Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Woodcliff Lake Home Worth Wait

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Woodcliff Lake Home Worth Wait

Article excerpt

As buyers hunting for a place to raise one 2 1/2-year-old boy and a baby on the way, Sara and Christopher Heath wanted to be near friends, family, and childhood memories. They hoped to bring up their two kids in an environment they had come to know in the Ramsey and Mahwah area of Bergen County.

It just took a little while to realize that all they wanted was waiting for them just beyond the border in Woodcliff Lake.

"They had a broader price range for a move-in-ready home at high end but were not afraid of making improvements if they found the right home," said Lynn Spain, sales agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Allendale. "Rarely do buyers find the perfect home; a broader criteria of needs and wants helped this buyer."

But Woodcliff Lake wasn't even on their radar -- in fact, they gave it no thought at all when Sara - a sales representative -- and Christopher -- who works in commercial real estate for a local bank - - first started on their quest.

The couple, in their 30s, had rented a condo for several years in Mahwah to build a strong buyer profile that included an ample down payment and no mortgage contingency. The latter was because they had already sold their first home -- a smaller condo in Fair Lawn -- in 2010, considering it too small to raise a family.

The Fair Lawn home taught them a lesson about the market. "We bought it near the height of the market and sold it on the downturn We learned a lesson that real estate is not an investment, it's a home," said Christopher.

Folks they knew told them to jump back quickly into homeownership, but Sara was glad they resisted pressure and waited until they were ready for the right home. Now they don't have to think about moving again for a long time, the couple said.

"It was the right time to buy a home we could live in for 25-30 years with a back yard," said Christopher of the good-sized property that backs onto a Saddle River tract with a wooded buffer.

As they searched for two years for a new house, the couple met competition time and time again, making three unfruitful offers. …

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