may not know all that it has to offer. Here are 20 things to do and see in Morristown, the “Military Capital of the American Revolution.”

1. Ford Mansion

1. Ford Mansion Flickr/Shinya Suzuki

One of the town's most popular attractions, this stately mansion served as the winter headquarters for George Washington between 1779-1780. It now operates in conjunction with the Washington's Headquarters Museum and is furnished as it would have been during Washington's 6-month stay. Established as a museum site back in the 1870s, this house was one of the first house museums in the United States.

2. Jockey Hollow

2. Jockey Hollow Wikipedia/Lebrsm

While Washington stayed in Ford Mansion, his troops were housed in Jockey Hollow. You'll find a reconstructed hut here to get an idea of the conditions soldiers lived in. Huts were typically 14' x 16' and housed 12 men. Each hut had a dirt floor and a fireplace, any furniture was built by the soldiers themselves. There were once over 1000 huts on the property.

You'll also find the slightly fancier Wick House here, pictured. This home was built sometime between 1747-1750 by a fairly wealthy farmer - Henry Wick. Several majors and generals briefly called this spot home during the Revolutionary War including Major Joseph Bloomfield who went on to become the 4th Governor of New Jersey.

3. Fort Nonsense

3. Fort Nonsense Wikipedia/Jared Kofsky/PlaceNJ.com

I love the name, but its origins are unknown. The area was originally called Kinney's Hill, and its elevated location made it an ideal spot for a lookout. Its primary purpose was to serve as a retreat, but the British never attacked Morristown. Though it went unused, it still offers some scenic views.

4. Morris Museum

4. Morris Museum Facebook/Morris Museum

This magical museum is housed in the historic Twin Oaks mansion and offers a little bit of everything. You'll find over 40,000 unique objects ranging from rocks and minerals to model trains, and interesting exhibits of art, science, culture and history. This museum is home to one of the largest collections of mechanical musical instruments in the country, along with the Bickford Theatre, which puts on performances throughout the year.

5. Morristown Game Vault

5. Morristown Game Vault Facebook/Morristown Game Vault

This recently opened attraction housed in the former PNC Bank building is already garnering some serious praise. You'll find a collection of over 85 retro arcade games and pinball machines that visitors of all ages can enjoy. Games date back to the 1970s, although there are also several more modern favorites in the mix.

6. Historic Speedwell

6. Historic Speedwell Wikipedia/Leifern

Speedwell Village is a National Historic Landmark comprised of nine buildings furnished to depict life at Speedwell during the early 19th century. These buildings include the Vail House, a restored home which serves as a museum, the Wheel House, which features an operational 24-foot waterwheel, and the Factory Building, pictured. The Factory Building is where Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail first publicly demonstrated the electric telegraph.

7. Frelinghuysen Arboretum

7. Frelinghuysen Arboretum Yelp/Jason P.

This 127-acre park is open daily to the public, free of charge. It features several gardens including collections of ornamental grasses, summer shrubs, flowering plants and fruit bearing trees. You'll also find a selection of entertaining events and numerous hiking trails. Check out "Flowers Galore Tea and Tour" on select Wednesdays, with May 11th being the next available date.

8. Mayo Performing Arts Center

8. Mayo Performing Arts Center Facebook/Mayo Performing Arts Center

This small town theater brings in some big names; Jewel, Jennifer Nettles, Kathy Griffin and Kevin James all have upcoming performances. You'll also find high quality theater with shows like "Let It Be," a celebration of The Beatles, and "Mama Mia."

9. Loantaka Brook Reservation

9. Loantaka Brook Reservation Flickr/Robert DeCroce

A great picnicking spot offering grills, restrooms, and a playground, you'll also find 5 miles of trails for hiking, biking, rollerblading and horseback riding.

10. Seaton Hackney Stables

10. Seaton Hackney Stables Facebook/Seaton Hackney Stables

Speaking of horseback riding, the Seaton Hackney Stables are located adjacent to the Loantaka Brook Reservation. They offer group and private lessons, schooling shows, trail rides, birthday parties, equestrian summer camps, and specialty riding clinics.

11. The Seeing Eye

11. The Seeing Eye Facebook/The Seeing Eye, Inc.

The national non-profit organization is headquartered in Morristown and offers those interested a chance to visit. Public programs are held every Thursday and once a month on Saturdays. The program includes a presentation by an instructor with a Seeing Eye® dog and a question-and-answer session with a Seeing Eye graduate. You can also learn about ways to support The Seeing Eye.

12. Glassworks Studio

12. Glassworks Studio Facebook/Glassworks Studio

Glassworks Studio opened in December 2002 as the only public, walk-in glass fusing studio in the country. Now you can find similar studios everywhere, but Morristown is home to the first. They offer walk-ins, parties, group events and classes. Design your own unique creations or learn to "paint" using crushed pieces of glass.

13. Lewis Morris County Park

13. Lewis Morris County Park Yelp/Nora M.

Did you know Morristown is also a beach town? Kind of... This 1,154-acre county park is named for New Jersey's first governor. It features trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, and a swimming beach with paddle boating on Sunrise Lake.

14. Acorn Hall

14. Acorn Hall Wikipedia/Mitchell Speert

Acorn Hall is an 1853 Victorian Italianate mansion that operates as a museum. Tours of the home are offered, and there are also several exhibits which highlight Morris County history and Victorian culture. You'll also find gorgeous gardens and access to the Patriot's Path trail.

15. Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen

15. Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen Facebook/Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen

This 4-part concept restaurant is one extravagant eatery. Housed in the historic Vail Mansion, you'll find The Vail Bar, The Oyster & Wine Bar, The Dining Room and The Rathskellar. Amazing architecture, unique works of art, and fantastic food abound.

16. Morristown Green

16. Morristown Green Facebook/Wally Gobetz

The historic town center hosts numerous events throughout the year and has won several awards for design. George Washington once camped here, and the location was used as a ground for executions until 1833.

17. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm

17. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm Flickr/wck

This working farm has been in operation since 1760. An interactive experience for visitors, you can see cows milked the old fashioned way and butter churning in action. Stuck in time, the farm operates as it would have between approximately 1890-1920 featuring antique machinery and methods. There are also several authentic structures on the property including a 1920s farmhouse and The Willows, a Gothic Revival-style mansion built in 1854.

18. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum

18. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum Facebook/Macculloch Hall Historical Museum

This magnificent museum's collections focus on art and history, with exhibits featuring the work of famed cartoonist Thomas Nast. Adult admission is $8 but discounts are available for students and seniors; access to the surrounding gardens is free. Enjoy tours, talks and unique events including National Public Gardens Day. On May 6th, you can meet a beekeeper and see honeybees in action, explore the garden in a scavenger hunt and talk about dirt with a soil scientist. The event is free, so check it out.

19. Wightman’s Farms

19. Wightman's Farms Facebook/Wightman's Farms

This modern farm is the place to be each fall. Visitors can enjoy pumpkin picking, a corn maze, hayrides and farm tours. In the spring and summer, stop by the farmers market and take the opportunity to pick your own herbs and flowers.

20. The Madison Hotel

20. The Madison Hotel Facebook/The Madison Hotel

You can easily spend several days here and may need overnight accommodations. While there are several chain hotels in Morristown, the local Madison Hotel provides an experience like no other. Elegant and architecturally stunning, amenities include a fitness center, pool, complimentary continental breakfast, business center and room service. You'll also find the award-winning restaurant, Rod's Steak & Seafood Grille.

Art, architecture, history, culture, entertainment, and a wide variety of cuisine… What doesn’t Morristown have to offer? Everyone in New Jersey should visit this truly spectacular town, and it’s definitely worthy of being a destination for tourists from all over. Morristown may be just under an hour from New York City and under 90 miles from Philadelphia, but it certainly holds its own as an incredible place for a weekend getaway.

Article originally posted here. Written by .

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Past, Present & Future Home Values

house on quarters



In CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, they revealed home appreciation in three categories: percentage appreciation over the last year, over the last month, and projected appreciation over the next twelve months.

Here are state maps for each category:


The Past – home appreciation over the last 12 months

Appreciation 2015-2016


The Present – home appreciation over the last month

Appreciation Last Month


The Future – home appreciation projected over the next 12 months

Appreciation Next 12 Months


Bottom Line

Homes across the country are appreciating at different rates. The rate of home price appreciation across the country is due to a strong housing market reacting to supply and demand, not a new housing bubble.

If you plan on relocating to another state, and are waiting for your home to appreciate more, you need to know that the home you will buy in another state may be appreciating even faster.

Meet with a local real estate professional who can guide you through the next steps and help you decide what's right for you.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

3 Charts That Scream ‘List Your Home Today’

In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.4-month supply. This is considerably lower than the 6-month inventory necessary for a normal market.

Inventory-KCM 201603


DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand in February significantly outpaced the last six months. Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase). Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

Foot-Traffic-KCM

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report tells us that 72.6% actually do! Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.

Equity-KCM


Bottom Line

If you are debating selling your home this year, meet with a local real estate professional that can evaluate the equity you have in your home and the opportunities available in your market.

National award-winners and seasoned Realtors with over many years of experience in Northern & Central New Jersey, Rahul & Smitha and their team have become New Jersey’s “Go To” agents and consistent leaders with a reputation for tenaciously protecting their clients’ interests. They specialize in Morris, Somerset, Essex, Union and Passaic counties.

www.SRRealEstateGroup.com | www.Morris-Homes.com | www.TheTownhouseExpert.com