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Archive for April, 2012

Dear TZ – Should I be afraid of the Shadow Inventory?

Dear TZ,

I keep hearing about something called a shadow inventory. What is it? How does it impact me and my home?

Thanks,

Homeowner Harry

 

Dear Harry,

Shadow inventory…  Almost sounds scary, like it’s lurking in the forest waiting to jump out at you.

Very simply there have been homes that have been foreclosed that are now bank owned properties.  Much of that inventory is not yet on the market, hence it’s in the shadows.  The amount of inventory is not measured in houses, it’s measured in months, meaning that if no new houses come on the market, how long will it take to empty the shadow inventory at the current rate of sales.

Let’s say you live in Washington State, where there are only 4 months of shadow inventory.  Well the news there is good.  Those homes should sell and not bog the market down due to all the new inventory that it’s creating.

We happen to live in New Jersey, which currently has the greatest shadow inventory – a 65 month supply.  Yes, you read that right!  If no other homes come on the market it will take 5 years and 5 months to clear out the inventory.  Sounds like New Jersey will have a rough time.   In truth parts of the state will, while other areas won’t be affected as badly.  For example, Newark will be hit much harder than let’s say Westfield or Summit.  Towns surrounding the hardest hit urban areas will more likely feel the effect of the shadow inventory more than an upscale suburb will.

So while New Jersey has the largest shadow inventory, New York is a distant second with 41 months of shadow inventory.  In fact other than New

File:Hot Air Balloon Shadow.jpg

Mexico, Louisiana, Florida and North Dakota the states with the most shadow inventory are all in the Northeast.  This is largely due to the fact that many of these are legislative states where foreclosures must go through the courts, thus further slowing down the process long enough for significant inventory to accumulate.

So what does it all mean?  Well if you’re in a state with a higher shadow inventory and you might want to sell, do it now, because prices will continue to fall until the demand is larger than the supply.  If you’re going to buy you may “pay less” by waiting, but if interest rates rise, they way the experts are predicting, but your monthly payments will probably be higher than if you were to buy now.

Good luck!

– TZ

 

Please note that all information is reliable but not guaranteed.  Please consult with your Real Estate professional before making any Real Estate decisions.

Wayne and Jean 

What to do in the Garden this week – April 22

What to do in the Garden this week – How’s your garden growing? We’ve had a dry few weeks, ending with buckets of rain this weekend, preventing us from getting much done outdoors. Here’s what’s on our to-do list this week:

  • Begin spraying vulnerable roses  
  • Plant herbs in pots or directly into the ground  
  • Start sowing salad crops at 3 or 4 week intervals all summer so that you always have some to harvest
  • Sow seeds of: spinach, radish, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts
  • Mow lawns regularly
  • Treat problem weeds with weed killer
  • Tidy up hedges
  • Rake out dead grass from lawns
  • Sow hardy annual flowers seeds of hardy annual flowers directly into beds

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What to do in the Garden this weekend!

Good news! This weekend is the day that Burpee says is the average date of last frost here in Union County, NJ! That doesn’t mean, of course, that we’re out of the woods yet, but odds are that your plants will be fine outside now. Plants may need to be covered if a frost is forecast, so pay attention to the weatherman for at least another few weeks!

What can you plant in the garden? This week, it’s safe to directly sow the following seeds into the ground:

  • arugula
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • broccoli raab
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • endive
  • kale
  • leeks
  • onions
  • peas
  • salad greens
  • spinach
  • radish
  • turnips

If you want to grow eggplant, tomatoes, or peppers this year, it’s time to start the seeeds indoors if you haven’t already. It’s also time to get the planting beds ready for those vegetables!

Happy Gardening!

Crazy lawn mowers

Getting sick of mowing your lawn yet? Do you need a new lawn mower? As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and here are 2 inventions we love:

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This reel mower has been adapted to a ride-on mower. Environmentally friendly, quiet, and fun!

 

 

File:RoboFlail remote-controlled mower.jpg

 

A remote control lawn mower – sit

in the shade, drink your iced tea, and let the toy do all the work!

 

 

 

 

What’s your great lawn mower invention?

Choosing a Lawn Mower

Spring has sprung, and so have the weeds! It’s definitely time to decide how you’re going to handle the lawn this year – hire help or do it yourself.

If you’re of the DIY mind, then here are things to consider before you purchase a new mower:File:Sekačka na hřišti.jpg

–         How big is your lawn? Larger lawns take longer to mow, obviously, and you’ll want a sturdier lawn mower that’s easier to use.  Very expansive lawns will probably require a ride-on mower

–         How long will the mower last? If you’re planning on staying in the same property for more than a year or two, you want a mower to last. But if you’re trading up, you might need a bigger one when you do, and if you’re trading down, you might need a smaller one or none at all.

–         What kind of maintenance will the mower require? Do you have the mechanical abilities to perform routine maintenance on the type of machine you’re planning on buying, or will you need a reliable repair shop.

Lawn Mower–         Is your lawn level or on a slope? You’ll probably want a self-propelled mower if there’s a slope.

Types of Mowers:

–         A reel mower (the kind my father used to have) are environmentally friendly, quiet, inexpensive, and take the place of going to the gym whenever you mow the lawn! They typically run about $150.

–         Push-behind mowers require a little effort and therefore are great for small flat lawns. They don’t break down often and are available for about $150.

–         Electric mowers require an electric cord which means they’re super easy to start and are quieter and more environmentally friendly than gas mowers. They’re also not as sturdy and you’ll need to mow more often. Some people find mowing the lawn with the electric cord challenging. Electric mowers sell for around $200.

–         Self-propelled mowers are easier to use on large or sloped lawns. They all have control levers so that they turn off if you let go, preventing you from accidentally running over your neighbor’s tulips. Self propelled mowers will cost about $700.

–         Ride-on mowers come in various sizes depending on the size of the blade. Longer blades mean you cut more grass at a time and are great for larger lawns. Ride-on mowers come in gas and electric and cost upwards of $1500 and as much as $10,000.

A Greener Clean

Interested in a greener clean? A little concerned about the health effects of the chemicals that companies are trying to convince you to buy? Here are some environmentally safe products you can use to clean your home without worrying about dangerous chemicals or smells.Cleaning Products

Green cleaning starts with two basic household substances – baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda can be used to clean, deodorize, and scout. Vinegar is great for cutting grease, removing mildew, and deodorizing.

Combining these two can be used to clean your whole home. A great all purpose cleaner can be made from mixing ½ cup vinegar with ¼ cup baking soda and ½ gallon of water. I keep mine in a spray bottle on the kitchen counter.

For special areas of the house, try these mixtures:

  • vinyl or linoleum floor cleaner – 1 cup vinegar in 1 gallon of water and 2-3 drops of baby oil
  • wood floor cleaner – 1 cup vegetable oil plus 1 cup vinegar
  • carpet cleaner – 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water
  • tile floor cleaner – 1 cup vinegar added to 1 gallon water
  • Bathroom cleaner – 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and 2 cups water to get rid of mold
  • toilet bowl cleaner – ¼ cup baking soda plus 1 cup vinegar
  • tile cleaner – baking soda to scour, water to rinse
Do you have any green cleaning methods you’d like to share?

Union County Egg-Citement This Weekend!


Here are some Easter Egg Hunts especially for Union County kids this File:Paashaas.gifweekend:
  • Summit PAL is sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny on April 7th at 10 AM at the Family Aquatic Center at 100 Ashwood Avenue. This event is open to all Summit residents.
  • Cranford Chamber of Commerce hosts breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Garlic Rose, 28 North Avenue, on April 7th at 9AM. Cost is $10 for children and $15 for adults, and photos are an additional $3. Email gina.tipton@gmail.comfor more info.
  • Fanwood’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be at Forest Road Park on April 7th at 10 AM. All children 10 and under are invited to help find over 1000 eggs filled with goodies and prize tickets hidden around the park. The Easter Bunny will be there along with contests to guess the number of jelly beans and chocolate eggs. Bring your own decorated egg and bunny drawing to enter the drawing contests.
  • Mountainside is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at Oasis Church, 1180 Spruce Drive, On April 8th, right after Easter Sunday’s 10AM Church Service and Kids’ program with a Bible lesson and craft under the Big Top Tent. Live bunnies will be there, along with the Easter Bunny.
And, one more event for next weekend!
  • Clark will hold its sixth annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Clark Recreation Center at 430 Westfield Avenue on Saturday, April 16th from 12 to 2 pm. Bring a camera and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. Decorate your own basket, hunt for eggs filled with prizes, participate in a coloring contest, have snacks, enter the jelly bean contest, and enter the grand prize drawing. This event is open to Clark children up to and including 5th grade. Al children must be accompanied by an adult.

 

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