Homeownership can Shield You from Inflation

Homeownership can Shield You from Inflation

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation

Don’t let inflation delay your homebuying plans. Let’s connect so you can start the process today. Watch Now

Learn More from the McLain Realty Team Here.




Lake Cushetunk Woods Community

Lake Cushetunk Woods Community

Lake Cushetunk Woods Community

220 Acres of 182 Townhome, 250 Single Family Homes and 84 Low to Moderate Income Condos.  Nestled into the neighborhood is a 40 acre lake.  The lake is great for Boating or Fishing.  The communities amenities include a pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, playgrounds, biking / hiking trails, and much more.  Finally, some community events include wine and cheese tastings, travel clubs, Easter Egg hunts, pictures with Santa, Garage Sale days and much more.

Firstly, it is a great neighborhood with easy access to all major commuting routes.  One could be in New York City, Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore with ease and efficiency.

Lake Cushetunk Readington NJ

NJ Real Estate Market Video

McLain Realty Team Best Time to put a House on Market
McLain Realty Team Best Time to put a House on Market

The best time to sell a house is a matter is based on Market Conditions.
With the Fed increasing interest rates, more buyers will be taken out of certain affordability price ranges. In New Jersey, the market still favors Home Sellers. This makes right now, Spring 2022, the best time to sell a home. The Federal Reserve is slated to increase the interest rates more in the coming months.

McLain Realty Team
John McLain

The best time to sell a house is a matter is based on Market Conditions.
With the Fed increasing interest rates, more buyers will be taken out of certain affordability price ranges. In New Jersey, the market still favors Home Sellers. This makes right now, Spring 2022, the best time to sell a home. The Federal Reserve is slated to increase the interest rates more in the coming months.

Best Home Improvements for Return on Investment

Best Home Improvements for Return on Investment


Best Home Improvements for ROI
What are the best home improvements for Return on Investment?

In any housing market it is important to know what projects to tackle.  Some renovations may not be necessary in order to make your home stand out from the rest.  Other improvements may not bring you a good Return on Investment.

McLain Realty Team Notes: 

Tips for Selling your Home

Tips for Selling your Home

Quick Tips for Selling Your Home by the McLain Realty Team

Tips to Selling Your Home by the McLain Realty Team

John McLain

McLain Realty Team






New Jersey Home Prices Continue to Rise

New Jersey Home Prices Continue to Rise

Are New Jersey Home Prices Going to Continue to Rise
NJ Home Prices are on the Rise


Many analysts projected home price appreciation would slow dramatically in the fall of 2021 and then continue to soften throughout 2022. So far, that hasn’t happened. The major price indices are all revealing ongoing double-digit price appreciation. Here’s a look at their reports on year-over-year price appreciation for December:

To show that they’re not seeing signs of softening, here’s a graph that gives the progression of all three indices for each month of 2021.

New Jersey Real Estate Prices
New Jersey Real Estate Prices

As the graph above reveals, last year, home price appreciation accelerated dramatically from January to July according to all three indices. Then, it began to decelerate in August when prices appreciated at a slower pace, but it didn’t decline. Many thought that would be the beginning of a rapid slowdown in the level of home price appreciation, but as the data shows, that wasn’t the case. Instead, prices began to level off for a few months before two of the three indices saw appreciation re-accelerate again in December.

To clarify, deceleration is not the same as depreciation. Acceleration means prices rise at a greater year-over-year pace than the previous month. Deceleration means home values continue to rise but at a slower pace of year-over-year appreciation. Depreciation means prices drop below current values. No one is forecasting that to happen.

In fact, the FHFA revealed that price appreciation accelerated in December in six of the nine regions it tracks. Case Shiller showed that appreciation accelerated in 15 of the 20 metros they report on. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogicexplains:

“After some signs of slowing home price growth . . . monthly price growth re-accelerated again, indicating home buyers have not yet thrown in the towel.”

What Does This Mean for You?  Are New Jersey Home Prices Going to Continue to Rise?Whether you’re a first-time purchaser or someone looking to sell your current house and buy a home that better fits your needs, waiting to decide what to do will cost you in two ways:

  1. Mortgage rates are forecast to rise this year.
  2. Home prices should continue to appreciate at double-digit levels for some time.

If you wait, rising mortgage rates and high home price appreciation will have a dramatic impact on your monthly mortgage payment.

Bottom Line

Maybe the best thing to do is listen to the advice of Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac:

If you’re thinking about waiting until next year and that maybe rates are higher, but you’ll get a deal on prices – well that’s risky. It may be more advantageous to purchase this year relative to waiting until 2023 at this time.”


John McLain  908.878.9356  McLainRealtyTeam@gmail.com


Source:  KeepingCurrentMatters.com

Best Commuter Towns to New York City

Best Commuter Towns to New York City

If you are searching for an easy commute to New York City, these are the Best Commuter Towns to NYC. This list is by recommendation, travel times and personal experience. As a life-long resident of New Jersey, we are extremely familiar with the commuting experience to all areas of New Jersey.

10.Glen Ridge New Jersey – Commute time to and from Midtown 30 Minutes
On the list, this small-town lifestyle is simply the place that is surrounded by nature. Nestled between Bloomfield and Montclair, this tiny town makes outdoor lovers fall even more in love. Hiking trails cross over the Eagle Rock Reservation, with crystal-clear lakes and bridges adjourn Branch Brook Park. Thomas Edison National Historical Park, Historic Estates and homes are all in Glen Ridge.

9. Teaneck New Jersey – Commute time to and from Midtown 30 Minutes
Teaneck is another Bergen County town on the list and is a magnificent historical town offering a 46-acre park/nature preserve. It is just roughly over 30 minutes from Midtown. The Teaneck NJ Transit bus directly places on into the Port Authority. Take your pick from the Lincoln Tunnel or George Washington Bridge into Manhattan as it takes the same amount of time.
Another Bergen County community worth considering, Teaneck is a wonderful historic town that offers superb schools, tasty restaurants and a 46-acre art-park-meets-nature-preserve known as the Teaneck Creek Conservancy. Plus, it’s just 35 minutes from Midtown. (The 168 NJ Transit bus goes from Teaneck directly into Port Authority. Driving over the George Washington Bridge or through the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan takes about the same amount of time.) So, yeah, it’ll probably be an adjustment to acclimate to suburban life, but it’s not like you’re living out in the sticks.
8. Summit New Jersey – Commute time to and from midtown 40 Minutes
Those seeking to relocate from New York City has their interests piqued by Summit NJ. This desirable town in Union County has an incredible public transit system, tons of shops, restaurants, nightlife and Top-Tier Schools. Ex-urbanites will still garner that cosmopolitan feel that is often missed when moving to the suburbs. Commuters can travel to NYC with two different transit lines from commuters.

7. Tenafly New Jersey – Commute to and from midtown 30 Minutes
Just a stones throw from the George Washington Bridge, Tenafly is often times considered a suburb of NYC. It is a prosperous and popular Bergen County borough that delivers Blue Ribbon-rated public schools, outdoor hiking trails along with parks, and of course expansive homes and estates. The median home value is $859,700 with only a population of 15,312. While it does not feel small, it is packed with plenty of activities.

6. Short Hills New Jersey- Commute to and from Midtown 33 Minutes
Short Hills may most notable be known for its Mall, which is a paradise to shoppers. With 140 specialty retailers, they include Gucci, Chanel, and Hermes. The Mall is not the high point. The community in Essex County is also an extremely safe place to live within 35 minutes of commuting into the city for a pleasurable or professional day out. The award winning schools and vibrant downtown is the cherry on top. Many financiers and celebrities call 07078 home.

5. Madison New Jersey – Commute to and from Midtown 50 Minutes
Madison is regularly voted as an annual top town to live. This Morris County Borough shines year after year. The low crime rates, rising home values and great schools are just some of the perks. The charming downtown delights with boutiques, cafes, galleries and the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. It is an easy drive to NYC, but the train from the Morristown Line brings you right to Penn Station in 50 Minutes.

4. Weehawken New Jersey – Commute to and from Midtown 15 Minutes
Have not heard of Weehawken? You are certainly not the only one. This tiny Hudson County township lives with contemporary waterfront condominiums along the Hudson River. There is a lot to love about this town with its stunning views, city-living feel all while still offering more reasonable rent and purchase prices than New York City. The ability to hop on the ferry or jump on a NJ Transit bus is an extremely scenic opportunity.

3. Ridgewood New Jersey – Commute to and from Midtown 40 Minutes
Ridgewood is quiet, family-friends and mostly residential with its amazing suburban appeal. The school district is excellent boasting a high safety rating. The outdoors has many nature areas, dog parks, playgrounds and a wonderful sense of community. This tight-knit Bergen County town is a wonderful place to live and raise children along with fur babies (Dogs). The trade-off between spending extra money to buy a home is obvious with the amount of perks one will gain. A great location and neighborhood increases the value of properties, as is the case in Ridgewood NJ.

2. Montclair New Jersey – Commute to and from Midtown is roughly 30 minutes.
With restaurants, thriving businesses, and gorgeous stately homes adorn this lovely town. One of the Highest Demand places to live, the median home price is $810,000. Buying anywhere in this sought-after Essex County gem can seem pricey, but you pay for it with the suburban feel.

1. Hoboken New Jersey – The commute time to and from Midtown is roughly 20 Minutes.
Many professionals, post-collegiate and families call this city home. It is situated right across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Along with being the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, the skylines of the city and plenty of gorgeous open green spaces make it incredible for views. The convenience of the PATH train is easily accessible. Pro’s of the city are the restaurants and night life. While home prices have risen steadily over the past few years, you get mush more money than you would in New York City.

Best commuter towns to NYC are plentiful. Depending on what type of town or community in New Jersey you would like to reside, the best picks are plentiful!

John McLain
McLain Realty Team
Direct: 908.878.9356

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Housing Market Predictions

Housing Market Predictions

4 Graphs Showing the Housing Market 2022

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

recent survey revealed that many consumers believe there’s a housing bubble beginning to form. That feeling is understandable, as year-over-year home price appreciation is still in the double digits. However, this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Here are four key reasons why today is nothing like the last time.

1. Houses Are Not Unaffordable Like They Were During the Housing Boom

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Conventional lending standards say a purchaser should not spend more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.

Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased, and the mortgage rate, even after the recent spike, is still well below 6%. That means the average purchaser today pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then.

In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta addresses that exact point:

“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward.”

Affordability isn’t as strong as it was last year, but it’s much better than it was during the boom. Here’s a chart showing that difference:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

If costs were so prohibitive, how did so many homes sell during the housing boom?

Housing Market 2022

2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom

During the housing bubble, it was much easier to get a mortgage than it is today. As an example, let’s review the number of mortgages granted to purchasers with credit scores under 620. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. In defining those with a score below 620, they explain:

“Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk.”

Buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score that low, but they’re considered riskier borrowers. Here’s a graph showing the mortgage volume issued to purchasers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, and the subsequent volume in the 14 years since.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Mortgage standards are nothing like they were the last time. Purchasers that acquired a mortgage over the last decade are much more qualified. Let’s take a look at what that means going forward.

3. The Foreclosure Situation Is Nothing Like It Was During the Crash

The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

There’s no doubt the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. However, there are fewer than 800,000 homeowners left in the program today, and most of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.

Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTracexplains:

“The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure’ narrative was incorrect.”

Why are there so few foreclosures now? Today, homeowners are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up. When home values began to fall, some homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage was greater than the value of their home. Some of those households decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area.

Homeowners, however, have learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time, as evidenced by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000, what happened last time won’t happen today.

As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains:

“Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they’ve also enabled many to continue building their wealth.”

There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we saw during the crash. So, what does that mean for the housing market?

4. We Don’t Have a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage

The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale from 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory, which is causing the acceleration in home values to continue.

4 Simple Graphs Showing Why This Is Not a Housing Bubble | MyKCM

Inventory is nothing like the last time. Prices are rising because there’s a healthy demand for homeownership at the same time there’s a shortage of homes for sale.

Bottom Line

If you’re worried that we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns.

NJ Probate Real Estate Agent

NJ Probate Real Estate Agent

New Jersey Probate Agent Near Me

A New Jersey Probate Real Estate Sale in several ways different than a traditional approach.  Our New Jersey Probate Specialist and Team is Skilled in Selling Probate and Trust Property.

Information you Need to Know from your NJ Probate Real Estate Agent:


Managing the Sale of the Probate


Firstly when considering the benefits of specialized knowledge and years of experience as you interview real estate agents, you must have some very specific questions to ask.

Questions for NJ Probate Real Estate Agent:

1. Have you Sold real property through Trust or Probate?

Any agent may casually say yes, but be sure to ask them for details about the transaction.

2. How Long have you been selling probate and trust real estate?

Probate and Trust real estate can be very complicated. It is extremely important to have a seasoned agent who has experience within this specialized marketplace. The agent must be familiar with unique disclosures as-well-as the terms of the Probate Code so they can handle the sale accurately and promptly. Finally, the agents should have an established system for Clear Communication between the parties and be able to explain processes clearly and concise.

3. How is a Trust/Probate sale Different from a Typical Real Estate Transaction?

Probate and Trust real estate requires special disclosures and listing agreements, diligent attention to the ever changing probate law and a unique marketing strategy.

4. How do you market Probate and Trust Real Estate?

The agent must have a systematic approach and be prepared to present an aggressive marketing tactics, including marketing the property even after the initial offer has been accepted.

5. Do you have Samples of Documents that I would Have to Sign or Read?

Firstly, Agents skilled in Trust and Probate real estate should have the most current contract documentation and disclosure forms for Real Property transactions. They should be willing to give you copies of these documents in order to provide straightforward explanations. During the Probate process, the agent will often be called upon to explain the paperwork and process to lawyers.  Also, , clients, accountants, trustees, etc. You must be sure the agent’s explanations are clear and complete.

Common Mistakes:  Executors make in NJ Probate Real Estate and what to keep in mind.

1. Not Educating Yourself on the Probate Process and if you Need an Attorney 

In any situation you can educate yourself about the process.  Certainly there will be instances in which you recognize that you may be feeling lost.  While each situation is different, it makes sense to speak with an attorney about the process and see what they say.  Deciding to use an attorney based on the complexity of your case, proximity or even the time it takes to deal with the Estate is absolutely understandable.  Estate Planning firms, Financial Planners, Contractors and Real Estate Agents  are experts in their perspective field.  This knowledge will pay off in the short and long term.  Hiring an attorney is highly recommended.

2.  Not picking up mail from the Decedent’s property

You do not want to miss an important piece of mail, notices or even claims from creditors or lenders.  You also do not want mail piling up which could lead to vandalism or unwanted guests.  When mail piles up it is a sign that the property is vacant.  As soon as you are able, ask the Post Office to forward all mail to an address or Post Office Box that you have access to.

3.  Not Keeping up with Communication to All Heirs

Immediately on the outset, it is critical that all heirs are on the same page and are in agreements that you handle the estate.  Setbacks may arise along the way and it is very important to keep everyone up to date.

4.  Marketing the Real Estate too Late

If you would like to settle the estate as quickly as possible, it is never a good idea of waiting too long to begin the marketing of any real estate.  Once you have been approved as the Executor or Administrator of the estate you may begin soliciting offers on the property.  Listing with a NJ Probate Real Estate Agent will help with advice, marketing the home to its fullest potential and go into escrow.  The property will not close until all testamentary and letters of administration have been acquired.  It is important to have an Agent that understands the Probate process.

5.  Accurate Accounting Records

During the process, you will encounter receipts, disbursements, and other items.  Failing to describe such may result in inaccurate gains, dividends, and interest payments.  At the time of the estate settling, all of the numbers must align correctly.  If not, you may get objections from heirs or even a judge.  A professional CPA or book keeper can help you.  In some cases where records were not properly kept, the probate process could last for over a year when it could be concluded in half the time.

6.  Waiting too Long to Begin the Process

Losing a loved one is extremely devastating.  Moving forward can seem emotionally impossible.  Waiting too long will add pressure and unwanted demands from others.  Give yourself time to mourn, but also realize the longer you wait, taxes add up, creditors become pushier, and heirs may have greater demands.

7.  Lack of Accurate Inventory for Assets

Accurate preparation for inventory of assets should reflect only assets that have actually been collected and placed under the control of the administrator or executor.  Everything must be accounted for and collected as to understand where and how things will be passed to heirs under the will or be intestate succession.

8.  Failing to Properly Take Control and Protect the Estate

It is critical in the case of real estate.  The property must be properly secured, insured and safe from break-ins.  It must also be protected against loss for non payment of taxes and mortgages.  If proximity is working against you, it can be especially difficult and challenging.  You must take exclusive control over all aspects of the estate, including cash and bank accounts.

9.  Know Your Options When It Comes to Selling Real Estate

Generally, Real Estate is be biggest component of the estate’s assets.  You must know your options.  The straight forward approach is to list with a Realtor.  You may also find that you could fetch a better price after some repairs.  If you do not have the time or money to handle the repairs, or are in a rush and just want to get it done, you could sell if for cash with a quick closing.  Understanding all of the options will give you flexibility.

10.  Don’t Choose Friends Over the Right Professional

For example, you may find yourself surrounded by well meaning friends that want to help.  You may have an Attorney that does not handle Estates, but will help you out with probate.  In these cases, you must be cautious.  Having a NJ Probate Real Estate Agent with probate experience and specializes in the area is extremely important.

11.  Failing to Conclude the Estate

Oftentimes an Executor will get to the end of an estate where the distributions of money take place without closing the estate.  In fact, before distributing any of the assets, you should go to a court and get the judge’s okay, or you may skip the piece of the process if all of the family is in agreement.  By documenting everything that takes place among family members will work in your favor to protect the Executor from liability or any issues that may arise.

New Jersey Probate Real Estate Agent

Firstly, we not only understand and sell NJ Probate Real Estate but also create a customized approach to marketing and selling the home.  Furthermore, this is based on our situational management approach.  Managing the sale of a Probate home for those with financial and emotional challenges that many Probate clients face is our top priority.  When selling a long-held family home, emotions are involved.  Get in touch with the McLain Realty Team today.  Our team works very closely to limit the stress that is placed on every Probate sale.

McLain Realty Team
Owner/New Jersey Probate Specialist
Direct: 908-878-9356
Office: 908-923-4536