Thursday, June 25, 2009

You can find time for fun and family when you make Mercer County, NJ home

I think this is both a busy and fun time of year. In the summer months we balance our work and family life so we can attend all of the celebrations from high school graduations to family reunions and more. We also get very patriotic as we celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks. I posted yesterday about the unique opportunity to see an original copy of the Declaration of Independence because I thought it was something special especially for people who live close by.
Today I want to do two things:

1) Let you know how great I think it is to live in Mercer County or one of the townships that surround us. We have the unique central location near to Trenton and the state office buildings and museums. We are the capital county. We are also centrally located to some of the best colleges in the nation Princeton and Rutgers to name just a few. And we have wonderful opportunities for the family to enjoy the celebrations that unify our communities like the 4th of July. I know I plan to attend at least some of the Freedom Festival next week.

2) And that brings me to the second purpose of this post. If you enjoy the night-time entertainment that we get during this time of year - fireworks - as much as I do, then you probably want to know where to see the best displays. Keep up to date with the handy Fireworks Guide offered by the Times of New Jersey.

If you want to really be a part of the celebration, you need to make Mercer County, New Jersey your home. It would be my pleasure to show you the great ameneties that you will find here and some of the wonderful homes that are for sale in different locations. Take a peek here or call me at (609) 658-2612 and we'll look together for just the right place for your family to call home.

Rare documents shown for New Jersey's birthday party

Everyone loves a party ... and to think I almost missed letting you in on the news! The State of New Jersey is celebrating our 345th birthday today and you can take part in the celebration tomorrow by visiting the State Museum in Trenton to see the state's birth certificates. Not all states have them, but New Jersey began on June 24, 1664 with a Royal Grant issued by King Charles II's brother James, Duke of York establishing the beginning of what was to become the State of New Jersey with an official birth certificate.

If you stop by the State Museum tomorrow you will also have a very rare opportunity to see an original copy of the Declaration of Independence printed on July 4, 1776. Show your patriotism. Show your pride. And sing Happy Birthday while you are at it, just for the fun of it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Jersey finds revenue windfall; May restore property tax rebate program in 2010 budget

It is budget time in the New Jersey Legislature as our legislators work diligently towards approving the state's budget before the June 30 deadline. This post isn't about politics. Please don't turn the page because you don't want political views or because you do or don't want to know where I stand on an issue. That's not what it is about; this post is about something that is important to every property owner in the state - property tax rebates.

The Governor's original budget proposed trimming rebates normally granted to property owners. It was then revised to suspend the rebates altogether. Now the legislators have found an unexpected windfall. They now have an unanticipated $600 million from the tax amnesty program. The state had expected that the amnesty program might bring in as much as $200 million so the unexpected $600,000 windfall comes at a time when our economy really needs it.

On Monday, June 22, our legislators have the opportunity to restore a positive influence on the New Jersey economy. They can choose to use apply the entire amount towards property tax relief for middle-class homeowners. Governor Corzine and Assembly Speaker Joseph Robert Jr think this is a good thing. How about you?

Do you make a point to speak with your legislators? This might be a good time to do so. Find your district delegates here and call them or email them this weekend. Tell them "I am a property owner in your municipality and I encourage you to vote yes to restore the property tax rebate program for the coming fiscal year."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mercer County Real Estate: 7 Tips for Consumers Preparing to Purchase a Home

Have you asked yourself how to prepare for buying a home? Have you wondered, what will I need; how do I get approved for a loan? I found an absolutely fabulous how-to list courtesy of the Oregon Bankers Association to share with you. It applies to any homeowner, wherever you live or wherever you are looking from Oregon to New Jersey and in between. Please call me at 609-658-2612 if you want to discuss this or to get started on your home search. Thanks for reading!

7 Tips for Consumers Preparing to Purchase a Home

1. Learn about first-time home buyer programs. Consider taking a first-time home buyers course or visit with your local banker to find out about programs available to you, such as the new federal $8,000 first-time home buyer credit for 2009 home purchases.

2. Get pre-approved. Know the difference between “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved.” Getting pre-qualified is a casual process where the lender tells you how much you should be able to borrow based on how much money you make, how much debt you have and how much you have to put down on a house. Pre-approval occurs only after you actually apply for the loan and the lender gives you in writing the amount you can borrow. A buyer who is pre-approved is more attractive to sellers and their agents than one who is only pre-qualified. Once you find a mortgage that is best for you, get pre-approved before you start making offers on a home.

3. Be honest with the lender and yourself. You don’t want to borrow more than you can afford. Your bank can provide a calculator to determine if you can afford to borrow and if so, how much. The American Bankers Association has several home financing calculators available at
4. Look at the basics of the loan. Don’t get distracted by all the bells and whistles. Choose the type of loan that makes the most sense for you.

5. Know your credit situation. Obtain a copy of your credit report and FICO score or VantageScore at least six months before you apply for a mortgage. This should give you enough time to challenge and remove any errors on your credit report and take care of anything that’s hurting your credit score. To obtain a free copy of your credit report, visit

6. Consider all the costs. A lender will review costs like fees, closing costs, points, homeowner insurance, and taxes. But consumers should also consider repairs and maintenance costs. As a homeowner, you are responsible for those additional costs - there won’t be a landlord to call.

7. Organize your finances before you go to the bank. While each bank may require different documentation, at a minimum you will need:

- Pay stubs.
- Tax returns.
- Financial statements (one that is less than 60 days old).
- Copies of additional monthly payments such as car loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.
- Any additional information (such as proof of additional income) that you think will help your banker to positively evaluate your credit request.

Credits: 7 Tips for Consumers Preparing to Purchase a Home was a press release from the Oregon Bankers Association on or about June 2, 2009. It has been picked up and distributed by many agencies including and RISMedia.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mercer County celebrates our residents

I hope that you found some time yesterday to celebrate the people who live, work and play in Mercer County. I know I did and I wanted to tell you just a little bit about the great and wonderful people that are in the spotlight.

First, Trenton put on a grand celebration for our returning National Guard soldiers. We are so proud of their service. It was a great opportunity to say thank you and welcome home. Click here to look at pictures from the parade that was put on in their honor. From a 19-gun salute, to marching bands and 2,900 marching troops, our community was there, waving flags and cheering them on.

Next, the New Jersey Special Olympics summer games rallied with fireworks at the Lions Stadium on the campus of The College of New Jersey. More than 250 special athletes are competing from Mercer County in this event, but aside from the special joy we get in celebrating their skill, I was especially impressed to learn about the Torch Run. The Torch Run touched 397 New Jersey Communities as private citizens, community leaders, young and old came out to cheer on the spirit of the games.

They weren't cheering only the spirit of the games. I believe they were cheering on the spirit of New Jersey. This weekend we celebrated the spirit of the caring and involved people that make our New Jersey home.

Friday, June 12, 2009

University Heights home in Hamilton, NJ open on Sunday

Have you ever heard the saying, "The days are long, but the years are short?" I'm not so sure I agree! We have so much happening in our real estate office that even the days seem to fly by.

I'm excited to let you know - in case you missed it - that another weekend starts tomorrow!

For me, that signals another open house where you can have that no-pressure look at a really nice New Jersey home: 71 Deacon Drive, Hamilton, NJ will be open on Sunday, June 14, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This colonial is a perfect family home. With 4-bedrooms and 2.5 baths, it blends formal with casual so you can entertain your friends or just play with the family in the in-ground pool. Check it out! I hope to see you there.

Need directions? Call me at (609) 658-2612 or download the map.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why you should choose a RE/MAX sales associate

I am a little self conscious about this post because it will sound a little like I'm tooting my own horn. I guess I am in a way; but if I don't tell you, who will? RE/MAX sales associates are the most productive of all real estate agents.

According to RIS Media, a leading information systems aggregator for the real estate industry, RE/MAX sale associates closed an average of 13.2 transactions per agent in 2008. That is nearly 33% more than the next closest competitor.

The compiled report to which I am referring also explains that the dollar volume per agent was 31% higher than the closest competitor. That is to be expected; more sales equals more money, but it is good to know that the percentages remained close. That suggests that most sales associates are focused on the general housing market as opposed to starter homes which would have driven the dollar volume down or luxury homes which would have moved the dollar volume higher per transaction.

Margaret Kelly, CEO, RE/MAX International credits the success of the affiliated brokerages to the training that the sales associates receive and especially to the support that they have through technology such as Leadstreet, the online lead generator available only to RE/MAX associates. “In today’s housing market, the consumer prefers experienced professionals who can get results, and we’ve always felt that our associates are the best in the business, but these surveys provide the facts. We’re very proud of this recognition,” says Kelly.

I'm proud of this recognition too and I promise to put my skills and the RE/MAX advantage to work for you. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you in and around Mercer County, New Jersey.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Trenton Times reports on increased home sales in Mercer County

According to the Trenton Times of New Jersey there is a "ray of light for Mercer County home buyers." Citing data from the National Association of Realtors, the article reports that the national index of pending home sales rose 6.7% in April marking the highest increase in eight years.

At home in New Jersey, there was a 23% increase in the sales of new and existing homes in March. In April, there was an increase of 18%. Coming local to Mercer County, home sales climbed 8% continuing a three month increase.

Agents report that these very positive indicators are being spurred on largely by the $8,000 first-time home buyer credit. As potential buyers find out more about the program and learn that they are eligible, they begin to call and make appointments and eventually close sales. With an increased number of people in the starter-home category, the sellers are able to move up to their next home, and the trend continues upward affecting all sellers in a positive way.

Another reason for the increase is affordability. There has definitely been a price adjustment, where sellers take as much as a $20,000 reduction and make it up in the long-term investment of their next home. Such an example can be found with this price reduction just taken today on this home at 719 Woodland Avenue, Burlington, NJ. Previously listed at $299,900, the owners are listening to the market. They have reduced the asking price to $279,900 and ready for your offer.

With more people entering the market, new home buyers can't wait. It's time to get serious about your home shopping today. Please give me a call at 609-658-2612 so we can check out the homes in Mercer County and the surrounding areas today.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Coming soon to Mercer County

I've always been pleased with the assortment of shops in Mercer County where I can choose to spend my money. I didn't mean to overlook this exciting new addition that others are all abuzz about so let me share the excitement with you now: Trader Joe's is coming to town!

Trader Joe's is slated for development in the Square at West Windsor shopping center where it will join Pier 1 and Lowe's. Some say that Trader Joe's is the mecca for the frugal chic for it features 10,000 sq ft of specialty items, natural foods, and eclectic choices like peanut butter pretzels. No one can deny that a sample of two-buck Chuck wine from Charles Shaw doesn't make the grade.

The Trader Joe experience doesn't stop with the assortment of foods. Sample lotions in the bathrooms or people-watch among the tiki torches. You'll be sure to leave with something including a smile. Watch for the opening of Trader Joe's in Mercer County by the end of summer 2009. Read all about the new store in the NJ Times.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pennington, NJ townhome in Brandon Farms SOLD!

The small town charm, friendliness and sense of community welcome you to the Borough of Pennington, NJ.

There are approximately 2,800 residents with the median age of 41, so family means a lot to this community. You can experience the value of the community when they come out to celebrate together during Pennington Day with vendors, crafts, history, sports and activities for kids to keep the whole family occupied and happy. Moreover, you can feel the sense of community all year long as they work to make their borough an even better place to live.

A sense of community is something that home buyers often seek and I am pleased to let you know it can be yours when you purchase this townhome at 208 Amberleigh Drive in Drakes Mill at Brandon Farms for only $329,900. You will enjoy 1,908 sq ft of living space - click on the link to read all about this 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath deal. I am confident that you will want to make it yours. Please give me a call at (609) 658-2612 to find out more about this New Jersey home.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June starts off with sales!

We launched into June with two more SOLD! signs:
140 Hauser, Hamilton, NJ
30 Dogwood Meadows, Hamilton, NJ

We see confidence building in the New Jersey home market in both existing homes and new construction. I have similar homes to show you. Let's start looking today: