b'A Happy Landing in West OrangeWorking with the Allison Ziefert Real Estate GroupBY ELLEN DONKER I N G H ODJ enniferHughesandgarage. My intention is to make a lot of N MIF EBrendan Griffith fit the profileofmanyNew Yorkers who declared it was time to move when thepandemictook hold.BeforeCOVIDuse out of it. And the living room fire-was on anyones lips, they had had vi- place completed their image of a cozy sionsofmoving,butprocrastinated.home. Selling a co-op can be daunting sinceSincetheyarewaitingfortheir it involves having the co-op board ap- daughter to finish first grade in Forest prove a buyer.Hills, the house has been their week-But all that changed during lock- end retreat. Mornings are spent sipping downwhentheybegantocraveacoffee on the porch and afternoons are homewithmoreroomandoutdoorThe Hughes/Griffith family settled in West Orange. dedicated to painting and any number space for their preschool-aged daugh- of small projects. Their daughter has ter. Newly motivated, they sold theirbeagoodmatch.Originallyfromtobidding,Richterhelpedthemun- met kids in the neighborhood playing co-opin2021andrentedanapart- Rockland County, NY, where Hughesderstandtheimpactafewthousandin the street. Hughes says, Its great. mentinForestHills,Queenswhileand Griffith had also grown up, shedollars made for mortgage payments soLike theyre scootering, theyre running they decided where to settle next. bonded with the couple over memo- they could craft a winning offer. Andback and forth from house to house. Hughesadmitstheywerescaredries of the type of housing they wanteditworked.Theirofferwasaccepted,So we feel like its really going to be a of the market. She says, We hadntto avoid. That meant no cookie-cutterand they immediately started picturinggreat place for our daughter.really been ready to jump in, becausefloor plans like the ones in the sub- themselves spending the holidays there.When it comes to commuting to we knew it was going to be aggressive,divisions of their youth. Rather, theyBut when the home was inspected, athe city for work, the couple plans on we knew that we were going to prob- were attracted by the older Colonialsproblem surfaced that was a deal break- taking the West Orange jitney to the ably lose out on a lot of houses that weofMaplewood,SouthOrange,ander.DisappointedofcoursetheySouthOrangetrainstation.Griffith really loved. West Orange and wanted a home thatbrushed themselves off and decided tosays, I havent taken it yet. Im excited They reached out to Allison Zief- would meet the demands of moderntry again in January.to. Ill be like the little kid on the first ert of the Allison Ziefert Real Estateliving with period details intact. Against the odds in such a compet- day of school trying to get on the right Group of Compass on the advice ofRightaway,HughesandGriffithitive market, the couple quickly foundbus. He continues, Were excited to afriendwhohadworkedwithherwereimpressedwithRichtersorga- another home in West Orangeonebe here. Were happy with our house. to buy a home in West Orange a fewnizational skills. Hughes says, Jaimeof the teams off market listingsandWere certainly happy with the guid-yearsago.Ziefertconnectedthemhas been through this a million times,submittedthewinningoffer.Thisance from Compass and from Jaime, withherteamsWestOrangema- right? So she really prepared us. Eachtime, the process progressed flawlesslyandwerelookingforwardtomany ven, Jaime Richter, also a West Or- Friday she emailed them about openand they closed on March 27.great years.ange resident. Richter turned out tohouses so they could preview them on- Hughes says, We would have been lineanddecidewhichhappy in Maplewood. We would have onestoviewonthebeen happy in South Orange. We were weekend.Afterwards,definitelyopentoWestOrange.But Richterwoulddebriefit really came down to wherever that with them, asking howhouse that we felt was for us would be.each house made themThe three-bedroom home sits on a feel so she could homelot with a sloped back yard, and has a in on the type of placelovely deck and front porch. It has all of best suited for them. the period details that the couple loves, Inthefallof2021,including a garage where Griffith can HughesandGriffithpursue his hobbies. He says, I like to The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group (L to R): Kelly Oates,foundahouseinWesttinker with tools and build things andJennifer Hughes and Brendan Griffith Ginge Calhoun, Allison Ziefert, and Jaime Richter. Orange.WhenitcameI have a motorcycle. [Its] nice to have awith their daughter at their new home.42/ matters magazine / summer 2022'