Tribune Print Share Text

Real estate uptick

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

Created date

November 20th, 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. Jeffery 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 Northern 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 some have even sold their houses for the asking price or more. Bergen County has the lowest inventory of unsold homes with the average time on the market coming in at 5.8 months. What s more, contract sales for the county are up 20%. Morris County comes in close behind with average time on the market at 6.9 months and contract sales up 14%. The state overall has had a 23% increase in contract sales with an average time on the market of 8.5 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 helps

Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, provides a personal moving consultant, a list of trusted and preferred real estate agents and moving vendors, and a monetary incentive. Margaret Semezko, personal moving consultant, meets with everyone moving to Cedar Crest to help them coordinate and organize their move. 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 Ruth Phillips, sales counselor. And the best part is, her services are free to anyone moving to Cedar Crest. The community s Move On Us program reimburses new residents up to $2,000 of moving costs for using one of their preferred real estate agents. Inga Brandimarte, who moved from Cliffside Park on August 28, used Semezko s assistance, a preferred real estate agent, and a recommended moving company. She not only received the Move On Us reimbursement, she wouldn t be here if it wasn t for Semezko, she says. She was the catalyst [to me moving here]. Semezko worked with Inga s real estate agent to sell her high-rise Cliffside condo quickly and for the best price. Cedar Crest was the greatest help from A to Z, Inga says. As strenuous as moving can be, my experience was wonderful.