Decorate for the Holidays

December is the most wonderful time of the year to fill your home with holiday cheer!  These tips from Century 21 Home Matters will have your home holiday and open house ready in no time.

1. Decorate the door: Make a great first impression. Decorate your doorway with garland and hang a wreath from your front door.

2. Christmas lanterns: A lantern is a very elegant and sophisticated piece of decor that will instantly dress up any room. Add candles or flameless candles to brighten any room.

3. Centerpieces: A centerpiece is the focal point of your table. It transforms how guests view your dining room and can really get everyone into the Holiday spirit. Adorning your table with a bouquet of red roses mixed in with some garland, berry sprigs, and candles is a great way to bring the season into your home.

4. Hanging lights: Decorate any sort of hanging, pendant light with garland.

5. Staircases, columns, etc.: Take your love of detail into other parts of your home. Add bows, garland, and string lights to the handrails and columns inside and outside your house. These small decorations will help make your home cozy and give it a very Holiday feel.

6. Coffee Table: Fill glass bowls or cylinders with ornaments. If you’re feeling extra creative spray paint pinecones and add them.

7. Mantelpiece: Your mantelpiece is usually the focal point of your living room, and what better time to draw more attention to it than the holidays? Decorate the mantel with red berries, tree branches, Christmas stockings, and other small holiday touches.

8. The tree: For Christmas it’s all about the tree during the holidays. All families have their own traditions, but you may want to change things up a bit. Add some metallic shimmer, top the tree with bells instead of an angel, and cluster ornaments together. It’ll give a traditional tree a new look.

Decorating your home for the holidays is a fun family activity. Add some cheer to your home!

Living in North Caldwell

In 2013 North Caldwell was named as the 3rd best place to live in New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.   The magazine hired independent researchers at Leflein Associates  to rate the  the quality of  life in over 500  New Jersey communities.  Categories rated include  home values, property taxes, crime rate, school performance and “lifestyle factor.”

IMG_3916_HDRThis brick ranch recently went on the market for $494,500.  It is  situated on a large level corner lot in desirable North Caldwell.  Highlights include a gas fireplace in living room, master bedroom with  attached master bath,  storage galore, and a partially finished basement with cedar closet.  A Home warranty is offered on this home.

See more at: http://194mountainave.c21.com

The inventory of single family homes under $500,000 in this desirable  town is practically nonexistent so if you would like to live in this family friendly community, now is the time to act.  Call me at 973-349-6731 or fill out the form below to schedule a showing today.

 

Is Your Home Ready for Spring?

little-spring-pack-1172078_640It finally feels like spring in the West Essex area after one of the worst winters we have had in years.  The winter not only took a toll on us but also on our homes.   The National Association of Home Builders recently published their  top 10 tips for home owners to get ready for spring.

  1. Inspect roof—Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.
  2. Clean and repair gutters—Clear winter storm debris from gutters and downspouts, and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.
  3. Look for leaks—Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.
  4. Clear exterior drains—Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.
  5. Inspect siding—Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose during winter storms.
  6. Check window and door seals—Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.
  7. Patch cracks—Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps to keep water out and prevent further expansion.
  8. Paint the exterior—Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.
  9. Inspect the HVAC—Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.
  10. Check your home’s grading—Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home’s foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.

 

To find a local professional remodeler, visit nahb.org/remodelerdirectory.

15-Minute Home Makeovers

We are all starved for time these days.  It is overwhelming to plan large “do it yourself projects” when it feels like there is never enough time to do the things that need to be done on a daily basis.  Lisa Kaplan Gordon, writing for HouseLogic.com, came up with 7 ways to freshen up your house that can be done in under 15 minutes.

1. Switch the plates. Upgrade your drab, plastic switch plates with snazzy covers that match or accent your decor. Even the most expensive brass switch plates cost less than $20 each.

Or, spend a buck for a plastic plate and decorate it yourself. Use craft paint, or cover the plate with decorative paper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSdHjKY243s).

You also can switch outlet covers, but don’t get too fancy. Outlet covers should blend with the wall.

2. Touch-up boo-boos. A bit of new paint gives any room a fresh face, which is why you should keep extra color-matched paint after you remodel. Touch up banged-up baseboards, door and window trim, and wall marks that won’t wash away. Even spot painting requires care; use a drop cloth to protect other surfaces.

3. Change out drawer and door hardware. Upgrade your kitchen or bathroom by installing new pulls and knobs. Be sure to measure drawer pulls so you won’t have to drill new holes. Home improvement centers have a large selection of inexpensive pulls and knobs.

4. Update your mailbox. Bump up curb appeal  by spray-painting your old mailbox. You can freshen the same color, or go wild with bright hues. Don’t forget to scrub off dirt and rust before painting with rust-proof paint ($6-$12 for a 10-oz. can; lots of decorative textures and colors).

5. Play the numbers game. Decorative house numbers and plates give your home a custom and classy look. Some numbers are quick peel-and-stick affairs; others you’ll have to screw in. They’re made of wood, plastic, brass, stainless steel, and other materials; $6 to $30 each.

6. Embellish your throne. A new toilet seat gives you a regal bearing. Plastic and enameled seats ($12-$25) in a rainbow of colors add a dash of panache; a solid wood mahogany or walnut seat ($45-$60) makes an executive statement; cushioned seats ($15-$20) won’t make a lasting impression – and that’s a good thing.

7. Declutter. You’ll be amazed how a 15-minute daily declutter can make a room look like new. First, get rid of stuff  from your fridge door: that large, blank canvas will immediately brighten your kitchen. Corral mail and papers in decorative boxes with tops that can close and hide the mess. Organize school supplies in caddies. Every day, tame a new spot.

Even small  improvements will pay off in an easier and more profitable sale of your house. If you are thinking of selling your home contact me at 973-349-6731or kim.fiore@century21.com for a free market analysis or use the form below. I will work with you so you get the most for your home in the West Essex area.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates went down slightly last week.  Freddie Mac reported the following national averages for  mortgage rates for the week ending March 6:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.28 percent, with an average 0.7 point, dropping from last week’s 4.37 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.52 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.32 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.39 percent average. A year ago at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.76 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.03 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 3.05 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.63 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.52 percent, with an average 0.3 point, holding steady from last week. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.63 percent.

Mass Transit Options in West Essex

Located less than 20 miles from midtown Manhattan, the West Essex Area is very easy to access from New York City and area airports.  Route 80 and Route 280 are major highways that run through Fairfield and Roseland respectively to enable an easy commute to points north , south, east and west.

Public Transportation

DeCamp Bus Line offers service 365 days a year to New York City from West Caldwell and Caldwell on the #33 bus line.   The trip is approximately 45 minutes during rush hour from Caldwell.

http://www.decamp.com/commuter.htm

Nj Transit runs 2 routes to Penn Station from Fairfield, West Caldwell, Caldwell, Essex Fells,  Roseland and Verona.

http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/bus/T0071.pdf

http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/bus/T0029.pdf

The 871 operates between Morristown and Willowbrook Mall with stops in Fairfield

http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/bus/T1871.pdf

Lakeland Bus Line offers service 365 days  between Fairfield and NYC Port authority bus terminal.

http://www.lakelandbus.com/bus-schedule

Although commuter trains do not run through these towns they are just a few minutes away in Little Falls and Montclair  through  NJ Transit.  The  Montclair- Boonton Line runs 7 days a week to Penn Station in New York with connections through the Hoboken Path station to the World Trade Center.

http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/rail/R0030.pdf

Do you have any questions about commuting to the West Essex area?  Do you  want to know more about the communities of West Essex?  Fill in the form below  and I will get right back to you.   You can also email me @ kim.fiore@century21.com .

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home

If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future – remember small improvements can mean a great deal.
  Look at your home the way a buyer will look at it. Repaint those marked up walls and woodwork, fix that leaky faucet or running toilet, clean the windows, fix window screens, clean the switch plates, polish the cabinets, regrout the bathroom. If the carpets are soiled have them professionally cleaned. Replace the drip pans on your stove top if they are dirty. Look at your faucets, showerheads, toilet seats and light fixtures, these can be replaced inexpensively and can make a big difference in updating your home. Use the highest wattage bulbs allowed to show your house in the best light. These small and inexpensive fixes will pay for themselves in the sales price.
Declutter, Declutter, Declutter – Your home will look much more spacious with less furniture and fewer knick-knacks and personal items. Get rid of excess furniture, clean out the closets and donate, toss out, have a garage sale or put in temporary storage anything you can. Remove furniture and items that don’t fit the room’s purpose, like exercise equipment in the bedroom and a work desk in the dining room. Buyers will open closets and cabinets, be sure they are neat. Clear your kitchen and bathroom counters to make them seem bigger. Buyers want to imagine your home as their home. They will have a hard time doing that if your things are cluttering the house.
 Curb Appeal – First impressions mean everything. Give the front door and woodwork a new coat of paint. Get a new doormat. If sidewalks or steps or cracked, think about repairing them. Tidy up or add landscaping. Be sure the grass is mowed. Plant some flowers in the landscape or in pots. Look at the front of your house with a critical eye. If you were seeing your house for the first time, what would you think about it?
Keep it Clean –  One of the biggest turnoffs for buyers is a dirty house. The house needs to be as clean and neat as possible while it is for sale. Imagine walking into a dirty bathroom while looking at a house. Would you want to buy it? Open windows to let fresh air in. Pet odors need to be addressed. You might love your pet and not mind the smell but prospective buyers do not feel that way about it.

All of these improvements will pay off in an easier and more profitable sale of your house. If you are thinking of selling your home contact me at 973-349-6731 or kim.fiore@century21.com for a free market analysis or use the form below. I will work with you so you get the most for your home in the West Essex area.

Welcome to West Essex NJ

we2The towns of Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, Roseland and West Caldwell are generally know as the West Essex area of Essex County in New Jersey.  Cedar Grove and Verona are also in the western area of Essex county.

Caldwell and West Caldwell share a K- 12 school system as well as recreation programs and first aid squads.  Each town has their own government. Most shopping and many restaurants are on Bloomfield Avenue.  Bloomfield Ave runs through both towns.

There are 4 neighborhood elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school in the  Caldwell/West Caldwell School System.  In 2012, James Caldwell High School had  209 graduates  with approximately 79% going on to 4 year colleges. Caldwell is also home to Trinity Academy serving grades K-8, Mount St. Dominic Academy for girls in grades 9 -12 and Caldwell College, a private 4 year college.

Essex Fells,  Fairfield , North Caldwell and Roseland  have their own K-6 schools but  send all students in grades 7 -12 to the West Essex Regional Schools in North Caldwell.  In 2012 West Essex Regional High School had 239 gradauates with approximately 80% going on to 4 year colleges.