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Real estate uptick

Market improvements mean you don’t have to wait till spring to sell your house

Created date

October 23rd, 2012

As we close out the fall selling season, many people assume they have to wait until spring to put their house on the market. But winter can be as good a time as any to sell your house, especially with recent improvements to the New Jersey real estate market. Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group, cites several encouraging facts about the market: year-to-date purchase contracts in New Jersey are at their highest level in three years; homes are selling (18% over 2011 and 31% over 2010); and fixed mortgage interest rates fell to 3.52% in New Jersey, enticing people to buy.

Inventory at low levels

This year, housing inventory reached its lowest level since the peak of the housing bubble in 2005. With supply dwindling, sellers have been able to see better returns, and more people are selling their houses for the asking price. Unsold inventory in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties has an average time on the market of less than eight months, some of the lowest percentage of inventory in the state. The state overall has had a 23% increase in contract sales with an average time on the market of eight and a half months. Eight and a half months seems like a long time, but many seniors who make up about 20% of the sellers market have found a way to cut that down. Many continuing care retirement communities offer assistance and incentives to help seniors sell their houses quickly and for the best price.

Selling help

Seabrook, an Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J., provides a personal moving consultant, a list of trusted and preferred real estate agents and moving vendors, and a monetary incentive. Laurie Williamson, personal moving consultant, meets with everyone moving to Seabrook to help them coordinate and organize their move. With a 12-year background in real estate, including a Senior Real Estate Specialist designation, Williamson is a natural at helping older adults sell their houses and move to Seabrook. She helps them decide what to keep and what to toss, how to stage their house for sale, and how to choose the best real estate agent, says Susan Coulson, sales counselor. And the best part is, her services are free to anyone moving to Seabrook. The community s Move On Us program reimburses new residents up to $2,000 of moving costs for using one of Williamson s preferred real estate agents. With Williamson s help, Jane Schmit sold her Toms River house in just one week. And with recommended movers, she easily settled into her new Seabrook home. I was very fortunate, she says of her experience. Michael and Mary Donofrio also sold their house quickly in just five days. And by using a real estate agent recommended by Williamson, they qualified for the Move On Us program, receiving up to $2,000 of their moving expenses. They moved into a one-bedroom Dover-style apartment home and say they have never looked back.