Tag Archives: Tenafly

Bergen County Luxury Home Sales Continue Death Spiral

If you currently own one of those $2+ million Bergen County luxury homes you’re not going to be happy with this news.

Plain and simple…the luxury market in the Bergen County suburbs sucks.  And it’s been sucking wind even prior to the market crash.  That’s a long time to not even see a whisper of a turnaround.

Towns like Alpine, Saddle River, Franklin Lakes, Englewood and Tenafly are going to take another huge hit on this.

For a multitude of reasons, like the hotter than hot New York City market (future post), this price range was hit hard and 6 years later it still hasn’t recovered.

Proof In The Numbers:

Luxury Home Sales: $2.0m-$2.999m

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Luxury Home Sales: $3.0m+

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Don’t get too excited that the number of homes sold for over $3 million remain even with 2013 home sales, because the next few slides highlight the problems:

Luxury Homes For Sale

Homes for sale priced:

  • $2.0m-$2.999: a staggering 113 homes are for sale and as of Sept 20th. Only 31 homes in this price range have sold thus far in 2014.  The supply far exceeds the demand.

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The worst news is for homes priced above $3.0 million

  • 106 homes are currently for sale priced above $3,0 million.
  • ONLY 16 homes have sold in this price range as of Sept 20th

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Who’s going to buy all of these home so the market can stabilize?  Unfortunately the buyers aren’t there.  They’re parking their money in Manhattan real estate

Some good signs from this:

  • NYC real estate is still a great investment if you can afford it
  • Towns like Hoboken and Jersey City will flourish with a great rental market
  • And lower priced homes will be at a premium

LG protesters: A bogus argument and a dreadful aftermath?

The title was included with the photo on flicker as reported by Business Insider
The title was included with the photo on flicker as reported by Business Insider

Someone who is protesting the height of the LG building in Englewood Cliffs that sits beyond the limits of the Palisades was accusing me on twitter of posting an unrealistic photo angle of a view of Saint Peter’s University from across the Hudson River in Manhattan…a set of buildings that sits within boundaries of the Palisades.

My concern is why the local local media outlets haven’t fact-checked the protesters claims and they haven’t reported on the ramifications to the environment if LG spreads out their building or worse…what happens if LG leaves

The protesters are against anyone anywhere along the backdrop of the Palisades from being able to build anything that peeks above the tree-line for as long as the eye can see, north of Fort Lee.  They are stating that their view would be spoiled if they can see any part of a structure from across the Hudson River. Those protesters want an unchanged view.

My question is how would any view be any less majestic of the Palisades if a building were in sight…beyond the Palisades.

This photo which was not taken by me or altered in any way by me (photo by Steve Guttman NYC/Flicker) clearly shows that several building at Saint Peter’s University in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey are clearly visible to people in New York.  These buildings have been here and visible since 1975.

Saint Peter’s University is a magnificent view from across the Hudson River

The main building which is the tallest structure is magnificent and does nothing to detract from the beauty of the Palisades…nor do any of the other buildings at this location.

Additionally there are many more structures of various types and sizes that are equally visible from across the Hudson as you go further north into New York approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge and beyond.

40 million people visit Central Park every year...and wouldn't give up this view for anything.  One partially seen building in NJ won't affect anyone's view of New jersey
40 million people visit Central Park every year…and wouldn’t give up this view for anything. One partially seen building in NJ won’t affect anyone’s view of New jersey

The land and zoning that the protesters want to control is owned by hundreds of thousands of residents, investors and companies and is located in a handful of towns. Their mission is to control what you can do with your land.

I do not profess to understand the real motives of the protesters but when they resort to twisting the facts and maliciously altering their photos to show incredibly unrealistic scenarios, their sincerity has to be questioned.


  • LG will not be the only building that can be seen on the Palisades from across the Hudson.  Tens of thousands of buildings sit on, in the middle of and below the Palisades from Jersey City to the Tappan Zee Bridge
  • The LG property sit outside of the Palisades boundary
  • There are only 1 or 2 other properties (both in Englewood Cliffs) that are potentially feasible for high rise development from Englewood Cliffs to the Tappan Zee
  • Most of the other land is either deeded as parks or nature reserves, and all other land is considered worthless for such development
  • Putting an outdated 35′ height limit on future development would lower the value of all commercial real estate and would make the remaining large parcels candidates for other less desirable uses, AND Englewood Cliffs would be out of the running for future development and  investment.  The residents would feel the brunt of higher taxes
  • A New Yorkers view of the Palisades is not paramount to those in New Jersey

I’ll leave with this thought:
If LG decided to pull out of this deal and go somewhere else, will Englewood Cliffs be happier potentially with a big box retail project that could include a Wallmart and Sams Club and other retailers AND including a massive residential component because this is the only viable and vacant site that Englewood Cliffs has to meet their Mount Laural affordable housing obligations…all 1,500 units would have to be part of a high rise community on this one site.

Is this the future of the LG site in Englewood Cliffs
Is this the future of the LG site in Englewood Cliffs

Are the local residents so naive to unknowingly be brought into a blunder of a situation that will place mega tax, traffic and lifestyle ramifications on their community, by those who could care less what happens in its wake if LG leaves this location?

Whatever happens in the end will not change anyone’s lifestyle in New York.  However, what will happen to Englewood Cliffs is an entirely different story.

You won’t like what you get.

Crappy real estate photos kill home values

By coincidence, I was just writing a blog post about the lack of quality photos that suburban realtors show on their web sites, when a realtor friend of mine in Tenafly sent a mass email looking for a way to reuse his listing photos for a virtual tour, which I assume would be part of his online listing.

Selling your home for its highest value is all about marketing and creating a love connection with buyers.  It’s all about the visual experience and creating that WOW  MOMENT!

My question to him is…why would you want to reuse the same exact photos in a virtual tour, that you’re already being use on the same listing page for the typical slideshow? Because it’s cheaper to reuse the photos?

Which photos are more appealing?

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[The 3 darker photos are of homes for sale (maybe in Tenafly) and were copied from the njmls…and the 3 better photos were enhanced in less than 60 seconds using Apple’s iPhoto ]

Listing photos play an important role in creating a  love connection between your home and  potential home buyers…and agents. If you take the time to create something beautiful to look at,  you’ll grab someones attention.

Great looking photos will increase the value of your home by possibly tens of thousands of dollars…or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Crappy looking photos will destroy your price

  • First, presenting the same exact photos in a different slide show, on the SAME online page has no added value
  • Second, consumers are smart enough to see when someone’s snookering them.  It’s not a “virtual tour” when you stitch a few photos together and set them in motion.  And considering that we can create something far more exciting on our Apple computer or iPhone using iPhoto in just a few minutes,  today’s buyers won’t be impressed with your typical virtual tour.

Consumers are turned-off by low quality presentations and poorly lit and un-staged room photos.  They expect to see something far sexier than they’re subjected to.

If realtors can’t do better than consumers can on their own, how does that make the realtor look?  Not so good!

Realtors love to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s true.  However, when the picture looks crappy then it’s worth a thousand negative words.

Buyers don’t get excited viewing crappy looking photos

Awesome looking high resolution photos create excitement and passion. They can also create a memorable impression that keep your listing at the top of someone’s hot list.  And for marketing, a great shot can get someone to take an action…like calling the agent!

Look at the listing photos on some of the great brokerage sites in New York City like Cororan (their enlarged photos are amazing!), Town and CORE (CORE is my favorite)…and then look at any of the lisiting sites in our area.  There’s a HUGE difference in quality…IT SHOWS! These sites and their photography blows away anything that I’ve seen in suburban real estate marketing.

Crappy looking listing photos will decrease the sales price of a home by thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars…and it will create a longer sales process…which means lower prices.

How about something a little different from the typical realtor shot.  Instagram-like photos have become part of our culture. Why not use it to your advantage.



middle effect
middle effect

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Sellers and buyers deserve the best quality photos from realtors…anything less should be unacceptable.

[The top photo was taken on my iPhone 5 and then enhanced twice in less than 90 seconds using the app Snapseed]

If agents can’t at the least produce listing photos that are staged and look professionally photographed (enhanced on Photoshop, iPhoto, Aperture or using any of the hundred other photo enhancing programs), then the agent isn’t worth hiring.
If you agent doesn’t care what your home looks like online, then then they won’t care how long it takes to sell your home, and  they won’t care  what it sells for.
The answer to my friend is…
•    Take your own photos and enhance them on the computer or their iPhone, because they’ll look better than what they have been providing.
•    You can purchase a fantastic camera for under $250
•    There are some great photo enhancing apps that are free


Disclaimer:  Steven Konefsky is a home builder and does renovations, real estate developer, design consultant, real estate marketing guru, and he sells real estate through Promiment Properties Sotheby’s International in Tenafly NJ, and he sells homes for higher prices than anyone.  If you have any real estate related or marketing questions you can make comments on this blog or Steven can be reached at 201.522.5256 and at Skonefsky@me.com.  FaceTime and Skype video conversations are welcomed 🙂

Alpine luxury home market continues to tank

When will the luxury housing market begin to recover in Bergen County?

Alpine used to be at the top of the Forbes list as one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation.  I doubt it will be there again if the look at the updated market stats and home sales.

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Ever since the housing market began its recovery in our area about 3 years ago, our once precious and busy luxury market is still in the biggest hole of its lifetime.

The ironic thing is, there are a number of ultra luxury homes that were built by land owners or are presently under construction that cost considerably more than $3 million…but the realtors can’t save their lives to sell a luxury home without a steep discount.

People who are building luxury homes see the value,  yet the realtors don’t.  I kinda like what the consumers are saying because they’re making some huge investments.

The luxury market has taken a huge hit, and the effects are  showing in the prices…it’s devastating and  there’s no end to the bloodbath.

A number of wealthy homeowners have taken their homes off of the market and have opted to wait it out.  I think they’re in for a long wait

Luxury homes


  • There are 32 homes for sale in Alpine priced above $3,000,000
  • In 2013 only 6 homes sold for more than $3 million
  • The highest priced home sold was $13,375,000…which was a 25% discount (originally listed for $18,500,000
  • The second highest priced home that sold was $7,500,000 and was originally listed at $14,900,000 in early 2011…50% discount
  • Of the 6 homes sold…5 were local residents and only 1 was from out of the area (Manhattan)

Going back to the high flying days a 2 acre lot was worth $4 million…for the land only.  Now you can buy a home in Alpine for $4 million and it has a house on it.

Discounts on most of the homes sold in Alpine was 25%.  Most of the homes are dated and need major makeovers which will probably cost another $500k

luxury homes for sale Alpine NJ,alpine, steven konefsky, eating real estyate, prominent properties sothebys international, luxury homes
luxury homes for sale Alpine NJ,alpine, steven konefsky, eating real estyate, prominent properties sothebys international, luxury homes


















Alpine has several home for sale that have been on the market for 5 years.  

  • One is listed for almost double what the owners paid for the home in 2005
  • Another home was built as a speech home…guess that was a bad investment
  • And one has been ion and off of the market for 4 years and the price keeps increasing…from $9m-$14 million

Bergen County Stats:

  • One-third of the homes for sale in Bergen County are listed for sale in Alpine (32 homes for sale)
  • In 2013 only 28 homes priced above $3 million were sold in all of Bergen County
  • There are 96 homes for sale in BC priced above $3 million

For those of you who have the ability to spend $3 million to purchase a home and then some additional bucks on a renovation, this may be your time.  As a long term investment…maybe, maybe not.  As a place to live and enjoy…yes.

Tell us where you think this end of the market is heading


Disclaimer:  Steven Konefsky is a home builder…inc renovations, real estate developer, design consultant, real estate marketing guru, and he sells real estate through Promiment Properties Sotheby’s International in Tenafly NJ.  If you have any real estate related questions you can make comments on this blog or Steven can be reached at 201.522.5256 and at Skonefsky@me.com.  FaceTime and Skype video conversations are welcomed 🙂

Sexy bathroom ideas for Tenafly renovations

As with almost every home that is for sale in Tenafly and elsewhere in Easter Bergen County, buyers have to approach the purchase with the understanding that they’re going to have to spend additional money to renovate the home.  You can’t possibly purchase a 30-100 without it needing a major makeover.

Here’s a sexy bathroom design that I came across recently that would be a great look for any home needing a bathroom renovation.

Sleek yet elegant, modern yet timeless.

Bathrooms are where to spend your money…and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get this look…but even if you did it’s worth the investment

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The color combinations and elements make this an invigorating place to start your day and to leave you with a relaxing feeling at the end of the night.

I can almost sense the spa-like fragrance when looking at these photos

  • the  color combination of the dark wood vanity and mirror surround and green glass long subway tiles is a great match.  And even though I’m no longer a fan of beige tiles I’m sure it looks great on the floor
  • The full height glass showers with the chrome hinges and super long door handle adds a modern and strong feel
  • I love the 5′ + high frosted glass to add a bit of privacy
  • the extra thick counter tops with integrated deep sinks and modern faucets is a great look to top off the sleek vanity that sits off of the floor about 18″…which adds to the visual depth of the room
  • The pin lighting in the ceiling is a great look compared to the standard, and over abused typical high hat lighting

This design and materials can be integrated into any sized  bathroom renovation for a great look.

Tell us what you think

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.



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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More power outages in Tenafly. An uproar is brewing

So here we are 19 days into July and Tenafly is experiencing what I think is its fourth power outage of the month.

And only today’s an tonight’s outage is heat related.

Late this afternoon I was heading back into Tenafly when I was some blinking traffic lights, which is always a sign of another outage.
I headed up the hill and sure enough the traffic lights at the corner of Engle St and East Clinton Ave were blinking as well, and traffic was building up.

For me, this usually means that my area was out of power, because somehow a portion of my street is tied into te grid that services East Clinton and the downtown…but amazingly I still had power.  That’s a first!

AxiaTonight I was headed to Axia for a late dinner (9PM) and when I got there the lights were out.  For Axia, this too is a common occurence for their business.  I can’t imagine how much money they have lost in the past two years due to all of the outages that Tenafly experiences.

Here’s a video of an NBC News story that ran a few weeks ago, and was part of one of my blog posts about the cost of the outages to Tenafly residents and businesses.

Related Stories

Power Outages In Tenafly Cost Residents Millions

Click to view NBC segment….Random Power Outages Hit NJ Neighborhood…by Brynn Gingras

Power outage in downtown Tenafly; generators used to power traffic lights

It’s time for PSE&G to explain the real problem, and to create fast solution.

In 2011-2012 335 generators were installed in Tenafly.  Pretty soon we can start our own power company.

Why aren’t people who have generators using them, rather than electric to power their homes.  Is it cheaper to do that?

How many times will Tenafly lose power during this heat wave

IMG_5784So Tenafly, and the rest of the region, is into another heat wave this week, with temperatures hovering in the mid to upper 90’s through Saturday.

The only question on the mind of Tenafly residents…who aren’t part of the 335 residents who have generators is…how many power outages will we have and how long will they last.

NJ.com posted a story that the power companies in New Jersey are prepared to handle the heatwave.

Heat wave is here and NJ power companies say they’re prepared

At PSE&G, which serves 2.2 million customers in the state, officials said there are extra workers on hand in case of outages.

“We prepare for summer all year round. During a heat wave it does put a stress on the system, and we just have to make sure we have all available personnel,” said spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

And here’s a comforting thought from JCP&L

A spokesman for First Energy, which owns JCP&L, said demand is expected to go up due to the heat wave, but there should be enough power to meet it. “There is an abudance of power supply within the regional power pool and we’re not expecting any significant issues in meeting customer demand,” said spokesman Scott Surgeoner.

Here’s some advice from the power companies, that should be taken during this heat wave…and beyond:

•    Turn off everything you’re not using: lights, TVs, computers, etc. Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
•    Close blinds, shades and draperies facing the sun to keep the sun’s heat out and help fans and air conditioners cool more efficiently.
•    Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. With central air, close off vents to unused rooms.
•    Delay heat-producing tasks such as washing and drying laundry or dishes until later in the day, and wait until load is full.
•    Refrain from using nonessential appliances. Unplug or use only when necessary an extra refrigerator in your garage. Also, customers should consider setting their air conditioners to 78 degrees, health permitting.

Let’s all hope for the best.

If you’re having a real problem, then head to the Hampton’s this week where it’s supposed to be a few degrees cooler…and you can hang out with all the movie stars

Let us know if you’re having any power issues this week.