Client Stories

Montclair to Bloomfield – A New Cozy Community

Carol and John moved to Montclair in 1995. They have three grown children, two of whom are out on their own; the youngest is living at home. John works from home, a partner in a media marketing company. Carol commutes to New York City four days a week for her job at a non-profit. This past summer, after 24 years in their Montclair home, they sold and bought a home in Bloomfield.

Why Bloomfield?

We wanted to stay in the Montclair area – close to friends and all the places we like to go. Our original plan was to downsize, but the house we bought is not much smaller than what we had been in. However, it was less expensive, and it’s also a much better configuration for our current situation. We wanted to be close to the New York bus and able to walk to things, and we were lucky enough to get a house in the Brookdale section, right off the park.

What’s your favorite thing about living here?

We love the neighborhood. Not just the proximity to the park, but also the coziness of block. It’s a dead-end street, so the only people driving on the block, live here. The houses are closer together and closer to the street, so it feels more like a little community. Everyone is extremely friendly, so it just feels really good to be here. 

Any challenges along the way?

We bought and sold with Lina, and for us, the buying was very easy. We went to an open house that checked off all our boxes; she came back with us the next week and everything fell into place quickly and smoothly, even in this neighborhood where houses go fast. The selling was more complicated for us, and there, Lina was amazing. We had her come over almost a year earlier and advise us what we should do to prepare the house. We discovered there was a lot that needed updating, projects we often did ourselves. (That was the hard part.)  Our prep work included repainting every room, refinishing floors, finishing off the 3rd floor more completely, updating kitchen cabinets and counters, and installing some new light fixtures. Lina’s advice was spot on. She really understands the market and what it takes to make a house marketable. From the timing, to the paint colors, we just did everything she told us to do and it worked. Our Montclair house was our nest egg and she helped us maximize what we could get for it. 

What’s turned out better than you expected?

Our other challenge was the endless decluttering. We had to get rid of so much! It was hard to let go of what we’d held onto for decades. For months, we spent most weekends giving things away and filling up a dumpster. But now, it feels so good to live a more streamlined life. It’s been great to learn that we can make do with a lot less “stuff.” The fact that we didn’t have to let go of our relationships in the area probably made the whole move a little easier.

Photos: Top - Carol and John in front of their new home; Bottom - their former Montclair home. 

From Brooklyn to Maplewood with Jersey

Rebecca works in a Brooklyn-based consulting firm and Dave is a freelance musician. They were living in an apartment in the Kensington section of Brooklyn with their dog, Jersey, for 7 years. In February 2019, they moved to Maplewood and into their first house. 

Why Maplewood? 

After years of renting, Dave and I decided we needed more space. We looked at towns that were on the train line, relatively close and affordable, which ruled out most New York suburbs. I grew up in Edison, NJ and, in my mind, all New Jersey towns were like that – kind of bland suburbia. I know it seems crazy, but I didn’t even know New Jersey had cute, fun towns like Maplewood.  

What’s your favorite thing about living here?

I love walking Jersey around town, with all the trees and greenery. (Coincidentally, we named our dog Jersey long before we ever moved here.) I now work from home four days a week, and there’s a coffee shop that I can walk to from my house, which I love. We both love Maplewood’s downtown, and it’s been easy to become a part of the community. I joined the planning committee for our block party, which was a great experience. We didn’t have anything like that where we lived in Brooklyn.

Any challenges you care to share?

As first-time buyers, we knew very little about the process of buying a house. When you have no clue what you’re doing, it can feel like you’re constantly jumping through hoops. Lina was this extremely knowledgeable presence, guiding us every step of the way. She kept us on our deadlines. She knew what to do when, who to hire for what. She is frank and direct and completely no BS, which we both really appreciated. If not for her, we would have thrown up our hands. 

What’s turned out better than you expected? 

I didn’t realize how great it would be to have jitney service to the train. We could walk, but it’s a long walk, especially if it’s raining. Dave is super psyched to have a driveway where he can now easily load all his equipment for a gig. I think the biggest surprise, though, was how easy the transition was. It felt like no adjustment at all. We moved in, and we were like, ok, we’re home.