Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent, Renting, Selling.

bergen county real estate market update

Here is the Bergen County Real Estate Market Update as of March 25th.  I’ll begin with the basics below.

Next is how things changed in early  March, data from the New Jersey MLS, what it tells us and how Weichert and I have approached things for decades.

 

 

Basic Market Behavior Currently

  • People are listing homes
  • People are buying homes
  • Rentals are moving at a good clip
  • Drive By Appraisals are allowed through May 17th
  • Mortgage rates which rose lately are coming down
  • Weichert agents are effectively working remotely for all clients whether buying, selling or renting
  • Weichert Realtors All Under One Roof one stop shopping enables clients to safely act successfully
  • Corporate relocation continues for both incoming buyers and local sellers

March 1, 2020

While we are only 1 week into a shut down of business as usual, fears predate this.  Corona virus fears, at least what I observed, really began in earnest at the beginning of March.

The top NY Times front page stories were Biden’s South Carolina win and the US Taliban signed agreement on March 1st.  Immediately below are 2 Corona virus stories.  They were the looming economic crisis and lack of medical supplies.  Only a few days later did it hit the US psyche significantly and panic began.  You saw it in your local supermarket.  People started stockpiling toilet paper, water, canned goods and more.

I mention this because although we began the year strongly, nearly 1/3 of 2020 is negatively impacted by Covid 19.

New Jersey MLS Data

With 1 more week of activity to go, 2019 and 2020 look about the same.  This is quite amazing because the New Jersey MLS is allowing homes to be withdrawn from the market without penalty.  The time a house is withdrawn won’t add to it’s total days on market like it did before.  As a result, you’d expect more homes to be withdrawn than normal due to Corona virus fears.  Yet numbers are nearly the same as 2019.

Here is what we have from the New Jersey MLS comparing 2019 to 2020 through March 24th:

  •  Listings are nearly identical – 4,664 to 4,659
  • Offers accepted in Attorney Review rose this year – 2,040 to 2,141
  • Under contracts rose too – 1,668 to 1,846
  • Withdrawals were pretty even – 842 to 832

Rentals are strong too.  Slightly more went on the market this year (2,877 to 3,020) and were leased (1,479 to 1,523).

Bergen County Real Estate Market Update

Real estate is moving well in Bergen County.  Because we still have more buyers than homes, prices are stable.  They are, in fact, rising in some market segments.  Rates have been and are under 4%.  Additionally buyers are focused on rates.  They see the current crisis as a few months of disruption and are afraid rates will rise in the future.

The bottom line for the Bergen County real estate market is that there are people who want to move and/or buy homes.  The Federal Government has helped too by maintaining a smooth process.  Drive by appraisals are now allowed because sellers,  understandably, may deny inside access to their home.

The Bergen County real estate market update for March 25th is simple:  We have an active, strong market.  Many homes continue to receive multiple offers; it seems nothing will change for the foreseeable future.

My and Weichert Realtors Approach

I realize I’ll sound like a Weichert groupie but there is a reason why I choose to be a Weichert agent.  This company is so far ahead of the others.  Because Jim Weichert brought 1 stop shopping to residential real estate, we’ve worked remotely for decades.  As a result, we are uniquely positioned for this crisis.

Through our All Under One Roof approach, we can do the entire transaction remotely.  We’re experts at this since we’ve done it for decades.  While I did have to learn to finally get comfortable with a cell phone video tour (wait till you hear what I sound like as I trip over a chair) the truth is we can do it all using technology.

If you want to buy or sell a property, call/text me at 201-741-8490.  I have a lot I can show  and do for you from the safety of your home!

 

 

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

Happy St Patrick's DayPOSTPONED UNTIL SEPT 12th 2020

DUE TO CORONA VIRUS CONCERNS

Bergen County St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Get ready to wear green because it’s time for the Bergen County St. Patrick’s Day Parade!  It’s the 39th year this popular parade is being held in, of course, Bergenfield.

The parade begins this Sunday, March 15th, at 2 pm and ends at 4 pm or there about.  This is a highly popular annual tradition.  It brings out thousands of people rain or shine every year.  Sunday will be no different.  Not even the Corona virus will dampen the Bergen County St.  Patrick’s Day Parade!  Weather is predicted to be 51 degrees and sunny.  The crowd is going to be huge as a result.

The public celebration begins with The Flag Raising Ceremony at 1 pm.  This takes place at the Roy Brown Middle School on Washington Ave.  The parade takes off from there at 2 pm moving up on Washington Avenue.

Bergen County’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade features Irish dancing by both children and adults and at least 3 bagpipe groups.  There are, additionally, Irish music and singers, antique cars, fire engines, high school bands plus much more.  It really is a lot of fun.  Irish dance

The Irish Community

Bergen County has a proud and strong Irish community.  Because there are so many people of Irish descent in Bergenfield the parade has always been held here.  Statewide, 10% of New Jersey residents have an Irish heritage according to Wikipedia.

The Bergen County St. Patrick’s Day Parade is sponsored by the Council of Irish Associations of Greater Bergen County.  The Council began in 1980.  It’s affectionately known as the Bergen Irish.  The goal was to combine Bergen County Irish clubs and associations into one organization to promote Irish culture and celebrate St Patrick’s Day.  Additionally the Council gives out awards for positive contributions to society.

Bergen County St. Patrick's Day ParadeLocal Irish Restaurants

Come on out this Sunday, March 15th, and enjoy the Bergen County St Patrick’s Day Parade.  Have a pint of Guinness and a wonderful meal afterwards at one of our great local Irish restaurants –  Tommy Fox’s Public House /Bergenfield, Blarney Station /East Rutherford, Biddy O’Malley’s /Englewood & Northvale and Shannon Rose /Ramsey

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent, Selling.

how is real estate in bergen countyHow’s Real Estate in Bergen County so far this year?  Let’s take a good look.

Using NJMLS Data Correctly

We are at the start of a new year.  As a result, it’s necessary to look at the market data from a different perspective.  This is because January and February closings originated last year with rare exception (30-45 day cash sales).  So what do you use?

You use under contract figures.  I feel that this is the most current picture of what’s happening.

Because Realtors must use the New Jersey State sales contract for residential transactions, attorneys know what to expect.  Attorney Review normally takes 1 week as a result.  So you’re under contract within 10 days from the time a seller signs your offer.  Plus inspection issues rarely alter the sales price.  What could be more current than this?

What’s Really Happening

Let’s compare 2019 to 2020 for January and February –

  • 14% more homes went under contract this year  (2,048 to 2,336)
  • The average price is up 7%  ($508,783 to $542,442)
  • The median price is up 9%  ($414,194 to $452,950)
  • Days on the market took slightly longer this year (69 to 72)
  • 4% more homes came on the market this year (3081 to 3,206)

While the inventory grew by only 4%, 14% went under contract.  That’s scorching demand for Bergen County homes.

The Stock Market, Corona Virus and Mortgage Rates  Dow Jones

January 1st sure was quiet compared to today.  There was no major news about the corona virus, stock market volatility didn’t exist and rates were good at just under 4%.  Today is a different world.

The Dow Jones lost 12% of it’s value and is volatile, mortgage rates are under 3.5% and the Corona virus is a very serious international issue.

Attendance at open houses yesterday was strong.  We have so far today 32 new listings and 28 accepted offers.  How is real estate in Bergen County?  Vibrant with powerful demand so far.  It seems that 2 things are fueling this – employment and rates.

The dramatic change to the US economy since Jan 1, 2016 is undeniable.  Unemployment is historically low as are mortgage rates.  It’s truly impossible to know what will happen with the Corona virus but real estate is a tangible asset.

A home is basically enforced savings – keep your house, pay it off over 30 years, get some tax relief during that time and retire with a nest egg that most of us will get no where else.  Sure prices will go up and down.  Who cares?  It’s a long term investment that’s been very very good.

No one knows how bad this virus will get or how it will effect the economy.  There is future hope if what has been broadcast is correct – a vaccination should come next year.  Let’s hope this happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent.

26 Hillside Ave Cresskill NJI will be at 26 Hillside Avenue in Cresskill this Sunday, March 1st, helping Laura Latrenta with this open house of her listing from 1 to 4.  It’s on the market for $1,129,000 with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths.  The NJMLS shows it as 4,296 square feet and I can tell you it’s very big having been there.

26 Hillside Ave is unique because the seller expanded it for his parents.  He actually created a house within a house.  As a result, each family has their own home and yet they are connected together as one family.

There was a lot of loving thought that went into this house.  The result is a wonderfully special home that works perfectly.  It’s also a very pretty home that blends modern and traditional styles. 26 Hillside Ave

They picked this spot because you can walk to everything.  It’s a 5 minute walk to the Coach USA #20 bus to NYC.  Another 5 minutes more for downtown shopping plus Cresskill’s municipal center, library and Merritt Memorial Elementary School.  Cresskill’s  Middle and High Schools are only 15 minutes further so that’s roughly a 25 minute walk.  Cresskill has a terrific, high scoring school system.  It also has great town services.

Cresskill has a simply wonderful town pool.  This is where many residents get to form lifelong friendships.  There’s also a recently constructed state of the art recreation center.  The town library is in the center of the business district and is quite a resource for residents.  There are events year round to keep you busy and energized.  Go to the town website and check out the Recreation Department there.

Getting back to 26 Hillside Ave this is also a great house for a variety of situations.  Blended families from 2nd marriages, large families with many children, multi generational families, relatives who come from overseas and stay for extended periods of time, people who work from home and need a private, quiet area for work, etc.  There are endless possibilities here in addition to just a typical, standard family.

26 Hillside AveThis handsome upscale home that’s oh so convenient to everything will charm you.  It has an ambiance of modern comfort with a decidedly sophisticated style.   This is not your typical cookie cutter colonial; it has so much more to offer you.  Come to 26 Hillside on Sunday between 1 and 4 pm and prepare to be “Wow’d”.  I’ll be delighted to show you this East Hill jewel in the upscale community of Cresskill NJ!

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent, Selling.

how much can you negotiate on a houseHow much can you can negotiate on a house depends on the market as well as the house.  I can tell you this though – it’s not as much as you think.  It’s easy to find endless articles on the web telling you what to do.  While those so called experts are advising you, they have no knowledge of your market or the type of home you’re considering.

Because real estate values are extremely local, general advice is quite limited.  Whoever writes the article you’re reading doesn’t know your market and it’s housing styles.

Historical and Recent Averages

Let’s go to the New Jersey MLS for our data.  Because most sales involve 2 different brokers, I’m using this as our example.

The NJMLS tells us that from 2000 through 2019, homes sold at 96.3% of the asking price.  Days on the market are 74.  When I began in real estate, I was always taught that the historical average for Bergen County was within 5%s of asking.

2016 is the peak of this cycle from what I can tell.  The average for 2016-2019 is 97% of the asking price. The days on the market figure is shorter at 63.  Looking at 2018-2019, our most recent period, we find that it’s 97.1% of asking and 59 days on the market.  This is for Bergen County overall in the NJMLS.

Low Ball Offers Don’t Work

If you read any article on the web that tells you to start at 10% or more under the asking price, don’t.  Based on the above, it’s obvious why this won’t work.  NJMLS figures are the truth. They tell you what actually happened.

For a $500,000 house, 97% is $485,000.  Put yourself in the homeowner’s shoes.  How would you feel if someone sent in a $450,000 offer?  You wouldn’t be thrilled.  Let’s add in the fact that this is a seller’s market since there are more buyers than homes.  You wouldn’t be thrilled, you’d be angry.  “Why waste my time on a ridiculous offer?” is what would be going through your mind.

Imagine you’re the seller again.  Your agent tells you an offer is arriving.  You are excited and can’t wait to see it.  Then in comes 450 on a 500 house……..  Do you think the seller will want to work with that buyer?

Imagine you’re the buyer.  You have sent in your 450 offer expecting to hear a reply.  The reply you get is either no reply (“We’ll negotiate when you’re ready to send in a decent offer.”) or maybe the reply will be 448 or 449.  Can you imagine how you would feel?  Not happy I’d bet.  Frustrated and upset is what I would bet on.

Low ball offers don’t pull sellers down; they make sellers less agreeable.  Bottom line – you don’t get the house you want or you end up paying more for it.

How Much Can You Negotiate On A House

How much can you negotiate on a house depends on your specific market.  By the time you find a house you want, you should know what to expect.  Your agent should have taught you both market dynamics and housing values.

The key to all of this is indeed information.  How much you can negotiate on a house is only answered by knowledge.  Do the best you can but don’t expect magic.  This goes for sellers too.

Asking too high a price is a huge mistake.  You will start that series of price reductions which under sells your home.  Even in a seller’s market starting too high gives all advantage to the buyer.

Why?  Because you miss the market.  The buyer who would have paid you more can’t come because you’re over his price range.  By the time you reduce to the market, your home is old news and is passed by.  Now you only attract bargain hunters.  Ouch!

Do Your Homework

Do your homework.  Learn the values so you can tell if a house makes sense or not.  Then be prepared to pay a fair price.  Sellers please market your home at a price that attracts your buyers.  You’ll get your home sold for what it’s worth in a reasonable amount of time.

If you need advice on the market, negotiating or anything else, just text or call me at 201-741-8490.

 

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe.

maple sugaringIt’s midweek.  You’re thinking of things to do this weekend in Bergen County as a result.  Let me help you with a few suggestions.  While I realize it’s February, the weather this weekend promises to be spectacular.  So let’s mix outdoor and indoor options.

Maple Sugaring

It’s that time of year again for maple sugaring at the Tenafly Nature Center.  Sessions are held every Sunday in February and March most often at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 pm.  Learn all about how maple trees are tapped to gather their sap.  Warm clothes are a must because part of the time you’ll be outside.  Going to see an actual maple tree tap is part of the program.  So is watching how the sap is boiled down to delicious maple syrup.

This is fun for adults and children alike but space is limited so make your reservations ASAP.  Maple sugaring is a very popular program.a lion in winter

The Lion in Winter

The Bergen County Players production of the Lion in Winter is still on this weekend.  This is an award winning play that ran on Broadway for a very long time.  You won’t want to miss it.

I love this theater group.  They put on terrific productions.  Parking is free (on the street) and you can’t beat the ticket prices.  It’s $22 on Friday and Saturday and $18 on Sunday.

Performances are held at 8 pm on Friday and Saturday while it’s 2 pm on Sunday.  Additionally BCP reserves seats for people with disabilities too.  Therefore call them in advance if you need this help.  The Bergen County Players is located in the old firehouse (just refurbished) at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell NJ  You can call them at 201-261-4200

new bridge landingHistoric New Bridge Landing

Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday this Sunday at historic New Bridge Landing in River Edge NJ from 1-5 pm.  What a spectacular event this is!  Plan to stay a few hours because there is so much going on.

A special musical and dance program at the Steuben House is held at 1:30 and 3:30  Children are taught to make a tri-corner hat and have fun with a scavenger hunt.  Watch food being cooked just like Martha did for George.  Get to meet Revolutionary soldiers and say hello to General Washington and Martha.

Because this is so well done and very authentic, don’t miss it.  It’s only on this Sunday afternoon after all.  Bring yourself and your family to this very special event that takes you back to the Revolutionary era.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for students.  Historic New Bridge Landing is located at 1201 Main St in River Edge NJ  Parking is free.

While I try to highlight events that are special, if you know of something I should add just text or call me at 201-741-8490.

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent.

how to handle an as is sale successfullyHow to handle an “as is” sale successfully isn’t hard or mysterious.  It’s strategic.  Because these situations can be managed fairly and openly, they’re a win for both sides.

What Is An “As Is” Sale?

Basically an “as is” sale is exactly that – the house is being sold as it is, take it or leave it.  The seller will do nothing so you buy the house in the condition it is. Period.

Homeowners want an “as is” sale.  Sales contracts include the words “as is” almost always.  While this is true, it almost always  is meaningless.  Because nearly all sales contracts have an inspection contingency, there is no “as is” sale in reality.  Also, unless a house is sold representing that a major system is broken (for example plumbing, no heat working etc), sales contracts also include that all major systems are working.

“As is” Is Often Meaningless

Buyers have a right to inspect a house because most contracts contain an inspection contingency.  Contingencies must be satisfied; if not, the contract is cancelled and the sale is dead.

If the inspection finds problems, buyers ask the seller to fix or give them a financial credit for those problems.  So this becomes another negotiation.  When buyers and sellers are reasonable (most of the time) this works out and the house is sold.  While “as is” may be in a sales contract, reality is different.

There are times, however, when a house is truly sold in “as is” condition.  There is no accommodation made whatsoever for any inspection or other issues.  Homes sold like this are usually foreclosures, short sales, or wrecks.

How To Handle An “as is” Sale Successfully

You are looking for a home to fix up.  You don’t want to pay a premium for a renovated or updated home.  As a result, you look for distressed properties or wrecks that have potential.  These are almost always “as is” sales.  The issue is how to handle an as is sale successfully so you don’t buy a mistake.

The answer is get the house inspected during Attorney Review.  (Go to my website where I explain the process and Attorney Review for you if you don’t remember.)  It’s easy to cancel during Attorney Review.

I urge my buyers to do this when it’s truly an “as is” sale.  Why?  To protect themselves.  Buyers ask me why they should inspect a house before they have a firm contract.  It costs money to inspect a house.  There is a risk to be sure.

You can lose the house during Attorney Review if a higher offer comes in.  The home inspection might show so many defects that you don’t proceed.  You’ve spent money on a house you won’t buy.  That’s the point however.  Sellers don’t lose a lot of time off the market too.

Get the home inspected during Attorney Review so you’re not stuck with a mistake in a true “as is” sale.  I think it’s worth spending $500-700 to avoid a calamity.  The decision is yours of course.  This is simply my best advice on how to handle an “as is” sale successfully.

Questions?  Need help with a home search?  Want information or advice? Call or text me at 201-741-8490

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent.

avoid mistakes when buying a homeAvoid mistakes when buying a home involves more than your home inspection report.  I just read an article that was a surprise to me from CNBC.  It spoke about regrets millennials have about their home purchase.  When I call my buyers months and years later, they almost always tell me how happy they are with the house.

I do have 1 exception which happened recently.  However that had to do with a relationship breakup.  Don’t buy a house thinking it will save your marriage.  It won’t.  Let’s look at the top reasons in the article from CNBC.

Closing Costs

If you bought a house from me, you know I made sure you knew about closing costs.  You were told to go over this carefully with the banker and your attorney.  You’ll also remember that I added in the cost of a home inspection, tank sweep and spoke about possible additional inspections your home inspector might suggest.  We also discussed the need for a survey, title insurance, homeowner insurance and perhaps a home warranty.  By the time we found a house, you had an excellent idea of what to expect.  closing costs

The CNBC article pointed out to me that a good number of millennial home buyers simply never got this information at all or completely.  Because closing costs come to thousands of dollars on top of the price of a home, make sure you get this information down to the penny.  Frankly if anyone you are dealing with isn’t doing this for you, fire them and get someone who has your interests at heart.

Ownership Costs

Can anyone explain to me why their so-called professionals in buying a home forget to tell you about what it costs to actually own a home?  This is SO frustrating to me.

utility costsDo your best to get an idea of utility costs.  Very unfortunately this has become more difficult due to privacy concerns.  Up until the very recent past I could get a budget plan for gas and electric and some notion of what water would run.  However, try your best to get an idea.  Heat, cooling and water are all things you need and they’re not free.

Also, how about being told to budget for lawn maintenance, snow removal, gutter cleaning?  Because this is important you should figure it too.  If I can get this from the current owner in occupied homes, that’s great.  Because everyone lives in a home differently, I caution my buyers accordingly.

For example, if the owner is 85 then the heat is really high so take that into consideration.  If the owner works in NYC and has a programmable thermostat, then heating bills will be higher if you work from home.  You really won’t know until you live there but there should be no major surprises.

The Home Itself

The article spoke about the house itself – it’s size and location – and why it’s important to see the house yourself.  While I love technology, anyone who buys a house strictly through the web is making a HUGE mistake.

No matter how good VR becomes, a house is a home.  It’s not now and never will be just a structure.  It’s a home, it’s your living environment.  It that wasn’t important, you wouldn’t worry about what color to paint a room, where to place that sofa etc.  Homes are emotional purchases.  It’s where you live your life.

Again, if you bought a home from me you will remember me pointing out that you can hear the street noise – is that ok? or telling you to come back at rush hour on Monday because everything is quiet on an open house Sunday afternoon.  You should drive around the neighborhood too because you don’t want to be surprised when they turn on the lights behind your house for that Little League evening baseball game.

Spend Time to be Prepared

In my initial conversation with my clients, I always ask them to spend a little extra time with me to get prepared.  If you go to the buyers section of my website you’ll see that it’s basically a mini course on how to do this right.  I want you to be fully prepared because that’s how you do the best for yourself.

It is very unfortunate that a large number of millennial buyers regret their home purchase.  All I can tell you is that my customers are happy with their homes.  The reason they are is simple – they agreed to spend a little extra time with me to get fully prepared.  You can avoid mistakes when buying a home.  If you want to know more or have any other questions, just text or call me at 201-741-8490.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Bergen County LIfe, Things To Do.

Ground Hog DayGroundhog Day is not a Bergen County event but I thought it would be fun to include it here because it’s this Sunday.  Groundhog Day is not only a US tradition; it’s celebrated in Canada too.  Both countries observe it on February 2nd.

This is really celebrated at many locations in both countries but ground zero is really the Borough of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania.  Groundhog Day there has become a major national event swelling the town’s population from 6,000 to over 20,000 people.

So What Is Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is all about predicting the weather.  Specifically it predicts when spring comes.  Now, think about the logic of this – a rodent’s behavior is going to tell us when spring begins.  Obviously this is a mythical event that’s become a lot of fun too.

IF the groundhog comes out of it’s burrow on February 2nd and it’s a clear day, the little rodent will see it’s shadow.  It will retreat to it’s den and we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter.  However, if the day is cloudy and overcast, then no shadow so spring will be early.  How accurate is this? Not even a little.  groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil

The powers that be in Punxsutawney PA have named their groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.  This ceremony has been going on since 1887 and Phil has always lived in a spot called Gobblers Knob.

There are 15 local volunteers who are the keepers of this legend known as the Inner Circle.  They are easy to spot because they all wear tuxedos and top hats.  Some are Phil’s handlers.

Every February 2nd at an appointed time they read a proclamation telling the world if Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow.  Phil is held up by his handler for all to see while this is going on.

Groundhog day is a fun and welcome diversion from the drabness of winter.  The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club even has their own website all about it. 

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Buying, For Sale or Rent, Selling.

what negative inventory means for youLet’s see what negative inventory means for you in housing.  As a Realtor, this is something I track; it’s also something you need to understand.

What Is Negative Inventory

Negative inventory occurs when more homes leave than come on the market for sale.  The result is that you’re literally running out of homes for sale.

Let’s just take the previous 24 hours.  From Tuesday to Wednesday, here’s what we have for single family homes in the New Jersey MLS:

  • 168 new listings
  • 127 homes accepted offers
  •  63 homes went Under Contract

The math is obvious.  We had 22 more homes leaving than entering the market for sale.  It’s been like this for quite some time.  While 22 units doesn’t seem like much, the cumulative effect has been significant.

What Negative Inventory Means For You

For home buyers –

  • Not much to show you
  • It will take more time looking
  • You’ll often be in a multiple bid situation when you find a house
  • You might have to make several offers before you get a home

For homeowners –

  • Plenty of buyers
  • Often multiple offers
  • Leverage in negotiating terms
  • Less time on the market to get your home sold

I forecast a negative inventory market years ago.  It’s here to stay for quite a while too.  How did this happen?

The Boomer Effect

  • Baby Boomers may be aging, but they are aging in place more than any generation before them.
  • A great number are physically active, have a paid off mortgage and are still working
  • It often costs more to rent a 2 bedroom apartment than to own their home
  • Emotionally they don’t want to leave friends and family
  • Most, in my experience, leave when the stairs or taxes are too much.

Low Mortgage Rates

If you have good credentials, 30 year mortgages have been at 3.5% for months.  This week it dropped to 3.375%  That’s $442 per month; at 4% it’s 477 so let’s go to the middle at $460 for $100,000 in mortgage dollars.

The NJMLS has the average 2 bedroom rental at $2,143.  Let’s make that $2,000.  Now divide that by $460 for $435,000 in mortgage dollars.  With a 10% down payment and the ability to spend $1,500 more monthly (taxes, insurance, maintenance)  you can buy a home for $485,000.

Low rates have buyers jumping off the fence, out of their rentals and into home ownership because it makes sense.

 The Risk for Buyers & Sellers

  • Accepted offers fall apart because buyers get caught up in a bidding war only to regret it
  • Sellers can be too demanding – buyers answer back with unreasonable inspection issues
  • Rushing, poorly prepared buyers are not properly educated on costs
  • Sellers knowing the inventory is low, over price their homes

The Good News

  • The market is fundamentally solid; it will remain solid for years
  • Buyers are not over-paying making appreciation reasonable
  • Rates are low and will be so for the foreseeable future
  • The cost of owning a home is less than it was 3 years ago
  • Our negative inventory is challenging and not a crisis.

What negative inventory means for you depends on who you are.  It’s different for buyers and sellers but there is a message here:  Don’t over play your hand (sellers) and be completely educated and prepared (buyers).

Text or call me if you need a great agent at 201-741-8490  If you’re out of the Bergen County area, I know top agents across the country too.