BY DIANE BELCUORE REPRINT FROM SHOWCASE MAGAZINE JUNE 2017
Niche*, an independent research organization that ranks over 2,000 counties based on 50+ statistical measures, has just ranked:
- SOMERSET COUNTY
- #21 out of 2,777 BEST PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN AMERICA
- #67 out of 2,569 HEALTHIEST COUNTIES IN AMERICA
- #96 out of 2,792 BEST COUNTIES TO RAISE A FAMILY IN AMERICA
- MORRIS COUNTY
- #24 out of 2,777 BEST PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN AMERICA
- #78 out of 2,569 HEALTHIEST COUNTIES IN AMERICA
To arrive at the rankings, Niche.com took several factors into consideration, such as the quality of elementary and high schools, local crime rates, housing trends and availability, current employment statistics, and access to amenities.
More good news! A study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ** has ranked:
MORRIS COUNTY #2, SOMERSET COUNTY #3, UNION COUNTY #8 HEALTHIEST PLACES TO LIVE IN NEW JERSEY
The study evaluated local crime rates, current household income levels, air and water quality, as well as proximity to stores, parks, and medical care.
Still more good news! A year-to-year comparison of homes sold in Warren, Watchung, Long Hill, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights show that total home sales have increased by 15% and homes have sold in a shorter period of time. However, prices have remained stable.*** This is due to an average increase in mortgage rates by 1%, since November 2016.
All this adds up to the fact that homes in our area are still in great demand, because our communities are very desirable places to live. It also makes us realize that buyers focus on value.
Buyers define value based on their desire for good schools and reasonable taxes, their need for mass transit, and their preference for well maintained homes that are updated with sensible, modern features.
For example, energy efficient appliances that are five years old or less are important to buyers because of the lower utility costs. Since buyers have less time than money, homes that are updated and maintenance free will sell faster and for higher prices than homes that need work. Vinyl siding, vinyl replacement windows, and insulated exterior doors are attractive to today’s homebuyers. In addition, freshly painted interiors and new, low maintenance flooring make a home more attractive. The more the home is in move in condition, the more desirable it is for a buyer. Looking at the exterior of the property, features such as drought tolerant and deer tolerant shrubs, drainage beds with decorative hardscaping, and mulched plant beds are desirable. Less lawn means less work and less cost. Very important to today’s buyers!
In addition, buyers seek homes that are well maintained. When selling your home, there are many simple, low cost things you can do to enhance the sale. For example, changing your furnace filter and having your fireplace professionally cleaned are important. Replacement of missing or torn weather stripping on entry doors and garage doors will eliminate drafts and moisture. Removing all debris from gutters will improve drainage and prevent dampness around the house foundation. If you have a drainage easement on your property, make sure it is not clogged. Remove any debris, such as fallen trees or branches wherever possible. Have all tree branches cut back away from the exterior of the house, as well as away from utility wires connected to the house.
Finally, check with your local municipal construction and zoning offices to make sure that you don’t have any open permits for improvements you have made to your home. If there are open permits, schedule your final inspections to close them out as soon as possible.
These steps will lead to a quicker, easier sale of your home!
*NICHE.COM, FEBRUARY 2017
**County Health Rankings, 2017
***Garden State Multiple Listing Service
Posted on June 4, 2017 at 11:01 am by Diane Belcuore