family_movingYour Quick Move Checklist

  • Get multiple moving quotes and research your moving company very carefully. Try and procure references and look for reviews.  Unfortunately there are many Moving Companies out there who misrepresent their business.  You can ask Patrick Parker Realty to recommend a moving company.
  • Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks ahead of the move.
  • Notify your credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, and bank of your change of address.
  • Create a list of friends, relatives, and business colleagues who need to be notified about your move.
  • Arrange to disconnect utilities and have them connected at your new home.
  • Cancel the newspaper, or change the address so it will arrive at your new home.
  • Check insurance coverage for the items you’re moving. Usually movers only cover what they pack.
  • Clean out appliances and prepare them for moving, if applicable.
  • Note the weight of the goods you’ll have moved, since long-distance moves are usually billed according to weight. Watch for movers that use excessive padding to add weight.
  • Check with your condo or co-op about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits for moving.
  • Have a “first open” box with the things you’ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pencils and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, and toothpaste.

If you’re moving out of town, be sure to:

  • Get copies of medical and dental records and prescriptions for your family and your pets.
  • Get copies of children’s school records for transfer.
  • Ask friends for introductions to anyone they know in your new neighborhood.
  • Consider special car needs for pets when traveling.
  • Let a friend or relative know your route.
  • Empty your safety deposit box.
  • Put plants in boxes with holes for air circulation if you’re moving in cold weather.

New Jersey’s Top Performing Public High Schools
By Frederick Kaimann/The Star-Ledger

New-Jersey-School-RankingsAs you prepare your move to or within the Jersey Shore area a very important consideration for many is the quality of the school district.  Well now you will find New Jersey’s public high school’s use a new, proprietary rating formula this year. Instead of judging schools based on a snapshot of a single year’s test scores, High School achievement scores now compare results during a four-year period, looking for trends in Student achievement.

The ratings cull data from the New Jersey Department of Education, which reported the High School Proficiency Assessment results for language arts and math tests among the general student population. Then SAT scores for each school were added and weighted. The results separate the best schools from the worst using the same four letter grades your children see scrawled across their assignments — A, B, C and D.

Top schools earned A’s, and below average schools in need of improvement earned D’s.

In an Interactive New Jersey High School Achievement Score Chart offered by The Star Ledger, median home prices, drawn from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, are also listed, which tabulates values along school district lines.

As Patrick Parker Realty knows how important this information is to many of you when choosing a home, we want to bring your attention to the results of this Star Ledger study.

Visit The Star Ledger Interactive New Jersey High School Achievement Score Chart



home-buyer-advise5 Questions Buyers Shouldn’t Overlook

So you’ve found the home you love, you’ve had it inspected, you’ve crossed all items off your home-buyer to-do checklist and you’re ready to go to closing. There is one final detail not to be overlooked to make sure you’ll stay happy in your new home.

Make sure to explore the following…

1. How’s the noise? Check the noise level surrounding the home at various times of day and days of the week, such as the weekday versus the weekend. For example, is the home in a flight path or on an ambulance or fire truck route?

2. Are there any easements or encroachments on the property? An easement will allow others to use a portion of your property for a specific purpose. A land survey will reveal property lines, any easements, or encroachments—such as from a garage or fence—from neighbors either intentionally or unintentionally invading the property line.

3. Is the house up to code? Ensure that the home’s previous owners did not fail to get a permit for any major renovation project. It’ll become the buyer’s responsibility otherwise.

4. What are the school, park, and police districts? School district boundaries can affect the home’s resale value and marketability so they’re important to note (and they can change), even if the buyer doesn’t have school-age children. Also, it’s important to determine which amenities and services are included in your taxes, and which (like trash pick-up) may cost extra.

5. What are the local rules? Even when the buyers move in, they’ll still have to abide by city/township and county rules. Buyers should check with any rules by their homeowner or condo association, if applicable, beforehand, too.  If you’re in the trades and your van has your company name on it, for example, you may not be able to park it in front of the home because it is considered ‘business signage.’

Answers to these questions relate to quality of life. Make sure there are no surprises!


Adapted from: “Don’t overlook these homebuying details,” The Chicago Tribune (June 21, 2013)

How to Decide Between Moving or Remodeling

Move or remodel? If you are dissatisfied with your home, you might wonder whether it’s better to buy another house or remodel the one you own. The choice involves both financial and emotional calculations.

Deciding whether to move or to remodel is a life conversation, not just a money conversation.  You should always start with life first, because thinking about money first can get in the way of figuring out what you really want.

A good place to start the decision-making process is by evaluating your motivations for change.

Generally, people are becoming more aware that they need to ‘move with a purpose’, relocating for a job, your commute is too long, better school district, etc.  But, f you feel you’ve hit the maximum capacity of your space, you may want to consider investing in your existing home.

Once you’ve evaluated your desire, such as for more space, think hard about the emotional aspect of moving.

If you love your neighborhood, your neighbors, your backyard, your commute and your children’s school, then you need to realize that these are things that are hard to replace,” says Dan Fritschen, creator of and author of “Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision.” “You need to think about how your home functions during the entire year, including your ability to entertain.”

Financial implications of moving

Before deciding to move, consult a real estate agent and a lender to get an evaluation of your home’s market value, the cost of the type of home you want to buy and your financing options.  Patrick Parker Realty Agents are experts in the areas we serve and are happy to provide you with a complimentary comparative market analysis at your convenience.

It is a buyer’s market.  Your new mortgage payments could be lower because of today’s low mortgage rates and low home prices, which could offset a lower-than-expected price on your home.  You also need to know the difference in property taxes and calculate the potential money you may need to spend to get the next house fixed to your preferences.  A good Realtor should be willing to help you with all of this, soup to nuts.

Financial Implications of Remodeling

Funding a remodel through cash flow or savings is an option, but you can also consider a home equity loan if you have a repayment plan.

You need to get a feel for what your project will cost before you can decide if it’s worth it.  Then you can estimate potential appreciation in your home value from the project. It’s also important to think about the intangible value of the improvement in terms of your quality of life.

One important thing to note, adding square footage can be the best remodeling investment, followed by fixing up a kitchen or bathroom. Take caution about over-improving the home for the neighborhood.

If you are living in a community of $350,000 homes and you upgrade with a $150,000 kitchen, you may not get your money back when you sell.  On the other hand, if you love cooking and you can afford it, the renovation has emotional value.

A Realtor with heavy experience in the local community can make recommendations as it relates to comparable home values as you consider remodeling and its relationship to the long-term investment in your home.  You can Contact Us for help in this area, we’ll be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.


For everyone who rents (or leases) Jersey Shore-area rental homes, it’s a choice that comes up every year: rent or buy. In addition to the common sense considerations everyone brings to that important decision, some financial measurements have been developed through the years that attempt to bring an element of rationality to a largely subjective decision.

Actually penciling out an answer isn’t always satisfactory because it is literally impossible to quantify elements like peace of mind. To some who own their Monmouth County homes, there is great peace of mind in controlling their own destiny. To others, the worry of being responsible for a home’s maintenance or taxes makes the ‘peace of mind’ factor a wash — or even a negative.

Likewise, those who lease Monmouth County rental homes may find the lack of responsibility liberating…or the lack of control bothersome. It’s a personal preference. What makes it even less subject to mathematical measurement is that anyone’s preference is likely to change due to life and career factors. (Just try to measure that, bean counters!)

All this is to introduce a new one of those metrics just introduced by Zillow this month. The metric, which is a pretty clever one, was introduced in an online article by Zillow’s Nalina Varanasi. Her all-but-hilarious introduction describes traditional methods used to try to quantify the rental homes vs. owned homes financial tradeoffs. The unintentional amusement arises from the 850 words and seven paragraphs it takes to describe just two of them. The mind-numbingly complex ratios-divided-by-more-ratios explanations are invariably followed by phrases like, ‘but the main problem with this’ or ‘still, this doesn’t account for…’

Zillow’s new measurement is also exceedingly complex, but yields one simple number. They call it the ‘Breakeven Horizon.’ It’s the number of years after which buying becomes more financially rewarding than renting. (At the exact number, it wouldn’t make a difference one way or the other). Since the Breakeven Horizon can’t take into account the very real personal value judgments, it’s as flawed as all the others. But it does yield an interesting nugget: in general, as a nation-wide average, it has been moving downward. Right now, the break-even point for most homes in the U.S. is around three years. In places like Miami-Fort Lauderdale, the break-even period comes in a scant 1.6 years.

Still, we have to admire author Varanasi’s boldly self-aware skill in her choice of headlines. Her announcement of the new Price Horizon metric is titled, “Should You Buy or Rent? Depends on How Long You Want to Stay and Where You Want to Live (Of Course)”.

More questions about buying vs. renting and what’s right for you? Let our experts help — contact us today!

Good news! There are foolproof methods out there to restore sanity to the madness during the newspaper crumbling, bubble wrapping, and encounter overloaded boxes

moving-tipsThe madness doesn’t have to continue. Here’s how;  

1. Use recycled boxes.
Check out your local grocery stores and department stores for their product boxes. They are often very happy to allow you to pick them up. Banana boxes are the best as they are sturdy- a great description for us book hoarders! I’ve found that going in the early morning works best as they are unloading fresh produce.

2. Stickers!
In many colors and in large quantities. Use round neon stickers and create a color-coded system by designating certain colors for each individual room. If pink is for the bathroom, slap a sticker on and your good to go. Because seriously how often does our hurriedly written labels in a dying sharpie really work? As you progress from room to room take a blank sheet of paper and place a sticker on diligently writing its coordinating room. Keep this handy in your purse or wallet so on U-Haul day things go that much smoother.

3. Flying 101.
Take a page from your flying handbook. We have all heard horror stories of how luggage gets lost, misplaced or never made it on the plane to begin with. While we ourselves have thankfully not had the joy of experiencing that firsthand we still pack an extra everything security allows us on our carry on. Being stranded in a foreign country with no extra undergarments? No thank you. It’s more common for this to happen during moving, especially if you are putting a lot of miles between the old shack and the new one. Our last minute packing got put on the truck first, or in our haste we packed it in a black garbage bag and come to think of it we did have an abnormally large amount sitting by the curbside. So set aside a suitcase or duffel bag and tie a bright ribbon around the handle. As the days wind down put the absolute necessary items in it and keep a very diligent eye on it!

4. Tortoise style.
Slow and steady wins the race. I maybe did it in a week, but I was steady. I didn’t skimp on stabilizing glass with bubble wrap or mix living room with bathroom. Take deep breaths. Take nice breaks. And then continue. Things can get emotional as you uncover sometimes a lifetimes worth of accumulated paraphernalia. Remember to follow rule number 2 as well!

5. Tape.
More sticky stuff, I know, but please don’t be one of the friends I’ve helped moved who used severely generic tape that didn’t even have the fortitude to stick to the prepackaged roll. Be like Gary Sadelstein in Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill. Love the tape. Use plenty and don’t be afraid to re-tape. Your life is practically in those boxes, so yes you might want to handle with care.

6. Ask.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the assistance of your friends and family’s help. (Unless of course you don’t want them to know you are moving much less to where!) When it comes to muscles heaving and hoing on moving day the more the merrier, right?

Bon Voyage! May your new home be filled with love, laughter, many good memories, and our fingers crossed, hope that you won’t need another U-Haul for at least another ten years!

Patrick Parker Realty
Real Estate Expertise by The Shore

One of the key drivers of homes sales, the employment rate, is beginning to show promising signs of a turnaround. The four-week average for jobless claims, as of November 19, was 394,250, a drop of 3,250 from the previous four weeks, and at the lowest levels since April. Consumer confidence also rose 15 points in the last month, and is now at its highest point since July of this year. Eric Green, Chief Market Economist at TD Securities Inc. said, “The trend remains very constructive. Jobless claims are back below 400,000, which seems to be the pivot point in terms of a strengthening labor market as opposed to a weakening one.”

In addition to improving employment conditions, home affordability also improved as interest rates fell further, opening the door for more first-time home buyers who accounted for 34% of the sales in October, an increase from 32% last month and over last year. The western United States saw the greatest increase in home sales, which were up 4.4% month to month and up over 15% from last year.

A strengthening job market, along with encouraging signs from the housing sector, including a 10% jump in pending sales for October, are strong economic forces. While mortgage lending still remains a challenge, these forces may send a signal to banks to relax lending regulations and allow for a more rapid recovery.

Interest Ratesinterest_rates_2011_2012
Mortgage rates continue to push lower, dropping to 3.98% from 4.23% in October of 2010, offering historic affordability to today’s home buyers. While mortgage lending conditions continue to be a challenge, more and more people are seeing the advantage of buying a home sooner rather than later. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “Home sales have been plodding along at a sub-par level while interest rates are hovering at record lows and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who normally would have entered the market in recent years. We hope this indicates more buyers are taking advantage of the excellent affordability conditions.”

Interest rates are at record lows these days, and this 4th Quarter appears to be much busier then the first three, which I believe is a direct result of affordability conditions.


Home Sales
Existing homes sales improved 1.4% in October, or to an annual pace of 4.97 million, a 13.5% increase from October of last year. Even more dramatic, was the jump in pending home sales, which surged in October by 10.4% from September, and were up 9.2% from October 2010. This jump in pending sales could lead to a strong fourth quarter as signs continue to point to a pent-up demand brought on by current lending conditions of mortgage providers.


Home Prices
The national median home price in the U.S. saw a small decline in October to $162,500, from $165,800 in September. This number can be affected by the sale of distressed properties, which typically sell at discounted prices. Distressed properties accounted for 28% of homes sales in October. Yet despite a drop in the median price from last September, the Federal Housing Finance Authority reported that seasonally adjusted prices rose 0.2% in the third quarter from the second quarter in 2011, which could be an early sign of appreciating home prices.


By the end of October, the total number of homes on the market had fallen 2.2% to 3.33 million homes, which represents 8 months of inventory at the current sales pace. Since a record high of 4.58 million homes in July 2008, the inventory of homes for sale has been steadily declining. When homes sell faster than they come on the market, the market comes from its current favor toward buyers into balance or in favor of sellers. This can trigger an appreciation in home prices and lead the way to a stronger recovery.

Deciding to Buy
When first-time home buyers decide they are ready to buy, it is important for them to begin the process by carefully assessing their values, wants, and needs—both for the short and long term. This is a critical step since consultation sessions normally start with the buyers’ values. Afterward, buyers can explore their wants and needs and, once defined, determine actual criteria.

A recent study shows how important the following home-buying factors were to buyers:

   •   List Price: 72%
   •   Location: 69%
   •   Neighborhood: 55%
   •   Floor Plan: 37%
   •   Square Footage: 28%
   •   Schools: 22%

By having the home-buying criteria in mind before walking into a consultation, buyers are off to a better start when meeting with their real estate agent. The consultation allows buyers to fill in any missing gaps within their values, wants, and needs. Typically, I find that most buyers which meet with me have a much clearer vision as to what they want.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season from the Patrick Parker Team!

Patrick Parker Realty

Congratulations! You’ve survived the process of leaving one home and finding another and the onus of packing everything up and then unpacking the same boxes. Your child is enrolled in a new school; you’ve found a new bank and a new doctor; you’ve investigated trash pick-up times, licensing requirements, and registering your car; and your mail is being forwarded on a regular basis…but now that things have calmed down and your somewhat settled in your Jersey Shore home, you may feel a bit lonely in an unfamiliar place.

The following tips are designed to help you become part of your new community and re-create the sense of belonging you had in your previous location.

  • Go online to learn about the new area and what it has to offer. Look at the city or chamber of commerce website. Research religious facilities, cultural opportunities, parks and outdoor activities, and so much more!
  • Acquire a regional map and drive around. Explore shortcuts and pinpoint the location of shopping malls, medical services, libraries, the post office, city offices, etc.
  • Talk to neighbors. Ask advice about home maintenance companies, babysitters, doctors, or the civic league or homeowners’ organization associated with your Jersey Shore  home.
  • Take a walking tour of your neighborhood. Introduce yourself to and initiate conversations with house occupants who are outside. Compliment their yard or ask directions, for starters.

So you’ve finally found the piece of Jersey Shore real estate you’ve searched for months! What next? Before you sign a contract, make sure it contains a home inspection contingency, a clause stating that your offer is contingent dependent on the results of a home inspection.

A home inspection is of primary importance because it allows you to obtain an unbiased professional assessment of all the components of the property. It is a step necessary for you to decide if you will stay with your original offer, renegotiate based on documented issues and needed repairs, or back away from the purchase of that piece of Jersey Shore real estate altogether.

Selecting a qualified inspector is vital. Your realtor can provide you with the names of reputable firms, or you can go online to research services offered and credentials. Specific information you should know about the inspector and the inspection process included the following:

      1. Credentials and background: Is he/she licensed in your state? Is he affiliated with any respected organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors? Membership in these groups requires that inspectors follow strict guidelines about ethics and continuing education. Be sure to inquire about experience and training. A construction-based background is a plus, as is attending a college with an emphasis on construction or attending a home inspection school.

    2. Fees: Although you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily, this is not a place to scrimp. Your house purchase is a very large investment, and you need to know as much as you can about it. Do remember that money spent on a quality inspection now will be returned to you by avoiding unexpected costly repairs in the future.  The price of an average inspection varies depending on the age, size, and condition of the house. Some inspectors base their fees on the list price of the Jersey Shore real estate. Get estimates from all you contact, but don’t assume that the lowest priced is the best choice for you.


The prospect of relocating to a new place can be somewhat unsettling as you face emptying your present house and filling up your Jersey Shore home. Not only must you deal with the onus of packing and the logistics of your physical move, you also find yourself a bit anxious–and possible sad– about leaving a place where you’ve grown comfortable. No wonder so many people dread making a move!

There is, however, a painless way to lessen the angst and allow you to cope well (maybe even enjoy) the relocation process–and that is organization. While you may be proficient at researching and hiring a moving company and finding a reliable Realtor to sell your current residence and help you find the perfect Jersey Shore home, there are numerous “small” steps you can take to eliminate unpleasant surprises later on and to make the process go more smoothly.

To alleviate any concerns you may have about the financial ramifications of living in a new city, you can compare the cost of living in two places by visiting This site will help you calculate how far your salary will go in your new location.


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