It was almost 50 years ago, when shortly after moving to the Teaneck apartment complex my Mom a”h began drumming into our young heads that paying rent for two years was enough. That is when we made our way to our first home on a street I had never heard of before called Edgewood Ave. Like many of our peers, we forged, over time, a strong connection with the Teaneck/Bergenfield community and through a symbiotic relationship of giving and receiving, were lucky enough to raise both ourselves and our children in our very first home. Upon reflection I would like to believe that it has been a win-win relationship and I know most of us consider ourselves blessed to be a part of the greater Teaneck area, the place we call home for so many years.
And what happens now? A friend and former customer of mine who also raised his children here, but has since retired, shared with me a running conversation he is currently having with his wife. It goes like this: “Our children no longer live in this home which now has too many bedrooms, and some of our closest friends have started talking about moving. Should we be considering downsizing? Buy a place in Florida or Israel? So we’ll start talking about making a move to a new place and then my wife will just stop and suddenly say, what? Are we crazy? WE HAVE EVERYTHING HERE! We are comfortable here and this community is so alive and growing and I still want to be a part of it!”
Many of you must have seen a Wall Street Journal article that ran earlier this week describing the added pressure that older families downsizing to smaller homes, within the same community, are having vis a vis the availability, as well as pricing, of traditionally smaller, starter homes. I can say anecdotally from my office’s experience that we are absolutely living through this. A home will come on the market and the two most dominant sectors of buyers will be young families just starting out in life competing against older couples downsizing.
There are, of course, sellers who, in theory, want to stay but are drawn by the necessity of living closer to their adult children to be near them as they age. Conversely, grandparents move to almost every part of the world in order to facilitate more time with their grandchildren and to lend a helping hand.
A buyer once caught me off guard while looking at local homes with the following question: What would you say is the soul of Teaneck? Without missing a beat I answered “Our love and commitment to Israel.” Funny thing to say to people who are about to purchase a home here! Perhaps, the good news for some of us who can’t decide to stay or go is that we are increasingly living in a world where we can live and work in at least two places at the same time. Best answer I can come up with for the moment!
Nechama Polak is broker of record and owner of V and N Group LLC 1401 Palisade AveTeaneck, NJ [email protected] 201 826 8809.