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Buying a Home in South Jersey for the First Time

buying a home in South Jersey

You are buying a home in South Jersey for the first time. It’s the biggest, probably most expensive purchase of your life. And unlike buying a car or furniture or even a puppy, you don’t just pick it out, ring it up and pay for it. So what do you do?

What to do when buying a home in South Jersey for the first time…

First step to buying a home in South Jersey... DO.NOT.PANIC. We help first time buyers all the time, and trust me when I say, you’ve got this. And besides, what is the most important purchase of your life should also be the most exciting.

Second step to buying a home in South Jersey is find out how much you can spend. It’s a very simple process of contacting a local lender, or even your bank or credit institution. Tell them you are considering purchasing a home and they will help you come up with the price point you should look at. They will take into account your income, your debt, your credit score, your savings accounts and more. Then they will give you a pre-approval letter that will be used for making offers. If you need a lender most realtors have a handful they would recommend too.

Third step to buying a home in South Jersey is to compose a realistic list of what you are looking for. Now that you know how much you can spend, where do you want to spend it? What kind of home do you want; single family, townhouse, condo, rancher, etc? Do you want a move in ready home or would you like to invest in a home you can fix up a bit yourself. Do you need a garage? Basement? Any preference on yard size or particular neighborhoods? The more details the better. And if you are purchasing a home with another person, talk with each other and get on the same page as much as possible for your list.

Final step to buying a home in South Jersey, armed with your pre-approval letter and your list of must have items, contact your local realtor. (((drop subtle hint here))) I know a pretty good one if you are looking, give me a call and I will get you touch with her or just call 609-923-2735. Subtle, right?

Truthfully, you should interview realtors, ask them questions regarding their experience, how long they have been doing this, how many transactions they have a year, etc. You want to feel comfortable with your realtor, feel like your best interest are of utmost importance to them, and have personalities that jive. Remember this is the most important purchase you are making and it should not be left in the hands someone that you feel uncomfortable working and communicating with.

So once you find that realtor they will most likely set you up on a “drip”. This will provide you with an automatically generated list of daily updates of any homes that meet what you are looking for. They can be sent directly to you and from there you can start your shopping!

Stayed tuned for our next blog regarding what happens when you find that perfect home in South Jersey! If you’re ready to start on your South Jersey real estate adventure, reach out to Michelle and her team today!

Interested in South Jersey home availability and updates? Be sure to visit Michelle Carite’s Facebook page, and stay up to date on fabulous homes on the market!

Saratoga Farms Neighborhood in Mount Laurel, NJ

Saratoga Farms Neighborhood in Mount Laurel, NJ

Saratoga Farms is a neighborhood in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and it is one of Mount Laurel’s most desirable neighborhoods. When a home goes up for sale here, it often closes quickly!

The development is a simple loop, with a handful of cul-de-sacs and small side streets. But generally speaking, the traffic through here is minimal as it does not cut through to any other major roads or neighborhoods. You will find people riding bikes, children outside playing, and neighbors stopping to say hello to each other.

Every home here is on oversized lots, giving plenty of space that over the years has been filled with swimming pools, decks, etc. that have increased the values of these homes. And an even greater advantage of this location is the accessibility for commuting purposes. Just a stone’s throw from Lenape High School, there is easy access to NJ Route 70, NJ Route 38, and other major commuting highways that offer an easy trip to great shopping, entertainment, and restaurants.

I have a personal connection to Saratoga Farms…I remember when this development first started. My husband and I contemplated making our move from our Timbercrest home over to there and doing a new construction. I went to a model home and fell in love with the wraparound porch! I could see myself on summer evenings sitting on the porch in my rocking chair with a fresh lemonade. Clearly this was a dream in itself, as I was raising four pretty active children at the time, so just sitting in general was a far stretch from reality. In the end we decided to stay in our home in Timbercrest, but I have never once let go of the love for this neighborhood that I felt when construction was first beginning.

And of course, Mount Laurel itself offers first class South Jersey living…it’s convenient to our nation’s birthplace of Philadelphia, less than two hours drive from New York City, and of course it’s just over an hour away from so many great Jersey Shore resort towns! Mount Laurel is also very convenient to Cherry Hill and Moorestown, two New Jersey towns very well known for their super sized mall complexes and shopping and dining options.

Looking To Sell Your Saratoga Farms Home?

Recently we listed 125 Preakness Drive. Within the first week we had multiple showings. By then end of that weekend, after an open house where over 20 groups stopped to see it, we were looking at multiple offers. Our sellers reviewed the different offers and this home has went under contract and is set to close in the Spring. THAT is the kind of market you find in Saratoga Farms. And who could blame a buyer who desires to be in that neighborhood, I myself was once that person as well!

If you are considering selling your home in Saratoga Farms, or anywhere else in Mount Laurel, contact me today to help evaluate your home and how you can get the most for your money. I know Mount Laurel very well and love it here as much as anyone, and I know how to price a home to sell!

Search Saratoga Farms Homes

Timbercrest Neighborhood in Mount Laurel, NJ

timbercrest mount laurel

Buyers, be aware…we at Michelle Carite Real Estate have found perfection in the Timbercrest neighborhood of Mount Laurel, New Jersey! Timbercrest is a commuter’s dream location, with quality homes, award winning schools, and a neighborhood that really is full of some amazing people.

I know this for sure, because I live there myself, and can say wholeheartedly that I have the most wonderful neighbors. Timbercrest is a small gem in Mt. Laurel, consisting of just over 200 homes, and it is surrounded by mature trees, wide streets, and community that defies just that sort of lifestyle. Between holiday parties, mom groups, and neighborhood wide events, you can’t ask for much more. All of this comes at an affordable home price currently ranging between $400-550k and climbing, for a 3-4 bedroom home.

And don’t forget about the most important aspect of living in Mount Laurel…location, location, location! Not only is Mount Laurel an easy commute from large employers in the area like Lockheed Martin, it’s also convenient to great shopping at the Moorestown and Cherry Hill Malls, and dozens of great restaurants for every budget. Mount Laurel offers an easy day trip to Philadelphia, and is just over an hour from so many great resort towns at our fabulous Jersey Shore!

Sellers, this is for you too! The highest selling home in the neighborhood in 2020 was at $402,000! This is wonderful news for anyone looking to list their home soon, as the mortgage rates for buyers are still low, but so is the inventory of homes in the area. Do not miss your opportunity to capitalize on the upcoming spring market.

The Timbercrest Neighborhood in Mount Laurel – Find out More!

If you have any questions or are interested in an evaluation of your property please reach out to me today. Who knows best on how great the Timbercrest neighborhood in Mount Laurel is for a place to call home, than a Realtor who does just that! If you are a buyer looking, I may have a listing perfect for you. Sellers, if there is one thing I am good at, it is selling homes in my own neighborhood with total confidence. I would be more than happy to help guide you through any steps to get your home ready to list for this exciting market.

Rancocas Woods Neighborhood in Mount Laurel, NJ

Rancocas Woods Neighborhood in Mount Laurel

The Rancocas Woods neighborhood in Mount Laurel, NJ is a small community on the northern edge of town, with the average house being three bedrooms and one bath. Over time many of these homes have been expanded, so don’t be surprised if you find a home larger than that. And why wouldn’t you expand, when many of the lots are over a quarter of an acre and backing to beautiful untouched wooded sanctuaries.

Where is the Rancocas Woods Neighborhood?

Rancocas Woods offers easy access to both I-295 and NJ Route 38, and being nestled between Exits 5 and 6 on the NJ Turnpike, it’s a commuter’s dream. It is also convenient to several major employers in the area including Lockheed Martin, and is close to great shopping at the Moorestown Mall and East Gate Square. Want to take a trip to the Jersey Shore? There’s several great resort towns, including Ocean City, that are just over an hour away!

Originally Rancocas Woods was built as a vacation spot for New Yorkers / North Jersey folks that wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of their lives, and you will find some homes here are situated perfectly to give you just that. The neighborhood offers relaxing sounds of nature, large shading trees, and in some cases water edge lots. Running behind the Rancocas Woods neighborhood is the Rancocas Creek and the neighboring Rancocas State Park. A quick ride can have you exploring nature trails throughout over 58 acres of preserved land, access to guided tours, camps and more.

Situated on Creek Road is the Rancocas Woods Shops. Originally an amusement park setting for those vacationers, in later times this stretch of businesses became more of an every day type of store front. Among the quaint village are mom and pop owned facilities, weekend craft and antique shows, rare finds, and good eats. As the economy turned it seemed as though these small businesses could not survive and one by one closed their doors. Luckily, a real estate developer has recently purchased the properties, and is rumored to have big plans to revitalize what was for years a highly trafficked spot for local families and visitors.

As these plans develop and become known, I will be sure to update you. In the meantime, those who are familiar with this developer and his successes in the past, are anxious to see what the plan is.

Driving through the Rancocas Woods neighborhood in Mount Laurel you will see many homes being recently renovated and updated. The price of home sales is steadily increasing, making this a great area to invest in right now.

Get Started On Your New Life Today!

Michelle Carite is a real estate agent who specializes in the Mount Laurel, Moorestown and Medford regions. She works with a team of professionals who are all ready to help you move into your dream home in South Jersey. So if you are looking for an opportunity such as this do not delay! Reach out to Michelle Carite and her team, and get started on your future in Rancocas Woods!

NYC Commuters Living in South Jersey?

NYC Commuters Living in South Jersey

Did you know that there are a number of NYC commuters living in South Jersey? Often when you think of a New York commuter you assume they live right outside of the city in the Northern NJ suburbs. However, what many would find surprising is that many of these city commuters are migrating as far south as Burlington County.

An 80-mile plus commute may not seem desirable to a lot of people, but when you have the opportunity to work in one of the world’s most bustling cities and make a terrific salary doing so, it might be worth considering, especially since our highways in the area offer a straight shot.

Many towns in Burlington County are convenient to I-295 and the NJ Turnpike. NYC commuters living in South Jersey have the option of using the Turnpike to access several bridges and tunnels leading to the city, including the Lincoln Tunnel and George Washington Bridge. Similarly, residents can use I-295 for a relatively short ride to the Hamilton NJ Transit station, and an easy train ride to Penn Station and the NYC subway system.

With so many options of commuting by car, train and other forms of public transportation, homeowners are taking advantage of being able to get more for their money in southern areas of the state. And right off of major highways you will find an ease of access for commuting from many desirable Burlington County towns. And without diving deep into their pockets for higher-prices homes and higher taxes as they may up north, these residents can find amazing schools, small towns, larger lots of land, and more – all within a commute to the city.

So if you are one of these NYC commuters and you are thinking about making the move south, take a look at some of these towns that seem to be favorable to commuters: Chesterfield, Florence, Burlington Township, Mt Holly, Willingboro, Hainesport, Lumberton, Mount Laurel, Delran, and Moorestown. Geographically these towns sit near access to I-295, the NJ turnpike exits and easy opportunities for public transportation access. Call us to help you find your perfect fit for a southern suburb of NYC!

Contact us today to get started.

Fleetwood Elementary School in Mount Laurel New Jersey

Fleetwood Elementary School

Fleetwood Elementary School in Mount Laurel, NJ is one of the area’s beloved and award winning elementary schools. With over 350 students grades K-4, as well as low-cost preschool programs, it is obvious that many families pick their home to be within this district. In fact, Mount Laurel is open enough to offer inclusion to preschoolers with disabilities, giving them opportunities to learn right along with their peers. It is a wonderful opportunity for our children to have these resources so accessible.

When my children were young, they went to Fleetwood Elementary School; I was very much involved with the PTO and have watched these amazing teachers start to finish in some of their careers. It was a wonderful community for children to be a part of then, and is even more so now. The amount of activities the school has for the children and parents is extraordinary…everything from family races to “Ladies Night Out” to well orchestrating fundraising events.

Many potential home buyers often ask me about the schools and their successes. While I do have knowledge about schools in the region, I always recommend doing homework yourself and visiting the Department of Education website for New Jersey. There you are able to find the Performance Reports for each and every district. It a great tool to determine if the district’s schools you are considering meet your standards. They are factually driven, as opposed to some of the sites you will find that provide mostly opinions on performance.

Neighborhoods Sending to Fleetwood Elementary School

Mount Laurel schools have for many years been a driving force for many of the communities, and Fleetwood Elementary School is a very favorable elementary school in my opinion. When searching for a home, know that it encompasses the neighborhoods of Timbercrest, Rancocas Woods, Devonshire, and all the streets in between these main neighborhoods.

If you are interested in a home within the district I would be more than happy to help you, as well as connect with the tools to get registered in the schools and get involved with the community. You will not regret the decision to make this area your home…take it from me, I live here! Contact me today to find out more about life in the Mount Laurel area and why it could be ideal for yourself and your family.

Rent Or Buy A Home in Mount Laurel?

buy a home in mount laurel

Should you rent or buy a home in Mount Laurel?  Let’s look at some real world numbers and see how they shake out. Mount Laurel is a beautiful and desirable community to live in for a variety of reasons, from convenience to major employers to proximity to Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore, but many people feel as though homes can be priced out of their range. Often in response to the question “Why rent in Mount Laurel?”, you will hear “because I can’t afford to buy a home in Mount Laurel”.

Hmm, I wonder why they feel that is the case. Have you ever, as a renter, really thought about where your money is going? If you have not, let me enlighten you a bit. Essentially, your rent in most cases is paying the owners mortgage.

Renting vs. Buying A Home in Mount Laurel

So the average three bedroom rent in Mount Laurel over the last six months has rented for over $1,700 a month. This does not include utilities or other smalls fees a landlord may require. The majority of these rentals are found in one of the many desirable town home and condo complexes in town. As a landlord these properties are so easily rented, because of the same draw and desire a buyer has to the Mount Laurel area: stellar schools, easy access to major commuting roads, location to shopping and entertainment, and an overall wonderful place to live.

So when you dig a little deeper and look at the average cost to buy a home in Mount Laurel (same three bedroom townhouse) you will find that average final sales price is around $238,133. Right now, with rates still low, this is an affordable monthly option! In fact, if you were to take that sales price on a 30-year mortgage with no money down and an interest rate of 4.25% your monthly mortgage fee would be about $1,171. $1,171 plus taxes and insurance a month verses $1,700 in monthly rental fees.

So it brings us to an interesting question…why rent your home when you could probably truly afford to buy a home in Mount Laurel?

If you’re interested in living in this beautiful area, make the investment that pays off and is worth your effort. Reach out to Michelle Carite and her team today, and get started on your search for a Mount Laurel home you’ll love to own!

If you’re interested in more Mount Laurel real estate updates, be sure to follow Michelle on Facebook!


Stanwick Glen, Moorestown New Jersey

The Reserve at Stanwick Glen

Stanwick Glen is continually one of the most popular neighborhoods in Moorestown, and the home sale statistics reflect that!

As of February 2020, the most recent sales in this neighborhood according to BrightMLS are very encouraging to anyone looking to sell in this upcoming spring market. Of the five sales that closed in the last six months, four of those homes averaged 12 days on the market before being under contract. What this means for those sellers is they were priced correctly and marketed to move. The majority of these homes ended up in multiple offers, and two ended up selling for even higher than their original list price.

This is great news for anyone currently living there, including my own daughter and assistant, Nicole MacHenry. In fact, she has devoted time to bring back some of the old Stanwick Glen traditions that her Aunt and Uncle took part in back in the day – block parties and neighborhood get togethers, yard sales and Santa visits. There is something to be said about a neighborhood that is focused on the community and events that bring everyone together. It makes it a place many want to call their home.

Looking To Sell Your Stanwick Glen Home?

If you are looking to sell your home in the Stanwick Glen neighborhood, I can help price your home according to the market! Our family has been in this neighborhood since the early 1980s. Those mature tree lined streets were much more bare then, but equally as beautiful. I have watched the homes here over the years change their colors and facades, add additions and transform their styles.

But even as change occurs, the one thing that continues is the desire of buyers looking to be in this neighborhood. Let me help you get your home sold to the right buyer! Being a resident of the area myself, I have a personal commitment to seeing this neighborhood continue to thrive.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell in the Stanwick Glen neighborhood, reach out to me today. My team and I can help you wherever you are in Moorestown, and we looking forward to making your move happen!

Available Properties in Stanwick Glen

Michelle Carite Group – 2021 Q1 Recap

Michelle Carite Group - 2001 Q1 Recap

Q1 of 2021 has been RED HOT. Please watch the short video below to see a full recap of our successes in this unprecedented Real Estate market. Thank you to all our buyers, sellers and industry partners for this continued success!

Watch Video Below


Does a Pool Add Value to a Home

Does a Pool Add Value to a Home
Does a pool add value to a home? The answer to this question has recently changed quite a bit. What I used to tell clients is “no, not unless the next buyer wants a pool”. However, in the last couple months I have watched a very unique market. Homes with pools are going quickly and often with multiple offers. This is very different from years prior, and maybe it’s a temporary change. My guess is with the current times people are looking for homes with opportunities they didn’t have in a previous home.

Social Changes = Change in Desire

Many camps and clubs and beaches are still closed and fear still lingers around many residents for their health and safety. COVID-19 and the stay at home order has drastically changed the desires of many buyers out there right now. Pools are a perk! So if you are a potential seller with a pool, this may be your time to capitalize on the market.