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Get Healthy: Run Your Errands in a Walkable Suburb

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I live about a mile from the drug store. A post office and a Starbucks are across the street. One block north is one of my favorite gift shops.

When I walk "uptown" to run some errands, it absolutely takes more time than if I drive. But the experience is 100 times better.

I love looking at people's gardens on my way to do my errands. I'm a sucker for pretty flowers - they remind me to pay attention to what's beautiful in the world.

I'm also bound to run into friends or acquaintances on my way there or back. We may not have time to sit and catch up over coffee, but a spontaneous 15-minute chat in front of the firehouse can be almost as soul-filling.

Plus, when I walk, my body feels better. Soaking up some sunshine, moving rather than sitting, taking in the fresh air. Turns out all the things my grandmother told me were good for me really are.

The medical community says when we're running our errands on bikes or on foot, we're healthier. When I do it, I'm happier.

With 7 train stations, myriad bus stops, 5 distinct retail centers and several more smaller clusters of shops, restaurants and services, Montclair offers plenty of opportunities to show up on foot. Wherever you live, there's always somewhere to walk.

If you want to find out more about this Walkable Suburb or even take a walk around town with me, please call! 973.809.5277

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Montclair NJ Real Estate Sales Report for June 2016

Address List Price Style RMS BRS BTH SP DOM SP/LP
39  Harrison Ave #6 $220,000 OneFloor 4 1 1 $240,000 16 109%
39 Harrison #15 $255,000 OneFloor 4 2 2 $259,000 17 102%
187  Harrison Ave $280,000 Colonial 7 4 1.1 $265,000 8 95%
232  Claremont Ave $314,900 FirstFlr 5 2 1.1 $305,000 34 97%
10  Crestmont Rd 4A $319,000 HighRise 4 2 2 $312,000 28 98%
126  Midland Ave $329,000 Colonial 8 5 3 $410,000 7 125%
184  Bellevue Ave $365,000 FirstFlr 5 2 1 $385,000 11 105%
5  Roosevelt Pl, C002A $369,000 HighRise 5 2 2 $369,000 28 100%
159  Walnut St $379,900 Victrian 6 2 2 $379,000 6 100%
8  Nishuane Rd $399,000 Colonial 8 3 1 $382,000 99 96%
51  N Mountain Ave $399,000 TwnEndUn 5 2 1.1 $445,000 15 112%
30  Claremont Ave $399,900 Colonial 7 4 2 $455,000 13 114%
82  N Fullerton Ave $449,000 Victrian 7 3 1 $545,000 16 121%
785  Valley Rd $455,000 Colonial 7 3 1 $460,000 45 101%
12  Hamilton Ter $489,000 CapeCod 6 3 1.1 $561,000 12 115%
5  Valley Pl $499,000 Colonial 6 3 1.1 $480,000 54 96%
11  Franklin Ave $499,000 Colonial 7 3 2.1 $481,500 58 96%
35  Harvard St $499,000 Colonial 7 3 2 $585,800 19 117%
12  Bruce Rd $549,000 Colonial 11 4 2.1 $669,000 14 122%
27  Aubrey Rd $549,000 Colonial 10 4 2 $727,500 8 133%
64  Macopin Ave $549,000 Colonial 9 5 2 $625,000 14 114%
222  Valley Rd $549,000 Colonial 9 5 2.1 $550,000 14 100%
228  Orange Rd $549,000 Colonial 10 4 2.2 $625,000 18 114%
382  Grove St $559,000 Colonial 10 4 2 $590,000 10 106%
404  GROVE ST $565,000 CapeCod 7 3 2 $573,000 24 101%
4  Tuers Pl $585,000 SplitLev 9 3 2.1 $557,500 20 95%
104  Park St $595,000 Colonial 11 6 2 $625,000 13 105%
18  College Ave $599,000 Colonial 8 3 1.1 $702,000 15 117%
21  Patton Pl $599,000 Colonial 10 5 3 $625,000 62 104%
8  Garfield Pl $599,000 Colonial 8 4 2.1 $686,000 8 115%
38  Windermere Rd $650,000 SplitLev 8 3 2.1 $765,000 12 118%
120  S Fullerton Ave $699,000 Colonial 9 5 2.1 $760,000 16 109%
409  Park St $699,000 Victrian 8 5 2.1 $826,500 19 118%
7  Wendover Rd $729,900 Colonial 10 6 3.1 $775,000 8 106%
316  Park St $749,000 Colonial 12 5 3 $750,000 21 100%
337  Grove St $749,000 Colonial 12 8 3.1 $725,000 32 97%
61  Club Rd $749,000 Colonial 10 5 2.2 $861,000 21 115%
9  Northview Ave $799,000 Colonial 10 4 4 $830,000 19 104%
15  Wendover Rd $799,000 Colonial 11 6 3.1 $975,000 15 122%
14  Macopin Ave $818,888 Colonial 10 4 2.1 $841,888 10 103%
99  Willowdale Ave $829,900 Colonial 11 5 3 $870,000 8 105%
520  Uppr Moutain Ave $859,000 Colonial 8 4 2.1 $890,000 41 104%
122  Christopher St $859,000 Colonial 11 6 3.2 $910,000 8 106%
60  Grandview Pl $859,000 Colonial 9 3 3.1 $901,000 17 105%
83  Watchung Ave $899,000 Tudor 9 5 3 $950,000 18 106%
138  Summit Ave $899,000 Colonial 10 5 3.2 $930,000 20 103%
30  Norman Rd $949,000 Colonial 10 4 3.2 $1,060,559 21 112%
23  MT Vernon Rd $1,039,000 Colonial 14 6 3.2 $945,000 76 91%
154  Union St $1,175,000 Tudor 12 6 5.1 $1,250,000 12 106%
221  Midland Ave $1,199,000 Victrian 17 7 3.2 $1,252,200 9 104%
34  Clinton Ave $1,289,000 Victrian 13 5 4.1 $1,375,000 11 107%
39  Glenwood Rd $1,299,999 Colonial 12 6 4.1 $1,315,000 18 101%
39  Bradford Ave $1,399,000 Colonial 13 6 5 $1,300,000 132 93%
Average List Price $655,894
Average Sale Price $696,839
Average DOM 24
Average SP/LP 107%

Pricing Your Montclair Home: What's the Sweet Spot?

5-back-iconWhen you're pricing your home, it's always tempting to ask for a bit more than you expect - to leave a little room for negotiating. But this strategy actually doesn't work.

According to industry experts, houses priced 10% over their ultimate selling price typically receive no offers. In fact, even houses priced a mere 5% too high will typically get showings, but no offers. If you start too high, you'll have to gradually lower your price over time until you find someone willing to buy.

In real estate, "gradually" is not great.

No one wants their house to sit on the market. Not you. Not your agent. The DOM (Days On Market) of a home is the leading indicator as to whether it is priced appropriately.

In Montclair, the average DOM is 50.

Examples of homes priced too high: 363 Park Street - Original price: $1,450,000; DOM-370 Offers started when price was dropped to $1,199,000

18 Capron Lane - Original price: $1,200,000; DOM-170 It sold when the price was lowered to $989,000

Even a house listed at its "correct" price - that is, the price it is likely to sell for - may not be ideal for the seller. Studies show that the market responds most enthusiastically when houses are priced just below their true value.

When a home is listed at about 5% under its ideal sales price, the property nearly always sells for more than asking, and often substantially more. This doesn't make complete logical sense, so it requires a leap of faith on the part of the homeowner. As a seller, you need a strong stomach and a good realtor who knows the market and how to price at that sweet spot.

Here's what happens when houses are priced to sell:

117 Haddon - Listed $699,000; Sold $826,000; DOM-11 19 Windsor - Listed $699,000; Sold $838,000; DOM-9 131 Wildwood - Listed $899,000; Sold $111,0000; DOM-10

When clients ask me how much negotiating room there should be when pricing their Montclair home, the answer is none.

If you'd like to talk about home pricing, or get a better sense of the market, call me. I love to talk real estate! 973.809.5277

*Studies performed by Jeffery Otteau of the Otteau Valuation Group www.otteau.com

Another Happy Client!

There isn't much more stressful in life than buying a home - and especially buying your first home. You can get a sense of what it's like to work with me if you spend some time reading reviews on Zillow. Here's a recent post that made me feel great about doing the work that I do:

"Lina helped us purchase our home recently. As first time homebuyers, we had many questions going in, but Lina patiently and confidently guided us through each step of the process. Lina was professional, reliable and very accessible, returning callskeep calm and addressing questions and concerns efficiently.

We very much appreciated that she took the time up front to learn about our family and the type of home and neighborhood we wanted. She did a very nice job of only bringing to our attention homes that met our criteria.

Lina was very well versed in the local real estate market and was able to teach us more about the geography and detailed attributes of the many different neighborhoods in town. From beginning to end, Lina was calm and patient but knew when to push, frequently offering the right piece of information and guidance at the right moment. It was a pleasure working with Lina, and we look forward to many happy years in the home she helped us purchase!"  -- K.T.

4 Trends That Support Walkability

If you had asked me decades ago, when I first moved to this area, whether a walkable suburb was for everyone, I think I would have said no. I think I'd have assumed that only those of us coming from New York City - the walker's mecca of the U.S. - would have understood and appreciated the benefits of living in an area that is easy to navigate on foot. But it's not just New Yorkers that are walkability lovers anymore. Here are four trends that point to America's communities becoming less reliant on cars.

1. Fewer People Have a Driver's License. From 2000-2014, the number of Americans holding a driver's license has fallen sharply from 91 to 77 percent.

2. Living Without a Car Has Become Easier. Not only have public transportation systems beenIMG_6152 upgraded and improved in the past two decades, services like Uber and Lyft have made "livery" service more simple, affordable, and reliable, allowing people to bypass car ownership altogether.

3. More People Bike to Work. From 2000 to 2014, the number of people commuting by bicycle has grown 62 percent. More and more, towns are budgeting (or securing grants) for bike safe roads and bike racks as part of "downtown" development.

4.Better Public Transportation Makes Good Business Sense. President Obama recently signed policy to give tax breaks to public transportation entities as well as for those who provide parking near public transportation.

If you're looking for a place that is pedestrian and bike friendly, allow me to introduce you our own lovely walkable suburb. Truly the best of both worlds!

 

Montclair's Edgemont Park on Crazy Tourist List

"Edgemont Park in winter." Well, yes, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Jersey, and yes, it totally deserves to be on Crazy Tourist's list of Top 15 Places in NJ to Visit. But Edgemont Park is a wonderful place all year long.

This park epitomizes what I love about Montclair. It's set right in the middle of town and functions as a community hub to the many residents who can easily bike or walk there, but also as a destination for others looking for a poppin' outdoor experience.

Here's some of what regularly goes on at Edgemont: Outdoor exercise classes, a Qigong group, a dog-walking brigade, recess for two nearby schools, little league baseball games, a kids' football program, soccer practices, and a year-round tiny tot extravaganza in the expansive playground.

Edgemont Park is where kids learn to ride bikes, practice on scooters, climb trees, ice-skate. People will sunbathe in the summer and sit on benches playing guitar at dusk. I've seen kids fish in the pond and make forts in the underbrush. New love on picnic blankets, old love hand-in-hand on the walking path. Concerts, holiday ceremonies, local fairs. Kites. Frisbees. Painting easels. The occasional white heron.

Edgemont is like our Central Park and really does represent some of the best that this town has to offer. No pretzel vendors or Strawberry Fields, but in the winter... or when the trees begin to flower ... or in an early morning fog ... the beauty is absolutely surreal.Edgemont-Park-in-winter-Montclair-New-Jersey

Photo from thecrazytourist.com

 

Bike to the Montclair Jazz Festival

Jazz FestThis Saturday (August 15) is the Montclair Jazz Festival, an all-day music-fest that takes place at Nishuane Park. This rain-or-shine event includes performances by Jose James, The Paquito D'Rivera Quintet and The Christian McBride Big Band as well as many other ensembles and big bands.

People show up at noon with blankets and lawn chairs and spend a little or a lot of time taking in one of Montclair's most valuable offerings - a long-standing, unwavering dedication to bringing live music into the community.

No tickets required, you can just show up - and I just found out something that made my own heart sing: the community has arranged (through support from Diamond Cycle Bikes and Bike/Walk Montclair) extensive secure bike parking for the event - "Free Bike Valet!" (I know, hauling lawn chairs on a bike is not the easiest thing to do, but for those of us who are happy to sit on a towel and soak up a day of music, it's a great addition!)

If you're around on Saturday, I urge you to check it out. It runs noon to 9pm and truly is one of the many events that sets Montclair apart as a satellite cultural mecca.

This Weekend in Montclair: Van Vleck Garden Tour

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VAN VLECK HOUSE

It needs to be said: we all had a very long winter. Even as recently as last week, I was tempted to turn my heat back on.

But now, everyone seems energized by the warm weather, especially since it's been such a long time coming. Since moving here, spring feels even more magical to me. Early on, when barely anything was in bloom, I'd walk to Watchung Plaza to get my coffee and notice the crocuses popping up in my neighbors' gardens. I love hearing birds early in the morning and watching how the changes in daylight start to breathe life back into people.

These days, I notice all the changes in those gardens - beds that have evolved from tentative poking buds to riots of flowers. For those who like that kind of thing, there's a great garden-watching opportunity this Friday and Saturday, May 29 and 30. Van Vleck House - a magnificent 5.7-acre garden that's open to the public - is hosting its annual Roses to Rock Gardens Tour, a weekend for voyeuristic garden lovers to tour eight private home gardens in Montclair and Glen Ridge and see what their neighbors have going on in their backyards. Tickets are on sale here (or on the days of the event at Van Vleck House, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair) - and I highly recommend it as a way to get yet another feel for the area.

To me, witnessing spring and summer come into bloom is one of the major benefits of living in a walkable suburb. When you navigate your world on foot, you really can stop and smell the flowers.

ISO Walkable Suburb with Castle!

There are a couple of places in Montclair that feel like happy secrets and when I'm reminded of them I always feel the need to share.

Kips CastleOne such secret is Kip's Castle. Sitting high atop First Mountain, this majestic structure offers an equally majestic view. There are no lords or ladies living there - in fact it's actually part of the county park system - so visitors are welcome to wander up and check out the grounds.

Kip's Castle is not too far from my home and I'm sure readers of this blog will not be surprised that I occasionally take a walk up there. I'm no castle fanatic, but I always like a good turret. That said, I'm usually most taken with the winding road that leads up there, and the stone wall that flanks the road. The whole thing feels very otherworldly, making it even more delightful that it's practically in my backyard.

There are other houses in Montclair that, while not bona fide castles, certainly look like castles. And there are plenty of charming, modest single-family homes. I think the thing that makes Montclair so magical, is that not only do we have dwellings on either end of the spectrum - we have everything in between. And all of us, no matter where we live, have created quite a vibrant and inclusive community together.

Have I piqued your interest? Call me! 973.809.5277