NJ real estate: Sign up for’s newsletter –

Do you want to be in the know when it comes to and development news? The brand new Building North Jersey newsletter is the perfect way to satiate your curiosity.

Hello. I’m Mary Chao, real estate and Asian communities writer at and The Record. I’m happy to announce that we will launch a weekly newsletter beginning this month on what’s happening in North Jersey, taking you through the market’s up and downs. We’ll also let you know about businesses opening in our communities, and we’ll keep you in the loop on large and small development projects.

The newsletter is free to subscribers. You can get that subscription now at with a low introductory offer of $1 for six months.

Really. Just a buck for half a year.

A pedestrian walks by a construction site in downtown Hackensack.

Then head to for the newsletter.

I promise it will be packed with information about exclusive local real estate and retail news that you can’t find anywhere else.

A little about myself, I have lived and worked in New Jersey for two years, after working for many years as a journalist in Rochester, New York. I am an award-winning journalist of three decades. We moved to New Jersey for my husband’s job — he is an attorney and recently retired as a colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps. I’m originally from Taipei, Taiwan and grew up in Queens. I graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and New York University.

Aerial image of the Crocker Mansion in Mahwah on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. The home sold for $26 million in 2021.

As empty nesters, we spend our free time traveling and exploring the region’s homes and eateries. I am on a dragon boat team and am practicing Kali martial arts. I love Broadway musicals. My husband doesn’t. Fortunately, our daughter is in college in Manhattan to indulge in the plays with me.

I have been a real estate writer for more than 15 years and follow the market closely as well as dabbling as an investor. I purchased an investment single-family home in the depths of the Great Recession in October of 2008, scared to death we would be financially ruined not being able to rent the house out. It all ended okay 11 years later and partially paid for our daughter’s college tuition.

To me, a home is an investment. In North Jersey, home values appreciate well. Being a savvy real estate investor means understanding trends and having an eye for design. I am a serial redecorator who keeps up with home trends, but always with an eye toward budget. Every property we have purchased has been ugly as that is where the bargains are, regardless of how hot the real estate market is.

Photo of Mary Chao, reporter at The Record/, poses for a photo at her home in Morris -Plains

I’m always on the go and on the look out for real estate trends and stories. Please feel free to email me at with any tips.

Thank you.

— Mary Chao

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