Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Brookside Finale

The Rascals brought one of the largest crowds in years to Bloomfield's Brookside Park for the last concert of the season..

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Housing Market At A Glance

For an insight into the changing NJ Real Estate market, a look at one of Jeffery Otteau's charts can be illuminating. This one compares overall sales contracts from the past 3 years. His accompanying report is provided by the Otteau Appraisal Group who also authors a series of widely followed quarterly market reports on the New Jersey real estate market. This information is collected from various sources including NJ Boards of Realtors and Multiple Listing Systems.
It's summarized on Jonathan J. Miller's informative Matrix blog.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What's Your Walk Score?

From TreeHugger.com:
Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. It calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.

Note: All listings come directly from Google. Business owners can easily add updates.

So how walkable is it where you live? Walk Score "uses a patent-pending algorithm to calculate the walkability of an address based on:
* The distance to walkable locations near an address.
* Calculating a score for each of these locations.
* Combining these scores into one easy to read Walk Score."

You type in your address and it puts it on a Google map and gives it a score. 70 to 90 is very walkable; 90 to a hundred is a walker's paradise.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Nothing Fails Like Success

Success magazine—re-launched just over a year ago by a group of private investors based in Tampa, shut down its operations this week, according to Publisher Joseph Guerriero, marking the third time the magazine brand has failed. (Success has had two other owners over the course of its history.)
Guerriero said the move "really did come as a shock."

"The past owners... own the [magazine's] assets and the debts, so 100 years of Success belong to them," Guerriero says.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Don't Trash Those Trailers!" Says NJ Court

From The Star-Ledger:
An appeals court today rejected an effort by Lodi officials to force two private trailer parks to move and replace them with upscale housing and shops.

Trailer park residents and their supporters today described their plight as a David-and-Goliath struggle with a better-financed adversary. Others said that the ruling will help save a communal way of life that is quickly vanishing in North Jersey. They said the parks represent a rare affordable housing option in costly Bergen County. How affordable? Take a look.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I've Got Some Great Florida Swampland to Sell You...

Were just kidding about the swamps. You can find those right here in town.
You may have heard that the Florida real estate market is in much worse shape then here in NJ.
So a few agents from the Sunshine State have decided to arrange an old fashioned land auction on August 11th at this Secaucus location to make it easy to invest in the southland.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A County Fair Atop Garret Mt

The 2007 Passaic County Fair will be held from July 18th to July 22nd (Wednesday through Sunday) in Garret Mountain Reservation, West Paterson, New Jersey. The fourth annual Passaic County Fair presents the opportunity for the county's sixteen municipalities to come together, along with their varied cultures and ethnicity, to celebrate their rich diversity, traditions and history in cooperation with the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. While you're there, you can also hike the trails and check out the headwaters of The Third River.

This years expanded fair includes eating contests, police & fire demos, hand made crafts, carnival rides, dance performances and a music stage with a variety of bands and dance performances.

Dates & Hours
July 18th –- 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM
July 19th -- 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM
July 20th –- 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM
July 21st –-12:00 noon to 11:00 PM
July 22nd–- 12:00 noon to 8:00 PM

Parking: $4.00 per vehicle
Includes free Shuttle and free admission to fairgrounds

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Today the Music Dies?

If new music royalty policies are enforced as promised, this Sunday may be remembered as the day most Internet music sources dried up. Many of the most popular "free" music sites like Rhapsody, Pandora and Live365 say they cannot afford to pay the additional fees. But news late Friday from Wired suggests that a compromise plan may save some of the sites.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bloomfield and Sopranos Connections to Sharpe James Case

We're only up to Season 4 in our studies, so this episode really struck home with it's parallels to the house "flipping" sections of James' indictment.
Then there was this story in The NY Times describing unnamed Bloomfield businesses that may have been connected to the alleged scam. We we know at least one of them -- and it's not Holstens.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Eco Real Dreams Out West

From the Eco-discussion group on CraigsList yesterday:
Seeking others to co-own eco-property < AnArKey > 07/10 17:36:32

Seeking 3-4 individuals/couples/families to co-own a piece of property. Will be looking at 2-5 acres, $75-$125k sale, split equally between all parties. Plan for off-grid, eco-friendly homes. Ideally, cob or strawbale. We'd all help each other build our homes.

Property will be within 30 minutes from major town or city, probably "up in the woods."

Basically form a tiny eco-village of sorts. I'm sure in Portland there's got to be a few other people who dream of living in a simple hand built cob cottage in the forest, but like me, lack the money to buy property with cash. You probably also tried to get a loan on such a property, which the banks won't do. If several of us work together, we buy with cash, leave the government and banks out of the whole thing, and live a simple, enjoyable life.

I have been to a few eco-villages, and it's amazing to see the genuine happiness of spirit of people who live simply, cheaply, and don't spend all their time working (like all us city dwellers). Reply if interested.

[A Reply]:
Grid tied makes way more sense < juangrande > 07/10 18:35:43

Great concept, something I have contemplated for some time. There are problem with strangers and joint ownership. hell even friends can make bad neighbors. One of my best friends for 30 years is a person I would never live with. I would suggest joint ownership of adjoinig parcels. Also, when you buy a single parcel zoning may only allow one structure for living.

How about a master structure for communal living, eating, cooking and having "sheds" for sleeping. Good way around zoning issues.
(How about looking even further west?)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Do It Yourself School Ranking Kit

Realtors are continually being asked to evaluate local schools or suggest where the best schools are located. We're legally not allowed to venture an opinion on the subject lest we be accused of steering buyers to one neighborhood over another. We can point to links that make it easy to research school quality in many different areas.
NJ Monthly has a good site for simple countywide & statewide rankings. More detailed stats can be found in The Star Ledger's annual school Report Card. The gold standard for detailed info is the NJ Department of Education website.
Slightly different criteria may result in different conclusions from each source.
Make sure that the year covered is the latest available. (Currently, it's the 2005-06 year)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New U.S. Guidelines Curb Risky Home Loans

It won't mean the end to no-income verification or high-risk mortgages for subprime homebuyers, but new guidance from federal financial regulators will almost certainly cut their availability sharply.

In a long-awaited policy statement on loans to borrowers with imperfect credit histories, federal financial regulators a week advised banks, credit unions and their mortgage subsidiaries to verify income, assets and employment on all loans except in special cases where borrowers could demonstrate substantial financial reserves.

More from ">The Baltimore Sun:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Cutting Edge of Recycling at Montclair High

Montclair High School students, participating in a community service project, have discovered an important way to impact the environment and save money for the town.

The 12 MHS students are working under the auspices of Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), a free academic tutorial and leadership training program of IMPACT Community Development Corporation. In the YLI program, students receive tutoring and other leadership development skills.

YLI students chose, as their community service project, to investigate trash that is currently generated by MHS. They found that 98 percent of the trash at the school is recyclable, with 70 percent being bond paper, 15 percent being newspaper and 8 percent other recyclables.

YLI students conducted a garbage audit at the Department of Public Works (DPW), involving their hands-on analysis of several bags of garbage to see how much of the material could be recycled. They also met with Craig Brandon, Montclair Township’s Recycling Coordinator, and learned that the Town of Montclair could gain a cost savings per year that could be used to fund other departments, such as the DPW or to benefit community and school related activities.
“It was surprising that high school students were interested in recycling,” Brandon said. “What impressed me most was that they did a garbage audit—cutting open the bags, sifting through the

Lucia Crossley, Executive Director of the YLI, explained that the free program is currently funded through a state grant. “If we would put a cost on the program, it would be valued at $3,000.00 for the year per student—and that doesn’t include the value of the computer lab.” With a wait list already filling up for the 2007-2008 school year, previous YLI students are excited about continuing to participate in the program—even during the summer months.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Digital Home Makeover

We don't blow our horn very much around here but our ranch listing in Wayne is about to make its national cable network debut tonight. It's being featured as a subject for a digital makeover on the show" Hidden Potential" aired at 9:30PM on the Home and Garden Network(HGTV). 3-D computer technology is utilized to show what can be done with TLC type houses.