How a Visit From Jerel Stewart Led to My House Sale

Jerel Stewart

Keller Williams Realty Monmouth/OceanIt’s funny when opportunity knocks on your door. It’s even more hilarious when it literally knocks like it did in mid-July.

When I opened the literal door, here stood Jerel Stewart: a man in a suit who I found out after a sentence that he was a real estate agent. He let me know that he had a buyer who was interested in moving into my townhouse complex.

You see on the flyer he handed me: “Our Buyer Wants to Move in NOW!” They had to wait though, but they got the house they were looking for: our house.

I never did find out why they decided to only want to move into Kingsley Square, but I can think of some reasons:

  • Proximity to Route 9 and the Freehold Mall
  • The $100 per month HOA fee
  • The fact that there’s a fenced-in backyard (albeit a small one)
  • The fact that they lived in Freehold before and wanted to stay close by

Regardless of the reasoning, that meant a highly motivated buyer, aka them staying pretty close to our asking price. And that they did, so a nice profit was made even when subtracting the closing costs out of the equation.

It took a little while to close since there were some things that needed to be fixed and taken care of (see my AA Electrical and Borough of Freehold blog posts). It was bittersweet given the circumstances of the house sale, which I’ll get into in a future blog post.

But I hope that Jerel Stewart (and other realtors reading this) learned that persistence pays off since him going out and knocking on everyone’s door got him a commission. I’m just glad it wasn’t some ruse to lure someone into hiring him as their realtor under the guise of saving half a percent of commission if both the buyer & seller used the same agent and then suddenly the buyer “mysteriously” isn’t interested.

I watch too much TV with zany plot twists. My next blog post will cover the thoughts I had working with our realtor.

Business Card Count: 34,235

My Electric Experience With Anthony Gallicchio of AA Electrical

Anthony GallicchioMore things required fixing in the house for the sake of the sale I mentioned last blog post. And one of them was getting some electrical work done in the attic.

Precisely, repairing a junction box that was improperly sealed. The last electrician who did work on the house was very unreliable in terms of being available (yes, I’m talking about the guy ATK Solutions uses) and it was something that was a quick job that needed to be done fast.

Note: I had no idea I used the “electric experience” alliteration in the ATK Solutions blog post I wrote until I viewed it once again.

Anyhoo, Anthony Gallicchio of AA Electrical was recommended to me, so I gave him a call to get an estimate. His initial one was $150, so I made an appointment to get it done & he was available quickly (yes, I’m still griping at you Joe from ATK). He came over and went up into the attic and said the job should take no longer than an hour.

He was so nice that he reduced his price in half to $75 because of how little time it took. I felt bad that he slashed his fee so much, so there was some insulation in the attic that wasn’t properly laid down. I told him I’d make it an even $100 if he did that. He was more than willing to, so we called it a day. I’d definitely use him again

Business Card Count: 34,206

Dealing With the Borough of Freehold Code Enforcement Office

Borough of Freehold Code Enforcement OfficeTrying to get things done with any branch of government can be a real pain in the ass. This was my first time dealing with the Code Enforcement Office in the Borough of Freehold and boy, was it an experience.

I had to do it, so I could get a permit for the roof on my house. I really thought that was taken care of when I got my new roof installed by Richard P Koenig almost 2,000 business cards ago, but apparently not.

It took a bit of time and running around in the rain to get this completely filled out, but it only required 2 visits to the town. I had to call the roofer to find out some info about his license and when it expired. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t recognize my name, but he’s done thousands of roofs in his time.

What I wound up doing was filling out a form with the same info 3 separate times for some bureaucratic reason detailing all the work that was done already. The Code Enforcement Officer would then come and inspect it to ensure that we did a good job. I was forced to be home between 9 and 1 (which is fine since I worked from home) and I got concerned when nobody came after 1:30.

I called the Borough of Freehold and was told that the roof passed inspection. Now, how the hell did that happen? I didn’t hear a knock at the door or the trampling of feet on my roof. Did they send a drone to inspect the roof? Or maybe a video camera on a really long stick? Oh well, I don’t care as long as it passed.

Then, I was told “oh, we don’t know how long it’ll take to get the actual certificate.” That’s a pain in the butt, but it thankfully only took like a week to process. This sounds like our crack team of local government at work.

The reason I had to get a roof permit? Because of the upcoming house sale. More on that in a future blog post… (my first ever “To Be Continued…” blog post).

Business Card Count: 34,166

How Getting a New Patio Door Was Not So Open and Shut

Fate sometimes comes in the most unusual way. This time, it came in the form of what I think was a rock while weed whacking. Or something else.

The point is that the patio door window got shattered, which means it’s time for a new door. I searched online and got some coupons to decide on a few possible choices to do the job.

Window WorldWindow World

The first company I called was Window World in Edison, New Jersey since they offered a pretty good coupon. It’s pretty clear that windows are their specialty, though they also do patio doors.

When I spoke to the man, he measured the door area and told me it would be a pretty easy job to do. The only issue I had was the fact that the guy said their doors weren’t customized, so it would be off by an inch.

Not exactly something you want to hear when you see the price tag of a new door.

Superior Windows and GlassSuperior Windows and Glass

Next up was a call to Superior Windows and Glass in Matawan, New Jersey (which is closer to where I live). This was actually a choice that I made to see if just replacing the glass was an option.

Clearly, it was not. They claimed our door was too old and the fact that it had vertical blinds inside the glass made it impossible. They of course offered to replace the door at a higher fee than Window World. Pass.

Nationwide Window and SidingNationwide Window and Siding

The company I wound up picking was Nationwide Window and Siding whose local headquarters is in Paterson, New Jersey. I met with the sales rep who gave me the same spiel as the other companies about measuring.

However, they added that their doors are custom made, which is really what turned me onto Nationwide Window and Siding. Not to mention the coupon I had plus a $250 discount that was “only available if I signed up today” really put them at the same price point as Window World, except the door would be personalized.

Next, I dealt with James and Raymond when scheduling my appointments for measurement and installation. I got a little bit of the runaround when I was told one date, given an earlier date and then it being canceled on the earlier date just to be moved to the later date. That got annoying, especially in the condescending way I was told “well, understand that your window is 8-10 am, but they’ll probably get there around 9:30 because they have to drive south.” They said this in pretty much every conversation and I was paranoid they’d cancel again with no notice.

But the day of finally came a few weeks later (even though I asked for it to be rushed, which seemed to mean nothing). I must say that the door was put in very efficiently in less time than they estimated. The one bad part of the door installation experience was having to get a certified check for the work. That doesn’t make too much sense to me since it’s not like this has huge legal ramifications.

Would I use Nationwide Window and Siding again? Maybe, though I’d still shop around for a cheaper solution.

Business Card Count: 33,763

How an Incompetent Home Depot Employee Almost Cost Me Over $500

I mentioned in my previous blog post that my HOA had some “architectural assessment” issues that included the shed door and the attic vent needing to be painted white. The door was no problem, but the attic vent concerned me.

Joseph AnselowitzThat’s because I felt like I needed to rent a ladder to get up the 2 stories to the vent. And I decided that I wanted to rent one at Home Depot and the location in Howell, New Jersey is the one that had the most ladder variety in my area.

I met with the Tool Rental Manager and he seemed to be helpful in letting me know that the ladder I wanted to rent (32 foot) could be tied to the roof of my car (a Nissan Sentra) with 20 feet of rope doing the trick.

Oh, how wrong he was. My first clue should have been indicated by the guy who helped me find the right rope for the job. He pretty much scoffed and rolled his eyes when I told him 20 feet of rope would do the job. He said I should get like 75 feet… that’s a lot more than the Tool Rental Manager said!

Ron OrocchiThen, I went to pick up the ladder the same day after getting a comforter to be a buffer between my roof and the ladder. Thankfully, the Sales Associate (who I assume is below the Tool Rental Manager) showed up and said that what I was trying to do was totally illegal on so many levels.

I was told that I would be a cop’s wet dream since I could get so many tickets that it’d cost me more than $500/a lot of points and I would fulfill a cop’s quota for the month. And the excuse of the Tool Rental Manager, who told me this was perfectly legal when I asked? “I didn’t know that your car’s roof was rounded.”

REALLY?! How would that have any bearing on the length of the ladder? That’s what the Sales Associate asked with no response from the Tool Rental Manager. Man, thankfully that sales associate was there… otherwise I would have been in deep trouble and possibly have gotten car damage or killed someone if that ladder fell.

I wound up renting a smaller ladder that didn’t work and then buying a paint roller extension pole that got me 23 feet extra length, so I can do the job myself in 15 minutes. Man, I didn’t think that through for all the trouble it was for this to get done on time.

Home Depot Howell NJ

But at least I got some business cards with the company logo, as well as these generic non-corporate ones.

Business Card Count: 33,419

How Innovative Pressure Cleaning Powerwashed Their Way Into My Heart

Innovative Pressure CleaningMy HOA did its annual architectural assessment, which is apparently a thing. A difference between my townhouse and others is that we’re responsible for the exterior.

Part of their complaint was that the siding needed to be cleaned. That’s when I decided to hire a powerwashing company. I chose Innovative Pressure Cleaning purely because they were included in a coupon envelope mailed monthly.

I saw mixed reviews online, but $25 off any job more than $250 (which mine wound up being) and not knowing anybody else in the area were motivators to choose Innovative Pressure Cleaning.

I am willing to give Innovative Pressure Cleaning a rave review. The 2-man team got to the house on time and explained the whole process to me, including how the soft wash cleaning detergent worked. After about an hour, the house was spic and span, as was the back patio and walkway to the house.

They provided exceptional customer service and even sent me a letter thanking me for choosing them afterwards with a magnet. I did have to ask the employees for a business card for this blog post and it was well worth it to see a water drop wearing sunglasses holding a pressure cleaning hose.

He looks like a boss.

Business Card Count: 33,378

Buying My Dresser at Value City Furniture in East Brunswick NJ

Value City Furniture East Brunswick NJI have to come clean: I haven’t had an official dresser since I moved out of my apartment in 2011. That’s because I hung/put everything in a closet or plastic drawers to save money. Now, it was time to grow up and get a real dresser like an adult.

I was so excited to shop for dressers until I found out the cost. I had hopes to get a cheap dresser made of real wood, but my hopes might be dashed until I shopped around a bit. I looked at a lot of dressers online from places like Bob’s and Ashley Furniture, but none of them popped at me.

Then, I went to Pier 1 Imports since I received a gift card to there, but the amount of money and the length of dresser would not work for me. Then, the place to go was determined: Value City Furniture, right off Rt 18 in East Brunswick NJ.

I browsed the store and there were many dressers, but there were a few that caught my eye. However, there was a floor model that was being offered at $300, down from $1300. Say whaaat…

I fell for this model because it was hard wood, had felt on the inside and was enough room for my clothes (in my mind). I decided to browse the clearance section to see if there was anything of interest before making a final choice and boy was there!

It turns out that there was a familiar bedroom set in there… the current bedroom set in my room now. This furniture was bought in 2002… how is it still in the store in 2016? I pictured myself resting in bed listening to Linkin Park’s “In The End”… I tried so hard, And got so far, But in the end, It doesn’t even matter…

Because I bought the dresser that first caught my eye. I was able to talk the salesperson who was helpful and nice but has probably the most generic name ever, James Smith, into taking some more money off due to the felt being in less-than-perfect shape. I attempted to put it in the car, but the people in the store said no…  so the money I was given off went back on as the delivery charge.

But hey, it looks good AND fits all of my clothes. This is a big win for me since I never bought a dresser, though I’ve moved a few in my day. I’d recommend going to Value City Furniture’s East Brunswick location because of the selection and the staff was good, too.

Business Card Count: 32,880

Why You Shouldn’t Live in Durham Woods of Edison NJ

Durham Woods Edison NJThe security deposit check has cleared and it’s been enough time for the money to never return to them. So I’m free to speak out about my experience living at Durham Woods for the past 3 years in Edison, New Jersey.

Let me start off by saying that the apartment we lived in (The Birch 1-bedroom with a skyroom) was nice and spacious for the amount of things we had between possessions & furniture. But there’s more to an apartment than that.

4 Reasons to Avoid Durham Woods

Durham Woods Laundry1. The Laundry

One of the biggest selling points to me about this apartment was the number of laundry machines available. However, that’s where the convenience of the laundry ended.

  • The machines were always broken. If you ever used the bottom set of dryers in Building 41, you will NEVER get dry clothes. I think those machines ate $100 of my money.
  • The machines did not take quarters. Instead, you had to have a card that you added money in $5, $10 or $20 intervals for. Worst of all, only certain buildings had machines to refill your money and sometimes that functionality was broken.
  • They spent the money to upgrade the video camera system in the laundry room instead of getting machines that actually worked.

Durham Woods Snow Plowing2. The “Plowing”

One of the amenities you’re supposed to get in an apartment complex is them plowing the roads within the complex and ensuring all snow is clear. Clearly, that’s not what happened.

During the most recent blizzard, the snowplows did a very slow and subpar job. It wasn’t just me who wasn’t satisfied: here’s a Facebook post with comments to show how lackluster they were.

Not to mention the lack of cleaning of parking spots, which was evidenced 2 years ago by the hand-shaped dents put into my old car since there was a block of ice disabling my car from getting out of a parking spot. Expect to be trapped during a snowstorm.

3. Penny Pinching

As exampled by the first 2 reasons above, Durham Woods is cheap. We had a leak in our living room ceiling and inquired with the maintenance team to fix it. It would be a temporary patching since the leak would eventually come back. After the 3rd attempt at fixing it, we just gave up since it was clear maintenance was going to do nothing to fix it.

4. Rent Increases

This happened EVERY year in spite of the horrible plowing issues, the broken laundry machines and below-par maintenance.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Business Card Count: 32,733

The Electric Experience I Had With ATK Solutions

ATK SolutionsFunny thing about our house: we needed some electrical work to be done by the seller. And of course, there were flaws with that as half the outlets in the living room, an outdoor outlet and one in a spare bedroom.

So we had to call an electrician to see what the problem was and if we had to threaten to take the seller to small claims court for not doing what he was supposed to… again. Alas, there was no courtroom drama. There were some theatrics however.

After Antonio’s (who I’m calling Tony for the rest of this post) initial meeting with us, we had to arrange a day for his crew to come by since he’s a general contractor and we had some other issues around the house to fix. There would be 2 different crews: the small stuff and the electrical work/bathroom shower.

The Small Stuff

The team of 2 (not including Tony) came to do the minor work. They were nice and helpful with the repairs we needed, although they ran out for supplies a few times (which made for a nice lull in between working from home). At the very least, their boombox (yes, those exist still) was playing a classic rock station.

But they only took 1 day to complete all the small stuff and fixed everything they needed to, even providing a temporary solution for something more permanent we need done down the road.

Electrical Work

There’s more of a story with the electrician, Joe. Tony told me that Joe doesn’t drive, but he’s so good at his job that he’s willing to pick him up… that had me optimistic. However, it took 3 separate cancellations to finally get them to come do the electrical work. One of them was because of a trip to the emergency room and another was because of a funeral. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have to call them every time to find out while waiting at home.

But, it was worth the wait since they fixed the problem in about 2 hours since it was the mere incompetence of the seller’s electrician who left a wire cut. You figure that someone who can’t spell repair correctly on a report might not be the best person to use, but I guess the seller just did what cost the least.

Overall, my experience with ATK Solutions was a good one and I’d use them again, but hopefully won’t have to keep following up about whether they would be coming that day or not.

Business Card Count: 32,632

Richard P Koenig: My Roofer, My Superhero

Richard P KoenigThe thought of getting a new roof was a horrifying one because of the cost associated with it. We started off getting a few recommendations for roofers, but none of them would call us back.

My wife and I thought to ourselves that we would wait a little bit and try again, but alas we were forced to fix the roof immediately by our home insurance company. Shit got real folks.

Luckily, Richard P Koenig was recommended to us. From the outset, we knew this guy would be the one fixing our roof. Firstly, he was the only one who called back who didn’t seem like a shadester.

Secondly, his estimate was MUCH less than the shadester who I won’t name… let’s just say that he’s not the real deal. Dropping the price by almost a third vs the other guy helped us decide on Rick. And boy did we make a good decision.

When I first met with Rick about the estimate, he thoroughly explained the whole roofing process including parts of reroofing a townhouse I wouldn’t have thought of. He even didn’t change the price when he didn’t include a small section of roof he didn’t see at first, which was nice of him.

When fixing our roof, he explained step by step what was going on and how long it would take. He was true to his word and his crew even cleaned out my gutters & did an excellent job of cleaning up after themselves and the old roof.

Overall, I would highly recommend Richard P Koenig to anyone looking for a roofer in the Central Jersey/Jersey Shore area. And he hopes to not see me until 30 years later when I need another new roof… or if I want to get siding done.

Business Card Count: 32,582