Common Property Appraisal Myths

Property AppraiserGetting a property appraised can be a nerve-racking ordeal. There is a lot riding on the outcome of a property appraisal in New Jersey. Many people may be surprised to learn what actually goes into a property appraisal. There are many myths surrounding property appraisal, many of which are completely without basis. These myths include formulaic appraisal misconceptions, market value myths, and the belief that appraisal will change depending on who does the hiring.

There are many reasons to get a property appraisal. In order to sell a home it is required that one goes through with this process. Appraisals are important in this process because they help to keep market prices even. If everyone could list their home for any price they wanted the market would be very uneven and no one would really know what properties were worth. It’s also often required to obtain a property appraisal when applying for a second mortgage or using your home equity for financial purposes. Read the rest of this entry

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

Real Estate AgentWhen selling a property it’s critical that you get a really great real estate agent. This is the person that will work to get the price you and your appraiser feel is fair for your property. You’ve already gotten an appraisal from a top property appraiser in New York, now you need to get a top real estate agent on your side to ensure that you sell your property quickly and for the price that you want.

When searching for a quality real estate agent there are a few things to look for. You want to find someone who is highly educated and certified. Without these two things, legal sales are simply not possible. In addition to this, you want to find someone with a lot of experience, especially in the local area, and someone with solid references. It’s also wise to check into the other listings that a prospective agent has in the area to see how they are performing in real time. Read the rest of this entry

How to Choose a Property Appraiser

Property AppraisalA proper appraisal by a licensed professional is often necessary in order to sell or refinance a home. Getting a fair appraisal means getting a fair price for your home. This is certainly not a job for amateurs; you want a seasoned professional to properly assess the value of your home. When searching for the top property appraiser in New York it’s critical to look for the person with the best education and the proper license. However, it is also important to consider how much experience the appraiser has and what their methodology for their work is. The best candidates for the job will satisfy the highest standards in all of these categories. With so much at stake it is important to find the right person for the job. Read the rest of this entry

Buying A Summer Vacation Home

There are lots of good reasons to want a vacation home, and hardly any of them are financial. There are psychological reasons, emotional reasons, and family reasons. These kinds of reasons tend to push financial considerations into the background. But the financial side can’t be overlooked.

As with any real estate, location counts more than any other single factor. The best vacation properties offer something special — a view of the ocean, a mountain vista, a dock on a lake. For maximum appeal to potential renters or future buyers, look for a place within three hours’ drive of a major metropolitan areas. Longer distances or difficult roads make weekend trips a pain, and that limits your market. Read the rest of this entry

Real Estate in Southern NJ and Philadelphia

New Jersey residents are in better financial shape than most others across the country, according to a new study by one of Wall Street’s regulators.  But the results still show New Jersey residents need to do more to make themselves secure financially. The nationwide survey, conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has found that folks in New Jersey are more likely than most to spend less than what they earn, set aside money for rainy days, and save for their children’s education.  These are very sound money management principals but they are ones that will stimulate buying. Read the rest of this entry

Real Estate Market in Delaware

Compared to other states, Delaware is the place to be for those who mind their numbers—and for those who want a high quality of life.  To start, housing prices here compare favorably with those of neighboring states. The median price of a home in Delaware in mid-January was $191,100. Compare that to New Jersey at $270,800, Virginia at $227,000, Washington, D.C., at $363,200, Maryland at $234,400 and Pennsylvania at $143,400. The median price of a home in Delaware many cases now approximates prices in 2004.

Other compelling arguments are low property and school taxes, and a lower cost of living. As a point of reference, the median property tax rate in Delaware is 0.43 percent, as reported by Avalara.com. In New Jersey it’s 1.89 percent. Pennsylvania is 1.35, Maryland is 0.87, Virginia is 0.74 and New York is 1.23 percent. Read the rest of this entry

Real Estate Market in New York City

Cooperatives and Condominiums

New York is a city comprised mainly of cooperative and condominium apartments with a smaller selection of private homes, called townhouses or brownstones. Most important is understanding the differences between the two types of apartments you will find:

Structure of a Cooperative (Co-op)

Cooperatives are not a new concept, although they seem to be a type of ownership that is more common in New York City than elsewhere in the United States. In New York City, 85% of our apartments available for purchase are in cooperative buildings, while 15% are in condominiums. This means two very simple things to potential buyers in New York City.  There is more inventory to choose from if the buyer includes co-ops into the mix of properties, and prices are, in general, more attractive for cooperatives – simple supply and demand. Read the rest of this entry

Real Estate Market in Newark

Newark was originally founded in 1666 by Connecticut Puritans led by Robert Treat from the New Haven Colony. The city saw tremendous industrial and population growth during the 19th century and early 20th century, and experienced racial tension and urban decline in the second half of the 20th century, culminated by the 1967 Newark riots. The city has experienced revitalization during the 1990s and early 21st century.

Newark’s home resale inventories stayed the same, with a 0 percent change since September 2013. Distressed properties such as foreclosures and short sales decreased as a percentage of the total market in October. The median listing price in Newark went up from September to October. There were a total of 1 price increases and 10 price decreases. Read the rest of this entry

What Are the Best Cities to Retire in the US?

Seasons of the year

Different Seasons

Many baby boomers who haven’t saved enough to retire well are contemplating delaying retirement. But if working into your 70s isn’t possible (or appealing), moving to a place with a much lower cost of living can help stretch your retirement savings and finance a better quality of life. A retirement income of $40,000 per year certainly won’t go very far in Honolulu or Miami, but there are plenty of other places where it can fund a comfortable retirement lifestyle. If you’re willing to relocate to a place with a low cost of living and affordable housing, this modest retirement income could give you access to interesting activities and top-notch medical care.  If you are ready to make the move to a retirement house, property appraisers like Abbe Edleman of New Jersey provide property appraisals to valuate your existing home.

Here are 10 great places to retire in 2013:

Albuquerque, N.M.

The low cost of living in Albuquerque is well-known to students at the University of New Mexico and people drawn to the community by the Kirtland Air Force Base and national laboratories. Retirees also benefit from Albuquerque’s many amenities and low housing prices. The median housing cost for people age 60 and older was $1,150 monthly for those with a mortgage, $358 for homeowners without a mortgage, and $657 for renters. There are also plenty of low-cost ways to get around town, even if you can’t or no longer want to drive. People age 62 and older can ride the bus for just 35 cents, and there are also more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails.

Augusta, Ga.

The host city of the Masters Tournament is best known for its golf courses. This city on the Savannah River is also home to the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta State University, and a wide variety of art galleries and museums. Housing costs for residents age 60 and older are a median of just $626 for renters, $1,064 for homeowners with a mortgage, and $353 for seniors who have paid off their homes. Augusta public transit costs 60 cents per ride for people 65 and older.

Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina’s state capital city offers the amenities of big-city life, but with a low cost of living and plenty of arts and outdoor activities. Monthly housing costs range from a median of $1,107 per month for homeowners age 60 and older who have a mortgage to $712 monthly for renters. Retirees who have paid off their mortgages pay a median of just $350 monthly for other housing costs. Bus fares for people age 65 and older are 75 cents. And South Carolina residents age 60 and older who are not working full time can qualify for free tuition to the University of South Carolina.

Jackson, Miss.

Your retirement budget will stretch much further in Mississippi’s state capital than in many other places. Homeowners age 60 and older paid a median of $1,053 per month in housing costs, which dropped to $329 if they had paid off their mortgage. Renters age 60 and older paid a median of $624 per month in 2011. The city is known for its music, especially gospel and blues, and also has a zoo, ballet, planetarium, and opera. There are lecture series and museums that are very low-cost things to do.”

Knoxville, Tenn.

The typical resident age 60 or older with a mortgage in Knoxville pays a median of $1,060 per month. For those without a mortgage, the median housing cost declines to just $347 monthly. And retiree renters pay a median of $625 per month. This city has a rich arts and music community as well as plenty of outdoor attractions, including 65 miles of greenway trails, more than 80 parks—among them the Ijams Nature Center—and is about an hour’s drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee and the headquarters of Regal Entertainment Group, where senior citizens qualify for a small discount on movie tickets and AARP members can get deals on soft drink and popcorn combos.

Little Rock, Ark.

Named for a rock formation on the Arkansas River, this state capital is home to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  Most homeowners age 60 and older pay reasonable housing costs, including a median of $1,059 if they have a mortgage and $360 monthly once the mortgage is paid off. Retirees who rent pay a median of $656 monthly. Senior citizens above a certain age can get discount admission to the Little Rock Zoo, Arkansas Museum of Discovery, and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

Louisville, Ky.

The host city of the Kentucky Derby is also known for its green space, which includes more than 120 parks covering over 14,000 acres. The 6,218-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest is located just 15 miles from downtown. The city is in the process of building the Louisville Loop, a partially completed bike and walking trail system that is estimated to eventually span more than 100 miles, encircle the city, and link existing parks and neighborhoods. Retirees pay housing costs of $1,068 monthly if they have a mortgage and just $373 if they have paid off their mortgage. Renters age 60 and older paid a median of $573 per month in 2011. Ticket prices to attend museums, the ballet, and orchestra are generally somewhere between $15 and $100 per person, so it’s not an outrageous market compared to several hundred dollars per ticket in Boston or San Francisco.”

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has a symphony, ballet, zoo, and a variety of museums. And between the Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, and Panthers, sports spectators have plenty of options. The UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is ranked nationally in 14 adult specialties, including 10th in the nation in geriatrics. And senior citizens age 65 or older with proper ID ride free on the bus, T, or Mon Incline, thanks to a program funded by Pennsylvania Lottery proceeds. These world-class amenities are coupled with surprisingly affordable housing prices. People age 60 and older paid a median of $590 per month in rent and $1,079 monthly toward their mortgages in 2011. Those without mortgages get by paying just $435 per month in housing costs

St. Louis

Best known for the Gateway Arch, St. Louis also has a zoo, science center, a variety of art and other museums, and 111 parks covering 3,250 acres. Professional sports fans can choose between the Cardinals (baseball), Rams (football), and Blues (hockey). The teaching hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, is ranked 14th in the nation in geriatrics and is also ranked nationally in 15 other specialties. Housing costs for retirees are reasonable, including a median of $1,186 monthly for retirees with a mortgage, $442 among seniors with a paid-off house, and $657 monthly in rent

San Antonio

First colonized by the Spanish in the early 1700s, San Antonio now has an extensive 11,000-acre park system containing over 68 miles of trails and more than 50 golf courses. Yet housing remains affordable, costing homeowners age 60 and older a median of $1,155 monthly, or $398 if they have paid off their mortgage. Monthly rent for retirees is a median of $660. An added bonus: There is no state income tax in Texas.

What are the Best Places to Live in the US?

Good Neighborhood

Choosing a Neighborhood

“Go where the jobs are” may be considered sound business and financial advice in the current economy, but what if where those jobs are costs more than twice the national average to live? In the New York City area, the average pay for full-time civilian workers is 28.51/hour, nearly $6/hour above the national average of $22.71. That might sound nice, but when you take into account that the cost of living in Manhattan is more than twice the national average (216 percent), things aren’t looking so pretty. New Jersey (although it didn’t make the top 10) is not far from New York best is still a favorite of some on the east coast.

On the flip side, Indianapolis has a cost of living that’s much lower than the national average (87 percent), but the average wage is equally low at $19.80/hour, meaning you’re only spending less because you’re making less.

So where are the best places to live where you can actually spend less and make more? Property appraisers like Abbe Edleman provide property appraisals that are used in determining the cost of living and the valuation of houses. Below is a list of the cities across the country where it may be worth considering when relocating whether it is a family move or one that is occupation related.

San Francisco

Rank: 1
Population: 808,854

The City by the Bay, provides residents with the best blend of entertainment, education, safety, clear air, and a prosperous economic base. As the heart of the Bay Area, San Francisco draws on the prosperity of Silicon Valley and possesses its own diverse history well represented at cultural centers such as the de Young Museum. Night life flourishes in the Mission and the Castro, while tech companies code away in SoMa.

Bars: 394
Restaurants: 3,430
Museums: 70
Libraries: 52
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 16
Median household income: $90,640
Percent unemployed: 7.8

Seattle

Rank: 2
Population: 624,070

For the runner-up best city, we turn back to the Northwest to the nation’s spiritual home for coffee and personal computing: Seattle. Residents of Rain City will take the city’s famously prodigious rainfall in exchange for their high average median income, beautiful water-bound locale, and standout clean air. Microsoft and Boeing provide tens of thousands of jobs to the area, for those who can’t toss fish at the Pike Place Market.

Bars: 219
Restaurants: 2,307
Museums: 29
Libraries: 42
Pro sports teams: 4
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 9
Colleges: 8
Percent with graduate degree: 16.8
Median household income: $90,303
Percent unemployed: 7.2

Washington, D.C.

Rank: 3
Population: 607,731

The District of Columbia’s been known for political dysfunction, but when it comes to leisure it has become the nation’s leader. The nation’s capital has an expansive series of parks to go with its lively districts, such as Logan Circle and Foggy Bottom. D.C. rivals Boston for its depth and quality of schools. Staying busy: Residents can shop in Georgetown or check out such cultural centers as the Smithsonian’s museums and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Bars: 134
Restaurants: 2,066
Museums: 108
Libraries: 88
Pro sports teams: 5
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 12
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 19.6
Median household income: $72,110
Percent unemployed: 9.1

Boston

Rank: 4
Population: 615,462

Boston isn’t always one of the nation’s safest towns. But few cities can match Beantown’s blend of history, night life, and education. With 22 universities, Boston can seem very much a college town, owning a grimy charm. As New England’s cultural center, Boston combines Gilded Age class with some Atlantic brine, from L’Espalier to B&G Oysters.

Bars: 136
Restaurants: 2,064
Museums: 51
Libraries: 54
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 8
Colleges: 22
Percent with graduate degree: 13.8
Median household income: $62,180
Percent unemployed: 6.6

Portland, Oregon

Rank: 5
Population: 598,205

Portland is known for its Pacific Northwestern brand of laid-back living, with education and restaurant offerings to go with air quality you won’t find on the East Coast. The city’s become beloved of America’s hipsters, do-it-yourselfers, and localist foodies. The constant turnover of such creative types adds up to a busy, if offbeat, arts and music scene. Another popular recent arrival is the city’s major league soccer team, the Portland Timbers, which regularly sells out its games.

Bars: 313
Restaurants: 2,084
Museums: 20
Libraries: 23
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 25
Colleges: 16
Percent with graduate degree: 11.8
Median household income: $65,554
Percent unemployed: 7.9

Denver

Rank: 6
Population: 597,466

The Mile High City has evolved into a major night life and dining hub, with more than 200 bars and 1,700 restaurants to offer up its craft beers and mixture of southwestern and Rocky Mountain cuisine. There is also exotic food, with such game haunts as the Buckhorn Exchange offering local takes on yak, rattlesnake, and, of course, Rocky Mountain oysters (look it up).

Bars: 207
Restaurants: 1,741
Museums: 33
Libraries: 39
Pro sports teams: 6
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 10
Colleges: 13
Percent with graduate degree: 10.9
Median household income: $59,155
Percent unemployed: 8.9

New York

Rank: 7
Population: 8,110,206

The nation’s biggest and most international city, New York blows all other cities out of the water with its more than 1,200 bars, 22,000 restaurants, 350 museums, and almost as many libraries. World famous universities such as Columbia University and New York University dominate their respective neighborhoods. With Wall Street, Broadway, and the home of America’s advertising and fashion centers, be careful telling New Yorkers their city shouldn’t sit atop the list.

Bars: 1,220
Restaurants: 22,320
Museums: 356
Libraries: 341
Pro sports teams: 8
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 5
Colleges: 103
Percent with graduate degree: 9.6
Median household income: $58,608
Percent unemployed: 11

Austin

Rank: 8
Population: 797,215

The capital of the Lone Star state, Austin is our largest city without a major professional sports team, but don’t feel sorry—its main college attraction, the UT-Longhorns football team, can draw more than 100,000 spectators to games. With computer company Dell located just north of town, Austin has become a major destination for top tech talent, as well. It hosts the annual tech and music festival South by Southwest, which added a Startup Village for investing and schmoozing last year. There’s also the annual outdoor Austin City Limits music festival, which lures acts from around the globe each fall.

Bars: 212
Restaurants: 2,135
Museums: 25
Libraries: 35
Pro sports teams: 0
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 37
Colleges: 9
Percent with graduate degree: 11
Median household income: $65,886
Percent unemployed: 6.3

San Diego, California

Rank: 9
Population: 1,319,558

If weather were the leading data point in these rankings, San Diego might be No. 1. As it is, the city comes in with a strong 9th-place finish thanks to its relative safety, gorgeous beaches, and 16 colleges. For San Diego residents, picking which beach can be the hard part. Coronado lies just to the south, La Jolla to the north, with Mission Beach in between.

Bars: 189
Restaurants: 3,126
Museums: 53
Libraries: 52
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 36
Colleges: 16
Percent with graduate degree: 10.9
Median household income: $79,269
Percent unemployed: 9.2

St. Paul, Minnesota

Rank: 10
Population: 288,263

St. Paul may be the smaller of the Twin Cities, but the state capital is also cleaner and safer, if slightly behind Minneapolis in median household income. St. Paul, which houses parts of the University of Minnesota campus, is known for its examples of Victorian architecture, such as the Alexander Ramsey House, and for its distinctive Cathedral of Saint Paul.

Bars: 51
Restaurants: 515
Museums: 19
Libraries: 26
Pro sports teams: 3
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 14
Colleges: 9
Percent with graduate degree: 10.9
Median household income: $60,987
Percent unemployed: 6.3

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