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Testimonials

Here is what our clients have to say about their experience with us:

"GilMORE Realty's services were excellent!  While working with my agent I found her to be very professional.  She kept in contact with me regularly & because of that I recommend her services to everyone I know.  I would definitely work with them again in the future."

- I. Prince - Teaneck

"GilMORE Realty was so great, I felt as if my agent was a part of the family.  Magnificent is how I describe their overall service.  I would definitely recommend them to others.  The thing I valued the most while working with them is their honesty, and that is someone you would want to do business with."

- L. Castillo - New York

"GilMORE Realty is a Real Estate Agency, that is very dedicated to their job, and that was one of the characteristics that made me work with them.  I recommend them to people all the time, because they show genuine interest in what they do for people.  They went above and beyond."

- V. Grant - Teaneck

"GilMORE Realty focused on my interest and the fact that I had deadlines to meet.  They did everything they could to make me satisfied.  I would most definitely recommend them to others and have done so.  I appreciated their devotion, selflessness and most of all their honesty.  They are a professinal Real Estate Company, great to work with; I dont know what I would have done without them."

- M. Ramsay - Paterson


Closing Photos

An unusual need called for better preparation for Rochelle Park buyers

Sunday, February 26, 2012 Last updated: Sunday February 26, 2012, 10:55 AM

BY VIOLET SNOW

SPECIAL TO THE RECORD

The Record

When homebuyers have unusual criteria for the house they're seeking to buy — like room for a grand piano — the houses available may be few. To enhance the chances of success, buyers can get a competitive edge by being well-prepared for closing.

 

DON SMITH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Karén Hakobyan, a musician, and his wife, Vladislava Vucetic, wanted a home that would allow them to have a grand piano. Having their financing in order was a factor in their successful bid for this house in Rochelle Park.

Karén Hakobyan is an Armenian-born concert pianist, composer and music teacher. Last year, he and his wife, Vladislava Vucetic, were ready to move out of their Manhattan apartment. "As much as we enjoyed living in New York," says Hakobyan, "everything is so much smaller there. We wanted to move to bigger place where I could have my own grand piano, be able to perform and practice — and not have to worry about the neighbors — and enjoy living in a reasonable space."

But there are not that many homes that meet their particular requirements, ranging above the usual demand for a certain number of bedrooms. "We wanted to have two living rooms," he explains, "one large enough to not only fit a grand piano but also to sound good acoustically."

Although they considered buying in Connecticut or Westchester, Hakobyan and Vucetic quickly discovered that New Jersey prices would be more in their range. It also became clear that Bergen County would offer more floor space than Hoboken or Weehawken. They concentrated on the southern part of the county because it would provide easier access to their jobs in lower Manhattan.

Begin online

Like many homebuyers, the couple started to search online, viewing homes on the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service (NJMLS.com). They made appointments to see a few houses and soon struck up a relationship with one of the listing agents, Violet Smith-Gilmore of Gilmore Realty in Teaneck. "She listened very carefully to see what my needs are," recalls Hakobyan. "She told me that that house might not work the best for me. She was a pleasant and open person, easy to work with."

The search for a home went on for several months. They considered a house in Teaneck, but when inspection uncovered major problems, they pulled out of the deal.

"We were not starting to lose hope," says Hakobyan, "but we realized it is difficult to find a home of the proportions I need in a modest price range."

At last, they came across a house in Rochelle Park that had the right kind of room. Apparently a former owner had put an addition to accommodate his own piano.

The sellers were in a hurry to move, and there were two other buyers bidding on the home. Although Hakobyan and Vucetic were offering substantially less than the asking price, they had a major advantage. "My wife and I had already done all the preparatory work with the bank," says Hakobyan.

Forgo inspection

"We had chosen a lender, and we didn't just get a preapproval form — we gave them all the information necessary." After finding the house they wanted, they told the bank that they would probably lose the house unless the closing happened as quickly as possible. They were told they could close within about 20 days.

The owners of the house liked the couple and liked the prospect of closing quickly. The sellers' real estate agent tried to push all the bidders into making their best offers, but Hakobyan and Vucetic insisted on making a counteroffer instead. After receiving the counteroffer, the sellers agreed to split the difference, settling on an amount $20,000 less than the asking price.

"I would not recommend doing the best offer unless someone really has the means and loves the house so much they don't want to lose it," says Hakobyan. "It felt like a trick to all of us. Violet helped us handle this the right way."

In addition, they took the unusual step of waiving the inspection. "I know it's not usually recommended," admits Hakobyan, "but we examined the house carefully, and there were no major issues."

They closed last summer and have not found any substantial flaws that need fixing. Although the bank did not consider the house to be in a flood zone, it did sustain unexpected damage from Hurricane Irene, as did many other homes in the area.

Because of the repairs, Hakobyan has not yet bought his grand piano — but the grand room is ready and waiting.

 




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Englewood fixer-upper is a job unto itself

The Record

Who would expect a Bergen County house to have no insulation in the bedroom walls? But that's just what Kelli-Ann and Anthony Griffiths discovered after they purchased a home in Englewood.

Kelli-Ann and Anthony Griffiths at their new home in Englewood. They discovered it needed a bit more TLC than planned.
AMY NEWMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Kelli-Ann and Anthony Griffiths at their new home in Englewood. They discovered it needed a bit more TLC than planned.

While inspections are designed to catch deficiencies in a home before the sale goes through, problems occasionally slip past the inspector. Some issues don't appear until renovation begins, and furniture can hide aesthetic disappointments.

Anthony is a skilled carpenter, and he simply added insulating the bedrooms to the top of his list of renovations. Other changes will take time.

The Griffithses and their two sons, ages 19 and 4, had been living in a one-bedroom apartment with a large living room. "It just was not private enough," said Kelli-Ann. They tried for two years to get a two-bedroom in the same complex, but none was available, so they decided to look into buying a house.

"It happened quickly," Kelli-Ann recalled. "Some people are looking for years. We started looking the second week of March, and in two weeks, we saw this house and made an offer."

The three-bedroom Cape needed a lot of work, but it clearly had potential, and the price was right.

"We just saw our family here," said Kelli-Ann. "The bedrooms are reasonably sized, it has a patio and a big enough yard — bigger than we bargained for — and a full basement. We're not used to the Cape Cod roof — my husband says that roof is too close to his head, and all the ones we looked at, that's how they were."

The house they bought has a high roof, and a high basement ceiling as well. "It's the right fit," Kelli-Ann said. "A lot of the other houses didn't require the amount of work this one does, but we decided, OK, we're going to take our time. Anthony can do everything."

They offered $200,000 for the home, which was listed at $234,900. The sellers came back at $210,000, but the Griffithses' real estate agent, Violet Smith-Gilmore of Gilmore Realty in Teaneck, pushed for a lower price. "She said, 'No, you have to meet my clients halfway. They know it has potential, but it has a lot of work to do,' " Kelli-Ann related. "The seller said, 'OK, fine.' We got it for $205,000."

As soon as the deal closed, on May 11, the Griffiths went to work. While installing a cable wire, Anthony noticed that the bedroom walls sounded unusually hollow. He broke into a section of wallboard and found there was no insulation behind it. Insulating the bedrooms became the first priority.

They had decided that a downstairs back room would be turned into a games room for the boys. But when the furniture was gone, they found the walls covered with unattractive wood tiles, which they plan to replace.

The living room walls were not painted, as they appeared to be, but covered with wallpaper, as was the ceiling. Upon removing the wallpaper, the Griffiths found they couldn't paint because there was so much glue stuck to the walls. They would have to put Sheetrock over the existing walls.

The kitchen cupboards turned out to be so dilapidated that they were unusable. However, the attached pantry provides storage space and will eventually be converted to cabinets.

They're already working on the enclosed patio, where the floor tiles contain asbestos, and the walls were soiled.

"Since we closed, we've worked every single day," said Kelli-Ann. "My in-laws come over, and I have a friend in South Jersey who comes every weekend so she can help us. Every evening I come home, fix the boys something to eat, and we do something. We want to get to a point where it's to our liking."

Anthony works as a computerized vendor, making templates for cardboard boxes, and Kelli-Ann is a medical biller.

They are happy with the neighborhood. "It's pretty quiet," Kelli-Ann said. "My son has schoolmates here, from the high school, and he can now walk home from school. It's closer to my little one's day care."

She is philosophical about the extra work their house needs. "It's been pretty good. You learn as you go. If you don't experience it, but somebody tells you, you cannot relate to it in the same way. Your experience helps you understand what's happening."

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