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Bergen County Real Estate Blog

Sharon Vallario


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Knowing When to Refinance

by Sharon Vallario

Much like purchasing a house, deciding to refinance your home is a big decision. That's because the process that comes with closing on a home is more or less the same process you have to go through when you're refinancing. That is to say, you are once again required to submit an application, have your credit checked, get a new survey and title search, and there's always the fees for a new appraisal and inspection.

But fear not, the two things you really need to know are fairly simple. It's important to know how long you plan to keep living in the house and how much everything will cost in the end.

As an example, if you were to save $200/month by refinancing, but it cost you $2,500 in refinance fees, it's going to take you 10-12 months for you to enjoy those savings. This means that the longer you plan to stay in the house, the more money you'll save in the long term, but if you plan on selling in the near future you've just lost money.

Here are a few fees that comes with refinancing:

  • State/City/County Stamps (3)
  • Title Insurance/Search/Endorsements (3)
  • Escrow
  • Underwriting
  • Recording
  • Credit Report

Simple rules of refinancing:

  • Refinance if you're trying to reduce your monthly payments and can lower your interest rate.
  • Refinance if you want to reduce the term of your loan and overall cost of the house.
  • Refinance if it helps to consolidate uncontrollable debt.
  • Refinance if the interest rate is two percent lower than what you're paying, currently.

Now, these aren't hard-and-fast rules as every situation has its own elements involved. Knowing how much money you'll save in the long run and how it will impact you in the present are questions that you need to ask yourself. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Wyckoff F.D. Labor Day Fireworks

by Sharon Vallario

Memorial Field, Wyckoff, New Jersey

Nothing epitomizes Labor Day weekend more than good food, convening with friends and neighbors, and indulging in an end of the day fireworks extravaganza. This weekend your entire family is invited to come out to Memorial Field, just behind Memorial Town Hall, to partake in the festive holiday, observing the closing of the summer season.

The Wyckoff Fire Department is happy to be hosting their 57th annual Labor Day Fireworks event, carrying on more than a half of a decade of wholesome family fun, at this traditional holiday happening.  Activities of all sorts will be offered for both children and adults alike.  Live entertainment will be provided by a local D.J. A 50/50 raffle will be taking place, benefitting the Wyckoff Fire Department, and its ongoing efforts in safeguarding the community.  Food vendors will be in abundance, providing a variety of good eats.  And by all means jump in to participate in one of the many games that are scheduled throughout the course of the event. Child identification kits will be given out, courtesy of NY Life.  After the sun has set, prepare yourselves for the fantastic fireworks show that will light up the night sky.

Admission to attend the Wyckoff F.D. Labor Day Fireworks event is only $10.00 per person, and will go towards supporting the brave men and women who protect your family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  To purchase your tickets online, please click here.

So this weekend head over to Memorial Field to treat the entire family to an unforgettable Labor Day experience. The Wyckoff Fire Department intends on delivering an explosive good time for the close of the summer season!

Saturday August 30th


8:30PM Fireworks

For more information regarding the Wyckoff F.D. Labor Day Fireworks event, please click here.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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6 Essential First-Home Items

by Sharon Vallario

When you finally move into your first home, and out of that apartment or dorm room where you spent the last few years eating ramen and reading in the dark, you'll quickly realize that there are few essential items that every homeowner needs.

By adding some of these items to your homeowner checklist, you can help lower the chances that you'll need to make an emergency run to Walmart in the middle of the night.

1. Spare Keys

There are few things worse than trudging home in the rain after a long day of work only to find out you locked yourself out of the house. Keeping a spare key in a fake rock or giving one to a trusted neighbor can alleviate a lot of stress. This is also great if you travel often and need someone to water the plants.

2. Towels and Hand Towels

Drying yourself off is much harder to do when you forget to keep towels on hand, and using fewer paper towels for drying hands and counters saves you money.

3. Tools (not just a Swiss Army Knife)

You'd be surprised at how many people forget how handy a good tool set is to have around. Screwdrivers—flat-head and Phillips—and a hammer are essential to almost everything you plan on working on in the house, but never underestimate a wrench and some pliers. Keeping a flashlight or candles handy is also a smart plan.

4. Cleaning Materials

A sponge, a bottle of Formula 409, and some toilet bowl cleaner can make the difference between a clean home and a train wreck. Don't forget the elbow grease.

5. Utensils

Eating out is great for the convenience, but cooking your own meals can be healthier and save you money. Getting a cheap utensil set allows you to (in theory) eat better and maybe even invite friends to dinner.

6. Relaxation Station

If you're able to, I suggest finding your favorite corner in the house and making yourself a place to feel good and relax. Start by adding a comfortable chair, hang some art you enjoy on the walls around you, hang some photos of friends and family and viola, you’ve made yourself at home by surrounding yourself with things you enjoy.

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the homebuying or selling process.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Allendale Farmers Market

by Sharon Vallario

W. Allendale Avenue (behind the clock tower), Allendale, New Jersey

It’s not your average, run-of-the-mill, everyday farmers Market! The Allendale Chamber of Commerce is proud to present a unique shopping experience, coupled with live entertainment, fun for the whole family.  The Allendale Farmers Market event will be taking place this Saturday, directly behind the clock tower on W. Allendale Avenue.  Bring the entire family out to shop, dance, and partake in this atypical farmers market event!

This one-of-a-kind Market will be featuring high-quality, locally grown food and artisan products.  You and your family can browse the many vendors, selling a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, honey, jams, hummus, pesto, pastas, breads, cheeses, and much more.  In addition, there will be homemade baked goods and prepared foods, ready for you to indulge in, as you shop.

This weekend song will fill the air, courtesy of the School of Rock.  Inspiring kids to rock on stage and in life, the School of Rock rears some of the most talented musicians in the entire area. You will absolutely be blown away by their extraordinary live performance.

So this Saturday grab the family and come on out to the Allendale Farmers Market event. The FREE happening guarantees there will be something for everyone, both adults and children alike!

Saturday August 23rd from 9:30 AM-2:30 PM

For more information regarding the Allendale Farmers Market event, please click here.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Knowing When to Repair a Roof

by Sharon Vallario

"All I need are four walls and a roof over my head."

Most of us have heard this line once in or twice in our lives. Some of us have even used it ourselves. That's because they represent the metaphoric requirements for having a home. But as any homeowner knows, those parts sometimes need some work—especially the roof.

It's important to know when to repair a roof, because all it takes is a small leak in the roof to damage drywall, rot wood, ruin belongings and promote the growth of mold. And spending money on replacing a roof is very often cheaper than spending money on replacing your stuff. Think of replacing your roof like making an investment in your home. It adds longevity, curb appeal and value to your property. All important factors, especially if you are planning to sell your home.

Let's take a look at a few tips to know when to call in an expert.

Shingles All the Way

Missing, cracked, curled or fallen shingles are your first indicator that your roof may need some repair. It's also a sign that your roof is starting to break down. When tar strips—glue for your shingles—starts to wear out, shingles will start to break off and fall away from the house. If you look at your roof and you're missing a single shingle, it may simply be a rogue shingle; or it may mean the beginning of a larger problem. Ask an expert to see if it's a one-time deal or if it's time to get the process going.

Moss is for Trees Only

You may love nature, but nature can also be pretty destructive to our man-made homes. If your roof is covered in moss, it's very likely that the moss has grown steadily because of roots that have dug their way into and under the shingles. This, coupled with the moisture they retain, means the moss could be freezing and expanding, stretching the tar strips and pulling the shingles away from the house.

Spotting the Spots

Discolored shingles aren't just an eyesore, they're also an indicator that the granules that protect the asphalt in the shingle have started to be broken down by the sun. Though it is a natural process over the life of the shingle, it also means that the asphalt on the shingle is unprotected and more prone to wear down faster due to weather effects.

Not only that, but discolored spots could also indicate damp areas on your roof, which means you may have an even bigger problem than needing to replace your shingles. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

Image courtesy of Bill McNeal/

Hermitage Outdoor Craft Show

by Sharon Vallario

The Hermitage Museum, Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey

This weekend the historic Hermitage Museum is happy to be hosting its oh-so popular Hermitage Outdoor Craft Show event.  Whether you are interested in getting a head start on your holiday shopping, or you are simply out to find unique treasures for yourself, you will absolutely not want to miss out on the opportunity to be in attendance. 

The Hermitage Outdoor Craft Show event is hailed as one of the most well-liked and highly attended artisan events in the area. This year over 1,000 customers are expected to be in attendance as the grounds are consumed with arts and crafts vendors of all sorts. The event has become so large that there is an actual waiting list for merchants, wanting to set up shop.  Currently, over 75 quality artisans are slated to be exhibiting and selling their one-of-a-kind gift items. You can expect to find art and photography, handmade jewelry, handmade painted furniture, and folk art.  Historic displays, pet items, stained glass, and pottery will also be for sale.  And the list doesn’t stop there!  Outdoor décor items, decoupage, American Girl doll clothing, wearables, soaps, fibers, and much more will also be found.

Admission to attend this astounding arts and crafts event is a mere $4.00 per person.  Children under the age of 12 are welcome to attend for free.

This weekend your entire family is invited to come out to The Hermitage Museum and ready yourselves for the upcoming holiday season, or to modestly shop for oneself.  The event guarantees that there will be something for everyone, including even the pickiest of consumers!

Saturday August 16th


For more information regarding the Hermitage Outdoor Craft Show event, please click here.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Buyer's Advantage

by Sharon Vallario

Competition is generally considered a healthy, natural happenstance in life. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for buyers looking into real estate. That's because the more people there are bidding on your dream property, means there's the less chance of getting a great deal on it.

But with the previously cold market finally starting to heat up, there may not be a better time to get in on the action. Why? Economists believe—and rightly so—that the rise and fall of the real estate market holds a close relationship to the rise and fall of employment rates. That's why it's especially important to be cognizant of the job market in your area; you'll want to get the best deal while you can.

Here are five things you should know as a buyer that will help you negotiate the best real estate deal:

1) If you find that house you're looking for, look for comparable sales in the area. There's nothing worse than insulting a seller with a lowball offer before you've even done your research. A good seller will know what houses in his/her market are going for, so don't try to outsmart them.  

2) There are other ways to get the "discounts" you're looking for. In your proposals ask for things that you'd like to see done, or left in the house. Keeping appliances and other amenities in the home, or cutting out dead trees in the backyard, are both good ways to save money on changes or additions you'd make anyway. Getting these into the agreement (on the buyer's dime) can help you save on your bottom line anyway.

3) Combine our first two tips with this one: find out why the seller is getting rid of the home in the first place. If you find out if it's because of job relocation, divorce, retirement or any number of other factors, you may be able to come to a better understanding which often means a better deal.

4) Determine whether you want an established home or a fixer-upper. Houses can sometimes be priced comparably even though one may need significantly more work than another. Understanding property values in your area can help.

5) Don't get caught holding all the cards. Remaining in a bidding war over a few thousand dollars is meaningless on a 30-year loan, especially if the house you're looking at it is your dream home. It's OK to stand your ground for a good deal, but don't run yourself out of the deal by asking for too many things at once.

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find your dream home.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Sing into the Sunlight

by Sharon Vallario

Sesselman Park and Bandshell, East Rutherford, New Jersey

This weekend bring the entire family out to Sesselman Park and Bandshell to indulge in an all-day festival extravaganza, while benefitting a great cause. The Sing into the Sunlight event is happy to be returning for its 3rd consecutive year, raising money and awareness for suicide prevention.  With over 1000 expected attendees, the happening promises to be bigger and better than in past years.

The Sing into the Sunlight event will be featuring a wide variety of live entertainment, vendors of all sorts, information booths, fun activities, guest speakers, and more. Up and coming artists Madeline Smith, Alissa Cavallaro, Little Falcon, and Sam Huston are just a few of the musicians who will be taking to the stage throughout the course of the day.  All are currently breaking through in the music industry - making names for themselves on a national level.  And to compliment this extraordinarily rare musical occurrence, there will be a wide assortment of arts and crafts vendors scattered amongst the grounds.  Antique and collectible dealers will also be present, neighboring with flea market vendors.  The merchants will be providing a very unique shopping experience, for even the pickiest of consumers.  Food trucks and vendors will be offering a variety of good eats.  

An amazing day of fun, great music, activities, and inspiration awaits you and your family this weekend at the Sing into the Sunlight event.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend this spectacular family festival, all while benefitting an excellent cause.  The happening will provide entertainment for both children and adults alike!

Saturday August 9th


For more information regarding the Sing into the Sunlight event, please click here.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Remodeling: Cost vs. Value

by Sharon Vallario

There are lots of questions to ask yourself when you're talking about your home and tossing around the idea of remodeling.

That's because whether you're looking to add aesthetically pleasing décor to a room, or looking to sell your home, you're still looking to add value without spending a lot of money. And believe it not, many times the money that it costs you to remodel doesn't add up to the value you'd hoped to have received.

It's important to know what can be done to add value, without wasting money on unnecessary improvements. According to Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2014, by replacing the front door—or sometimes simply painting it—you can add, on average, a 96.6 percent return on the amount you spent on the door and add that value to your home. That's great value.

Most people like to remodel rooms that they spend most of their time in, like the kitchen. They're not wrong. Updating kitchens and bathrooms is still one of the most profitable, if not difficult, ventures you can undertake, often adding 82.7 percent of the cost back to the overall value of the home. And while that sounds well and good, the average minor kitchen remodel still averages out to about $19,000. Not exactly pocket change for the average consumer.

Sticking with small renovations and growing as you run out of ideas is always a good rule of thumb. By replacing or fixing things all over the house - guttering, energy saving windows, heating and cooling elements, and small decks - you can add value without having to knock down walls. If you're in the adventurous, “We need a new room” category, you can easily convert an attic or other usable space into a bedroom or powder room and have a return of 84.3 percent. That's not to say that adding on a spare bedroom and expanding your house isn't profitable, but there are a lot of factors you should think about before taking that step.

Here are three renovations with great returns on investment:

  • Deck addition (wood): 87.4 percent
  • Garage door replacement: 83.7 percent
  • Minor kitchen remodel: 82.7 percent

Here are three renovations with not so great returns on investment:

  • Home office remodel: 48.9 percent
  • Sunroom addition: 51.7 percent
  • Master suite addition: 67.5 percent

Remember that while these are monetarily based figures, you still can't put a price or return on what a change would mean to you or your family. If you want to add that game room or bed that hangs from the ceiling, do it. Just remember that it's your home, and you should enjoy it as much as possible. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Fort Lee Commission Movies & Music Under the Stars

by Sharon Vallario

Fort Lee Community Center, Fort Lee, New Jersey

Pack some snacks, a blanket, and lawn chairs.  Put on your dancing shoes and head out to the Fort Lee Community Center this Saturday evening.  The oh-so popular Fort Lee Commission Movies & Music Under the Stars event will be in full swing, and your entire family is invited to come out and indulge in all of the festivities, for free!  The happening will be featuring live entertainment, dancing, and of course the feature movie presentation, beginning as soon as the sun has set.

This weekend the Double Down Swing Band will be taking to the stage, modifying the good old day’s swing genre of music, adding a more modern-day twist.  From Frank Sinatra, to Bobby Darin, to Sammy Davis Jr., the Double Down Swing Band will be providing fun variations of current music, accompanied by renditions of the songs of yesteryear.  Their electrifying performance is sure to have your entire family on their feet, dancing ‘til dusk. This weekend’s showing of “Gravity”, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, will take you on a spellbinding journey.  The plot follows a group of astronauts attempting to find their way back to Earth, after their space shuttle is destroyed in mid-orbit. The film has won multiple awards including Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects.

This weekend you absolutely do not want to miss out on the opportunity to attend the FREE Fort Lee Commission Movies & Music Under the Stars event.  Be sure to arrive early to find a good place on the great lawn!

Saturday August 2nd

7:00PM-8:30 Live Entertainment

Sunset Showtime

For more information regarding the Fort Lee Commission Movies & Music Under the Stars event, please click here.

Sharon Vallario
Phone: 201.803.1416

Feature Properties in Bergen County

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 387

Sharon Vallario of RE/MAX Elite Associates provides exceptional real estate services in Bergen County, New Jersey specializing in the areas of River Vale, Hillsdale, Montvale, Woodcliff Lake, Westwood, Park Ridge, Ridgewood and Upper Saddle River.  Sharon lists and sells residential real estate, investments properties, vacant land, rentals, as well as secondary homes.

Bergen County, New Jersey real estate and homes for sale in Bergen County
Sharon Vallario, REALTOR®

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