Tuesday Open Discussion

It’s been a bit quiet on the news front early this week, however, we’re in for more than a flurry of economic reports later in the week. So until then, let’s try something new…

Welcome to the Tuesday(?) Open Discussion!

This is the time and place to post observations about your local areas, comments on news stories or the New Jersey housing bubble, open house reports, etc. If you have any questions you wanted to ask earlier in the week but never posted them up, let’s have them. Also a good place to post suggestions, requests for information, criticism, and praise.

For readers that have never commented, there is a link at the top of each message that is typically labelled “[#] Comments“. Go ahead and give that a click, you might be missing out on a world of information you didn’t know about. While you are there, introduce yourselves to everyone.

For new readers that have only read the messages displayed on the main page, take a look through the archives, a substantial amount of information has been put online in the past year. The archives can be accessed by using the links found in the menus on the right hand side of the page.

This post will remain at the top of the page today, any new posts will be displayed below.

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195 Responses to Tuesday Open Discussion

  1. James Bednar says:

    From the Times:

    Squibb merger would challenge region

    As fresh reports of an impending merger involving Bristol-Myers Squibb stirred financial markets yesterday, one of the state’s top economists had a gloomy outlook on what the deal might mean for Mercer County.

    Bristol-Myers, the third-largest private employer in Mercer, is on the verge of being sold to French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aven tis SA, according to a French financial newsletter. La Lettre de l’Ex pansion, citing unnamed sources, reported that a pre-merger memorandum was signed last week and the deal could be finalized by September.

    A merger with Sanofi-Aventis could prove a particular challenge to Mercer County because that company has its U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater and may look to cut costs elsewhere.

    “There’s going to be some los ers in the process,” said James W. Hughes, dean of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. “Mercer County may lose to Somerset County.”

    “This is a big deal for Mercer County,” Hughes said.

    Bristol-Myers employs 5,062 people in the county, trailing only Merrill Lynch and Princeton University. Its research offices are in Lawrence and it also has offices in Hopewell Township, West Windsor and Plainsboro. In all, the company has more than 7,600 employees in New Jersey.

    Sanofi-Aventis has a history of eliminating New Jersey jobs after going through a merger. After Sa nofi-Synthelabo bought Aventis in 2004, the newly combined company announced that it was eliminating 700 jobs in the state.

    Hughes said that losing corporate offices could be painful to the county, which has some unleased office space in the Route 1 corridor.

  2. James Bednar says:

    Economic Calendar for this week:

    Consumer Confidence – 10am

    Q4 GDP(Adv)/Chain Deflator – 8:30am
    Chicago PMI – 9:45am
    Construction Spending – 10am
    FOMC Statement – 2:15pm

    Personal Income/Spending/Savings – 8:30am
    ISM Index – 10am

    Nonfarm Payrolls – 8:30am
    Factory Orders – 10am
    Mich. Sentiment – 10am

  3. James Bednar says:

    Doesn’t anyone care about the Fed anymore? The two-day meeting begins today, with a statement due tomorrow afternoon, yet there has been surprisingly little “buzz” about the meeting.


  4. njrebear says:

    Saudis said to plan production cut
    Report: No. 1 oil producer to shave 158,000 barrels per day from output beginning this week, with more reductions coming.


  5. pesche22 says:

    tax relief for the homeowner right around
    the bend. Hold on its coming.

  6. James Bednar says:

    From Marketwatch:

    FOMC to remain at rest

    What will the Fed do next?

    About two-thirds of economists polled think the next move will be to cut rates. Here are some specific forecasts:

    Two cuts in the second quarter, 4.25% by end of year.

    On hold for rest of the year.

    Lehman Bros.:
    On hold for the rest of the year.

    Barclays Capital:
    Rate hike in June, 6% by end of the year.

    Goldman Sachs:
    Rate cut by June.

    JP Morgan:
    Rate hike in fourth quarter.

    RBS Greenwich Capital:
    Rate hike in fourth quarter.

  7. Mike T says:

    Fed can do whatever, it won’t matter whether they cut or hike, any hike will be inconsequential anyway. Inflation is here, it’s growing rapidly every day, just ask any homeowner about his RE tax bill, amoung other bills. So, they pass out property tax relief, they’ll just transfer more taxes elsewhere, like if you own an incorporated business, taxes are going up there, how bout the sales tax, at 7%!!! what a gas. So, when the fed tells you inflation is under control, well that’s a big lie, but an even bigger lie is that the fed has the ability to fix things. It’s all irrelevant. can’t wait to sell out here in Jersey and rent one of the many abundant condos down in Florida. I understand, they are still building like crazy in Florida, will take the loss on my humble home here, became a tax refuge and go live in a state with no income tax. Will let the landlord pay the insurance bill down there.

  8. Clotpoll says:

    Mike T-

    Goodbye…and enjoy Florida. Hope the Denny’s near you has a good early-bird.

  9. RentinginNJ says:

    will take the loss on my humble home here, became

    Mike T,

    Will you actually take a loss (i.e. sell it for less than you paid) or do you mean a loss in the sense that you could have sold it for even more last year (a loss versus what could have been)?

    Enjoy Florida!

  10. James Bednar says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Countrywide net income falls 3%

    Countrywide Financial Corp. said Tuesday fourth-quarter net income for the three months ended Dec. 31 fell 3% to $622 million, or $1.01 a share, from $639 million, or $1.03 a share in the year-ago period. Revenue climbed 6% to $2.76 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast earnings of $1.03 a share and revenue of $2.8 billion, on average. Looking ahead to 2007, the mortgage giant said it expects continued pressure on margins as mortgage origination volumes decline. The Calabasas, Calif. company is preparing for increased borrower delinquencies and continued credit deterioration. “We believe, however, that 2007 will likely be the trough year of the current housing cycle and that 2008 should represent the beginning of upward trends associated with the next cycle,” Countrywide said.

  11. chaoticchild says:

    James Bednar Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 7:15 am
    Doesn’t anyone care about the Fed anymore? The two-day meeting begins today, with a statement due tomorrow afternoon, yet there has been surprisingly little “buzz” about the meeting.



    Everyone has expected the rate remains the same for the next meeting or 2. There is no news or “buzz” for the media to rave about.

    PPL want to hear rate cut but it ain’t coming. So the media ain’t reporting.


  12. thatbigwindow says:

    BC Bob: You sound suprised…

  13. Lindsey says:

    The conventional wisdom is that New Jersey is very unfriendly toward business, and that the business climate here (frequently characterized as high taxes, though high real estate costs are probably a bigger factor) is poor.

    I see the problems, but I often find myself arguing the other side. I’m doing it again. I happened upon this report from October this morning:


    The key piece of info:

    For that reason, Expansion Management and Logistics Today magazines have teamed up for the past six years to produce our annual Logistics Quotient™ ranking of the most logistics-friendly metros in the United States.

    The study evaluates the overall logistics infrastructure of our nation’s 362 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) based on 10 major categories, including the transportation and warehousing (T&W) industry, T&W work force, road infrastructure, road congestion, road conditions, interstate highway access, vehicle taxes and fees, railroad access, water port access, and air cargo access.

    Topping this year’s list as the most logistics-friendly metro in the U.S. is the New York-Newark-Edison, N.Y.-N.J., MSA, followed by Houston, Texas;…

    The state’s economy is a mess, but NJ is not without its advantages over many other areas.

  14. Clotpoll says:

    Armed, forcible overthrow of the government is the only solution.

  15. James Bednar says:

    Armed, forcible overthrow of the government is the only solution.

    Nothing quite like the talk of revolution to warm your soul on a quiet winter morn’.


  16. BC Bob says:

    “BC Bob: You sound suprised…”


    No. After all, we are conditioned for this. Just pointing out the obvious.

  17. bergenbubbleburst says:

    BC BOB: unfortunatley it is peoples own fault.. If you keep voting yes for spending increases, than taxes will go up.

    School Board says vote yes, or your property values will go down;people vote yes, end of story.

    They have no idea what the increase will be, until they get theri new tax bill, then they complain that taxes are out of control, and ist starts all over, and this in a supposedly sophisicated Bergen Co town.

  18. BC Bob says:


    I agree it’s all about accountability.

  19. Pat says:

    I watched an excellent documentary on Friedman last night on PBS.

    “..as long as you have governments which control a great deal of power, there always [will be] pressure from special interests to intervene. And once you get something in government, it’s very hard to get it out. …it still is true that it takes continued effort to keep a society free. What’s the saying? “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

  20. Pat says:

    moderated…man, I said the F word. Friedman.

  21. bergenbubbleburst says:

    Does any body know if the 4$ cap on municipal tax increases, includes the local schools? I canno tseem to find any informaiton on that. Thanks.

  22. gary says:

    This state has really gone down the tubes since I was young. Between taxes, the congestion, cost of living, etc., it’s disheartening. And what about the invasion of New Yorkers over the last 15 years? I thought they wouldn’t be caught dead in Jersey? When did that change?

    My sister-in-laws Mom said she used to love to go shopping in the malls in Paramus but she doesn’t go anymore because she feels like she’s in another country. She says, “I never heard so many different languages before. I feel like I’ve got to apologize for speaking English.” Oh well… maybe North Carolina has become the “new” New Jersey.

  23. RentLord says:


    Related to yesterdays heated discussion on RE commissions – Is it possible to have a poll(of unique visitors) on what folks here think is about right?

    Obviously no one works for free. It will be interesting to see what the polls say – for example:

    1) fixed cap of x% on total RE commissions
    2) flat fee RE
    3) no cap at all – perhaps there are sellers willing to give 10% – so maybe there’s a lot more in the menu than the standard 5/6%.
    4) $10000 per agent involved?

    ok, I will try to limit my posts here unlike yesterday!

  24. James Bednar says:

    Would make for an interesting poll, but realize that any results would largely be invalid due to the very narrow cross-section of the population that this blog represents.

    However, your third point is worth discussion. Do you know there are listings currently on the MLS where the seller is offering bonuses of $10,000 (and sometimes even more) to the selling agent? In these cases, the seller obviously feels that 3% to the selling broker/agent isn’t a sufficient carrot for them to bring in buyers.

    Would you consider this conflict of interest? How would you feel if an agent was steering you towards a house that was paying a large bonus like this?

    Do you know that these bonuses are typically documented in the agent remarks section, which is not displayed on the client report that an agent might hand you? Unless you are looking at a full report, or the MLS screen, you wouldn’t have any idea that these additional incentives exist.


  25. James Bednar says:

    From Marketwatch:

    U.S. Jan. expectations index 94.5 vs. 96.3

    U.S. Jan. present situation index 133.9 vs. 130.5

    U.S. Jan. consumer confidence 110.3 vs. revised 110.0 Dec.

    U.S. Jan. consumer confidence index rises to 5-year high

  26. James Bednar says:

    From the Conference Board:

    The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Improves Slightly, But Expectations Soften

    The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in December, edged up slightly in January. The Index now stands at 110.3 (1985=100), up from 110.0 in December. The Present Situation Index increased to 133.9 from 130.5. The Expectations Index, however, declined to 94.5 from 96.3 last month.

    The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. TNS is the world’s largest custom research company. The cutoff date for January’s preliminary results was January 23rd.

    “This month’s slight increase in confidence was solely the result of an improvement in the Present Situation Index, fueled primarily by a more favorable job market,” says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Looking ahead, however, consumers are not as optimistic as they were in December. All in all, the Index suggests a moderate improvement in the pace of growth in early 2007.”

    Consumers’ overall assessment of current-day conditions was more upbeat than in December. Those claiming conditions are “good” increased to 28.1 percent from 27.4 percent. Those saying conditions are “bad,” however, rose to 16.5 percent from 14.9 percent. Labor market conditions also improved from last month. Consumers saying jobs are “hard to get” declined to 19.7 percent from 21.3 percent. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased to 29.9 percent from 27.6 percent in December.

    Consumers’ outlook for the next six months was less optimistic than in December. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen edged up to 8.0 percent from 7.8 percent. Those expecting business conditions to get better decreased slightly to 16.2 percent from 16.7 percent.

    The outlook for the labor market was mixed. Consumers expecting more jobs to become available in the coming months edged up to 14.0 percent from 13.9 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs edged up to 15.7 percent from 15.5 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase in the months ahead declined to 19.8 percent from 21.4 percent in December.

  27. Pat says:

    RL: Also

    5) Consumer choice, as with many service structures. Flat fee, negotiated price, or %.
    A customer who knows themselves will shop based on their needs.

    Right now, they get one size fits all, which doesn’t fit all. Efficient consumers pay for the inefficient consumer. Whenever you have that type of payment plan, somebody’s gonna yell foul.

  28. UnRealtor says:

    Code of Ethics

  29. UnRealtor says:

    Had a realtor accidentally hand me the full listing info, including the ‘hidden’ remarks. It listed a bonus of about $10,000 to the agent who brings in a buyer. The house was suggested to us several times, even when no interest was expressed.

  30. UnRealtor says:

    All part of the realtor “Code of Ethics.”

  31. Richard says:

    the whole northeast is becoming a more ethnically diverse mix whether that’s good or bad from one’s perspective. the neighborhood i grew up in in queens, NY was largely populated by anglo european descendents. today it’s all indian. most of queens has been largely supplanted by asians and hispanics. my point is it’s not just NJ that’s ‘changed’. it’s the whole NY metropolitan area. if one doesn’t like this new mix you need to go south or west.

  32. RentLord says:

    #25, jb –

    I have to say I am guilty of that.
    When I listed my house, I was so ‘worried’ that it may not sell that I talked to agents about providing 7%.

    Luckily for us, we sold within a week.

    But the point is, my wife and I were sooo concerned that we were willing to pay more. People do stuff like this in distress. It’s unfair for the RE system to take advantage of a personal situation.

    Most people don’t realise this until you are in the sellers market. Ofcourse ‘the buyer pays nothing’ stuff is played all the time.. and first-timers fall for it.

  33. RentLord says:

    Luckily for us, we sold within a week.
    that was with the usual 5% – after my wife and I had sleepless arguments about it.

  34. UnRealtor says:

    Anyone interested in a Chatham lowball may consider this house:

    MLS 2365317

    It’s been on the market over a year, and relisted several times.

  35. UnRealtor says:

    Another on Chatham house on the market over a year, but this looks like a fantasy seller. The price has been exactly the same for a year:

    MLS 2299104

  36. NJGal says:

    UnRealtor, I am glad for your Chatham snippets, as it’s one of the towns we’re considering. That first one looks ok. The second one is ugh, but the views look ok. But both are really just “ok.” I feel as though for 750K, there should at least be something somewhat nice about it.

  37. lowball says:

    #3James Bednar Says:
    “Doesn’t anyone care about the Fed anymore?”
    What Fed?
    Oh, those puppet masters manipulating the economy at their collective whims.

    Nope, I think Green$cum will go down in history as the most reckless and clueless Fed chairman in history.(his beloved disciple Ben to follow)

  38. thatbigwindow says:

    What is so great about Chatham?

    Seems kind of over-rated IMO

  39. SG says:

    What is so great about Chatham?

    Bragging Rights !!!

  40. UnRealtor says:

    Chatham has a nice downtown with shops, excellent schools, is on the MidtownDirect train line.

    I agree it’s over rated (what town isn’t as far as prices these days), but it is still a nice town.

    There are a mix of homes, from mansions to countless $500K capes.

  41. UnRealtor says:

    Oh, and Money magazine (?) named Chatham “One of the Ten Best Places to Live” two years ago, and that didn’t help prices any.

    To me, Maui is “One of the Ten Best Places to Live,” not Chatham, NJ.

  42. thatbigwindow says:

    Secaucus was rated one of the top places to live recently (I forget which publication) I guess everyone will be lining up to live in the old dilapidated houses by the railyards

  43. NJGal says:

    “Oh, and Money magazine (?) named Chatham “One of the Ten Best Places to Live” two years ago, and that didn’t help prices any.

    To me, Maui is “One of the Ten Best Places to Live,” not Chatham, NJ. ”

    Ha. No arguments there. Maui is heaven (especially when experienced at a 5 star resort, sipping champagne at noon by the pool before your scheduled massage:).

    Chatham? Just a decent place in NJ. We liked it b/c the taxes are lower than Westchester and many houses have decent land. But it’s increasingly looking like it’s back to Westchester or CT for us anyway. I still think Chatham seems like a nice place to live though.

  44. Willow says:

    “Does any body know if the 4$ cap on municipal tax increases, includes the local schools? I canno tseem to find any informaiton on that. Thanks.”

    S-1701 caps school budgets at 2.5% or CPI, whichever is higher. There has been a lot of controversy over this because it does not take into account expenses that the school district can’t control such as utility bills and complying with No Child Left Behind.


  45. NJGal says:

    Hey, since I may end up looking in CT, I was wondering what skep-tic (if you’re around today) thinks of the commutes? They’re long and I know people do them, but I need a good honest opinion – all of CT seems to be on sale. I imagine by spring we’ll see decent deals. And the taxes and setting make it less painful to me to pay those prices. Thinking about Stamford (don’t know which are the “good” areas), Wilton, Ridgefield (dream town) Westport, and maybe Greenwich (although anything under 2 million looks pretty crappy, so it’s unlikely).

  46. chicagofinance says:

    James Bednar Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 7:15 am
    Doesn’t anyone care about the Fed anymore? The two-day meeting begins today, with a statement due tomorrow afternoon, yet there has been surprisingly little “buzz” about the meeting.

    grim: because everyone blew the call, and obviously by the price action in the bond markets, are paying a financial price for it

    if you could pull the pundits forecasts from 8 weeks ago, they all said something else

    people don’t want to draw attention to the shifting landscape, because it is easier to talk after the Fed speaks

    the biggest worry right now…..why is the job market so tight when all the other indicators are fairly in line?

  47. bergenbubbleburst says:

    Willow #45 So its 4% + 2.5%, = 6.5% increase, no savings there. I know in my town its going to be harsh,as we have a massive new addition to the grammar school, that is ssheduled to open Sept of 07.

    That will require many new teachers, aides, heating lighting, custodian etc, looks like they will have to find a way around the 2.5% increase for the school portion because that applies to the budget for the existing school, not the new one coming on line in Sept. Taxes up, up and away.

  48. bergenbubbleburst says:

    thatbigwindow #38 Chatham, they are just River Edge wannabees.

  49. RentinginNJ says:

    S&P Index: Home Price Growth Is Slowing

    Prices of single-family homes across the nation rose in November at the slowest rate in more than a decade, a housing index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s showed, countering other evidence that the housing slowdown may be nearing an end.

    “The weakness continues to spread,” Blitzer said. “I don’t see any signs of a bottom. Unfortunately, it’s still looking pretty nasty from a housing point of view.”

    The last time the growth dipped lower than 1.3 percent for the 10-city index was in September 1996, when it measured 1.2 percent.

    All cities in the survey, except for Charlotte, N.C., showed a decline in annual returns when compared to the prior month. Seven of the 20 cities are showing negative annual returns.

    “Countrywide, home price declines appear to show no signs of slowing down,” said Chief Economist Robert Shiller of MacroMarkets LLC. Shiller noted that the downward trend is seen nationally while certain cities such as Boston and Detriot have done worse.

    Housing is expected to be a prominent topic of discussion in a two-day Federal Reserve meeting that began Tuesday as the board evaluates the effect of a housing market slowdown on the overall economy.


  50. Willow says:


    I think that S-1701 doesn’t apply to constucting new. I know that if my town implements full day kindergarten, that does not come under S-1701 so they will be able to add in over the 2.5% to pay the initial set-up costs.

    BTW, there was a survey last year in my school district and one of the questions was about full day kindergarten. 75% of respondents supported adding full day kindergarten. I don’t think they get the tax implications of this. We don’t have the room at any of the existing elementary schools so two options were raised – put the kindergarten together at a school that was closed years ago and is used for school district offices and a pre-school or put the 5th grade at the middle school. Opening up the closed school will be a lot of money because it is not up to code and that will take a lot of renovating. Moving the 5th graders to the middle school with mean adding on as there is no room for any more children in that school besides the fact that 5th graders belong in elementary school. It’s bad enough that the 6th graders are in the middle school.

  51. Clotpoll says:

    Oh my! Can you believe that people with something to sell in a difficult market actually employ bonuses and incentives? The horror…

    OMFG, UnCola, were you born yesterday? And, check stockbrokers, pharma companies, your local liquor superstore or any other number of sales-driven businesses. They do it, too. And you know why? Because people who sell things respond to incentives. Duh.

    Now, before everyone dives for the keyboard to flame me, allow me to offer a couple of caveats:

    1. Agent incentives in RE are totally useless. No amount of pumping and puffery can convince a buyer to purchase a home he doesn’t like. An agent can “stack the deck” all he wishes; if buyers don’t like the homes offered with incentive attached, they ain’t gonna buy.

    2. Following from #1, the incentives offered in RE should be to the potential buyer, in the form of concessions.

    3. No matter what the incentive- or to whom it’s offered- that incentive should be clearly disclosed to the public.

    There is a big difference between asking that RE be brought to a higher ethical standard and demanding that we become Buddhist monks. Human nature is a part of any marketplace; please don’t be so phony or condescending as to deny that you have any of these traits yourself.

  52. bergenbubbleburst says:

    NJ GAL #46 I have family in Ridgefield, and they tell me that nothing is selling up there, and in fact they are somewhat shocked, becasue of the town’s reputation etc.

    But as we know, prices can and do, and are dropping everywhere.

    But it is beautiful town, with great schools, and reasonable taxes

  53. rhymingrealtor says:


    A couple things, did you recieve my email? I have’nt heard back you. I know your of the younger generation so you might not remember that movie from 1987… Does the expression “I won’t be ignored” ring a bell? How bout boiled rabbits???

    Also, we have discussed bonuses before, do you think most agent do not disclose them to there buyers not matter where they are on the listing? If you look in my territory you’ll see they are not that common, more common in the higher priced areas. Fact is the couple of times I have run across them I disclosed them, and discussed the many ways they could be handled. I have not sold one. Do you feel most agents would not reveal them? I don’t agree with you on that one.

    KL/Glen Close

  54. rhymingrealtor says:


    We were writing at the same time


  55. thatbigwindow says:

    Clotpoll: If you are a buyer, the Realtor is supposed to look out for the clients best interest, not their own…

  56. bergenbubbleburst says:

    Willow #52, if that is the case, then the sky is the limit for taxes in my town. Part of the reason the referendum was passed, was becasue the School board sold the residents on all day kindergarten,a nd teh fact that of the 23 Million dollar price tag, the state (School Const Corp) was gloing to pick up around 8 million.

    Whether that is still the case, I do not know, as the SCC is bankrupt, and the last recommendation amde to the sate was that towns that were scheduled to reciev money, should only receive it on a need basis only, which is a big difference, from what was originally planned.

    So it should be interesting to see how that plays out. In addition there is the impact on the operating budget, all these new class rooms , all day kindergarten, and no idea what the impact ont he operating budget will be,

    Scary, very scary.

  57. RMB says:

    NJ Gal,

    How about Darien or New Cannan? I have relatives in both areas..I have a sister in Westport. Its an hour and 5 min train ride to Manhattan. Darien and New Cannan are shorter. Have to switch in Stamford to catch those. I love CT only because Its close to NY and Block Island..We would have moved there but my husband travels frequently to Germany. and the major airport situation is what we needed. The people are alot more snobby in CT to .. Only draw back.. But you’ll find that everywhere around here.. When we were looking you got more property there then in NJ.. (Greenwich didn’t even bother.. though that is a very nice commute 38min)I thought Ridgefield was a little overpriced.. more so then other areas..

  58. NJGal says:

    Bergenbubbleburst, if I thought I could handle the commute, I wouldn’t even think twice. But it’s hard to go from Hoboken to Ridgefield. Such a change in commute time. Go take a look on-line – you’d think the whole town was for sale. And the houses and land – to die for. Can I make myself handle a 2 hr each way commute though? Even to live in a Norman Rockwell painting?

  59. Willow says:


    I realize so many people want full day kindergarten but those who are most vocal are those who have to pay child care. What they don’t understand, is that they will be paying for full day kindergarten instead of child care, for many years to come.

    I have had one child attend full day kindergarten and one child attend half-day. I really don’t think that either one affects the long-term education of the child. My oldest was definitely ready when she went to 1st grade – the teacher knew that she had gone elsewhere for kindergarten because of where she was academically. My second not only went to half-day kindergarten but had a teacher who was teaching as if it were 1970. The children were not very well prepared for 1st grade BUT they did get there. It’s not like a child will be behind the eight ball for life if they don’t attend full-day kindergarten. My second has achieved straight A’s from 2nd grade on and scored advanced proficient on the ASK.

    Full-day kindergarten is not necessary for the children.

  60. NJGal says:

    Darien and New Canaan are now on the list, thank RMB. I love CT – Ridgefield is where my mother in law lives, which is how we first found it. It is pricey, but taxes and schools and what you get, not as bad as LI or Westchester or some NJ towns.

    As for snobs, well, I have accepted it – we live in the tri-state area. Isn’t it a requirement that 90% of the population be snotty? Ha!

  61. RMB says:

    Darien I think the commute time is 45 min.. express train.. New Cannan is very Norman Rockwell so much so it gives me the creeps..
    Absolutley a requirement.My sister and I bicker all the time about who’s town is worse.. Hers is by a mile..

  62. James Bednar says:

    Oh my! Can you believe that people with something to sell in a difficult market actually employ bonuses and incentives? The horror…

    My intention was to illustrate that there is a segment of the market that feels it worthwhile to pay out even more than the “standard” commission. These individuals (or perhaps their agents) feel that it is worthwhile to pay an even higher commission in order to facilitate a faster sale.

    We’ve been discussion how the current 5-6% commission is “too high”, however we have a direct example of a seller that wishes to pay out in excess of that amount.

    Whenever you discuss a situation in where the commission structure can vary by listing, you need to discuss the potential conflict of interest issues that arise because of it. This issue goes both directions (higher commissions being incentives, and lower commissions being disincentives).


  63. James Bednar says:

    A couple things, did you recieve my email? I have’nt heard back you


    Sorry, I have a habit of leaving replies unfinished in my draft folder.


  64. newbie says:

    Does anyone know if all the listings are available on the Realtor.com ? Is there a much more accurate listing website. Also is there a website that lists all the builder’s discounts and pricecuts (Sp. in Central Southern new jersey)

    Thanks in advance for help.

  65. anon says:

    Stopped by a couple of open houses over the weekend in Ridgewood and Hohokus…There seemed to be a lot of people out looking. Much more than I saw last Fall. Maybe there are still a lot of buyers out there waiting…although I did have the thought that maybe some of those “buyers” were actually sellers checking out the competition.

  66. AntiTrump says:

    #35: UnRealtor Says:

    It’s funny now some realtors now like to list a cape as “Cape/Colonial”. Wonder which part about this house is colonial? It’s a cape, either way you look at it.


  67. thatbigwindow says:

    It appears to be a cape with a room/garage

  68. Pat says:

    Cape/Colonial..maybe it’s really a Sugarmaple Split.

  69. Seneca says:

    I think when a Cape Cod has gables, it then qualifies as a Cape Cod Colonial. Not sure, maybe a Realtor can help out.

  70. abamitphd says:


    I would disagree that agent incentives are useless. Try listing your house with a 1 percent commission to the buyer’s agent and see how many showings you get.

    From a seller’s point of view, I don’t think a flat rate makes sense. A $25k difference in price might be a big deal to you, but it only means $375 to your realtor (who gets half of the commission to seller).

    The way to change incentives is to change the structure as follows. Pay 5 percent up to the price that you want, and increase the commission above that significantly (i.e. to 20 percent).

  71. Pat says:

    Anybody know what “Airlite” style of home is?

  72. SG says:

    The Inequality of Home Prices
    New data on home sales indicate which metro areas have the narrowest gaps in housing prices—and which ones have the widest

    by Peter Coy


  73. bergenbubbleburst says:

    #63 Willow: I agree, neither of mine had all day kindergarten,a nd both are thriving. You are absolutely right, those that want all day kindergarten, are looking at as a cost savings, not realizing as you said that they will be paying for it for years, as opposed to one year.

  74. pesche22 says:

    Ridgefield , another nice town,if you
    speak a foreign language.

    After all it right next to Palisades Park.

    Little Korea, or Mexico,take your pick

  75. bergenbubbleburst says:

    #62 I agree NJGal, the commute would be brutal. Friend of mine did it for a couple of years down to Wall St every day. and it was rough. He drove from Ridgefield to Somers in Westchester took Metro North to Grand Central, then the subway to Wall St.

    Eventually he got a job in Stamford, and now drives.

    Maybe a job relocation migth work fro you at some point.

  76. James Bednar says:

    From NJ.com:

    Hearing tonight on Parkway widening

    The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will hold a hearing tonight in Little Egg Harbor Township on a plan to widen the Garden State Parkway from two lanes to three in each direction along the Jersey Shore.

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has asked for permits to widen a 50-mile stretch of the road from Toms River to Somers Point, though only the northern third of that project, from Toms River to Exit 63 in Barnegat, is currently funded, authority spokesman Joe Orlando said.

    The authority hopes to begin construction on that 17-mile, $150 million first phase in early 2008, he said. There is no timetable yet for the rest of the proposed work.

    The hearing tonight will focus on the permits the Turnpike Authority needs to secure from DEP before the work can begin. There are environmentally sensitive coastal wetlands within the project area, so the Authority needs permission from DEP under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act.

  77. James Bednar says:


    DJ JPMorgan Cutting Exposure To Subprime Mortgages
    By David Enrich

    NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is cutting its exposure to subprime mortgages amid deteriorating industry conditions that are proving troublesome to a growing group of lenders.

    JPMorgan said in an investor presentation Tuesday that it has sold most of the mortgage loans it made last year to people with weak credit histories. The presentation, which Chief Executive James Dimon is scheduled to deliver at a conference Tuesday afternoon, didn’t elaborate on the amount of the 2006 subprime vintage that it has sold.

    While the New York bank continues to hold $13.2 billion in subprime mortgages – making up 65% of its total subprime portfolio – as of the fourth quarter, that is down from $16.3 billion, or 72% of its total subprime portfolio, in the third quarter, according to the presentation. Meanwhile, JPMorgan has classified $4.5 billion of those fourth-quarter loans as up for sale. The company says it expects them to be sold in the first half of the year.

    JPMorgan said in the presentation that “loss severities” in subprime mortgages have started increasing, and that delinquencies of subprime loans originated last year are higher than the 2005 and 2004 vintages were at a comparable age.

    When it released its fourth-quarter earnings earlier this month, JPMorgan boosted its retail bank’s provision for loan losses to $262 million from $158 million a year earlier, due in part to what the bank described as “some deterioration in subprime mortgage.”

    With interest rates high and the housing market cooling, JPMorgan is hardly the only company struggling with weaker credit quality in subprime mortgages. Countrywide Financial Corp. (CFC), the nation’s largest mortgage lender, offered a gloomy forecast when it announced fourth-quarter results Tuesday. Meanwhile, a number of small subprime lenders have gone out of business, and others have sold themselves to Wall Street firms.

    Other banks have been pulling out of the subprime business entirely. Wachovia Corp. (WB) recently shut down its EquiBanc Mortgage Corp. unit, according to a message on the company’s Web site. Also, National City Corp. (NCC) sold its subprime First Franklin mortgage unit to Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER).

  78. Clotpoll says:

    Grim (67)-

    Right you are. Disclose, disclose, disclose should always be the order of the day.

    Things always go sour when someone holds back info.

  79. chicagofinance says:

    Very Long Article. Still, JPMC gets to stick it to GS for once, and watch the traders kill Caeser once he has been wounded.

    need WSJ subscription


  80. James Bednar says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Dimon sees subprime defaults signaling ‘recession’

    Rising defaults in some of the riskiest home loans offered by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. signal a recession may be looming, Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief executive said Tuesday. Dimon, speaking at Citigroup’s annual financial services conference, said high-risk loans — as measured by credit scores and loan-to-value ratios of 90% or more — make up 2% of the bank’s home equity portfolio, Dimon said. He also said defaults are rising “a little bit,” adding, “Home equity is subject to deterioration” from a recession.”

  81. Richard says:

    njgal, you can find a # of decent towns in CT if you decide to look there. a friend of mine bought a nice colonial/cape with almost 1/2 acre and 2500 sq feet in norwalk for a reasonable price (compared to our lovely towns in NNJ). it’s got two train stations that get into grand central in 1 hour.

  82. eagle says:

    re: commission structure and “extra” commission/incentives:

    I have offered to a couple so-called “buyer” agents, that in addition to whatever commission they earn from split with seller’s agent, I will give them an “extra” commission of five to ten percent of however much they can convince the seller to reduce from his asking price. They seem somewhat shocked (perhaps because nobody else offers it), and then seem to imply that this would somehow be improper or unethical, and the topic never comes up again.
    (I thought of this as a way to encourage them to submit lower offers, in an environment where sellers have not quite realized that the bubble has ended.)

    Clot/other realtors– is such an arrangement violative of the realtor “code” and/or applicable law? They are supposedly my agent- aren’t I free to pay them whatever I choose?

  83. Richard says:

    i saw MLS 2365317 about a year ago. it was under contract at one point and might’ve fallen out.

    the outrageously priced MLS 2299104 is under contract. has been for a few weeks so not sure what’s up.

  84. NJGal says:

    Richard, my cousin lives in Norwalk. I sort of find her annoying:) Otherwise, it’s a good location. My concern there is the school system. She plans to move out in a few years and wants to move to Darien (which I looked up on-line – not nearly so nice when talking about places under a million as some other CT towns).

    Why can’t the rest of the tri-state learn from CT re: taxes? Saw a million dollar house (ok, ASKING a million) with 3K in taxes. Granted that would probably increase, but 3K?!

  85. Richard says:

    folks, the only person that represents your interest in a RE transaction is the attorney. that’s it. the RE agent that showed you the house works for their employer and the transaction. it’s 100% your responsibility to represent your best interest in all other things.

  86. Rich In NNJ says:


    Why can’t the rest of the tri-state learn from CT re: taxes? Saw a million dollar house (ok, ASKING a million) with 3K in taxes. Granted that would probably increase, but 3K?!

    Then checkout Alpine in Bergen County.
    Though I don’t think they have schools.

  87. Richard says:

    njgal, i thought the ‘value’ they got on the property had to have a catch. are the schools that bad? what about fairfield? i hear it’s more expensive but not sure how much.

  88. bergenbubbleburst says:

    NJ Gal #89, Conn is just a better run state, and although it has had its share of scandals over the last few yers, nothing in comparison to the Peoples Republic of NJ.

    The state is not as beholden to the unions as NJ, and their is not all this silly home rule nonsense like NJ.

  89. NJGal says:

    “njgal, i thought the ‘value’ they got on the property had to have a catch. are the schools that bad? what about fairfield? i hear it’s more expensive but not sure how much.”

    I don’t personally know much about the schools except what she and a friend of my mother’s tell me, and both say they’re no good, particularly compared to surrounding areas. Otherwise I’m sure my cousin would plan to stay there forever.

    Fairfield is supposedly nice but a fairly long commute as well (as is all of CT except Greenwich, really). But you do get the nice beach area. A friend went to college up there. I think it’s more expensive than Norwalk and probably has better schools.

  90. RMB says:

    NJ Gal… The reason why taxes are lower is because there is a “luxury tax” I forgot the specifics but it works out to be close to what you pay in NY and NJ..My husband did the research on that one..

  91. NJGal says:

    RMB, luxury tax on what? Purchase of the home or items generally? Either way, I’d rather pay that and live in a beautiful area than some of the towns we’ve looked at in NY and NJ, where everyone is crowded and on top of each other. We’re acreage people, not lot people, hence our CT interest.

    By the way, bergenbubble, part of the reason we sort of want to move is because we think it will force us to look for new jobs near home. It’s tough to look in CT when you live in NJ but if you’re in CT, it makes sense. BUt again, if you can’t find something, you’re stuck with a miserable commute.

  92. RMB says:

    One other Area I really liked… Bedford, NY in Its North slightly West of New Canaan, CT… for 700K you can get an acre of property and a fixer upper but at least its not a cape in a tiny lot. The school is excellent (Bedford Village)

  93. njresident286 says:

    One thing about Dimon – he is VERY VERY smart, and has a great track record. He also has turned JPMC around and the stock has risen since he has taken over. I listen to everything he says intently, because he is very fiscally conservative and from what I know, usually is great and spotting future trends and problems.

    Just my opinion, but I think this was a big statement

  94. Jay Sam says:

    #23 and # 79

    It seems like speaking in another language is considered a social stigma. Perhaps moving to the another state where you don’t have to experience different types of peoples/cultures may not be a bad thing for the prejudiced few

  95. RMB says:

    To be honest.. I am not sure and my husband is unreachable…

  96. thatbigwindow says:

    Jay Sam – how are they prejudging?

  97. chicagofinance says:

    RMB Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 2:47 pm
    One other Area I really liked… Bedford, NY in Its North slightly West of New Canaan, CT… for 700K you can get an acre of property and a fixer upper but at least its not a cape in a tiny lot. The school is excellent (Bedford Village)

    Bedford is dead north of NYC up the Harlem Metro North Line – about one hour up from GCT

    Amazing – but the equivalent distance in NJ from a “time on the train” perpsective is Summit

  98. thatbigwindow says:

    Richard Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 1:55 pm
    “folks, the only person that represents your interest in a RE transaction is the attorney. that’s it. the RE agent that showed you the house works for their employer and the transaction. it’s 100% your responsibility to represent your best interest in all other things.

    Richard, what about the fiduciary relationship and putting your clients interest first that they teach in Real Estate School? I guess that goes out the window?

  99. bergenbubbleburst says:

    NJ GAL #97 Good luck in your search, I think CT would ultimately be the bset for you long term. I really do nto see an upside fro NJ.

    The sate is in such a deep mess now, I can only wonder what will happen when teh country enters a recessiona t soem point.

    I would move to CT, if possible, but I cannot.

    Need to stay put for a number of reasons, and I will be buying in an area i would rather not.

    I have to do something in the next year or so, and thus I am limited.

  100. thatbigwindow says:

    I am a realtor BTW…clients interest is always ahead of my own. I never steer people to houses…but then again, I have a day job.

  101. RMB says:

    Sorry Chicago.. The only way I know how to get there is through New Canaan.. That is my point of reference… I should have mentioned I was directionally challenged

  102. clayton says:

    Submitted my first lowball offer yesterday – 18% off OLP. Seller bought in 2004 and my offer was $60k less than they paid. Needless to say it was not accepted. Felt good to dip a toe in the water – need to find a place where the owner has been there a long time.

  103. Clotpoll says:

    Eagle (87)-

    What you proposed is totally illegal.

  104. ADA says:


    Have you considered Bronxville, NY?
    28 minute commute to GCT, great downtown and literally the best public high school in NY state. Taxes are on the high side but given the commute time and the schools, I think they are worth it.

  105. ADA says:


    Why is what eagle proposed illegal?

  106. NJGal says:

    RMB, love Bedford and it’s definitely on the list. Also on the list are Armonk/North Castle and Katonah (another great school). We also put Pleasantville on the list (and yes, I know Chappaqua, but it’s been ruined – no longer a nice, semi-rural place – people are horrible snobs and school is scary competitive – and that’s from the mouth of folks who live there and can’t wait to get out).

    ADA, I know Bronxville, just not our type of area at all. We thought about Pelham, but again, not our type of lifestyle. Hubby would prefer not to see his neighbors, and dog needs more than 50×100 plot of land (he’s going to be a BIG boy). I would love that commute, but he just won’t hear of it.

    Bergen, there is a chance we’ll start in Westchester for the easier commute and if we can get jobs there or CT, eventually move to our dream town.

    Chi, explain again why the Summit commute is so miserable? That’s what I never understood about NJ…

  107. pesche22 says:

    see they forgot that we are in American
    not korea or Mexico.

  108. Clotpoll says:


    Totally off, as usual. Realtors aren’t anyone’s employees, and the good ones DO pay more than lip service to fiduciary responsibilities.

    Attorneys look out for the LEGAL rights of buyers & sellers. However, most of them make lousy Realtors. And, believe it or not, many buyers and sellers WANT to keep difficult deals together. When two attorneys have locked horns and can’t compromise- because their training and experience often leads them to “go adversarial”- agents can often get things back on track…with their clients’ consent.

    There’s a big difference between that and simply “working for the deal”, regardless of the principals’ wishes. And, yes, I’ve walked plenty of clients right out of bad deals in the past. Better to start all over and get it right than deal with the fallout of years of that person telling all his friends, family and co-workers what a dipweed I am.

    BTW, which Richard are you today? Bull, bear or troll?

  109. RMB says:

    Don’t like Chappaqua… Same reasons you mentioned… No longer charming.. Thats why I didn’t mention it..

  110. thatbigwindow says:

    “Bull, bear or troll? ”

    more like “troll, troll or troll”

  111. NJGal says:

    RMB, glad I’m not alone in that assessement. Otherwise it would have been a place I’d look. Sad, how a general attitude shift can ruin a once nice town.

  112. Clotpoll says:

    pesche22 (113)-

    What scares you most about immigrants:

    1. superior level of education (Asian)?
    2. tremendous work ethic (Central/S American)?
    3. devotion to family (pretty much all)?

  113. Clotpoll says:

    ADA (111)-

    Illegal two ways:

    1. Accepting payment from both seller and buyer in the same transaction.

    2. Accepting payment directly from a client.

  114. bergenbubbleburst says:

    thatbigwindow #116 Are you really a Realtor?. If so I would like to ask you a question. ( I already have my mind made up, but would like your opinion) If you were between River Edge and Oradell, which would you choose (if you had to)?

  115. eagle says:


    To parrot ADA, why is what I proposed illegal? Is it somehow considered a sharing of the buyer’s agent commission or something? How is that different than a seller’s incentive being given to my agent?

    Even without this “perk”, the agents (to their credit) seemed willing to submit my low offers (which were refused by sellers).

    Obviously, if it is actually illegal, I will not even suggest/inquire in future.

    Thanks in advance.

  116. skep-tic says:

    “Hey, since I may end up looking in CT, I was wondering what skep-tic (if you’re around today) thinks of the commutes?”

    my personal limit for a reasonable commute is 1 hr. So basically, you can go as far out as Westport along the coast if you work in Manhattan.

    Heading inland, New Canaan is like 1 hr 5 minutes on the train. I personally would not consider Ridgefield, Weston or Wilton because with each of them you’re looking at a commute of at least 1.25 hrs. A shame, because they are very nice.

    “all of CT seems to be on sale. I imagine by spring we’ll see decent deals.”

    where are you looking exactly? I watch Darien and Westport pretty closely. The same houses have been for sale for a year. Pretty minor price cuts so far, except at the high end.

    “And the taxes and setting make it less painful to me to pay those prices.”

    I agree completely and have basically written off Westchester at this point. The taxes are insane and show no signs of doing anything but continuing to go up rapidly.

    It is a mystery to me where all of the tax funds go. My wife teaches in Fairfield county and the schools are just as good as those in westchester. Property taxes in westchester are 3X higher and income taxes are 50% higher

    “Thinking about Stamford (don’t know which are the “good” areas)”

    Glenbrook and Springdale are decent areas with somewhat absurd prices. You can get a nice house in either for about $550,000-600,000 (should really be about $350,000).

  117. Rich In NNJ says:

    I’m not a Realtor, but I’d pick Oradell

  118. thatbigwindow says:

    bergenbubblebust: I would pick Oradell…but only if I had to.

  119. skep-tic says:

    With respect to Bedford and Katonah villages, I agree that both are beautiful, but my view is that if you are contemplating an hr train ride to Grand Central, you might as well move to CT and reap the tax reward

  120. eagle says:

    To clarify, if necessary, I would be willing to have this “buyer incentive” disclosed in the same “realtor remarks” section that discloses “seller incentives”.

    Of course, as I stated previously, the agents I met were willing to submit lowball offers on my behalf even without this (probably because my wife is so nice and they wanted to help her – she is one of those magical super nice people that you expect butterflies and robins to land on and talk to if she goes in the woods).

  121. pesche22 says:

    all of the above and then some.

    plus people like you .

  122. thatbigwindow says:

    and eagles too, right?

  123. gary says:

    Jay Sam,

    Don’t break my balls pal, my Father is a Veteran of Foreign War and almost lost his life in Europe and twice more while fighting fires 28 years for a city fire department. It wasn’t meant to be prejudice, I’m simply repeating what was told to me. If you feel like you’re being “prejudiced”, maybe you should leave.

  124. eagle says:

    pesche and thatbigwindow–

    were your comments directed at me? if so, thanks I think. (trying to follow thread on a slow internet server while also trying to earn what many people perceive as an inflated salary for what I do)

  125. UnRealtor says:

    Clot #56 convulsed:

    “Oh my! Can you believe that people with something to sell in a difficult market actually employ bonuses and incentives?”

    The problem isn’t the “incentive” it’s that the buyer agent didn’t disclose there was seller payola in his pocket if we bought the home.

    It’s about disclosure and honesty (pretend for a moment someone had written a “code of ethics” for realtors to follow).

    You’re like someone who is colorblind, asked which shade of blue they prefer — every single ethical dilemma/conflict of interest that is raised here, you fail to see or understand.

    Do you wear plaid suits at work?

  126. UnRealtor says:

    “Stopped by a couple of open houses over the weekend in Ridgewood and Hohokus.”

    As nice as the town may be, it would be embarrassing to live in a town named “Hohocus.”

    Surprised it wasn’t renamed years ago.

  127. UnRealtor says:

    “I think when a Cape Cod has gables, it then qualifies as a Cape Cod Colonial. Not sure, maybe a Realtor can help out.”

    The reality is, most buyers prefer colonials, and everything under the sun becomes a “colonial” when listed in the MLS.

  128. Clotpoll says:

    UnCola (132)-

    By the same token, do you know how to read?

    Within the same post (and one follow up), I made a BIG point of stating that these incentives, while usually ineffective, SHOULD ALWAYS BE DISCLOSED.

    What degree of waffling or hair-splitting did the preceding statement contain? Again, congrats on a nice, ultra-selective slice-n-dice of what I really said…you have a real skill for that.

    You are a shill, a troll and a moron.

  129. lisoosh says:

    “Clotpoll Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 3:23 pm
    ADA (111)-

    Illegal two ways:

    1. Accepting payment from both seller and buyer in the same transaction.”

    I’m confused, so how exactly are agents entitled to declare dual agency but not receive a payment from both, and if the buyers agent MUST be payed by seller (share of seller agent commission), how on earth can they declare themselves to work for the buyer?

  130. RentinginNJ says:

    Auditors find $16M in ‘questionable’ school expenses

    Auditors hired by the state have found Newark, Paterson, Jersey City and Camden schools plagued by inefficient and inadequate budget controls, including more than $15.8 million in “questionable” expenses.

    The voluminous reports by KPMG and released today cited scores of spending items warranting further review.

    They included thousands of dollars for out-of-state and overseas trips by Jersey City administrators, a $1,900 jukebox purchased by Newark superintendent Marion Bolden, and a Paterson custodian who doubled his pay with overtime.

    The toughest picture was in Camden, where the auditors said there are few uniform procedures or controls at all. They cited more than $13 million in “questionable” items in that district, including $5,000 for the former superintendent to lease a 2002 Volkswagen and nearly $10,000 for lawyers to defend her against a separate state investigation.

    The state’s announcement and copies of the audits can be found online at


  131. bergenbubbleburst says:

    thatbigwindow/RichNNJ: oradell was my thought too. I am going to wait and see how the tax situationw ith the school district works out.

  132. UnRealtor says:

    “By the same token, do you know how to read? Within the same post (and one follow up), I made a BIG point of stating that these incentives, while usually ineffective, SHOULD ALWAYS BE DISCLOSED.”

    Hey jackass #135, in my post #30, the problem stated was that the seller payola wasn’t disclosed, to which you replied in post #56:

    “Oh my! Can you believe that people with something to sell in a difficult market actually employ bonuses and incentives?”

    Which is a straw man and a non sequitur.

    And then you go on in #135 with your ad hominem ranting.

    Your posts indeed reinforce the low opinion people hold of realtors. Ironically, you probably think you’re doing realtors a favor by posting your spin and apologetics here.

    KL is your polar opposite — she’s honest, trustworthy, and her ethics obviously exceed anything put forward by the NAR sleazebags.

    Lastly, FOAD.

  133. RMB says:

    bergenbubbleburst?.. Why Oradell and River Edge only? But if I had to it would be Oradell as close to Haworth as possible..Nicer lots.

  134. NjGal says:

    Thanks skep-tic. Very helpful assessment.

    In terms of CT being “on sale” I was mostly focusing on Ridgefield/Wilton- there it seems like the towns are up for grabs. And I was looking at a wide range – 400-900 (seems to be a lot between 700-900, which is likely the range I would purchase in).

    And there may not be price cuts, but since I’m not in a hurry, I will see what spring brings. Perhaps folks will re-think. After all, it seems like there is more inventory on the whole in CT than in Westchester. I checked out Darien – didn’t like the look of the places I saw compared to even some places in Stamford (I’ll look into Glenbrook and Springdale – are those the school districts?). Also, as mentioned above, annoying CT cousin dreams of Darien, hence I do NOT dream of Darien:) Westport looks nice though.

    I will definitely need to do a lot more research before buying anything though. And find a good realtor (requirements – will submit all offers and will never ever mutter the words “buy now before you’re priced out!”).

  135. AdAgencyWoman says:

    I would like to ask a question regarding Bergen County. What towns would you consider really nice and why? I am having a hell of a time picking where to start looking. Commute is no problem since it is not into NYC.


  136. RentLord says:


    Totally with you on post #139.

    Cl_t has a classic realtor-complex.

    If you threaten his easy-big-money in any form he’s gonna attack you personally.

  137. bergenbubbleburst says:

    Ad Women #142. If you are considering Bergen, I owuld consider Northwest Bergen first, towns such as Allendale, Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, and the Saddle Rivers.

    Moving eastward from there, I would consider Montvale, River Vale, Old Tappan, and Harrington Park.

    In central Bergen I would consider Paramus, peo;le turn theri noses up at the town, but I have new respect for it, the schools are good, and the taxes are very reasonable vs surrounding towns. If you are on a quiet street, the traffic should not impact you too mcuh.

    South Bergen, i would consider the Rutherfords, Hasbrouck Heights, and Wood-Ridge.

  138. bergenbubbleburst says:

    RMB #140 Kids need to finish up in school, if I left now, it would not be fair to them, and so reluctantly I have mede the decesion to stay.

  139. skep-tic says:


    Glenbrook and Springdale are the metro north stops in Stamford other than the big one downtown (i.e., these are not names of school districts).

    North Stamford is probably the nicest part of Stamford (similar to back country Greenwich and New Canaan), however, there is no train stop.

    In a different era, Glenbrook and Springdale were solidly middle class neighborhoods. Now they are affordable for the merely affluent, unlike most of fairfield county, which is reserved for the very affluent.

    In general, the schools in Stamford are on the lower end of fairfield county. Obviously, it’s a tradeoff– more affordable houses for lesser schools.

    If you’re in the $700k-900k, you should definitely check out Westport (provided you can handle the commute).

  140. RMB says:

    Ok.. Understand… Quick Story… Parents wanted to move when I was in High School.. They sat us down (my sister was 9 and brother 13.my sister#2 19 .. I was 16)
    ..We were moving from LI to CT..My parents made lists of pros and cons.. and then asked us to do some research and do the same.. besides our friends we couldn’t come up with one reason not to move.. In CT we would be able to do more and closer to some of our favorite spots.. Daddy would be home earlier.. was a big one I remember. Sorry I don’t know what your situation is but just wanted to share. I was especially awkward so I was begging to move.

  141. Zac says:

    …and then there’s this one:
    Toms River
    went to Sea Girt
    to put his Long Branch
    in her Freehold
    to make his Point Pleasant.

  142. bergenbubbleburst says:

    RMB #148, Actually it is only one kid left to finish, solidly entrenched, very happy, and I just cannot do it; it would bother me for ever (the things we do for our kids).

  143. RMB says:

    My family refers to ourselves as the Isle of Misfit toys.. So we really were itching to get out of LI.. I wouldn’t do it either at this point ..

  144. bergenbubbleburst says:

    #146, That too will change, a friend in the Glenbrook section tells me that real estate is at a stand still int he area, they are looking to downsize, too much house, not enought cash.

    I suspect we will see more and more fo that.

  145. chicagofinance says:

    NJGal Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 3:11 pm
    Chi, explain again why the Summit commute is so miserable? That’s what I never understood about NJ…

    Gal: NJ Transit has poor rights-of-way, the terrain in NNJ is so hilly, and for whatever reason [equipment / safety regs?], average speeds are too low and stations are too close.

    As an example:
    Bedford is roughly 45 miles from GCT and is scheduled to take an hour.
    Summit is a psuedo-transfer terminal and express stop which is located 25 miles from Penn Station, yet the quickest express train is 45 minutes, and many regular trains take an hour. Note that Bernardsville/Basking Ridge are roughly the distance of Bedford from NYC, yet these station stop are an unsightly 1hr 30 minutes.

  146. what bubble? says:


    my wife and i (and young daughter) are also contemplating selling our home in nj (nice town in essex co) and moving…we have been looking on and off in all of the towns you mention, but began focusing on ct b/c westchester taxes seem out of control. we really liked ridgefield. i commute everyday to the grand central area and spoke to several commuters in ridgefield who seem to drive to katonah (they say about 10-15 mins depending on which side of ridgefield you live in) and then katonah is about 1 hr.

    compared to my current commute which is a 5 min drive to the bus or train station, 30-35 mins on bus, and then a 10 min subway ride across town for a total of 50 mins…i dont think 20-25 mins is too bad a tradeoff.

    i dont know what you are looking to spend (it sounds about what we are) so hopefully we wont be competing for houses. feel free to respond so we can discuss.

  147. skep-tic says:

    here are the requirements for becoming a professional “stager” in CT, according to the Stamford Advocate:

    “Stagers may be real estate agents who have completed a two-day course, accredited staging professionals who study for three days and work in a home for sale or accredited staging professional masters, who complete an additional five-day program.”

    expertise at work, folks

  148. Mbaldwin says:

    Hoping I can get some clarification on the following scenario:

    I’m interested in a house currently listed by Foxtons, but am currently working with an agent from Coldwell Banker. My CB has been very clear about not wanting to work with Foxtons, for reasons I understand to a certain extent.

    I’m planning on seeing the foxton’s house without my agent, but with a Foxton’s agent, I assume.

    Now, if I like the house, I’d like to make contact with the owner to see when the Foxton’s listing expires. End goal: buy the house directly from the owner after the Foxton’s listing expires — hopefully getting a better deal since the buyer doesn’t have to pay commission.

    Does this scenario work? Or would the buyer still be on the hook for the commission since the foxton’s agent “showed” us the house?

  149. what bubble? says:

    mbaldwin…your scenario doesn’t work. a broker’s contract w/ the seller usually includes language that the seller would remain responsible for a commission if it sells to someone whom the broker introduced the seller to after the expiration of the contract to…this restriction could last for 6 mos up to a year depending on the contract terms. on top of that , i am fairly confident that there is nj case law where a broker is entitled to a commission on any sale brought about by the broker (irrespective of the time limits in the contract) (i.e., meaning on any potential buyer brought to the seller by the broker).

  150. Duckweed says:

    Clotpoll says paying a buyer agent on top of normal commission is illegal in two ways:

    1. Accepting payment from both seller and buyer in the same transaction.
    2. Accepting payment directly from a client.

    What’s the source? Is it based on general agency cases in NJ, some NJ statute/regulation, or industrial association code?

    The reason I ask is because both prohibitions seem “technical”–by that I mean it doesn’t seem to prevent a buyers’ agent from receiving a “lowball bonus”, only prevent certain payment structure. It would be a matter of adding a simple rider or tweaking the commission clause to have the 3% + lowball bonus reward coming directly from the house to the buyer’s agent, thereby avoiding running into both prohibitions. That’s why I’m curious to read the source law to understand what is exactly prohibited.

    Any illumination from the resident experts is appreciated. Thanks.

  151. James Bednar says:

    Subchapter 7 – Prohibited Activities

    11:5-7.1 – Prohibition against licensees receiving dual compensation for dual representation in the sale or rental transaction.

    (a) Real estate licensees are prohibited from receiving compensation from both a seller and a buyer for representing both seller and buyer in the same real estate sales transaction. This prohibition applies even when the dual agency has been fully disclosed by the licensee to both parties.

    (d) A licensee who represents only one party to a sale or rental transaction may receive the entire compensation for such representation from either party or a portion of that compensation from both parties to the trasaction, provided that where a licensee prepares a contract or lease full written disclosure of the agency relationship and of the compensation arrangement is made to both parties to the transaction in the contract or lease. Where a licensee does not prepare the contract or lease, but seeks compensation from a party whom he or she does not represent, that licensee’s agency relationship and proposed compensation arrangement shall be disclosed to all parties in a separate writing prior to execution of the contract or lease.

  152. NJGal says:

    ” Now they are affordable for the merely affluent, unlike most of fairfield county, which is reserved for the very affluent.”

    Ha skep-tic – love it, the “merely affluent.” But thanks for the info – I did not know that there were other train stops in Stamford. See how much I have to learn?

    And thanks ChiFi for the info – since it doesn’t look like hubby’s work will bring him to NJ, I think we’re done with the state once we leave ‘boken.

    So, what bubble – I think the issue for us is that we haven’t had a real commute yet (Hoboken – just doesn’t count). For you, being used to a commute, adding on a little won’t be so bad. I would buy in Ridgefield, to the west if you can so the Katonah drive is easier. We have not fully decided to look there as my husband does not think he can handle the commute (although the town itself is a dream). Hence the idea of doing Armonk or Pleasantville, handling the 50 minute commute and then moving “up” so to speak. My other concern is that we do not have kids yet, but in the next few years, we may, and having babies, a heinous commute and 2 attorney parents? A little tough. So that’s why Westchester is still an option, and the closer towns remain an option.

    I really like CT though, Ridgefield in particular. If you’re looking soon, keep updating us. Since our search is so vast right now, if you are buying for schools, worry not, we won’t be competing. We won’t be anyway, since there are so many houses available up there if we did go to Ridgefield! And besides, I refuse to engage in bidding wars – let someone else f-up their life and finances. We could be dirty about it though – you find your place, give your lowest offer and I’ll present one ridiculously lower so they accept yours:)

    Also, I suppose your timing will depend on the sale of your house. That’s why I am so flexible – I have nothing to sell, so I can kind of go whenever and on whatever schedule. And no kids, so no need to get into school at a certain time. It makes it easier, but also makes me lazy – I work better under pressure! But definitely keep me updated and I’ll let you know what we decide!

  153. James Bednar says:

    Also, remember that an agent can not receive any form of compensation by anyone other than his or her employing broker.


  154. Clotpoll says:

    UnCola (139)-

    Perhaps you and RentLard can fuse your brainpower and crack the 100 IQ barrier.

    Nice try on diverting attention away (by referring to your original post #30) from the gist of your post #132, in which you implied that I somehow defend- or do not see the problem in- undisclosed agent incentives:

    “You’re like someone who is colorblind, asked which shade of blue they prefer — every single ethical dilemma/conflict of interest that is raised here, you fail to see or understand.”

    Let’s now see if you and Mr. Lard can hold two simple ideas in your minds at the same time:

    1. I’m on the records as saying it is not surprising that people who sell things employ incentives and bonuses to get them sold.

    2. I’m also on the record as saying that undisclosed incentives and bonuses are improper.

    Please reconcile your own words- quoted above- with those two statements.

    BTW, I don’t wish death upon people…but it would be a relief to know that you couldn’t reproduce.

  155. James Bednar says:

    Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, seek appropriate counsel where necessary.


  156. Mbaldwin says:

    Whatbubble —

    That makes sense. Thanks for the quick response.

  157. Zac says:

    did anyone see post #150?
    geez, I didn’t even get a chuckle

  158. RentLord says:

    Cl_i_t – with a name like that

    and comments like this

    it would be a relief to know that you couldn’t reproduce.

    you crack me up!

  159. ADA says:


    Where is this from? Is this a actual NJ state statue or the NAR code of ethics?

    Subchapter 7 – Prohibited Activities

    11:5-7.1 – Prohibition against licensees receiving dual compensation for dual representation in the sale or rental transaction.

  160. chicagofinance says:

    RentLord Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 6:49 pm
    Cl_i_t – with a name like that
    and comments like this
    “it would be a relief to know that you couldn’t reproduce.
    you crack me up!

    Yo’: abject obscenity and stupidity builds a strong case that people complaining about you have a point!

  161. what bubble? says:

    i am concerned about the commute…we have been lookin in westchester too, but the schools are only an in issue in that it eliminates some towns, but i dont think you or i would be lookin in those towns anyway. do you guys both work at large firms? i do, and i worry about the commute and the impact on my daughter, but that impact is the same no matter where due to my career choice.

  162. what bubble? says:

    by the way..the above post was directed to njgal.

  163. rhymingrealtor says:


    Thanks for the answer, I did’nt really want to boil your bunny.


  164. Richard says:

    clotpoll, i won’t be baited with your adolescent engagement tactics but i will say i’ve dealt with a good 100+ realtors in my time and so i speak from experience with an unbiased view since i’m not an agent myself. you can speak for your own code of ethics and that’s fine but from my camp a realtor is in the business of making money. how far one goes in to make that happen is an individuals choice. i’ve had some outright lie and others pull a spock and withhold or omit information that would make my decision making process more informative. there are some good realtors out there. heck i use some of them still but the majority are flies on a windscreen.

  165. Zac says:

    thanks for the visual. YUK.

  166. scribe says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging is like a soap opera where you get to watch your favorite characters joust with one another, while learning all this great “stuff” in a format that makes it all so much more understandable and interesting.

    You boys … play nice, OK? :)

  167. Zac says:

    did ANYONE see post #150 ?

  168. scribe says:

    Zac …the one about Toms River? …I did :)

  169. NJGal says:

    Whatbubble, I’m at a small place (got a great gig, although I may depart for a medium shop soon although the prospect of kids would fit well into what I do), he’s at one of those “lifestyle firms” made of mostly of big firm “I’ve had it” folks (and is on partner track but wants out anyway – go figure). I don’t know how you do it – I have never wanted to work for a big firm and neither has he. We are too attached to our current lifestyles.

    Now, does your wife work? My dad was a partner at a small firm and worked as much as big firm folks, but my mom was home, and although he apparently felt a little left out, I never felt he wasn’t around – he was very involved in our stuff but only because he made the time (and times were different – he was partner after 5 years, unheard of today, so he had more freedom). I think that if you do that – coach a team, attend recitals, etc. – your daughter won’t notice, especially if your wife doesn’t work or works near home. It’s more you who will notice. I struggle with this all the time – my mom didn’t work. I have to. How do I balance? But being a lawyer can be flexible – you just have to work to seek it out. I actually suspect it’s harder for men, as women have kind of fought for the right to do both (and can get flextime, etc), and there can be surprisingly little respect for fathers, which is unfair.

    All this adds up to you not discounting Westchester for the easy commute, and it’s the same reason we haven’t, taxes notwithstanding. If you want to be partner or even if you just want to milk the firm for its money a few more years, I might buy in a closer town that will allow you freedom to be home, since your family is the most important. Maybe Pelham, Bronxville, Irvington, Pleasantville. Or, you can aim for what we aim for (but have not yet had the guts to decide on) – buy somewhere we love (Ridgefield, Katonah, Armonk) and eventually get jobs closer to home. It’s such a tough and personal decision. I wish you luck.

  170. d2b says:

    I did a rent vs buy comparison for a new development at the shore. Same realtor has units listed for $369,000 or rent for $1,350. Even with 7% annual appreciation and only 5% return on $60,000 downpayment (HSBC’s rate), I came out way ahead renting. Am I missing something?

  171. d2b says:


    Boil your bunny???

  172. scribe says:


    “Boil your bunny” was a reference to the movie, “Fatal Attraction.”

  173. MacMan says:

    Relocating family to Hershey, PA area in summer after 15 years in W. Orange. Begun search in this area – Hershey is “prime” town with best schools. Housing market is tight – not much new development and housing stock outside of downtown is 60’s – 70’s variety and pricing is comparable to NJ. Taxes are a bit lower than NJ, but not drastically. Was wondering if anyone else had info/experiences in the area. Also looking in Lower Dauphin School District. Due to work prefer living on eastern side of Harrisburg. Any feedback/assistance is appreciated.

  174. Clotpoll says:

    Grim (160)-

    Thanks for quoting from NJ statutes in answer to illegal compensation questions.

    I would’ve gone to my NJ RE Law book, but I burned it in a Satanic ritual at the last county Board of Realtors meeting ;)

  175. shopping around says:

    Can someone tell me DOM for 2367520?

  176. Clotpoll says:

    Reechard (173)-

    I agree with you. The “flies on a windscreen thing”, that is.

    Funny, though. So many here seem to buy into the grubbing, conniving, ethically-suspect agent as the prototypical Realtor. Well, grab your cameras and get a picture, because a market like this will thin the ranks of those dinosaurs quickly.

    The sad fact is, playing greedy, fast and loose with the rules is the HARD way to get ahead in RE. The more people you burn, the louder- and bigger- the chorus against you becomes. A satisfied customer tells 2-3 people about his experience; an angry customer shouts his discontent to the world. Be a bad actor long enough, and one day, there won’t be any more fresh marks for you to take down.

  177. scribe says:


    Something occurred to me.

    My relatives who had good experiences with realtors in terms of a sale – the realtors were all referrals somehow – through a friend, or a friend of a friend, or from relative to relative.

    A tiny sliver, but my guess is that the good ones rely a lot on referrals.

  178. chicagofinance says:

    James Bednar Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 6:34 pm
    Subchapter 7 – Prohibited Activities

    Mr. “I Just Took My Test And Passed” regurgitating his brain cells like a good crammer. Shove off. Bollocks!

  179. chicagofinance says:

    Richard Says:
    January 30th, 2007 at 7:42 pm
    “…but the majority are flies on a windscreen….”

    Reech: first you note that you are from Queens – and as those noted philosophers from Hollis state “from Queens come Kings”…..now you whip out some Martin Lee Gore………hmmmmmm…..you are one mercurial dude

  180. listentothecrybabywannabehomeowners says:


    I posted a response to your question under lowball.


  181. poser says:

    I live in town next to Chatham, but shop, walk, and drive thru Chatham regluarly. Also have friends that live in Chatham. Everything about it is true, nice small town feel, some charming homes, good schools, rail line etc. The one downside, and my acquaintances all agree, very little diversity and the Hoboken/NYC transplant couples, can be very snooty. My friends and I experience it constantly when you go to a local supermarket, sandwich shop, etc. You can’t even ask a Chatham resident politely “excuse me” when walking past with your shopping cart without getting a dirty look. Also, I never see them discipline their kids and if their stroller is in your way, they won’t move it, again you get the condescending look. We’re all baffled as to this sense of entitlement. It’s a shame because the town is nice otherwise. Just my observations.

  182. profuscious says:

    poser, I must have seen a lot of Chatham residents in my neighborhood lately with their smug, condescending looks! And here I only had a three day stubble!

  183. NJGal says:

    Poser, those folks run Hoboken…in fact, I grew up in a town full of them. I fear that the general tri-state area is like that. I can’t stand it, and if family wasn’t here, I’d be out.

  184. BC Bob says:

    d2b [179],

    You are not missing a thing. You are right on the mark. The sellers????

  185. Duckweed says:


    Thanks for the statute. Of course it only confused me more because the language actually say an agent may receive portion of compensation from both a buyer and a seller.

    The question is whether a buyer may pay the buyer (his) agent 10% of the difference between listing and contract price (if contract price is lower) on top of the 3% commission that agent is entitled from the seller.

    Subchapter 7, 11:5-7.1(a) prohibits receiving dual compensation from dual representation situations. But a buyer agent is, well, a buyer agent, right? If a buyer agent is not a dual representative, the buyer agent wouldn’t run into trouble for receiving the 3% from the seller and the 10% lowball bonus from the buyer side. The next section says: “A licensee who represents only one party … may receive … a portion of that compensation from both parties to the trasaction …” Which seems to me makes what Eagle proposed somewhat acceptable, as long as it is disclosed in the final contract.

    As for the prohibition against receiving compensation from the client directly (that a licensee has to be paid from the brokerage), that’s does require a slight modification of the proposal. The 10% “lowball bonus” needs to go to the buyer agent’s brokerage first, before it lands in the agent’s pocket. Makes sense. We pay lawfirm, not the lawyer. We pay bank, not the loan officer. We pay brokerage, not the broker. I’m fine with that.

    So to my untrained eyes, it seems alright for a buyers’s agent’s brokerage to receive a 10% “lowball” bonus from a buyer and a 3% commission from the seller. Persumably the buyer’s agent who negotiated the lower price would get whatever cut s/he normally gets from the brokerage. As long as the arrangement is disclosed (which makes sense because a seller’s incentive has to be disclosed, so the buyer’s incentive should be disclosed). Would that be a fair reading of the rules? Either way.

    Disclaimer: I have only a cursory knowledge of RE transaction law, and next to none about the laws govern RE agents. Obviously I’m trying to figure it out myself. So don’t rely on whatever I said.

  186. cs says:

    This has got to be the ultimate conservative statement by the FED today:

    “Some tentative signs of stabilization have appeared in the housing market.”

    could anyone be more carefull with their words than the fed?

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