Search by Neighborhood or address

Blog :: 03-2020

Together Apart

Things are changing so rapidly. Last weekend we did open houses that were well attended. The houses were vacant, and we took precautions like opening all closet and interior doors to eliminate touching. We required everyone to sanitize their hands and wear booties and asked them to refrain from coming in at all in if they had recently traveled abroad or were feeling unwell.  We also limited the number of people in the house to one family at a time. 

This weekend, I would not dream of doing an open house. 

Each new day brings its own interesting challenges. Yesterday, a painter cancelled. If county offices close, title searches will come to a grinding halt. Tomorrow, Governor Murphy may even ask everyone to stay home.

Our current situation requires extreme flexibility, creativity and the ability to be nimble. And no amount of foresight can predict what’s next for the real estate market. We are working with our clients, buyers and sellers alike, to determine what the best way is to proceed in each scenario.

We are setting up video tours and also using a product called Matterport, which is like a 3D floor plan that lets you virtually walk through a house as you please, turning left here, going up the stairs there.

I suspect our current state of uncertainty will push the spring market into summer or perhaps fall. There may end up being a surge of home buying because of pent up demand. At this point, it’s impossible to predict anything.

In the meantime, I think people who have been tossing around the idea of selling should use this time to get their houses ready for market (whenever that may be).  Clean out the garage, declutter, go through closets and donate, change your furnace and AC filters, make all the minor repairs you've been meaning to do, like fixing that dripping faucet, tightening that loose doorknob, and tending to your landscaping. Hire any tradesperson that can work on the exterior of your house, like gutter cleaners, exterior painters, landscapers, tree surgeons, power washing companies, chimney repair people and brick re-pointers. And get that darn oil tank out of the ground. 

For sellers, I’m happy to do Zoom or FaceTime appointments to give direct advice on what needs to be done to get a house ready. We have two team members that can do Zoom meetings to guide people through organizing and decluttering. 

For buyers, screen houses that you may want to visit by first asking if there are any virtual tours or Matterport tours available and if not, ask the agent to do a FaceTime walkthrough of the house for you. 

Our top priority, as always, is to make buying or selling as safe and stress-free as possible. Call or text to chat about how we can work together creatively in these new circumstances.  (973) 809-5277

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.