Home for Sale in South Orange – 535 Longview Road

frontThis home for sale in South Orange – 535 Longview Road is in the Upper Wyoming / Newstead neighborhood of South Orange, one of the premier areas in town. It will be coming on the market June 1, 2015, but I couldn’t resist sneaking some pictures in when I was there today. The professional photos will be coming soon.

What makes this such a distinctive home is the architectural detail and its prime location. It sits up high on a hill with panoramic New York skyline views. The individual rooms are generously proportioned and are defined by arched doors, wooden beams and wainscot panels. Leaded glass windows also attribute to this homes gracious charm.

 

Blooming azaleas line the front path.

home for sale south orange front walk way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

front door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entry vestibule has an intricate mosaic tiled floor, leaded glass windows and wainscot paneled walls.

house for sle longview road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A The gracious center hall is warm and welcoming

cener hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the left of the center hall is the spacious living room with 3 arched cut outs, wood crown molding and a wood burning fire place

Living room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the right is the formal dining room large enough to entertain friends and family for the holidays.

Dining Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kitchen was completely renovated top to bottom and maintains the integrity of a true Tudor style home. It is surrounded by windows and French doors which lead to the back patio and barbeque. There is ample seating around the center island and  also in the breakfast area.
center island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

breakfast area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 6 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 1 powder room. All of the bathrooms have been renovated, the house central air conditioning, gas heat and digital music system with speakers throughout the house. It is a true one-of-a-kind-home ideal for those who want something extra-ordinary.

For a private showing please call or text Amy at (917) 327-0701

Where Do You Stand on the Nail Salon Debate?

handsLast week, the New York Times ran an investigative report about the inner workings of nail salons in the New York/New Jersey area. We’ve all benefitted from these sanctuaries where we can walk in without an appointment, be seated and experience a good quality manicure at an incredibly low price. While manicures used to be an indulgence for the affluent, these salons have enabled us to make it a weekly activity – especially for professional women who need to look “polished.”

But, now that I know what is involved in keeping the prices so low – it makes me feel guilty about patronizing them. How about you? Where do you stand on the nail salon debate? While we all enjoy a good set of nails, can we really indulge the salon’s practices of providing below minimum wage labor and poor living conditions for their employees? The article revealed that most manicurists work for free or have to actually pay their employers during their training period. This can last from several months to a year.

Newer immigrants that are desperate for an opportunity live in small, crowded apartments with a mattress on the floor and a mere curtain as a room divider from the many other “trainees” also living there. It’s a warehousing approach and is often the only opportunity young, largely female immigrants have for a ticket out of their own poverty stricken country to the USA. Knowing this, where do you stand on the nail salon debate?

I equate it to the incredibly attractive prices of clothing and accessories found ant Old Navy or The Gap. Its great style for not slot of money. However, do you wonder how they make this possible? Many investigative reports reveal they use factories in third world countries who often employ child labor and pay practically no wages. Does this type of business model make you feel guilty for patronizing these stores?

Shouldn’t these employers be forced to pay a fair wage? If a manicure cost $25 instead of $10 would it prevent you from getting one? Or would it mean you get one less often?  In true capitalism, competition is good. However, unfair competitors, who don’t play by the rules, ruin it for the business environment and for the economy. If nail salon owners paid fair wages their employees would have more money to buy goods and services, therefore improving the economy. By keeping these employees “working poor” we deny them the true American Dream for our own selfish need to have nice nails at a cheap price. Giulty as charged!

 

391 Thornden Street, South Orange, NJ Coming Soon

391 Thornden Street, South Orange, NJ

Boy, you won’t want to miss out on seeing 391 Thornden Street in South Orange, NJ coming soon to market. Unless of course you want to see it before hand. With an exclusive listing Realtors can show buyers homes that are not yet available to the public and therefor not on any of the portal sites like Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com or Realtor.com. It’s one of the great benefits of having a good working relationship with a Realtor and gives you the competitive edge you need in the current market.

Step inside this stone front colonial style home, just steps from the train, and enjoy total relaxation and comfort. With an updated eat-in kitchen, formal living room with wood burning fireplace, family room, 2 car attached garage and mudroom it provides a great floor plan for today’s living.The second floor has 4 generous sized bedrooms with 2 full baths including a master suite.

But perhaps the best part of this house is the beautifully landscaped backyard with stone patio that is incredibly hard to find so close to town.  The list price is $730,000. For more information or to schedule a showing text (917) 327-0701.

garden2 - Copy

391 Thornden Street South Orange NJ

Newstead South Orange

Newstead, South Orange is one of the 5 neighborhoods within the South Orange Village Township. It is located north and west of the downtown and is a very quiet enclave. The topography is very flat making it a great place for kids who love to bike and skateboard. It is set up high which makes for great New York skyline views from many backyards– especially those on Crest Drive, Crestwood Drive and Longview. It also backs up to the Essex County South Mountain Reservation which has hundreds of acres of protected land and makes an ideal place for hikes, walks and biking.

Newstead was developed much later than the Historic Montrose neighborhood (the other neighborhood with larger homes and sizable property) so the homes are  a bit newer and vary in style. While Montrose homes fall into the three main categories (Colonials, Tudors and Victorians) Newstead also offers some classic Mid Century style homes as well.

Newstead Schools:
The Newstead resident’s children attend The Annex (located in Newstead) for K-1st grade. Then they attend South Mountain Elementary for grades 2-5th, then South Orange Middle School, followed by Columbia High School. You can check out South Mountain’s school rankings here.

Newstead Neighborhood Association:
The Newstead Neighborhood Association was started about 15 years ago by members of the community. Over the years it has a been a great way for new residents to meet their  neighbors and for the entire neighborhood to socialize together. They host everything from wine tastings to cocktail parties, family days etc. You can read more the Newstead Neighborhood Association here.

Commuting from Newstead
The South Orange Village Jitney has several stops in Newstead to take residents to the village train station. Its about a 10 minute ride and costs about $1.00 per ride. Learn more about the stops and the schedule here.

Newstead Real Estate:
Newstead real estate is doing very well in the current market (spring 2015).  Prices are rising and it is really a seller’s market. Here are some of my favorite styles of homes you can expect to find in Newstead

Newstead South Orange NJ Tudor Home Sold

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Mid Century Ranch in Newstead South Orange NJ

US Home Sales and Prices Continue to Rise

Most of my blog posts regarding market insights pertain to the communities I serve. But sometimes it is wise to take a step back and see how the housing market in the US is doing overall. The good news is US home sales and prices continue to rise. Back a few years ago it was predicted by many leading real estate experts that 2015 would be the year for real estate – and boy were they right.US home sales May 2015

 

The reasons? Well, there are many ways we can dissect this cycle. First —  it is just that–a cycle and after things go down they generally go up. Secondly, today’s home buyers feel a whole lot more secure about their job and their future within their profession. Third – houses are still relatively cheap. With interest rates still under 4% mortgages are really cheap, hence making the price of a home much more affordable.

Fourth, the buyers who are moving up, can do just that since their current home has greater value and they have increased their equity in it. Fifth, the lenders are easing up a bit on lending money. There are a huge array of products in the mortgage industry and not every institution offers the same thing, so make sure to compare. Some even offer 5% down loans.

Put it all together and real estate is probably the best investment you can make right now.

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About Racism

Its hard to watch so much civil unrest in cities across the nation without having compassion for those who are protesting police brutality. We are fortunate to live in diverse communities where our police departments seem to be fair minded. In South Orange police personnel actually write tickets for “good behavior” so that youngsters will have a positive interaction with them and to show they are not only “out to get you.”

But, our reality is not everyone’s reality. We still have so much work to do so that black youth are not marginalized and profiled across the country. That’s why I find my work at The Community Coalition on Race so critical. We strive to keep the balance of diversity with true integration. Not only do we live side by side, but we also pray and socialize together as well.

The Community Coalition on Race

One of the most important programs we run is our “Conversations on Race.” It’s not enough  to have diversity in our community, we also need to have the right platform to talk about it. Our next big conversation will feature the topic Micro Aggression – a term used to define everyday racism, or those small, unconscious racist expressions that offend. A good example is a woman holding her purse tighter when a young black man steps into the elevator with her. Believe me he saw her reaction and was offended. I admit I have done this at one time or another and maybe you have too. That’s why we need to talk. So please join the discussion on May 13th at our Conversations on Race event (see details here).

Our country still has a great deal of work to do with regard to civil rights, but watching all of the protests on television makes feel proud and optimistic about their resolve.  Change on a large scale only happens with effective protesting. Make your voices heard.

What Do You Get For $5,000,000 or More in NJ?

Have you ever wondered “what do you get for $5,000,000 or more in the high end neighborhoods of Short Hills, Livingston and Summit NJ?” Well, wonder no more. Below are all the homes currently listed for $5,000,000 or more in these 3 towns.

Listed for $5,000,000+ in Short Hills

Short Hills home for sale

In Short Hills there are currently two properties for sale priced at $5,000,000+. This one is at 44 Montview in the Old Short Hills section that was built in 1908 and sits on 2.3 acres, has 6 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 4 half baths and 12,500 of living space. No Dorothy, we are not in Beverly Hills- we are clearly in Short Hills. Listed for $7,995,000 this estate has a salt water pool, putting green and formal gardens.  View details here.

 

 

Homes for Sale Short HillsThis estate is also located in the Old Short Hills section and has been on the market for an extended period of time. It is listed at $5,999,000 – a major price reduction – and has 17,000 square feet of living space. Unfortunately it does not have a pool, but it does have 7 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 3 half baths, a formal music room, a conservatory,  a library, and 2 master baths. This home is ideal for a couple who like their independence. View more pics and details here.

Listed for $5,000,000+ in Livingston

Listed for $5,000,000 or more in Livingston NJOnce the home of Governor Kean’s father, you can have this 5 acre estate in Livingston for $7,888,002 . It is a Georgian style stone mansion also built in 1900. That’s pretty rare for Livingston when much of the town’s housing stock was developed in the 1960’s-1970’s. This home offers 14 bedrooms, yes 14, 7 full baths, 2 full kitchens, 15 fireplaces and an elevator. It comes with a pool, tennis court, garden house, indoor squash court and a 6 car garage.  View more pics and details here.

 

 

homes for sale in livingston

Want to live like you are on a permanent vacation? Then this estate in the very exclusive Bell-Air section of Livingston may be just right for you. It has 20,000 square feet of living space including 10 bedrooms and 11 full baths. The amenities include a full sized in-door pool, full sized racquetball court and a Jacuzzi tub.  All of this and so much more for $6,800,000. View details and pics here.

 

 

 

Listed for $5,000,000+ in Summit

summit home for saleLocated in the desirable Northside neighborhood of Summit is this Spanish colonial revival estate that sits on 2.3 acres. There is 13,000 square feet of living space including 7 bedrooms and 9 full baths. Aside from the high ceilings, carved moldings and mahogany floors, this home also includes a recreation room, pub room, exercise room and locker room. Not bad for a list price of $8,250,000. See pics and details here.

 

 

 

home for sale in Summit designed by Henry BacThis estate offers the unique opportunity to own a piece of history. Designed by famed architect Henry Bacon – best known for designing the Lincoln Memorial, this home comes with a name- La Ferta.  It was built in 1901, in the Beaux Arts style that Bacon was famous for.  It offers 10,000 square feet of living space including 9 bedrooms, 7 full baths listed for $6,900,000.   Enjoy the gallery of photos here.

 

 

 

homes for sale in summitThis listing is for a home to be custom built in the Northside neighborhood of Summit. It will offer 9,000 square feet of living space on 1.9 acres with  a pool and unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline.  List price- $6,000,000. View more details here.

Finding a Local Real Estate Agent – South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn, Livingston

Resources for home buyersTo home buyers and sellers, finding a local real estate agent can feel a lot like finding a needle in a haystack. So many buyers and sellers are leery of the negative  stories they have heard from friends and family members about their own personal experience with their agent. However, in the areas I serve – South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn and Livingston (among others) agents are quite professional and seriously committed to their businesses.

 

 

So chances are you will have a good experience – but how do you find the one that is right for you ? Here are 5 key factors you may want to consider before making your final decision:

  • How they represent themselves in large part reflects their own personal brand. How they dress, their business card, website etc. are all important elements to consider – especially for sellers, since that is how they will represent your brand (your home) in the listing process.
  • Relating to today’s buyers – ask yourself does the agent have credibility with today’s buyers? This is important for both buyers and sellers since buyers make the market. Ask yourself questions like do they speak their language, do they know how to reach and engage them?
  • Adept at Technology – today’s agents need to have strong technology skills in order to create effective advertising and marketing as well as to provide all the necessary resources to buyers.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. Many top producing agents work as part of a team. That means the person you meet initially may have nothing to do with your transaction again. Many “teams” have their top agent present listing presentations to their potential sellers, but once the listing is signed it is handed off to a team member. Its a very lucrative model for the agent, but ask yourself – will I receive the best service with this type of organization?
  • Local Insights – make sure your agent is immersed in the towns you are either looking to buy in, or sell in. This is so critical to ensure you get the best possible price either as a buyer or a seller.

I hope this helps to make a tough decision just a bit less stressful and remember, I offer “concierge” service to my clients  from beginning to the close.

How are the Schools in South Orange and Maplewood?

Almost every single day I am asked by prospective home buyers who are considering moving to the area “how are the schools in South Orange and Maplewood?”  Although it is phrased like a question, it feels more like a negative accusation. Its as if they have unequivocal proof that the schools are terrible and they wonder why I am recommending they consider these communities at all.

As a real estate agent I must obey the real estate laws and therefore I am not aloud to voice an opinion about the schools here or anywhere else. All I can do is lead those inquiring to a third party website or article to see the rankings for themselves.

Unfortunately, the rankings  do not measure students on a very three dimensional basis and therefor, in many instances, the  South Orange/Maplewood district (SOMA) doesn’t rank as high as it should. For instance, the district was recently named one of the Best Communities in Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). None of the rankings ever rank this critical dimension of education.

However, today there is amazing news from the halls at Columbia High School in Maplewood that deserves celebration. Twelve students from the senior class received perfect scores on their SAT’s. Perfect scores? Yes as in 800 out of 800 in a variety of subjects.

In no way does this mean the South Orange/Maplewood school district is any better than it was yesterday or the day before. It simply means that all districts reflect the communities they serve and South Orange/Maplewood gets penalized for serving a very diverse one.

These perfect scores reinforce something residents know to be true — the kids at the top in South Orange/Maplewood are as well educated as the top kids from any other New Jersey district. The big difference is South Orange/Maplewood’s student body is inclusive of  kids from all backgrounds –socially, economically and racially– and that is something we value in our 2 communities, something we think is as (or more) important as test scores.

Mid-Century Modern – Perfection

If you like mid-century modern architecture, this home is perfection. Designed by leading architect, Milton Klein in 1967 (see examples of his other works here) it is every bit as modern today as it was when it was built. It was thoughtfully planned and designed to seamlessly blend with its environment by being nestled into a steep side of a mountain with a wooded landscape on all sides.

This home has a sliding door from every main floor room to the terraced courtyard in the back or to the expansive wrap around deck in the front. This includes the master suite, living room, dining room and kitchen. With so many glass walls, it is no wonder this iconic home is filled with an abundance of light even on the gloomiest days (which I personally witnessed last week). The view from the deck offers off-season views of the New York City skyline.

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mid century modern homeThis is a view of the rear courtyard and the sliding doors lead to the master suite.

This architect planned extremely well so that the home’s beauty would equal its practicality. The floors are basically maintenance free since they are all travertine.  Almost every wall has panels with built in closets. The doors are heavy solid wood and the amount of space is expansive.

The living room is perhaps the most dramatic space of all. There is a stone wall about 24 inches thick that separates the living room and dining room and continues all the way down to the lower level. There are 2 built-in wood burning fireplaces, a travertine built-in bench and a built-in bar. The ceilings are super high (maybe 11 feet) with recessed lighting and wood walls that have hidden doors for more storage. It has 2 walls of complete glass with sliding doors to the deck in the front and the courtyard in the back and makes an ideal space to entertain.

alt view living room

The living room – fireplaces are side by side and the slider goes to the deck 

mid-century modern living roomAlternate view of the living room – sliders to the patio

mid-century modern living roomYet another view within the living room

alt view courtyardA close up view of the back patio from the living room

mid-century dining roomFormal Dining room 

alt view dining roomAlternate view of the formal dining room 

kitchenThe kitchen is probably the only space that needs to be modernized to better suite today’s lifestyle.

mid-centruy modern breakfast roomThe kitchen eat-in area – includes sliders to the deck

stairwellThe back of the stone wall in the living room serves as the centerpiece of the main stairwell which goes to a lower floors equally as sun filled.

The master suite includes a wall of closets as well as 2 large walk in-closets with built-in dressers. It also includes “his and hers” separate baths and sliding doors to the stone patio.  This amazing piece of modern architecture will be coming on the market soon and I feel privileged to have seen it a few times before it does.