Tag Archives: house

Is This House HAUNTED???

Is This House HAUNTED???

About 3 years ago, I took my now best friend Loretta out to go look at a few foreclosures as we were starting to look for a home for her and her family. This particular house was quite old, nestled in a corner in a close by historic town called Egg Harbor City. 405 Atlantic Ave.. It was a run down, but still beautiful gothic white home with wrought iron fence and ivy everywhere. Once we were inside, there were some really creepy areas inside this house. Pocket doors on some of the rooms, every other room had a very weird 1920’s type of bathroom, claw foot tubs, all intact.

 

It seemed as if it had been used at some point as a boarding house. Another room that looks like half a ball room. We went upstairs and saw layers upon layers of wallpaper that had been peeled back, rooms that were severely dilapidated, but a ton of beautiful woodwork. Everything was going great, until we got to the basement. Once we got down to the basement, Loretta wasn’t looking too well. Looked literally like the color was draining from her face. I looked at her and asked her if she was okay, she just said, “We need to go.  I headed for the stairs, she stood there for a moment, staring at the door in the corner. She looked at the door as she backed up to follow me toward the stairs. Now at the time, I didn’t know Loretta very well. She later explained that she’s sensitive to certain things, and when we got to that part of the basement, she felt like somebody was sitting on her chest. She became uncomfortable to the point that she couldn’t breathe…  We had poked around a bit more, but that basement had a room with chains attached to the walls…  Ath that point, I wanted out….

I had always been intrigued by haunted homes, but never really experienced anything strange. After going home later on that day and looking up the address, came to find that the home had been in an orphanage many many years ago, and what appeared to be like an oversized workshop outside was actually their schoolhouse.  The listing read:

“Estate that was built in 1866 for the orphans of the civil war.”  Then,   “Previous uses include home for widows and orphans of the civil war, boarding home, and insurance office. Residential with commercial use. Original carriage house on site. Being sold strictly as is, needs total renovation. cash or owner will finance . Basement. fireplace.” 

Back in the Depression era, many people had live there, some had passed away there. Lots of misery.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, I had to take a couple that I had not met up till that day to go look at 4 houses in a local neighborhood. The first three went well, but the houses didn’t look that great. We get to the last one, and we go to open the front door and walk in. I was the last to enter, and as I did, the door slammed shut behind me. As it did, the wife, who was ahead of me, had suddenly caught such a chill that she actually shook it off in front of me.

Now normally, that wouldn’t be an issue, except for a couple of things. One, it was about 92 degrees out, no breeze whatsoever. And 2, the house was like a sauna, there was no air conditioning on, there was no power. She started to head for the front door and said, “I’m leaving,” and she had barely walked into the home. Her husband brushed it off and said, “Oh come on.”  We did a quick walk through on the lower level, and then we went to go upstairs. As soon as we got to the top step, we heard the front door slam down stairs. The only problem with THAT? It had been closed shut when we had headed upstairs. The wife looked at the husband, and said, “I’ll be waiting outside.”  I heard her fumbling with the lock and mumbling under her breath because she couldn’t get the door to open. I walk downstairs, turn the knob and the door opened. She couldn’t have gotten out of that home fast enough!  Have you experienced anything similar?

Tomorrow, Part 2: MY Haunted House…  Stay Tuned!

http://activerain.com/blogsview/4812698/is-this-house-haunted—

If You Liked It, Then You Should Have Put a Bid On It…

If You Liked It, Then You Should Have Put a Bid On It…

 

So, you found the perfect house.

You think.

But you’re just not sure…

So you go out with an agent to look at more houses, but none compare to THE house. So then you’re thinking well, it’s been a while, maybe they’ll drop the price on the house, let’s wait another week.   A week goes by, the price doesn’t drop and you decide to make your move. You go to call the agent to say, “Okay, we’re READY!  Let’s DO THIS!!!”   Your agent calls you back, only to tell you that the house is under contract, but not with you. Its under contract with another buyer.

We’ve all been there. As a buyer, it bites.  As an agent, it really bites!  What’s the comeback for that?

 If you liked it then you should have put a bid on it!

As a buyer, you 2nd, 3rd and 10th guessed yourself out of a house, possibly THE house, your dream home. As an agent, you’ve shown another 10 houses that you KNEW weren’t a good fit for the client, but that’s what we do. We make sure that this is THE house for the client. We can only hope that they make the move quickly enough that the house won’t get sold out from under them.

Unfortunately, sometimes we second guess ourselves to death when we have to make a choice this big. Many times, we shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s human nature. This is one of those situations that we truly don’t have a whole lot of control over. As agents, we need to educate our clients as best we can on a home that they are truly interested in, so that they can make an educated guess when they really feel that this is THE  house. And buyers, you need to work closely with an agent that you truly feel you mesh with that can help you make a well educated decision before you take the plunge.  Take your time, but don’t wait too long!

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http://activerain.com/blogsview/4809930/if-you-liked-it–then-you-should-have-put-a-bid-on-it—

I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!

I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!

So…

You’d like me to sell your house you say?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  BUT.  There’s a few things you’ll need to do first.  Like patch the holes in the walls?  Paint the black walls a slightly lighter shade?  Rake the leaves from last year?  Ok?  You get that done, and I’l be back in 2 weeks to take the listing and take AWESOME pics of your house, m’kayyyyy?

I'm GOOD, but I'm NOT God!
I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!

Fast forward to 2 weeks later…

 

I pull up, leaves are pretty much gone, ok, good.  But the garbage cans are overflowing in the driveway, one is knocked over onto the lawn.  Heading for the door, I’m almost afraid to see what’s inside.  I knock, owner is all smiles.  The black room is now a perky purpley lavender color.   Ooooooooookay fine.  I go to check the walls.  Where the holes were, I MEAN are, there ARE now 2 dressers in front of them!  As in, the holes are still there!!!

So now I try to reason with the owner that the holes are, errrrr, unacceptable?  They don’t want to have to fix them.  Alllllllrighty then.  Moving on…

So, I start taking pictures of the home, asking the husband to please move the garbage cans so that I can get a good pic of the outside.  I get to the kid’s rooms, there are toys EVERYWHERE.  NOT on shelves, or neatly arranged.  Like, I couldn’t go in the room without twisting my ankles, which I DID.  Legos everywhere.  Books on top of toys on top of trucks.  Ok, let’s pass on the pics of THAT room.  I get to the master bedroom.  I kid you not, there were dirty clothes EVERYWHERE.  I can’t…..

At this point, I feel like I need a shower.  I’m done.  I get to the kitchen, where the sink is full of dirty dishes, condiments from their taco Tuesday all over the counter.   A cheery, “All done?!” from the wife.  Yep, I’m DONE all right.  “What’s wrong?” she asks.  What ISN’T?

I now explain to her that there is no way on this green earth that I can post pics of the house like this if they ever want to get it sold.  I explained that I gave them 2 weeks, and they didn’t do anything except paint the black room.  She then says she sees pics of rooms like this posted on the internet all the time.  To which I say “Yes, and that’s why they haven’t sold yet!!!  She sees nothing wrong.  She thinks the home will sell itself.  She literally says, sarcastically, “Well, if you don’t think you can sell it…”

At that point, I pick up my listing agreement and my camera, and I say, “Listen, I’m GOOD, but I’m NOT God!  I am NOT a miracle worker!  I cannot wave my hand and BAM!  Your house is sold!  I think you need another agent…”   3 weeks later, the home still wasn’t listed.  I watched and waited.  2 weeks after that, somebody’s sign was in the ground.  Turned out to be a newbie agent.  Not only were the MLS pics of the inside full of the laundry, the toys and the dishes, but the house was also priced $30k OVER what I told them they needed to list it for!  Newbie+lazy listers+tell the seller what they wanna hear=recipe for disaster.  Last I checked, the house was still listed at the same price, on the market for 146 days.  Did a driveby, same overflowing garbage, different day.  Eventually, they’ll learn.  Or get another agent that will do the right thing, as long as THEY do, too…

Guys, we ALL, as in ALL agents, are here to help you sell your home.  But we CAN’T if you don’t help.  Of course you love your house.  But you need to step back and ask yourself, would someone ELSE love my house if they were here right now?  First impressions are HUGE here.  You need to clean.  Declutter.  Polish your home like the diamond that it can be.  Only then can we get it sold for top dollar.

Whether you’re looking to buy a home, or trying to sell a home, I can help! We have the best real estate marketing to get your house sold, best realtor services ever! I cover Atlantic County, NJ, Cape May County, NJ, Ocean County, NJ, Cumberland County, NJ, , Gloucester County, NJ, Camden County, NJ and Burlington County, NJ, too! Pick a town, any town! Need some suggestions? Ok! Absecon, Galloway, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Linwood, Somers Point, Ocean City, Sea Isle, Hammonton, Williamstown, Sicklerville, Mullica, Tuckahoe, Middle Township, Upper Township, Lower Township, Rio Grande, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, New Gretna, and Port Republic. Any you don’t see here? CALL ME! I’m sure I’m on it!

Chris :0)

Christine Gerbehy

Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors

Northfield Office

1001 Tilton Rd. Northfield, NJ 08225

609-646-1900

The Difference Between Looking At a Home Online vs In Person

The Difference Between Looking At a Home Online vs In Person

SURPRISE!!! That’s what usually goes off in the background when you walk into a house that you saw online, only to see that it’s NOTHING like what it looked like when you saw it on Zillow. Size, noises, smells, there are a TON of things that you WON’T see in the listing online…

It never fails.  You THINK you’ve found the perfect home looking on Zillow.  You’ve convinced yourself that the house is perfect, yard is huge, house is beautiful, huge master, bigger den, full basement.  Then you get there to walk through it.  And, it’s a SHOE BOX.  Not even, small, it’s TINY…

That’s what a wide angle lens camera will do to you.  You see, it’s a special camera that you can use to fit an entire room into a photo.  You can’t do that with most regular cameras.  And, the problem is, it makes the room look three times the size.  So, don’t have your heart set on a house before you go physically see it.

Then, let’s talk about SMELLS.  When an agent takes pictures of a home for sale, 9 times out of ten, they’re removing the dog bowls, cat bowls, litter box, and anything else that says potentially, there may be pet odors in the home.  So, you won’t find that out till you get there.  Same goes for that farm next door to that beauty!  You won’t see any yard pics that will show that farm next door, especially if you can smell any manure of anything else at the property…

nj real estate mama

Lastly, NOISE.  Guys, you have no idea from pictures if the next door neighbor has a dog that barks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Your house may back up to a major highway.  Last year I showed a GORGEOUS home in a nice area, and we didn’t realize until we were IN The home, and heard the noise outside, that there was a lumber yard right across the street adjacent to the home.  We could barely see it around the corner, but we heard it!  And, they received deliveries practically around the clock.

So, before you have your heart set on a house you see online, GO SEE IT.  And, go see it at different times of day.  See your potential neighbors, their kids.  Traffic.  Noise.  You NEED to do this, or you may be in for some unpleasant surprises after it’s too late.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

nj real estate mama

So, You’ve Decided To Sell Your Home…

So, You’ve Decided To Sell Your Home…

Ok, so you’ve decided to sell.  What next?

You’re going to need to become RUTHLESS.  Ruthless with CLEANING.  Ruthless with PURGING.  Ruthless with REPAIRS.  But most importantly…

You’re going to need to get a thicker skin.  Your Realtor may look at, and through your home, and probably going to tell you a ton of things you’re not going to like.  Like, that you need to remove things, and DE-PERSONALIZE.

Listen, it’s not that we don’t like your STUFF.  We may actually LIKE your STUFF, but a buyer can’t see THEIR STUFF in your house if all of YOUR STUFF is still there!  Your potential buyer need to be able to envision their personal belongings  in the house to really realizr that your home may be the one they want to buy…

So you’re gonna have to de-personalize.  De-clutter.  Clean clean CLEAN!  Get your stuff into boxes, out of the house, or at LEAST out of sight.  Boxes, closets, basement, garage, wherever.  Garage sale!  Free to a good home!  Just get rid of it.

nj real estate mama

Next is repairs.  Guys, anything wrong with your home becomes BARGAINING LEVERAGE.  Read: LESS MONEY FOR YOUR HOME.  Don’t let stupid, easy, cheap to fix things like leaky faucets, broken locks on windows, missing door pulls, etc., bring down the price of your home.  Carpet stains?  Carpet smells?  Rent a steam cleaner and DO IT.  Pet smells are unacceptable.  You need to neutralize odors.

Lastly, curb appeal.  Guys, if you can’t get people to NOTICE your home, you won’t get them IN your home.  You need curb appeal.  Keep the grass mowed.  Keep the hedges trimmed.  Make sure all of your windows are clean.  If you can, power wash the exterior of the house.  Last, fresh paint on the window trim, door trim and the door, if it applies.  It’s an instant face lift for the house!  Maybe a seasonal plant or two on the porch.  Azaleas for a splash of color.

So, when you decide to sell, become ruthless!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Number 10: Dream on!

What, exactly, is your ultimate dream home? You need to figure out all of your must-haves. Do you have to have a garage? Do you have to have a basement? Do you have to have a pool? Could you settle for a home with a big yard and build the pool later? You need to have a really good grip on your must haves, because they will have a big bearing on your price.

Number 9: Money money money!

Do you have any clue how much home you really can afford ? Have you spoken with a mortgage lender yet? Do you have any money put away in the bank? Do you have a budget set, so that you know where your money is going out to every month? These are honest questions that you’re going to have to deal with to determine how much house you can afford.

Number 8: Location location location!

Okay, you know what state you’d like to live in, you may even know what city you’d like to live in. But do you know the area? Do you know how safe the area is? Do you have any idea of whether it is convenient shopping, public transportation, work, or whatever else you might need? (Aw, come on, don’t even try to tell me the convenience of fast food and restaurants isn’t even a consideration, lol! It was for me, lol!)

Number 7: See here!

So can you see yourself totally living in this place? You think you found THE ONE, but, when you stand in the home with your family, can you actually see or feel yourself living there?? Do you absolutely hate the basement? Is it something that you can easily change? Again, these are questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge. If this is going to be your forever home, you need to address these thoughts now with your family.

Number 6. Size MATTERS!

Okay, now honestly, do you have enough room to move around? Do you have children? Will you be possibly having more children? You never know, you might need more bedrooms at some point. If the house is short on bedrooms, you’re gonna need more livable space that you can convert into bedrooms. You need to know if this is a home that you can grow into, or just a temporary 5 to 7 year home that you know you will have to sell to buy something bigger. That can be a headache down the road. Wouldn’t it possibly be better to make sure you have a big enough home now?

Number 5. Work work work?

Okay, how much work will the home need to bring it to where you want it to be? Let’say the entire house is carpeted. You want hardwood. Have you priced out what it will cost to replace all of the carpet? How about the kitchen? The bathrooms? Have you looked into how much it will cost to replace those? Make sure you have those numbers in place so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to buy that particular home.

Number 4. Get a Home Inspection!

You’ve gone through the house, it’s absolutely gorgeous, not a hair out of place. That’s what you can see. But what about what you can’t see? Super important that you get a home inspection. The home inspector nose to look for certain things that you would never find on your role, unless you’re well-versed in home buying. Foundation issues, roofing issues leakage issues, electrical issues, this is what your home inspector will look for. It is well worth the money for your peace of mind, and keeping your sanity. that $400 that you pay now can potentially save you thousands on issues that you can’t see that will crop up later

Number 3. Permanent Ink?

Now comes the simple question: Is this home permanent? Are you absolutely sure that you have enough space for your growing family? Does everybody have their own space to retreat to within the house? Can you see yourself living here for the rest of your life? As long as you’re sure, take the plunge!

Number 2. Flexibility!

Don’t be impossible to please! If you set the bar too high, you may be in for a disappointment. You want the acreage, the 2 car garage, the basement, the pool AND the shed? And for HOW much? Just be ready for a little compromise. Without having a new construction home built, you may not find all of that in one nice, neat little package. Can you get a pool next year? Can you buy a house with an unfinished basement, and finish it later? Then everybody’shappy!

And the Number 1 Tip… Homework homework homework!!!!!

GET EDUCATED. Learn the home buying process. Find a good Realtor. Get your credit scores up to snuff. Get a good mortgage lender. Find all of your conveniences. Drive the neighborhood at different times of day BEFORE you put in an offer.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Does Your Home Meet the Super 6 Criteria?

Does Your Home Meet the Super 6 Criteria?

Okay, so you want to sell your home, awesome! Whether or not you realize it, there are many factors that will determine how much your house will sell for, if it sells at all. Your home needs to fit in with the Super 6. Okay, so what the hell is the Super 6? Let’s break it down…

 

1. Location
Like it or not, your home’s location will have a huge bearing on how much it will sell for. There are a ton of things that go into this. How close is it to public transportation? How close is it to local shopping? How safe is the area? Is there pride of ownership in the surrounding blocks? Is there any blight?

 

2. Condition of the Home
Ok, come on guys, this is a common sense factor. What kind of shape is the home in? Is it well kept? Does it show pride of ownership? Are your kitchen and bathroom old or dated? Do you have wallpaper on the walls? How about your rugs? Does the carpeting have permanent stains? What about odors in your home? Do you have pets? Is there an odor alerting your visitors when they walk through the door that you own pets? What about your roof? Are there any spots on the ceilings showing that there are roof leaks or issues? What you need to keep in mind here he said anything that is visibly wrong with your home becomes bargaining leverage on the purchase price. You will need to make sure that your home needs little to no repair to keep negotiations to a minimum.

 

3. Price
Ok, this one’s a no-brainer. If you don’t price your house properly, it won’t sell. It just wont. People will not pay $10,000 more to buy your home when they can have a house in better shape and cheaper for far less. You need to sit down with your Realtor and come to a price based on comparables. You must compare the homes apples to apples. Your agent will bring you copies of active listings of homes for sale with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage, etc.. They will also show you listings of homes that have sold within the last 6 months, so that you will have the most accurate idea of where you should be priced to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar.

 

4. Market Conditions
Obviously, the real estate market has been all over the place for the last couple of years. Some towns get hit harder than others depending on the circumstances. For instance, we are very close to Atlantic City, New Jersey. As you know, many casinos have closed. Thousands are out of work. Many cannot find jobs and are collecting

English: Atlantic City, New Jersey by night
English: Atlantic City, New Jersey by night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

unemployment. Will some of those people lose their homes? Maybe, maybe not. But what that does mean is that there will be more short sales. That can have a direct bearing on what you can ask as a selling price for your home.

 

5. Financing.
The same way the housing market is affected by certain conditions, so is home mortgage financing. If you remember, back in the day during the real estate boom, interest rates were at 13%. Now, you can get mortgage financing for a home at an average of 4%!

 

6. Agent Savvy
You can have all of the first five criteria, but if your agent sucks lemons, none of it matters. Your agent needs to be savvy enough to negotiate a deal for you to get sold as quickly and for as high a price as possible. You need to be sure, BEFORE you hire an agent, to find out what they are going to do for you to get your home sold. What kind of marketing do they utilize? Are they internet savvy? Will your listing be syndicated to multiple websites? How about videos? Will they make videos of your home and create a website just for your home for sale listing? I do. Until what time can showings be scheduled for my home on any given day? I use a service through my company that schedules showings with a live human being by phone until 11pm on weekdays and 7pm on weekends. I can pull up outside a vacant house with a for sale sign on it at 9pm, pick up my cell phone, get a lockbox code and be showing that house 3 minutes later. Can your agent do that? Hopefully, they can and will.

 

So there you have it. That’s the Super 6. Make sure you have them all covered. Oh, and, IF your prospective agent sucks lemons, call me BEFORE you list with them. I can get your home sold! :0)

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”