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A Guide For First Time Homebuyers

By Coccia
At Feb 06, 2015

Becoming a homeowner is a big deal and is the entry into adulthood that people crave. The average first time home buyer in the United States is 31 years old. Here are a few things to do before you buy your first home:

1. Assess Your Need

You don’t want to be buying a home just because your friends have started doing it. You need to determine whether it’s better for you to buy or rent at this particular time in your life. Think about if you have plans to marry and have children in the near future, factor in your job – do you plan to stay there long term and is it stable? Make sure you are buying a home because YOU want to and that you are ready for it at this time.

2. Do the Math

Most people focus on just the downpayment when they think about buying a home. It’s true, the downpayment is a large amount of money. But there are additional upfront cost that you need to think about – taxes, insurance and closing costs are some examples. Insurance rates and property taxes will vary by state. Closing costs include many fees – origination, underwriting, appraisal and title insurance. This can all add up to a rather surprisingly large number, so it’s best to get an idea of these costs ahead of time.

3. Be Ready

You will want to have all your documents ready to make the process go smoothly. You will need a government issued ID, a credit report, employment verification, W-2 forms, federal tax returns and bank statements.

4. Check Out the Inventory

This is most likely the largest purchase you will ever make, so be sure to treat it like other large purchases. This means you will want to shop around just as you would for a car, TV or furniture. It may be time consuming, but it’s very important to look at all comparable homes in the area. You can start your search online yourself, or you could call a license real estate agent to help you.

5. It’s OK to Walk Away

Remember – before you make this large of a purchase, you want to be sure you feel OK to committing to a monthly mortgage payment. If you aren’t comfortable with the purchase, it’s ok to leave a near-perfect house for someone else to buy. You keep looking until you find what you are comfortable with.

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20 Easy, Inexpensive Tips for Home Sellers

By Coccia
At Sep 21, 2012

If you are currently selling your home or maybe considering placing it for sale you may want to think about these fast and easy sales tips. Today’s buyer is exposed to the current inventory of homes more now than ever before. The average buyer searches for a home for over 18 months by using the internet to see pictures, videos and neighborhood information. They appreciate modern looks and expect a home to be neat, clean and well maintained.

Here is a list of 20 things you can do to your home to make it more appealing to buyers and increase the sales price.

1. Clean up & de-clutter. Your home will show better and look larger if it is clean and not over flowing with stuff. Use the “less is more” approach with furniture and make the kitchen and baths sparkle. Pay special attention to mirrors, countertops and shower doors.

2. Front door and walkway. It’s true that you can never take back a first impression. Consider painting or replacing your front door. Be sure the front walkway and/or steps are in good condition and not a hazard.

3. Make the home look larger with light. When preparing for a showing of your home open those blinds and curtains. Be sure that the lights are turned on prior to the buyers arriving and choose warm, cool colors rather than fluorescents.

4. Add some color. Feel free to use plants or flowers throughout the home to add color and warmth to a space. Paint an accent wall to make a room look more dramatic or interesting. Today’s hot colors will make your home look more modern.

5. Be aware of odors. Be conscious of musty smells or pet odors and replace them with “fresh baked” smells and candles. Use a dehumidifier to help out with a humid basement. Open windows for fresh air prior to showings.

6. Take a good objective look around. Most buyers today will perform a home inspection prior to purchasing their new home. Take a good look around and fix anything obvious prior to placing it on the market. Buyers will appreciate it and your home will be viewed in the best light possible. Better a buyer sees the work is done and feel they are getting a great home especially when the work may be required to complete the sale anyway.

7. Get rid of dated wall paper and out of style ceilings. Remove wall paper prints that date your home or are no longer in style. Get rid of old “popcorn” ceilings.

8. Flooring. Consider having old carpets cleaned if not replaced and a fresh sanding of weathered hardwood floors is better than a face lift for removing years of age. This is one of the first place investors spend money to make homes more saleable.

9. Clean that garage. A clean garage is a huge selling point. Everyone looks for this space as a place for storage and convenience. Buyers appreciate clean floors and organized spaces.

10. Be conscious of electric. Make sure you have an adequate number of outlets and enough power coming in the home to power today’s modern conveniences. Bathrooms require outlets for hairdryers and razors and kitchens have “high end” appliances that use 3 times the amount of power from just 10 years ago.

11. Door Knobs. Be aware of broken or tarnished door knobs. Consider replacing them with newer more modern finishes to make your home appear less dated.

12. Landscaping. Curb appeal is one of the most important features of home. I recommend the removal of over grown and uncared for bushes, plants and trees. A clean slate to paint a picture for a buyer is easier than trying to get someone to look past a mess. New landscaping with seasonal color and fresh mulch can increase value by as much as 10%.

13. Exterior maintenance. Clean those gutters, paint that trim and make sure garage doors open and close easily. If your home’s paint is peeling or exterior is stained it is very inexpensive to paint or power wash to remove unsightly stains.

14. Clear counters. Yes, you are still living in the home but try and remove clutter from counter tops in the kitchen and throughout the home to make it look as show room ready as possible. This sort of appearance will make a buyer choose your home over others that are similar.

15. Set the scene. Stage an interesting space or room to bring out an intriguing feature or use. Try a rug, chair and lamp to feature an interesting reading space.

16. Monitor closets. Take a look at closets and clean them out so they look more spacious and organized. Consider the use of cubbies or baskets for a neat and clean look.

17. Audit your energy use. Be conscious of power usage within the home and replace energy “suckers” that buyers will appreciate. Try replacing your old thermostats with a programmable one, replace old lights with led or compact fluorescents.

18. Replace filters. Replace filters for water purifiers or furnaces. Buyers will see that your maintaining your home while also keeping these items running as efficient as possible.

19. Toss the Magazines. Throw out all those old magazines that you haven’t got around to reading yet. If you haven’t read them buy now you’re probably not going to!

20. Replace any broken or worn out furniture. Consider replacing or just removing old, torn couches or leather chairs that make a house appear un kept. A table cloth or covers for couches are great tricks to make old furniture appear new.

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Michelle D’Anna of Coccia Real Estate Group chosen as 2012 Five Star Real Estate Agent

By Coccia
At Jan 19, 2012

In the March issue of New Jersey Monthly, Michelle will be featured as a 2012 Five Star Real Estate Agent named in excelling in customer satisfaction! Michelle wanted to thank anyone who took part in the survey process that led to me receiving this award.

How was she chosen?

New Jersey Monthly’s research team contacted consumers in the New Jersey area and asked if they had experience working with a real estate agent. Consumers who agreed to participate in the survey provided the name of the real estate agent and rated that individual according to key criteria such as integrity, negotiation and closing preparation.

Surveys were sent to New Jersey area residents who recently purchased a home over $150,000 (more than 81,500 households) within a 12-month period (April 2010 to April 2011) and 1,000 subscribers of New Jersey Monthly. An additional 250 surveys were sent to mortgage and title companies.

The survey data was collected and scored, resulting in the list of 2012 New Jersey Five Star Real Estate Agents.

Michelle scored in the top 1% of all Real Estate Agents in New Jersey (over 80,000 licensed Real Estate Agents geographic coverage area that was surveyed) approx 600 winners were chosen.

Michelle is active in the Morris County area with expertise in towns including East Hanover, Florham Park, Madison, Montville, Hanover Township, Morris Plains and Morristown. She can be reached at her office 973-887-2500.

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AlCatel-Lucent property sold!

By Coccia
At Oct 20, 2011

HANOVER — Bayer Healthcare LLC will be moving into the long vacant Alcatel-Lucent property on Whippany Road, bringing 2,000 employees and plans to refurbish a main building on the site while adding additional structures and employees in the future, township officials announced today.

“We’ve worked real hard and are blessed to have a major international pharmaceutical company coming into our township,” said Mayor John T. Sheridan. “It will not only boost the Hanover Township economy but it will be a boost to the whole region.’’

Bayer had announced in April that it would combine its East Coast business in New Jersey and that the consolidated headquarters would be in Morris County. Bayer’s New Jersey operations currently are in Morris Township, Montville and Wayne.

The 194-acre Alcatel-Lucent property sold for $18.5 million in December to private equity firm Rubenstein Partners and Mountain Lakes-based real estate development firm Vision Equities. Vision has executed a number of developments in Hanover, including Cadbury on Route 10, and plans to build a shopping center development with apartments called Whippany Village at Route 10 and Troy Hills Road.

The Alcatel-Lucent property is comprised of two adjacent lots. The main lot at 67 Whippany Road has 15 buildings, including offices and research labs, totaling 1,354,751 square feet of space, according to information provided earlier this year by Rubenstein Partners. The 140-acre lot sold for $12.5 million. The other lot at 85 Whippany Road has about 50 acres of open space. It sold for $6 million.

The site had an assessed value of more than $97 million before Alcatel-Lucent began closing operations there in 2008. After Alcatel-Lucent closed operations on the site, its assessed value dropped dramatically. A recent tax appeal settlement between Alcatel-Lucent and the town brought the assessment to $42,737,300.

The tax bill is around $2 million a year, but that amount has dropped by hundreds of thousands of dollars along with the assessed value.

“We haven’t calculated the tax impact yet but certainly they will be our No. 1 tax revenue generator followed by the Morristown Airport, which will be No. 2,’’ Sheridan said.

Bayer plans to use 90 to 95 acres of the land at the site, according to Towsnhip Administrator Joseph A. Giorgio, who said the site is currently vacate save for some demolition work that is ongoing.

As many as 5,000 people worked on the site during its busiest time, which was when Bell Labs operated there during the Cold War. The Bell Lab operation was considered so valuable to national security that Nike missile bases were located nearby in East Hanover to safeguard it.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno had announced during a speech before the Morris County Chamber of Commerce that Bayer was looking to locate in Morris County. Sheridan said that Hanover had competed with two other towns to get Bayer. One of those towns as Mount Olive, which has the the mostly vacant massive former BASF complex within its boundaries.

Sheridan credited Gov. Chris Christie and Guadagno for helping get Bayer into Hanover but also said a lot of credit goes to the volunteer members of the township’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, who had been working to attract a tenant to the site. Township officials and volunteers have been working for about 20 months on the deal, Sheridan said.

Sheridan did not have the details of the sale price or other aspects of the contract between the developer and Bayer.

“Once they get site plan approval, they will begin work immediately,” Sheridan said. “I think this process will be expedited through the planning board and we should see all their approvals by November of this year.”

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