4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home in Hunterdon or Somerset County!

4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home in Hunterdon or Somerset County!


Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.


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Moving up Is MORE Affordable Now Than Almost Any Other Time in 40 Years in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties

Moving up Is MORE Affordable Now Than Almost Any Other Time in 40 Years in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties

If you are considering selling your current home, to either move up to a larger home or into a home in an area that better suits your current family needs, great news was just revealed.

Last week, Trulia posted a blog, Not Your Father’s Housing Market, which examined home affordability over the last 40+ years (1975-2016). Their research revealed that:

“Nationally, homes are just about the most affordable they’ve been in the last 40 years… the median household could afford a home 1.5 times more expensive than the median home price. In 1980, the median household could only afford about 3/4 of the median home price.

Despite relatively stagnant incomes, affordability has grown due to the sharp drop in mortgage rates over the last 30 years – from a high of over 16% in the 1980s to under 4% by 2016.

Of the nation’s 100 largest metros, only Miami became unaffordable between 1990 and 2016. Meanwhile, 22 metros have flipped from being unaffordable to becoming affordable in that same time frame.”

Here is a graph showing the Affordability Index compared to the 40-year average:

Moving up Is MORE Affordable Now Than Almost Any Other Time in 40 Years | MyKCM

The graph shows that housing affordability is better now than at any other time in the last forty years, except during the housing crash last decade.

(Remember that during the crash you could purchase distressed properties – foreclosures and short sales – at 20-50% discounts.)

There is no doubt that with home prices and mortgage rates on the rise, the affordability index will continue to fall. That is why if you are thinking of moving up, you probably shouldn’t wait.

Bottom Line

If you have held off on moving up to your family’s dream home because you were hoping to time the market, that time has come.


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7 High-Tech Investments To Include In Your Next Home Improvement

7 High-Tech Investments To Include In Your Next Home Improvement

Are you planning to remodel your home? Do you want to make it more functional, comfortable, and add some more value to it? With these high-tech improvements, you can achieve all of those goals.

These are investments that will significantly upgrade your home, your level of security and change your way of life, while decreasing your impact on the environment, saving energy and money at the same time.

1. Solar Panels

One of the best and useful high-tech investments when it comes to home improvements are solar panels. Their benefits are wide and numerous, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are becoming an increasingly common investment with many homeowners. Apart from their environmentally-friendly and sustainable characteristics, they also bring high energy-efficiency and significant savings to your household.

Solar panels work on the basis of sunlight absorption and its conversion into electricity, and with them, you can cover the majority of your home’s electricity demands. With the development of the industry and the market, panels are becoming more and more efficient and able to absorb sunlight.

Solar storage batteries are also an important part of your solar system, complementing it to make your investment even more profitable and your home more energy-independent and efficient. They function as a safety net for cloudy weather and during the night. They will absorb and store the sun’s energy so that it can be used when there is no direct sunlight for the panels to absorb.

2. Digital Lighting

Digital lighting brings about comfort, convenience, but also efficiency and savings. With this home investment you can digitally and remotely manage the lights around your house. You don’t have to get up to flick the light switch, or even go upstairs to turn off the light you accidentally left on. This way, apart from making your life more comfortable, digital lights also make it easier to save energy and money.

he basis of this high-tech addition are LED bulbs. They can be any color you want, livening up your house, but more importantly, they are energy efficient. As opposed to the regular incandescent light bulbs, they convert much more electricity into light, which means they waste very little to no energy. They will last up to 25 times longer and therefore save you money on utility bills along the way.

Image courtesy of Scott Lewis on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
3. Smart Glass

Smart glass or switchable glass is a highly innovative, modern and multifunctional technological development. If you are renovating your house, and especially if you are changing or upgrading your windows, this is something you should seriously consider. It eliminates your need for curtains, blinds or shutters of any kind while maintaining your privacy.

Smart glass is an automated and programmable glass that prevents anyone from seeing inside, while still allowing the sun’s rays to shine in and keep you warm. The glass can be clear, translucent or completely dark and blocking the sun. This way it can keep your indoors cool during hot days. Additionally, and maybe most importantly, the glass has automatic sensors which can regulate the amount of light that comes in.

Image courtesy of Shtiever on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
4. Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is an indispensable high-tech investment and should be incorporated in any home. It is a simple and affordable addition, yet a very significant one. It regulates and manages the heating and cooling in your household better and more efficiently.

It can be programmed for the best performance and optimal temperature, as well as controlled remotely through smartphones, for example. When there is no one home, they will lower the temperature or turn off, turning back on when you enter the house. And here is another benefit of these smart devices. They can be connected to other smart gadgets around the house, such as smart locks, so that they turn on when the door unlocks.

Image courtesy of Lindalnpijn on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
5. Smart Locks

With this intelligent addition, your house doors will automatically lock behind you, so you don’t have to worry whether you forgot to lock them. Smart locks can also be operated remotely, so you can lock or unlock the door in case you want to let someone in when you’re not home. These locks record all activity, and for added security, it will alert you whenever someone unlocks it.

Image courtesy of Scott Lewis on Flickr, published under CC BY 2.0
6. Surveillance Cameras

Having a security surveillance camera is the best way to record any activity in or around your house. Whether it is to keep intruders away from your home, or to monitor the activity within your house, you cannot go wrong with this investment.

Cameras, too, have developed and become smart, so now you can receive instant alerts to your phone of any suspicious activity, as well as monitor your household remotely, whether to keep an eye on your children, or to make sure everything is in order while you’re away.

Image courtesy of Sturm on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY 2.0
7. Vacuum Baseboards

This innovative addition to your home is also known as a central vacuum system, and it will upgrade the level of convenience as well as functionality in your household.

Vacuuming is hardly anyone’s favorite chore, especially if you live in a big house with many rooms. It takes up a lot of your time, you have to plug it and unplug it constantly, while getting tangled up in cords and hunching too long over the vacuum. This innovative solution solves all of those problems.

Vacuum baseboards, also known as vacuum units or sweep inlets, can be installed anywhere around your house, wherever you deem it convenient. They are then connected to the central vacuum system, which can also be installed in any place that is most suitable for you, such as the garage or under the stairs. When it’s time for cleaning, simply turn on the main switch and the central system will suck the dust and dirt through the inlets.

Image courtesy of Travelarz on Wikimedia Commons, published under CC BY-SA 3.0
Invest (in) Smart

Whether you are planning a remodel or are in the process of it, including some or all of these smart, high-tech investments would be a simple but a significant improvement. Many of them will go a long way towards making your house energy-efficient, some will increase your security, and some will help you with your everyday routines, making both you and your house more functional.

These investments are affordable, and will additionally save you money. Give them a try and you will see immediate change and long-term benefits.


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7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!


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Home Prices in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties : The Difference 5 Years Makes

Home Prices in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties : The Difference 5 Years Makes

The economists at CoreLogic recently released a special report entitled, Evaluating the Housing Market Since the Great Recession. The goal of the report was to look at economic recovery since the Great Recession of December 2007 through June 2009.

One of the key indicators used in the report to determine the health of the housing market was home price appreciation. CoreLogic focused on appreciation from December 2012 to December 2017 to show how prices over the last five years have fared.

Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, commented on the importance of breaking out the data by state,

“Homeowners in the United States experienced a run-up in prices from the early 2000s to 2006, and then saw the trend reverse with steady declines through 2011. After finally reaching bottom in 2011, home prices began a slow rise back to where we are now.

Greater demand and lower supply – as well as booming job markets – have given some of the hardest-hit housing markets a boost in home prices. Yet, many are still not back to pre-crash levels.”

The map below was created to show the 5-year appreciation from December 2012 – December 2017 by state.

Home Prices: The Difference 5 Years Makes | MyKCM

Nationally, the cumulative appreciation over the five-year period was 37.4%, with a high of 66% in Nevada, and a modest increase of 5% in Connecticut.

Where were prices expected to go?

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists and asks them to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES).

According to the December 2012 survey results, national homes prices were projected to increase cumulatively by 23.1% by December 2017. The bulls of the group predicted home prices to rise by 33.6%, while the more cautious bears predicted an appreciation of 11.2%.

Where are prices headed in the next 5 years?

Data from the most recent HPES shows that home prices are expected to increase by 18.2% over the next 5 years. The bulls of the group predict home prices to rise by 27.4%, while the more cautious bears predict an appreciation of 8.3%.

Bottom Line

Every day, thousands of homeowners regain positive equity in their homes. Some homeowners are now experiencing values even higher than before the Great Recession. If you’re wondering if you have enough equity to sell your house and move on to your dream home, let’s get together to discuss conditions in our neighborhood!


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