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Friday, August 18, 2017

4 Tips for Keeping Your Rental Property Secure


Burglaries are a concern for all home owners, but for landlords, they are an even bigger risk. Households living in rental properties experience burglaries at a higher rate than other households, Department of Justice statistics show. Households living in rental properties are more likely to be burglarized both when no one is home and when the property is occupied. This holds true across all categories of properties, regardless of income level, race or whether the household is composed of single or married persons.
This higher risk makes security an even more urgent priority for landlords than it does for typical homeowners. A high rate of burglary can make your property harder to rent and less valuable, while strong security features can be a strong selling point. Here are four tips to keep your rental properties secure.


Make It Look Like Someone Is Home

Burglars prefer to break into a property when no one is home. Almost all burglars will avoid breaking into a property when there are signs of someone home, such as a car in the driveway or a loud TV or radio, a survey of 86 convicted burglars found.
You can help protect your properties by taking steps to make it appear as if your tenants are home. This is especially important during holiday seasons when many tenants are away on vacation. If tenants will be away for a prolonged period, coordinate with them to arrange to have mail and newspapers picked up and snow shoveled while they’re away. Encourage them to leave a radio or TV on loudly while they’re out.

Deny Opportunities for Concealment

Burglars seek concealment and hate to be seen, so taking away opportunities for concealment can serve as an effective deterrent. One way to do this is by maintaining landscaping so that there are no bushes or trees burglars can use to hide behind as they approach properties. Landscaping can actually have a bigger deterrent effect on burglars than doors, locks and windows, police officers interviewed by the Sun-Sentinel advise. Keep all bushes and hedges trimmed to no higher than three feet so that they are not tall enough to provide concealment. Plant low, thorny bushes beneath windows, and make sure there are no tree branches near windows that can assist burglars trying to scale properties. Add loud gravel to make it hard to conceal the sound of footsteps.
Another way to deny concealment at night is to install motion sensors that trigger lights. Adding a visible camera will let burglars know their actions are being seen.

Use Locks Effectively

Locks are a crucial part of any security approach, but in order for locks to be effective, they need to be used correctly. For properties with many renters, commercial-grade mortise locks will stand up to frequent use better than other types of locks, advises Lock Blog locksmith expert Ralph Goodman. Anti-drill plates and security pins will reinforce basic locks.
At a minimum, locks should be rekeyed after each new tenant. However, some locks that are designed to be easy to rekey, such as the Kwikset SmartKey cylinder and the U-Change Lock, are also less secure, warns Goodman. For this reason, it is often better to change locks than to rekey them. Using a patented key will prevent a locksmith from making a duplicate key without your permission.

Install Secure Barriers



In addition to locks, it’s also important to install other strong barriers. Seventy percent of break-ins are done through the front door, FBI data shows. In 80 percent of these cases, the door frame fails when it is kicked or battered in. Strong doors and doorjambs will prevent doors from being kicked or rammed in. Security screen doors provide the strongest door defense. Window bars and reinforced glass or plexiglas will help buttress window security.

It’s also important to use strong barriers for outdoor areas of properties. Security gates and fences from a fully-licensed and insured provider such as Tampa fencing supplier Florida State Fence can help protect the perimeter of your properties. Make sure that garage doors and windows are also secure. For automatic garage door openers, use a zip-tie to secure the safety release so that thieves can’t bypass it with a coat hanger.


Written by Realty Times Staff







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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update August 17th, 2017


MARKET STATS:  The median sale price during the month of July was $969,000, up versus last July.  The average number of “days on market” decreased slightly to 198, while the number of active listings is down 21% compared to last year.  Strong demand and reduced inventory continue to drive the market.  For more market stats, see the latest Long & Foster Market Minute report:  http://marketminute.longandfoster.com/Market-Minute/NJ/Avalon-Stone-Harbor.pdf
See the latest Long & Foster Market Minute report for July market stats.

TRICK SHOTS=HAPPY FACES!  THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS return to Wildwood again this year, where they’ll play four games and host daily clinics through Saturday, August 19th.   Fans of all ages will be smiling at both the Globetrotters’ stunning basketball talent and their ability to entertain a crowd.  Kicking off this year’s appearance, Globetrotter Bull Bullard made an incredible shot—from a helicopter, 210 feet in the air!  Order your game or clinic tickets here:  http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/wildwood   

Globetrotter Bull Bullard sinks a basket from a helicopter!


AVALON ANCHORAGE MEMORIES:  More than 400 photographs taken at Avalon Anchorage decades ago are on display at the Avalon History Center.  The photographs depict local fisherman young and old, displaying their catches upon returning to Avalon Anchorage after fishing trips.  The photos were displayed for years at Avalon Anchorage.  Thanks to extensive restoration by Seven Mile Times, they can be seen again for the first time in more than 30 years.  Stop by the Avalon History Center from 10am to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday.
 
FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT SHELLS:  Those who comb the beaches find all kinds of interesting shells, plus other forms of sea life.  This interesting article from NJ.com describes “11 Fascinating Facts About Shells and Other Things” you find on the beach.  Check it out:  http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2017/08/fun_facts_about_shells.html
 
CATCH THE ECLIPSE ON MONDAY!  In our area about three quarters of the sun will be blocked by the moon for around a half hour Monday afternoon.  If we have clear skies, we’ll have a great view—but don’t look at the sun, even partially obscured, with unprotected eyes.  Sunglasses don’t offer enough protection—only approved solar viewing glasses or filters should be used.  For everything you need to know about the eclipse (and more), click here:  https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
 
UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Thursdays on Dune Concert featuring Boy in Black Johnny Cash tribute, family friendly activities throughout Avalon’s business district from 5:30 PM, concert at Veteran’s Plaza at 7PM, Thursday, August 17
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at the Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Saturday, August 19
  • Creative Writing Seminar, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, stories, article & books, Avalon Free Public Library, register at 609-967-7155, 10AM-Noon, Saturday, August 19
  • Stone Harbor’s Go Green Fair, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza, 11AM-2PM, Saturday, August 19
  • Bay Atlantic Symphony Concert, Avalon Elementary School, tickets are required & are available through the Avalon Free Public Library, 7PM, Saturday, August 19
  • Historic Garden Lecture with History Center Collections Coordinator Bonita Risley, Avalon Free Public Library, 7PM, Monday, August 21
  • Family Fun Night at the Stone Harbor Firehouse, 7-7:45PM, Monday, August 21
  • Tuesdays at the Tower, concert featuring The Malarkey Brothers, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza, 7PM, Tuesday, August 22
  • Avalon’s Beach Movie featuring ‘Jurrasic Park,’ 30th Street & the beach, dusk, Tuesday, August 22
  • Cape May Summer Concert Series featuring Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Cape May Convention Hall, 609-884-9565 for info & tickets, Wednesday, August 23
  • Thursdays on Dune Concert featuring Jumper, family friendly activities throughout Avalon’s business district from 5:30PM, concert at Veteran’s Plaza at 7PM, Thursday, August 24
  • American Legion Post #331 Pancake Breakfast, 11625 Second Avenue in Stone Harbor, 8-11AM, Saturday, August 26
  • Stone Harbor’s Sidewalk Sale, sales & deals throughout the downtown shopping district, 9AM-7PM, Saturday, August 26
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Saturday, August 26
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Sunday, August 27
  • Family Fun Night at the Stone Harbor Firehouse, 7-7:45PM, Monday, August 28
  • Full Moon Climb at the Cape May Lighthouse, call 609-884-5404 for info, 8-10PM, Wednesday, September 6
  • 22nd Annual Nun’s Beach Surf Contest, 111th Street beach in Stone Harbor, 7AM, Saturday, September 16
  • Author Lecture featuring Jerry Beebe, author of ‘The Backdoor Curve’, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-3PM, Saturday, September 16
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents Ben Mauger’s Vintage Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern NJ, 2-4PM, Sunday, September 17



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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Home Safety: Best Places to Put Security Cameras

By Cary Teller
If you've decided to put up security cameras for your home for the first time or are considering widening your safety net, knowing the proper way to place and angle your cameras is vital to keeping your home as safe as it can be. Not only can proper camera placement catch important details of possible crimes in your area, simply placing them properly can deter a crime from happening in the first place.

The most important factor in judging where to place a camera is simple: Your home is your home. You know what the layout is, you know where the most important rooms are, and you may be in the unfortunate position of knowing how someone entered your home without your permission in the past. Before you begin placing any equipment, consider some basic questionsabout your home's surveillance needs. Some questions to consider include:
  • What parts of your home are you most concerned about?
  • If someone has broken into your home before, even before you owned it, where did that occur?
  • Are there any spots on my property that aren't plainly visible to the street or my neighbors?
  • Do you need to keep any local camera placement laws in mind?
Though you may come to a variety of conclusions and potential diagrams for your home security systems and their needs, consider the usual entry points for potential burglars when casing a home. Knowing the most common routes of entry can take a large portion of the workload off of you simply by observing recorded statistics. With over 80 percent of burglars entering a home through the first floor, whether through door or window, it's especially important to keep the entirety of your property's entryways covered. At the same time, trying to cover low locales such as your doors and windows may leave cameras in easy reach of criminals, thus completely negating their usefulness.
If you find you have a lack of safe places to place a camera, consider looking into protective caging for your equipment to protect it from being knocked out of order while you aren't looking. This is also a good time to contemplate what special tools you may need to complete your installation, so ensure you check your camera system to see it's recommended outfitting requirements that might need special preparations.
While losing a camera can mean losing important evidence to help identify vandals or thieves, there are clever ways to keep yourself safe that might goad a criminal into making a misstep. Placing a dummy camera in obvious sight not only deters crime by showing you keep your home under tight watch, it also gives an easy target to a potential burglar that can distract them from hidden cameras that catch them in the act. As an added bonus, dummy cameras are far cheaper to replace than expensive professional models.
Most importantly, you must consider the needs of each camera when placing it. Cameras cannot focus on multiple ranges and angles at once, so if you want to catch a trespasser's facial features, mounting your camera up too high can blur distinctive features, but a raised camera may have a better time picking up a car's license plate when placed overlooking your driveway.
In the end, even poorly-placed cameras will offer better home security than not having any at all, but there's no reason to leave proper home security to chance. Knowing how to place your first line of defense can keep you safe before and after any crime, and knowledge is always your best weapon.



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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

5 Ways to Help Your Community

(Family Features)—Social responsibility comes in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately it comes down to one common purpose: making the world a better place. From volunteering at local shelters and community centers to feeding those in need at your local food bank, there are countless ways to give back within your community.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 25 percent of people in the U.S. volunteered in 2015. However, studies on health and volunteering show that people who volunteer report feeling emotionally, mentally and physically better. Multiple studies show that volunteering has been linked to lower stress levels, lower levels of depression and longevity.

If that's not incentive enough, lending support to organizations in your community can often bring immediate and tangible results that give you a connection and sense of community. There are some programs that even enable people to make a difference by matching them with volunteer or funding opportunities.

"It's exciting to see communities strengthened by their residents," says Angela Allen, program manager for the America's Farmers Grow Communities program, which focuses on supporting local nonprofits in rural communities with the help of local farmers. "The good news is there are several simple and easy ways people can get involved in their communities and make a difference.”




Here are five ways that you can lend a hand:

Volunteering. Nonprofit organizations rely on the support of loyal donors and volunteers to deliver on their missions to improve the communities they serve. Time and talent are among the most valuable gifts you can give a deserving cause. One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is the chance to put your energy and abilities to use for a cause you care about, whether it's feeding the hungry, rescuing animals or some other cause that is close to your heart. Volunteering provides a feel-good way to pursue your personal interests.

Giving blood. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. There is an ongoing need to replenish a communities' blood supplies, whether for medical uses or in the aftermath of a tragedy. Giving blood is fast, relatively painless and can save lives.

Donating. Money doesn't make the world go 'round, or so the saying goes. However, it can make a difference when it comes to bettering the community. Nonprofit and community organizations rely on monetary contributions not only to fulfill their existing program needs, but also to expand those services to impact more people. Rather than a single, one-time gift, consider setting up an ongoing donation so your impact continues over time. For small or rural nonprofits in particular, a little bit goes a long way. Another touching way to donate funds: give in honor of a loved one, either as a gift for a special occasion or in memoriam. Rather than giving your parents a gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day, think about a small donation to their favorite charity.

Applying for funding opportunities. Another way to help your community thrive is by exploring avenues to create new funding opportunities for nonprofits. For example, the America's Farmers Grow Communities program provides farmers an opportunity to help a nonprofit of their choice. Eligible farmers can enroll in the program until November 1 at GrowCommunities.com for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a local eligible nonprofit organization. Since 2010, the program has given more than $26 million to nonprofits, including food banks, emergency response organizations, youth agriculture programs and more.

Paying it forward. Not every step you take in support of your community has to be a large one; in fact, the ripple effect of a series of smaller deeds can have a truly momentous impact. You can set the feel-good wheels in motion in your own community by simply thinking about a time when someone generously gave their own resources to benefit you and paying forward that kindness with a matching endeavor. You might let a frenzied mom go ahead of you in line at the grocery store or pay for a meal for the elderly couple behind you at the drive-thru. Small gestures spread a feel-good spirit that can encourage others to do their part to make the community a better place, as well.

These are just a few ways that you can give back. Get out and meet with your friends and neighbors in your community to discover how you can best use your time and talents to help the greater good.

Source: Family Features Editorial Syndicate


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

Friday, August 11, 2017

What You Should Know Before Buying A Condominium

Condos were once thought of as homes that attracted singles or couples, often without children. But today, condos are growing in popularity and attracting families of all sizes.

Condos can be an excellent choice for the right buyers. Here are a few things that should considered before purchasing a condo. Most buyers start with the condo itself. That may be a good place to begin but, before they buy, buyers should also consider other factors outside of the condo.

Some developers are building condos that have a look and feel like single-family homes. These modern condos have great rooms and open, flowing floor plans that look and feel like a single-family home rather than an apartment or condo.

One of the major attractions of condos is the low maintenance. The community area is maintained by an association funded by the dues that homeowners pay into it.

That's why buyers' first consideration should be to explore the development and make sure they like the look and feel of the complex and surrounding community. There are codes and restrictions, often referred to as CC&Rs (covenants, codes, and restrictions) that buyers will have to abide by once they purchase a condo. Buyers should ask to review them before making an offer to purchase a condo. These regulations help ensure that the community maintains its general appearance and any necessary repairs of the external areas.

Review the association's budget. It may be necessary to get the seller to provide this information because it may not be released to a non-owner who is only a potential buyer. However, in considering buying into a development, it's almost like going into business with the neighbors in the complex. It's important to make sure that the association is running properly and has enough of a reserve for necessary expenses and maintenance. The budget and CC&Rs will give an idea about how stable the association is and if increases in the homeowners' association dues are likely each year.

Find out how many owners in the development are delinquent on their dues. A condo complex that has a high level of delinquencies can cause problems for buyers when it comes time to get a loan or sell the condo. Some loans are not approved if delinquency rates are higher than 15 percent.



Review the minutes from the association's board meetings. They will reveal the day-to-day issues that occur each month and give an indication of how the development is run. For instance, lots of complaints and filings about noisy residents, loud parties, or dog droppings on the lawn reveal potential problems with neighbors. The minutes will also reveal if the development is engaged in any lawsuits.

Understand what your responsibilities are for the upkeep of the condo. Find out what the association takes care of and what the homeowners have to maintain. Look at the association's property management team and see how many times the association has changed management companies. Find out why. This will may reveal how responsive the association will be should residents need its assistance.

Ultimately, buyers need to ensure that when they purchase a condo they're not buying into any legal battles the association is in the middle of and that they will be able to live in their condo the way they want. Study the CC&Rs and do due diligence before buying.


Written by Realty Times Staff

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update August 10th, 2017


THE AVALON HOME AND LAND OWNERS ASSOCIATION’S annual meeting will take place Saturday, August 12th, at Avalon Community Hall.  Mayor Martin Pagliughi will review the “State of the Borough” and County Engineer Dale Foster will address “County Projects in Avalon.”  Both will take questions after their talks.  All are welcome; refreshments will be served at 9:30am, and the meeting will begin at 10am.

Sailors furl their sails on the way back to the dock, as daylight gives way to evening.


“DOLPHIN WHISPERER” Nik Pattantyus has become well known for his dolphin videos, filmed while on his paddleboard just off Seven Mile Beach.  Philly.com recently ran a great story on Nik and his videos…check it out here:
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/shore/dolphin-whisperer-stone-harbor-jersey-shore-20170803.html

HOUSE PORTRAITS by Lisa Cunningham…What a great way to permanently capture your seashore memories!   Imagine displaying your pride & joy either at your home or office…check out http://www.lisacunninghamfineart.com/ for details.

Lisa Cunningham’s House Portraits capture the essence of your shore home!

SEA ISLE BEACHCOMBER TOURS:
  Volunteer guides lead beachcomber tours each week on Sea Isle City’s beaches.  On each tour participants scour the beach for shells and other items, which are identified by the tour guide.  The tour costs only $1 for adults or children, and leave from Sea Isle’s 29th Street Promenade at 10am every Tuesday, and every Thursday from the Pavillion at Townsend’s Inlet Waterfront Park, through August 31st.  Simply check in with the tour guide before departure.

FOX ON THE BEACH!  While your combing Sea Isle’s beach, be on the lookout for a fox that’s been spotted several times.  Officials have attempted to trap the fox in order to relocate it to Atlantic County, but thus far have been unsuccessful.

PLANNING AHEAD!  There’s plenty of summer fun remaining but it’s never too early to line up some events on Seven Mile Island for September and October.  Mark your calendars now:  22nd Annual Nun’s Beach Surf Contest, 111th Street beach, 7am Saturday, September 16th; 6th Annual Savor September Festival, 96th Street, Saturday, September 23rd; Avalon Seafood Festival, 30th Street & the beach, Saturday & Sunday, October 7th & 8th.

258 PROPERTIES have sold in the local market since the first of the year; 85 more are currently under contract.  Why not join the fun and purchase your very own beach home?  Call me and I’ll help you find the perfect shore retreat for your needs!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Thursdays on Dune Concert featuring Jersey Sound, family friendly activities throughout Avalon’s business district from 5:30PM, concert at Veteran’s Plaza at 7PM, Thursday, August 10
  • Thursdays on the Lawn concert featuring Jim Bannach of BLT, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Stone Harbor, 7:30PM, Thursday, August 10
  • Cape Regional Home & Health Show, Avalon Elementary School, 9AM-2PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Avalon Home & Land Owners Association Annual Meeting featuring Avalon Mayor Marty Pagluighi & County Engineer Dale Foster, Avalon Community Hall, refreshments at 9:30AM, meeting at 10AM, Saturday, August 12
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at the Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Saturday, August 12
  • Stone Harbor’s Go Green Fair, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza, 11AM-2PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Cape Regional Designer House Tour, 609-463-4040 for info & tickets, 11AM-4PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Summer Club Concert Sounds of Sinatra, Avalon Community Hall, 8PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Stone Harbor Surf & Turf 5 Miler, Stone Harbor Recreation Field at 8100 Second Avenue, registration at 6:45 AM, race at 8AM, Sunday, August 13
  • Stone Harbor Farmers Market, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, August 13
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Sunday, August 13
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Atlantic City Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of South Jersey, 2-4PM, Sunday, August 13
  • Family Fun Night at the Stone Harbor Firehouse, 7-7:45PM, Monday, August 14
  • Under the Stars, Upcoming Eclipse presentation by the SJ Astronomy Club, Avalon Free Public Library, 7:30PM, Monday, August 14
  • Tuesdays at the Tower, concert featuring the Dan Anthony Band, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza, 7PM, Tuesday, August 15
  • Avalon’s Beach Movie featuring ‘Storks,’ 30th Street & the beach, dusk, Tuesday, August 15
  • Avalon Free Public Library Summer Author Series featuring Dr. Paul Offit discussing Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, Do You Believe in Magic (Vitamins, Supplements and all Things Natural), 7-8:00PM, Wednesday, August 16
  • Thursdays on Dune Concert featuring Boy in Black Johnny Cash tribute, family friendly activities throughout Avalon’s business district from 5:30PM, concert at Veteran’s Plaza at 7PM, Thursday, August 17
  • Bay Atlantic Symphony Concert, Avalon Elementary School, tickets are required & are available through the library 2 weeks prior to the performance, 7PM, Saturday, August 19

Featured Property:

This oceanfront home sits in an extraordinary location, nestled in Avalon’s high dunes!

5609 Dune Drive, Avalon, $8,950,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 175053


New Listings:

414 Avalon Boulevard, Avalon Manor, $150,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177559

9816 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $310,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177566

2828 Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $449,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177586

10105 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $635,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177531

161 101st Street, Stone Harbor, $1,795,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177508

246 103rd Street, Stone Harbor, $1,950,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177573

211 121st Street, Stone Harbor, $1,975,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177509

211 103rd Street, Stone Harbor, $1,999,500, ACTIVE MLS#: 177520

179 114th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,150,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177515

302 42nd Street, Avalon, $2,195,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177590

59 Channel Road, Avalon Manor, $2,495,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177572

249 101st Street, Stone Harbor, $2,888,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177525

9 98th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,950,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177558

50 E. 14 Street, Avalon, $3,595,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177494

130 74th Street, Avalon, $7,900,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177571


Properties Sold:

243 20th Street, Avalon, $725,000, SOLD MLS#: 173891

11008 Second Avenue, Stone Harbor, $1,375,000, SOLD MLS#: 172957

148 20th Street, Avalon, $1,882,000, SOLD MLS#: 173890

551 Berkley Road, Stone Harbor, $2,800,000, SOLD MLS#: 172086




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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

It Doesn't Pay To Wait To Buy A Home

There will always be those who try to "time the market," but there's one factor you can't know -- when buying a home will become more expensive.

Certainly you can tell from recent trends whether or not prices and mortgage interest rates are in your favor. Monthly prices have risen year-over-year for three years. Mortgage interest rates are slowly rising, but remain at extremely attractive levels.



You could wait for prices to fall, but there are two problems with that idea. First, it would take an economic recession to lower prices, which could take months or years. With the exception of the Great Recession, you won't know if you're in or out of a recession until the talking heads online inform you.

Second, mortgage interest rates have been kept artificially low for five years. That's a very long time. With steady gains in employment, it's not likely they will go any lower. In fact, higher interest rates could wipe out any gains you could save by waiting to buy.

Here's a real life example:

If you buy a home and get a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.5 percent, your monthly payment will be $1,013.37 and you'll pay $164,813.42 in interest over the life of the loan.

The same home at 5.0 percent interest costs $1,073.64, a difference of $60.27 more per month and $186,511.57 in interest over the life of the loan. The difference in interest payments alone is $21,698.15.

If your home dropped 5% in value and you were able to buy it at $190,000 and 4.5% interest, your payment would be $962.70, a difference of $50.67 per month, with $156,572.75 in interest over the life of the loan. You'd save $50.67 more per month than if you'd paid $200,000.

At 5.0 percent, your $190,000 home costs $1019.96, or $53.68 more per month than if you'd gotten the loan at 4.5 percent. Your interest payments would total $177,185.99 over the life of the loan. The difference in payments is $20,613.24.

Currently, mortgages for borrowers with good credit are around 4.00 percent or lower. If you had purchased your $190,000 home a year and a half ago when prices were lower and interest rates were at 4.00% interest, it would cost you $907.09 per month and a total of $13,6552.06 in interest.

The question is -- did you?

There's never a perfect time to buy a home and you shouldn't buy a home just for financial reasons.

Buy your home to raise your family, be close to friends and relatives and to be free from a landlord where you get nothing back but cancelled checks at the end of the lease.

Don't put your dreams off to gamble with the market. Think of getting the home you want at a reasonable price and payment as the best way to beat the market.


Written by Blanche Evans






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

Friday, August 4, 2017

7 Reasons To Stop Renting Today

Still renting? You must have a good reason. With rents continuing to rise across the country, interest rates staying around historic levels, and new loans lowering down payment requirements, it just makes sense to take the leap to homeownership. Maybe you've got terrible credit and don't want to take the time to improve it (or don't know about loans that accept lower scores)? Or, maybe you just like giving your money away. If you're still not on board, these 7 reasons might change your mind.




Because owning a home is still less expensive than renting across the country.
GOBankingRates' annual survey of "the cost of renting versus owning a home in all 50 states and the District of Columbia" just came out, and, while they "found that the number of places where it's more expensive to own than rent has increased," the number went from 9 to 11. That means that, in 39 states, it still makes more financial sense to buy.

Rates are near historic lows: We're spoiled. Seriously. Anyone who has been paying attention to the market over the last few years and has seen interest rates with a 3 or 4 before that decimal point may just think it'll always be that way. But history has a way of repeating itself, and while we may not see rates in the teens again anytime soon, most industry experts have been predicting rates moving into the 5s sometime this year, with a pattern of rising rates beyond. Buying a home while money is cheap is a smart move.
"A difference of even 1 percent can have a major impact on your total payments over time," said ZACKS. "For instance, a $200,000 mortgage for 30 years at an interest rate of 5 percent would require a monthly payment of $1,073.64. By comparison, the same mortgage at 4 percent interest would result in a payment of $954.83." That might not seem like a big deal every month, but, consider the long-term potential: "Over 30 years, the total difference between the two would be $42,771.60."

FHA loans and the like make it easier to qualify: Don't have an 800 credit score? You don't need to today. FHA requirements are lower than conventional loans, and you may already be where you need to be to qualify. "The average FICO score for buyers who finance FHA loans is 683, according to Ellie Mae. That's considerably lower than the average score of 753 for conventional, non-FHA financing," said Interest.com. "Most lenders have a...minimum of 600."

A little thing called equity: Rising rents may or may not equate to rising property values in your area, but either way, you're not going see any financial benefit from it. When you own your home and your equity rises, that equity is yours. And so is the choice of what to do with it. Whether you decide to let it sit and continue to grow or tap your equity for home improvement projects, the money is yours to decide how to use.

The days of the 20 percent down payment are all but gone: Does 20 percent down make it more likely that you'll qualify for a loan? Sure. Does that mean you have to come up with that huge chunk of money? No. Nor do you have to come up with 10 percent down, which, for some reason, the majority of new buyers seem to believe. "87% of first-time buyers think they need 10% or more down to buy a home," said The Mortgage Reports.

The FHA loan is one of the most popular loans available to first-time buyers because, not only can you qualify with a fair credit score, but the down payment is as low as 3.5 percent, and, "100 percent of the down payment can be a financial gift from a relative or approved non-profit," they said. But, it's not the only option for a low down payment. Fannie Mae's Conventional 97 Mortgage and HomeReady Mortgage require just 3 percent down. The Mortgage Reports also has information on closing cost help and down payment assistance programs.

Rents keep rising: Unless you're in a rent-controlled apartment (and, bless you if you are since there are so few left), your rent is just going to keep going up every year. Apartment List's monthly National Apartment List Rent Report shows that, "Our national rent index is continuing to climb, with month-over-month growth of 0.5 percent for June. Rents grew at a rate of 0.5 percent between May and June, which is generally in line with the monthly growth that we've seen over the course of this year thus far. Year-over-year growth at the national level currently stands at 2.9 percent, surpassing the 2.6 percent rate from this time last year. In addition to the growth on the national level, rents are now increasing in nearly all of the nation's biggest markets."

When you own your home, your payment is your payment is your payment. Unless you take out a home equity loan or refinance to take cash out, your payment's not going to go up.

Tax breaks: Here's another bit of fun for renters: nothing you pay comes back to you. I mean, except for that security deposit, but that all depends on what effect your dog and those few parties you threw had on the condition of the home. As a homeowner, you get to write off all kinds of stuff, which lowers your overall costs. "Your biggest tax break is reflected in the house payment you make each month since, for most homeowners, the bulk of that check goes toward interest. And all that interest is deductible," said Bankrate. "Did you pay points to get a better rate on any of your various home loans? They offer a tax break, too. The other major deduction in connection with your home is property taxes."
And think about it this way: Even if your house payment is going to be a little bit higher than what you're currently paying in rent, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. How do those numbers look when you calculate the tax savings?


Written by Jaymi Naciri



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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update August 3rd, 2017


STONE HARBOR’S “FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS” Boat Parade returns this Saturday.  Boats of all shapes and sizes will be decorated with lights and will parade along Stone Harbor’s bayfront from 8pm to 10pm.  Between the lights, on board music, and dancing crew members it’s quite a sight!  If you don’t have a bayfront home to watch from, the parade can be viewed from the 83rd Street pier, the 81st Street Municipal Marina, or any bayfront street end.  If you’re travelling into or out of Stone Harbor that evening, beware that the 96th Street Bridge will open several times before, during, and after the parade to allow boat traffic to pass through.  To avoid delays, use Avalon Boulevard or North Wildwood Boulevard.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY this month as two “don’t miss” events take place.  From August 11th to August 14th, the annual Perseid meteor shower occurs in the northeastern sky during overnight hours.  Views of the meteors are expected to be limited this year by the moon’s bright light.  Even in good viewing areas away from light pollution, observers may only see around 10-20 meteors per hour, down from as many as 60 per hour during peak viewing conditions in other years.  The month’s big event occurs several days later on August 21st  when we’ll experience a solar eclipse.  A swath of the country will experience “totality,” but in our area the sun will be about 75% obscured.  On, Monday, August 14th at 7:30pm the South Jersey Astronomy Club will hold a talk at the Avalon Library discussing the upcoming eclipse.

CHECK YOUR SUMMER BUCKET LIST!  It’s August!  Don’t let the summer slip away without taking some time for your “Summer Bucket List!”  Watch a sunrise on the beach; take your grandchild fishing; rent a Waverunner; try a new restaurant; play miniature golf with the family.  Whatever is on your list, set aside the time and do it!
Smooth sailing!  Two Hobie cats sail along the beach on a beautiful summer day!

SEE AVALON & STONE HARBOR from a unique perspective in this 5 minute aerial video!  Ride along and look for your house or your favorite beach! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZotIcsCD2g

HEREFORD INLET LIGHTHOUSE has guided mariners along the South Jersey coast since the late 19th century, and it still shines brightly today.  On Monday, August 7th, you can tour it for free as part of National Lighthouse Day.  Get a glimpse of what life was like for a lightkeeper over one hundred years ago.  On the grounds surrounding the lighthouse you’ll find beautiful gardens and flowers.  The lighthouse is open 9am to 4:15pm, with a ceremony to take place at 11am.  Visit http://www.herefordlighthouse.org/ for more info.

HOW ABOUT MAKING IT PERMANENT?  If you love Avalon & Stone Harbor, why not make it permanent?  If you’re ready for your own shore retreat, call or email me today!  Whether you’re looking for rental income, a small getaway, or a large waterfront home, I’ll help you find the perfect place!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
  • Thursdays on Dune Concert featuring Eleven-Eleven, family friendly activities throughout Avalon’s business district from 5:30PM, concert at Veteran’s Plaza at 7PM, Thursday, August 3
  • Avalon Players Perform “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”, Avalon Elementary School, www.avalonplayers.org for info, 7PM, Thursday, August 3 through Saturday, August 5
  • Thursdays on the Lawn concert featuring Bob Campanell, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Stone Harbor, 7:30PM, Thursday, August 3
  • Stone Harbor 55th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival, Stone Harbor Recreation Field at 8100 Second Avenue, 9AM-5PM on Saturday, August 5 & 9AM-4PM on Sunday, August 6
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at the Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Saturday, August 5
  • Big Band Dance featuring the Philadelphia Mojo Kings, Avalon Community Hall, 7PM, Saturday, August 5
  • Stone Harbor Yacht Club’s Festival of Lights Boat Parade, www.ycsh.org for info, boats assemble at Yacht Club at 7:30PM, parade begins at Pleasure Bay at 8PM, Saturday, August 5
  • Stone Harbor Farmers Market, 95th Street & Water Tower Plaza, 8AM-12:30PM, Sunday, August 6
  • Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary Tour, meet at Egret Espy Trail Entrance at 114th Street & Second Avenue, 10AM, Sunday, August 6
  • Avalon Players Performance, Avalon Elementary School, www.avalonplayers.org for info, 5PM, Sunday, August 6
  • Family Fun Night at the Stone Harbor Firehouse, 7-7:45PM, Monday, August 7
  • Avalon’s Beach Movie featuring ‘Finding Dory,’ 30th Street & the beach, dusk, Tuesday, August 8
  • Author Lecture featuring bestselling author, Meg Donohue, Avalon Public Library, 7PM, Wednesday, August 9
  • Thursdays on Dune Concert featuring Jersey Sound, activities throughout downtown Avalon from 5:30PM, concert at Veteran’s Plaza at 7PM, Thursday, August 10
  • Cape Regional Home & Health Show, Avalon Elementary School, 9AM-2PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Avalon Home & Land Owners Association Annual Meeting featuring Avalon Mayor Marty Pagluighi & County Engineer Dale Foster, Avalon Community Hall, refreshments at 9:30AM, meeting at 10AM, Saturday, August 12
  • Stone Harbor’s Go Green Fair, 95th Street Water Tower Plaza, 11AM-2PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Cape Regional Designer House Tour, 609-463-4040 for info & tickets, 11AM-4PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Summer Club Concert Sounds of Sinatra, Avalon Community Hall, 8PM, Saturday, August 12
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society Presents the Atlantic City Jazz Band, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of South Jersey, 2-4PM, Sunday, August 13, 2017


Featured Property:

Just steps from the beach with ocean views!

Take a virtual tour here: http://tours.shorevirtualtours.com/idx/331012


New Listings:

413 98th Street, Stone Harbor, $499,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177480

1127 Stone Harbor Blvd., B20, Stone Harbor Manor, $1,100,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177445

270 104th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,374,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177474

6919 Ocean Drive, Avalon, $1,500,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177485

26 and 36 W. 32nd Street, Avalon, $5,900,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 177482


Properties Sold:

177 80th St., C-202, Avalon, $275,000, SOLD MLS#: 169483

7929 Dune Drive, Avalon, $305,000, SOLD MLS#: 175601

1116 Stone Harbor Blvd., #203, Stone Harbor Manor, $712,000, SOLD MLS#: 176584

262 26th Street, Avalon, $969,000, SOLD MLS#: 176426

2658 Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $1,425,000, SOLD MLS#: 176167

989 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,425,000, SOLD MLS#: 176044

35 E. 12 Street, Avalon, $1,947,500, SOLD MLS#: 172524

444 22nd Street, Avalon, $2,375,000, SOLD MLS#: 176600






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

Friday, July 28, 2017

Home Safety: How to Protect Your Family at Every Stage of Life

By Sage Singleton
We all want to keep our families as safe as possible, but home safety requirements change as your family grows and evolves. From newborns to pets, a variety of different strategies can ensure your home is as safe and accommodating as possible for your family. Here are some simple tips to help keep your family safe through every stage of life. Getting your home


Getting your home ready for a new baby

Babyproofing a home is largely about protecting them from their own curiosity. Once a baby learns to crawl, anything in reach is fair game to be grabbed, touched, or chewed on.
  1. Install baby gates to keep certain rooms off-limits. This is especially important near stairs.
  2. Fill unused electrical outlets with plastic plugs. Outlets are like magnets for babies.
  3. Store breakable items out of reach.
  4. Keep small items out of reach as well. Small objects that could be put into mouths are a major choking hazard. A good rule of thumb is if it can fit in an empty toilet paper roll, it is small enough for a baby to choke on.

Home safety for toddlers and elementary-age children

Toddler-proofing is a little different from babyproofing in that a toddler is usually more resourceful about getting into things they shouldn’t be. Toddlers will climb, open doors and drawers, and generally get themselves into trouble.
  1. Move anything small or breakable up higher now that your child is walking and climbing. You’d be surprised at what they can reach.
  2. If you have a pool, build a fence around it. You’ll want a barrier at least a few feet high to make it harder for your toddler to climb over.
  3. Secure drawers and cabinets with childproof latches.
  4. Place safety locks on windows and doors to prevent them from being opened.
  5. If you don’t have a home security system, install one for added safety. Choosing a system with the right features, like motion sensors and security cameras, can help you know if your curious toddler runs out the door or it can help you keep tabs on things while the babysitter is over.

Safety during the teenage years

As your child grows into their teens, the focus moves further from physical safety and more towards online safety and general home security. Online safety is extremely important with teenagers in the house.
  1. Set clear boundaries and expectations with your teen regarding potentially dangerous situations. These could involve simple subjects like safe driving or complex topics like drinking and drugs.
  2. Keep alcohol, firearms, and any prescription or over-the-counter drugs locked up in a safe place.
  3. Educate your teen about safe internet usage. This includes avoiding malware, being smart on social media, and using privacy settings.

Pet-proofing your home

Pets make great additions to the family, but they come with their own safety needs. In many ways, pet-proofing is similar to babyproofing. Pet-proofing involves keeping harmful items out of their reach and making sure that they can’t escape the house or yard and run off.
  1. Keep cleaning products, chemicals, and medications in high places or locked where pets can’t stumble upon them.
  2. If your pet likes to chew on (or eat!) household items, make sure that you don’t leave anything lying around. It can be helpful to do a quick walkthrough of your home a couple times a day, such as when you leave and return from work.
  3. If you have a home security system, make sure the motion sensors are capable of detecting and ignoring your pets.
  4. If you have a fenced yard, check it for weaknesses or small gaps that a pet could squeeze through.

Getting your home ready for your parents to move in

As our parents get older, it’s not uncommon for them to move in with us. This can help ensure their safety and prevent the loneliness that often comes with old age. It can also present some unique challenges when it comes to home safety.
Depending on your parent’s age and their physical and mental well-being, you may need to make small home improvements for their convenience or physical safety. In general, you’ll want to try to minimize the potential for falls and make sure that help is always within reach.
  1. Install grab bars in the bathrooms near the toilet and shower. These bars can help support a person as they move in and out of the shower or tub, both making this task easier and helping prevent falls. Make sure they can support the weight of the person who’ll be using them.
  2. Walk through your home and check for objects that might make tripping hazards. Throw rugs, children’s toys, and pet toys can all be dangerous for people lacking the eyesight or reflexes to maneuver around them easily.
  3. Set up a medical alert system. This is a wearable device that essentially functions as a panic button—if a person falls or has a medical emergency, they can push the button to get instant access to help.
  4. Learn which foods are hazardous for senior health. As your parents age, their immune system weakens—making them more susceptible to food poisoning and health risks. Prepare meals at home that won’t threaten the health of your aging parents.
Your family grows and changes as time goes by, and so should your home safety plans. If you want to keep up with each of your family members, continually assess their needs. These tips should give you a great starting point towards building a safer home for your family.




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