Living in Maplewood and Owning Your Home Just Got Easier

Living in Maplewood is  a great choice for young couples.It’s a great time for Millburn-Short Hills and Maplewood millennial home buyers. Mortgage rates are around 3%. The Federal Housing Administration has lowered mortgage insurance premiums. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have reduced minimum down payment requirements from 5% to 3%.

Because of the Great Recession, many people now in their late 20s and early 30s have put off purchasing property.  In the past, first-time buyers made up about 38% to 40% of home purchases. Over the past several years, however, that rate has been significantly lower, in some places by as much as 10 percentage points.

For many who have been living in the Millburn-Short Hills area and renting, buying a home is looking better and better. As rents rise and jobs stabilize, the numbers start to tip in favor of buying, and young professionals find themselves touring a Maplewood home or a Millburn-Short Hills Colonial. From sunny Los Angeles to snowy Virginia, agents are reporting a distinct increase in young clients looking to buy for the first time.

There’s a lot to be said for living in Maplewood and for owning your own home. Our community is bustling and there is so much to enjoy! If you commute, its proximity to transit is another huge plus. As an agent who’s been selling homes in this area for years, I can help you find the home of your dreams and a smart way to pay for it!

First-Time Home Buyers Guide to Maplewood Homes

Talk to Robin Benjamin about Maplewood homes and Short Hills real estate.Congratulations on the decision to buy your first home! You’re making a great choice by checking out Maplewood homes and Short Hills real estate. I’ve helped many first-time buyers over the years. Here are a few things to know and think over as you start the home buying process.

The first thing to think about is your price range. Before the financial crash, banks were handing out home loans like hotcakes. This proved to be a pretty bad idea. In general, financial experts advised that housing costs shouldn’t take up more than 30 to 35% of your gross income. Keep in mind that maintenance costs are going to come up, too. When you’re making your new monthly budget, it’s a good idea to set aside an amount to cover things like calling a plumber or roof repair or hiring landscapers. Be realistic about what you can afford. Use the mortgage calculator on the home page to get an idea of the possibilities. Check with a lender to get a pre-approval before you start shopping.

Remember that there are great tax benefits to homeownership. The 2009 stimulus tax credit has expired, but you can deduct your mortgage interest and property taxes from your gross income. This means lower federal taxes. In New Jersey, property taxes up to $10,000 are completely deductible. Keep these deductions in mind when you compare the costs of owning with the costs of renting.

Finally, use your imagination. I see so many first-time buyers who will pass up a great house in their price range in the right place, just because there’s a small defect or oddity. These people don’t realize how much small changes, like new paint or carpet or other small remodeling projects can change how a house looks and functions. Keep an open mind as you tour Maplewood homes. Your dream house is waiting for you!

Millburn-Short Hills NJ Home Shopping in a Snow Storm? Great Idea!

Millburn-Short Hills NJ Home and snowSome buyers might be thinking twice about shopping for a Millburn-Short Hills NJ home with all the crazy snow storms this year.  It might seem like a good idea to wait for spring.  But, actually it’s a perfect time to shop for a home! For one thing, the competition is not nearly as fierce.  Shopping for a Millburn-Short Hills NJ home in the snow keeps plenty of people snugly in their current apartment.  So you’ll probably have an easier time snagging the home of your dreams.

The other advantage to shopping for a Millburn-Short Hills NJ home right now is that you’ll get to see the neighborhood in action.  Want to see how your potential neighbors are going to handle small emergencies that affect both of you?  Watch how they shovel snow.  If they’re making a big deal about every little shovelful, you might want to think twice.

You’ll also be able to tell if the neighbors are friendly if they’re helping elderly neighbors shovel their walks.  If school has been cancelled–as we do preemptively!–you’ll get to meet the neighborhood kids.  All in all, shopping for a Millburn-Short Hills NJ home when snow is in full swing is a great idea.  The snow will let you meet more of the neighbors as well as check to see that you’ll be living on a street that gets the snow plow sooner rather than later.


Do Escalation Clauses Make Sense for Millburn-Short Hills Real Estate?

escalation clauses and millburn-short hills real estateThe Millburn-Short Hills real estate market is pretty hot right now.  With inventory low, it’s a sellers’ market.  Because of that, the escalation clause is coming back into fashion.  An escalation clause is included in a contract when the buyer expects there to be multiple offers that a seller will consider.  The buyer names the “base price” and then stipulates by how much they’re willing to beat competitors and up to what price.  It sounds simple but it can actually turn out to complicate sales, both for buyers and sellers.  An escalation clause is also thought to be in the seller’s best interest, but it may have the effect of closing down bidding on Millburn-Short Hills real estate.

Are there circumstances when an escalation clause makes sense?  If a buyer is confident that there will be multiple other offers on a house, it can be smart to have an escalation addendum.  This is especially true if the seller is only accepting one round of offers and will decide between them.  If a buyer ends up making the only offer on a house, the seller may counter offer with a higher price than the buyer stated initially, since the seller knows they’re willing to pay more.  Click here to get a good idea of the value of the home you’re looking at.  If you’re thinking of buying Millburn-Short Hills real estate, be sure to stay in very close communication with your Realtor.  We know this market inside out and will take good care of our clients, to ensure they get the best house for the best price.


Millburn-Short Hills Homes Are in a Strong Market

Valuing Millburn-Short Hills HomesThe spring housing market is looking good, which is great news for everyone think of selling Millburn-Short Hills homes this year.  The inventory is relatively low, which creates higher demand and  higher prices.  To see how much your home is worth, click here to get a personalized market report on your home’s value.

While the market favors sellers right now, to get even better prices on Millburn-Short Hills homes, consider staging your home.  Staging is preparing your home, with special attention to making your home look more spacious.  You can hire a professional or you can do it yourself.

The most important part of staging is de-cluttering.  Having your surfaces free of the papers and other things that tend to collect will make rooms appear much larger and don’t forget your closets.  Having just a few things hung or stacked neatly will give the impression of a huge amount of storage space, a big selling point.

Often, a professional stager will remove as much as half the furniture from a home.  If you’re going to stage your home yourself, imagine a nice hotel.  It’s our job to make your home in “move in” condition to a buyer. We want them to be able to sit down on your living room couch and visualize themselves with their own furniture and belongings and that can’t happen if there’s no room to dream! Millburn-Short Hills homes are in a hot market.  Make the most of your beautiful home to get the best price.


Know the Value of Your Millburn-Short Hills Home?

Value Your Millburn-Short Hills HomeHow do you feel when you see neighbors living near your Millburn-Short Hills home adding a For Sale sign in their front lawn? Does it stir the tiniest bit of curiosity in you? Perhaps it even makes you wonder what your Millburn-Short Hills home is valued at? If you are like most people, those are completely normal feelings. In fact, for many of my clients, this is how they start thinking about making a move.

If you would like to know the current value of your particular home, no matter where you live in the U.S., visit In just a few minutes you can request a report that will share with you the fair market value of your home. You will need to fill out a 30 second form, giving me your address and email so I can collect the proper information for you, its that simple. Fast and easy with same day results.

In fact, if you don’t mind waiting a week, you can enter only your name and address and have a personalized report mailed to your home. It’s just one way I can help those who live in Millburn-Short Hills and other Midtown Direct homes measure options when it comes to real estate. If you don’t want to bother with reports and would rather just meet in person to strategize your home sale, give me a call at 973-202-7270.

Juicing Energizes This Millburn-Short Hills Real Estate Agent!

Juicing for Millburn-Short Hills real estateAs a Millburn-Short Hills real estate agent, it’s important to have a lot of energy. Between previewing homes and open houses, meeting with clients, creating home marketing plans, and tracking Millburn-Short Hills home inventory, there is simply a lot to do in a short amount of time. To help keep my energy levels up, my focus sharp, and my cheeks rosy, I’ve started juicing.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed that juicing is everywhere. Many times last year I attempted juicing and didn’t understand the hype. It really didn’t seem to do much for me. So instead I choose to eat well and make sure I do my best to stay away from the foods that are high in fat and bad types of sugar. However, I still struggle with a few pounds and have concerns about reaching my optimal health.

About a month ago I started researching what this “juicing craze” was all about. The first thing I learned was that it’s often been said by health authorities that we should have 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to stay healthy because our bodies have taken a hit from all of the junk we’ve been eating for years and our ability to digest the nutrients from the fruits and veggies directly diminishes. Yet, with juicing, the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables deliver maximum value almost instantly to the body.

Besides getting healthy, I decided there had to be more to the story since it seems that is is akin to the fountain of youth. Some of the promised benefits include things like clearer thought, weight loss, increased energy, improved mood, a feeling of satiation, and of course glowing skin, hair and nails.  Sounds like benefits that could definitely benefit me and really anyone searching for Millburn-Short Hills homes!

With those in mind, I searched Millburn-Short Hills and Summit to find sources of fresh juice. I found Juice Caboose in Summit, NJ and then discovered that a brand NEW juicer is due to open this month in Millburn. Called the Green Nectar Juicery, this place offers the best in juice, it’s organic, fresh, AND local! Or, the other option is you can  buy your own juicer and do it yourself. That’s what I did. I bought the Omega 8006 Masticating Juicer. I love it. I’m drinking it everyday and I’ve lost 5 pounds! As far as the other claims of promised benifits–to be continued..

If you choose the DIY route, try these two juices. I love them!
Bright Skin Juice – Combine 1 carrot, 
1 green apple, 
1 cup cantaloupe
, 1 orange.
Green Hydrating Juice – Juice together 4 ribs of celery
, 1 cucumber
, 1 green apple
, 1 handful spinach, 
1/2 lemon, peeled.

Concert at Taylor Park for Millburn NJ Homes

Concert in park near Millburn NJ homesAugust means that summer is coming to an end for those living in Milburn NJ homes.  The start of school is just around the corner and it’s time to begin saying goodbye to the last lazy days of vacation.  Squeeze the last bit of fun out of summer for kids who live in Millburn NJ with some fantastic music! Taylor Park has been hosting family-friendly concerts all summer, and if you haven’t been to one yet, be sure you catch the last one on Sunday, August 4th.  The concert starts at 7 p.m. and is over by 8:30 p.m.

This is the perfect event for families to meet up with friends and neighbors who also live in Millburn NJ.  Spread blankets out or set up lawn chairs. for your whole group.  You can bring your own picnic or get supper at the park.  Gian Marco Trattoria will be selling pizza, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and chicken fingers.  You can finish off your feast with ice cream.

These free concerts have been bringing together families living in Millburn NJ homes and building community for quite some time.  On August 4th, as you rock out to The Characters, a band that both kids and adults will enjoy, create even more summer fun memories.  Dance and sing with all your friends as you say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.  Click here for a map and more details about the concert.


Time to Buy Is Now For Midtown Direct Real Estate!

midtown direct real estate reportsOur local midtown direct real estate market has been amazing and continues to be, everywhere! Take a look at the market stats for Millburn-Short Hills NJ and the surrounding towns, included in this post, you’ll be surprised to see how quickly homes are selling!

If you are looking to buy a Millburn-Short Hills NJ home, you need to focus as much now as you did in the spring market. As interest rates have been rising and the inventory has slowed down, the competition has been fierce and  I’ve seen more multiple offers now than in the last 17 years I’ve been in real estate.

Things to note when viewing these statistics are the prices (of course), but also the days on the market, since that shows you how fast the market is moving for midtown direct real estate. You’ll even see homes that sold in ONE day on these reports!

Other helpful information to view is the number of “active” homes, meaning those you can make an offer on, and the number of “under contract” homes, which already have had offers accepted. All of these factors help you to see an accurate picture of what is really taking place in our real estate market. Call me, Robin Benjamin, to learn more about individual listings or towns – I’d love to help you find your next home!

June Trends for Millburn-Short Hills homes

June Trends for Chatham Borough homes

June Trends for Chatham Township homes

June Trends for Summit homes

June Trends for Maplewood & South Orange homes

June Trends for Livingston homes

June Trends for Maplewood homes