REal Talk Jan 13 2022 – Tri-State Region (NY, NJ, CT) Local Market Insights

We LOVE collaborating with colleagues around the country!! This week, we chatted with some of our tri-state colleagues to offer local market insights for people considering NJ, Westchester, or both! Tune in! NY State vaca homes coming up…


Meggie (00:04):

All right. Hi everyone.

All (00:06):


Meggie (00:08):

Hi. We are so thrilled to be together tonight. We’re the Hall/Simmons team. Nigel Hall. I’m Meggie Simmons and we’re based out of Brooklyn. And tonight we wanted to take some time to answer a question we get a lot, which is for referrals and on the suburbs and surrounding areas for people who have decided to make a move out of the city. So tonight we have fantastic agents from both New Jersey and Westchester and we will just dive in from there. So Bonnie and Susie, why don’t you go first? Can you give us just a brief intro on who you are, what areas you serve and how long you’ve been in the business?

Susie (00:52):

  1. So I’m Susie Adamson. We are in Essex county, New Jersey, which is of many, many towns. And Bonnie will go over the specific towns that we serve. I’ve been in the business for eight years going on nine. And we’ve been with COMPASS for just over a couple of months, actually. And we’re super excited to help all of your clients that are moving to New Jersey.

Bonnie (01:19):

Yes. And I’m Bonnie Ramsey and I’ve been in the business, this is my seventh year in the business, Susie and I teamed up about five years ago. We just started in January, our fifth year together as partners. And we are a fine tuned machine at this point. We formerly were with other brokerages and we’re very excited to not be with compass. Susie’s gonna pull up a map here and we can just point out which towns we serve. Because one thing about New Jersey is there are a million small towns and they all flow into one another and often you don’t even know what town you’re in. So it can be very overwhelming. We know if you’re coming from Brooklyn or New York city to get reacquainted with how things work in New Jersey. In the middle of this map here, Maplewood in South Orange is where Susie and I reside.

Bonnie (02:09):

And we are hyper-local experts specifically in what we call Soma South Orange Maplewood. But we do serve all of the towns that you see on this map. So as far north, as Montclair a lot of people coming, coming from Brooklyn search, they say, well, we’ll look in Montclair, we’ll look in Maplewood. And then that usually ends up spreading out to those surrounding towns. So Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, then West Orange, which is very large and spread out. Then you get to South Orange in Maplewood, which are a little more quaint with smaller downtowns as you go west, you’ll hit Short Hills and Millburn. And we also serve Summit, which is not in Essex county, it’s in Union county, but we do serve Summit. And then we also serve the areas of Union county that are closer to Maplewood. And all of these generally are within 20 to 27 miles from Manhattan.

Susie (03:05):

Quick note is just to say that Short Hills and Millburn are stuck together because it’s actually all technically a municipality Short Hills is a subset of, and Bonnie and I both lived in Brooklyn at one point. So we understand the transition really well, that most people are trying to make.

Bonnie (03:24):


Meggie (03:25):

That’s great. And that map is hugely helpful. I just learned more about New Jersey than I’ve ever known. <Laugh>. Kori, do you wanna take a minute to introduce yourself and share where you work?

Kori (03:36):

Absolutely. Let me share my screen so I can show you the map as well.

Susie (03:42):

And kudos to Kori, we stole the map from her. So <laugh>, it’s very helpful and wow, that’s a lot of towns. <Laugh>,

Kori (03:50):

It is a lot of towns. So I’ve been in real estate now for nine years. I’ve been with COMPASS for four years. I’m the founding agent in the Rye area. And I have a team of six people that work with me and we cover the east side of Westchester. So Westchester is similar to Manhattan. You’ve got a west side and the east side. So the whole Rivertown side is the west side of Westchester. And not that we don’t cover it, but that’s not our main focus. And we like to sell what we know very well. We really cover the east side and we cover all the way up to Bedford, which is right over here. And we’d go all the way down to the Largemont area. So let me make this map a little bit bigger so you can see, so Bedford’s pretty big and it’s very rural and there’s, you know, beautiful, big few acre, 3, 4, 5 acre, lots all the way down to Largemont where you get a little postage stamp of 0.15.

Kori (04:39):

But like similar to kind of what you guys are saying 20 minutes into the city is definitely more of the 20 miles is definitely more of the Largemont thing. And as you go a little bit north, you get more of that 30 mile, you know, area. So you’ve got Larchmont and Mamaroneck. In Westchester, we sell very school district based. So you will hear people say this school district name, not necessarily the town or the PO, because that’s how the values are associated. So you’ve got the, the popular areas are the Mamaroneck school district, which encompasses Larchmont, you’ve got New Rochelle and Scarsdale, White Plains, Rye Portchester, which is more urban. You’ve got Rye Brook, you’ve got Harrison and purchase the Harrison school district. You’ve got Armonk, Chappaqua and Bedford, and that’s kind of the main side that we cover for our clients.

Meggie (05:33):

That’s great. Thank you

Susie (05:35):

Super helpful to me too. I have a quick follow-up question.

Meggie (05:38):

I’m learning so much already.

Susie (05:40):

I know I’m learning too. Kori, if you look on that map from the point where you were talking about from the east side, all the way to the farthest east, like, what is that expanse like? It’s hard to get the proportion.

Kori (05:51):

Yeah, absolutely. So it’s pretty big, you know, you’ll go. I would say it’s about almost 20 miles if you go as south, as north, as you’re talking. So if you go from Larchmont all the way up to Bedford, it’s about 25, 20 miles. And then if you go another 25 miles, you’re everybody talking about like Westport, Connecticut, that’s another 25 miles up that direction. So Westchester probably spans about 20 miles from a south as we would sell up to where Bedford is probably as north as we would go.

Nigel (06:27):

Okay. So Bonnie and Susie we’ll start with you and then we’ll, move onto you, Kori. When somebody is moving from Brooklyn where, where do you start? What’s gonna happen when they, when they first meet with you?

Susie (06:43):

So Bonnie and I really pride ourselves in getting to know the clients really well and establishing a firm foundation for our knowledge of them and their knowledge of the process. So we understand that real estate purchasing in New Jersey is not like New York actually follow a different process. So we just wanna make sure that they are not surprised and that they’re equipped to make a really strong offer. As soon as they find a good house, as we all know, it’s a super hyper, fast moving and competitive market. So we just wanna make sure that we’re all armed on both sides from the get go. So we send them a buyer questionnaire that they fill out so that we have a most, you know, really productive call when we do a zoom with them and zooms have been actually really helpful for that. You know, we used to sit down in our conference room and go through the whole thing and then we’d get out on the road and it would be like a two, three hour field trip.

Susie (07:36):

And that can take a lot of time, especially with like babies in tow. So it’s nice to be able to break it up, do the zoom call ahead of time, really late, you know, get the foundation. And then we have them come out. We do what we call a safari tour now <laugh> we used to all get in one car. Now we’re in separate cars with our phones, you know, like kinda like walkie talks, Nigel, I think we did that even with your family and <affirmative> you know, we just drive around and show different neighborhoods and go through like the different feels of the different parts of our towns and maybe even multiple towns. And yeah, and then we get a better sense that we call that sort of the second part of the consultation. Then we’ll look at some homes and then put me to, you know, we often say like, when you say you want a big backyard, what is big to me is not big to you. So mm-hmm <affirmative> we just try to make sure that we understand exactly where people are coming from. And then that way, after the first or second time out together, we have a really solid sense of what they’re looking for. And then we won’t have them come out from Brooklyn for a house that’s not gonna fit their criteria.

Bonnie (08:43):

Right. And just to add to that, Susie and I do try to preview everything at the broker opens, which generally happens on a Thursday. And if we see something that checks off most of your boxes, then we are gonna make an appointment. We’re gonna call you, schedule you to get out here. If there’s something we need you to see right away, we are on it. We will call you. We’ll say, listen, get out here tonight at seven o’clock, we’ll show you this house. It’s gonna be really competitive. But like Susie said that way, because we’re previewing everything. You don’t need to schlep your whole family out here to look at three homes that really just don’t fit the bill for you.

Susie (09:18):

Yeah I’m sure Kori will speak to this too, but the COMPASS collections is super helpful for that kind of communication, which we think is the best tool that we’ve seen. We set up buyers on this search tool and then they can comment on specific properties and then we can comment back. So if they say, we definitely wanna see this on Saturday and we say, no, it’s actually terrible in person. Or it smells like cats. <Laugh> you know, don’t come out. That’s a big thing. We see a lot of houses, smelly cats. So <laugh>, <laugh>, it’s true. You can’t see that in the photos.

Meggie (09:53):

What about you, Kori?

Kori (09:55):

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, a very similar kind of process when I talk to a client for the first time and zoom has been great, cuz we get to kind of get to know each other, you know, I ask them where else they’re looking, what are they looking for? Where they grew up. So I can kind of find out what their, you know, a lot of times we’ll get, especially in Westchester, cuz we’re kind of mid of New York, we’ll get one person grew up in Long Island and one person grew up in Rockland or one person’s from Florida. So we get a sense of what they like. Typically I find in couples, they grow up in different kind of environments and are envisioning different things. So a lot of times people want what they grew up with. And a lot of times they want the opposite of what they grew up with.

Kori (10:31):

<Laugh> kinda, kinda figure that out together. And Westchester has so many different landscape from river views to mountains to walk, to train, walk to town, to very neighborhoody cul de sac feels. So we kind of get a sense of that. And then we kind of, you know, skew it down to is school system important to them? What is their commute? Do they wanna be, you know, we could be anywhere from 25 minute train ride to an hour train ride. So we get a sense of kind of what the buyers are looking for. And then we give suggestive towns and then at that point we’ll do town tours. And I don’t like to do more than two town tours per time they come out. Cause I think they do tend to blend together and get confusing. So we’ll do two tours, you know, at a time. And we’ll at that point, we’ll show them kind of the town and train and where they would be having dinner and where they would send their kids to preschool or you know, elementary school.

Kori (11:24):

And we kind of point all that stuff out to them. So they get a really good sense of what it is in Westchester. We use lawyers for everything. So we kind of explain that process a little bit, the buyer process, what, you know, kind of what Susie said, it is a very, very competitive landscape. They need to be pre-approved. And you know, what we do is I’ll preview the houses that the broker opens a lot of time. I’ll video them and I’ll send it to them, advance. I’ll show them the house, I’ll show them the street. I’ll kind of give them a sense. I love my clients to try to see things twice before they make an offer. So I’m like whether it’s a video tour or come out once and then a lot of times they’ll come out again. They’re young clients, they wanna bring their parents.

Kori (12:01):

I wanna give them that opportunity, but we’re talking three or four days till any, you know, good listing is gonna kind of go to multiple offers. So I want them, when we make that initial call, we explain the process. We explain the nature. No one’s trying to scare anybody that it’s overly competitive. I think people fight for the right houses. And I think sometimes people need to lose the wrong houses to find the right house mm-hmm <affirmative> and it’s a process and that’s okay. And some, you know, some of my clients are very back up against the wall cuz they have February deadline to get into the preschools and people, you know, want their money or their leases are being re-signed. So we kind of just discussed that process and here, because it’s been such a, you know, a seller centric area, the preschools are getting filled up quickly. So some of my clients will put, you know, deposits down, which is much less here. It’s like a thousand dollars in Westchester vs 30,000 they want in the city.

Susie (12:55):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>

Kori (12:57):

Hold your spot. So we kind of go through that process and discuss it. And each town has its own vibe and feeling and we really have such a good handle on what these towns are. And once we get to know the buyers, we marry it up very well,

Meggie (13:12):

Such invaluable information that you all have on your areas. Yeah. It’s it, this goes to show why having an agent who is really, like you said, Bonnie hyper-local and knows it makes your search so much more efficient and productive. So can you guys take a moment to touch on what type of housing inventory you have? Are you looking at mostly single family and before you mentioned some places you’re gonna get 20 acres, some places you’re gonna get a quarter acre. Yeah. What type of inventory will people find in your towns is renting an option or is it predominantly owning? Yeah.

Bonnie (13:49):

So for us, I mean, in general, people are moving out here because they wanna a little patch of grass. They wanna swing set, you know, a small house, you know, all the way up to a forever home as we call it. So we do have a wide range of homes. Generally, I would say from the $400,000 range up to about 2 million. So if you go further north into Montclair, those homes can go well above the $2 million price point. But if you’re looking in general short Hills yes. And then in short Hills as well. So the further west you go and the further north you go, there are larger lots, larger homes. In South Orange, Maplewood it caps out right around 2 million. So you can get a little more for your money here than you might in Montclair. And then also in Short Hills and Summit, you see those larger price points.

Bonnie (14:41):

We do of course have apartments, town homes, condos, just not nearly as many as you find in Brooklyn, but there are some people who either can’t find a home in time and then they go ahead and rent for, you know, a year or short, short term. And then there are some people who do find condos. We do we work with renters. It’s not a huge part of what we do, but we’re happy to help people who just wanna come and try it out for a year before they commit to buying a home. We do serve the condo market. And then, but I would say primarily our main focus are single family homes and that actually the average price point in the last year has gone up tremendously. It’s now probably in the high sevens to low eights a couple years ago, you could get in pretty easily in the fives and sixes and that’s unfortunately really changed in the last two years.

Meggie (15:34):

Wow. Yeah.

Kori (15:35):

For me, Westchester, you know, price points can go anywhere from a hundred thousand dollars co-op to a 25 million mansion kind of, depending on what you’re looking for. I think some towns have that, you know, I would say $1 million is probably more are average on the county anywhere from like 900 to a million kind of staying on the east side of Westchester has a little bit more of the east side of Manhattan kind of feel or you know, of the certain areas of Brooklyn. So for us, I would say that we do everything we do rentals. We do co-ops condos, single family homes, for sure, depending on what people want. Our clients usually rent, not necessarily to try it out, but more because they can’t find something to buy. The rents here are actually very high. People are surprised at how high the rentals are.

Kori (16:23):

You’re renting typically from a homeowner, not necessarily from like a company or a corporation. So it’s a little bit of a different feel and they have to take care of all the taxes and the fees and stuff like that. So I actually, people rent, not because they’re trying to try it out or save money. They really do rent more so because they can’t find anything to buy. And that’s kind of what it is we will in this area, we’ll have a lot more rentals in more of the urban area. So maybe you’ll find that in like a Larchmont, Mamaroneck or you’ll find rentals, even in Greenwich, Connecticut, those are rentals that a lot of people of my clients will go to and then they’ll start to look for the home search. But for us, the more, the more north you go on the train line, the lower price per square foot you’re gonna pay.

Kori (17:08):

So every minute on the train, it’s cheaper. And I think that is where it is in kind of all different area, whether in New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester we have different fields on the west side and east side. You know, the west side is very much on the Hudson river and you’ve get that. And then you’ve got the sound shore on the long island sound, which is more the area that I cover, which would be the Larchmont and the Rye. And, you know, those areas up, I find in Westchester that your price per square foot is higher. If your taxes is lower also, but there are certain towns that have lower taxes and they actually have higher price per square foot. So, you know, at the end of the day, most of my clients that come from Brooklyn and Manhattan have a number, a monthly number they wanna hit so each town, it could be different, right? It could be a different number depending on where they live and we kind of situate them into that. But single family homes is most of what we do. We spend most of our time really relocating families from Brooklyn and Manhattan into the Westchester area and kind of educating on the communities. So that is what a big portion of my team’s business is.

Nigel (18:13):

Let’s let’s talk a little bit about timeline, you know, in, in Brooklyn we have, you know, different timelines for the different products. You know, if you’re closing on a, on a co-op you’re gonna have a different expectation of duration from condo to a single family what’s it like in your respective areas,

Susie (18:35):

I would say that the timeline for us is similar regardless of what type of property you’re buying, because it’s really driven typically with the mortgage process. So it can go from 30 to 60 days in general on average it’s 45 days because that’s what the lender wants, but we are seeing especially in spring market, we’re going to see some situations where people have put their homes on earlier on in the market with the hopes that they will close and then rent back from the new owners until the end of the school year. So the earlier part of spring market, we’ll start to see a lot more of what we call use and occupancy agreements. But the, the purchase process can take as short as it can actually be as quick as two weeks, if people have cash or it can go, you know, more typically with a mortgage, they can still do a 30 day close these days. But we’re seeing more typically 45 to 60 days.

Kori (19:38):

Yeah. And in our market the multiple bids have been very challenging for anybody who’s contingent on a mortgage. And we don’t at all recommend anybody to remove any contingencies unless they’re comfortable and speak to their lender. But in this market, you know, obviously cash people are looking to see what the seller wants. So the buyers are being very accommodating of the seller’s timeframe, which is not always the case, but in this market, it is so kind of what Susie was saying. If somebody wants a quick close, the cash, guys can do it in 15 days, the mortgage guys will say 30. I really think they can do it in 45, to be honest. But we are doing a ton of rent backs. Cause a lot of them wanna play out this school year. So the rent backs benefit the buyer, honestly, because everyone’s worried about the rates going up.

Kori (20:22):

So the buyers, you know, they wanna lock into a rate. They wanna get there. And then, you know, the sellers can then live in the house until they’re ready to finish. And then it gives the sellers, the cash to do whatever it is that they wanna do, whether they’re gonna buy something. So it does kind of work in most cases early in this market being now we’ll see a lot more rent backs as we get into April and stuff. We’ll just be traditional, you know, closings. But a lot of times as a listing agent, we’ll put in the very beginning of the description looking to close here. So if a lot of times a house needs say a renovation, for example, there’s a house that came on the market recently that needed a ton of reno, but they didn’t wanna close until July. Well, that took a lot of people out of the market because that house needed six months worth of work. And it was gonna be too late for a lot of the buyers. So had it been a move in ready and been a July 1st occupancy, they would’ve had a different, you know, buyer pool. So it kind of depends on that, but certain banks are quicker and slower than others. As we know as well, mm-hmm, <affirmative>,

Bonnie (21:19):

I would agree with you, Kori, that it’s really driven by the seller preference at this point. And so what we urge all of our buyers is to be flexible, as flexible as you can you know, to meet the needs of the seller, because really they’re, they’re the ones in control in this market. So to get a home, you really do have to be bendable <laugh>.

Kori (21:41):

Like if they’re renting, a lot of the clients that are renting from Brooklyn in the city, their landlord is allowing them to do a month to month, it seems like that’s a super flexible thing. Again, if they’re closing and they’re selling their house, there’s different, you know, time constraints, but the ones that are renting, they, they kind of feel like, oh my, my landlord will let me go from month to month for at least six months. So it gives them a little bit of flex

Meggie (22:03):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative> right. So along those lines of, if someone has a property to sell here, I mean, all, it sounds like the process moves much faster in both New Jersey and Westchester than it does in the city. And so knowing that a seller here is typically it’s a strong market for sellers, so they are likely to get an offer quickly, but the process can take up to three months for a close here. So how do you advise for clients who have to sell here? How should they time their search so that they’re in a strong place to buy in your towns? Are sales, contingencies viable? Are they viable if they’re in <laugh> no three. So go ahead. Talk about how you help your buyers who have sales in New York yeah compete in your markets.

Bonnie (22:53):

So we really encourage that. And anyone who’s considering making a move to meet with us as soon as possible, because we really love to, to kind of talk through all of the options. Susie put together this amazing flow chart. That’s like, if it’s a yes, go this way, no this way. And it, it leads you through all of your options for buying and selling simultaneously because it’s incredibly stressful. And some people really wanna line it up. Some people don’t care, some people only wanna move once. Some people are willing to move in with parents for a while. So everybody is a little bit different, but we also speak to you regarding your lender and your fine. And we do have several lenders who are extremely creative and knowledgeable about some options that the buyer may not be aware of. So we always like to discuss that the financing but contingencies are really not really allowed here. No one really wants to accept a contingent offer. And so we’re trying to creatively figure out a way for you to get a house without a contingency. So we’ll help talk through all of those options, whether that means you do need to get under contract in Brooklyn and find a lender who will write you a non-con contingent pre-approval so that you can get a house. Susie, do you wanna add to that?

Susie (24:10):

It’s not impossible to get a house with a contingency, but it’s very difficult. So if there are 10 offers on a house, obviously a contingent, offer’s not gonna be even considered at all. It’ll just like get off the table. But if there are two or three offers on a house and that’s not gonna be very typical in this spring market, but should there be a situation where the buyers are willing to do a lot of work? And so they don’t need a shiny, you know, move in ready house that everyone’s going for. It is possible that we can compensate for the risk that the contingency is presenting for the sellers. We can compensate for it in making everything else stronger. Maybe they have to offer a little bit more. Maybe they have to be more flexible. So again, it’s not impossible, but it is highly improbable that you’ll get a contingent offer accepted <laugh> yeah, yeah.

Bonnie (25:07):

I also wanna add that COMPASS has a bridge loan program. So again, just to speak to the financing, we can talk through all of those options, where if you have some equity in your home in Brooklyn, that you are selling, we can help get you a bridge loan, which can bridge the gap and help you put a down payment and maybe close on home in New Jersey, you know, while you’re waiting for the co-op board stuff to go through. And maybe there’s an overlap of a couple of months, but the bridge program, some bridge programs are only for six months, but COMPASS allows you to hold your bridge loan for up to five years. So it really is a great program and it’s very flexible. So we’re happy to talk through those options as well.

Kori (25:48):

<Affirmative> Yeah, absolutely. And very similar here as well. We do not do contingent offers even in a sellers market. I mean, in buyers market, we have not done contingent offers in Westchester. Bridge loans are amazing about compass offers is great. Getting your lender to give you a non contingent pre-approval’s kind of what you need. I always say if they are go doing the co-op process to wait until it’s been approved before they actually make an offer on something, but it doesn’t mean we can’t educate them on the market and let them see things. It doesn’t mean that they should stay in Brooklyn and wait until that’s done. Let’s get out there. Let’s know the neighborhoods. Let’s get to know the streets, let’s know the inventory. So when they are in, in a position to make an offer, they can pounce on it and they can be a competitive offer in this market.

Kori (26:33):

Yes. You know, if you are contingent on a mortgage, not a home sale, but if you’re contingent on a mortgage, you’re gonna pay a little bit more, but some sellers are motivated by money and some sellers are motivated by comfort. So you know, we try to get to know what the seller wants before we make an offer so that we can make a creative offer if they need to be in their house for time. Maybe we can work on that. So we do what we can to kind of, you know, know what the seller wants. So the buyer can have a great offer. Some sellers just wanna know the buyers are gonna love the house. So every situation is different. And, you know, we have a really great collaborative experience with all the different agents here, whether they’re COMPASS agents or non COMPASS agents.

Kori (27:12):

And we do very well at working with other agents. That’s super important for us cuz these markets as big as they may seem on our map are really small. There’s only a few top agents that kind of do the business this area and we know each other very well. So once we kind of know what everybody wants, we create, you know, we create, we talk to our buyer and we create what we think will be the best package for that seller. And hopefully in a competitive offer, you know, we win the bid. Yeah. And moving fast is important. Getting your lawyer retained in advance is really important. Having your inspector know that you can kind of jump on a dime and get your home inspected. I never, ever a lot of contingencies our sellers, our buyers will remove the inspection. Contingency is not something that we have removed at this point. We may inspect for information only, but between a home inspection and oil tank inspection, a septic inspection, a well. There’s a lot of different things that kind of can go kind of happen within this process. And it’s important to make sure that you’re buying a house that has been well vetted out and that you’re comfortable with. So we, even though the market moves very fast, we never want our clients to feel like they don’t have a little bit of control and they can’t make sure that they’re very comfortable with what they’re buying.

Nigel (28:22):

Kori, I just wanted to tell touch on one thing that you mentioned that, you know, buyers in, in the city don’t really have to think about and that’s septic and well, could you talk a little bit more about what to look for when you’re, when you’re

Kori (28:37):

Absolutely. So the more north you go, the more inspections you’ll have. So just kind of assume that in your thought process, if you’re in a Larchmont, you’re probably just doing a home inspection, the more north you go you’ll have areas that don’t have gas. So you’ll have to do an oil tank inspection if it’s underground. And that would be an additional about $350 oil tank inspections are a big deal. They ruin a lot of deals. To be honest, if they fail once an oil tank inspection fails, the seller is actually responsible. They have what they, they call a spill code. They’re responsible for fixing that failed inspection, whether they choose to do that and continue with your buyer or move on, is up to them. But they do actually have to fix it. And whether that’s pulling it from the ground or tightening the fittings that are in the oil tank or the other myriad of things that can kind of go on, it is up to them to kind of take care of that.

Kori (29:27):

As far as the oil tank goes. Septic, most homes, you know, south of, I would say the Rye area are on sewer, which is municipal sewer. As you go a little bit more north, you get septic. Septic is a system that you control your own waste and that you have to do an inspection to make sure it works well. And I would say about every two years, you just have to flush out your septic system. So it’s not a huge issue. It’s not a problem, but it’s something that definitely needs to be inspected. And then there’s well, well is actually inspected by the seller 10 days prior to when you close but you’re in charge of your own water versus being on municipal water. So having a trusted local agent that kind of knows these things versus just Googling them and kind of, it’s kind of like Googling when you have a sore throat and it could be a million different things. <Laugh> that here too. Don’t Google it. Just talk to your agent and trust that they know what they’re talking about, cuz they do. And we have well, it out resources for people to inspect or to check or to fix all of these things. So that’s another important thing here. If things need work, there’s local contractors. It’s very important here to work with people that are local. So they know the town codes and the audiences. So everything is done the right way.

Bonnie (30:38):

I think it’s an important point that you make that people work with an agent who actually know what they’re talking about. And I think it’s easy coming from the city to just Google somebody or find a name of somebody. And you may end up with a Hoboken or Jersey city agent. Who’s willing to drive out to the Western suburbs of New Jersey, where they might have septic tanks and Wells and things like that. And they, they can’t really advise you on certain vendors to use and inspectors. And so it’s important to choose the right a good, a good agent. It really is important. So that’s part of the reason we’re doing this call is that we would love to help any Brooklyn buyer or New York city buyer who is looking in New Jersey and Susie and I are very good about referring people out. If we are not experts in the area you’re looking in, it’s really vital that we have strong relationships, one with our colleagues who are selling homes, because it really does matter which agent is presenting the deal. And then along with getting you to the closing table, through the inspections and making sure you, you don’t forget to do an oil tank inspection or, or what have you. So it really is a good point to make that it does matter. <Laugh> who your agent is.

Kori (31:51):

Important on that they really want you to kind of sell what you know, and they really want you to refer out what you don’t. And I think we have so many great agents in every big market and actually in all markets. So if we don’t know a certain area, we have so many agents that do know that area and I agree you don’t, you only sell what you know and what you’re an expert in. And that’s what benefits your buyer.

Bonnie (32:12):


Susie (32:12):

I just wanna mention, since you talked about oil tanks, Bonnie and I have had way more than our share of oil tank issues in the past few years and in our area, you, we absolutely would not advise a client to buy home with an underground oil tank, even if it’s operational and not failing. So, you know, it definitely is different area by area. And you know, we have all the resources like Kori said, you gotta have an agent actually, who is is deep enough into the market that they have trusted vendors to call on. And in this market right now, when all of the vendors are so busy, doing so much work, all the contractors are incredibly busy. Just getting them to return a phone call is like pulling teeth. You have to work with who have connections who, you know, matters. And you know, we always say like, when we call a chimney inspector, cuz they’re so crazy right now, especially in the winter, they’re so busy just doing work. When we call our vendors, they come running cuz we give them enough business and they trust us and they like us and we’re nice to them. So it’s important who you are work with. Cause

Kori (33:20):

Because it helps with the piece of the deal. And that’s kind of ultimately the seller wants, you know, somebody that’s gonna kind of move quickly and be able to, you know, get the deal to fruition and get into contract and sell. So right. Having those connections really could win or lose a deal for a buyer.

Meggie (33:35):

Absolutely. Wow. Well, oil tanks make looking for parking sound like a breeze. So I don’t know.

Susie (33:44):

Oil tank is a one time thing though.

Meggie (33:46):

Parking is every day,

Bonnie (33:49):

Parking does not compare

Nigel (33:52):

Is propane a thing up there or is it just mainly oil?

Kori (33:56):

It is. When you’re on oil and you want your cooking to be like a gas fired cooking, then you’ll do it on propane. Also, if you have a pool, if you’re on oil and you have a pool, you want the propane to you know, warm the pool. So a lot of times we’ll have, we’ll only propane tends to be expensive. So you’ll only have propane, if you have oil and it’s an additional supplement. If a street has gas, the buyers will go for gas. There’s been a gas moratorium in Westchester now for over two years. So that’s kind of been our issue. So we’ve seen a lot of people do these like hybrid, like we’re propane right now, but once the gas moratorium gets lifted, we’re gonna kind of convert back over. So that’s what, you know, new construction, people who have current properties maybe need more gas and the Westchester’s not allowing more gas at this time. They’ll kind of set it up like that. So that once the moratoriums up, we can get more gas in the area.

Bonnie (34:53):


Meggie (34:54):

So interesting. Yeah. Yeah. <Laugh>

Nigel (34:57):

Well, there’s, I think there’s one more big piece to the puzzle that everybody considers when and that’s commute. What’s commute like to Jersey and Westchester?

Meggie (35:09):

And what service lines do you use?

Bonnie (35:15):

So in New Jersey, Susie and I primarily service the Midtown direct train line. And that generally, if you get an express train from south orange, for example, that can be 30 minutes door to door from to Penn station. So other towns, you might access the bus and you could take a bus into Newark and then get on a different train or you can take a bus straight into port authority. Some people do drive to some train stations that are further away because they have more parking and they’ll do like a park and ride situation. But in general, I would say anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, hour and a half, depending on how well the train is running and where you park. A lot of the towns we serve do have jitneys that are like little school buses that go around the neighborhoods, pick you up during commuter hours and take you to the train station. So you don’t have to worry about parking. And then you’re looking at the time it takes you to get to Penn station. And then again, the time it takes you to get to your office. So all in all, I would factor in a good, a solid hour, probably to an hour and a half to get door to door to your office.

Speaker 4 (36:29):

For us, we do, we’re train. We’re the Metro north. So we have a bunch of different lines, the New Haven line, the Hudson line, the Harlem line I would say the closest train is probably the quickest train is about 24 minutes. And probably the longest train that I service would be an actual, you know, 50 minute train ride, getting to the train could be anywhere from two minutes to 15 minutes, depending on where you live. So your commute can anywhere be from 40 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes door to door from your house. Due to COVID, we are not back on those express times, but usually in the normal train times, you’ll get, you know, 3, 4, 5 trains per hour. So maybe every, some trains like big hubs, like white planes will be every three minutes. And then maybe like a typical Rye train will be every 20 minutes and you’ll get three an hour and they’ll, they’ll be expressed during the morning and afternoon commute times the first train out, my husband actually goes on the first train out, which is a 4:54 train am.

Bonnie (37:31):

Oh my gosh. Oh man.

Kori (37:33):

So that’s usually the first train first express train out. And then they kind of go from there. But it’s, it’s really nice to train by us. It’s a social hour. You kind of chat with your neighbors. You sit, you know, in train cars, everybody says, go and train car three and they talk. And you know, some, there’s some people that wanna watch their Netflix and not listen to anybody. And there’s other ones where they’ll chit chat with, you know, the, you know, the husbands, the wives combinations, whatever it is. So it’s actually a social hour for some people, some people get work, done, some socialize either way it, it seems to be a nice wind down. So when you’re ready to get home, you’re kind of wound down and you’re ready to kind of tackle your family and everything <laugh>

Bonnie (38:12):

When you get in the door or have them tackle you. <Laugh> exactly, exactly. Yeah. One thing my husband thought was funny when we moved out here as is you could get a train beer. So at Penn station, you know, they’ll fill up a beer with a straw, which seems so gross to me. But you know, you can just have your beer on the way home, you can also get your work done.

Susie (38:32):

It’s happy hour.

Bonnie (38:33):

Yeah. And, and generally you get a seat on the train, so it’s a little different than commuting via subway because you can get your train beer, <laugh> take a seat, get some work done, or talk to your friends or whatever. So it’s a little, little more chill than, than a subway commute.

Kori (38:47):

And it’s a great way to meet people. You know, before I was in real estate, I was in ad sales for 15 years and I commuted into Midtown and I met a lot of my friends that I, you know, we’re friends with now on the train. So it, it really can pose to be a way to get to know people also, you know, instead of meeting somebody for a drink, you know, you’ll meet them in the train. And a lot of our train stations have restaurants. Once you get off the train. So whether you’re gonna meet there for dinner or meet your family, or have a drink, or maybe just do a pick a to go up at and kind of go back to your house. A lot of the train stations here have restaurants that are in the station that have really great food.

Nigel (39:22):

It sounds like not only can you have great food and beer, but you could also possibly shorten your commute if you’re in a town that’s 20 minutes away.

Meggie (39:29):

Yeah, yeah. As opposed to Brooklyn commute. <Laugh> yeah. Yeah. Well, we went through our list of questions. So thank you. All this was hugely informative. I know. I learned a lot and feel better equipped to prepare and advise our clients mainly by saying call Bonnie, Susie and Kori <laugh>. But yeah, is there anything else you’d like to mention before we wrap this up?

Susie (39:55):

I’ll just echo what Bonnie was saying that if we don’t serve the part of New Jersey that you’re looking at, we absolutely will find you the right COMPASS agent wherever you are. We are all over New Jersey now. So just be assured that if you contact us about any part of New Jersey, we’ll be able to help you one way or the other.

Bonnie (40:16):

Yeah. And just to add to that, it is, we have started spring market basically here. I know it’s only January, but right. The buyer here we are, the buyers are queued up. We are still waiting for inventory, but if you have any inkling of considering a move this spring this summer now is the time. I’m sure it’s the same for Westchester, but now is the time to, to reach out, get your ducks in a row. We’re happy to refer you to lenders and just get those conversations going, happy to give you tours, show you some homes, just so that you are when you find the house and when you are ready, you are ready to go. It is, it is very important that you have all your ducks in a row so that you can compete with the masses. Yeah. So we’re always happy to answer questions.

Susie (41:01):

I think Kori will echo this as well, but it’s not gonna get easier. So if we hear from buyers all the time, is the market going to slow down? Is it going to shift anytime soon? No. So, I mean, we don’t have a crystal ball, but there’s no indication that we are gonna shift suddenly into a buyer’s market anytime soon. So if you wanna move in the next five years, please start sooner rather than later, <laugh>

Kori (41:31):

Especially while the rates are low. Yeah.

Meggie (41:37):

Were you going to add something, Kori?

New Speaker (41:37):

Yeah. Half a point on a mortgage, you know, makes a really big difference if somebody’s loaning, you know, borrowing 80%. So that’s why the market is so busy right now. Why there’s so many buyers cuz they recognize that. And a lot of people say, well, I wanna weed out the market. I wanna wait a year or two. Well, if the rates go to 3.75, and the prices here are maybe 15% higher on a monthly basis, it’s still gonna be cheaper to buy now and maybe pay another 30 or 40,000 more than the asking price for a house than to wait a few years or to rent and kind of waste your money renting for three years when you come back into the market.

Kori (42:10):

So don’t be intimidated that you feel like you’re paying more than the asking price. A lot of the strategies of the selling agents here is to price a load, to create a demand. So I always say, ask your agent how it’s priced. Don’t look at the number and be, get stuck on that. If it’s a $900,000 price tag and it really is a one, one house don’t get stuck on bidding 9 25, if it’s a one one, and that’s what the support bid, what you think it needs to be to kind of get the house. So it’s important to kind of have those conversations and you know, it’s great to look on the collections or on Zillow where everybody’s looking, but the agents kind of know the, the market and things look different that sold in 2021, my clients would say, oh, but this price was this. I’m like, but that’s on the highway. And that one has, you know, a cemetery in the background and it has that. So it’s important to know if something looks like it was underpriced, it’s underpriced for a reason and it’s important to have those conversations.

Susie (43:06):


Meggie (43:08):

Well, thanks everyone.

Bonnie (43:09):

Thank you, Nigel and Maggie for giving us the opportunity to talk about our areas and we just would appreciate any and all referrals and we love bouncing ideas and talking shop with you guys. It’s always fun.

Kori (43:23):

And next time we get to ask the questions about Brooklyn. <Laugh> right.

Meggie (43:28):

We’re ready. We’re ready. We’re ready.

Meggie: (43:27)
We’re ready. We’re ready. We’re ready.

Nigel: (43:30)
Always a pleasure.

Kori: (43:30)
Thank you, all.

Susie: (43:32)
Thank you guys.

Bonnie: (43:33)
Thank you guys. Goodnight!

Related Posts

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.