Blog :: 08-2017

NEW To The Market: 4 Old Salem Road, West Orange

Everything about 4 Old Salem Road is so inviting. From the pristine wood floors and elegant palette to the renovated kitchen with all new appliances. What I love about this home is how it feels built to welcome guests. Cozy fireplace. Light streaming through French doors. Wet bar in the finished basement – the type of family room that can truly grow with a family. This house has great “flow” -- everything feeling easy and just as it should be – and when you “flow” out to the back yard, it feels as if you’ve entered a whole new living space. This is truly one of the loveliest back patios I’ve ever seen, expansive and intimate all at once.

The neighborhood – St. Cloud – has its own perks: the 45-minute bus to Manhattan stops two blocks away, and the free West Orange jitney brings you to the train station from the corner.

Best of all, this home sits on one of the most desirable blocks in the neighborhood, a short drive to New Jersey’s most elegant shopping mall and a short walk to one of the most impressive features of Essex County – the newly reconstructed South Mountain Recreation Complex, which includes skating at South Mountain Arena, mini golf, the Turtleback Zoo, a gorgeous waterfront promenade, boating, restaurants, and then miles of hiking in South Mountain Reservation.

Oh, did I mention the screened-in garden porch, central AC and attached garage? This house has it all going on.

Come to the Open House Sunday, September 3rd, or we can set up a private viewing by appointment. Call me! I’d love to take you around!

How To Tour A Home

The other day during a house tour, a first-time buyer asked me, “What should I be looking for?”

This is such a great question.

As a buyer, you’re no doubt looking for specific things in a home: a certain number of bedrooms; a kitchen big enough to host brunch for your extended family every other Sunday; a backyard big enough that you can put up a swing set. Ideally, your agent would address as much of your “wish list” as possible when she provides listings. Or she may give you alternatives: “The yard may be small for a swing set, but the park is a block away.”

When the main items on your wish list have been satisfied, your next job is to imagine.

What does it feel like to be in this space?

Can you picture your furniture in the rooms?

Can you imagine family dinners here?

Can you imagine what it might be like to come back from a trip, open the door, and be home?

For some, it’s very important to have a feeling about the block or immediate neighborhood, for others, it’s important to have a yard with big, mature trees.

These are all things you cannot change, so if you don’t have the right feeling about a house, it’s probably best just to walk away. But if the vibe is right, you can (and should) consider proceeding to the next step.

Having owned many homes myself, I consider things like a squeaky door, a cracked garage window, or a drippy faucet “minor stuff” – barely worth discussing. A thorough going-over by a qualified home inspector will let you know whether there are important repairs needed on the home. The truth is, most of us buy houses that are “used,” but unlike shopping for, say, a used car, you don’t need spend your visit constantly on the lookout for little, easily-repaired things. I promise you: whatever house you buy will need a little something, if for no other reason than to make it what you want.

There’s no need to focus on what might be wrong with a house during a home tour — save that for the inspection! It’s much more important to tune into your gut and focus on what is right.

Brooklyn to Verona: One Year Later

After a year in Verona, a client reflects on his move:

I just celebrated my one-year anniversary in this house. I thought it would be a bigger transition, moving here from Brooklyn, but it’s gone a lot smoother than I expected.

I wanted more space – inside and outside – than what we had in our Park Slope apartment. This house had been bought by a developer and completely renovated to sell. There was barely anything to do inside, basically just move in.

I’ve been tackling the outside slowly over the course of the year. I had the house re-sided, built a small vegetable garden (including watermelon and muskmelon), and put in outdoor lights and plantings. Just last week they finished the stone patio in the back and I set up the bistro table and chairs that were moved from the Brooklyn patio. That set practically took up the whole “backyard” before; here it’s a little too small.

Verona is just right. We can walk to the main shopping street, the town pool is great and the school system is amazing. My middle-school-aged daughters had a very easy first year here.

I feel compelled to give a little shout out to Anthony Franco Pizza and The Verona Inn, two of our go-to’s. (Verona Inn short ribs are not always available, but they’re amazing.)

I spend a lot of time in the backyard, relaxing with a beer and the local wildlife – squirrels, bunnies and the occasional deer, something we didn’t get much of in Brooklyn. My new neighbors just moved here from Montclair with their twin toddlers. It just seems alike a great town to raise a family. 

I’d been looking for a commuting suburb, and initially Verona wasn’t even on my radar. I have to thank Lina Panza for pointing me in this direction. One year later, it feels even more like the perfect move.

--Steve from Verona