Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Buyers Look For in a Millburn-Short Hills Home

In today’s housing market, home buyers want it all. With affordable prices and mortgage rates at their lowest in years, today’s Millburn-Short Hills home buyers are looking for the best deals and steals.  Home buyers know they can get more for their money, and expect their potential homes to have all of the best amenities and then some. Patios, porches, decks or outdoor rooms are a big plus in today’s home search, along with first-rate appliances and high-dollar counter-tops.

As a Millburn-Short Hills real estate agent, I have the benefit of hearing all of my clients wants and needs when it comes to buying a home, and have the inside scoop on how sellers are preparing their homes to sell. Before you list your Millburn-Short Hills home, there are a variety of curb appeal and interior enhancements to consider. If you are searching for a home in Millburn-Short Hills, compile a list of features you would like your new home to have. 

Before we jump the gun, here’s what today’s home buyers are looking for.

Homes in Good Condition: It’s no secret that a home in tip-top condition is more appealing than a home that needs some TLC. It’s also a fact that homes in good condition sell quicker. Many buyers demand a home that is well-maintained and eludes limited upgrades. Buyers don’t want an unknown expense looming over their heads, which is why they would rather spend the money for a home that’s move-in ready, rather than pay now for the house and more later for the fix-ups. While buyers have the funds to buy they may not have the funds to improve.

A Bargain: In this housing market buyers can get a lot more bang for their buck. They are also more focused on negotiating and drawing limits when it comes to price. A big part of real estate is strategy, and in today’s market, the buyers are catching on. If you’re selling your home and are hoping to sell at a fair price, it’s important to eliminate any obstacles that are in the way. That means updating, cleaning, staging and repairing are of upmost importance in selling a Millburn-Short Hills home.

Outdoor Living Space: What’s better than a relaxing warm night on your screened in porch in Millburn-Short Hills? When searching for a home, it’s quite appealing to find one that has an inviting outdoor living area. When a home already has this feature, it makes the home more competitive within the market. If a home doesn’t have it, but has room for expansion, that can be a perk as well.

A Touch of Luxury: It’s a fact. Buyers like luxury. In other words, they enjoy amenities that give off the feeling of “living large.” A popular feature that meets these criteria in high-end homes is coffee bars in the master bedroom. Imagine that! Your own private coffee shop in your personal space that brews your favorite blends 24/7. In less-expensive homes, updated features and high-dollar finishes are on the top of the list. For example, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen or marble flooring in the bathrooms and laundry areas. If you’re not ready to make these somewhat larger enhancements, consider adding barstools to your counter space in the kitchen or recreational areas. It’s an inviting idea when buyers walk into a home and can imagine hosting a dinner party or get-together. 

While you may not be able to find all of these features in your home search (or if you’re selling you may not be able to provide them all) it’s important to consider your wants and needs before buying a home, equally as important to prepare your home for a competitive market if you are selling. For more advice on how best to prepare your Millburn-Short Hills home and for more information on beginning your home search, don’t hesitate to contact me! As your Millburn-Short Hills real estate resource, I am dedicated to guiding you through every step of the process.

Elaine Pruzon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Prepare a Stress-Free Holiday Feast This Thanksgiving in Millburn-Short Hills!

Thanksgiving is only two days away, and many of you may be the ones hosting and preparing your holiday feast. One of the best parts about celebrating Thanksgiving in the Millburn-Short Hills area is that there is a strong emphasis on family-friendliness in the community. Whether you’re hosting your neighbors for a community Thanksgiving or your family is coming from out of town for the affair, you will see holiday dinners and community gatherings happening all over town on Thursday.

As a Millburn-Short Hills real estate agent, I have the benefit of hearing my clients discuss and plan their Thanksgiving dinners during what can be a stressful time in their lives. Hosting Thanksgiving while you’re buying or selling a home in Millburn-Short Hills is far from easy. That’s why I thought I’d share some tips that will make your holiday a little less stressful this year. Instead of worrying about what can go wrong, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the meal.

Clean your oven AFTER the meal. Don’t rely on your oven’s self-cleaning cycle to get you through Thanksgiving dinner. The cycle is stressful on the appliance, and it could cause it to break down right before Thanksgiving day. As you enter the kitchen of your Millburn-Short Hills home to prepare the turkey, take a damp cloth and wipe around the burner elements, and then save the heavy-duty cleaning for the aftermath.

You should, however, do basic maintenance and clean your other appliances. From the refrigerator to the dishwasher, there are many appliances that could potentially ruin your Thanksgiving dinner. Taking the time to do basic maintenance and clean out these two items pre-party will allow you to enjoy them during the event. Look at this as the time where you’re doing your yearly maintenance and cleanup on your kitchen appliances.

Throw away old food.
There’s nothing worse than preparing your Millburn-Short Hills home for guests, opening the refrigerator, and realizing that many things in there are inedible or expired. Since you’re going to be spending a lot of quality time in the kitchen during Thanksgiving as it is, now is the time to really go through the fridge and get rid of what isn’t usable. It will keep you much more organized and less stressed-out as you cook, and it will help you create the final shopping list for your Thanksgiving feast!

Stock up on some of the basics. We’re not talking about cranberry sauce and canned pumpkin. Items like garbage bags, aluminum foil, dishwashing detergent and coffee filters are imperative to the success of your holiday, but they often go overlooked. This is an especially important task to keep in mind if you’re hosting a larger Thanksgiving dinner. As simple as this may seem, forgetting to stock up on these basic sundries could cause you a lot of stress that you don’t need, so make sure to add them to your shopping list!

We could go on forever giving you different tips and ideas on how to prepare your home for Thanksgiving dinner, but these basic tips should help take off some of the stress. Now, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the holiday along with the rest of the Millburn-Short Hills community. Although my expertise is in the Millburn-Short Hills real estate market, I like to take some time to go above and beyond and help my community out in any way I can. If you have any questions about the Millburn-Short Hills community, or you’re interested in seeing one of the many beautiful homes available on the local market, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to help you get started in your next Millburn-Short Hills real estate venture. I hope to hear from you soon!

Elaine Pruzon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Give Back This Weekend In Millburn-Short Hills!

As a Millburn-Short Hills real estate agent, a large part of my job is to explain to potential homebuyers why they should move to the area. Besides the great schools, family-friendly community and proximity to New York City, the Millburn-Short Hills area is dedicated to giving back. With Thanksgiving being only a week away, the holidays are on my mind, and when I think of the holidays, I think of being charitable and helping those in need have just as great of a Thanksgiving as I’m prepared to have.

The holidays are a time to be thankful for all of the blessings in your life and spend time with your loved ones. For many in the Millburn-Short Hills community, the holidays will be full of cheer and family togetherness. For some, however, this won’t be the case. In these rough economic times, several families, both in Millburn-Short Hills and surrounding areas, will be struggling to provide a happy holiday season for their families. That’s where living in a community that is so dedicated to giving back comes in handy.

As the Millburn-Short Hills community expert, I consider it a priority to make sure that I let my neighborhood know about the different ways that they can help out a family in need this holiday season. This Saturday, November 19th, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey is holding a Turkey Drive. Whether you have a frozen Thanksgiving turkey you won’t be using or an abundance of non-perishable food items, the local food bank is asking you to donate holiday food so that struggling families in the area can have a happy holiday meal this Thanksgiving.

Close to forty food sites in Northern and Central New Jersey are serving as drop-off centers for the Turkey Drive, so even if you’re not directly in the Millburn-Short Hills area, you can still participate by finding the closest site to your neighborhood. The Kings Supermarket in Short Hills is serving as our area’s local drop-off site for your holiday food. Donations can be dropped off any time between 9:00am and 2:00pm. This is just one of many drop-off centers in the area. Not only will giving back put you in the holiday spirit, but you can feel great knowing that a family in need will be benefitting from the food that you donated. You’ll help make someone else’s holiday season a little bit brighter.

The holidays are always a happy time in the Millburn-Short Hills community. Between the abundance of snow and holiday cheer, a real winter wonderland is created during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Turkey Drive this weekend is an awesome opportunity to give back to the community and give a family in need a happier holiday season. As your Millburn-Short Hills real estate agent, I love using events like the Turkey Drive as an example of what makes the Millburn-Short Hills area such a great community to live in. The emphasis on giving back truly is strong.

If you’re new to the Millburn-Short Hills area, or you’re interested in seeing some of the many beautiful homes on the Millburn-Short Hills real estate market, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d be happy to tell you more about the community and show you around town. I hope to hear from you soon!

Elaine Pruzon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Must-Do Showing Tips For Your Millburn-Short Hills Home!

Putting your Millburn-Short Hills home on the real estate market can be a stressful endeavor, particularly in this buyer’s market. Before you list your home, there are several tasks that need to be completed and options to be considered. Partnering an all-consuming process like putting your home up for sale with the hectic nature of everyday life can become incredibly overwhelming. That’s why hiring the right Millburn-Short Hills real estate agent is so important. The right professional will help you prepare your house before listing so that once your house is on the market, you can focus on your own life. Your agent can handle the rest.

As an experienced Millburn-Short Hills real estate professional, I know how to guide my clients during their home sale, but I also know what to tell people do before listing their home. If you can purchase and set up the right embellishments before your first showing, then you can avoid the stress that surrounds preparing your home for sale. You will have already gotten that part done, and your agent can focus on marketing and showing your Millburn-Short Hills home to potential buyers.

The quick checklist below should be completed before you list your home. This way, your property will be ready for showings almost immediately. Your home will reach the eyes of Millburn-Short Hills homebuyers much faster, and you can move on with everyday life while your agent gets your home sold. Here are a few quick tips:

De-clutter and remove all personal items and photos. We know that you’re still living in your Millburn-Short Hills home, but you’re going to have to go through all the clutter eventually. The beginning of the selling process is as good a time as any. It also cleans up and neutralizes your property. The more low key and neutral the d├ęcor is, the more potential homebuyers can see themselves living in your home with their belongings. This could get your home sold much faster.
Invest in some new, good quality, neutral rugs. Everyone has their own preferences in regards to interior decorating, which is why neutral colors for your rugs are a safe bet. It will keep the potential homebuyers from getting distracted by bright blue carpeting and keep them focused on how they can use the room for their own needs.

Re-paint rooms as needed.
This idea is similar to the rugs. If you have bright yellow walls in the bathroom, it may distract the buyers and turn them off to that room. Re-painting rooms not only freshens up what could be an old paint job, but it also neutralizes your home even more, allowing them to see each room with their own paint colors.

Replace and update light fixtures.
Lighting is everything during a showing, so make sure that all light bulbs are working and/or all light fixtures are flattering to your space. It might sound like a costly endeavor to go through and update all new light fixtures, but when your home looks perfectly lighted during showings, it will be worthwhile. It will make a big difference in how homebuyers see your home.

Make any small repairs.
The more repairs you make now, the less you’ll have to make during negotiations. It will also help you get more for your property, as the less issues buyers can find with the home, the more likely it is that they’ll give you a higher offer.

Make sure your appliances match in the kitchen.
The more cohesive your appliances look, the less distracting it will be to homebuyers as they walk through your home. You want everything to look clean and finished so if some of your appliances need replacing, it would be better to do so before putting your home on the Millburn-Short Hills real estate market. It will increase the value of your home if everything is brand-new, anyway.

Update major furniture as needed. Does that couch need to be re-upholstered? Is your dining room set ancient? Believe it or not, replacing these things before listing your home is better than waiting until the move. Today’s homebuyers want everything to look up to date and modern when buying a home. Even if you’re not leaving any furniture, you want to give the appearance that your home is modern. Having outdated furniture will make your whole home look outdated, so making these needed changes before listing your Millburn-Short Hills home is key.

Move some furniture around. You want each room to look as spacious as possible. In order to do this, you may need to remove certain furniture from a room or rearrange everything completely. This might sound like a hassle, and it can be, but you also want to make sure that you are showcasing your property in the best light possible. Taking care of it before your first showing will expedite the selling process, as you won’t be hearing feedback about how a certain room looks cramped. Have ideas for staging worked out ahead of time, so that when it comes time for an open house or showing, all you have to do is execute your plan.

Incorporate minor decorative details. You don’t want to overdo it on the decorations, but including some minor details will help give each room an inviting, finished feel. Remember, showing a home is all about perception. Even if you wouldn’t normally put so much thought into the little details, to potential homebuyers, the inviting accents could make them completely fall in love with your home. You want each room to feel like “home”, so that each buyer can see themselves living on your property.

These initiatives might sound daunting, but if you take care of them all before listing your home, you will find that your home sale goes much faster and that you will get a positive response from prospective homebuyers. If you need more advice on how best to prepare your Millburn-Short Hills home for sale, don’t hesitate to contact me! As your Millburn-Short Hills real estate resource, I can give you tips and guidance on how to make your home look its best, no matter how old it is. I hope to hear from you soon!


Elaine Pruzon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things to Do in Millburn-Short Hills During the Power Outage

After the unusually early snowstorm that hit much of New England and the East Coast, many of us in Millburn-Short Hills have been living in the dark. Even if your power has been restored, schools continue to be closed and many of us have been given a few days off. Today is the third day in a row that our kids have been home from school, and if you’ve found yourself feeling bored these past few days (or about to go insane), take advantage of what Millburn–Short Hills has to offer while the kids are off and you have some time on your hands.

Check Out a Matinee: In honor of the day(s) off, Millburn Cinema will be showing matinees of children’s movies as well as movies geared towards the adult generation throughout the week. Films being shown include Puss n’ Boots, The Might Macs, In Time and The Ides of March. The owner of the theater has been receiving a lot of calls from grateful parents. For show times, give Millburn Cinema a call or check out its website.

Go to the City: Although the trains have seen some heavy delays, they are still up and running. If you and/or your kids have the patience to wait, what could be better than a day at a Broadway matinee or a visit to a museum? Even the train ride itself could be some relief from these days without power!

Visit the Library: Whether it’s cold and rainy, snowing, or even a beautiful fall day, the library is a great place to go to sit back and relax. The library has been especially popular this week, as it is not only a place to read and find books, but it also has working Wi-Fi and outlets to charge your cell phone and other electronic devices.

Spend a Day at the Mall: The Mall at Short Hills is open! With the holiday season right around the corner, this may be the perfect opportunity to get a head start on your shopping. The mall is also a great place to visit if you’re in need of some down time. Stop by the mall to sit, eat, warm up and check out the “Arctic Wonderland and Enchanted Palace” ice exhibit.

Check Out a Museum: New Jersey has some great museums, so why not make this a learning experience? The Library Science Center in Jersey City and the Newark Museum in Newark are open for business and is each displaying some fun and educational exhibits.

In the midst of this massive power outage, make sure you are taking the proper precautions to stay safe. For future reference, here are some great tips for safe practices during a storm or power outage.

1. Don't wait for a power outage in to occur Millburn-Short Hills to realize you're in need of supplies. Make sure your house is appropriately stocked with items necessary to survive a power outage. Here are just a few:

-Candles
-Matches
-Flashlights
-Extra Batteries
-Canned Goods
-Dry Food Mixes
-Bottled Water
-Seasoned Firewood
-Extra Blankets

2. Bundle up! Wear multiple layers of clothing to keep warm! It’s cold out there!

3. Pack an emergency bag. If a power outage strikes at 4AM, you don't want to be stumbling around in the dark trying to find items to pack a bag. You never know how long a power outage will last, so pack enough stuff for at least a couple of days.

4. Read a book, play a board game or spend time reminiscing with family and friends. You know what they say, time flies when you're having fun. Hopefully the next outage won't last longer than a few hours.

Stay positive and stay safe! With record breaking numbers of residences without power, this is surely an event that will go down in history. Despite the storm, Millburn-Short Hills real estate is still in full swing! For more updates on the Millburn-Short Hills real estate market and community, stay connected with my blog or contact me directly with questions.


Elaine Pruzon
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
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