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Betty Jean Blanco

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How can you stop agent calls?

Why on earth would you want to? Of course we want to list and sell your home. But they're also relied heavily upon by their buyers that want to know what's on the market that fits their home needs. The FSBO sign may steer away some agents with good, prospective buyers for your home.  In reality, good agents will take the time to find out about your home and ask for your written permission to show it.  Remember that it's best to get one offer from a buyer working with an agent than to get no offer at all and you can always counter or reject an offer.



8 Reasons Why You Should Work With a REALTOR?


Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS?. The term REALTOR? is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS? and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are eight reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR?. 


1.  Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Information and opinions. REALTORS? can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They?ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

3. Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR? to find all available properties.

4. Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn?t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner?s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR?, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR? will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Someone who speaks the language. If you don?t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it?s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS?, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security ? it?s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they?ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.


5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market


1.  Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you?ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.

2.  Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3.  Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don?t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin. 

4.  Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.

5.  Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you?re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?


Simple Tips for Better Home Showings


1.    Remove clutter and clear off counters.  Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don?t forget to clean out the garage, too.
2.    Wash your windows and screens.  This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
3.    Keep everything extra clean.  A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for.
Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It?s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.
4.    Get rid of smells.  Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells.  Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
5.    Brighten your rooms.  Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements.  Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
6.    Don?t disregard minor repairs.  Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they?ll give buyers the        impression that the house isn?t well-maintained.
7.    Tidy your yard.  Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.
8.    Patch holes.  Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9.    Add a touch of color in the living room.  A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room.  Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10.  Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11.  Make centerpieces for your tables.  Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12.  Set the scene.  Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there.  For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.
13.  Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.  Show off the view if you have one.

14.  Accentuate the fireplace.  Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it?s not in use.
15.  Make the bathrooms feel luxurious.  Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps.  Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16.  Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside.  If that?s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they?ll be to eliminate surprises.

17.  Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money.  While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it?s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18.  Leave the home.  It?s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It?s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.


Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home?s Exterior


Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips:

1.    Trim bushes so they don?t block windows or architectural details.

2.    Mow your lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawnsparkle.

3.    Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.

4.    Install new doorknobs on your front door.

5.    Repair any cracks in the driveway.

6.    Edge the grass around walkways and trees.

7.    Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight.
8.    Clear toys from the lawn.

9.    Buy a new mailbox.

10.  Upgrade your outside lighting.

11.  Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.

12.  Clean your windows, inside and outside.

13.  Polish or replace your house numbers.

14.  Place a seasonal wreath on your door.


12 Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor


1.    Get at least three written estimates.

2.    Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.

3.    Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.

4.    Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be        handled.

5.    Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won?t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.

6.    Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.

7.    Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn?t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.

8.    Ask if the contractor?s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be        involved too.

9.    Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or        regulations.

10.  Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be        responsible for any damage.

11.  Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.

12.  Don?t make the final payment until you?re satisfied with the work.

Open House Safety Tips


An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time. Stay safe by practicing these guidelines.


 Source: National Association of REALTORS? Safety Week kit


How to Get an Offer on Your Home

1.  Price it right.  Set a price at the lower end of your property?s realistic price range.
2.  Prepare for visitors.  Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
3.  Be flexible about showings.  It?s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you?ll find a buyer.
4.  Anticipate the offers.  Decide in advance what price and terms you?ll find acceptable.
5.  Don?t refuse to drop the price.  If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.


Checklist: 17 Service Providers You?ll Need When You Sell


                    Real estate attorney


                    Home inspector

                    Mortgage loan officer

                    Environmental specialist

                    Lead paint inspector

                    Radon inspector

                    Tax adviser

                    Sanitary systems expert

                    Occupancy permit inspector

                    Zoning inspector

                    Survey company

                    Flood plain inspector

                    Termite inspector

                    Title company

                    Insurance consultant

                    Moving company


Used with permission from Kim Daugherty, Real Estate Checklists and Systems,


Forms You?ll Need to Sell Your Home


1.  Property disclosure form.  This form requires you to reveal all known defects to your property. Check with your state government to see if there is a special form required in your state.   

2.  Purchasers access to premises agreement.  This agreement sets conditions for permitting the buyer to enter your home for activities such as measuring for draperies before you move.

3.  Sales contract.  The agreement between you and the seller on terms and conditions of sale. Again, check with your state real estate department to see if there is a required form.

4.  Sales contract contingency clauses.  In addition to the contract, you may need to add one or more attachments to the contract to address special contingencies ? such as the buyer?s need to sell a home before purchasing yours.

5.  Pre- and post-occupancy agreements.  Unless you?re planning on moving out and the buyer moving in on the day of closing, you?ll need an agreement on the terms and costs of occupancy once the sale closes.

6.  Lead-based paint disclosure pamphlet.  If your home was built before 1978, you must provide the pamphlet to all sellers. You must also have buyers sign a statement indicating they received the pamphlet.


There are several complexities when selling real estate.  Knowing current laws, contracts and the intricacies of closing the transaction.  Contact me if I can be of any assistance.



Moving Checklist for Sellers


       Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks ahead of the move.

       Notify your credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, and bank of your change of      address.

       Create a list of friends, relatives, and business colleagues who need to be notified about      your move.

       Arrange to disconnect utilities and have them connected at your new home.

       Cancel the newspaper, or change the address so it will arrive at your new home.

       Check insurance coverage for the items you?re moving. Usually movers only cover what      they pack.

       Clean out appliances and prepare them for moving, if applicable.

       Note the weight of the goods you?ll have moved, since long-distance moves are usually      billed according to weight. Watch for movers that use excessive padding to add weight.

        Check with your condo or co-op about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits for moving.  

       Have a ?first open? box with the things you?ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pencils and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, and toothpaste.

Plus, if you?re moving out of town, be sure to:

        Get copies of medical and dental records and prescriptions for your family and your pets.

        Get copies of children?s school records for transfer.

        Ask friends for introductions to anyone they know in your new neighborhood.

        Consider special car needs for pets when traveling.

        Let a friend or relative know your route.

        Empty your safety deposit box.

       Put plants in boxes with holes for air circulation if you?re moving in cold weather.

Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain ? the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. The same holds true when selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.

How to Calculate Gain
In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis. To calculate, follow these steps:

1. Purchase price: _______________________

The purchase price of the home is the sale price, not the amount of money you actually contributed at closing.

2. Total adjustments: _______________________

To calculate this, add the following:

3. Your home?s adjusted cost basis: _______________________

The total of your purchase price and adjustments is the adjusted cost basis of your home.

4. Your capital gain:  _______________________

Subtract the adjusted cost basis from the amount your home sells for to get your capital gain.

A Special Real Estate Exemption for Capital Gains
Since 1997, up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for a married couple) on the sale of a home is exempt from taxation if you meet the following criteria:


What to Have on Hand for the New Owners





Reprinted from REALTOR? magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS?.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


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