New “Know Before You Owe” Rule Takes Effect in October

Learn about the Know Before You Owe rule.A new mortgage rule goes into effect in early October. The rule, called “Know Before You Owe”, is designed to protect buyers from surprises at closing. In response to the housing crisis, Congress directed the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFBP) to come up with easier to understand forms. Under the old system, home buyers received four different forms disclosing the terms of the loan and closing costs. These contained overlapping information, complicated wording, and often resulted in confusion. Under Know Before You Owe, consumers are given only two forms: the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. All costs and fees are laid out in an easy-to-read format.

For people considering buying or selling Short Hills or Maplewood homes, this is an important change. Consumers are more educated than ever about the nature of the mortgage debt they are taking on, and, in some circumstances, they can walk away from a deal that won’t work for them. Home buyers are given three days to look over and understand the new forms, whereas the old rules required that the forms be given on the day of the signing.

Home buyers and sellers need to be aware of this three day rule, since it can affect move-in dates. If interest rates go up by more than an eighth of a percent during the three-day period, or if other fees increase, the three day period starts over and new documentation is required. People working on a tight schedule need to get to the negotiating table early, and cash buyers may have an advantage over those who need a loan. It will no longer be possible to make last-minute changes to loans.

Overall, the new rules will help a lot of consumers to understand this momentous financial decision better. Be sure to visit the CFPB webpage explaining the new forms.

Booklovers’ Favorite Maplewood Real Estate: Words Bookstore

Maplewood real estate owners go to the bookstore.Bookworms reading in Maplewood homes can take a short drive to Words Bookstore for their next great read or to see a favored author speak. With a vast and diverse supply of books covering the store, Woods Bookstore is not only dedicated to providing a large variety of reading material to its customers, but is also committed to the Maplewood community as a whole as well.

The mission for this small, independent bookstore is to promote learning to those craving knowledge, with an emphasis on helping those with special needs. Unique activities geared towards special needs youth are often held at this comfortable space of Maplewood real estate, and Words Bookstore welcomes and encourages special needs adolescents with employment options. Saturday storytime is held for all little readers and their parents with staff led stories. On occasion a nationally recognized children’s author may stop in to do the storytime read.

Knowing that everyone wants to save a dollar or two, Words Bookstore offers customers living in and around Maplewood real estate discounts for book clubs and Frequent Buyer’s Club gift cards. Words Bookstore is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m, so anytime is a great time to select an intriguing new book and settle into a story. Visit Words Bookstore online to see the events calendar and to learn about their partnership with Kobo e-books.

LIVE in Millburn: Quality Theater at Paper Mill Playhouse

Live in Millburn and go to the theater.Theater buffs who live in Millburn don’t have far to travel for incredible performances with the Paper Mill Playhouse located at 22 Brookside Drive. When the actors step on stage they are immediately able to engage the audience with their intimate character portrayals of some of the most beloved characters in professional theater. With a long history of commitment to producing quality shows, the Paper Mill Playhouse has put on dozens of one top ranked performances over the years. They performed the American premiere of the 25th Anniversary of Les Miserables in 2000, and more recently the world premiere of Newsies. The sophistication of the Paper Mill Playhouse’s line up and the grandeur of the venue itself saves patrons who live in Millburn real estate a trip to Broadway to see the best plays and musicals.

The Paper Mill Playhouse is also dedicated to bringing the theater to all who live in Millburn by promoting artistic education. Classes are available for youth and adults to improve on their acting skills and dramatic flair. The Broadway Show Choir provides free tutoring for 16 to 22 year-olds successfully securing spots. There is also youth theater programs and autism-friendly children’s theatre productions. The Paper Mill Playhouse lists their upcoming shows and available opportunities for art education on their website.

A Taste of France Near Your Maplewood NJ Home at Lorena’s

Maplewood NJ home owners eat at Lorena'sMaplewood, New Jersey is home to some of the best eateries in New Jersey. One little gem locals frequent is Lorena’s, one of the top restaurants in the US according to OpenTable. The great choice in restaurants, bars and music venues is just one of the reasons investing in Maplewood NJ real estate is a great choice. Your Maplewood NJ home will retain its value because of places like Lorena’s – great food, low-key elegant atmosphere and local pride.

Lorena’s is overseen by Chef Humberto Campos Jr. and – according to Zagat – offers “sublime” cuisine that’s close to “perfect”. The restaurant works with local organic and sustainable farmers in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to prepare thoughtful, healthy, delicious cuisine.

A popular first course celebrating truffles is the Spring Pea Soup with Fresh Mint, Truffle Crème, Brioche and Truffle Oil. One of the most popular main courses is the Pistachio and Dijon Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb, with Sauteed Greens, Bell Peppers, Cipollini, Polenta Cake and Rosemary Scented Lamb Jus.

Maplewood NJ home owners often plan celebrations at Lorena’s – the restaurant is the pride and joy of the community and a hub for elegant parties and events. Expect to spend between $60-$70 per person. Gift cards are available in $50 increments. For reservations and directions, visit Lorena’s online. Bon appétite!

Gourmets From Millburn Homes Love Moonshine Supper Club

Gourmets from Millburn homes love the Supper Club.The Moonshine Supper Club can be found in a piece of Millburn real estate at 55 Main Street with a dramatic bi-level space and unique atmosphere. Since it’s opening in November of 2011, Moonshine has been bringing Contemporary American cooking to their guests with a modern flair and great finesse. They have taken the concept of comfort food and updated it for the 21st century.

Gourmets in Millburn homes have the opportunity to experience the retro-modern atmosphere of The Moonshine Supper Club for brunch, lunch, or dinner. There are a variety of options for private events as well. Visitors will enjoy mouth-watering meals, like the unbelievably tender short ribs. After being slow-braised in Burgundy and veal stock, they are soaked overnight before being warmed to serve. The amazing gnocchi with truffles is served with veal-and-truffle meatballs, covered in a mushroom and sherry sauce.

Providing many options for guests ensures that there is something for everyone’s palate. The dishes are not only a treat for the tastebuds, they are beautiful to behold as well. The full banquet menu is available online, as are the regular menus so guests can plan their meal beforehand. Reservations are recommended from Thursday through Saturday so that visitors can be sure a table is available. With so many amazing meal options and excellent cocktails waiting for them, those living in Millburn homes are invited to go enjoy the Moonshine’s delicious new vision of classic dishes today!

To learn more about this modern supper club, visit their website at, or call 973-218-6042.

Visit Greenwood Gardens Near Short Hills Homes

Visit Greenwood Gardens near Short Hills homes.Those living in Short Hills homes are lucky enough to have the historic Greenwood Gardens right inside their community. An enchanting 28-acre garden, with 1,200 acres of park land, is an escape to those who visit. The land was privately owned until 2003 when it was opened as a public garden. The Greenwood estate will launch you back in time with some of its original buildings from the 1920s.

Visitors can see the main house, pool house, summerhouse, pond and meadows, cottages, and more. The estate was in its peak in the 1920s and 30s when it was owned by the Day family and attended to by over 100 workers. Some of the buildings and gardens, such as the main house, were added by the Blanchard family who purchased the estate in 1949. Many of the original buildings still stand and are available for you to see, others are in the process of restoration. All of them come with a rich history and are expertly designed to provide a gorgeous interior and exterior for public viewing.

The gardens, ponds, and decor surrounding these buildings are really what makes the Greenwood Gardens special. With two ponds at the bottom of Watchung Mountains, hundreds of different plants and trees spread throughout the land, and the lush greenery that seem like artwork give this area a magical feel to it. Visitors from Short Hills homes find themselves coming back again and again for the sense of time travel into a calmer time.

Come down and see the Greenwood Gardens to enjoy the exquisite gardens surround the masterfully created architecture. Those who live in Short Hills will be enchanted by this landscape. The Gardens are open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Go to to plan a visit.

Celebrate July 4th All Day Near Millburn-Short Hills and Maplewood Homes

Celebrate independence near Maplewood homes.Everyone from Millburn-Short Hills and Maplewood homes know how to celebrate July 4th right. Start out in Maplewood at 7:30 a.m. with a 5K race beginning and ending on Dunnell Road, and opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. Throughout the day there will be athletic challenges, art projects, baking contests and even an ice cream eating contest.

Help your kids be creative and decorate their bike, wagon or tricycle with red, white and blue decor to take part in the Kids Fourth of July Parade. Children of all ages living in Maplewood homes will be delightfully entertained by the Zerbini Family Circus.

This unforgettable celebration of Uncle Sam will conclude at 9 p.m. with breathtaking fireworks. Go to for a full list of the day’s festivities.

Residents of Millburn-Short Hills real estate can start the day off at 9 a.m. in Taylor Park for the Opening Ceremony. Beginning with a flag raising and salute to Old Glory, there is a red, white and blue bike parade for the kiddos and a softball game to follow.

Later on in the day, head over to Millburn High School for the afternoon events, starting at 3 p.m. Bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Pack a picnic or enjoy delicious selections provided by local vendors. Live bands will be playing, and there is plenty of entertainment for kids. Radio controlled planes will be on display. There is a rock wall to climb and raffles to be won.

The evening ends with a bang as vibrant Fourth of July fireworks mingle with the stars on Millburn High School field. For more information please go to

Monday Farmers Market for Foodies Who Live in Maplewood

Live in Maplewood and go to Monday market.Families, foodies and farmers who live in Maplewood come together Mondays at Maplewood Farmers Market, held at the Indiana Street Municipal parking lot adjacent to Springfield Ave. from 2pm to 7pm. The Maplewood Township is celebrating its 21st season sponsoring the community market. The market opened June 8 and the last day will be October 26, if the weather is poor, or November 9, if the weather is fine.

Local producers and food vendors bring many seasonal fruits, vegetables and prepared foods every week for you to take home and try. If you live in Maplewood, you’ll want to visit at least a few times this season to pick up delicious treats like cheeses, pastries, preserves, breads and olives. Not yet a Maplewood resident but shopping for Maplewood real estate and in need of a quick meal while checking out local properties? Market vendors prepare all sorts of on-the-go food like veggie burgers, gluten-free meals, steaks, burgers and crab cakes.

This year’s vendors include Alstede Farms; Hoboken Farms, Jersey City Veggie Burgers; Paolo’s Kitchen – Gluten free Specialist; Pickles. Olives, etc. and Stony Hills Gardens. For more information about the market, contact the market manager at (957) 762-8120 X2003 or visit the Maplewood calendar of events.

The Diversity of Millburn-Short Hills Architecture

Short Hills home-Robin BenjaminIt’s impossible to answer the question: what is Millburn-Short Hills architecture like? Because there’s really no way to pin it down. This area is far too diverse culturally and artistically to be pigeon-holed, so here’s a quick run-down of a few different styles you can find in Millburn-Short Hills architecture.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern brought about things like the A-frame and rambler, and is characterized by open floor plans, walls made of glass, low-pitched roofs, minimalist design, and close to the ground horizontal lines. Think: Frank Lloyd Wright. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in the Guggenheim?

The Victorian

Let’s face it: we all know and love Victorian homes, and Millburn-Short Hills architecture reflects that. Is it the steeply pitched, irregularly shaped roof, the textured shingles, or that porch? Is it the Normal Rockwell, 1950’s America? Answer: yes, yes, yes.

Tudor Cottage

The Tudor is that charming house that reminds you of an old-world European castle. It has that steeply pitched, cross-gabled roof, bricks, and rounded door. The chimneys are huge and add to that warm, country feeling.

The Cape Cod

The Cape Cod is cozy, but it’s even cozier when it’s in the Millburn-Short Hills area and close to New York City. It’s symmetrical with a steep roof and wood frame, and has that amazing chimney for those winter months.

Whether or not you are a Cape Cod type, or a mid-century modern, Robin Benjamin is your source for all Millburn-Short Hills architecture and homes.

An Actor’s Dream: Life in the Millburn Paper Mill Playhouse

Papermill Playhouse living in Millburn-Short Hills NJ is fun!In the Millburn/Short Hills arts scene you can go to the theater, or you can be the theater. Now, of course you already know that we’re talking about the famous Millburn Paper Mill Playhouse , which, since 1934, has attracted world-class performers for world-class shows, including Carol Channing, Patrick Swayze, Liza Minelli, and Anne Hathaway (who is also from  Millburn New Jersey, by the way . . .). But, did you know that in the Millburn/Short Hills arts scene you could also be the theatre.

Because this summer, you can take classes at one of Paper Mill Playhouse’s many acting classes. There’s musical theatre and summer theater camps for children ranging in ages from 3-18, including: Acting & Improv, Creative Drama studies, Broadway Dance Styles, and even Stage Combat. But, there’s also great classes for adults. Now, let’s say you’re happy with your career but that dream to be on the stage never left you. Well, what we have to say to that is: why should it?!? Get out there and live the dream!—there’s voice lessons and private workshops. You can go to Breakfast at Paper Mill, where you eat with a staff member or visiting artist and talk about art, theater, and life (how great it is to live in Millburn/Short Hills . . .). It’s very easy to be a part of the Millburn-Short Hills arts community if you want to be.

Brooklynites: professional artists, including Broadway’s finest, have made Maplewood NJ their home for years. Just ask Christine Ebersole (and ask her what it was like to be in Tootsie while you’re at it), Charlie Pollock of Broadway’s 9 to 5, or Zack Braff and Lauryn Hill, who are both from Maplewood. The Millburn-Short Hills arts scene thrives, and for decades artists have been escaping the city to get some thinking done, so they could dedicate themselves to their craft, all the while keeping NYC under an hour away.

The Millburn-Short Hills arts scene is dynamic, challenging, supportive, and open to anyone, yet it also situates itself amongst the world’s best. It’s great for arts professsoinals or art enthusiasts. All of these advantages—intellectual and cultural—come from living in Millburn/Short Hills.