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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?

Groundhog’s Forecast for NJ

Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, is about 300 miles west of Union County and is the home of Punxsutawney Phil. Phil was burrowed inside his heated simulated tree trunk this morning when he was rudely awakened and pulled out into the limelight where crowds had gathered to hear his prognostications about the future of local weather.

Groundhog Day is the midpoint between the Winter Solstice, December 21, and the Spring Equinox, March 21. Early Christians called this day Candlemas Day and people would light blessed candles in their windows to ward off the darkness of winter. 

Fair weather on Groundhog Day, so that a groundhog could see its shadow, is a warning of a stormy second half of the winter. 

Clymer H. Freas was the city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper in 1887. He was inspired by a group of local hunters who held a groundhog hunt every year and created the story of Punxsatawney Phil being an official weather forecaster. If Phil sees his shadow, the story goes, he snuggles back into his burrow for six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow he foretells an early spring.

So what does Phil say?

Punxsatawney Phil did indeed see his shadow today, so the groundhog’s prediction is 6 more weeks of winter! Don’t put away your shovels and scarves just yet!

 

Last Year’s Results

Buying Super Bowl Tickets

Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford will be the site of this year’s Super Bowl and all of New Jersey is abuzz. Our Giants and our Jets have let us down….again…..but we’re still excited about hosting the big game and all of the hoopla that surrounds it.

If you’re still looking to buy tickets, they start at $3000 and get as high as $15,000 per seat (50 yard line, 1st level) with minimal availability on Ticketmaster. On StubHub, there are seats as low as $2500 and go up to $970,000 (Commissioner’s Club Suite, row 2). Those are prices as of today, January 11th but StubHub predicts that prices are most likely to go down as kickoff gets closer.

The teams that will be playing in the Super Bowl may influence price as we get closer to the game. If the Patriots get in, lots of New England fans may flood the New York/New Jersey area demanding tickets and prices could go up fast.

The weather may have an impact as well. This year’s Super Bowl is the first outdoor cold weather Super Bowl and a blizzard or cold spell could keep fans away.

With prices like these, can the average person afford to attend the Super Bowl? One man from New Brunswick, Josh Finkelman, is suing the NFL, claiming that the ticket price is unfair to the public. Finkelman claims that the NFL is guilty of price gouging since only 1% of the available seats are being sold to the general public at face value – that’s about 8000 seats. Low supply drives up prices, he claims.

What do you think? Would you spend a month’s mortgage, or a year’s mortgage, on tickets to see the Super Bowl in person, or are you happier in your climate controlled living room?

 

Super Bowl Preparations in NJ

Getting to the Super Bowl

Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Union County!

Fun Facts you might not know about Union County:

  • Union County is the 7th most populous county in NJ.
  • The per capita income of Union County is the 119th highest in the Country and the 8th highest in the State.
  • Union County pays the second highest property taxes of all US counties.
  • Union County is the 15th most densely populated county in the US and 3rd densest in NJ.
  • Union County is governed by an elected 9 member Board of Chosen Freeholders who serve 3 year terms.
  • The Union County seal is the only seal in the US that depicts the murder of a woman.
  • The commute from Union County to New York City is an easy one.

 

 

When you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Union County, call us!

What’s going on in the Springfield, NJ Real Estate Market?

The Township of Springfield, NJ, is home to nearly 16,000 people and is the home of Baltrusol Golf Club. It is also the location of the Battle of Springfield which was the last battle of the Revolutionary War.

 

Homes in Springfield are selling more quickly now as compared to last year. The average home that sold in Springfield in November sold after only 51 days, much faster than the 111 days it took to sell a home a year ago. 

 

 

 

Prices in Springfield are also rising. The average home that sold in Springfield in November sold for $389,931, compared to an average price of $366,856 in 2012.

 

 

 

There are currently 78 homes offered for sale. This is the lowest inventory Springfield has held for over 2 years. Sales continue to be brisk with 16 homes sold in November compared to 12 in October and an average of 16 per month over the summer. To see a complete list of all homes offered for sale in Springfield, NJ, please click here.

 

 

f you have a home in Springfield that you’d like to sell, contact us for a free comparative market analysis!

 

For more information on Springfield, NJ:

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