The red-hot residential real estate market has meant big profits for sellers and even bigger frustrations for buyers.
Low inventory is causing bidding wars, driving prices up and making homes sell in just days. It can be an intimidating situation to get into whether you’re the buyer or the seller.
While the age-old advice for buyers — calculate costs, determine what features are important, learn the market and start the mortgage process before you shop — still apply, there’s even more to consider these days.
NJ Advance Media asked some New Jersey real estate agents for tips for buyers and sellers. Here’s what they had to say:
Tips for buyers
Do the math. Look at your income and debt. A general rule from many experts is to spend no more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income on your housing costs — mortgage, insurance and taxes, according to New Jersey Realtors. But low-ball offers aren’t going to get you your dream house. “Low inventory and a multitude of buyers armed with the lowest interest rates we’ve ever seen causes many offers on homes and many of them considerably over the asking prices,” said Brian Morgenweck, broker owner of Power Realty Group in Hackensack. “If you love the home, most other people will probably love it, too. Effective negotiating in this market means getting the deal, not trying to save what equates to merely peanuts per month on a 30-year mortgage and being turned down.”
Be flexible. Sellers might need to wait for a child to graduate or their next home to close. A buyer in Burlington County let Beth Kimmick of ERA Central Realty’s seller rent the home back after closing so the seller could have the cash from the home sale to purchase their new home and wait for construction to be completed.
Don’t believe everything you see online. Kimberly Lasalandra, managing broker at Green Team Realty in Vernon, said she often has clients call her with a list of houses they found online. What the buyers can’t see through third-party websites is the real estate agent’s notes saying the home is under contract or in attorney review. “Sellers are getting so many offers, it takes time for them to review all of those offers,” she said. “I had one guy who found five houses he was excited about. Then when I reached out to the agents there were multiple offers or they were in attorney review. I think only one of them was still available.”
Make your offer the most desirable. Get pre-qualified. Eliminate contingencies. Sometimes that will mean accepting it as-is and not holding the seller to items found in a home inspection or waiving the appraisal, Kimmick said. And if the buyer feels connected to the house and can convey that to the seller, it could help. “Tell them who you are and what you like about their house,” she said. “How you can see your family in that house. Most sellers love their…