Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PTSD and our Nation's Veterans

President Barack Obama marked the end of the Iraq War by hosting a White House gala for Iraq War Veterans called, “A Nation’s Gratitude.” Among those who will attend is former Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, pictured above. Eric Alva was the first American wounded in Iraq.

Having recently been contacted by two recent veterans and am honored to have been chosen to work for them. They are both looking for homes in New Jersey, in Springfield, Union, Kenilworth and a few other area towns. As a result, I feel an obligation to share this recent Causes Challenge:

Spreading awareness about PTSD & Getting Healthy

Myself (Dave Murphy) & Chris McArdle have started a Weight Loss Challenge to help get the word out about PTSD awareness and change our lives also.

Anyone is welcome to take part in this and it starts TODAY please check out our blog page for more info about how you can follow our progress.

We will be donating $2.00 for every pound we lose to Military Minds and are also accepting sponsors if people want to show support.

More info on our blog & please take two minutes of your day to check this out.

Thank You Dave Murphy & Chris McArdle

Main Link: Challenge Short Link: http://bit.ly/TASWLC Mark Slade Keller Williams Helping People Find Their Dream Homes 917.797.5059 good homes

New Jersey Foreclosure Activity Down in 2011 January 27, 2012 Information From RealtyTrac

Filings down 73 percent from 2010 and 72 percent from 2009

Foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 17,461 New Jersey properties in 2011, down 73 percent from a year ago and 72 percent below the level reported in 2009, according to the latest RealtyTrac® U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

The state ranked 40th in foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in every 202 New Jersey housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in 2011.

Foreclosure filings were reported on 1,065 New Jersey properties in December, a 7 percent decrease from November and down 78 percent from December 2010. One in every 3,311 New Jersey housing units received a foreclosure filing in December, the 42nd highest state foreclosure rate in the nation.

Essex County leads the state in foreclosure activity for 2011: Essex County led the way, reporting 1,996 properties with foreclosure filings during 2011, although Essex County also showed a 73.73 decrease in filings vs. 2010. Ocean County was second highest in the state, reporting 1,457 properties with foreclosure filings. Third highest total was tallied in Middlesex County, where 1,320 properties with foreclosure filings were reported. Reporting 1,219 properties with foreclosure filings for the year, Camden County registered the fourth highest total in the state. Fifth highest was Bergen County, where 1,204 properties with foreclosure filings were reported for 2011.

Mark Slade, SFR Short Sale and Foreclosure Realtor for Essex and Union Counties Keller Williams 917.797.5059

Jane Seymour Appearance at the Short Hills Mall this Friday and Saturday

Jane Seymour Returns to Short Hills This Weekend for Art Show Actress-artist to show her art along with son's photographs this weekend at Wentworth Gallery at the Short Hills Mall. By Laura Griffin Jane Seymour is probably best known for her role as Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and her role as Solitaire in Live and Let Die (one of my earliest crushes), but a lot of her fans know that her art has moved beyond the small or big screen and onto canvas. While she loves acting, Seymour said painting is the art she does for herself – and, often now, for others. “It’s my Zen experience,” she told Patch recently. “It’s how I communicate my thoughts and my feelings and not just those of a character I’m playing. When I’m painting, the whole world disappears.” This weekend, fans of her work can not only see her paintings, sketches and sculptures at the Wentworth Gallery at The Mall at Short Hills, but they can meet the actress-artist as well. Seymour will visit the gallery for the opening of her latest show – and first show with her eldest son Sean Flynn, a photographer – on Friday and Saturday (March 2 and 3). She has found that having an in-home painting studio has been a way not only to show how she values art but a way to connect to her teenagers as well, she said. While Seymour is still hard at work acting – her more recent credits include Wedding Crashers, a Law & Order SVU episode and a yet-to-be released movie, Austenland – it is painting that grounds her. She carries small canvases and art supplies for her downtime in hotels, she said. Among the 80 or 90 pieces in the show, collectors will find seascapes, landscapes, portraits and flowers, often a single, bright, vivid flower, and, of course, her signature Open Hearts, which has inspired a foundation and a line of jewelry, as well as paintings and sculptures. Seymour will be at the Wentworth Gallery at The Mall at Short Hills from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. For More: montclair patch Looking for a home in Short Hill, NJ or Millburn, NJ, contact Mark Slade, Keller Williams fastest growing Area Expert. Mark Slade Keller Williams 917.797.5059 good homes

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Between Valentine's Day and St Patrick Day, we see people decorating their homes shifting from Red to Green. The same can be said for what happens as your door bell rings every day with a cute lil girl asking if you will buy Girl Scout Cookies. While most of us don't love unexpected visitors on our front steps, this is one where almost all of us will make an exception because we all know this is the time to buy a year's worth of Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos or Savana Smiles. I was curious as to what everyone's favorite flavor is and, you might have guessed, Thin Mints came in with the majority posting a 60% share. This was followed by a 20% share for Samoas and then 10% shares for Tagalongs and for Savana Smiles. The problem with writing a blog entry about food, especially Girl Scout Cookies, is now i desperately want to track down each of those cookie seller's and get me some to eat! mark slade keller williams 917.797.5059 www.maplewoodandsouthorangehomes.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I love to learn from what didn't work

I love to learn from what didn’t work! I doubled my business in the last year, which in what we all know has been a challenging market indicates that I must be doing something right. However, even after selling almost all of my listings in 2011, even finding the buyers for 50% of these homes, the one that I didn’t sell prompts me to evaluate what I could do better. If you are interviewing more than one agent, you will probably see much of the same elements in their presentations. We will all tell you that the internet is the way to go and promise to be internet marketing experts, etc. But, are all agents the same?" Simply put... NO. I take great pride in my work. I strive to provide the Best customer service possible. It starts with Buyers and Sellers and being able to know there is a difference and that they do have a choice! Making the best choice possible is no accident. Selling your home Quickly and at the Best price possible, also is no accident, it is a function of know what to do and when to do it.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET A HOME SOLD IN TODAY'S MARKET 1. PRICING THE HOME CORRECTLY: One of the most important things that can help you sell your home is pricing it right. Successful Listings need to be priced at or slight under market value (which often entices multiple offers and yields final sale prices over asking price). Let me set the record straight, “I hired you to get me the most for my house and you are telling me to go out lower than the price my neighbor just sold my home for? YES, YES and YES. When a home looks like a deal, it’s simply amazing how many more showings you will get; the more showings you have, the greater the likelihood of getting at least one, if not multiple offers, and offers mean you get to accomplish your mission of selling your home and usually for a good price. Still don’t believe me, in Short Hills, Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange, over 33% of the homes sold for more than List Price in 2011. The simple truth is over-priced listings are one of the only segments of the market that are not selling and if they do, they are taking several times as long to sell and usually for much less than List Price. A great agent will study the recent sales, show you what is on the market and use trends and comparables to place an approximate value on your property all the while explaining the market to you. The home I didn’t sell, what happened? Well, when I originally valued it, using Advanced Comparable Market Metrics (I have specialized training for this), I came up with a value that I felt was appropriate. The home owners insisted on a price that was 101.5% of my top of range quote. The problem wasn’t the fractionally higher price, it was that we didn’t list the home at the time I prepared the analysis and the market took about an additional 4% dip let alone one more eventual surprise. Two weeks before the agreed upon listing date, a home down the block, with a renovated kitchen and basement--in contrast to a 20-year-old kitchen and an unfinished basement--had just closed for $22,500 less than my seller’s chosen Listing Price. I advised that we should go out at a price +/- $5,000 from the price of the newly closed home. My clients rejected my newly adjusted market analysis, a fact that would come back to haunt both them and me as the home finally would then take almost 11 months and go under contract at a price that was about $65,000 lower than the price my clients first advised me to list their home. While seller’s (and I was one just 3 years ago) hate to give up $, the key to success is to provide data in the form of statistics and listing pictures of nearby comparable sold homes to help educate seller’s on the competitive landscape. When possible, I would prefer to take them to see some area Open Houses after I have signed with them and before we launch to make sure we see the same things with the same eyes. 2. CHOOSING THE RIGHT LISTING AGENT: As a home owner in this market you need every advantage you can to get your home sold. It starts with choosing the right agent. a. Using a Full time agent whose sole job is to sell homes. Being able to get a hold of them, return your phone calls and emails quickly is a requirement. b. Using a Full service agent who will guide you through each step of the selling process. Ability to provide you with referrals that include attorneys, mortgage loan officers, home inspectors, etc., will help to see the deal go through as desired. Discount brokers often equal discount services. c. Using a Full service agent who will tell it like it is and provide feedback gathered from a combination of agents and their clients, as well as buyers I will bring to see your home. d. Using a Local agent who knows your neighborhood and is readily available when you need them is a must. Out of town agents can leave you high and dry in your time of need. e. Using a successful Listing Agent can give you the advantages you need when selling your home. This means pricing information, staging recommendations, etc. Not all agents are created equal. Choose only the best. 3. GETTING A BUYER TO SEE YOUR LISTING: Before anyone can view your home, they have to know it is for sale. Using an agent with an extensive marketing and web listing program is the best start to get your home the exposure it needs and deserves. Some agents whose sole marketing plan is placing a sign in your yard and placing the home in MLS is not a sound marketing plan. In this market, besting the competition is key. Broker Open Houses, Public Open Houses, Social Media, QR codes, Virtual Tours, Movies, Blogging, etc, are now essentials to maximizing exposure for your home. 4. GETTING YOUR HOME READY FOR A BUYER TO SEE IT: A listing agent can guide a buyer to your front door, but they can’t make them go inside. You need to prepare your house for sale. ( I love to place a QR code on the sign so as to allow today’s generation of tech savvy buyers to get a glimpse of the indoors before driving off.) a. THE EXTERIOR: Your lawn should be mowed, bushes trimmed, debris, toys or belongings picked up and removed from the yard. In the winter shovel your walk and driveway, sand and or salt and knock those icicles off your roof. Make sure your screen/storm door is in working order, it is the first thing they will touch and a storm door with a missing handle or off its hinges will drive buyers away. b. THE INTERIOR: Remove anything from your house you are not using, often called "de-cluttering". Clear off the counters, bureaus and floors. Make sure walls are free of marks or holes. Freshly painted walls in a neutral color are always a plus. Make sure all faucets and toilets run properly, no drips, no leaks and the toilets should not always run. Clean your carpets, remove pet items and during showings your poets should be taken out of the house. And, remember to freshen the batteries in your smoke/CO2 monitors to prevent annoying beeps and to prepare for a fire inspection. 5. BUYER AGENTS: Over 90% of today’s buyers start their search for a home online. In addition to the statistics from NAR, I can see this first hand with traffic coming in from my websites, my premium status with Zillow and Trulia, my Blog and my many Open House websites. Once they have narrowed their search to town, I usually get the call. So, I will start with an interview to get an idea of what a buyer is truly looking for in terms of needs and desires. I will purposely take them to see at least one home below and one above so as to try to provide focus and to help inform and educate my buyers about current market conditions and opportunities. Of course, a key component of a search is that the Buyer(s) are pre-approved so that we know what their true price range actually is. Then, once finding the house they want, we need to discuss making the offer. An offer is a combination of price, timing and how the purchase will be financed. If you are certain that this is the house you must have then Buyers need to make a reasonable first offer so as not to alienate the seller. Offers can be of a “low ball” nature if “stealing’ the house is the goal and/or if being purchased as an investment property. Buyers need to be mindful that the amount of homes on the market has been decreasing and sales continuing to rise with increasing competition for homes among buyers producing multiple offers. Then, you need to know that your agent will be on hand and available to project manage your purchase. a. Home Inspection: This is a critical step in the home buying process. In addition to making sure you are buying a home that is safe and confirming the condition of its systems, pest management, etc. this is also your best opportunity to learn how your house operates from thermostat, to radiator, to furnace, etc. When issues are uncovered by the Home Inspection, I will do everything in my power to make sure necessary repairs are made or that credits to be used to make future repairs are granted. b. Appraisal: I always drop by to shadow the appraisal. In the past this function was often a courtesy. If I represent the seller I try to make sure the home appraises for a minimum of the Under Contract price. However, if I am working for the buyer, I listen and learn as a home that under appraises generally creates a new round of price negotiations. Also, I am now finding that appraisers are often identifying home inspection issues like asbestos, etc. and requiring that these repairs are made before coming back out to the property to then authenticate a valuation for the lending bank. c. Certificate of Continuing Use and Occupancy/Fire Inspections: While the responsibility for these 2 inspections varies between listing agent and buyer agent from town to town, there is no mistaking that these are almost always required to close. I make sure the corresponding inspection is ordered and I make sure I also shadow the inspection so that I can tell you if we are good to go or if something else needs to be done to prepare the house for transfer from Seller to Buyer. d. Mortgage Commitment: When we write up your contract, it also includes a date for getting your Lending Institution to confirm that you have an actual mortgage commitment. Just so you understand, a mortgage commitment can be likened to a full inspection of your insides, in contrast to the Pre-Approval that is like taking your temperature. I make every effort to help this process stay on course and meet the contractual deadlines. Taking this a step further, I will continue to be involved until I have confirmed that your loan will be able to fund by the proposed closing date. IN CONCLUSION: There is a lot of behind the scenes work that is an essential part of how to get a house on the market, marketed, get an offer, go through the buyers mortgage process, appraisal, inspections and get to the closing on time. I often shock my clients when I inform them that 80% of my time is spent working on their behalf after the offer has been accepted. While I absolutely love what I do and enjoy immense satisfaction from seeing my seller’s move on to their new homes and my buyers moving in to theirs, there is no doubt that a successful agent will be working very hard on your behalf. I trust you will see that it is no accident when a home sells; it is the result of the hard work of your agent.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Musical Happenings in New Jersey: Hugh Masakela, Pat Benetar and Much More!

World Music
Hugh Masakela inspires lovers of world music — and more ways to spend your weekend. By David Chmiel THIS WEEKEND: Friday — "Afropop Dance Party," From old-school grooves to today's hits, this dance party kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in the Chase Room; Saturday — Hugh Masakela, the South African singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist whom Rolling Stone calls "one of the most thrilling live performers around," 7:30 p.m. NEXT WEEK: Jugglers, cyclists, tumblers and other crowd-pleasing artists lead the Peking Acrobats into Prudential Hall, 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 2; Soweto Gospel Choir, 8 p.m, Saturday, March 3
Wellmont Theatre, Montclair: NEXT WEEK Longtime powerballadeers (and husband and wife) Pat Benatar & guitarist Neil Giraldo remind us that "Love is a Battlefield", 8 p.m., Thursday BOOK IT Singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson, Friday, March 2; Levon Helm Band, led by the iconic member of The Band, performs on a bill that also includes former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf, Friday, April 6 (Show postponed from Feb. 10). Check out wellmonttheatre.com for more shows. The Ringside Pub, Caldwell NEXT WEEK: The Stiff Joints, a Livingston-based rock n roll band performs Saturday, March 3 at 9 p.m. South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange
BOOK IT NOW: Author and monologist Malachy McCourt performs "Living Life and Laughing at Death" at 8 p.m., Friday, March 9; Country singer/songwriter Pam Tillis performs at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 10. Go to sopacnow.org for more details about all shows. Kean University, Union THIS WEEKEND Friday —Sunday — The Odyssey, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wilkins Theater (also continues Friday and Saturday, March 2, 3) Sunday — The Beethoven Septet, 3 p.m., Kean Hall THIS WEEK No shows BOOK IT NOW George Winston, 3 p.m., Sunday, March 4; Ravi Coltrane, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 14; Kathy Mattea, 3 p.m., Sunday, May 6. Check out keanstage.com for details about these and other shows. Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown This Weekend: Tonight — The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday — New Jersey Ballet's Repertory Concert of Audience Favorites, 8 p.m.; Sunday — The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players: "I've Got a Little Twist", 3 p.m. NEXT WEEK: "Morristown's Got Talent" brings out the best in talented performers looking for their big break, 8 p.m. Wednesday BOOK IT NOW: Garden State Folk and Roots Festival, 3 p.m., Sunday, March 11; Women of Ireland, a celebration of traditional Irish music and stepdancing, 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 17; Country gal Loretta Lynn graces the stage at 8 p.m., March 30. Check out mayoarts.org for details about these and other shows. The Borgata THIS WEEKEND: DJs take center stage this weekend: Tonight — Eli Escobar, 10 p.m., Mur.Mur; Saturday — DJ Ruckus, 10 p.m., Mur.Mur; Lil Jon, 10 p.m., Mixx; Sunday — "Mixx Sundays with Paul Castro," 10 p.m. NEXT WEEK: D-Nice with Hyper Crush gets the dance crowd going, 10 p.m. Monday at MurMur; Eli Escobar returns Friday, March 2, 10 p.m., Mur.Mur; Percussionist/DJ Ravi Drums performs at Mixx, with music by DJ Echo; 10 p.m., Saturday BOOK IT NOW: Legendary Irish rockers The Saw Doctors help you celebrate St. Patrick's Day, 9 p.m., Saturday, March 17, The Music Box; Liza Minelli brings her revue to the Event Center, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 24; Lewis Black rages about things large and small, 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31, The Music Box; Kevin James takes a break from family-friendly films to perform his stand-up act, 8 p.m., April 7, Event Center, Check out theborgata.com for details about these and other shows. Shanghai Jazz, Madison THIS WEEKEND:Tonight and Saturday — Jazz legend Freddy Cole and his quartet come to Madison for two special performances. *Special per-person music charges and drink minimums in effect. NEXT WEEK: Guitarist John Zweig brings his trio to Shanghai Jazz Tuesday; The Evan Sherman Trio, featuring Curtis Lundy on bass, take the stage on Wednesday. BOOK IT NOW: Junior Mance, who performed with Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie, performs with his eponymous trio, Saturday, March, 3; Guitar legend and stalwart Jersey guy Bucky Pizzarelli performs on Wednesday, March 7. All shows 6:30 and 8:30. Check out shanghaijazz.com for more details. State Theatre, New Brunswick THIS WEEK: Tonight — Duuuuuude! The Pink Floyd Experience begins at 8 p.m. (Blacklight not included); Saturday — New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs "Spanish Inspiration," 8 p.m. NEXT WEEK: SmartTalk Connected Conversations: Donna Brazile, a longtime Democrative political strategist delivers "Inspiring Civility: Stirring the Pot in American Politics." 7:30 p.m., Tuesday BOOK IT NOW: Larry the Cable Guy delivers his red-neck ruminations at 8 p.m., Sat, March 10; The Irish Rovers spread their luscious harmonies with the season's traditional hits at 8 p.m., Sunday, March 11; HD screening of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's historic 2002 concert in Barcelona; 8 p.m., Friday, March 16 Check out statetheatrenj.org for more details. Mark Slade Keller Williams 917.797.5059

Pirates v. Knights TONIGHT!

Seton Hall battles Rutgers in Big East hoops tonight at 5PM Mark Slade Keller Williams 917.797.5059

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Macy's Profits, Like their Balloons, are UP, UP, UP!

As a former buyer for Macy's, turned wholesale EVP, turned Realtor, I find myself cautiously optimistic when reading results like these as they pertain to our national economy. Coupled with the strong trend in Real Estate in the Bedroom Communities of NYC, with 45 minute commutes to NYC, I couldn't ask for more!

Shares of Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:Mmacy's) are up over 4% in morning trade after the company reported quarterly revenues and profits that exceeded analyst estimates. The company earned $745 million, or $1.74 per share, for the period ended Jan 28. That is up over 12% from a year ago when it earned $667 million, or $1.55 per share. Adjusted earnings were $1.70 per share, 5 cents ahead of consensus estimates.

Revenue rose 5.5 percent to $8.72 billion from $8.27 billion ahead of the analyst forecast that called for revenues of $8.7 billion. A key indicator of retailer health, revenue at stores opens at least a year, which includes online sales, climbed 5.2 percent.

For the year, Macy’s earned $1.26 billion, or $2.92 per share. That compares with earnings of $847 million, or $1.98 per share, in the previous year. Adjusted earnings were $2.88 per share. Full-year revenue increased 5.6 percent to $26.41 billion from $25 billion. Online sales rose close to 40 percent.

The company also said, it expects fiscal 2012 earnings of $3.25 to $3.30 per share. This is in line with consensus forecasts that are looking for earnings of $3.27 per share. Macy’s also expects that its online sales will surpass $2 billion in 2012.

Mark Slade
keller williams

Read more: http://thestockmarketwatch.com/stock-market-news/recent-events/business-news/macys-rises-after-reporting-strong-results/21259#ixzz1n1uZfs00

Get a BEAD ON IT tonight, Mardi Gras in Maplewood

It's Fat Tuesday so what are you going to do tonight?

Mardi Gras hits town at Highland Place on Feb. 21, 8 p.m. as owner Chris Farrow rolls out the red carpet for Big Mamou — a Montclair-based band with deep roots in what they call "Cajun, Zydeco and Cosmic Country." They supply accordion, guitar, bass n' drums and a whole lot of good-time music.

Highland Place will supply the beads.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maplewood Mayor Calls for Overridge of Proposed Veto of Marriage Bill

DeLuca Calls on Legislature to Override Promised Veto of Marriage Bill

More from the mayor — and other local reaction to passage of the Freedom to Marry bill.

By Mary Mann
February 16, 2012

Children sign the Maplewood Pride banner

Passage of the Freedom to Marry bill by the NJ State Assembly was big news in Maplewood this evening, where town leaders have been active supporters of the this bill and a previous iteration that was defeated in 2010.

However, Mayor Vic DeLuca was already looking ahead to Gov. Christie's promised veto of the bill. Christie has proposed that the question of legalizing same sex marriage go to a referendum this fall.

"This is a great day for civil liberties in New Jersey," DeLuca began, before challenging the governor. "We know Governor Christie would rather play politics with this rather than do the right thing. He knows it is likely to go down in defeat in a referendum and it would hurt Obama. That is too bad. Nevertheless, to have an affirmative vote in both houses of the legislature is a tremendous victory."

DeLuca pointed out that an override of the governor's veto can take place any time up until early 2014. "This is plenty of time for those legislators who believe in marriage equality but are afraid of the governor to come to their senses and vote for the override," said DeLuca.

DeLuca was not alone among local leaders in his support of the bill.

Shortly after its passage, South Orange-Maplewood Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne tweeted: "Many SOMSD kids are being raised by loving parents who deserve right to marry. Thanks to NJ legislators who voted to support SOMSD families."

For more on this story: Maplewood.patch

For more about our Mayor's favorite aspect of his job, presiding over weddings: Meet the Mayor

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Celebrating President's Day in Essex County

Living in Maplewood and having several streets named after President's, makes you really want to go out and celebrate President's Day!

Montclair Historical Society

Date/Time: Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Location: The Israel Crane House

Description: Play parlor games that George Washington might have played. Make a powdered wig like John Adams might have worn. Try your hand at signing your name using a quill pen and ink like Thomas Jefferson would have done. Churn butter the way Dolly Madison made it, and more. Admission is $10/child, includes the cost of all supplies and materials. Call 973-744-1796 to reserve a place by Thursday, February 16 or send a note to mail@montclairhistorical.org.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins at SoPAC

Date/Time: Feb 20 from 10am to 11:30 am

Location: SoPAC Theaters in South Orange, NJ

Description: Sponsored by Tuscan PTA, there will be a 10am showing of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, starring Jim Carrey. Admission is $10.00

Newark Museum President’s Day Events:

Hudson Vagabond Puppets present

Date/Time: Feb 20th at 2 pm (museum open 12:30-4:30pm)

49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102-3176 Phone: 973.596.6550
Guess Who Signed the Constitution?
Relive history through the eyes of 10-year-old Adam, his Grandfather the artist, portraits of the past that come to life, and Adam's Grandmother who has a few revolutionary ideas of her own.
Bring the whole family to this year’s Presidents’ Day Open House for an exciting opportunity to help the Museum with a new initiative: art and science adventures in the galleries. What if you were the President of a gallery? Invent games and challenges for other Museum visitors to explore your gallery.

Exhibit: Through February 26th - “The Art of Tesfaye Tessema”

1978 Arts Center, 1978 Maplewood Avenue

Gallery Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
A contemporary Ethiopian artist blending the sounds and visions of his African roots with his African American branches. Tesfaye Tessema has received accolades, achieved recognition, and earned respect for his work on a national and international level for decades. In addition to exhibiting at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, his work has been seen in France, Germany, England and Japan. Considered a master painter as well as a master print maker and muralist, his art has been collected by such institutions as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian in Washington and the Schomberg and the United Nations in New York City. Born in Ethiopia, he has made Harlem his home for almost thirty years; his work reflects his love for his adopted community. The visual and aural associations of the African American culture reverberate in his paintings in the “Comb Series” featured in this exhibit. The confluence of rhythm, design and colors in a personal improvisational style are a reflection of the jazz music he loves. Like African American artists looking for their historical roots, Tesfaye revels in searching out his branches. “Together we form a Tree”
For more information call 973-763-2536 or visit www.1978artscenter.org

Exhibit: Through February 28th – “From Whence We Came”

Astah’s Fine Art Gallery, 1897 Springfield Avenue

One man show by artist Terrence Bell. All new originals and prints representing the visions of Africa and the sounds of Jazz.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

"Foot Traffic Has Doubled Since September"

There's a lot of evidence that the housing market is mending. Existing home sales are up. More homes are under contract. Things even "feel different" -- just ask a friend who's shopped for a home this year. You'll hear stories of competing offers and "great homes" that sold in a week.

You didn't hear that stuff six months ago and it's this particular zeitgeist that the National Association of Homebuilders' Housing Market Index attempts to measure.

In its simple, 3-question survey, the NAHB ask its members about their respective businesses, and what they seeing "on the street". The NAHB then compiles those answers into a weighted survey result called the Housing Market Index.

The Housing Market Index questions are :

How are market conditions for the sale of new homes today?
How are market conditions for the sale of new homes in 6 months?
How is prospective buyer foot traffic?

In February, the nation's builders reported improvement in all three areas. Current home sales climbed 5 points from the month prior; sales expectations for the next 6 months climbed 5 points from the month prior; and buyer foot traffic moved higher again, marking 6 straight months of improvement.

There are now twice as many buyers touring models as there was in September 2011. Clearly, interest in homes is rising. In fact, in Short Hills, NJ we have already had 40% more closed sales than last year. In Maplewood, we are up 61% in closed sales and under contracts this year to date versus last year to date.

You can see more area statistics at: http://youtu.be/sYEr00Yaydc

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top 5 Musts Buyers want in a Home

According to a recent article from Trulia, Here are the top 5 Amenities that buyers are looking for at the moment:

Amenities Total Share
Master Bathroom 70%
Walk-in Closet 63%
Gourmet Kitchen 56%
Outdoor Deck 55%
Hardwood Floors 50%

From my experience with buyers in the bedroom communities of NYC, I find the top 5 to be relatively similar, but with a ranking, as follows:

1. Recently Renovated (not necessarly Gourmet) Kitchen
2. First Floor Powder Room (homes in my area are mostly built in the 1920’s and so a first floor bath wasn’t included in most original builds).
3. Master Bathroom
4. Hardwood Floors
5. A Master with at least 2 healthy size closets if not 1 Walk-in Closets
6. And yes, a Deck does help!
BONUS: a renovated 3rd floor space for guests or play area and/or a renovated basement for recreation/play/family room

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rebecca Hayes Reads from her book at WORDS this Sunday Feb 12th

Hello all -

I am writing to let you know that at 2:00pm this Sunday, February 12, 2012, my mother, Rebecca O. Hayes, will be at WORDS Bookstore in Maplewood. She will be reading and signing her book, "Private Cathay's Secret". The novel is a historical fiction about the first woman to join the Union Army during the Civil War. This woman was a freed slave.

We are so proud of Mom, and so excited that she will be here. We'd love to have everyone come out and meet and support her.

WORDS is a really nice independent bookstore located at 179 Maplewood Avenue in the Village in Maplewood Township.

I have supplied the links (below) to the bookstore's promotional site (you need to scroll down to find Mom) and my mother's website.

Hope to see you all there! Thanks, in advance, for the support.

India R. Larrier

We Vant Your Blood-this Sunday!

The Maplewood First Aid Squad is hosting a blood drive to offset the seasonal blood shortage.

The blood drive will be held on Sunday February 12.

The location is the Maplewood First Aid Squad building at 129 Boyden Avenue, Maplewood, NJ.

The drive will be held from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

All donors will receive one complimentary $10.00 Shop Rite gift card.

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Monday, February 6, 2012

2011 Income Tax Filing Date Extended 2 days to April 17, 2012

Due to the fact that the 15th is a Sunday, the IRS has extended the filing date for your 2011 Income Taxes to April 17, 2012

In the meantime, here is a great tool to help estimate where you will end up with owing the IRS: copy and paste: http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Black History Month Events!

Check out these great events Celebrating Black History Month in Maplewood and possibly win an iPAD2!

he Partnership invites the community and visitors to Black History Month events at participating Springfield Avenue district businesses. Starting off the month are the following events. It would be wise to call ahead to confirm the details of the activities.

Sunday, thru February 26, - “The Art of Tesfaye Tessema”
1978 Arts Center, 1978 Maplewood Avenue
Gallery Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
A contemporary Ethiopian artist blending the sounds and visions of his African roots with his African American branches. Tesfaye Tessema has received accolades, achieved recognition, and earned respect for his work on a national and international level for decades.
For more information call 973-763-2536 or visit www.1978artscenter.org

February 1st to February 28th – Exhibit “From Whence We Came”
Astah’s Fine Art Gallery, 1897 Springfield Avenue
One man show by artist Terrence Bell. All new originals and prints representing the visions of Africa and the sounds of Jazz.
For more information call 973-761-5012 or visit www.astahsartgallery.com.

Saturday, February 4, 11, 18, 25 – “African American Artists Series”
Express Yourself Studios, 1877 Springfield Avenue
Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Every Saturday during the month of February enjoy a special Black History Month lesson in art exploring a different African-American Master Artists (Alma Woodsey Thomas, Romare Bearden, Varnette P. Honeywood, David C. Driskell). This program is offered as part of Express Yourself’s Studio Saturday offering and is open to children ages 5-12.
For additional information or to RSVP for any event please contact Express Yourself Studios 973-763-5256 online, www.expressyourselfstudios.com or via email info@expressyourselfstudios.com .

Monday, February 6, 13, 20, 27 – “Messy Mondays”
Jazzberries Center for Music & Art, 1677 Springfield Avenue
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Got mess? We do. Come & let your child join a fun-filled, playful exploration into all things messy. Drop in, make a mess & leave the clean-up to us. Be sure to dress for the mess! To celebrate Black History Month, during February we will be exploring activities inspired by black artists, musicians and celebrities. In addition, we will incorporate projects that promote tolerance. Rates $12/visit per child; $100/for 10-visit pass.
973-762-6575 jazzberriescenter@gmail.com . www.jazzberries.yourvirtuoso.com

Tuesday, February 8th – “A Celebration of Africa”
Jazzberries Center for Music & Art, 1677 Springfield Ave.
Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Featuring African folktales, songs, dances, arts & crafts and foods. We’ll learn songs and games of African children and create African masks and traditional “Adinkra” cloths. A South African folktale will be explored through instruments and multi-cultural elements. For ages 4 – 7 years. $15.00 per child
973-762-6575 jazzberriescenter@gmail.com . www.jazzberries.yourvirtuoso.com

Thursday, February 9th - "Music in Black History"
Hilton Branch Library, 1688 Springfield Avenue
Time: 7:00 pm – 7:45 pm
Join us on a musical journey from a time when the "First Lady Of Song," Ella Fitzgerald graced the stage, to when the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin ruled the airways. In addition to Ella and Aretha, this showcase pays tribute to Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Etta James, Martha and The Vandellas, Mary Wells and Gladys Knight. Through the music, the magic and the message, there is something for everyone!
www.MaplewoodLibrary.org 973 762-1688

Mark Slade
Keller Williams

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Maplewood Tea Party and I only mean this in a Boston Tea Party way!

It's that time of year where we receive our Property Tax bills.

You have 2 choices, accept it as is, or file an appeal. You can file an appeal on your own or you can consider using a real estate attorney that has a good track record with appeals.

Filing on your own will require you to do some research and/or enlist the help of a local Realtor.

Here is what the Essex County Board of Taxation wants you to know:

Summary of Tax Appeal Forms and Reminders

NOTE: This is NOT a complete listing of all the rules.

In a non-revalued/non-reassessed municipality you must file a tax appeal with the tax board, the municipal tax assessor and the municipal clerk by April 1st. In a revalued/reassessed district you must file a tax appeal with the tax board, the municipal tax assessor and the municipal clerk by May 1st.

Your assessment is assumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on the taxpayer. The valuation date for an appeal is October 1st of the pre-tax year. Example: an appeal of a 2012 assessment has a valuation date of October 1, 2011.

You cannot appeal the amount of taxes paid or a change in your taxes.

You cannot utilize the assessment of other properties as comparables to justify a change in assessment.

You must use 3-5 comparables sales as of October 1st of the pre-tax year as evidence. Example: as of October 1, 2011 for the 2012 tax year. A comparable sale must be similar to your property in style, size and location. Comparables sales that have occurred after October 1st of the pre-tax year may be used as corrobative evidence not direct evidence of value.

The sale of the subject property may not be conclusive proof of value. You should also have other evidence, such as comparable sales.

Comparable sales must be arms length transactions. No sales that occurred under duress such as foreclosure or short sales will be considered as evidence of market value.

In order for your appeal to be heard, all taxes & municipal charges (water & sewer) must be paid through the 1st quarter of the current year under appeal.

If an appraisal is to be used as evidence the appraiser must be present to testify. No appraisal(s) that were performed for refinance or mortgage purposes will be considered.

Any evidence of value must be submitted at least 7 days prior to your hearng date to both the assessor (1 copy) and the county tax board (1 copy). If your case is adjourned (for any reason) any evidence of value must be submitted 7 days prior to your original hearing date.

Filing Fees run from $5.00 to $25.00 to $100.00 in most cases.

Here is the form:

Tax Appeal Form

If you want to hire an attorney, i recommend you watch this video from local attorney Jim Foerst: Video

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me, Mark Slade @ 917.797.5059 or email me at marksladehomes@aol.com

Mark Slade
Keller Williams