Maplewood Home: It’s the Tree of Life

Maplewood TreesBrooklynites: are you thinking about buying a Maplewood home, but you’re not sure yet? Next question: do you like trees? Do you go to Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park and bask in the sun while push your stroller on Sunday afternoons? And while you’re pushing your stroller, do you think to yourself, “I wish I could have this everyday, and not just Sunday . . .” Well, think about this.

Let’s break down the name of the town, Maplewood. First word: Maple. A type of tree. Second part: wood, the stuff that trees are made of. And does Maplewood deliver on its name? Absolutely. There are: Norway and silver maples, Scotch maples, flowering cherry, honey and black locust, magnolias, pin oak, and buttonwood. Just to name a few. So, if you like trees, nature, walking around gorgeous, bucolic parks, yet still want the advantages of the urban lifestyle with booming arts and culture, and an outstanding school system, then a Maplewood home is the direct fulfillment of all those needs. Don’t just take The New York Times’ word for it. Take a look for yourself. Walk around the tree-lined streets, and wander into Memorial Park where you’ll bask in the twenty-five acres of serenity.

Brooklyn: springtime is here. The flowers are blooming. Love is in the air. There’s no better time to make the jump to Maplewood, the place that is literally made of trees.

Waiving Your Appraisal On Your Home In Maplewood NJ

468px-ShakespeareThe famous Maplewood resident, William Shakespeare, once said, prior to buying a home in Maplewood, “To waive or not to waive the appraisal contingency in Maplewood—that is the question.” And William (or Willy as the guys at the deli called him) pondered this for years. What if the appraisal is low? Or, what if the appraisal is wrong? Because he wasn’t using the top real estate agent in Maplewood, he kept losing in bidding wars. Evidently he was busy writing some histories and tragedies, and some sonnets, to seek out sound real estate advice. What a sucker.

It could have been so simple. The truth is, appraisers make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Something as simple as marking off the wrong amount of bedrooms or baths, an incorrect lot size or home square footage, are all things that could throw off an appraisal. So, you ask for a new one. The second option is the price could be reduced to the appraised value and the sale moves on. Or, the buyers put more money in escrow. Lastly, buyers and sellers split it down the middle.

But you don’t have to go down that route, whether you’re a buyer or a seller. Because there are people who can council you, who know the market and what a home in Maplewood actually cost, who have done all of the analysis, and know the ins and outs of real estate in Maplewood. There is Robin Benjamin, the top real estate agent in Maplewood. So, there’s no reason to let a great deal go afoul (Willy’s favorite word) because of an appraisal. We shan’t allow it. We shan’t!

Look, sellers are people. Buyers are people. Even lenders are people (kind of), and as people we can communicate our needs, wants, desires, and not lose great deals and dream homes because of a house being appraised incorrectly. We don’t have to waste everyone’s time and money, and we can get to the business, whether that’s doing the appraisal or not. But listen to her. She knows. The top real estate agent in Maplewood can help you, by communicating and telling the truth of what a home in Maplewood costs, and what a good deal is. We’re all people, and Robin Benjamin works on both sides, seller and buyer.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the good life. “Living in Maplewood,” as Shakespeare said, is “such stuff as dreams are made on.”

Community Music Near Your Maplewood Home

Go to the concert near your Maplewood home.One of the best reasons to own a Maplewood home is the wonderful community here. People love to come together to collaborate and share their talents with everyone who lives here. On Saturday, April 11th, Maplewood Community Music is presenting a free children’s concert. Come hear “Winds and Brass and Drums–Oh My!” The concert will feature the talents of the Maplewood Community Concert Band and the Maplewood Middle School 8th Grade Wind Ensemble. This is a great way to introduce the children in your Maplewood home to quality music. Bring them to the Maplewood Middle School Auditorium at 7 Burnet Street on Saturday April 11th at 2 p.m.

The concert is designed to help audience members learn more about the instruments in the band. The selections of music will highlight individual sections. This is a perfect opportunity to inspire children (and adults, too!) to take up an instrument that interests them. It’s also a good opportunity to inspire beginning musicians to keep practicing.

Maplewood Community Music is an organization dedicated to bringing the community together by sharing excellent music. The Community Concert Band, under the direction of Steve Kimmons, presents concerts for the community throughout the year. Maplewood real estate owners can learn more about this Saturday’s concert and more upcoming concerts at

Llamas, Goats and Pigs-Living in Millburn Street Fair


Photograph via Flickr by Pete Markham

Let’s face it. We could all go for petting a llama at the end of our busy work week living in Millburn. And at the Millburn Street Fair on Sunday, April 19th from 11AM-5PM, you can do just that. They’ll have llamas, goats, pigs, rabbits, and guinea pigs for you to pet, and plenty of babies and cute kids running around too. You know why? Because everyone loves llamas. That’s why.

If petting a llama isn’t enough (though, how could that be possible?), there’s also an all day dance party, live theater from the world renowned Papermill Playhouse, delicious international foods, as well as live music, pony rides, games, rides, clowns and jugglers. And right now, you’re   asking, “Sounds great, but how much does it cost?”

It’s free. Totally free. Even the parking is free in municipal lots. All you have to do is go there and have the time of your life, and you know how great you are at that.

Now, let’s take a second and reflect and how amazing Millburn is. There’s the Blue Ribbon public high school, which is one of the best public schools in New Jersey, beautiful and majestic Millburn homes, and now, llamas and dance parties. It’s a wonderful thing that the people of this community come together and enjoy each other’s company. What a way to kick-off the spring season.

Really, this is a dream place to live.

Now, if only there was an honest and dependable realtor selling properties there . . .

Easter Bunny Living in Millburn Invites Kids to Egg Hunt

The Easter Bunny living in Millburn has an egg hunt.The Easter bunny living in Millburn is happily and busily painting eggs, so put your Easter bonnet on and grab a basket because it is time for the annual Egg Hunt! On March 28, 2015, our littlest town citizens, preschoolers to second graders, will be let loose in their Easter attire and gather as many brightly colored eggs as they can collect. Taylor Park provides the picturesque background for this marvelous hunt! Gathering starts sharply at 10 a.m. The Easter bunny will hide these eggs no matter what Mother Nature has in store, so snow, rain or shine come on down. Dress appropriately for the weather. As the Easter bunny living in Millburn loves to be outside, the egg hunt will be outside if at all possible.

Four specially marked eggs will result in a chocolate prize for one lucky hunter in each age category. Children finding labeled eggs by the Millburn Chamber of Commerce will receive special prizes as well. This is a treasured community event so bring your camera to capture timeless photos of your little ones having fun with family and friends and perhaps meeting new friends as well. Click here to open a PDF filer for the event.

Residents of Maplewood real estate can also get in on the fun by hopping on over to Memorial Park from 1 to 4 p.m. Don’t forget the gatherers need to bring their own basket or other container to collect their eggs. Even an Easter bonnet turned inside out and upside down will do! See the Maplewood parks calendar by clicking here.

Living in Maplewood? Celebrate Restaurant Week!

Gourmets living in Maplewood love Restaurant Week.Ask anyone living in Maplewood what makes the town special, and they’ll tell you about the amazing restaurant scene.  Each year, the restaurants in town celebrate Restaurant Week.  This year the celebration will run from Sunday, March 22nd through Sunday, March 28th.  Participating restaurants include fine dining establishments, casual diners, and take out spots.  They are offering special deals from special prix fixe meals, to tasting menus, to discounts on your order.

This is the perfect opportunity for Maplewood real estate owners to try out the restaurants you’ve been meaning to get to.  Get a few friends together and hit the town.  Take a trip to India at Tandoori Chef II, with 10% off dine-in meals.  The Maple Leaf Diner has a specially priced menu to enjoy all week.  Coda Kitchen & Bar offers a $30 prix fixe 3 course meal, Monday through Thursday.  Take home a special dessert from The Able Baker or get a baker’s dozen of cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes.  Bill & Harry’s Chinese Restaurant is offering diners 10% off dinner specials all week.

There are so many more amazing specials offered to gourmets living in Maplewood for Restaurant Week.  Click here to see the full list of participating restaurants and plan your gastronomic adventure!

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.