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Discrimination in Housing

There are three different laws that protect people from discrimination in real estate transactions including buying and selling property, borrowing and lending money, and the people involved in the transactions.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is a federal law. It states that discrimination against people because of their race or color is illegal. There are no exceptions to this law and it applies to all properties and all transactions of property. It is enforced by Federal Court.

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in residential real estate only but it extends the definition of the protected classes to include race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and mental or physical handicap.

  • With regard to handicap, it is unlawful to refuse to permit a handicapped person to make reasonable modifications to an existing property if the modifications are necessary for the handicapped person to use and enjoy the property. Common areas of a multifamily dwelling must be readily accessible to the handicapped person as well.
  • Housing for older persons is exempt from the protected class of familial status. Housing that is specifically designed to assist elderly persons and at least 80% of the units are occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older is exempt if there are published policies which state that the housing is intended for persons 55 years of age or older.
  • Advertising the indicates a limitation or even a preference based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or mental or physical handicap is prohibited.
  • The Federal Fair Housing Act is enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and complains must be filed within 1 year of the alleged violation.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was passed in 1945 and applies to all real property. It extends the list of protected classes to include race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, sex, gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, disability, nationality, and source of lawful income. It is enforced by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

 

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Liberty Hall

20140710_124224Liberty Hall was a 14 room Georgian style home when it was first built in 1772 by William Livingston, a lawyer who became a member of the First and Second Continental Congress and later the first Governor of New Jersey. Livingston’s gardens and orchards are still intact and can be toured year round.

Many famous visitors spent time in Liberty Hall including Alexander Hamilton, and George and Martha Washington. Peter Kean purchased the house in 1811 for his mother who was a niece of William Livingston. The Kean family owned the house for several generations during which time they modified the home to make it a 50 room Victorian Italianate mansion. 20140710_123537They also added running water, gas lighting, and hot-air heating. Mary Alice Kean spearheaded the restoration of Liberty Hall in the 1940s.

Liberty Hall is located on the corner of Morris and North Avenues on the Liberty Hall Campus of Kean University. Liberty Hall is  and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. The collection includes furniture, clothing, manuscripts, pictures and other historical artifacts including a signed letter from George Washington and an invitation to Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

There is a farmers market at Liberty Hall every Thursday this summer from 12-7 until October 30th.


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Springfield Real Estate Market Report – June 2014

When you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in Springfield, a necessary first step is to understand the local market conditions. Here’s what you need to know this month:

Inventory: There are currently 115 homes offered for sale in Springfield. They range in price from $119,000 to $1,235,000.  This is the highest inventory held in Springfield in about 2 years after a very low inventory winter. The summer market should clear out some of those homes.

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Prices:  The average sale price in Springfield in June was $347,879 and the average sale price over the past 12 months was $375,612. With inventory up, prices often drop.

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What does this mean to you?

Homeowners who are considering selling their home must be sure that it is in perfect showing condition. Be sure to consult a Real Estate professional for a Comparative Market Analysis that will help you to price your home competitively.

Please click here for this month’s infographic.

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If you have a home in Springfield that you’d like to sell, contact us for a free comparative market analysis! If you’re thinking of buying a home in Springfield, click here to search available homes.

For more information on selling your home:

For more information on Springfield, NJ:

A Tour of NJ for Out-Of-Staters

When our out of state friends come to visit, we try to show them the great things about New Jersey. We’re hoping to dispel the stereotypes about NJ and spray on tans and the Jersey attitude. We have already proven that the Joisey accent is just fine by us, but there’s more to NJ Pride than that.

So here’s what we propose as a 24 hour tour of New Jersey for out of staters.Image

Start the day with breakfast at a NJ diner. I suggest taylor ham, egg, and cheese on a bagel. What could be more quintessentially New Jersey than that – and no one does a bagel like NJ diners do bagels.Image

After breakfast, take a morning trip down the shore. “Down the shore” is what we Jerseyans call “going to the beach.” Our beautiful beaches are spectacular any time of year and any time of day, and out-of-staters who are treated to a sunrise over the ocean won’t soon forget it.

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For lunch, have a slice of pizza. New Jerseyans who have lived out of state know that Jersey pizza is unmatched elsewhere.

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A road trip to the Pine Barrens quickly dispels the myth that Jersey is all industry.

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Follow it up with a trip to the south or west where we hide all our farms – we are the “Garden State,” dontcha know.

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There is no end to the fine dining available in New Jersey for dinner. 

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End your New Jersey day with a show – try NJPAC or the PNC Bank Arts Center – or a sports event – try NFL football at Giants Stadium, NHL hockey at the Prudential Rock Center in Newark, or try minor league baseball with the Jersey Jackals in Montclair.

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If that doesn’t convince your out of state visitors that NJ is the place to be, then nothing will!

Will you be affected by the postponement of the Homestead Property Tax Relief?

 Are you one of the 1.6 million people who qualify for the New Jersey Homestead Property Relief Program?

  • Seniors and disabled residents receive, on average, $516 in property tax relief.
  • Resident homeowners earning less than $75,000 receive $402 in relief.

Do you pay more than the statewide average in property taxes?

  • The average is $8000.
  • Governor Christie passed a law nearly 4 years ago preventing property taxes from increasing more than 2% in any given year.

Why is the Relief being postponed?

  • The program costs the State $375 million per year.
  • The Governor’s reduced budget plan needs to slash that $375 million to close the gap between expenses and income.

What other budget items are being cut?

  • The State is cutting its contribution to the public employee pension system by $1.57 billion dollars, despite having agreed to increase pension fund contributions as recently as 2011.
  • Another $160 million will be cut from departmental spending and $15 million will be cut from NJ Transit funding.

 

NJ Flower and Garden Show Feb 13-16

The 12th Annual New Jersey Flower and Garden Show will be held at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison on February 13th through 16th.

There will be dozens of top local landscaping companies showcasing how they would design a backyard in New Jersey and the professionals will be available for consultation. 

 

 

The beautiful display gardens will inspire you to begin planning your own garden for the spring. There are seminars to attend and a Great Garden Marketplace to begin your preparations. 

 

The Garden Club of New Jersey hosts a Standard Flower Show which is incredible. There is also a Container Challenge that isn’t unlike the Iron Chef cooking television competition.

On the last day of the show, from 5 to 6 pm, selected plant materials and garden accessories will be offered for sale from the show.

If you’ve never been to the show, it’s incredibly fun. These photos are from last year’s show. Buy your tickets here.

6 Romantic Getaways for Valentine’s Day

Planning a little something extra special for Valentine’s Day? Here are 6 weekend getaways within 100 miles of Union County.

Atlantic City and Mystic, Connecticut

If your idea of a romantic getaway includes casinos and nightlife, Atlantic City or Mystic might be for you.

Atlantic City boasts casinos like the Trump Taj Mahal, Harrah’s, Caesars, and the Borgata as well as exotic shows every evening. Visitors can take advantage of a host of amenities from a seashell massage to upscale dining to outlet shopping. There are dozens of hotels along the waterfront and even more B&B’s to choose from.

Mystic is only an hour or two away and is a well-known visitors spot because of the beautiful Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium. There are several dozen B&B’s and hotels in the area and two major casinos – Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun – are within a 30 minute drive.  Performances, fine dining and shopping are some of the biggest attractions.

       

Poconos

The Poconos has long been a favorite for romantic getaways. Featuring 150 lakes, dozens of B&Bs and hotels, and beautiful scenery, the Poconos is also famous for its quaint historical towns. Skiiers and winter sports enthusiasts will find plenty to do, as will the fireplace snugglers.

Hudson Valley 

The wineries of the Hudson Valley are a great getaway. There are 25 wineries, each offering tastings all day. Skiiers and winter sports enthusiasts will love it here, as will hikers and antique lovers. There are dozens of hotels and B&Bs to choose from and many wonderful restaurants.

Cape May

Cape May is the Nation’s oldest seashore resort and is famous for its lovely homes and charming B&Bs. If you love quaint towns, antiquing, and luxurious spas, this may be the weekend for you. There are dining and hotel/B&B specials for Valentine’s Day. Some visitors are lured by the ghost tours as Cape May claims to be one of the most haunted places in NJ.

New Hope

Just over the Delaware River is beautiful New Hope, PA, an artsy village surrounded by rolling hills and giant forests. Fun shopping in local craft galleries and cute shops, great dining, and charming hotels are all within a 2 hours drive.

 

Valentine’s Day with your sweetie within 100 miles of home – what more could a Jersey Girl ask for?

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