Short Hills Realtor Profile: Robin Benjamin

Robin BenjaminHere’s an incomplete list of the things that Short Hills Realtor Robin Benjamin loves:


Roger Federer

Her dog, Bailey

Competitive Tennis although it’s been a while


House of Cards

Helping People Find Their Dream Home

Wait a second, what was that last one? You mean to say that Robin Benjamin actually works for both the seller, and the buyer? Well, what a novel concept. And in this situation, it’s 100% true. There’s no other Short Hills realtor who gives so much for her clients, whether they’re looking for their dream Short-Hills home, or looking to sell and re-locate. Robin Benjamin understands that longevity in real estate doesn’t come from making the most out of that one sale. It comes from cultivating genuine relationships, from being there for people as much as she can, and doing her best to ensure they get the most out of their investment. That’s what ensures that clients keep coming back, and spread the word on how great she is.

But also because this Short Hills realtor has a family of her own. Because she knows what it’s like to support loved ones and to work hard for her money. Because she’s not only familiar with this area, having worked in towns along the Midtown Direct Train Line for eighteen years, she’s also lived here, and had three children who grew up here. She loves Millburn, Short Hills, Summit and all the surrounding towns, and invites you to love it too.

And what does she ask in return (besides commission, but hey, nothing is free in this world)? Stop by during one of those tennis games. Have a glass of malbec at the Boxcar. When you see her in Greenwood Gardens with her family, and her dog, Bailey, say hi. Tell her about the new sushi restaurant that just opened up (but don’t spoil the season finale of House of Cards!).

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.”

Found a Chatham NJ Home For My Elderly Mother, Finally!

Finding a Chatham NJ home for my motherAs a Chatham NJ home and real estate agent, I’ve toured many homes for sale in New Jersey. I’ve fallen in love with my local towns and many Millburn-Short Hills homes  I’ve visited with New Jersey home buyers and sellers. I’ve seen beautiful Summit estates and Maplewood condos, but until recently I’d never considered where an elderly person (like a parent) would live once they needed care and were “forced” to move from their home.

Unfortunately, I found myself not only considering it, but having to make a decision, quickly. My mother fractured her hip while alone in her NYC apartment and it wasn’t her first fall. My sister and I were advised to find an assisted living facility as her new residence. The costs in New Jersey were staggering running anywhere from $4-$10,000 a month depending on the level of care and accommodations.

I started our “home” search immediately, wanting to be within close proximity to my Chatham home. I visited no less than 12 residences before I finally found the one that I “thought” would meet my mother’s standards and give us enough time to work on my mother’s reluctance and fear to make this change.

Unfortunately, the place I chose was not as close as I would have hoped and the commute for me was difficult. My mother thought the place was “very fancy” with all the bells and whistles but they promised more than they delivered. The level of dementia among the residents was extremely high and finding people for my mother to “talk to” was rare. So, the decision was made to make another move.

I went to visit a few more facilities in the area and decided that location was critical and we chose Juniper Village in Chatham, which is one mile from my Chatham NJ home. My mother had now moved 3 times in 4 months, not of her own will, and was not adjusting to her new circumstances well. Being 87 years young and having her independence taken away has been a challenge.

As it was no longer feasible for her to be on her own and she had some strong opinions, the time had come to hire an Elder Care Attorney who would be able to handle the legal roadblocks that might hinder elder-care choices (and there are many!). Talking to your family about finances, durable power of attorney, and all legal factors is no picnic! We chose Hauptman and Hauptman in Livingston, NJ to facilitate our discussions and process and have found them to be a life saver.

My mother’s move from her apartment in NYC has been a six week journey. She has kept that apartment for 40 years and never thrown out a paper cup. Suffice it to say, the move was not something I could do alone. My friend and colleague, Pam Carlson of Ready Set Organize was a gift from the Gods!

Pam was at our side every step of the way. From completely taking charge of the move to consoling my distraught mother and even taking the time to buy her flowers on their way home from the city, she made the move possible! My mother and I are still adjusting to the changes in our lives. We “boomers” have to be prepared and know what our options are, and the true lesson learned from this is that professionals know the questions you won’t even think to ask, when it comes to life transitions such as these.

If you can relate or find yourself in a similar situation and need help selling your parent’s home, please give me a call. I can help!

Great Restaurants Await if You Live in Summit New Jersey

New Jersey is home to a number of sophisticated restaurants, from Florinos to Roots Steakhouse, especially for those who live in Summit, NJ. But, wherever you live in New Jersey, and for whatever occasion, you are lucky to have a wide variety so you can always find your type of fine dining.

Like, for instance, if you love a good steak and fine wine? Go to Roots Steakhouse!

When you arrive at the doors,  you’ll find what you’ve been looking for – delicious food and great customer service. However, don’t forget to make a reservation, since Roots is known as being one of the hot spots in NJ.

Roots prides itself on being upscale, well-attended, and worthy of being seen.  Which is why it’s price range is a bit up there compared to other restaurants near your Summit New Jersey home. The full bar is home to good, epicurean wine and beer, making your experience there a fun one. The noise level at the bar can get right up there and getting a seat can be tough, so I definitely recommend getting to the bar early for a good spot. Otherwise it’s standing room only.

Plenty Of Options if You Live in Summit New Jersey

Try Florino’s! This Summit New Jersey dining experience will have you seated and feeling part of their family before the main course arrives. This is absolutely one of my favorites. I can always count on running into a ton of my friends here.

Many a review has said it’s a favorite, so don’t forget to make a reservation! The great service, elegantly served food, and good atmosphere are some of the things that make it a favorite to those who live in New Jersey, but don’t forget the wine. Florino’s is very serious about its wine, and you can tell by its delicate wine menu (at all price points!) and main floor wine library and cellar.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

So, grab a parking spot, make a reservation, and enjoy some of New Jersey’s fine dining near your New Jersey home!

Living in Short Hills is Full of Adventure!

Weekly activity can be found at the Downtown Millburn Farmers’ Market all month long as they celebrate 20 seasons of growing and living in Short Hills! On Essex Street, just behind Town Hall, you are sure to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of fruits and vegetables that await you! The market is open Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., from now until October.

You’ll be supporting the local community surrounding your Short Hills home as all the produce is grown locally by NJ farmers, including Alstede Farms, Ort Farms, Vacchiano Farms and E & R Organic. You may even get to meet some of the farmers or vendors when you visit and shop, as featured sellers are usually on hand from Hoboken Farms, Gina’s Bakery, Paolos Kitchen, and Dr. Pickle. Between the colors and sights, smells and tastes, you’ll find your day at the Farmers’ Market is quite a treat and a huge benefit to living in Short Hills and Millburn. You’ll be surprised to know it is also one of the strongest and most successful markets in New Jersey!

Later in the month, plan a short drive or train ride to spend a day out with the kids at Family Fun Day, on July 14th. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., you can play at the at the Arts and Crafts Museum on Main Street in Madison. Call 973-377-2982 x10 or visit the museum online. Advance registration for the museum is recommended, so call soon! The admission is $5 for children and adults over six years old and seniors are $3. The maximum family charge is $13 and children under six are free.

As you can see, the area around your Millburn-Short Hills home is hopping with happenings, just waiting for you to join! And that’s not even all of them! Stay tuned to my blog on living in Millburn-Short Hills to learn more about how you can enjoy your community! I hope you come to see the area near your Short Hills home as friendly, fun, and part of the American dream.

Freedom Rings For Those Living in Short Hills and Millburn

Looking for a wonderfully patriotic way to celebrate your Independence Day? Look no further! Near your Millburn-Short Hills home, the festivities are fast approaching, and promise a holiday weekend worthy of celebrating our great nation’s birthday. Come join in the fun of living in Short Hills and Millburn with a weekend full of family, friends, and fun!

You can start your July Fourth bright and early with a touching flag raising ceremony Taylor Park at 9 a.m. It will be followed by the presentation of the Patriot Award presentation, where Millburn-Short Hills Girl Scouts will receive honors for their years of patriotism and service to our ever-grateful community of Millburn-Short Hills.

At 9:30, suit up your bikes and prepare for the infamous trike/bike/stroller parade and the girls’ All Star softball game at 10 a.m. To keep the celebration family-fun and hopping, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Taylor Park, will be transformed into a patriotic festival for the whole family featuring children’s rides, games, ponies, and a Revolutionary War encampment reenacted by the Morgan Rifles in a show that captures the true spirit of living in Short Hills!

7 p.m. is when the party moves closer to Millburn homes, at Millburn High School where you’ll be met with patriotic music performed by Krazy Kat and an expanded schedule of Family Field Games. As a finale, for everyone’s favorite end to their Independence Day (except for maybe your pets)… there will be plenty of FIREWORKS cascading above your Millburn-Short Hills home!

Tickets to this patriotic community event can be purchased before July Fourth at a reduced price of $10, or $12 the day of the festivities. Tickets for the fireworks are separate and cost $5. You can find your tickets at a number of local merchants, including Millburn Deli, Futter’s Shoes, and Anthony Laurence Jewelers, which are all near your Millburn home. They can also be purchased at the town haIl or at the gate. In the event of a rain check, the celebration will take place on July 5th.

Join Millburn-Short Hills this July Fourth to celebrate your liberty and Independence and have a Happy Independence Day wherever you are. I am grateful everyday for the freedoms that allow me and you to have a home in Short Hills and Millburn and live in the U.S.A!

Tell Me About Your Millburn-Short Hills Home

Do you love your home?

What do you like best about your Millburn-Short Hills home?  Does your home bring a smile to your heart?  Which room of your home is your favorite or do you prefer your backyard?

What about your home would you change if money were no object?  What DIY projects do you have planned for July?  Will you be having guests over to your home for some celebrating this summer?

My kitchen and backyard are two of the most used spots in my home. Whether grabbing a bite to eat or BBQing with friends and neighbors, these two areas seem to constantly be flowing with activity.  Not just activity, though, they also are areas of collected sunlight and lingering warmth – things that make me smile.  I enjoy looking out my windows and viewing my garden and reliving happy memories, from good food to those feel good moments that come from planting tomatoes.  My home is a happy place for me and I hope yours is, too.

If you would like tips on sprucing up your home for summer or are thinking about moving to a new home or selling your current home, let’s touch base and see how I can help you.  As a local expert on Millburn-Short Hills real estate, I have some great people resources and ideas gained from the other homes I’ve sold in Millburn-Short Hills.  I may have even sold or shown a home with your identical floor plan!  Working together, I can help you recognize your home’s value  so you can love it a little more – let’s connect!


Dad – One of the Real “Mad Men”

Dad – One of the Real “Mad Men”

I was born in the 50’s, the youngest of two girls, whose parents left New York City in the late 50’s and moved to CT, suburbia at its best – where all the up and comers were moving young families as they built their careers. My parents moved to Connecticut to be among their friends in the advertising and broadcasting industry. It was the thing to do back then – a measure of success and affluence.

My memories of childhood were magical. I had two sets of grandparents who would come visit from the Bronx and Washington Heights. My father’s father was a kosher butcher and would unpack a trunk full of frozen meats into our freezer. If they came on Saturdays, we were often told the story about how he would have to sneak into his store on the Sabbath to pack the car and hope that no one would see him. We would feast on food that was being lovingly prepared. Little did I know then that lamb chops were not as common as hot dogs?

There was always a game on our one TV and that was “family time” with my Dad. He would come home from playing golf and sit on the couch and I knew that was my time with him. He was big – really big! 6’6 and 225lbs and when he sat next to me on the couch and put his arms around me, all was well in the world. There wasn’t much on TV in those days. My favorite memory was watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and having my father tell me they were a passing phase. He loved the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”; thought it was hysterical. And I remember him talking about this amazing new, young singer, Barbra Streisand. He worked long days and commuted from Stamford to NYC daily. In those days, the bar car was very active at night, along with tables that were set up for the card games. He usually didn’t get home until 8 or 9 pm most nights. My sister and I would have already had dinner. In the early 60’s kids of all ages and sex played together in the neighborhood. Hard core games like touch football, ”hit the bat”, tag and cootie – and later on, spin the bottle! Tag and cootie were much the same and sadly being the youngest, I always seemed to be “IT”. Our front yard was the biggest and so, it became the field. If we got really lucky sometimes my father would make it home before it got too dark and throw us “pop-ups” for us to catch or hit us fly balls REALLY far. I was so proud that my Dad could do these cool things. It was the early 60’s and my father was working for Edward Petry Broadcasting – it was a selling company.  He was a national representative, acting as the national sales arm for TV stations, and selling TV time to national advertisers. It was his only job – as many men in his generation experienced. He started right after college, in the mid-late 50’s. College had been postponed until after WWII. The 60’s was when his career took off and eventually he became the CEO of the Petry Company He was a smart, educated Jewish guy from Washington Heights who broke into the broadcasting business at a time when anti-Semitism was rampant. My Dad managed through this with his big, kind personality and extraordinary talent as a sales man . My father’s career was dedicated to selling time on TV and radio, and building this company, which became one of the most successful media buying services in the US. He worked a lot, and his way to relax on weekends mostly included golf and card-playing with his country club and industry buddies. We would often meet up on at his golf club for dinner. He was a champion at golf but for reasons my sister and I never understood, he never introduced the sport to us. I suppose that was his complete escape – his way to unwind. My father lived his life big and owned every room he walked into. They called him the “big guy”. Marty Nierman.

Life was very different when I was growing up. No books on parenting; in fact, I’m pretty sure my mother gave me a shot of whisky to quiet me at night! My grandmother used to tell me to pass my son over the gas stove! I promise I didn’t. The truth is, my memories are loving. In spite of the limited parenting by my father, I knew I was loved and adored.

My father retired early for various reasons and the silver lining for me was that he was able to be a full time grandparent to my two sons the way he was rarely a parent to me. He was able to teach them golf, baseball, war and how to catch one of his famous “pop-ups”! Sadly, all that drinking and smoking caught up with him and took him from us long before we were ready to say goodbye. I was lucky though; I had a chance to be with him in the later years after he retired. He and I would get together and discuss my life as an adult. I treasured those moments. It was a lot easier for my father to throw a ball than to sit and have a conversation with me. Men of that generation did not freely share their feelings. To do so would have been unmanly and my father was every bit a man. That generation was burdened with the inability to express themselves and then came the 60s with the pendulum swing in the other direction.

His legacy of a sales and communications expert did get passed on in our family; to me as a  Short Hills Real Estate Agent  for 16 years. My son, Tyler VP Global Talent Management for the Discovery Communications Channel, my son, Keith, is known as the “Mayor of New York” – beloved by all, and is a Manager and part owner of several sports bars in NY, and my daughter, Hilary Benjamin is employed by MSNBC.

If you would like to learn more about my local community or discover the meaning behind A New Suburbanism click here or call me at 973.202.7270

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Open House Success in Millburn/Short Hills: Begins with Trust

When you are buying a home or listing your home for sale in the Millburn/Short Hills area , you have a lot to consider. If you are buying, you will no doubt be viewing and walking through many Open  Houses in Millburn/Short Hills in search for the one that makes you feel “at home.” If you are selling your home, you will need to make your home feel less “yours” so that it can appeal to buyers.

Both of these situations can be emotionally challenging and so it really helps to have a trusted friend with experience in your area, namely a knowledgable Short Hills Real Estate Agent, at your side through the process.

A real estate agent has more experience than you when it comes to knowing how to market or discriminate between homes in your area. Trust your agent to have your best interests in mind so that you can utilize that knowledge. This is especially true when it comes to open houses!

Work with and listen to your agent’s suggestions to meet with the most success (and follow my advice in this post).

Staging A Successful Open House

  • First off, make sure the interior of your home is clean and de-cluttered! If it is in your budget, consider removing the bulk of your house contents to an alternate location. Your ultimate goal as a seller is to move, so start packing – it will help your home to sell more quickly! Consider the model home concept that new builders use and set that as the goal for your home – neutral, tasteful, open.
  • Make sure the outside looks great, both in regards to your property, and your neighbors’ homes. Does your street look safe, well-kept and friendly? If not, brainstorm about what you can do to achieve a friendly neighborhood feel. Maybe you can offer to help trim or mow your neighbor’s lawn or put away their trash cans, resulting in a more attractive canvas for your home. Check that your for sale sign is standing straight and tall and consider adding a few balloons (bright colors) to attract even more attention.
  • Speaking of neighbors, invite them! This is an opportunity to hand-pick a new neighbor, and they can have a say in it by inviting they’re interested friends. Plus it will create a buzz, increase positive energy, and make sure your open house is well attended. If you have a neighbor who has listed their home, be sure to visit their open house, too, so you can see what your home is being compared against. In including your neighbors you may actually find that they are more than willing to assist you with your open house with small favors like making sure there is ample street parking or repairing a broken brick planter.  Ask your agent for the best way to handle this as it depends on the area – it might be better to host an early preview for neighbors for homes where a huge turn-out is expected.
  • Since you’ve invited your neighbors to stop by, make sure you have fresh-baked goods (and their accompanying aroma) present in your home as a thank you for visiting. Nothing says “home” better than the smell of vanilla and cinnamon. If you are unable to do this, do NOT resort to air fresheners as many people are allergic to them. Ask your real estate agent for advice on dealing with the odors in your home well before the open house occurs.

Please feel free to add your comments on what you feel makes your Millburn/Short Hills Open Houses more valuable to you as a home buyer and seller, too. I’d love to learn from you! Consult with me for other more specific suggestions on how to make YOUR open house more successful – as each home uses a different approach.  You’ll be glad you did!

If you would like to learn more about my local community or discover the meaning behind A New Suburbanism click here or contact me at 973.202.7270


Swim Safely at The Millburn Pool & Securely This Summer

Summer is here, bringing with it beautiful sunshine, warm weather and children with a lot of free time on their hands.  Much of that time is likely to be spent swimming, whether at the beach or the Millburn Pool , and so some reminders on safety tips are in order.

Whether you own a swimming pool, are buying a home in Millburn with a pool, or may use a pool at a neighbor’s home, Millburn Town Pool or while on vacation, this post shares valuable information and questions to provoke thought to help you be more aware and prompt action where needed.


  • Do you have a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa with self-closing and self-latching gates?
  • Do you have and use a door alarm and are your windows secure for any areas that access the pool?
  • Do the people living and visiting your home know how to swim?
  • Do the people living in your home know how to perform CPR on children and adults and are they current on certification?


  • Is proper gating in place to discourage younger children from areas that are unsafe?
  • Do the people you are with know how to swim?
  • Are you or a trusted adult available to physically “watch” your children and respond quickly to an emergency?

75 percent of drowning accidents involve children younger than 5 years old and African American and Hispanic children are at greater risk, due to a lack of knowledge on how to swim and water safety, according to national studies. Reports also show that “residential locations dominated incidents involving victims younger than 5 years of age.” Children should NEVER be left unattended near a pool or spa.

As drowning can occur in as little as 20 seconds for children and 60 seconds for an adult, never swim alone or allow others to use your pool without adequate supervision. Drowning makes no sound, so pay attention to all swimmers to avoid accidents and respond quickly if something is not right. If someone is missing, check the pool before other areas.

  • Is there a charged and working phone easily accessible?
  • Is someone with you who is certified and can perform CPR on children and adults?
  • Have the pool drains been replaced to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act? Ask the pool servicer if you cannot tell.  Recently a lot of news have been published on pool drains, the suction part of the pool which coordinates suction on the pump and filter to keep the water clean. If a newer (last 5 years) drain is installed or the drain has a substantial cover, you shouldn’t have to worry, but older drains with too much suction can pose a serious drowning risk as bathing suits, hair and even small children can be pulled down and drown. Don’t be afraid to ask about this – too many accidents have already happened, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation, reported earlier this year that almost 80 percent of public pools are not in compliance!
  • Are safety rules posted in the pool area?  Can you visibly see life rings and poles and is there a lifeguard on duty during the times you and/or your children will swim?
  • When was the last pool safety inspection and the last cleaning?  Does the water look cloudy or smell too strong? Does the pool appear to be filtering?

You may feel that some of questions are not necessary, however pool safety is an international concern.  Do your part to be aware by checking out to find out how you can be more proactive in your pool safety and spread the knowledge you have.  You could save a life!