Memorial Day Open Discussion

This is the time and place to post observations about your local areas, comments on news stories or the New Jersey housing market, 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.

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73 Responses to Memorial Day Open Discussion

  1. James Bednar says:

    The Star Ledger has compiled a comprehensive list of parades and other events scheduled for today:

    Memorial Day marked with events statewide

  2. njrebear says:

    NY times on revised Q3 06 payroll numbers


    Wait a Few Months Before You Believe the Numbers

    It also appears that 8,000 more businesses closed than opened in that quarter, making it the worst quarter by that measure since the third quarter of 2001, when an economy already in recession was jolted by the Sept. 11 attacks.

    By that measure, private-sector employment rose by just 19,000 jobs in the quarter.

    It will not be until next February that the monthly numbers are revised in the next benchmark revision. We may learn then that the job market was not as strong as it seemed to be in late 2006 and early 2007.


    Happy Memorial day!

  3. SG says:

    House of denial
    Commentary: Confronting housing market myths
    By Mathew Emmert, Dividend Gambit
    Last Update: 11:49 AM ET May 9, 2007

    The idea that a widespread downturn in home prices will not have a major impact on the economy is simply a pipedream. Despite this, true believers in the housing market still abound. Why? Here are a few reasons offered by the acolytes in support of the idea that housing weakness won’t lead to large-scale suffering:

    Good rebuff to many myths like,

    ‘People will always need a place to live, so home prices are protected.’
    ‘The economy will weather a slowdown in housing because of strength in job and income growth.’
    ‘The recent trouble among subprime lenders is contained.’

    I suppose the bottom line is that no economic factor this large exists in a vacuum. Big or small, the connection is there, and you can bet your assets that the repercussions of a weaker housing market will be felt in myriad other ways. Be ready.

  4. Clotpoll says:

    bear (2)-

    Just another factor to consider in putting together the argument that rate cuts will begin in 4-10 weeks.

    Remember, in Q3-Q4 ’06, “wage inflaton” and “tight employment markets” were the biggest arguments against rate cuts.

  5. NY to NJ says:

    Went to look at some places in Glen Rock and Ridgewood over the weekend. Just drove around, didn’t go in. Saw a nice house, called the realtor. Looked like a 400k-500k house. Realtor: asking is 769k. You’ve got to be kidding me.

    The Glen Rock town median income is $110,000. We make nearly double that. And we cannot afford anything in Glen Rock. Nothing. It’s an absolute joke. The only houses in the 400k-500k range (we won’t spend a penny over 400k) are tiny POS located on main roads.

    The question here is: without the shady loans, who can afford these properties? Everyone sees prices falling, but that 800k house would have to fall $300,000 to sniff our price range. If you care, here’s a link to the house (which after we found out was only 3/1, we didn’t want, anyway)

    To anyone who feels we’ve hit rock bottom, please think again. We’re nowhere near it. Maybe 6 months away.

  6. NY to NJ says:

    Also, a quick word on foreclosures: we went to a Bergen County auction Friday. All week, we had monitored two seemingly nice houses: one in Ramsey and one in Glen Rock.

    Naturally, both were taken off right before the auction.

    One of them filed for bankruptcy (seems to be delaying the inevitable, but whatever) and another burned one of their two 2-week ‘adjournments.’

    Only three places ended up going up for auction, and nobody bid on any of them. Seemed to me like They’re going to need a big room come Fall. There were about 25-30 people in this tiny room, but you know that # will increase.

    (Yes, i read about the Oregon freak and his pigs on another thread – that was hilarious.)

  7. Rich In NNJ says:

    NY to NJ,

    I know that house in Glen Rock and the owners are delusional. A lot of the “historical” integrity is missing: fireplace windows replaced with cheap “stained glass”, cheap Pergo type flooring in the bedrooms, etc.

    A little history:

    ACT 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $398,000 2/26/2001
    ACT* 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $398,000 3/7/2001
    ARR 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $398,000 3/8/2001
    ACT* 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $398,000 4/5/2001
    U/C 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $398,000 4/25/2001
    SLD 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $395,000 6/15/2001
    (Mortgage: $368,750, $26,350 down)

    ACT 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $785,000 3/6/2007
    PCH 22 FAIRVIEW AVE $769,900 4/23/2007

    But, the owners are so far off the mark (you can hear the whine of Rt. 208) that you really can’t go by them alone.
    And you’re not going to find anything you want for $400k or less in Glen Rock.


  8. NY to NJ says:

    Rich – Thanks for that. Seems to me that most people (90%?) are selling now for two reasons:

    1) cashing out

    2) they HAVE to because of ARM/loss of job/etc

    My uninformed guess is that the people who are just looking to cash out simply have missed the boat. They either don’t know it yet or are in denial.

    The people who HAVE to sell – and surely there are a few of them in Glen Rock, for they are everywhere! – will be forced to do so this winter/fall once nobody bites at their ridiculous price.

    Maybe my wife’s optimism is rubbing off on me too much … but you think really nothing for 400k?

  9. Richie says:

    Don’t worry, people are having trouble making their payments in Glen Rock..

    Bergen County Sheriff’s Sales

    There’s 3 homes up right now up for auction, 1 past, 2 in the next 2 months..

  10. Judicious1 says:

    NY to NJ says “To anyone who feels we’ve hit rock bottom, please think again. We’re nowhere near it. Maybe 6 months away.”

    6 months? I think it will be at least 3 or 4 years before we’re close to a bottom.

  11. Sapiens says:

    Immigration Bill To Collect American Info
    “The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would make it illegal to hire anyone for any work in the US for paid wages, unless both the worker and employer complete the new registration requirements. Workers will have to provide their entire work history for the past five years even if they are American citizens each time they apply for a job. ”

  12. gary redfin (a.k.a gary) says:

    I think I know this guy:

  13. Willyboy says:

    With each new story I read about some hapless soul who bought more house (or houses) than they could afford, I squirm in my seat noting the absolute absence of any sense of personal responsibility.

    No doubt there were some fragile people who were taken advantage of by lenders, but when I read some expert’s estimate that “more than 60% of stated-income loans had income exaggerated by at least 50%”, I have to conclude that the borrowers themselves did a fair share of the “exaggerating.”

    One only needs to read the Casey Serin saga at “”, the “Casey Serin” entry at Wikipedia, or perhaps, the anti-Casey “” site, to see how out of whack things are. Young Casey admittedly bought 6 or more houses, within weeks of each other. Many of the houses had inflated purchase prices, with part of the deal being that Casey would get cash back under the table and un-beknownst to the lender. Because each deal was done with a different lender (and sometimes in a different state), and so close in time, each lender was unaware (and Casey, of course, felt no need to disclose) that he was buying more than one house. Additionally, on each loan application, Casey over-stated his income (rationalizing same by putting down the income he thought he was capable of making flipping houses), and he also represented that he would live in each house. Most of Casey’s houses have now been foreclosed on and each taken back by the respective lender, presumably to be re-sold for far less than what is owed to that lender.

    Casey takes the position that the lenders are big boys, can take care of themselves, and have in fact already taken into account, as a cost of doing business, that some borrowers will default. Despite having clearly committed mortgage fraud, young Casey blatantly blogs about his exploits, seeming unconcerned with possible legal ramifications while admitting his culpability (lately rationalizing it by stating “I didn’t think it was illegal, I just thought it was a ‘gray area’”, that “everybody did it”, and “I didn’t have any intent to defraud.”) Instead, Casey worries mostly about the effect the foreclosures will have on his FICO score, and how this might impair his ability to do more real estate deals in the future.

    While the Casey “haters” (critics) speculate as to what particular alleged mental illness causes Casey to think the way he does, and wait for the day when Casey is hauled away to prison for his misdeeds, there remains a disturbing possibility that Casey Serin might never be prosecuted. Some law enforcement-knowledgeable types have suggested that unless the lender cooperates and pushes for prosecution, it is unlikely that criminal charges will be brought against Casey. And because the lenders have their own problems, Casey just might not be a big enough fish for them to fry. In fact, because Casey is, was, and for the foreseeable future probably will be, insolvent, the lenders might not even pursue civil litigation to obtain deficiency judgments against Casey for the remainder of the money that Casey borrowed that wasn’t repaid by the value in the repossessed houses. Which means, Casey could escape unscathed. Which would seem to indicate that Casey was very sane, and very slick, gambling with other people’s money. To my mind – and I do not take the thought of such things lightly – Casey Serin needs to be prosecuted, and Casey Serin needs to do a modicum of jail time. And he is not the only one. (remember the 60% estimate above)

    In fact, if the post-boom housing world is to ever be set back on its axis and spinning correctly again, the Feds (as in FBI) ought to gear-up and investigate/review the loan documentation for each and every stated-income loan made in the last three or four years. Certainly such an investigation should be a prerequisite to any notion of a borrower/lender “bailout.” Sound like a daunting, expensive task? Maybe, but think about it. Certainly the documentation is there, and probably easily accessible electronically in the computer-scanned files of the title insurance companies. And after the first few weeks of reviewing these things, a dedicated department of reviewers should be able to speedily spot and classify the particular type of fraud so that further action could be taken. (How hard could it be for the govm’t to concurrently compare a borrower’s loan application with his last couple of years of 1040’s, and when the numbers are different conclude the borrower lied on one or other, either way resulting in criminal culpability). And where the wrongdoers caught happen to have deep pockets (probably not the borrowers, but some of these mortgage brokers got fat during the boom, while being less than forthright about mortgage terms), make them reimburse the cost of prosecution.

    The USA is a country of laws, and to an ever-increasing extent, a country of law-breakers. It is extremely unfair to the rest of us, who either instinctively tell the truth, or alternately, are too scared to lie on an application that advises in bold print that it is a crime to do so, to have to bailout a bunch of irresponsible liars. This is a golden opportunity to demonstrate that you have to tell the truth in filling out loan applications, that there are consequences if you don’t, that you are personally responsible for the actions that you take, and the excuse “everybody does it” just isn’t going to fly anymore.


  14. 3b (former bergbubbleburst) says:

    No rate cut this year, earliest, 1st quarter 2008.

  15. NY to NJ says:

    That house at 415 Lincoln is the one that looks very enticing … we haven’t checked out liens or taxes, though. But if you zillow the place, it looks good …

    but their house disappeared from this list two days before the auction (injuction). The website isn’t all that updated. The Ramsey house also looks great on zillow … but they were the ones that filed for bankruptcy.

    We’re monitoring the foreclosure market … but we’re not holding our breath. Then again, we’re not doing that for prices falling, either …

  16. Al says:

    HI everybody – price drops are happening, just very slow,

    Anybody with aceess to MLS or GMLS – look up listing history on these two:

    MLS ID# 710775
    MLS ID# 2366351

    James – it is possible to qhow full liting history here –

    I think soon this duplex together will be cheaper or comparable to the cape cods around it.

  17. Al says:

    I hhave a huge news –

    One week Ago another little Renter was born :) !!!!

    So now my time is very limited, will be on a lot less.

  18. 3b says:

    14 NYNJ: Prices are falling, grant it slowly, but they arefalling.
    Spring selling market is a bust, and now, I believe the reality sets in for those who truly do need, want, and have to sell.

  19. Pat says:

    Al, that’s wonderful! Congratulations.

  20. vinland says:

    When looking at historical real estate price changes the history tells us that prices fall much slower than they rise. It took this bubble about four years to realize, so expect at least 8 years to hit bottom. The peak was late 2005 so lets say bottom will be about 2013 more or less in real terms.

    Taking inflation in, the market should be vialble for long term purchases in about 2010

  21. NY to NJ says:

    3b – That’s the question. How many TRULY have to sell? Absolutely must sell? My guess is not a lot. Only the ARM-types. The number of folks who must move for work/upgrade due to family size is so small, I hardly bother factor it in.

    And when you think about the desireable Bergen County desinations (good schools, proximity to the city, clean, safe, etc), I don’t envision many using ARMs to get into those towns.

    That’s the ONLY reason i don’t see a HUGE price drop coming in the Glen Rocks/Ridgewoods of the world. Values will drop, obviously, but I don’t see these folks who are asking 750k all of a sudden dropping to 550k and selling.

  22. still_looking says:


    nearly all of them are going to be REO. Most of these folks are “upside down” on their mortgage — house worth much less than the note.

    Few and far between are real values on foreclosures and most of those are picked off well before sheriff sale.

    Those that may slip through get picked off by “vultures” (folks that do this for a living) They will “bid up” a property at the auction so a novice ends up paying well over its true value if they aren’t well informed. I have seen it firsthand at the BC sheriff sale a number of times last year.

    Vultures exist at nearly every county foreclosure auction. For what it’s worth: caveat emptor.


  23. Clotpoll says:

    vinland (19)-

    Sounds great; but, you’ve got no historical precedent to your assertion. No bust cycle in RE has ever taken eight years to hit bottom. The average post-WWII down cycle lasts roughly four years.

    As to your predictions for 2010 and out…may I borrow your crystal ball?

    One other little thing (while we’re playing Nostradamus): in 2010, the capital gains breaks on dividends is scheduled to expire. It is reasonable to expect that a Democratic Congress AND a Democrat in the White House might reset taxes on dividends back to the old capital gains rate (or worse).

    If that happens, you’ll see zillions of companies declare a massive special dividend in Dec, 2010…and January, 2011 will be the start of the biggest stock market collapse since the Depression.

    And, where do you think all the money coming out of the stock market will go?

  24. Clotpoll says:

    kl (21)-

    Exactly. A sheriff sale is no place for a novice investor. Nothing there but banks, sharks and shills. I’m experienced in these sales, and they still give me the willies. Also, you’ve got to find the homeowner in trouble much earlier in the process; if you do that, you can fashion a deal that is much more to everyone’s benefit…including the lender, who would much rather accept a short sale than take posession of a house.

    Catch that owner early on, and you’ll never have to worry about adjournments, BK filings, redemption periods or shills at the courthouse trying to get you to bid up garbage.

  25. vinland says:

    Clotpoll (22)

    I have looked at the stats for the last 100 years adjusted for inflation. There have been many ups and downs in that perieod and most of them have a sharp upswing, then a slower fall and period of decline or stable prices before it starts to go up again.

    There is no crystal ball in the history. I just don’t expect it to be different this time around. Maybe I’m wrong…..

    Maybe you are right about the stock market and we can then see additional decline of 40% like in the Great Depression….

  26. sas says:

    “NY to NJ says “To anyone who feels we’ve hit rock bottom, please think again. We’re nowhere near it. Maybe 6 months away.”

    “3 or 4 years before we’re close to a bottom”

    I agree with the bloke above. I would suspect 3-5 years of declines and flat prices.

    If some of you want to jump on the first little decline… pause… and think twice.

    Also, is this really the state that you want to settle down in? Your RE taxes are going to make you flat broke or work for the man till the day you drop…family or no family.

    The pension crisi has only just begun, wait till some of boomers hit start hitting their 60s.

    The first wave has only just begun.

    SAS’s tip:
    don’t make any long term comitments.

    IMHO ;)

  27. sas says:

    “don’t make any long term FINANCIAL comitments”


  28. sas says:

    off the beaten path:

    I think I am going to have a cardiac arrest.

    My wife just went shopping with my daughter.
    If ya don’t hear from me for awhile, I’ve kicked the bucket.


  29. NY to NJ says:

    Good tips on the ‘vultures.’ I must say, the 30 or so folks who I saw in the BC sheriff’s office Friday looked like anything but seasoned pros. That might count for something if i knew what a seasoned pro looked like.

    Anyway, guess I’ll start to look into the pre-foreclosures.

  30. serenity now says:

    Hello to all – have been lurking here since
    Oct 06. Reading and learning. We live in
    Bergen County, our home appraised for
    $800,000 in summer 2005, somewhat less now. We are considering selling (have a 65,000.00 mortgage)
    Our strategy is to bank the equity and rent
    for 1 -2 years , hopefully values will drop and then we purchase again. Does this sound like a solid plan to move up?
    Thank you for all your advice, this
    web site should be required reading for anyone buying a home.

  31. chicagofinance says:

    Look where the black isosceles triangle points at the QQQQ falling through 100. It crashes through 80, rallies back over 100, and then pulls a Reech into familiar territory. It won’t be as extreme or as quick, but it is going to look this way on a REAL basis…..meaning you may not see nominal prices getting crushed, but rather a chronic malaise for the remainder of the decade.

    Bear in mind the rise to 100 after the original smack down….
    As Nouriel Khadaffi says “eet weel be a suhcorz rrrahleee…”

  32. chicagofinance says:

    serenity now Says:
    May 28th, 2007 at 3:21 pm
    We live in Bergen County, our home appraised for $800,000 in summer 2005, somewhat less now. We are considering selling (have a 65,000.00 mortgage)
    Our strategy is to bank the equity and rent
    for 1 -2 years , hopefully values will drop and then we purchase again. Does this sound like a solid plan to move up?

    Costanza: I don’t like it. Move up when you can afford it. If the $700K+ equity you have in the house is less than 1/3-1/2 of your net worth, do whatever you want. However, we aren’t playing dominoes here….meaning, I don’t think you really want to $crew around with your livelihood like that purely for the play….if your life dictates otherwise, follow your circumstances to the decision.

  33. chicagofinance says:

    Also, the time to sell was 12-24 months ago. You missed the boat a little and now have heightened your risk somewhat.

  34. chicagofinance says:

    sas Says:
    May 28th, 2007 at 3:14 pm
    “don’t make any long term FINANCIAL comitments”SAS

    you crack me up

  35. serenity now says:

    Chi Fi –
    Thanks for the response , Let me refine
    a little here; We were looking to move anyway – with that in mind does it make
    sense to sit on the fence for a while
    to let the market sort itself out?

  36. JC says:

    NY to NJ: Lincoln Avenue in Glen Rock is a main drag.

    Are you wedded to those two towns? It looks like you’re looking for a “charming older home”, in which case you might look at Westwood.

  37. Rich In NNJ says:


    415 Lincoln
    Purchased 7/2002 $399,900
    Mortgage $319,920


    House has been completely renovated, converted from oil to gas with 4-zone heat, 2-zone central A/C installed

    Listed 10/2006 $879,000
    Expired 4/2007

  38. Rich In NNJ says:

    True, Lincoln is VERY busy.

  39. NY to NJ says:

    Great find, Rich.
    So basically, you touch up something here or there, and bam, you add $400,000 to your sale price.

    I’ll check out Westwood, but truthfully, here are our top three factors:
    -Must be 3/2
    -house NOT located on a main drag/quality school district.
    -must have garage/central air conditioning.

  40. njrebear says:

    Clot (24)

    Housing burst during the 30s depression.

  41. njrebear says:

    clot (4)

    April CPI is 0.4%
    0.4 X 12 = 4.8%

  42. sas says:

    Just been doing some interviews of boomers whom are gearing up to retire in the next few years.

    Yikes. Its going to be a pickle for this area.

    Not only that, there is really no affordable senior house/living.

    And with this pension and social security crisis … yikes!


  43. NY to NJ says:

    Anyone with MLS access want to see what the story is on these three places?

    2714740 in Cresskill
    2718804 in Leonia
    2717805 in Emerson

    Would like to get addresses if possible … thanks in advance …

  44. Rich In NNJ says:

    2714740 in Cresskill
    46 S. Crest (Under contract)

    2718804 in Leonia
    204 Morre Ave (under Attorney Review)

    2717805 in Emerson
    131 Hasbrouck Ave

    Later! Time to BBQ!

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  46. Anth says:

    MLS#: 2368810 (34 Jefferson / Roxbury-Flanders)

    Can anyone tell me if this house has an MLS listing history?

    Realtor states that seller turned down 430k offer, is about to retire and house is empty nest – Seller in no rush.

    Full swing of pictures (virtual tour) shows snow on the ground (Shrug). Tax research comes up with nothing (likely seller has owned this house for a LONG time).

  47. 3b says:

    #45 Let him wait,don’t fund his retirement.

  48. 3b says:

    #38 Westwood is iffy, better off in Emerson.

  49. 3b says:

    #25 2 years to bottom, 5 to 7 years or more of flat prices.

  50. 3b says:

    #24 Sharp decline in early 90’s, and no toxic mortgages at that time. It will be much worse this time.

  51. 3b says:

    #20 Lots of people will have to sell for a variety of reasons. We have a vey high % of seniors in Bergen County, many will be selling over the nect few years. Divorce, job transfers, houses inherited, the list goes on.

    And yes many, many people uses all sorts of toxic financing to get into Glen Rock, Ridgewood and many other towns (family member does real estate cosings)

    In addition to BErgen county there are many other areas in the tr-sate area that fit the bill for what you describe (schools, commute)

    With all due respect you are a Bergen county realotrs dream in you belief that prices will not go down in BC, and that everybody in these towns are wealthy.

  52. 3b says:

    #20 One final note prices dropped in all the so called premier BC towns before, including Glen Rock and Ridgewood.

  53. Allentown says:

    The Lehigh Valley area of PA is getting slammed with 70% higher inventory and 40% higher foreclosures, nobody is dumb enough to buy a home that sold for 100k 5 years ago for 200-250k, there are more people laughing at this than buying. That will bring our local prices down to normal by the end of 2008.

  54. NY to NJ says:

    3b – link or stats to back up the earlier price drop?

    And no worries on being a ‘realtors dream’ … flip experience during the recent boom in Fla worked out well, and we’re firm on 400k being our absolute ceiling.

    We just won’t go over it.

  55. shopping around says:

    Is anyone familiar with West Caldwell? Cedar Grove?

    Not really familiar with Essex county.

  56. chicagofinance says:

    3b Says:
    May 28th, 2007 at 6:11 pm
    #38 Westwood is iffy, better off in Emerson.


  57. sas says:

    “Westwood is iffy, better off in Emerson”

    I never could tell the difference between these 2 towns. I would say Westwood is an ok town, boring as hell and it closes down at 5 o’Clock and the Pascak health care system is horrible (bunch a quacks there).

    But, thats just me.


  58. rhymingrealtor says:

    To: Allison on line,

    I posted this late last night in answer to your question, I tried to repost this am but had problem with site
    I’d love more info on this one: MLS 2372985

    10 cedar street riverdale – 109 dom

    5/18 changed from:619,000





  59. MS says:

    #55 It seems to me Cedar Grove is holding up its real estate values more than other towns. (spill-over effect from Upper Montclair? – it borders Upper Montclair)
    The schools are good (in the top 75 for NJ in the last NJ Monthly survey)and the town tries to maintain a “small town feel”. Also, very low crime rates, no gangs. It’s a town where many of the adults now living in the town actually grew up in the town (they never left).

  60. USAFA98 says:

    Allentown – How is the Easton/Palmer area looking? I am relocating from the midwest to a company on the west side of NJ. Looking in that general area. How much are the taking off the OLP?

  61. Rich In NNJ says:

    I don’t know what you mena by iffy, but Emerson?

    Trust me.
    No different than Westwood.

    To me, it depends upon the parent.

  62. RentinginNJ says:

    #20 Lots of people will have to sell for a variety of reasons. We have a very high % of seniors in Bergen County, many will be selling over the next few years.

    True. According to the Census Bureau, 42% of Bergen County’s population is over 45 years old and 15% are over 65. This makes Bergen County one of the oldest in the state outside of Cape May and Ocean Counties, where you typically draw a lot of retirees.

    As their kids get older and “good schools” are no longer a major concern, how many retirees are going to want to continue paying Bergen County taxes?

    Sure, there are some “rich” people living in a select few “rich towns” that don’t care, but the majority of retirees are facing a future on a tighter budget; with little savings, a modest pension/Social Security and a property tax bill that threatens to devour an increasing share of their fixed income each year.

    Now add to the mix fact that many retires are sitting on a nice chuck of equity in their homes and the fact that the children of retires often can’t afford to live in the same communities, and you build a pretty strong case for cashing out and leaving NJ (or at least Bergen County).

  63. essex says:

    I bought my 3/2 in 2002. I paid a ‘fair’ price for it as the owner liked me and each year put about $30k into the property….completely replacing the windows with Pella Architecture series, replacing the hot water heater and roof with quality products, currently doing the kitchen.

    I love the location and the neighborhood and when the time comes to sell and someone from NY comes over and lowballs me, I will laugh and suggest you stay in NYC and buy one of those pallatial 1000 sq ft apartments for a half mill or more.

  64. NJGator says:

    #55 – Both are nice towns, but neither have a direct train to NYC. Bus commute from this area is awful if you don’t leave early. Cedar Grove does have low taxes (at least by Essex County standards) because their reservoir provides water to the City of Newark.

  65. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    RE: Cedar Grove. Reservoir (sp?) is owned by newark. Lower taxes are result of non-partisan town government and decent management and (as a resident) rather frugal residents…I specifically sought out the town to move based on tax rates, location and housing stock. You are 5 minutes from Willowbrook park and ride so you can get to Port Authority in 25 mins on Express bus, 5 minutes to Montclair State Train stop/parking for mid town direct.

    It is a “Dunkin Donuts” town vs Starbucks.

  66. Willow says:


    West Caldwell is a good town – high school ranked #43 in the state. No busing for schools unless you are in the area west of Passaic Ave but would never recommend that area – river bottom so lots of bugs (sometimes to the point where you can’t go out in your yard). Neighborhood elementary schools (joint district with Caldwell). Most of the houses are newer (60s,70s,80s) although there are some older homes here and there. Since West Caldwell surrounds Caldwell on three sides, some areas are walking distance to the town center. Taxes are better than some other areas of Essex since there is some business but they will be having a reval within the next few years. Good recreation department, two town pools, can join Caldwell Community Center (workout, pool, classes).

  67. chicagofinance says:

    NJGator Says:
    May 29th, 2007 at 7:23 am
    #55 – Both are nice towns, but neither have a direct train to NYC.

    You comment is outdated. Now that they opened the Secaucus Transfer station, you can switch over… is one hour and granted you have to take 2 trains. I’ve been in the facility….very nice.

  68. Willow says:



    Check out for Lehigh Valley listings. Also, in this area, you really have to research the school districts. I have been following this area and I have relatives who live there. Salisbury school district seems to be good. It is small with a lot more opportunities than my NNJ high school. East Penn school district is also good but is a big regional.

  69. 3b says:

    Westwood has a lot of issues with the apartments there,and I will leave it a that.

    I believe Emerson schools are probably better than Werstwood, and the system is small.

    If there is ever a consolidation, I think Emerson could be absorbed by Northern Valley.

  70. NJGator says:

    chicagofinance – regarding the train service, a one-seat ride is always preferable to a transfer. NJ Transit screws up way too much to rely on their maintaining their connections. If I lived in Cedar Grove, I would drive to MSU for the one seat ride over having to transfer from Great Notch or Little Falls any day of the week. The Montclair Boonton line does not run as frequently as the NEC….connecting is a big hassle.

    And I stand by my comment regarding the bus commute. If you don’t leave before 7AM DO NOT expect your commute to take 30 minutes into the PABT. A bus commute from where I live in Montclair can take almost 2 hours on a bad traffic day.

  71. shopping around says:

    Thanks to MS, NJ Gator, 1987 , Willow for the input. I commute to Bloomfield so NYC not a factor.
    Don’t have kids but the info on bugs is a good to know item.

  72. michelle says:

    I’m interested in this house in westchester county. Anyone know how I can look up past sale histories? The westchester mls # is 2710566
    I think the house is way overpriced..

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