Buying/Selling During the Coronavirus

COVID-19 has everyone quarantined inside their homes: myself included. This doesn’t mean we have to put our buying/selling plans on hold. Now is the time to really decide what you want to do. I am available by phone call, Facetime, Email, Zoom, Skype- or any way that makes us available to connect without having to leave the safety of our warm and comfortable homes. I look forward to hearing from you!
With Love,
Chrissy Keys

Find Your Forever Home This Fall

Did you waste your summer searching for your dream home? Scouring open houses and refreshing That’s where you went wrong! Check out my current listings here.

Fall is one of the most underrated and best times to be house hunting. Although this could be a hectic time with children back at school and a new year coming, this is the best time for deals! Here are some of the few reasons why you should consider house hunting during the fall season:

Less Competition

House hunting could be an exhausting process bouncing from showing to showing, which is why many people prefer to get this done in the spring or summer months. Working closely to the Jersey Shore brings an even greater emphasis on summertime house hunting which equates to even greater competition! Deciding to hold off the home buying process can save you time AND money! 

More Motivated Sellers

Since summer is prime real estate season for buyers and sellers, many sellers may get antsy when they still haven’t accepted an offer once the season is over. This is great news for buyers! More motivated sellers means more room for negotiation and optimizing your budget for any personal touches or upgrades you were looking to make!

More Favorable Rates

During the fall, mortgage brokers and bankers tend to be more motivated to cut you a better deal. Why? Because they have business lulls and holiday bills! This means one thing for you— more affordable rates!

Summer might be winding down, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw in the house-hunting towel quite yet! Fall is the ideal time to find the best bargain and get you into your dream home faster. As an expert of the Jersey Shore, let me be your guide! Read my blog for more tips and tricks to assist you on your home search.

The Best Events to Celebrate Spring in New Jersey

One of the best times to be in New Jersey is the spring. We get to experience one of the finest post winter warm-ups in the entire country.  Why is NJ so great for the spring? Well, besides being able to see nature come back to life and some amazing ways to experience the outdoors, we have awesome events. Half the reason I’m so excited about spring is so I can go to these marvelous events to ring in the season. I’ve been an NJ girl my entire life and wouldn’t change that for anything. It’s why I have become one of the most respected real estate agents in the state and love selling homes to fellow Jerseyians. Whether you’ve been here for 50 years or 5 minutes, these are my picks for the best spring events in NJ. I promise that the entire family will love them!

Annual Spring Festival in Jersey City

Jersey City might seem a little rough around the edges, but it’s a great place to visit. Every spring, the city gets together to throw a fantastic festival. This is a charming event that is especially enjoyable for the little ones. It has all the hallmarks you’d expect like games, food, and train rides. What makes this really special is how interactive it is for children. There is an arts and crafts corner just begging kids to explore their creativity in. Puppet and magic shows to captivate them and let their imaginations run wild. You can also sign your young babe up for the annual egg hunt. You know you’ll love the look on their faces when they find eggs full of treats. For a great day with the family this spring, the Jersey City Spring Festival is the perfect place to visit. I know it is a drive away from the Jersey Shore, however, it is totally worth it!

New Jersey Wine and Food Festival

Few things make people as happy in life as great food and amazing wine. Lucky for you, the best of both worlds can be had at the New Jersey Wine and Food Festival at the Crystal Springs Resort. This resort has become the place for all things food in NJ and is quickly becoming the same for wine. The chiefs at this festival don’t just make food, they make art. They don’t just want you to think what you eat is good, but breathtaking. Pop the latest bottles of wine and give the future vineyard owners of tomorrow your honest opinion on their creations. This weekend event has loads of events including wine tasting, food sampling, live music, dancing, after parties, and countless more. Let your taste buds have the experience of a lifetime at the New Jersey Wine and Food Festival this spring.

Garden State Film Festival

Who doesn’t love the movies? Whether you are a die-hard film buff or just enjoy a great flick, the Garden State Film Festival is the place for you. Taking place every spring, aspiring filmmakers from across the state show off the latest stories they are trying to tell. Taking place in the up and coming town of Asbury Park, you will experience a range of emotions. You’ll see movies that make you laugh, cry, rage, and everything in between. On top of that, you have the chance of running into some of your favorite celebrities on the street. You also get to go to those famous after film parties you hear so much about. The different panels give you a chance to learn about film making and ask professionals what drives them. This is one of the best springs events in NJ simply because you never know what is going to happen! Who knows, a weekend there might end with you meeting the next Tom Hanks.

Atlantic City Beer and Music Fest

Sometimes you just need to cut loose and dance your troubles away. The perfect place to let it all go for a weekend of fun is the Atlantic City beer and music festival. The craft beer industry is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing in NJ and this fest is all about celebrating it. Take your time to sample some of the over 600 beers that will be available. No matter what type you like, you will find some there. Of course what fest is complete without music? Some of the best bands from across NJ will be coming to perform live to all the concert goers. While all this excitement is going on feel free to enjoy the free arcade, larger than life cornhole, keg tossing, and hatchet throwing. For an unforgettable weekend of fun and excitement, heading down to one of the great hotels at Atlantic City for a weekend of music, games, and beer sampling, check out the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival!

New Jersey is the perfect state to enjoy all things spring. There is no place in the entire country that you can find a better place to celebrate the new season. Just one of these fantastic events will make your spring worthwhile, but going to all will give you some great memories. What could be better than having some incredible way to bring in spring every weekend? If you or someone you know is interested in buying real estate in NJ, contact me right away. I have years of experience selling homes and promise to give you the local hookup. I have tons of great properties just waiting to become someone’s home. On top of that, I’m knowledgeable in all things NJ, meaning any questions you have I’m happy to answer. There is no better state than New Jersey, so let’s find you the perfect home here. To learn more about myself and NJ, check out my blog!

Setting up to sell this spring?

Spring might seem like a thousand years away from now but I can promise you that it is on its way. All those great things that come with it like blooming flowers and warm winds will be here before you know it. It also is a perfect time for you to sell your house and move on to the next chapter in your life. So what are you going to do to prep your home for the spring market? That’s where I come in! After selling homes for years, I have come across some of the best ways to get your house primed for hitting the market this spring. Follow these steps and I assure you that you are going to have a successful sale.

Clean out all clutter

Nothing will make your house look worse to potential buyers than tons of unnecessary clutter in every corner. When your house is covered in a sea of jumbled items, it just looks like a rats nest. People don’t want to come into a home and move around mountains of unneeded junk. Regardless of when you are planning on selling your home, the first thing you need to do is get rid of all that unneeded stuff that is slowly swallowing your home. Luckily, there are a number of easy and effective ways to allow yourself to go through it all rather quickly. Spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to finally get it all out the door. If you are selling in the spring you need to take it to the next level and remove all the clutter from your home.

Step up your Curb Appeal

The best thing about spring is that it brings in some gorgeous weather after a cold winter. All the plants burst back to life and the animals return from their winter dens. It also is the perfect time to step up your curb appeal. Curb appeal is one of the most important aspects of a home when it comes to a sale. No matter how amazing your home is on the inside if it looks trashy on the outside, it will be a deal breaker. Clear all fallen debris from your property, give your home’s exterior a good cleaning, and make sure all pathways to and from the house are easy to use. An afternoon of yard work makes the difference between a deal falling through or a successful sale.

Get rid of winter colors and decor

I know you love keeping those reindeer up long after Santa has retired to the North pole and I’ll admit, they do look great in your living room. That being said, it’s time for those little fellas to go back into storage. Once spring has sprung, no one wants to be reminded of winter and besides, the colors and decor that look great in one season don’t in another one. For example, would a jack-o-lantern and bat display look good in the middle of July? Probably not, so why would you keep out what just screams winter in spring? When you decide to sell in this season, drop anything that will remind people of that ice cold one and lighten up your home by bringing in some of those gorgeous spring colors and decorations.

Make your Home easy to show

Nothing is more frustrating than when you show off a home to potential buyers and it feels like you are navigating a jungle. That’s why it is so important that your home is made to be easy to move through so that in turn easier to show. Not only this, but it also lets people see just how spacious and gorgeous your home’s interior can be. It doesn’t matter if you are selling your tiny condo or a mansion big enough for King Kong to live in, people need to see it’s space. This allows them to imagine putting their stuff in the house and how they can best take advantage of what a house has to offer. Are the buyers people who like to entertain often and need a clear path to get around the kitchen? Perhaps the person that walked through to door hosts their family every holiday so they’d like to have a large living room. Either way making your home easy to show is key to getting it sold.

If you are selling your home in the spring, these are the must follow tips to make sure you have a successful sale. Clean out all your clutter, step up your homes curb appeal, clear out all the winter colors and decor, and make sure that your home is easy to show off. Spring is the perfect time to sell, so if you are ready to put your home on the market, give me a call! With years of experience under my belt, I am the perfect real estate agent for you. I have some gorgeous homes listed and will help you with every step of the process of selling your home. Don’t wait, let me help you sell your home today. For more great tips on real estate, check out my blog.

The Benefits of living in New Jersey

There are few states, if any, that can rival New Jersey as being the best in the country. Don’t listen to what the haters want you to believe, Jersey is the finest state in the union. There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t just consider but really aspire to make your home here. Luckily for you, I’ve been helping people move into the state for years now. Families from all over the country have decided to pick up their roots and come here for countless reasons. I’ve heard it all from the incredible colleges to the killer summers. There are no shortages as to why you should move to the Garden State. As someone who loves her home state, here is why I cannot get enough of NJ.

Close to the shore

If there is one thing New Jersey is famous for it’s the breathtaking beaches and shore communities you can only find here. From gorgeous Cape May to charming Asbury Park, everywhere you go in NJ you are going to be close to the water. With some of the most amazing beaches in the world, this state is a beach bums dream. On top of these great places to soak up the sun, they have fantastic shore communities that will give you the summer of your dreams. Hang out on the beach all day and then hit the boardwalk for dinner, drinks, and music until the sun comes up! What could be a better summer day?

A little of everything

We have it all in NJ from adorable farms to some of the greatest nightlife you will ever experience. Fishing, golf, hiking, snowboarding, and craft breweries all have a place here. Due to the diversity of activities, there is something for everyone to do. This also doesn’t include all the great seasonal events such as apple picking, haunted hayrides, ice skating, and fireworks. The only problem you’ll have when you live here is deciding what activity you want to try on the weekends. #BigFacts

Gorgeous landscape

Only here would you be able to spend one day enjoying some surfing on your favorite beach then go camping on top of some stunning mountains the next. New Jersey has a variety of gorgeous landscapes that allow you to experience it all. If you have a love of photography, you can’t get spoiled by choice like this anywhere else. From waterfalls to one of a kind views of the greatest city in the world, it is a photo-fanatics paradise. When you live in NJ, be sure to get out there and take some pics that will make your Instagram followers wish they were here.

Easy Access to major cities

One of the best things about making your home in the garden state is its convenient location. NJ is a prime location to live for all you city lovers especially if you find yourself working your dream job in one. Both New York City and Philadelphia are relatively close to the state. Want to take a day trip to NYC? Hop on a train and you’re there! Want to explore the historic sites of Philly? A short car ride in and you’ll be walking the same streets George Washington and Benjamin Franklin did. If you get the itch to spend time in the city often, NJ is the place for you.

New Jersey is a great place to live for countless reasons. The jaw-dropping landscapes, amazing beaches, and the fact that you can get it all here are things that you just can’t get in any state. Being super close to some many cities doesn’t hurt either. You couldn’t find a better place to move to even if you tried! If you or anyone you know is interested in making the garden state their new home, give me a call. I have some amazing homes listed, just waiting to become someone’s dream home. I promise that I will give you nothing but the best service and will be with you every step of the way from buying to moving in. For more great real estate and moving tips, check out my blog.

Dealing with Financing

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.

Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.

Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.

Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

Preparing to Sell

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.

Relocating to the Big City

Moving from a small town or suburb to a large city can be an intimidating proposition. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.

Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to that area. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.

Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home. Never sign a lease on an apartment that you haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.

Get involved. Meeting people in a big city can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive: city life is often too noisy and hectic. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things in the city. Try new things. Volunteer. Big cities offer so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.

Mind your wallet. City life is expensive. Everything costs more: food, insurance, clothes, rent. There are also a lot more ways to get ripped off, whether legally or criminally. Be careful how you spend, and know where your money is going.

5 Tips for Buying a Home

Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.