Category Archives: Cresskill

Turn a boring powder room into an exciting space

If you were looking to buy a home in Tenafly, and came across this powder room, tell me you wouldn’t be excited to see the rest of the home, and that it wouldn’t jump to the top of your hot list.

This is how to turn boring into excitement!

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Did you ever imagine taking your typically small, boring suburban powder room into an exciting and energy filled space?  If you ever dreamed it, but didn’t quite know where to start…here’s a great example of what you can do, to infuse this small space with some excitement.

Forget about doing what everyone else does in Tenafly, Cresskill, or in Alpine. This is how to start thinking outside the box, and how to bring a splash of Manhattan to you home.

Don’t chintz on anything that has to do with tile…or you’ll regret it later

Though this space is 10′ high with a drop sheetrocked ceiling, with hidden up-lighting, you can get the same effect in a room with an 8′-9′ high ceiling.  This is a design that can easily be scaled down to fit your space perfectly.

Check out the flooring, wall tiles, lighting vanity and the almost full height mirror and see how they “put it all together”.  And check out the walls and tell me how you think they created this affect.  What materials did they use?  And think how you can do the same in your powder room.

Remember, when working with small spaces, it’s all about the total package, and not the individual pieces.

Tell us what you think

Steven Konefsky creates excitement from ordinary space.  Steven’s out of the box design vision lets the energy flow in every room of your home.  He transforms space into a lifestyle that you’ve always wanted, but never knew how to accomplish it. Your home will stand out from the crowd.
When selling an older or tired home, Steven’s vision along with his amazing sales and presentation talents, can take what others can’t imagine (but fear), and presents your home’s potential like no one else can.  His skills create faster sales, and higher prices.  When your best marketing effort is a lawn sin, and a free web listing…you have a problem.  Let Steven put more money where it belongs…in your pocket! 
From design passion to building…let Steven show you how it’s done. 



Bergen County Luxury Home Market On Life Support

So many luxury homes for sale & not many sold = PROBLEMS

Luxury Home For Sale Cresskill, New Jersey

The luxury market may be flying high in Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City where luxury apartments are selling for insane prices, but out here in the suburbs of Bergen County, which used to be the hotbed for  the luxury market in New Jersey, on its death bed…as it has been since the market crashed



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Here’s some facts:

  • Only 23 homes priced above $3 million have sold to date in 2013
  • The 5 most expensive homes sold: $13,375,000…$10, 500,000…$6,375,000…$5,500,000…$5,125,000…
  • Only 5 homes were sold in 2013 priced above $5 million
  • There are 95 single family homes listed for sale priced above $3 million
  • The most expensive home for sale in Bergen County is the “Gloria Crest Estate” in Englewood that is listed for $29,900,000. Guess they wanted to keep it under $30 million.  The home was originally listed for $39 million…and it was purchased in 20000 for $4,672,500.  Unfortunately the agents pictures don’t do this home justice…2 yr old picts taken in an off season doesn’t help the sales effort
  • There are 30 homes for sale priced above $5 million
  • The 5 most expensive homes for sale are $29,900,000…14,500,000…$14,000,000

Though there is a sizable percentage increase (90%) in sales for this price range, the number of homes sold (a 9 home increase…most in the $3M range) is insignificant compared to the number of homes that are for sale…95 homes

Towns with the most luxury homes for sale priced above $3 million:

  • Alpine…25 homes for sale
  • Saddle River…19
  • Cresskill…11
  • Franklin Lakes…8
  • Tenafly…8
  • Demarest…11

As with everything on this site, we let the numbers speak for themselves.  The luxury market is deader than dead, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

Tell us what you think the future is for these ultra luxury homes

The art of selling homes for less #1

A new segment for Eating Real Estate, is to highlight for sellers the many ways that most realtors market homes homes so they sell for less than they should sell for.  The Art Of Selling Homes For Less will show you how typical real estate marketing works to decrease the value of homes, rather than to increase it.

It’s mediocrity at it’s best.  And it costs sellers a fortune.

If your listing description is anything less than what you would read in Architectural Digest, then your home will take longer to sell and it will sell for less than it should.  And if your photos are anything less than the staged rooms and professional quality that you would see in any home magazine (locally 201 Magazine), then your home won’t stand out from the crowd like it needs to….and WOW someone, then your home will sell for less than it should.

Great marketing creates better results than mediocre marketing.  Guaranteed!

Would you rather see your Tenafly, Cresskill or Englewood New Jersey home marketed to look like something from Sears or Kmart.  Or would you rather have a Neiman’s look?

Which one do you think will help to increase your homes value?

The Art Of Selling Homes For Less #1

What are they trying to tell us in these photos?  From the midget low angle, to the the lack of flash lighting, this room looks yuck!  Looks like the photos were taken using a disposable CVS camera. This makes Kmart furnishings look good.

Would this make you want to rush out and see this home? If not, then what good is it.

Make no mistake about it…this is one of the main reasons why homes sell for less than they should, and why it takes so long to sell them.

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Home Sales Report: Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Haworth, Norwood, Tenafly

The numbers are in, and they are what they are…good, bad or indifferent

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Here’s the stats for the number of homes sold, and the dollar volume for the sales for the following towns in Bergen County, New Jersey:

  • Closter
  • Cresskill
  • Demarest
  • Englewood
  • Englewood Cliffs
  • Haworth
  • Norwood
  • Tenafly

Sorry, but for this post I’m only providing the cold hard facts.  Commentary will follow in a future post.

Just remember…in real estate, numbers can be misleading, and they often are.

Even though the number of homes of homes sold, and the dollar volume had dramatically decreased for this time period for Tenafly…should we really be concerned?

If you need a quick fix on the facts behind the numbers, you can email me at Snkonefsky@gmail and we can have a short chat.

Will New York Billionaires Save The New Jersey Luxury Home Market

Location is everything when it comes to real estate.  And nothing shows this more than the article in this Sunday’s New York Times titled…Billionaires’ Club Is Set To Grow…The demand for high-end homes is also expected to rise.

 “The buying seems to draw traction from the fact that there will be so many more newly minted rich people hunting for properties. Over the next 10 years, some 95,000 more people around the world are expected to see their wealth grow to at least $30 million, according to a forecast by Knight Frank, a London-based real estate company, which puts the current number of such people at 189,835.”

The article ties in an expected worldwide explosion of billionaires, to an already exploding ultra-luxury residential market in  key cities, like New York City.

With what is happening in NYC and other major cities, translate into the same trend for the Bergen County, New Jersey market, which is (used to be) tightly intertwined with what goes on in New York City?  Do the mega home sales that we’ve all heard about happening in Manhattan spill over into our market, as it used to.  Or are these sales, and the overall strength of the NYC residential market taking away sales from the neighboring suburbs, and hindering our recovery.

Their assumptions may be true for specific locations like Manhattan…but it’s not the case in Bergen County, New Jersey, where the number of luxury home sales, are down 60% from the peak, and the dollar volume has seen a 67% hit.

The numbers show that luxury home sales and ultra-luxury home sales are being clobbered in Bergen County.  And I would be willing to bet that some of this is attributed to the boom that’s happening in the city on the other side of the Hudson.

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Some Facts:

There are 94 luxury homes for sale in Bergen County (priced above $3 million):

  • 21 luxury homes are for sale in in Alpine
  • 12 are in Cresskill
  • 8…Englewood
  • 9…Franklin Lakes
  • 22 are located in Saddle River
  • 7 in Tenafly
  • The remainder are scattered throughout other towns in Bergen County

The Scary Part:

  • 94 homes for sale priced above $3 million
  • In 2012 only 25 homes were sold in this price range
  • Sales in 2012 decreased by 23% from 2011
  • From the peak year of luxury home sales in 2006 compared to 2012, sales of luxury homes decreased by a whopping 60%
  • The dollar volume of sales at the peak compared to 2012 decreased by 67%

And there’s no end in sight to this downturn. The demographics are working against the high-end market, and high taxes. And the ego to purchase one of these suburban monsters isn’t there in the volume that’s needed to turn things around.

  • In 2012 the most expensive home sale in Bergen County was a $20 million home located in Alpine…a 40% discount from the asking price
  • The next most expensive home sale in Saddle Rive was $6,000,000.  This home was for sale since 2005 and was listed in 2010 at $9,250,000.  It finally sold at a 35% discount…and this was a fairly new home in an incredible subdivision.

The most interesting fact with luxury home sales in Bergen County is that out of the 25 homes that were sold above $3 million, only 1 home was sold to a foreign buyer outside of the United States, and only 5 homes were sold to people outside of New Jersey, and 4 of those were from New York. So much for all the talk about international buyers purchasing homes in our backyard.  Yes, real estate is local!

“In the end, the global luxury property market is functioning in its own universe, seemingly removed from general real estate trends. It “remains relatively impervious to these trends and more closely follows the luxury goods market,” Christie’s International Real Estate said in a study released this week.”

Christie’s International…you missed what’s really happening in northern New Jersey…but why let the facts get in the way of hyping the market.  And don’t think that what is happening in Alpine, New Jersey is irrelevant, because for the past bunch of years, Alpine has been one of the most expensive zip codes in the Country.

National stats and reports, have noting to do with what’s really happening right in your own back yard

Remember, real estate is local!

Why real estate marketing sucks

This beautiful home has a FLR, FDR, FR W/FPL, MEIK, MBR…is it a wonder why homes take so long to sell, and why they always sell for less than they should

If you know me, or have been reading my blog, then you know that I hate real estate marketing.

A listing isn’t marketing.  It’s just a listing.

It’s the same exact listing as all of the millions of other homes listed on all of these free real estate web sites.  And not that it matters that there are millions of other homes that are listed, because your only concern needs to be how your home stands out from the crowd…in your local market.

Realtors like to hype that your home is out there for millions of buyers to see.  But that’s the biggest fallacy out there.  It’s really a bunch of bulls*%t.

The fact is, at any given time, there’s not all that many people who are looking to buy a home in Tenafly, or for that matter in Cresskill, Alpine, Closter or Englewood.

That’s why it’s so important to make your home stand out from the crowd!

Tenafly had 150+ home sales in 2011, and it’ll be close to the same this year.  So how many people at any given time are considering to buy a home in Tenafly.  And those who are, are also looking at other towns as well.  And when you start breaking the formula down by price ranges, then the numbers dramatically decrease for each price niche.

So maybe there’s a few hundred people at best who are considering various price ranges in Tenafly, throughout the entire year!

Now to my point of why I hate real estate marketing.

Read this:


This is the opening line for a home that is for sale in the Tenafly area.

What the hell is it?

  • What are they trying to sell?
  • What are they trying to convey? Is it a catering hall?  Can’t you entertain you friends in every size home?
  • Do people get excited that you can entertain, and is it their most important concern when looking to buy a home…is it even in the top 5 concerns?  In 35 years of building homes and condos etc. entertaining people has never been a topic of concer with any of my buyers.  Ever!

Don’t Realtors ever read Architectural Digest, or any of the other home magazines?  I guess not.
Because, if they did then they would see that it’s not all about the pictures.  Pictures are important, but it’s the story that starts the sales process, creates interest and starts the love connection.

“Nina Garcia has had to do quite a bit more than click her vertiginous Tom Ford heels to make herself feel at home.” …first line of an AD story-line

Without a compelling story you have nothing for marketing.

It’s all about the story!!

To just list the rooms by name and include a few items the the most idiotic way to make your home stand out from the crowd.

And to say…”it’s a must see” is even dumber.

No it’s not a must see.There’s no shortage of homes for sale in Tenafly, so no one has to see this home.

Selling homes is now all about telling viewers, (who most you’ll never talk to…or will ever see your home) why they should drop everything that they’re busy with, and take a trip to see your home

It’s a Realtors job to convince someone to see it.  And if that agent doesn’t have the ability to attract buyers, that agent has no value.  Trying it the old way will cause your home to remain unsold for a longer period of time, and it will decrease the value of your home at the same time.

And it’s something that doesn’t need to happen.

Selling your home is all about marketing, and making your home stand out from the crowd.

If you want your home to get noticed faster, sold faster and sold for it’s highest price, then email me at  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out…so why isn’t anyone doing it!

It’s all about the story…check out these articles:

Forbes…Tell To Win Book Review

Arianna Huffington…Why Peter Guber’s book Tell To Win is a Game Changer

Is Tenafly High School really #3 in New Jersey? You decide

So what is it with all of these school rankings?

Last week I blogged that Tenafly High School was ranked as #3 in New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly Magazine.  And now I just came a cross a rating of the Best High Schools in America on The Daily Beast (Newsweek)…and their ratings were considerably different:
Why is there such a huge discrepancy in the ratings?

In my post… Tenafly High School Rated #3…New Jersey monthly came up with the following ratings:

  • New Providence #1
  • Tenafly #3
  • Millburn #8
  • Cresskill #28

The Daily Beast ratings…America’s Best High Schools 2012:

  • New Providence #224
  • Tenafly #198
  • Millburn #83
  • Cresskill #166

Go figure!

Either way, the ratings are a great thing for the school districts who made either one of these lists. And it’s also great for local real estate values.

As usual with the real estate industry, sales people will quote the New Jersey Monthly rating and never mention the Daily Beast rating.  Or worse, most realtors won’t know about either rating, and they’ll just continue saying that “xyz school system has award winning school”…or the other one is…”it’s a blue ribbon school system”.

Or if they do it the NAR way…they’ll just make something up that sounds good.

I’ll just sit back and watch the schools fight it out for the bragging rights.

Cresskill home sales report 2012

Like every town in Bergen County, home sales in Cresskill have taken a beating over the past five years.  Once known as an oasis for new home luxury sales in developments like Tammybrook and Tamcrest Estates, the luxury end of the market still can’t find it’s way out of the basement.

Cresskill, New Jersey 2012 home sales stats

The reality is, even though home sales in Cresskill are down 11% in 2012, that’s really not all that bad considering there’s only a smattering of sales at the upper end of the market.

The dollar volume of sales are down a mere 6%…but the average sales price in Cresskill increased by 6%.  And that’s not so bad considering that there have only been eigh homes sold in 2012 priced above $1 million.

  • 6 home sales priced $1.0M – $2.0M
  • 2 homes sold $3.0M – $4.0M
  • 39 homes sold  under $1.oM
    …interestingly half of the homes sold below $1.oM were priced BELOW $400K

Over the next few posts, I’ll start comparing home sales from Tenafly, Cresskill, Closter, Haworth and Alpine…then we’ll get a clearer picture as to what’s really happening in the marketplace.

As usual, let us know what you think.

Are home sales more important to the economy, than dealing with underwater homes?

Some may consider me a pessimist, but I’m not.  I’m just a realist when it comes to analyzing the housing market

I was looking through some of my housing data just now, and something hit, that I really haven’t paid much attention to…the tremendous loss of real estate values (homes for this post) that we have all suffered ($6-$7 trillion), and what effect will this have on home sales and the economy going forward.

Everyone in the media and real estate brokerage is focusing on a new theme of affordability, yet there is very little being said that affordability isn’t anywhere close to being a solution to the market crisis that still looms over every one of us…not just sellers.

Almost everyone who has purchased a home since 2002 has lost money, and some have lost  And that holds true even for homes purchased today. 

Since 2001 almost 100,000 homes (single and multi-family) have been sold, and every one of those homes have lost value…and a major percentage of these homes are underwater.  And this is just for the homes sold.

This table not only represent Bergen County home sales, but more importantly it represents the number of people who have purchased homes since 2001, and who have lost money on the homes they purchased…and that’s almost every sale on this chart! And this chart is only for homes sold below $2 million.

The Wall Street Journal and a few other media outlets have started writing about this issue, because they’re starting to see the light.

This is a huge issue.  Underwater homes are the reason why the housing inventory is so low…homeowners simply can’t sell their homes for less than they’re worth, because they don’t have the money to make up the difference between the two amounts.

So it’s great news that prices are rising, and inventories are low, but this is only a temporary thing.  It won’t last.  There is a difference between the current low inventories of homes that are for sale…and for those homeowners who either want to sell their homes or have to, but can’t because their values are underwater.  And this inventory is the killer that’s lurking right in front of us, but is being ignored.

I love how the media has picked the side of the home buyer and affordability to write about, and miss a much larger problem that needs to be dealt with, before a recovery can take place…namely those who own homes and can’t sell them.  A recovery can’t happen until the underwater problem is resolved.  The problem won’t magically disappear.

What effects will this have for our local home markets in Tenafly, Alpine, Cress,kill and Haworth?  We’ll soon see.

How new rental projects along the waterfront will affect area home sales

Just came across this article on titled….Feeding the rental appetite…by Antoinette Martin, where the author details numerous upcoming  rental projects that are slated to be built in Hudson County, as well as some interesting facts that back up her perception for the areas future as it pertains to housing.  Though the article was published in February 2012, the facts remain relevant:

HUDSON COUNTY indisputably rules the rental housing market in New Jersey: It has the largest supply of Class A units — around 13,000, according to industry experts — and commands the highest average rental rates of any part of the state. This year and next, that rental kingdom is projected to grow rapidly      

As these projects get off the ground and start renting out, I believe that it will have a negative effect on the for sale market in the outling markets in Bergen County and elsewhere in New Jersey. Home sales in the suburbs will suffer as young buyers flock to these projects, rather than buying homes in the suburbs. And it will happen sooner rather than later:

  • people will put off making a purchase or rental decision while these projects are being built
  • there’s no real rush to buy a home because interest rates and prices aren’t inflating anytime soon

Developers are already at work on, or have recently announced, projects that will add several thousand more units in waterfront communities like Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken, and hundreds of other units elsewhere. Hudson County is one part of the state where builders “can still get the economics to work” in their favor, said David Barry, the president of the Ironstate Development Company in Hoboken. “You have to add in the fact that multifamily rentals seem to be the only thing for which builders can get a construction loan from lenders these days,” Mr. Barry added, noting that this factor was keeping the rental development market “very warm, if not hot.”  

Even if the economy picks up these rental projects will thrive for decades compared to home sales and new home construction.

If you’re trying to sell your home in towns like Tenafly, Cresskill, Closter and Demarest, then you need to find a way to compete for the first time buyers who make up a majority of home buyers in our area.  You need to find a way to entice them with their future ties in the community, because the rental market is an easy “buy”for them.

And these new mega projects that contain every modern amenity imaginable that everyone now looks for, so they too will affect the older once more established rental markets like Fort Lee and Hackensack, because they can’t compete with new more vibrant projects and locations.

As I point out time and again on this site.  It’s all about competing for sales.

It’s all about marketing.