Pascack Valley Real Estate, Advice, Tips, Neighborhood Information, & Town News
We received final approval from corporate today and a new Keller Williams office will be opening up in the Pascack Valley. The new office will be located at 123 Tice Boulevard in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey on the first floor. The new office is only steps away from the popular Tice’s Corner Marketplace.
We had our first office meeting yesterday and it was amazing to look around the room and see how many top real estate agents were recruited to be a part of the new office. It’s like an All-Star team. We already have over 50 agents to start the new office with. We should hit the ground running and be profitable instantly.
I was also proud that the team leader, Colleen Kossoff, announced I was one of the first agents recruited back in October to be a part of the new Pascack Valley office.
The office will be under construction and I am sure it will be amazing when the work is done hopefully by July.
Looking to be a part of something special in the Pascack Valley? Want to learn more about Keller Williams’s profit sharing, high commission splits, technology, and the most important, culture? Contact me at 201-214-1349 or drop me an email at KevinHillRealEstate@gmail.com and I’ll put you in touch with our team leader who can explain all the benefits that come with being a real estate agent with Keller Williams.
2013 has gotten off to a very fast start for real estate here in the Pascack Valley, Bergen County, and even nationally. Housing inventories are way down and buyers are scooping up the available properties often within days of the house being listed.
Housing affordability, low interest rates, and optimism that America’s economy is getting better are finally getting home buyers off the fence. I keep seeing it time and time again, a well priced house gets listed on the Multiple Listing Service and its gone quickly. Especially in the lower, first time home buyer price ranges. I consider that range any home listed under $450,000 in the Pascack Valley and surrounding Bergen County.
This has happened to me many times already this year, where one of my buyer clients has either put off seeing the home until next week or even on a Monday, requested to see a home on a Saturday, and the house already has an accepted offer on the home before the end of the week. You can’t procrastinate! Some of my buyers, who have been searching for a long time, are used to taking their time, but its not like that in 2013!
I wouldn’t call it a full blown seller’s market. You still have to price your home reflecting current market values. Short sales and foreclosures seem to linger on the market for awhile unless they are really priced under market value. Many buyers don’t want to deal with the headaches of having to get the lender’s approval on their offer, which often takes months and months.
These type of distressed properties usually need updating also because someone someone behind on their mortgage isn’t likely to properly maintain their home if they could possibly lose it.
Now some sellers see this as an opportunity to try and sell their homes themselves. This is still a mistake. You need a professional to price your home properly in this ever changing real estate market, get your home marketed property for maximum exposure, and have someone on your side to negotiate.
Many of the ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs I see in the Pascack Valley have been up for months without them selling. Recently, on the street I live on in Westwood, a homeowner tried unsuccessfully to sell his home on his own for 2 months. He put it on the ‘For Sale by Owner’ sites, Zillow, and Craig’s List. Within 4 days of him finally listing his home with a real estate agent, he had an accepted offer.
So sellers, if you have been holding out on listing your home, getting it on the market NOW and buyers, if you see something you like, jump on it NOW before its gone!
As an active, full time real estate agent in the Pascack Valley of Bergen County, New Jersey, I observe that a majority of my fellow REALTORS® are professional, do good by their clients, and most importantly, get their home sellers’ houses sold. Unfortunately, I also encounter some agents who are incompetent, lazy, just don’t care, or a combination of all those negative traits. If you feel like your listing agent is the latter, FIRE YOUR REALTOR® NOW!
© 2005, WWE All Rights Reserved.
So what are some warning signs that you need to can your real estate agent immediately?
Lack of Communication-You signed the paperwork, the agent put the sign on your front lawn, and now you never hear from them. A good real estate agent will communicate with you at least on a weekly basis. He/she should be giving you feedback from showings, informing you how many internet hits your listing is receiving, sending new sold comparables/active listings in your neighborhood, and just checking in with you to see if you have any concerns. Sometimes, I am calling listing agents to show one of my buyer clients a home, and the listing agent doesn’t call me back!
Your Home Listing is Lackluster-Did the agent put 15+ pictures in your listing? Studies show the more pictures a listing has, the more likely a potential buyer will click on the listing. Are the pictures reasonably well done? I recently saw a new listing come on the New Jersey MLS that had 15 pictures, but ALL 15 were blurry! There is no excuse for that! Is there a suitable, accurate description of your home? One sentence of some vague details about your home is just not acceptable. Are you handling all the showings? Some sellers may want to be contacted directly, but realistically, your agent should be the go between to handle all the calls and setup the showings.
Your Home is Not Being Marketed Properly-Internet marketing is vital to getting your home shown and sold. What web sites is your house listed on? Again, how are the pictures? Are all your homes features being expressed in the advertising? Is video being utilized in the marketing? Although not as effective as internet advertising, is your listing agent marketing your home through old school methods also like print advertising, open houses, and just listed postcards?
The Listing Agent Has No Justification for the List Price-The listing agent is doing you a great disservice overpricing your home. I had a listing last year in Westwood. It was previously listed with another broker. The seller explained to me how the agent came up with the list price. She took what they paid for the house (back in 2005) and added in the cost of the upgrades they made and boom, there is the list price! That isn’t the way to price a home. That home ended up being overpriced by almost $100,000! The list price should be based on homes similar in age, condition, style, and location. The agent should perform a Current Market Analysis (CMA) using recent sold homes (less than 6 months old if possible), under contracts, and active listings from your neighborhood. Sometimes using expired listings is useful, as they can show a home possibly being overpriced and the reason why it didn’t sell. Also,remember, the actively listed homes are your competition.
The Listing Agent Isn’t Adapting to Current Market Conditions-Pricing a home isn’t an exact science. Some homes are so unusual, there really aren’t any comparables. So its up to your agent to keep abreast of the market and speak to you about adjusting your list price. Think of your list price more as the initial price. If a comparable home recently sold across the street for $50,000 under what your home is listed at, its probably time to reduce your price. If you aren’t getting many showings or any offers, its time to adjust your list price. Your agent needs to be proactive and not let your house linger and while you have to fork over your monthly mortgage, property taxes, and home insurance.
This is just scratching the service but these are basic things your listing agent should be doing and if not, FIRE THEM and hire a real estate agent who will do everything they can to sell your home in a timely manner and for the most money possible.
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Click here on methods to make your home more marketable.
It is time to look back at the real estate market in 2012 and see how it compared to 2011 in Bergen County as a whole and the Pascack Valley region. Total sales were up nicely in 2012 in Bergen County. This supports the national trend of reduced housing inventory. Every price range was up except for the $1.5+ million priced homes.
Average home price was down very slightly in the typical first time home buyer price range ($400k & under). This could be a result of distressed properties, which are still part of the market in Bergen County. Average price was also down in the higher end homes, but the middle price ranges were basically stable from 2011 to 2012.
Median homes prices were basically flat across the board in all pricing categories.
The Pascack Valley region, made up of Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood, and Woodcliff Lake, saw a significant increase in single family home sales in 2012. Up an astounding 31% from 2011. The average sold price was down 3% across the Pascack Valley region. Median home price (not reflected in the table) was down 6% across the region.
There are definite signs of a real estate recovery throughout Bergen County. Reduced inventory, near record low mortgage interest rates, strong home sale increases, and stabilizing home prices bode well for real estate in 2013.
Want statistics on individual towns in Bergen County? Contact Kevin Hill, REALTOR®-Sales Associate with Keller Williams Realty-Village Square for more details.
Want to search for homes currently available for sale in the Pascack Valley and surrounding Bergen County? Go here:
If you listen to most real estate agents, no matter what the market conditions are, they always say its a good time to buy a home. Even in 2007, right when the housing bubble was about to burst, they were still crowing it was a good time to buy. One company head and founder even had predicted we hit the market bottom in 2008! Often the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has their economist spin that everything is great in real estate or will admit its down only when its obvious to everyone else with half a brain.
As a former appraiser, I was in the trenches when the market was booming and knew it was unsustainable. It was ridiculous to see homes appreciate tens of thousands of dollars in a few months time without even improvements being made to the home. I remember going back to properties 2-3 times to reappraise their condo or home because the owner was cashing out their equity on a refinance. Appraisers were under pressure to bring in the increased values or risk not receiving work from that lender. The price of homes was quickly outpacing increases in income.
Now that I am on the sales side, I am seeing buyers faced with less homes to choose from, multiple bids on correctly priced homes, and a decrease on the days on the market.
No area was invincible to the real estate downturn. Some areas were hit much harder like Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. New Jersey was plagued with a high inventory of distressed properties due to the Robo Signing controversy and the courts freezing all foreclosures.
Now with significant increases in the number of sales and reduced housing inventory in 2012, there are finally solid signs of a real estate market recovery in Bergen County, New Jersey and nationally. Its not just agents, real estate company presidents, and NAR who are predicting an improving real estate market in 2013.
J.P. Morgan Chase is predicting a 3.4 to a 9.7% increase in home prices in 2013. Standard & Poor’s, which rates private-issue mortgage bonds said it expects a 5% increase.
In Zillow’s December Home Price Expectations Survey, which is based on responses from 105 economist and industry experts, they predicted a 3.1% increase in home prices.
The Wall Street Journal says home prices are on track to have their first yearly gain since 2006.
CNN Money reports that new home sales recently recorded their strongest pace in more than 2 years.
Foreclosures hit a 5 year low nationally and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 8 years. Couple this will near record low mortgage interest rates and there are numerous signs of a turnaround in real estate in 2013.
Now don’t get too giddy. It still can be tough for buyers to qualify for a mortgage, not have a property be undervalued by the appraiser, we still have a plentiful supply of short sales & foreclosures to weed through, and the economy isn’t exactly booming presently.
I say its definitely okay to have some guarded optimism for the real estate market in 2013 and beyond. Yes, I am going to say the hack real estate agent line that “it’s a good time to buy a home!”
Some home buyers in Bergen County, New Jersey are on the fence. Will the real estate market go down more? Is it a good time to buy a home? Should I keep waiting to buy a home?
Well there are continued signs of a real estate recovery nationally and more locally here in Bergen County, New Jersey. In comparing 2011 to 2012, there are some key statistics from the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service proving the real estate markets in Bergen County is improving.
1. There are less homes on the market in 2012 vs 2011. Simple law of supply and demand, as inventory goes down, demand goes up.
2. Absorption rate for all residential housing types is down significantly. In case you don’t know what absorption rate is it shows the rate at which the inventory of homes for sale are being sold. A declining figure indicates people the inventory is decreasing as more homes are being sold than are coming onto the market. A rising absorption rate implies that there are more homes coming onto the market than there are buyers willing to buy at the market prices.
The absorption rate lets you know how well the market is absorbing the current inventory of listings.
3. Number of sold homes for the year is up.
4. Days on the market has decreased
5. Median home prices for all residential categories is up.
For a more detailed look at the statistics provided by the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service for November 2012, get instant access to the 33 page report.
For those with patience and willingness to possibly do some renovations, there are still short sales and foreclosures available. Often these homes are priced under market value and buyers can get a great deal on a home.
I know real estate agents almost always say ‘its a great time to buy a home’, but coupled with the housing recovery statistics, near record low interest rates, and housing affordability, it really is a great time to buy a home!
Contact Kevin Hill, REALTOR®-Sales Associate with Keller Williams Realty.
Due to many small towns in Bergen County, New Jersey, many towns do not have enough children to have their own high school. Therefore, many high schools are regional, and draw their students from several different towns. Here is a guide to all the regional high schools and what towns send their students to. This is especially useful for people looking to buy a home in Bergen County and are looking for quality schools.
Westwood Regional High School-Washington Township & Westwood
Pascack Valley High School-Hillsdale & River Vale
Pascack Hills High School-Montvale & Woodcliff Lake
Northern Valley at Old Tappan High School-Harrington Park, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan and Rockleigh
Northern Valley at Demarest High School-Closter, Demarest, and Haworth
River Dell High School-Oradell & River Edge
Tenafly High School-Alpine & Tenafly
Northern Highlands Regional High School-Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Saddle River (students have choice between Northern Highlands or Ramsey High School), & Upper Saddle River
Ramapo High School-Franklin Lakes, Oakland, & Wyckoff (students from these 3 towns can also choose to go to Indian Hills High School in the 8th grade)
Indian Hills High School-Franklin Lakes, Oakland, & Wyckoff (students from these 3 towns can also choose to go to Indian Hills High School in the 8th grade)
Ridgefield Park High School-Little Ferry & Ridgefield Park
Henry p. Becton High School-Carlstadt & East Rutherford
Hackensack High School-Hackensack, Maywood, Rochelle Park, & South Hackensack
Wood-Ridge High School-Moonachie & Wood-Ridge
For more sources on New Jersey’s schools and rankings, please click here.
To search for homes throughout Bergen County, go here.
In real estate, the spring market is the busiest time of the year. However, don’t think you missed out on buying or selling your home and need to wait until next spring to put your home on the market. Selling in the fall has its advantages.
Less Competition for Sellers
There are less homes on the market, so there is less inventory for buyers to choose from. Serious buyers, who have an urgency to buy ASAP, have less choices out there and increases the odds of your home selling (well if its priced well, shows well, is accessible, and marketed well, but that’s a whole other blog article).
Less Competition for Buyers
Believe it or not, well priced homes, were getting multiple offers on them in the Pascack Valley area of Bergen County in this perceived down market. I often had buyers who put off seeing a home until next week, get disappointed when that house listing received an accepted offer in the meantime and they missed out.
More Serious Buyers
This is especially the case around the holidays. People looking November-January are really motivated to buy. They aren’t people out for a warm, spring day drive and decide to check out some open houses for decorating tips.
For those into statistics, in the Pascack Valley in 2011, there were 415 single home sales. 120 of those sold occurred from September 1st through December 31st. That’s 29% for those keeping track at home.
My advice if you are looking to sell, take the next few weeks to get your home ready, contact a great real estate agent, and get your home listed this fall! If looking to buy, get your finances in order, get pre-approved, and work with a great buyer’s agent to find your dream home!
This is an interesting infograph from Diggsy.com. I think the hours spent on a listing are probably even higher on most listings.
Copyright 2012 Diggsy.com
So as a real estate agent in the Pascack Valley, the one question I always receive is ‘how is the real estate market doing?’. So in my experience and in talking to other REALTORS®-in my office and from around Bergen County, the market is doing better. The buyers are definitely out there and homes, if priced correctly, aren’t staying on the market long. Of course, many homes are sitting on the market for months and there are foreclosures and short sales still coming on the market. Lets look at some statistics to further show how the market is doing. In case you aren’t familiar with the Pascack Valley area in Bergen County, New Jersey, its comprised of 8 towns. Those towns are Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood, and Woodcliff Lake.
As of the date this article was written, in the Pascack Valley, there are currently 338 active, single family homes available for purchase. 152 home listings are currently under contract, and there have been 176 single family home sales in 2012. The average days on the market is approximately 92 days.
Comparing 2011 vs 2012 in the Pascack Valley, single family home sales are up. The number of sold listings is up 17% from the time period of Jan through May. Despite a lot of the doom and gloom you hear on the news, the average sold price is actually up 2% from 2011. Now thats not a huge increase, but it shows some stabilization in home prices and even a modest appreciation. Average home prices in Bergen County as a whole were flat from 2011 to 2012, but again it displays stabilization.
It’s a good time to buy, as it appears that the Pascack Valley region has already reached its bottom and is showing signs of recovery. Also, interest rates remain at or near record lows. As of the date of this article, averaging 3.78% for the area.
Lets break down the 176 sales so far this year into price ranges.
So the lower price ranges are making up a large majority of the current sales, which makes sense because the majority of home buyers out there now are first time home buyers. You may also see buyers moving up from their condo or starter home to purchase a more expensive home.
Note: All statistics are provided by the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service and are considered reliable, but not guaranteed.
It amazes me how many buyers out there don’t have their own real estate agent working on their side. New Jersey, among other states, allows dual agency. Dual agency means the real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in the same real estate transaction. Both parties must consent to this dual agency relationship.
With the dual agency, the agent cannot diclose any information about either party to the other, including details on the condition of the house, financing, or any of the motivations of either side of the transaction. This makes it tough to negotiate, as the agent can’t tell you what you should offer or give an opinion on what repairs should be made or credit given. They can give you comparables, but it would be up to you to interpret the information and come up with your own offer price. It really handcuffs the agent and I believe it does a disservice to both sides. Now some Realtors love dual agency, because instead of having to split the commission with the buyer’s agent, they keep the entire commission. With this double payout for the agent, I might be a little nervous as a consumer that, whether intentional or unintentional, the agent in their excitement to close the deal, may do something unethical to make the deal happen.
I recently heard a story from one of my buyer clients, where their friends used the listing agent they met at the open house to represent them. Well they ended up paying an above market price for the home and were unpleasantly surprised when the light fixtures and kitchen appliances were missing, as they were lead to believe by the listing agent they were to be included in the home sale. Another fellow agent in my office told me how their cousin bought a home through the listing agent and they not only overpaid for the house by $50,000, they were never informed the house was located in a flood zone!
Even with all the research buyers can do online through Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow etc, in their home search, it still makes sense to have a buyer’s agent represent you. It costs you NOTHING. You aren’t going to get a better deal because you are using the listing agent, they are just going to keep both ends of the commission. The buyer’s agent will guide you through the transaction (which understandably, can be intimidating), line up referrals such as the home inspector, contractors, or a loan officer for you, inform you of the market trends, neighborhoods, negotiate the sales price, and basically help you achieve your goal, finding the right house, at the right price, and in a timely manner.
Need a GREAT buyer’s agent on your side? Contact Kevin Hill, REALTOR®-Sales Associate with Keller Williams Realty-Village Square now!
Search for homes in Bergen County, New Jersey here!
Real estate in the Pascack Valley and Bergen County has about 6 basic styles of homes for buyers to choose from. Of course there are variations in each particular style, but I want to keep it simple, especially for the first time home buyers out there. What is unique about the housing stock in Bergen County, is on the same street, the ages, sizes, styles, and lot sizes can vary greatly. So here are the basic styles of single family homes available in the Pascack Valley and surrounding Bergen County in New Jersey.
This is a single level home. Commonly have a full basement, or built with a crawl space or on a concrete slab. Sometimes larger or added onto ranches are sometimes referred to as an ‘expanded ranch’.
This home usually has at least 1 bedroom on the 1st floor and the second floor has slanted ceilings with the remaining bedrooms. Many were built in the 1940′s. Often they have dormers. They are considered to either have 1.5 or 1.75 floors. The dormers can be a full dormer on the back, front, both or smaller dormers in the front with windows. Many times, owners will expand cape cods to full 2nd floors for more living area. Cape Cods in this area usually have full basements.
Has 2 or more full stories. Bedrooms are all on the upper floors. Many newer colonials have the garage built-in, but common to see attached or detached garages. Colonials in this area often have full basements, but occasionally you will see ones built on a slab or have ‘dutch’ basements. Dutch basements are usually small basements which are home to the hot water heater, furnace and/or boiler. The ‘colonial’ style is very broad. There are all types of colonials, such as side hall, center hall, Tudors, Georgian and the much recently maligned ‘McMansion’.
Bi-Levels are the most cookie cutter of all the home styles. Usually there is an entry foyer, with stairs going up and another staircase going down. The bedrooms are found on the 2nd floor, along with the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The 1st floor contains a family room and sometimes another bedroom or den. The garages are built into the house and there is no basement. The bi-level is built on a concrete slab.
Split-Levels have one part of the house is about half way between the floor and ceiling of the other part of the house. The one story section typically contains a living room, kitchen, and dining room. There are typically two small sets of stairs that attach the one story section of the house to the two story section. One set leads up, typically to the bedrooms and a bathroom. The other set leads down to a large family room and basement area. The basement is usually a partial basement, that only runs around the portion of the house that is one story. The 2 story section is typically built on a concrete slab. Some split-levels have no basements at all or the 1 story section of the house has a crawl space under it. Sometimes you see a tri-level split, where there is another set of stairs from the 2nd floor often leading up to a master bedroom and master bathroom. Sometimes there are front to back splits, where the front portion of the house is a single story and the stairs lead to a back portion of the house that is 2 stories.
Is a broad category. Its usually doesn’t conform to any of the other styles. They are usually more modern looking and no 2 may be alike. They have odd, irregular shapes. They often have open floors and tall windows.
In today’s real estate market in the Pascack Valley and surrounding Bergen County, first time home buyers make up the highest percentage of potential buyers. Since buying a home is your largest investment you’ll ever make, its vital to learn the entire home purchasing process and have guidance throughout the transaction until the keys to your new house are in your hand. the Spring Market is almost upon us, so get ready now!
Some quick tips for all 1st time home buyers:
Find yourself a qualified real estate buyer’s agent to represent you. Do NOT use the listing agent as your agent. When the agent represents both sides of the house purchase, its called ‘dual agency’ and it is a disservice to you. I have heard too many horror stories of buyers overpaying, not getting everything they thought was included in the sale, or just not receiving enough customer service and communication during the house purchase. You should also use an agent you click well with. If you are tech savvy, don’t use an agent who doesn’t even have a cell phone or barely knows how to turn on a computer.
You should get pre approved for a mortgage before you start seriously searching. This way you know that you can obtain a mortgage and exactly what price range you should be looking at and not wasting time looking at homes you can’t afford.
Want to see what homes and condos are available in Bergen County in a typical first time home buyers’ price range? Click here!
Intimidated by the process?
Well fear not, I will be offering free, one on one consultations or seminars for 1st time home buyers in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Sign up below! Consultations & seminars will take place in River Vale.
PascackValleyHome.com now features the ability for readers to conduct houses searches right on the site! Utilizing the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service’s Internet Date Exchange (IDX), you can now do your search for our dream house in the Pascack Valley and surrounding Bergen County right here on the site! Provided by Kevin Hill, Sales Associate with Friedberg Properties in River Vale.
Despite all the doom and gloom you hear on the news, home values in River Vale actually went up from 2010. According to the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, the average sales price of a River Vale house went up by 6% in 2011. The average single family home in River Vale sold for $594,812 in 2010 and in 2011, the figure was $632,431. The amount total sold house listings was down by 16% though in River Vale.
Bergen County as a whole, showed stabilization, with the average sale price of a single family home almost identical in 2011 as 2010 at approximately $560,000. Is it possible we have hit the bottom of the market and may even see a slight increase in 2012? Only time will tell, however just personally speaking, it appears that things have picked up since November. With towns like River Vale more affordable than ever, combined with record low interest rates, its a great time for buyers. Also, great for step up buyers. Those are buyers moving from condos to a house or from a starter type home to a larger, more updated home.
The same can’t be said for the condo market in River Vale. The condo market continues to be soft, with a 15% decline in the average sales price of a condo in River Vale. There isn’t a huge amount of condo complexes in River Vale, so the sample size is a lot smaller than the River Vale housing market. There were 13 condo sales in River Vale in 2011, up from the 11 sold in 2010.
Need more information on River Vale and the local housing market? Fill out the form below!
Knew it wouldn’t last long! Under contract and set to close on April 30th!
Its not often that a newer construction colonial, in the great town of Westwood, comes on the market in this price range. You often read in other agent’s descriptions that their listing is ‘priced to sell’, then it sits on the market for 6 months. That’s not the case with this home, as it’s truly priced to sell quickly.
175 Palisade Avenue in Westwood was built in 2005. It has 3 bedrooms
and 4 full bathrooms. That’s not a typo, 4 full bathrooms! It has everything you want in a house. Hardwood floors, granite, finished basement, 2 zone heating/central air conditioning, garage, and features a pretty backyard, garden oasis.
Basement: Family Room, Full Bathroom, Utility/Laundry Room
1st Floor: Living Room, Dining Room, Family Room, Eat-in Kitchen, Full Bathroom
2nd Floor: 3 Bedrooms, Sitting Area, 2 Full Bathrooms
The home is within walking distance of the recently renovated Westvale Park. The park features walking/bike path, dog park, snack bar, spanking brand new kiddie playground, bathrooms, and well groomed, lighted sports fields. It will also soon connect to nearby Pascack Brook County Park.
The Pascack Valley Swim Club is also within steps of your front door. Lounge by the pool and take a dip in the cool, refreshing pool. Its great summer fun for the entire family on a hot, summer day. Features 2 diving boards, slide, picnic areas, bathrooms, changing rooms, games, snack bar, pool basketball, pool volleyball, and playground.
With nearby Hackensack Hospital at Pasack Valley set to reopen in the near future, the surrounding real estate market area should receive a boost. This section is an under valued area, which has been a sought after location for builders/investors in the past few years.
The town of Westwood is famous and envied for their walkable downtown that is highlighted by outstanding restaurants and shopping. It’s referred to as the “Hub of the Pascack Valley”.
The house is well priced at $425,000.
Need more details and pictures on the house or want to schedule a showing?
One of the realities with these distressed properties, is the homes often are in the need of repair and renovation. It seems like many buyers these days, no matter what the price range, want their new home to be move-in ready, so they’ll shy away from the short sales or bank owned homes.
However, the FHA 203K Home Purchase & Renovation Program is an outstanding solution to this dilemma. A buyer could acquire an undermarket deal on a distressed property. Use a 203k loan to purchase the property, do the renovations, and have the expenses built into the mortgage. This way the buyer doesn’t have to come up with cash after the closing to foot all the renovation costs.
The 203K appeals to all sorts of potential buyers from first time home buyers to occupant investors to buyers who need a home specialized for their needs.
Depending on what type of 203K loan (Standard or Streamline) you need, renovations could go from simply needing new kitchen appliances or flooring to total renovations requiring structural work.
The FHA 203K Loan is perfect for 1st time home buyers who don’t have a perfect credit or a large downpayment. You can put as little as 3.5% down.I recently completed a comprehensive training in the use of the U.S. Government’s FHA Home Purchase and Renovation Loan program. With this designation, I became a member of REbuildUSA, a nationwide organization of real estate, lending, and home improvement professionals working in partnership with Lowe’s.
With the designation, I am able to provide professional guidance to those who want a great home, in a great neighborhood, and renovated to meet their needs, tastes, and comforts.
For more detailed information and/or have any questions on the 203K process or want a list of bank owned homes currently on the market in Bergen County, New Jersey, CLICK HERE[
Immaculate home featuring 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. The home sits on an oversized lot with a great deck for relaxing and grilling. The professionally landscaped yard features beauitful plantings and recently built rock wall. Currently for sale and listed at $489,000, MLS #1132711
Westwood is located in Bergen County, New Jersey and is often referred to as ‘The Hub of the Pascack Valley’. The Pascack Valley is compromised of 8 towns. Westwood is renowned for its walkable downtown, which features great shopping and fabulous restaurants ranging from French to Italian to fondue to good ‘ole American burgers. Westwood has great events for the kids. For example, the ‘Home for the Holidays‘ event in December, Summer Concert Series at the Band Stand, Easter Egg Hunt, and ‘Movies in the Park’ during the summer. Westwood also offers fantastic youth sports programs.
Looking for more details on the home or want to schedule a showing?
Click here to contact the listing agent Kevin Hill.
The built up shadow inventory of foreclosed homes in New Jersey are about to hit the market. The NJ Supreme Court lifted its final ban on banks being able to foreclose on September 14th. This clears the way for distressed properties to be released to the market and compete with non-distressed homes on the market.
New Jersey’s shadow inventory will take 41-51 months to clear out. The excessive homes in some stage of the foreclosure process, will surely bring down prices again. Some are predicting another 5-7% decline in New Jersey. This makes is even more important for sellers to get their homes on the market NOW and price them well!
Any by well, I don’t just mean competitive with other home listings on the market, but at a compelling price that will illicit a quick offer and closing on the house.
Taking a more local view, according to the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, there are currently 120 homes in some stage of the foreclosure process in the Pascack Valley area (Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Washington Township, Westwood, and Woodcliff Lake). So those who think this is not a problem affecting our area, you are severely wrong!
The freeze on foreclosures in New Jersey actually just delayed the inevitable, and the real estate market won’t truly recover until we make our way through this shadow inventory.
Nationally, short sales close at 21% below market value and foreclosures at 60% below market value. In New Jersey, I would say short sales close at 10-15% below market value and foreclosures about 20-25% below market value. So a potential buyer, instead of buying your property at full market value, will have increased distressed sales to choose from at a discounted rate. Now, these homes generally need some sort of work done to rehabilitate the home, so they aren’t always such great deals depending on the cost of the repairs.
Many buyers in New Jersey, who are currently under contract on a home, want to know their legal rights after the recent Hurricane Irene struck our area. Daniel Barli, Real Estate Attorney at Barli and Associates, provides some excellent information on the topic below.
Due to events following the hurricane this past weekend, I have been approached by several clients whose homes are presently under contract as to what their rights and responsibilities are as a result of flooding or damage. I thought I would share with you some of the information and advice that I’ve been sharing with my clients for the past few days.
It is the responsibility and obligation of a seller to disclose any known structural, environmental or mechanical defects in the home. If a seller’s home has been damaged in the hurricane, they should contact their insurance company immediately. Their insurer will send an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage, and the homeowner will be compensated accordingly. All necessary repairs should be made prior to closing.
Although homeowners insurance does not typically cover flood damage, several of the insurance brokers that we spoke with stated that exceptions may be made due to the severity of and resulting damage from the hurricane. You should inform your clients that the effort of filing the claim is undoubtedly worth any potential coverage they might receive.
Homebuyers whose contracts have already progressed past the home inspection stage would not be remiss in requesting that a follow up inspection be permitted and, indeed, should be encouraged to do so. While the added expense may seem burdensome, in the event that the home is no longer structurally or environmentally sound, it would be money well spent. Any defects or problems found after closing can no longer be addressed by the seller, as the risk of loss had already passed to the buyer.
Thank you Daniel for the information. I have also encountered the lender requiring a re-inspection of the property to assess any possible damage to the home.
Daniel Barli’s office is located at:
As a parent of a child with autism, I know firsthand the struggle of having a son with special needs. My first born son, Kasey, now 6, was diagnosed when he was 26 months old. We have therapists in our home 5 days a week totaling 10 hours. Kasey also has been enrolled in school full time since he turned 3. Kasey is also non-verbal, which is another challenge in itself.
Luckily as parents, my job as a Realtor has scheduling flexibility, so I can be home for Kasey’s therapy and my wife Paula, is a social worker at a special needs school in Bergen County and also does private practice therapy for children and families. My wife being in the field has been a great asset for us, as she knows the ins and outs of programs & services available in Bergen County, the quality of the special needs schools, and getting around the school bureaucracy. We have had many battles in having certain criteria in Kasey’s I.E.P. (Individual Education Program) that met his needs.
Kasey is now enrolled in the Valley Pi Program in Harrington Park. We had him enrolled in another school in our district initially, but we had numerous problems and it always seemed like there was some new issue we had to fight. But having a child with special needs requires the parents to advocate for their kids. Schools are sometimes more concerned with their budgets, than doing the best for the children. We went through several School Principal changes, staff overhauls, varying case managers, months without a behaviorist, and changes in the school philosophy & program model.
I can’t say that about the Valley Program, which has an excellent staff of teachers, therapists, and assistants that I would recommend to any parent of a special needs student. They not only have the children learning in a classroom setting, but they have the students interact in real world settings like the supermarket, mall, movie theatre, the swimming pool, and other productive outings. Having your special needs child exposed to these type of situations makes it easier when you have to take your child out.
Its important when you have a special needs child, to live in a good school district that has excellent special needs services. Having an agent represent you in your real estate transaction who understands what you go through as a special needs parent is vital. I can help you choose a town and school district that best fits your child’s needs. My wife also provides a free consultation to all my clients to assist them in choosing the right town for them and what services are available.
Call Kevin Hill, Sales Associate with Friedberg Properties & Associates in River Vale, New Jersey at 201-214-1349 or email me at KevinHillRealEstate@Gmail.com.
With today’s real estate market in the Pascack Valley, Bergen County, and the rest of New Jersey, you want to make your home listing as marketable as possible. It’s a buyers’ market, so there is a ton of competition out there and buyers are getting more picky. So here are my Top 18 tips:
18. Have an Odd Sales Price Its gimmicky, but give the list price something other than using the typical 0′s and 9′s. Maybe use your child’s birthday or your lucky #’s. Example” $399,707. It makes your listing stand out a little and might catch someone’s eye.
17. Have a Post Dated Price Reduction on File Is your agent suggesting a lower list price than you think your home is worth? Are you too stubborn to just list it at the agent’s price? Well go with your list price for a designated time frame, say 2 weeks. If you have zero or few showings, then you are probably overpriced. Have that price reduction form already filled out and in your listing agent’s file, so your agent doesn’t waste anymore time (than the 2 weeks you already wasted being listed too high!) trying to run around and meet up with you to get the price reduction paperwork signed. He already has it signed and can do the price reduction right away.
16. Above Average Commission I don’t find this ethical, and its not something I do, but some agents won’t show certain listings based on their commission or will try to push another house to their client which has a higher commission. Now defunct, discount broker Foxtons had this problem. Many times they were only offering 1.5% or 2% and agents were not showing their listings.
15. Offer Owner Financing With some buyers having problems obtaining a mortgage with the ever tightening current standards, owner financing will open up your listing to more potential buyers. Works especially for people who have already paid off their home.
14. Lease With the Option to Buy Some buyers are leary about buying now. They aren’t sure if they really like the house, the town, the neighborhood etc. or they are worried about there home values are going in the future. Leasing the property with an option to buy gives the buyer a year or 2 to see if they really want to buy the house. A portion of the rent can go towards the purchase of buying the home also.
13. Have an Appraisal Done on the House Before You List See what your home is worth with an appraisal done before you list the house. This will give you an unbiased opinion on the value. Sometimes a real estate agent isn’t experienced or qualified enough to give an accurate price assessment of the house or they will quote you an above market value price just to get your listing. This is a disservice to the seller, when their house just sits on the market. You don’t want to waste time in a declining market.
12. Have a Home Inspection Done on the House Before You ListIndentify all the potential repairs that will need to be done and have them fixed before they become an issue when you are under contract. Some buyers get spooked easily, and will pull out of the deal if there are issues (even the minor ones!).
11. Don’t Have Any Buy or Sell Contingencies You can scare off a potential buyer fast if you include ‘sale contingent upon seller buying another house’. Buyers don’t want to deal with this. They have to sit around for months and wait for your house sale to close before they can buy yours. They don’t want to be bothered, especially in today’s market.
10. Offer Quick Possession Date Not many buyers are going to wait around for 120+ days to close on a house. If they wanted to wait around that long, they might as well get a real good deal on a short sale. For a possession date, I would have it say ‘flexible’. This way it widens your potential buyers to those who want to move fast or want to take their time.
9. Offer a Home Warranty Buyers are always frightened of having the boiler or the hot water explode 2 weeks after they move in. Offering the buyers a home warranty, will ease their fears they will have an unexpected repair after they close on the house.
8. Pay the Closing Costs This is especially important if your home is priced in a first time home buyers range. Closing costs can get expensive, and a first time home buyer is likely putting down less than 20%. So they need all the help they can get. I would put a cap on the amount you are willing to give for closing costs. I would say $5-10k.
7. Make Any Obvious Repairs This seems like common sense. You want buyers to remember how nice your home is, not the broken window in the living room or the giant hole in the drywall. Obvious repair issues also invokes in a buyer’s mind that you aren’t taking good care of the house and what else could possibly be wrong in the house that they can’t see
6. Don’t be a Cheapskate, Include Everything! Include all the kitchen appliances, washer & dryer, light fixtures, and window treatments. Buyers don’t want to feel like they are being nickel and dimed. Including everything makes them feel better about their purchase and they don’t have to go out immediately and buy a fridge or a new light fixture for the dining room.
5. Have a Yard SignAgain, seems fairly obvious. Even with 90%+ of home buyers starting their home searches online, we still get calls off lawn signs! Maybe your neighbor knows someone who wants to live on their street. They won’t know if there isn’t a sign out front. I don’t know why some sellers are reluctant to put a sign up because they won’t want the neighbors knowing. Who cares what they think! Its not something to be ashamed of!
4. Make Your Home AccessibleNothing annoys agents more than homes that are impossible to show. You want to sell your home right? I just had a seller tell me they have no showings on weekends! As Lil’ Jon would say “WHAT!”. The weekend is when most buyers are looking! Well make it easy to get into for the agents! Put a lock box on the home. Having small time frames to see your home or no showings on certain days makes your home harder to sell. If they can’t see the home, buyers won’t buy it! Sometimes agents have clients who are only available certain days of the week or they have relocation clients who only have a short window to be in town and need to pick something fast. If they can’t get into your home that day, you just lost a potential buyer.
3. Exterior of Your Home is Move-In ReadyCurb appeal and first impressions are important. I have shown homes completely updated on the inside, but the outside was a mess and the buyer lost interest. Have your home power washed, painted, landscaped and require the buyers to do little or nothing to the outside.
2. Interior of Your Home is Move-In Ready Buyers are real picky right now. They want move-in ready homes. There is a lot of inventory out there to choose from, so if your home isn’t move-in ready, they will go onto the next one.
Finally…the #1 way to make your home more marketable is…
1. PRICE IT RIGHT! Pricing your home at or below market price will generate a lot more interest from potential buyers and can help overcome many negative factors of your home. Your home can be located on a busy, main road, but if you price it right, it will sell! Pricing it over market will turn off buyers instantly, and your listing will sit on the market and get stale. Its better to price it right to begin with, then chase the market down with price reductions. Very important in a declining market.
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