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Robbinsville: The Brooklyn of NJ?

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Robbinsville: The Brooklyn of NJ?

Robbinsville: The Brooklyn of NJ?

Brooklyn used to be thought of as a place where tough guys come from.  “I’m from Brooklyn!”  If you said that in the voice of an Italian mobster, you’re not the only one.  Yet today, Brooklyn is a far cry from its former self.  The borough now conjures images of skinny jeans, beanies and thick-rimmed glasses.  Regardless of whether you’re a hipster-hater or not, Brooklyn’s renaissance is an undeniable model of urban revitalization.   Though Robbinsville is a distance from New York, it’s easy to see some parallels to such a reinvention. 

I’m a lifelong resident of Robbinsville, NJ.  I was here when it used to be Washington Township.  I remember as a kid, peering out at a vast sea of dirt from the back seat of my mom’s old Nissan Sentra, wondering what in the world they were building where Centro now stands.  As a member of the last Robbinsville class to be exported to Lawrence High School, I can remember being teased that we Robbinsville kids were all farmers.  Seems ridiculous, I know.  But we all got pretty excited when they put that Taco Bell in, didn’t we? That can’t be a good sign. 

And there are questions that frequently cross the minds of Robbinsvillians which can be revealing about our quaint little town - 

Will we ever get a grocery store to fill that Marrazzo's-size hole in our hearts? 

Will it be a Trader Joe's?   

Why is there a fourth drug store going up?

Is it still Catherine's Birthday?

Or perhaps you’ve wondered why we’re still constructing more city-scape store fronts when a quarter of them are still empty?  Maybe you’re like me and dreamed up the possibility of a Starbucks in Town Center.  Or better yet, a Chipotle. 

Let’s face it, Robbinsville has had a sort of identity crisis over the last two decades.  Are we a farmer’s paradise?  Surely not.  At least, not anymore.  We’ve transformed.  Like a phoenix, nay, a raven, rising from its own smoldering ashes.  We are up-and-coming, evolving and building ourselves into something we can all be proud of when we try to explain to people where Robbinsville is.  We’ve made some changes, but is our metamorphosis complete? 

Not too long ago, on our first date at Centro, my girlfriend and I found ourselves laughing hysterically at our town’s new, self-branded slogan:  She pointed out the sign across the street, “Robbinsville: Be at the Center of it All.” 

In a town lovingly referred to as “The bubble,” such a statement seemed ridiculous and yet affable, in the way a heavy-set, unattractive man might introduce himself as an underwear model to an attractive woman.   It’s kind of pathetic, but cute and likable at the same time.

A year or two ago I lived with a roommate in Foxmoor, both of us lifelong residents of Robbinsville.  I was a substitute teacher at Robbinsville Schools at the time, and my roommate, Brent, taught English at the high school.  When we would have friends over from out of town, we half-lovingly and half-jokingly referred to Robbinsville as "the Brooklyn of New Jersey.”  This was especially audacious since some of our friends actually lived in Brooklyn.   Joking about Robbinsville is like teasing a younger sibling;   you can make fun of Robbinsville if you’re in the family, but we get pretty defensive if an outsider has something to say about it.

“The Brooklyn of NJ," we called it.  Our friends would laugh, and yet, even they appreciated its charm.  As much as we were joking and poking fun of our hometown, there was a part of us that was undeniably serious about our hyperbolic statement.  Robbinsville, as much as it drives us crazy to lack the amenities some towns take for granted, is a unique town of great character.

We may not have a grocery store.  And we may lack some name-brand stores in town center, but damn-it, we’ve come a long way. 

Ever go to DeLorenzo’s?  It’s a pizza-Mecca.  Ever go to Centro on a Friday night?  That place is bumpin' but still keeps it classy. 

Have you sat at the Town Center Lake with a sandwich from Dolce and Clemente’s watching the sunset?  Nothing’s better.  Just be careful, the geese can be aggressive.    Ever go to Ernie’s?  Ernie’s is indescribable.  Really, I’m not even going to try to describe Ernie’s.  It’s a little bit like trying to describe the Mona Lisa.  You just have to see it for yourself. 

Sometimes I walk my dog late at night in Robbinsville (you’ve probably seen me) and I feel completely safe.  Heck, I usually leave my car door unlocked because I feel so safe in Robbinsville (good thing you don’t know which car is mine).  

And how about the people?  The people are great. 

Robbinsville is a family town.  No doubt about it. 

Back when I used to work at Marrazzo’s in high school, I’d see neighbors, friends, coaches and the like, all happy to be running into one another.  Marrazzo’s was the sort of central plaza of our town.  A meeting place where people gathered for 50-cent hamburgers.  That sounds like something out of the 40s, not the 90s.  But really, there was something magical about those 50-cent hamburgers! 

Even though we’ve had some losses (RIP Marrazzo’s), we’ve gained so much, and we’re picking up steam.  I think we all know, even though we may criticize it sharply at times, that Robbinsville is a special hometown.  It may be hard to describe why it’s so special to those who haven’t experienced it.  It may be hard to understand how it can be so inconvenient at times and yet a sort of suburban, small-town paradise in another sense.

So next time you hear it or see the sign:  Robbinsville: “Be the Center of it all.”  Allow yourself a loving chuckle, but don’t be surprised if a few years from now Robbinsville comes to be known as “The Brooklyn of New Jersey.” 

 


I hope you enjoyed this article about Robbinsville!  Please share with your friends and family, and be sure to check out the rest of the Rasmussen Homes website here.

My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor.  If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting a home I can make it simple and stress-free.  Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167.  Or shoot me an email at brandon@rasmussenhomesnj.com.


Other articles you may enjoy:

·         4 Reasons You Haven’t Bought a Home Yet

·         5 Benefits to Staging Your Home

·         5 Rights You Didn’t Know You Had as a Renter

·         5 Reasons Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet

·         6 Tips for Staging Your Home

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4 Reasons You Haven't Bought a Home Yet

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4 Reasons You Haven't Bought a Home Yet

4 Reasons you haven't bought a home yet

 

1.       You want everything

Sometimes we become so intense about finding our dream house that we forget to be realistic.  If you have a long laundry list of specific features you want in a home, don’t be surprised if you can’t find a home that has exactly everything you’re looking for.  Of course, you may get lucky and find that perfect home, but if you don’t, try to remember that you can always alter parts of a home to make them your own.  If a home checks most of your boxes, but it doesn’t have those granite countertops you want, well that’s something you can easily alter.  Be careful not to cast a home to the wayside if it doesn’t meet all the requirements at face value.  Ask yourself if you would be able to make simple updates after a move-in to make it your dream home.

 

2.       You’re waiting for that "spark"

This may come to some as a shock, but houses are not people.  They don't have souls.  (Unless you believe in animism, in which case skip this point, because it doesn’t apply to you.)  When you think about your future home you probably do more than picture yourself in it.  You can probably feel the emotions that the very idea of “home” evokes.  As we shop for that home, it’s very easy for the shopping process to become an emotional one.  We want to feel that instant “this is the one.”  Kind of like you see on that TLC show about the wedding dresses.  Sometimes the bride breaks down in tears as if they’ve reached wedding gown-nirvana.  On the other hand you see some brides that come in and they’ve over romanticized what it will feel like to find that dress to the point that it is almost impossible for the reality measure up.  Or, like finding that special someone, we can easily psyche ourselves out if we over romanticize what it will feel like with this person.  You may find yourself passing someone up very special because “the spark” isn’t there on the first date.  This can easily happen when finding a home. 


We are searching for the space where a significant portion of our lives will happen.  And so, we become so acquainted in our imagination with the joy that will ensue in this place, that when we step inside it don’t get butterflies, we wonder “where’s the spark?” 


I’m all about trusting your gut, but it’s important to consider that this type of approach may be a trap.  Now, even if houses were people, consider this: some people fall in love at first site and fireworks are going off and its like something out of a movie.  Other people think rationally and think wow this person offers a lot and the love grows over time.  Buying your “dream” house is an emotional decision but don’t let your desire for that instant spark keep you from deciding on a great house.  And after all, it’s not necessarily the house that makes a home special, but the people and interactions inside it.

 

 

3.       You’re a maximizer

In the age of instant information we have a wonderful supply of inventory available to us, and that’s a good thing.  Gone are the days of flipping through the Real Estate Book.  But, think about how your perspective might be different if you didn’t have the internet to find a home.  I imagine that people would feel a whole lot more in love with the homes they liked.  With the internet, you might find a home you really like and instead of thinking “Wow, I’m so lucky to have found this!” you are thinking “well I like it, but there might be something better.”  In psychology, they call this type of thinking maximizing.  I have to admit, I’m one of them. But let me attest personally that this attitude can actually set you back in some cases.  Some people just make a decision and stick with it without an overly exhausting search.  Some people, like me, can’t even make small purchases without finding the best possible option via extensive research.  They exhaust all of the options until they’ve found the best possible choice.  But the funny thing about these contrasting types is that studies show that the person who makes a quicker decision tends to be happier with it when compared to the maximizer.  Don’t get me wrong, you should search hard for the right home, and it’s a decision to be made with great care and due diligence.  However, if you’re obsessed with using the internet and think there’s always something better no matter how much you like a house, then you may just be a maximizer.

 

4.       You’re closed-minded about neighborhood

Sometimes we absolutely know where we want to live and aren’t willing to compromise on that, and that’s fine.  When it gets tricky however is when the location that you’re dead set on becomes unnecessarily restrictive. When this becomes a recurring issue, you may want to consider another nearby location which is going to give you more of the features you're looking for.  Another important idea worth considering is to examine why you really want to live in that area.  Are you committed to Robbinsville for the school system?  Or do you really want access Princeton’s restaurants and culture?  Well you may or may not be able to compromise for a nearby town depending on what your reasons are, but it's worth making that clear for yourself.


When you know what you want and why, it can be empowering and helpful.  Just make sure you don’t needlessly limit yourself until you see what other locations have to offer. 

That’s not a knock against Hamilton.  It’s a lovely place.

That’s not a knock against Hamilton.  It’s a lovely place.


I hope you enjoyed this article buying a home!  Please share it with your friends, your family and your dog.

My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor.  If you are thinking of buying, selling or renting a home I can make it simple and stress free.  Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167.  Or shoot me an email at brandon@rasmussenhomesnj.com.


Other articles you may enjoy:

·         5 Benefits to Staging Your Home

·         5 Rights You Didn’t Know You Had as a Renter

·         5 Reasons Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet

·         6 Tips for Staging Your Home

·         Robbinsville:  the Brooklyn of NJ?



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7 Reasons Your Home Hasn't Sold Yet

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7 Reasons Your Home Hasn't Sold Yet

7 reasons your home hasn’t sold yet

 

1.       Your home is overpriced

Probably the most common offender.  You might be thinking when you start out: I can realistically get “x” for my house but maybe there’s someone out there that will pay X+20,000!  This is wishful thinking.  You may think “well there’s no harm in trying it out for a while and if no one bites we can lower it.”  Well, I’m here to tell you why that’s wrong.  While it is certainly your prerogative to price your home however you’d like, keep in mind that homes which go on the market overpriced are likely to sell slower even after price reductions.  When a buyer sees that your home was lowered 20000 over the course of two months, their mindset is “there must be something wrong with that house.” 


It’s kind of like being picked last for kickball.  Once everyone sees you as the kid who gets picked last, it’s very hard to break that label. 


After price reductions and time on the market, people no longer see the house as a great home at a fair price, but rather, they see it as “the home that no one wanted,” therefore, “I don’t want it either.”  So, before you’re tempted to squeeze every last penny out of your house, consider the psychological impact an overpriced home may have on buyers out there.  A good rule of thumb is to realistically determine what you would pay for your home if you had to buy it again.  Try to put yourselves in the buyer’s shoes.  Chances are, the buyer is in the opposite frame of mind.  You may be thinking as a seller, “let me see what sucker will buy my house 20k over what it’s worth,” while the buyer is thinking “let me low ball an offer toward a desperate seller.”  In fact, if the buyer sees that your house is on the market for several months because it was overpriced, he or she may think that they are entitled to a low ball offer because now you look desperate.  And there’s a good chance you might be at this point, or at least highly impatient.  The alternative is to come out the gate with a fair price that is based on comparable homes sold in your area.  In the best case scenario, you’ll have multiple interested buyers who view your property with the “I need to get it because everyone wants it,” mentality.  And then you may have multiple offers from which to choose.  Some may even be over asking price if they think there’s a chance of losing it. 

 

2.       Your Realtor hasn’t utilized contemporary marketing vehicles

The MLS is not internet marketing.  Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are a step in the right direction, but more could be done.  Here at Rasmussen Homes we utilize all of the above as well as a social media marketing campaign optimized for Google search.  Furthermore, we use professional photography and video walkthroughs of every home.  These facets of home marketing are data driven methods proven to sell homes quicker and for more money.  Make sure you are using all tools at your disposal to reach your audience.  Not every buyer is going to show up to an open house.  Some buyers will only go to open houses after selecting a few that catch their eye on the internet.  So, if your pictures are average (ours are not) no one is going to come see it in person.  And better yet, if you have a video, the lazy buyer whose only day off is Sunday has already seen your home from their couch and have the luxury of showing the video to their friends and family who will talk up your awesome home about how awesome it is. 


Buyers want instant information and instant gratification.  Play their game and you’ll reach your goals quicker.  You never get a second chance at a first impression, so make sure you succeed out the gate!


 

3.       Your description is not honest

What’s more appealing to you: A meh house that is described as “immaculate,” or a meh house that is described as “solid bones with great potential.”  Believe it or not, buyers are not morons.  Calling a house “immaculate” that clearly is not immaculate in the photos does not convince anyone.  In fact, it probably makes them question everything else you’ve said about the home and potentially even what you’re not saying about it (such as concealing a flaw or defect). 

Using hyperbolic or overused words like “immaculate,” “stunning” and “motivated seller” statistically prolong the sale of a home by up to 10%. 

Also, and this hopefully is needless to say, but do not use an agent that is going to use improper grammar or WRITE IN ALL CAPS in the description.  Not only is it tacky, but a buyer is going to wonder why you are yelling the word “immaculate” at them.  I immediately don’t trust a Realtor when they write in all caps, or don’t know the proper usage of words like “your/you’re” or “there/their/they’re.”  You’re paying a Realtor to market your home.  No marketing agency will ever put out copy with improper usage, and neither should your Realtor.  Their improper grammar will reflect poorly upon the sale of your home and your intelligence as a person.

 

4.       Location, location, location

Here’s the solution: pick your house up and move it somewhere more desirable.  Don’t you wish it could be that simple?  You may have updated your whole house to look like something out of a magazine, and that will surely increase the sale price, however, there is a realistic cap upon which that home will sell based on your location.  Schools, amenities, taxes, accessibility and the like are items that are out of your control. They nonetheless are going to have the number one impact on the sale of your home.  So keep that in mind and be realistic about how location impacts the listing and selling price of your home. 

 

5.       Staging

Staging is important not only for walkthroughs and open houses but for photos and videos you’ll use in your online marketing campaign.   Repainting in neutral colors, pre-packing and de-personalizing your space can make or break your home to a buyer.  You might be thinking to yourself, “You mean buyers don’t like my lime green walls and billboard commandment of ‘live laugh love’ streaked across my living room wall?”  The answer is no.  And no one wants to see your dirty razor on the bathroom counter either.   Staging is hugely important.  

Check out my other articles on staging here:

·         5 Benefits to Staging Your Home

·         6 Tips for Staging Your Home



6.       You’re emotionally attached

This is one of the reasons you hire a Realtor to sell your house.  Maybe you think your home which has been passed down for five generations really is worth 2 million dollars.  And to you maybe it is.  It may even be priceless.  


Unfortunately, your emotional attachment doesn’t equate to dollar signs on your home.  Approach the sale from an objective, non emotional standpoint based on comparable sales. 


Fortunately, Realtors are there to do this for you and should be able to talk you down from your overly attached metaphorical ledge.  Buyers don’t have the memories you have of Johnny learning to ride a bicycle, or Susie learning how to pogo stick, or that time at dinner you laughed so hard you peed your pants (take the table and chairs with you.)  Like I said, Realtors should make this plain enough so make sure to use one.   

 

7.   Just plain luck

Sometimes all the right pieces are in place and you just have to stick it out.  It may be that you aren’t doing anything wrong and it’s simply because the right buyer hasn’t come along yet.  Different regions of the country sell better at different times of the year.  That might be worth looking into if your home hasn’t sold yet.  A tactic that may work if your home has been on the market for a long time is to take it down, wait a week or two and re-list it. You may find that you just listed at a bad time originally and this may solve your problem.  Or, nobody wants your house and you’ll live there forever. 

 


I hope you enjoyed this article about selling your home!  Please share with your friends, family, and your dog.

My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor.  If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting a home I can make it simple and stress-free.  Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167.  Or shoot me an email at brandon@rasmussenhomesnj.com.


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