Real Estate

Rumson Home Prices Declined in 2011, or Did They?

Posted on January 3, 2012

The year 2011 has come to a close, and we’re going to see lots of statistics comparing 2011 to 2010. When it comes to real estate, be prepared for headlines saying that, nationwide, home prices declined by big percentages. You’ll probably see similar headlines for New Jersey home prices, or Monmouth County home prices. Just remember that the headlines are talking about average or median prices for all homes. We’re better off if we look to see how real estate prices fared town by town, and that’s why you need a local expert for the specific town you’re interested in. For Rumson specifically, did home prices go down in 2011, or did they go up? Be prepared for some surprises as we sift through the numbers.
Let’s start off with good news and bad news. The good news for Rumson is that more single-family homes sold in 2011 and were on the market for fewer days than in 2010; the bad news is that the median sales price decreased from $1,165,000 to $1,110,000 (-4.7%):

Year         # Sold           Avg CDOM        Median Price
2010            88                  110                 $1,165,000
2011            99                    97                  $1,110,000 (-4.7%)

Where CDOM = Cumulative Days On Market. Remember, however, that the numbers above reflect all Rumson home sales, and before we draw any conclusions let’s explore this a bit further.

Even though the median 2011 Rumson home price declined, we know that there are many different kinds of houses in Rumson. Of the 99 homes that sold last year, not all were alike. For example, some were waterfront homes, but most were not; some had large properties, others were on small lots. If you’re trying to buy or sell a home in Rumson, the median sales price for all homes may not be that helpful. Let’s drill down and take a closer look.

Waterfront properties always command a premium price, so let’s first look at waterfront vs. non-waterfront homes in Rumson:

Waterfront Rumson Homes
Year         No. Sold           Median Price        Avg CDOM
2010              9                    $1,425,000                 93
2011             11                    $1,435,000              107

The numbers above tell us that more Rumson waterfront homes were sold in 2011, and at a slightly higher median price (but took 2 weeks longer to sell). Now for non-waterfront:

Non-Waterfront Rumson Homes
Year         No. Sold           Median Price        Avg CDOM
2010            79                     $1,165,000              113
2011            88                     $1,105,000                96

Here the numbers say that even though more Rumson non-waterfront homes were sold in 2011, and were on the market for fewer days than in 2010, the median price declined by 5.2% compared to the prior year. So our conclusion is that the price of Rumson waterfront homes went up, and the price of non-waterfront homes went down, right? That might seem like the logical conclusion, but here again, there were lots of different kinds of houses that made up the total of 88 non-waterfront homes that sold last year.

Many people look at the number of bedrooms when they’re buying a home, so let’s drill down further to see whether the numbers declined more in homes with fewer bedrooms or in homes with more bedrooms. Here’s what the numbers tell us for homes that most people are interested in:

Rumson Non-Waterfront Homes by Number of Bedrooms
Year              3 BRs                       4 BRs                           5 BRs
2010   $570,000 (n=15)      $986,250 (n=26)    $1,400,000 (n=23)
2011    $690,500 (n=16)  $1,100,000 (n=41)    $1,565,000 (n=14)

Now, wait a minute- this is confusing! Median prices for 3 bedroom non-waterfront Rumson homes actually increased in 2011, and so did they for 4 bedroom homes and 5 bedroom homes. Yet we saw that for ALL 88 non-waterfront Rumson homes the median price declined. What’s going on? Well, if we add the number of 3 bedroom homes (16), 4 bedroom homes (41) and 5 bedroom homes (14) we get a total of 71 non-waterfront homes. This means that 88 – 71 = 17 non-waterfront homes are missing. Like me, you probably think the answer to the riddle would be found by looking at homes with greater than 5 bedrooms. After all, there are lots of big houses in Rumson. Well here they are:

Rumson Non-Waterfront Homes with Greater Than 5 Bedrooms
Year              G.T. 5 BRs            CDOM
2010      $1,700,000 (n=11)       137
2011       $1,875,000 (n=13)       121

The data show that for Rumson homes with greater than 5 bedrooms (just as with 3, 4, and 5 bedroom homes) prices actually increased from 2010 to 2011. So what’s left? The answer lies with two bedroom homes, which took a beating last year:

Rumson Non-Waterfront 2 Bedroom Homes
Year                 2 BRs                 CDOM
2010         $585,000 (n=5)         74
2011          $332,500 (n=4)        85

The median price of 2 bedroom homes fell from $585,000 in 2010 to $332,500 in 2011, and even though only 4 of them were sold last year, they dramatically lowered the 2011 median selling price for all Rumson homes!

The bottom line is that single-family home prices in Rumson actually increased for 3 bedroom, 4 bedroom, 5 bedroom and >5 bedroom homes. So if you had just looked at the median selling price for (all) Rumson homes, you’d have reached the wrong conclusion about the Rumson real estate market. This is why I keep stressing that, when dealing with real estate, you need to find a local expert whom you trust. After all, real estate is an investment. You wouldn’t think of buying or selling a specific stock based on what the S&P 500 is doing, or the Dow, or any other average, would you? You’d drill down and look at the statistics for the specific stock itself. So don’t just look at the real estate headlines- find someone who will help you with a data-driven search of home values for a specific kind of house on a specific amount of property in a specific town.

If you’re thinking of selling your Rumson home in 2012, right now the market is strong. If you’re thinking of buying a home in Rumson in 2012, be prepared for the prices to be higher than you might have expected.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski
Realtor-Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 350-6686 (office)

What’s New on the Market?

In our November 17th post, “Real Estate’s In Hibernation Until March, Right?”, we talked about the fact that new listings come on the market every month, even in the winter. In fact, people who are selling (or buying) homes this time of year are often very motivated and very savvy about current market conditions.

It’s true that December is a month when most people are getting ready for the holidays, doing last minute shopping, mailing cards and gifts to friends and relatives, etc. It’s also true that most properties don’t look as good as they’ll look in the spring and summer when all of the flowers and trees will be blooming and the lawn is a nice fresh green color again.

If you walk your dogs in your neighborhood as we do, you also know that in the winter you notice a lot more about the houses that you pass. Many of the trees and bushes are bare and no longer hide portions of the home or of the property, so a home’s “curb appeal” may be far different than it will be when the weather turns warmer. If you’re considering buying a home, this can be a good thing, because you really notice the house itself a lot more.

So this can be a great time of the year to either buy or sell a home. To prove the point, here is a list of single family homes (no condominiums) that have been newly listed in the past month:

Town

Address

BR

Bath

Price

CDOM

MLS #

Fair Haven 687 River Road

3

2/0

$485,000

31

21142681

Fair Haven 12 Allen Street

4

2/1

$649,000

27

21143235

Fair Haven 49 Gillespie Ave

4

2/0

$689,000

13

21144351

Fair Haven 40 First Street

4

2/1

$755,800

20

21143837

Fair Haven 167 Grange Ave*

6

5/3

$5,250,000

24

21143479

Little Silver 2 Tabor Street

3

2/0

$474,900

17

21144045

Little Silver 593 Prospect Ave

3

1/1

$688,000

2

21144868

Little Silver 16-N Rivers Edge Dr N

4

3/0

$729,000

11

21144536

Monmouth Beach 4 Meadow Ave

3

1/1

$349,000

24

21143420

Monmouth Beach 33 Seaview Ave

3

2/1

$749,900

23

21143575

Monmouth Beach 31 Seaview Ave

4

2/1

$899,000

8

21144618

Monmouth Beach 17 Beach Road

4

3/0

$979,000

28

21143101

Monmouth Beach 2 Sailors Way

5

4/1

$1,485,000

9

21144544

Monmouth Beach 41 Columbus Drive*

4

3/1

$1,695,000

27

21143233

Monmouth Beach 26 Meadow Ave*

5

4/1

$1,995,000

22

21143653

Oceanport 114 Woodbine Way

5

3/0

$315,000

24

21143508

Oceanport 1199 Turf Drive

4

1/1

$399,000

14

21144229

Oceanport 97 Monmouth Blvd

3

2/0

$399,000

14

21144477

Oceanport 44 Genessee Ave

5

2/1

$699,000

28

21143017

Oceanport 119 Bridgewaters Dr*

5

3/1

$849,000

29

21142938

Oceanport 441 Driveway*

4

2/1

$989,000

31

21142750

Oceanport 21 Gooseneck Pt Rd*

3

2/1

$1,100,000

19

21143906

Rumson 19 North Street

2

1/0

$345,000

8

21144623

Rumson 54 Lafayette Street

3

2/1

$659,000

2

21144857

Rumson 8 Monmouth Ave

4

2/1

$1,399,000

18

21142723

Rumson 186 Rumson Road

3

1/1

$1,399,000

31

21143966

Rumson 15 Osprey Lane*

5

3/1

$2,300,000

28

21143176

*Bold font indicates waterfront property.
Information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

If you’re interested in buying a home in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, I’d be glad to show you any of the homes listed above as well as homes that have been on the market for more than a month. I also have a separate list of newly-listed condominiums if that’s where your interest is.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors- Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 530-6686
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved?

If you’re serious about buying a home in 2012, one of the first questions to ask yourself is how much you can afford. For most people, getting a mortgage will be how they pay for the home over time, so naturally you’ll want to know what amount an affordable monthly mortgage payment will be. Most home sellers want to deal with potential buyers who are serious about buying a home and who can afford to pay for the house that they buy. They LOVE cash buyers who don’t make an offer that’s contingent on selling their existing home, and/or getting a mortgage approved. However, if you intend to submit an offer that’s contingent on your getting a mortgage, a home seller is almost always going to ask whether you’re pre-approved (not “pre-qualified”) for a mortgage on the amount you want to borrow. They don’t want to waste their time considering an offer if there’s a good chance that the mortgage will fall through.

Before we discuss the difference between being “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved”, let’s step back a bit and look at what a mortgage is. Most monthly mortgage payments will cover (1) the amount of interest you’re paying for your loan, (2) a payment of a portion of the principal, i.e., the amount of money you borrowed, and (3) an escrow payment to cover taxes and possibly insurance.

Let’s say that you want to borrow $200,000 so you can buy a house. With mortgage interest rates at or near all-time lows, monthly mortgage payments are going to be significantly lower than they would have been 5 years ago. There are many web sites that offer a simple monthly mortgage estimate calculator, but be careful- most of these only account for the mortgage’s principal and interest, and don’t include things like taxes. A web site that I recommend is http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/new-house-calculator.aspx because it’s more thorough, and takes into account both your income and some of your other common expenses. It lets you decide whether you want a 30-year fixed mortgage, a 15-year fixed mortgage, etc. As you know, your monthly payments will be higher on a 15-year mortgage, but you’ll pay a LOT less interest over the course of the loan.

Once you have a rough idea of what amount of mortgage you think you can afford, it’s time for a reality check. What matters isn’t what you think you can pay, it’s what a lender is willing to loan to you. Lenders are a lot fussier now than they were 5 years ago, so they’re going to be conservative when they lend money because they want to make sure you’ll be able to repay it. When you go to a mortgage professional, he/she can either “pre-qualify” you or “pre-approve” you, and it’s important that you know the difference.

When you ask to be “pre-qualified”, the mortgage professional will ask you for some basic information such as your income, your credit report, your current debts, etc. Based on his/her review and experience, the mortgage lender will give you a free ESTIMATE of the size of the mortgage he/she feels you can reasonably repay. It’s a quick review and not a commitment to lend you that amount of money. Think of it as something akin to the estimate you’d get by using the bankrate.com web site above. If you’re serious about buying a home, my recommendation is to get pre-approved instead of pre-qualified.

When you ask to be pre-approved, you’re actually applying for a mortgage, and you should expect to pay a mortgage application fee. You don’t need to know the address of any specific house, you’re just asking the mortgage lender to commit to give you a mortgage loan for up to a certain amount when you find the house that’s right for you. It’s easy to reduce the amount of money that you borrow, but if you need to borrow more than you originally asked for, you basically have to go through the entire process all over again. Once you find “the right house”, the mortgage lender is going to insist that the house is worth more than the amount you’re borrowing, so that contingency will be part of any pre-approval letter he/she gives you. Obtaining a pre-approval often takes 4 to 6 weeks, because the lending institution is going to do a very thorough check of your financial situation. However, getting a mortgage pre-approval will certainly speed up the time between the date when you sign a home purchase agreement with a seller and the date when you can actually close on the transaction.

Although many people would say that we’re in a “buyer’s market” for real estate, the fact is that many homes do get listed at a price close to fair market value. Homes such as those often appeal to more than one savvy buyer, so if you’re pre-approved and the other buyer is only pre-qualified, the seller is going to feel that your offer is more serious than the other person’s offer.

Don’t forget: being “pre-qualified” is NOT the same as being “pre-approved”.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 530-6686 office
(732) 239-0739 cell

Homes that Sold (Closed) During the Week of December 18th

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 12-18-2011:

Town:

Address:

CDOM

Price:

Fair Haven:
11 Forman Street      35 $   450,000
Oceanport:
113 Comanche Drive

54

$   355,000
350-B Oceanport Av (Condominium)

48

$   620,000
Red Bank:
36 Oakland Street

38

$   170,000
130-7 Bodman Pl (Condominium)

25

$   540,000
Rumson:
12 Bruce Place

25

$   295,000
16 2nd Street   225 $   522,500
160 East River Road   108 $   650,000

The old carol says, “Good King Wenceslaus looked out, on the feast of Stephen…”. Many people know that the “feast of Stephen” falls on December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day, and honors the first Christian martyr. Fewer people know who “good King Wenceslaus” was, so even though today is December 26th and it’s 50 degrees outside, with no snow “deep and crisp and even”, let’s say a few words about the good king. Wenceslaus (or Vaclav in Czech), was born in Prague early in the 10th century and actually was a duke (of Bohemia), being named king only after his death. Just as the Christmas carol says, he was known for being kind to the poor. He was killed by his own brother in 935, and is the patron saint of the Czech Republic (and Bohemia and Moravia).

The present Christmas carol was published in 1853 by John Mason Neale, and may be an English translation of an old Czech song or poem. The carol ends with the words:

Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.

What Permanent Improvements Did You Make in 2011?

It’s time to finish doing all of the things we wanted to complete in 2011, because there’s just one week left. You know, the last-minute contributions to charities, selling stocks in order to capture capital gains or losses, and so on. We also should be thinking about real estate.

Why think about real estate? Well, if you’re thinking about selling your home in 2012, it’s a good time to make a list of all of the things you want to do before you put your house on the market, and to start working on the list, item by item. It might be simple things, like de-cluttering and cleaning, or more extensive things like painting and making repairs. After all, your goal is to have your house appeal to as many people as possible when you put it on the market. This usually means having a spotless home in “move-in” condition that will appeal to a wide segment of the market.

Even if you’re not planning to move next year, it’s a good idea to start making a list of all the home-related things you want to do, whether that involves doing things yourself or hiring someone to do them. Many people like to take advantage of winter weekends to do a bit of do-it-yourself painting or wall papering. If the weather’s going to be cold and blustery and you’re going to be indoors anyway, why not work on those projects that you certainly won’t want to tackle once you can enjoy the sunny warm weather again.

Even if you have absolutely no plans to move in the foreseeable future, take the time to add all of the permanent improvements you made in 2011 to your list of home investments. You know, the list that you’ve been keeping since you bought your home? The list of all of the dollars you’ve spent on major projects to improve your home? It should be a list with the date of the improvement, a brief description of what you did (replace the furnace, put on a new roof, renovate the kitchen, etc.), and the amount that you spent on each project. Wherever possible, you should also have a receipt, a cancelled check, or a credit card bill supporting each improvement.

The list is important because you may have to pay a capital gains tax when you eventually sell your house. Capital gains for a house are similar to capital gains on a stock, i.e., the net selling price minus the total buying price equals the capital gain (or loss). There’s one important difference when we’re talking about homes, however. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 gives the owner of his/her principal residence a $250,000 exemption on any capital gains achieved when  the home is sold ($500,000 for a married couple). If your capital gain is less than the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion, you don’t have to pay a tax on the capital gains. However, if your home has increased in value more than those $250,000/$500,000 exclusions, then you will have to pay taxes on the amount which exceeds those numbers. If you’ve been living in the same home in our area for 10, 20 or more years, it’s easily possible to exceed those limits.

Here’s where your list of home improvements comes in. You’re entitled to add the cost of all of your permanent home improvements to the purchase cost of your house when you set the base for your total purchase price. Here’s an example. Let’s say you bought your house for $200,000 and now you expect to sell it for $850,000. At first glance, the increase in the value of your home is:

$850,000 selling price

-$200,000 buying price

$650,000 capital gains

For a married couple, you’re allowed a $500,000 exemption on the capital gains realized when you sell your house, but in the example above you still have $150,000 of taxable capital gains.

Now, suppose during the years you owned the house you spent $8,000 on a new furnace, $6,000 to add a central air conditioning system, $30,000 to renovate the kitchen, $30,000 to replace all of your windows with thermal pane windows, $20,000 to renovate 2 bathrooms, $10,000 on additional insulation, and $7,000 for a new roof, for a total of $101,000 in permanent improvements. Now when you calculate your capital gain, you have:

$850,000 selling price

-$200,000 buying price

-$101,000 permanent improvements

$549,000 capital gains

With your $500,000 married couple exemption, you’re now only subject to a tax on $49,000 of your capital gains. If you sit down and think about it some more, you may be able to find other, smaller capital improvements that you made over the years. Had to replace your hot water heater twice? What did that cost? Did you upgrade your electrical panel from a 100 amp to a 200 amp panel? What did that cost? Put in a radon mitigation system? You get the picture.

If you update your permanent improvement list at the end of every year, you’re much more likely to have the numbers (and receipts) at your fingertips. So what are you waiting for? What did you spend on improving your home in 2011?

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 530-6686 office
(732) 239-0739 cell

Homes that Sold (Closed) During the Week of December 10th

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 12-10-2011:

Town:

Address:

CDOM

Price:

Fair Haven:
124 Hance Road      26 $   639,500
125-A Harrison Avenue    156 $   730,000
11 Brook Terrance      35 $   840,000
Little Silver:
66 Highfield Court (Condominium)

  6

$   650,000
84 Greenfield Court (Condominium)

45

$   690,000
Monmouth Beach:
1 Sailors Way

385

$   750,000
Oceanport:
75 Iroquois Avenue

233

$   490,000
Red Bank:
30 E Bergen Place

  66

$   414,000

Fair Haven Real Estate Update

Fair Haven Real Estate: Let’s Look at the Numbers

I live in Fair Haven, so naturally I’m interested in whether real estate in our town is increasing or decreasing in value. After all, what happens to real estate prices in California or Florida or Arizona may be far different from what happens in New Jersey; what happens in New Jersey overall may not reflect what’s happening in YOUR town to YOUR home’s value. You need a local expert, so let’s drill down and take a look at median selling prices of single-family homes in Fair Haven single-family homes in 2011 compared to 2010.

What happened in Fair Haven was very much like what happened to Rumson real estate (see the December 4th post) The 1st quarter of 2011was significantly lower and the 2nd quarter was significantly higher than the same quarters in 2010. The 3rd quarter was slightly lower, and the median price in the first 2 months of the 4th quarter is also slightly lower than it was last year. Year-to-date, the median price of Fair Haven homes 2011 is 3.2% lower than the median selling price in 2010. Another 3.2% decline this year- not good news, but certainly a lot less than the 10% overall decline we’ve seen in the Monmouth/Ocean Counties region.

So Fair Haven home prices lost about 3.2% of their value this year. Let’s keep 2011 in perspective by taking a look at median home prices in Rumson for the past 7 years:

As we can see, Fair Haven home prices peaked in 2007, with a median sales price of $679,000. In 2008, home prices decreased by 7.8% to $626,000 and another 1.0% in 2009. A 9% total decline is significant, but it’s certainly far less than the horror stories of 25%, 33%, or 40% declines elsewhere in the nation. In 2010 we saw a huge rebound in Fair Haven to $669,200 in 2010 (only ($9,800 lower than the 2007 peak). The year-to-date 2011 Fair Haven median is slightly lower (-3.2% compared to 2010) at $648,000.

Bottom line: the year-to-date 2011 median price of single-family homes in Fair Haven is just 4.6% lower than the all-time peak in 2007. This conclusion is data-driven, and not wishful thinking or cherry picking selected sales prices. So, if you live in Fair Haven and have been thinking that you should wait to sell your house until the market improves, maybe you’d better reconsider, because the market is not bad.

I live in Fair Haven. Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling in Fair Haven, here’s a question for you: has any other realtor given you real estate information as detailed and specific as what you’ve just reviewed? If you’re looking for a good local real estate expert for Fair Haven, please give me a call and let me be one of the realtors that you consider.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors- Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

Homes that Sold (Closed) During the Week of December 3rd

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 12-03-2011:

Town:

Address:

DOM:

Price:

Fair Haven:
161 Fair Haven Road    115 $   480,000
Little Silver:
628 Little Silver Point Road

175

$1,145,000
Oceanport:
48 Wolfhill Avenue

160

$   170,000
Red Bank:
29 Linden Place

   1

$   260,000
22 Harrison Avenue

 75

$   340,000
Rumson
30 Lafayette Street

224

$  470,000

Real Estate Advice for 2012

As 2011 comes to a close, most of us are busy with thoughts of family get-togethers, Christmas or holiday celebrations, taking actions to reduce our 2011 income taxes, and so forth. In a few weeks though, we’ll start off with a new year and a chance to do some planning for 2012 and beyond. Some of us will make New Year’s resolutions, some of us may actually follow through with those resolutions (at least for a few weeks or months). Let’s make sure we don’t miss the “big picture”.

What are your long-term goals? How do you plan to achieve them? The most effective way to plan for the future is to think about what you want, write it down, and write down the steps you’re going to take to get there. There’s something different in writing something down rather than just thinking about it or verbalizing it. We’ll expound on this more in a future post. For now, I’d just like you to think about your retirement plan, or your college savings plan, or something else that may still be years away, but which won’t happen unless you have a plan and stick to it.

Most people will need a pot full of money at some time in the future. If you’re young and begin saving every month (and not touch the principal or the interest it earns), you can build up a nice nest egg over 30 or 40 years. It’s called “paying yourself first”. Unfortunately most people either haven’t been taught why it’s so important to do this, or they feel they can’t commit to a regular weekly or monthly savings contribution. So what can you do if you’re say 10 or 15 years away from retirement? Of course the answer is: “Invest!”. Yes, but invest in what? Stocks? Bonds? Gold? Commodities? Land? Swiss Francs?

I’m not an investment advisor and I don’t give investment advice. Like you, I read a lot of suggestions on what the best investments are. I want to kick myself for not investing in gold not too long ago when it was $1,000 per ounce. I didn’t do it because I was afraid- afraid that if I put my money there it might decrease in value (as it has sometimes in the past) and that I’d end up with less money rather than more.

So let’s jump ahead a month to January, 2012. Where should you (or I) think about investing? Warren Buffet has always said to wait until there’s “blood in the streets” and invest (in stocks) when everyone else has sold or is selling, and when panic has knocked prices down far below their true values. Some people are saying that the present state of the real estate market gives us an ideal time to invest, because there’s minimum downside risk and lots of upside potential.

Let’s say you’re planning to buy a vacation home/condo, or you’re planning on selling your present home and either move, or downsize, or invest the proceeds of your home sale. What should you do? If you’re thinking of buying a home or condo, try to take the emotional issues out of your decision and try to make a decision based on the investment possibilities that it affords. Why should you do this? Here are some thoughts from Jeff Brown, a real estate investment advisor who specializes in investing for retirement:

http://agbeat.com/editorials/the-state-of-long-term-real-estate-investing-the-perfect-storm-is-here/

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors- Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 530-6686 (office)
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

Why Some Homes Sell Faster

I read many blogs, some real estate oriented and others oriented to topics of interest to me (universal design, “green” living, etc.). Occasionally I come across a post or an article that I really like, and periodically I’ll share them with you. This one comes from a blog called 1BOG (1 block off the grid). It’s an “infographic” post which uses a combination of text and drawings to review 6 things that can help a house sell faster. Here’s the link:

http://1bog.org/blog/infographic-why-some-homes-sell-faster/

Some of the ideas are for you to do, others are for me to do, but most of them are ideas that we should do together. It won’t take much time to review the post, and if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next year or two I urge you to take a look at it.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors- Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 530-6686 (office)
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

Sold During the Week of November 27th

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 11-27-2011:

Town:

Address:

DOM:

Price:

Little Silver:
168 Queens Drive S      87 $  565,000
25 Winding Way    105 $  638,000
Monmouth Beach:
63 Navesink Drive    210 $  400,000
14 Columbus Drive    246 $  412,500
Oceanport:
29 Summerfield Avenue

 71

$   270,000
1206 Turf Drive   193 $   320,000
40 Burntmill Circle     44 $   395,000
10 Genessee Avenue     71 $   700,000
Red Bank:
32 Highland Avenue

23

$   342,500
Rumson
186 Rumson Road (Land)

 3

$1,100,000
Shrewsbury
53 East End Avenue

3

$   255,000

Yes, you read that correctly. The land in Rumson and the home in Shrewsbury were only on the market for three (3) days before they sold.

Rumson Real Estate: Let’s Look at the Numbers

As we’ve said before, all real estate is local. What happens to real estate prices in California or Florida or Arizona may be far different from what happens in New Jersey; what happens in New Jersey overall may not reflect what’s happening in YOUR town to YOUR home’s value. You need a local expert, so let’s drill down and take a look at median selling prices of Rumson single-family homes in 2011 compared to 2010.

Although the 2nd quarter of 2011 was a little better than the same quarter in 2010, the 1st and 3rd quarters were slightly lower. The median price in the first 2 months of the 4th quarter is also slightly lower than it was last year, and year-to-date 2011 is 2.8% lower than the median selling price in 2010. Less than a 3% decline this year- not good news, but certainly a lot less than the 10% overall decline in the Monmouth/Ocean Counties region.

So Rumson home prices lost about 3% of their value this year. Let’s keep 2011 in perspective by taking a look at median home prices in Rumson for the past 7 years:

As we can see, Rumson home prices peaked in 2007, with a median sales price of $1,201,550. In 2008, home prices decreased by 16.9% to $999,000 and essentially remained there in 2009. A 17% decline is significant, but it’s certainly far less than the horror stories of 25%, 33%, or 40% declines elsewhere in the nation. We saw a 16.6% rebound in Rumson to $1,165,000 in 2010, and the year-to-date 2011 Rumson median is slightly lower (-2.8% compared to 2010) at $1,132,500.

Bottom line: the year-to-date 2011 median price of single-family homes in Rumson is just 5.7% lower than the all-time home price peak in 2007. This is data-driven information, and not wishful thinking or cherry picking selected sales prices. So, if you live in Rumson and have been thinking that the real estate market is too low for you to sell your house, maybe you’d better reconsider.

Let me ask you a question: what other Rumson realtor has given you information as detailed and specific as what you’ve just reviewed? If you’re looking for a local real estate expert for Rumson, please give me a call and let me be one of the realtors that you consider.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors- Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

The 2011 Real Estate Market as of December 1st

The November sales statistics are in, and we now have 11 full months which we can compare to the same period in 2010. Breaking it down town by town, here are the numbers:

Town Type Year Closed Median $ % Change
Fair Haven SF 2010 52 657,500
2011 69 648,000 -1.4%
Little Silver SF 2010 72 550,000
2011 57 480,000 -12.7%
Little Silver Con 2010 13 570,000
2011 17 515,000 -9.6%
Monmouth Beach SF 2010 26 911,250
2011 26 796,250 -12.6%
Monmouth Beach Con 2010 29 380,000
2011 30 290,000 -23.7%
Oceanport SF 2010 44 487,500
2011 47 471,000 -3.4%
Red Bank SF 2010 58 375,000
2011 41 324,500 -13.5%
Red Bank Con 2010 28 258,250
2011 39 190,000 -26.4%
Rumson SF 2010 81 1,175,000
2011 94 1,132,500 -3.6%
Sea Bright SF 2010 7 1,600,000
2011 9 595,000 -62.8%
Sea Bright Con 2010 19 429,000
2011 15 329,000 -23.3%

As you can see, the median price of single-family homes has decreased in every town. The smallest decrease (1.4%) was in Fair Haven, followed by a 3.4% decrease in Oceanport and a 3.6% decrease in Rumson. Median prices of single family homes Little Silver, Monmouth Beach and Red Bank decreased by 12.7%, 12.6%and 13.5% respectively. To me, there were too few sales of single family homes in Sea Bright to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Median prices of condominiums decreased in all of our local towns, with Little Silver losing only 9.6%, but Monmouth Beach, Red Bank and Sea Bright condos decreasing by 23.7%, 26.4% and 23.3%.

In the next week or two we’ll look at what happened in each town quarter by quarter.

3rd Quarter 2011 Real Estate Trends by Town

Last week we talked about a local newspaper article that said home prices in the Monmouth and Ocean Counties have decreased by an average of 9.9% in the third quarter. A reader asked me if I could provide specific town-by-town information about the local real estate market in the 3rd quarter of 2011. Here are the data:

Town Year Type Closed Median $      % Change
Fair Haven 2010 SF 17   740,000
2011 SF 23   679,900 -8.1%
Little Silver 2010 SF 14   527,500
2011 SF 23   495,000 -6.2%
Little Silver 2010 Con 4   652,500
2011 Con 7   515,000 -21.1%
Monmouth Beach 2010 SF 6   902,500
2011 SF 9   735,000 -18.6%
Monmouth Beach 2010 Con 10   369,000
2011 Con 15   310,000 -16.0%
Oceanport 2010 SF 13   575,000
2011 SF 19   505,000 -12.2%
Red Bank 2010 SF 19   365,000
2011 SF 7   270,000 -26.0%
Red Bank 2010 Con 7   228,000
2011 Con 12   197,500 -13.4%
Rumson 2010 SF 25  1,165,000
2011 SF 47  1,125,000 -3.4%
Sea Bright 2010 SF 2  1,285,000
2011 SF 1    925,000 -28.0%
Sea Bright 2010 Con 7    325,000
2011 Con 6    415,000 27.7%

As you can quickly see, the numbers are all over the place, varying both town by town as well as by type of property (single-family homes vs. condominiums) within a given town. For example, look at Sea Bright. At first glance it looks like it was a GREAT quarter for Sea Bright condominiums, with the 2011 3rd quarter median price 27.7% higher than it was in 2010. Then again, it looks like it was an AWFUL 3rd quarter for Sea Bright single-family homes, with the median price decreasing by 28%. The question is whether you can “believe the numbers”, or whether you can draw any conclusions from the numbers.

I’ve often told you that I don’t like to make any conclusions based on just a small number of home sales. The “rule of thumb” for statistics is to have at least 20 data points (in our case, home sales) to look at. Ours are small towns, and that’s why I don’t like to look at monthly home sales, because they often are less than  20. I think quarterly or year-to-date sales numbers are far more valid when we look at any specific town in our local area. Now look back at the 3rd quarter sales of single-family homes in Sea Bright: only 1 home was sold this year, and only 2 homes sold last year. I’m certainly not going to draw any conclusions based on 1 or 2 home sales.

Rumson was the only local town that had at least 20 homes sold in the 3rd quarters of both 2010 and 2011, and I’m very confident that the 3.4% decline in median home prices is statistically significant. In Fair Haven, Little Silver and Oceanport we didn’t have at least 20 homes sold in both years, but enough homes sold that I trust the 8.1%, 6.2% and 12.2% declines as reasonable estimates of the home markets in those 3 towns.

By tomorrow we should have the final numbers for November, and I thin the 11 months-to-date percentage changes will give us more reliable information than the numbers for a single quarter. That’s how I see it anyway. If you have other thoughts, please share them with me and with our readers. Or give me a call and we’ll talk about it over a cup of coffee.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

What You See Is What You Get

I get a kick out of Realtors who have 15 year old pictures on their business cards. Do they really think that people aren’t going to notice that they don’t look like the person in the photo? Sure, we all have photos of ourselves looking younger, or slimmer, or sexier, or you name it. When I was younger I had dark brown hair, and a lot more of it than I have now; I also wore contact lenses for a time. However, how would you feel if my business card photo had you expecting to see a younger, dark-haired fellow without glasses, and then I showed up with gray hair and glasses? I know how I’d feel- I’d feel like someone was trying to pass themselves off as someone else and not themselves.

If I ask you to trust me and to have confidence in me, I have to start by depicting myself as the person I really am today. So the photo on my business card was taken in September, 2011, and what you see is what you get. I’m comfortable in my own skin, and I want to be transparent in all of my dealings with you. How can I ask you to trust me as your local real estate expert if I’m not even honest about my age and my appearance? Yes, I know that most people don’t pick real estate agents by their looks- they pick them based on the agent’s knowledge, local expertise, reputation, and the level of trust they have when they communicate.  Still, would you be comfortable dealing with an individual who’s trying to look younger than they really are?

No, I’m not 40 years old anymore. But I take good care of myself mentally and physically, and in many ways I’m better than I was when I was 40. In July I climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with my wife and two children. The mountain’s height is 6,288 feet, and, yes, I hiked up the whole way (no driving a car or taking the cog railroad to the top). Is that a good reason  to pick me as your real estate agent? Of course not! Even if I was the ONLY Realtor in Rumson and Fair Haven to have climbed Mt. Washington this year, all that tells you is that I like the outdoors and I’m still quite physically fit.

This post started by talking about business card photos that didn’t show the person as he/she really is. I think a business card photo should show you just the way you are. That’s how I see it- what do you think?

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate

Homes that Sold (Closed) During the Week of November 20th

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 11-20-2011:

Town:

Address:

DOM:

Price:

Little Silver:
49 Whitesands Way (Condo)      30 $  295,000
378 Prospect Avenue      89 $  314,500
4 Standish Road    183 $  462,500
Monmouth Beach:
5 Bayonne Avenue

 66

$1,150,000
Oceanport:
71 Hiawatha Avenue

 14

$   700,000
Red Bank:
17 Waverly Place

16

$   382,000

Although only six (6) home sales closed last week, three (3) of them were for houses that were on the market for 30 days or less.

What Happened in October?

Some of the local newspapers have had articles about how bad the month of October was for real estate nationwide. Several speculated that the real estate market may be heading into another down turn. Since we’re more interested in our local real estate market rather than the nation as a whole, I thought you should see what happened to sales of single-family homes in October compared to what happened in October of 2010.

When you look at the month of October, it’s true that most of the numbers weren’t as good as they had been last October: average Days on Market (DOM) were higher and average median prices were lower, as were the percentages of Sales Price to Listing Price. If I wanted to put a positive spin on the numbers, I could cherry pick the things that were better this year: average sold prices were higher in Fair Haven and Little Silver; more homes were sold in Oceanport. I feel that trying to “spin” the numbers one way or the other would be a disservice to you.

Remember that we’re talking about only ONE month, and that we’re talking about a LOW number of total sales (the highest town had 7). Yes, it’s possible that we’re heading into another downturn in the market, but we won’t know that until we see the numbers for November, December, etc. In our November 8th and 9th posts we compared the first ten months of the year (including October) to the same time period in 2010. In that comparison, the markets in Fair Haven, Oceanport and Rumson had improved compared to 2010, and only the Little Silver market had gotten worse. I would wait and see before making any conclusions based on October’s data alone. What do YOU think? Let us know by making a comment in the space below.

Fair Haven

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010   6 $   744,133 $712,000   75   75 $656,000 96%
2011   6 $1,019,566 $970,583 165 174 $543,500 95%

Little Silver

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010   8 $756,471 $710,487   92   92 $662,000 94%
2011   3 $749,000 $691,333   91   91 $449,000 92%

Oceanport

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010   6 $532,116 $480,289   85 119 $410,750 90%
2011   7 $609,985 $540,714 176 176 $280,000 89%

Rumson

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010    3 $1,219,666 $1,075,000   59   59 $1,100,000 88%
2011    3 $1,072,633 $   830,499   82   82 $   999,999 77%

Homes that Sold (Closed) During the Week of November 13th

Town:

Address:

DOM:

Price:

Fair Haven:
14 Dogwood Lane

  7

$  880,000
Little Silver:
445 Branch Avenue    101 $  357,000
Red Bank:
7 Vista Place

 94

$1,750,000
Rumson:
16 Monmouth Avenue

  7

$1,253,000
Sea Bright:
314 Ocean Avenue

52

$1,550,000

See what happens when a house is priced right? One in Fair Haven sold in 7 days, and one in Rumson also sold in 7 days.

Real Estate’s in Hibenation Until March, Right?

With the cold winds of November upon us and the winter holidays coming soon, many people feel that the real estate market is going into hibernation for the next 4 months. Even if you think we’re in a “bear” market (and that’s not true in our area), nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s true that there will be fewer homes on the market in the winter, fewer open houses on the weekends, and so forth. The winter real estate market is far from dormant, however.

From Spring through early Fall, there’s a lot more real estate activity- more open houses, more homes on the Multiple Listings sheets, and more For Sales by Owner. However, a lot of the “activity” that we see isn’t from serious buyers or serious sellers. There are a lot of people who enjoy going to open houses not because they’re interested in looking for a home to buy, but just because they’re looking for ideas on how to decorate, or how to remodel. There are others who list a home for sale at a price that they know is too high, but they’re hoping that maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who might pay a ridiculously high price for their home. Then there are the folks who are “just looking”, because at some undetermined time in the future they MAY want to buy or sell a home, or they’re interested in what you’d get if you spend (fill in a $ number) in a particular town or towns. We won’t even mention the nosey neighbors.

When November comes along, all of this changes. The people who list their houses for sale in the winter are serious sellers, and those who go to the winter open houses are serious buyers. Sure there are a few people who had unplanned changes in their lives, who need to sell as quickly as possible, or who are just looking to steal a house from a panicked seller for a rock-bottom price. However, most sellers still want to get as much as they can for their homes, and most buyers still want to pay as little as they can; it’s just that both are more realistic. Sellers tend to list their houses at prices that more realistically reflect the local market, and savvy buyers know when they find good value for the money.

Let’s take a quick look at single-family homes that are currently on the market in our area:

Town

Total SF For Sale

Listed in Past Month

% Listed in Past Month

Fair Haven

72

10

14%

Little Silver

58

12

21%

Oceanport

39

 4

10%

Rumson

99

15

15%

As you can see, between 10 and 21 percent of the single-family homes currently on the market were listed within the past month (this doesn’t include those homes that had been listed in the recent past and were just re-listed). When we look at this 10 – 21 percent of listings, we find listing prices that tend to be far more realistic than many of the homes that have been on the market for more than a month. If you’re serious about buying a house in the next few months, I’d be glad to show you these new listings. If you’re going to list your home for sale in the near future, I’d be glad to give you a free comparative market analysis so you have an informed idea of what your home is worth. Whether you’re considering buying or selling, always use a local real estate expert that you can trust.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski
(732) 239-0739 cell

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This entry was posted in Fair Haven, Little Silver, moving to NJ, Oceanport, Real Estate, Rumson-Fair Haven.

Homes that Sold (Closed) During the Week of November 6th

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 11-06-2011:

Town:

Address:

DOM:

Price:

Little Silver:
16 Sunnycrest Court      97 $  325,000
Monmouth Beach:
100-3B Seaview Avenue (Condominium)

 20

$   215,000
Red Bank:
93 Washington Street

152

$   291,250
Sea Bright
224 Ocean Avenue

103

$   362,500

Another quiet week. No single-family homes were sold in Fair Haven, Oceanport or Rumson.

The Real Estate Absorption Rate

Fair Haven, NJ - November 9, 2011

Yesterday we started to answer the question, “How’s the Market?” for Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport and Rumson. We found some data showing an improving market (more homes sold in 2011 vs. 2010; lower average DOM) but we found other data indicating a flat or slightly declining market (lower average and median selling prices). Today we’ll look at the Real Estate Absorption Rate.

The Real Estate Absorption Rate is a calculation estimating how many months it will take to sell all of the houses that are currently available for sale if the current rate of sales remains constant.  It can be calculated as a monthly number, a quarterly number, an annual number, or for any time interval you’d like to use. For the monthly calculation, divide the total amount of available homes by the number of homes that sold in the previous month. For example, 7 single-family homes were sold in Fair Haven in October, and at the end of the month 83 were active (i.e., listed for sale). The calculation is 83/7 = 11.9; based on this calculation, it will take 11.9 months for the current inventory of Fair Haven single-family homes to be sold (if homes continue to sell at the present rate). For Rumson, this number is 103/3 = 34 months.

However, remember what we said about statistics? When you’re dealing with numbers that are less than 20, you dramatically increase the possibility of error. In Rumson, where there were only 3 homes sold in October, we have to take the monthly absorption rate with a grain of salt because a change of just one sale in either direction would have drastically changed the calculated absorption rate. So instead of one month, let’s take a look at 3 months. To perform this calculation, we divide the [total amount of available homes] by [the number of homes sold in the past 3 months/3]. For Fair Haven, the calculation is 83 / (22/3) = 11.3, not too far from the 1-month rate, but for Rumson the calculation is 103 / (34/3) = 9.1, drastically different than the 1-month rate. In other words, based on the last 3 months, there’s an 11.3 months’ supply of homes in Fair Haven and a 9.1 months’ supply of homes in Rumson, presuming that homes in those communities continue to sell at the present rate.

Well, what do these numbers mean? For our area, in a normal (neutral) market, the real estate absorption rate varies between 5 and 7 (or, there’s a 5 to 7 month supply of homes on the market, presuming they continue to sell at the present rate).

Seller’s Market = less than 5 months

Normal Market = 5 – 7 months

Buyer’s Market = more than 7 months

So both for Fair Haven and for Rumson (and likewise for Little Silver as well as Oceanport if we had done the calculations), we’re clearly now in a “buyer’s market”, based on the real estate absorption rate for the last 3 months. However, if we look at the same 3 month period in 2010, the rates were 12.5 in Fair Haven and 14.0 in Rumson. To make this easier, let’s put the information into a table, and let’s add the data from Little Silver and Oceanport:

Town

2010 Abs. Rate

2011 Abs. Rate

Trend

Fair Haven

10.4

9.4

Sellers’ Market moving towards Normal
Little Silver

10.2

8.3

Sellers’ Market moving towards Normal
Oceanport

12.3

6.2

From Sellers’ Market  to Normal Market
Rumson

14.0

9.1

Sellers’ Market moving towards Normal

As you can see, the real estate absorption rate is shorter now than it was a year ago. When we add this information to the information we learned yesterday (more homes sold, shorter average DOM), it’s reasonable to conclude that the market is improving significantly in Fair Haven, Little Silver and Rumson, and has already returned to normal in Oceanport.

Hope this information was useful to you. If you’d like data for some other nearby towns, or if you’d like more targeted data (e.g., just for 4 bedroom homes) please call or email me. If you’d like to share any thoughts about the real estate market or if you disagree with my conclusions, feel free to comment  by clicking on the “Leave a comment” field below.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Agent, Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
ldunikoski@dianeturton.com
(732) 239-0739 (cell)

How’s the Market?

The question that most real estate agents hear most often is, “How’s the Market?”. The answer depends on what the questioner means when he/she says “the market”. Is it the nationwide real estate situation? the New Jersey situation? the situation in a particular town or neighborhood? the situation in a particular type of property, e.g. waterfront. If you’re interested in investment properties, you may want to focus on those areas where home prices declined the most, and have a significant chance of rapid appreciation. If you’re a  first-time home buyer, you may be interested in homes that are on the market at a fairly low listing price. Since I concentrate on real estate in Rumson, Fair Haven and the surrounding towns, most questions I receive are for a particular town/towns, or a particular price point. As we’ve said in prior posts, there are many ways to look at “the market”. One of the best ways is to look not at the homes that are currently listed, but at the homes that actually closed in the area that you’re speaking of. Let’s take a look single-family homes in this area that were sold between January 1st and October 31st, and compare them to the same time period in 2010 (DOM = days on Market; CDOM = Cumulative Days on market; LP = Listing Price; SP = Selling Price). Let’s look specifically at single family homes in Fair Haven, column by column. More homes sold this year (66) than in the same time period last year (49), and in fewer average Days On the Market (89 vs. 97). The listing prices, sold prices and median prices were very slightly lower in 2011 than in 2011 (average selling prices were less than 1% lower in 2011 than in 2010). The percentage of the Selling Price divided by the Listing Price remained at 95% for both years.

Fair Haven

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010 49 $781,204 $741,696 97 109 $660,000 95%
2011 66 $770,365 $735,552 89 100 $645,500 95%

Little Silver

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010 67 $748,414 $700,523 116 123 $550,000 94%
2011 51 $634,060 $595,029   91   99 $495,500 93%

Oceanport

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010 38 $658,486 $621,006 117 136 $487,500 94%
2011 44 $602,311 $562,304 115 121 $485,500 93%

Rumson

# Sold

Avg List

Avg Sold

Avg DOM

Ave CDOM

Median Price

%SP/LP

2010 78 $1,344,504 $1,241,859 104 107 $1,165,000 92%
2011 92 $1,705,522 $1,489,974   92   96 $1,117,500 87%

Do the same thing for Little Silver, Oceanport and/or Rumson). Except for Little Silver, more homes sold this year than last; in all 4 towns, homes were on the market for fewer days; only in Rumson did the %SP/LP decline significantly (from 92% to 87%, but this was offset by higher Listing Prices and Selling Prices). We could look at some of the surrounding towns (Red Bank, Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, etc.) if we were interested in those markets.

So how do we answer the “How’s the Market?” question? Looking just at the numbers above, I’d say that the market is neither very good nor very bad. There are some signs that the market may be recovering, but there are other signs that it’s not recovering. So what do we do? We look at another very good market indicator, and that’s the Real Estate Absorption Rate; we’ll do that tomorrow.

Len

Selling Your House Next Year? Start Now by Cleaning Out Your Garage!

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Rumson Fair Haven Home

If you’re thinking of selling your home next year, you’ve got a lot of things to do before you put your house on the market. First on everyone’s list should be cleaning and de-cluttering your house. Potential buyers aren’t going to be impressed by a house that has smudges on the walls or floors, or which obviously hasn’t been painted or wall papered in a long time. They also won’t be impressed if your house is cluttered. A cluttered house looks messy, raises doubts about whether you’ve kept up the maintenance, and frankly it looks smaller. Many people go beyond cleaning and de-cluttering and promote “staging” your house, and we’ll talk more about that in a future column.

If you’re like many people, you’ve accumulated lots of “stuff” over the years. You have it on display, or on shelves, or in closets, or just here and there. I mean things like your fabulous collection of salt and pepper shakers from around the world, or 10 years worth of National Geographic magazines, or books that you read once but probably won’t read again. These things make your house look less attractive to a potential buyer, and frankly, do you really to want the time and expense to move all of that to your new location? You’ll have to start sorting through everything to decide what you’re going to keep, what you’ll sell or give away, and what you’ll just have to throw out. Before you do any of this, clean out your garage.

It’s a good time to clean your garage even if you don’t plan to move. So many garages are so full of odds and ends that there’s no room for the cars. With the cold weather coming soon, it’s a good idea to garage your car to protect it from the elements, make it easier to start, and make it more convenient for yourself. You won’t have too many warm days left to clean out your garage; that’s also going to involve some decisions about what to save and what to throw out. Unless you have a heated garage, you’re not going to want to spend several hours out there when the weather turns cold.

Once your garage is clean and organized you’ll have a great place to store many of the things that you’re going to sell or give away. Maybe you’ll try to sell them on eBay or at a garage sale next May. The point is to have a specific place to temporarily keep things that you don’t intend to take with you when you move. You can’t de-clutter a house simply by putting the things you’ll save on one side of the room, and putting the things you’ll sell/give away on the other. When you begin going through everything room by room you should have boxes for the things you’ll save, containers for the recyclables, boxes for the things you’re going to donate and lots of big plastic bags for the throw away items. If your garage is clean, you’ll have room to sort the “sell/donate” boxes into logical categories (keep them on shelves or at least off the floor). By the way, you might want to check to make sure that the remote control for your garage door opener still works.

Len
Posted in Real Estate, Selling Your House | Tagged “Fair Haven”, “Rumson”, cleaning, de-clutter | Leave a comment | Edit

5 Tips for Efficient Downsizing

Posted on November 2, 2011 by Rumson Fair Haven Home

This article, by Peggy Patenaude, appeared in this morning’s RISMEDIA update and I thought it was so good that I’d like share it with you:

The organizational benefits of downsizing can be very rewarding. You can save time, restore order, relieve stress, free up space, and perhaps most importantly, save money.

It’s important when you are organizing and downsizing to try to keep your emotions out of the process. The process may seem overwhelming, but you can do it, and here are some tips that will help you accomplish the task:

1) Try not to focus on the entire house at once. Break things down room by room. Take on one project at a time and don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. If the room itself seems to be too much to take on, just focus on one area at a time, like a closet. Accomplish something before moving on to another area. Small steps yield big rewards. Set realistic goals about the amount of time you need, and create a timeline that works for you.

2) Evaluate what you have. Everyone has extra stuff. Ask yourself: Do I use this? Need it? Love it? Is it in good condition? If you haven’t used or thought about something in over a year, it’s probably safe to get rid of it. Sell valuable items that you no longer need. Ebay and Craigslist are both great online tools that will help you cash in on things that you don’t need anymore. Or donate. There’s no shortage of organizations that take in the things you don’t use and distribute them to people in need. What a great feeling!

3) Properly store irreplaceable items. Meaningful items such as old photos, yearbooks, wedding dresses, and christening gowns should be properly stored in sealed containers in order to protect them from the elements. You may even want to go one step further with old photos and convert them to a digital format to ensure that they will always be safe. If your children have grown and moved out, as hard as it may be, remind yourself that you are not responsible for providing storage for your adult children.

4) Stay positive. Getting rid of items that remind you of your past can be an emotional process. At first it might seem difficult to part with those masterpieces that your children created when they were small, but there’s no reason to keep every scrap of paper your child has ever brought home. Instead, concentrate on what’s important you, and visualize what your home will look like when you have de-cluttered and re-imagined your space. I have found that after de-cluttering, most people wish they had done it sooner.

5) Hire a REALTOR® who specializes in working with downsizers. This type of move is a specialty and requires a unique set of skills and a great deal of planning and patience. You will need someone who works well with you. You might want to look for a realtor who has earned the SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) designation. Out of the 1.1 million members of the National Association of Realtors, less than 17 thousand (1.5%) have earned the SRES designation.
Posted in Real Estate, Real Estate agent | Tagged “realtor”, “SRES”, downsizing | Leave a comment | Edit

A Look at 4 Bedroom Homes

Yesterday we looked at 3 bedroom homes that sold in Fair Haven, Little Silver and Rumson in 2011 (as of today). Today we’ll look more closely at 4 bedroom homes, which represent a much larger share of the total housing market. Here’s what we see when we list 2011 sales by town:

Town               Average  Selling Price             # of Sales         Avg No. of Days on Market

Fair Haven                      $775,124                        37                            86

Little Silver (homes)       636,687                        24                          109

Rumson                       $1,091,080                        38                            62

Remember what we saw yesterday for 3 bedroom houses? The lowest average prices were in Little Silver and the lowest days on market were in Little Silver. Now for 4 bedroom houses, the lowest average prices are still in Little Silver, but they also take the longest to sell. 4 bedroom homes in Rumson had the highest average selling price, but they also were on the market for the lowest number of days. Nearly the same number of homes sold in Fair Haven, and they were on the market longer than Rumson houses but shorter than Little Silver houses. Conclusion? People buying 4 bedroom homes in this area would prefer to live in Rumson, and they’re willing to pay higher prices in order to do so. Their second choice is Fair Haven, where prices of 4 bedroom homes are lower.

Another interesting thing is that the percentage difference between houses in the three towns is much higher for 4 bedroom homes than it was for 3 bedrooms. Whereas you’d have to pay about 13% more to live in a 3 bedroom house in Fair Haven compared to Little Silver, for 4 bedroom houses the difference rose to 22%. Likewise, while 3 bedroom houses in Rumson averaged 23% higher than those in Fair Haven, for 4 bedroom houses the difference rose to 41%. Finally, when you compare Little Silver to Rumson, 3 bedroom Rumson houses averaged 39% higher than those in Little Silver, but for 4 bedroom houses the difference is a whopping 72%.

Unlike most of New Jersey and the nation, right now median home prices in Fair Haven and Rumson are slightly higher than they were in 2005 or 2006 (see posts from September 21st and 22nd).  If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Fair Haven or Rumson in the next year or so, knowing what’s happening to housing prices is important to you. I’d love to sit down and talk about the trends and your specific situation with you.

Thanks for following my posts. If you like what you read, please hit the “Subscribe” button and you’ll automatically get an email whenever I publish a new post.

Len

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES

Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

A Closer Look at 3-Bedroom Homes

We’ve looked at the median prices of homes that have sold in Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport and Rumson from 2005 to 2011. We also list the homes that are sold each week in our immediate geographic area. Now let’s drill down into the data to see what other information might be available to us. For one thing, the median home prices include ALL single-family homes, regardless of their differences (square feet, number of bedrooms, location, age, amount of land, etc.). Let’s look specifically at 3 bedroom homes that have sold in 2011 (as of today). Here’s what we see when we list them by town:

Town               Average  Selling Price             # of Sales         Avg No. of Days on Market

Fair Haven                   $516,220                           16                          102

Little Silver (homes)   $457,530                          16                            67

Little Silver (condos)  $478,090                           11                          143

Rumson                         $632,790                           12                            83

As I’ve done in the past, I’d like to caution you about the numbers. The “rule of thumb” when you’re doing a statistical analysis is to use at least 20 data points (in our case, 20 homes sold). At that number, each individual sale represents 5.0% of the total number of sales. With only 16 or fewer sales in each town, each sale represents a greater percentage of the total number of sales, so one home sale can theoretically skew the numbers. However, when we looked at each of the sales listed above, we didn’t find any severe outliers that would have affected the numbers significantly.

What can we conclude from these data? First, the lowest average selling price was for Little Silver detached homes, which also had the lowest average number of days on the market (DOM). Second, the longest average number of days on the market were for condominiums, also in Little Silver. Third, more detached single-family homes were sold in Fair Haven and in Little Silver; the average price of Fair Haven homes was about 13% higher than those in Little Silver. Fourth, the highest average selling price was for Rumson homes.

When you look to buy a home in Fair Haven, Little Silver or Rumson you’re going to have your own budget and your own specific list of “must have” and “would be nice” requirements, so your ideal home may sell lower or higher than the average price for that town. However, before you decide to narrow down the towns where you’re looking, you should have at least a ballpark idea of the selling prices of homes in each town. Tomorrow we’ll look at 4 bedroom homes.

Thanks for following my posts. If you like what you read, please hit the “Subscribe” button and you’ll automatically get an email whenever I publish a new post.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES

Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

Homes Sold in Our Area the Week of October 16th

The following single-family homes were sold (closed) during the week of 10-16-2011:

Fair Haven:

Address:

DOM:

Price:

142 3rd Street

171

$   205,000
87 Parker Avenue

16

$   341,500
122 Forrest Avenue

9

$   492,000
70 Spruce Drive

160

$1,215,000
Little Silver:
105 Lovett Avenue

139

$   390,000
22 Rumson Road

47

$   449,000
Monmouth Beach:
1-607 Channel Drive (Condominium)

111

$   230,000
55-5C Ocean Avenue (Condominium)

25

$   480,000
30 Tocci Avenue

47

$   999,500
Oceanport:
25 Springfield Avenue

447

$   250,000
31 Elizabeth Drive

56

$   315,000

Homes that are correctly priced will sell in a short time. As you can see, 3 of the 11 homes in our area sold within the first month, and 6 of the 11 sold within 2 months.

Let’s See About Sea Bright Real Estate

The closest beaches to Rumson and Fair Haven are in Sea Bright, just across the bridge from Rumson. Many peninsula residents enjoy going either to the Sea Bright public beach or to one of several swim clubs. In terms  of real estate, Sea Bright has many fewer homes than the nearby “mainland” communities. In the first 9 months of 2011, only six (6) single family homes were sold in Sea Bright (median price = $657,083). However, there are quite a few condominiums, used both as primary residences and as second homes. Sea Bright condominiums are often used as investment properties, available for off-season rental  or summer season rental. Here are the median prices for Sea Bright condominiums sold by the end of the 3rd quarter for the past seven (7) years:

Year     Median Selling Price   # of Sales (9 Mos YTD)

2005                $506,000                           22
2006                $360,000                           24
2007                $452,000                           18
2008                $365,250                           16
2009                $307,500                           16
2010                $439,500                           16
2011                $329,000                           15

First, I’d like to caution you about the numbers. The “rule of thumb” when you’re doing a statistical analysis is to use at least 20 data points (in our case, 20 condos sold). At that number, each individual sale represents 5.0% of the total number of sales. With only 15 sales this year, each sale represents 6.7% of the total number of sales. Even though we’re using the median rather than the average, we don’t have as many data points as we’d normally like to see. It would be silly to look at one month’s sales in Sea Bright compared to the same month a year ago; you just can’t draw any conclusions.

Let’s add some more information to the picture. Let’s look at the number of Sea Bright condominiums that were listed for sale (but whose listings expired unsold) for the same 9 month period (January through September):

Year     Expired Listings

2005                113
2006                143
2007                164
2008                188
2009                197
2010                197
2011                217

Not very encouraging, is it? Since 2005, every following year had more condos listed but not sold. Why don’t condos (or houses) sell? The main reason is that they’re not priced correctly to reflect the market. It you’re trying to sell your condo, it doesn’t matter what you paid for it, or what you hope to get for it after closing costs are paid. What matters is the current market and what people are willing to pay for a unit such as yours. With internet sites like Trulia and Zillow, buyers are familiar with the market and with asking prices for condominiums similar to yours. They’re not going to pay more than they have to, and they’ll know a competitive price when they find it.

If I’m to be your trusted real estate advisor, it’s my responsibility to give you the bad news as well as the good. I won’t take a listing if the seller insists on pricing it way over the current market in the hope that someone will make an attractive offer. My old CEO used to say, “hope is not a strategy”, and he’s absolutely right. I’m not going to spend my time trying to sell something that I know will never sell, and I won’t waste your time leading you down the primrose path to an unrealistic expectation.

I’d rather have you list with some other realtor and then come back to me after your listing expires unsold. During those 3 months or 6 months, he/she is going to keep telling you what he/she should have told you from the start: you’re going to have to lower your asking price. In the mean time, you’re house is going to be on the market for a long time. Realtors track the cumulative number of days (CDOM) your house has been on the market (not just the number of days for a current listing). When buyers see a high DOM (Days on Market) or a high CDOM it sends up a red flag and they begin to wonder what’s wrong with the house. It’s not a position of strength, and you don’t want to be there when you go to sell your own house or condo.

Thanks for following my posts. If you like what you read, please hit the “Subscribe” button and you’ll automatically get an email whenever I publish a new post.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

Integrity

The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity.

Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience,

and truth over popularity… these are the choices that measure your life.

Travel the path of integrity without looking back,

for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

-          Lucinda Bassett, “Life Without Limits”

I really like these two sentences, and I try to live my life this way. I’ll always give you the truth: the pros- and cons- of any situation.  In turn, I’ll assume that you’re telling me the truth until proven otherwise. But once you lie to me I’ll never be able to fully trust you again. If I’m your real estate advisor, you need to trust me and I need to trust you.

Good people can see things differently and still respect each other. I’d rather you courteously disagree with me than pretend that you agree. Maybe you have a perspective that I didn’t think of; you might be able to change my mind.

What are you looking for in a realtor? The top thing on your list should be integrity. A great smile, a firm handshake, a cleverness with words and successful salesmanship all don’t mean a thing if you don’t have integrity.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

Oceanport Real Estate Update

Oceanport is just across the Shrewsbury River from Little Silver.  It has a good school system and a mixture of medium to large homes, many of which are waterfront properties. Here are the median prices for single family homes at the end of the 3rd quarter for the past seven (7) years:

Year     Median Selling Price   # of Sales (9 Mos YTD)

2005                $529,000                           47
2006                $510,000                           43
2007                $542,500                           30
2008                $580,000                           36
2009                $362,500                           22
2010                $525,000                           32
2011                $505,000                           37

In Oceanport only 22 single family homes were sold in 2009, and only for a median price of $362,500 (the “median” is the price at which 50% of the homes sold for a higher value and 50% sold for a lower value). However, other than that year, home prices have remained relatively constant, with medians staying in the low- to mid-five hundred thousand dollar range.

The number of homes sold in the first 9 months of this year has increased from last year, and is markedly higher than the number that sold in the same period in 2009. However, although prices are back to where they were in 2005 and 2006, fewer homes were sold so far this year than in the first 9 months of 2005 or 2006.

So, just as we asked for Little Silver last week, is this a good time or a bad time to sell a home in Oceanport? The answer is the same one that I gave last week: the answer is that “it depends”. If you bought your home 10 or more years ago you’ve seen the value of your property increase over time and you might want to sell your home and downsize to a smaller house (or condo) with lower taxes and lower maintenance costs. Or you might want to sell your house and move to Florida or one of the other parts of the country where home prices are severely decreased and where you might find really good value for the money.

For those of you who are moving to New Jersey, or if you’re relocating from northern New Jersey or looking for an investment property, this might be a perfect time to buy a house in Oceanport.  The rates for 30- or 15- year fixed mortgages are at or near their all-time lows, and everyone predicts that they will move higher in the next year or two. If you wait to buy and the mortgage rate goes up by 1.0% in the next year, your monthly mortgage payment will be a lot higher.

I’d love to be your trusted real estate advisor. If you’re looking to move to Oceanport or any of the towns in our area, I’d be glad to find the house that’s perfect for you. If you’re thinking about selling your house in the next few years, please start planning for it now. I’d be glad to give you some ideas on what to do in the next few months or years while you’re getting ready to put your home on the market.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

Little Silver Real Estate Update

Little Silver Logo

Today we’ll take a look at Little Silver. Here are the numbers for single family homes at the end of the 3rd quarter the past seven (7) years:

Year     Median Selling Price   # of Sales (9 Mos YTD)

2005                $585,000                           41
2006                $565,000                           55
2007                $610,000                           51
2008                $580,000                           45
2009                $505,000                           33
2010                $544,500                           54
2011                $505,000                           44

In Little Silver, unlike Rumson and Fair Haven, the median home price is still significantly lower (-17%) than it was at the 2007 peak (the “median” is the price at which 50% of the homes sold for a higher value and 50% sold for a lower value).

Let’s go back to the front page article from last week’s Wall Street Journal, which said that nationwide home prices are down 31% from their 2005 highs, and “experts” are predicting another 2.5% decline this year, as well as only 1.1% increases through 2015 (in  a normal real estate market, home values go up by 3% – 4% per year). The good news is that Little Silver home prices are doing much better than the nationwide average. The bad news is that fewer homes sold this year compared to a year ago, and the average median sales price was down 7.3% compared to last year.

Little Silver is a great place to live. Many Little Silver homes have wonderful views of the Shrewsbury River (or are right on the river). The schools are top notch. There are condominiums (not included in the single home statistics) which make it great for baby boomers who are downsizing and who want to stay in the area. For that matter, the condos are a great place for your parents to live close to you. Most of the residential streets are quiet and good for walkers and bikers. A super market, two drug stores and several restaurants are within easy walking distance. You can hop on a train at the Little Silver station and be in New York City in a reasonable amount of time (either for commuting to work or for going to a Broadway show and/or a famous restaurant).

So, is this a good time or a bad time to sell a home in Little Silver? As always, the answer is that “it depends”. If you bought your home 10 or more years ago you’ve still seen the value of your property increase over time you might want to sell your home and downsize to a smaller house (or condo) with lower taxes and lower maintenance costs. Or you might want to sell your house and move to Florida or one of the other parts of the country where home prices are severely decreased and where you might find really good value for the money.

If you’re moving to New Jersey, or if you’re relocating from northern New Jersey, this might be a perfect time to buy a house in Little Silver. You’ll be on “the Peninsula”, close to beaches and close to all of the attractions that Red Bank offers. Mortgage rates are at or near all-time lows, and everyone predicts that they have nowhere to go but to move higher. If the mortgage rate goes up by 1.0%, your monthly mortgage payment will be a lot higher.

I’d love to be your trusted real estate advisor. If you’re looking to move to Little Silver, I’d be glad to find the house that’s perfect for you. If you’re thinking about selling your house in the next few years, please start talking to me, and I’ll give you some tips on how to improve its desirability for potential buyers.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

Homes Sold in Our Area the Week of September 25th

The following homes were sold (closed) during the week of 09-25-2011:

Fair Haven:
6 Rutgers Drive $   449,000
31 Forest Avenue $   510,000
40 McCarter Avenue $   525,000
Little Silver:
72 Silverton Avenue $   495,000
184 Woods End Drive (Condominium) $   590,000
Monmouth Beach:
1-1207 Channel Drive (Condominium) $   310,000
45-51 Ocean Avenue (Condominium) $   610,000
Oceanport:
18 Hiawatha Avenue $   471,000
Red Bank:
287 S Bridge Avenue $     95,000
130-21 Bodman Place (Condominium) $   480,000
Rumson:
65-6 East River Road (Condominium) $   375,500
29 Waterman Avenue $   750,000
1 Azalea Lane $1,650,000

What About Little Silver Home Prices?

After reading the blogs about home prices in Rumson and in Fair Haven, several people asked me, “How about Little Silver home prices?”. Since we’re getting to the end of the month (and the quarter), I’m going to review Little Silver real estate prices next week. As we did for Rumson and Fair Haven, we’ll look at average median home sales prices for the past few years, using 9 months of data year-to-date. So if you’re wondering what’s going on in zip code 07739, I’ll have detailed answers for you next week.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

Homes Sold in Our Area the Week of Sep 18, 2011

The following homes were sold (closed) during the week of 09-18-2011:

Little Silver:
36 Monroe Avenue $   395,000
Middletown:
66 Leonard Avenue $     72,276
45 Mountainside Avenue $   153,000
66 Berkshire Court $   155,000
8 Andover Court $   203,000
15 Harkins Drive $   210,000
147 Main Street $   235,000
508 Apple Valley Drive $   250,000
889 Lincoln Street $   305,000
76 Kings Highway $   312,000
108 Navesink Avenue $   398,200
Monmouth Beach:
55-6H Ocean Avenue $   268,000
914 Channel Drive $   271,000
2 Monmouth Place $   565,000
Red Bank:
97 Leonard Street $   180,000
158 Branch Avenue $   220,000
Rumson:
4 Robin Road $   762,500
71 Waterman Avenue $   850,000
52 Waterman Avenue $   859,900
54 Waterman Avenue $   945,000
Sea Bright:
260-16A Ocean Avenue $   215,000

Fair Haven Real Estate Update

Yesterday we looked at the current real estate market in Rumson, and today we’ll take a look at Fair Haven. Here are the numbers for the past seven (7) years:

Year                 Median Selling Price

2005                $645,000
2006                $630,000
2007                $679,000
2008                $626,000
2009                $620,000
2010                $669,200
2011                $669,000 (through August)

Isn’t this interesting? Yesterday we referenced the front page article from the Wall Street Journal, stating that nationwide home prices are down 31% from their 2005 highs, and “experts” predict another 2.5% decline this year as well as only 1.1% increases through 2015 (in  a normal real estate market, home values go up by 3% – 4% per year).

In Fair Haven, the median home price stayed remarkably stable (the “median” is the price at which 50% of the homes sold for a higher value and 50% sold for a lower value). If there was a “peak, it was in 2007 when the average median price of single family homes was $679,999. The greatest percentage decline was the following year, when the average median price dropped to $626,000 (less than an 8% decline). Fair Haven homes have kept their value, because Fair Haven is a great place for families to live.

It’s true that fewer Fair Haven homes have been sold in the past few years when compared to 2005, but it’s also true that significantly more homes have sold in the first 8 months of 2011 than in the same period in 2008, 2009, or 2010:

Year                 Number sold Jan 1 – Aug 30

2005                                        81
2006                                        70
2007                                        74
2008                                        44
2009                                        46
2010                                        35
2011                                        56

I’ve lived in Fair haven since 1975, and I know this town. We have everything from very modest houses to fantastic luxury houses on the Navesink River. People are genuinely friendly, and most people know all of their neighbors, both next door and down the street. We have great schools and a real downtown, with lots of small stores and restaurants. Families who move here tend to stay here, and teachers often recognize children of students that they taught 20 – 25 years ago. People selling their homes tend to be empty nesters, often downsizing but staying in the area.

If you’re looking to move to Fair Haven, I’d be glad to find the house that’s perfect for you. If you’re thinking about selling your house in the next few years, please talk to me.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

How’s the Real Estate Market in Rumson?

The main article on the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal is “Home Forecast Calls for Pain”. It says that the “experts” are predicting another 2.5% drop in the value of homes this year, and only a 1.1% increase in 2012 – 2015 (in a normal housing market, real estate increases in value by 3% to 4% a year). The article goes on to say, “Prices have already fallen 31.6% from their 2005 peak, as measured by Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller 20-city index”.

The facts about our peninsula area show a far different story. Here are the median prices at which single family homes in Rumson sold for the past 8 years (the “median” means that half the houses sold for higher prices and half sold for lower prices; it’s considered to be a better indicator than the “average” price, which can be skewed by one or two sales that are markedly higher or lower than the others):

Year

Median Sold $

2005

$   992,550

2006

$1,147,500

2007

$1,201,550

2008

$   999,000

2009

$   995,000

2010

$1,165,000

2011

$1,197,500 thru Aug

As you can see, the single family housing market in Rumson peaked in 2007, and dropped about 17% in 2008. After remaining steady in 2009, prices increased by 17% in 2010 and another 3% so far this year. In fact, we’re very close to the 2007 high.

This is good news for home owners in Rumson, and it reflects the quality of life here on the peninsula (great schools, friendly people, etc.). People LIKE to live here, and people LIKE to move here. It’s the law of supply and demand- in parts of the country where the supply is high and the demand is low, home prices dropped significantly. Here, where supply and demand are roughly equal, homes have kept their value.

If you’re thinking about moving to this area, or if you live here and want to sell your existing house, I’d be glad to work with you. The more you know the better the decision you’ll make. Great realtors know this, and go overboard to educate and inform.

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, SRES
Seniors Real Estate Specialist
Realtor Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
https://www.ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

The following homes were sold (closed) the week of 09/11/2011:

Little Silver:
74 Cross Street $   700,000
Middletown:
10-A Berkshire Court $   125,000
17-B Auburn Court $   135,000
4 Ware Place $   405,000
839 Nutswamp Road $   470,700
935 Navesink River Road $   518,000
43 Green Meadow Blvd $   690,000
Monmouth Beach:
55=11J Ocean Avenue $   575,000
Red Bank:
9 Chapin Avenue $   401,250
Rumson:
34 Allen Street $   700,000
9 Linden Lane $1,500,000
Sea Bright:
174-26 Ocean Avenue $   835,000

From Hospital Administrator to Real Estate Agent?

Some people are surprised when I tell them that I became a real estate agent after spending 35+ years as a successful hospital administrator. Besides the obvious reasons (I’ve lived here for a long time and I like real estate), there actually are many similarities between the healthcare and real estate professions. You’re working with people, and providing a service;  you’re dealing with people who are going through stressful situations; you have to be knowledgeable and professional; you’re respected only if you have the utmost honesty and integrity; and you must maintain the confidentiality that’s entrusted to you. Finally, if you’re a hospital administrator or a real estate agent, you often provide services without knowing whether you’re going to be paid for them or not.

In healthcare, the best physicians and hospital administrators have their competency certified by independent national “Boards”, and often have sub-specialty certification. Persons whose competency has been certified are often called “Fellows” and they have initials starting with “F” after their names. For example, a surgeon may list his name as John Smith, FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons); I’m a Fellow in the American College of Health Executives. The trend to independent certification is just staring in real estate, and you tend to see more realtors becoming sub-specialty certified if they work in towns with a college or university. I already have my SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) designation; out of the 1.2 million Realtors nationwide, less than 17,000 (1.5%) have achieved this designation. Why the SRES designation? If you look at my photo you’ll see that I’m a baby boomer myself (I hate being called a “senior!”), so I have a natural interest in everything that affects people of my age or older (we renovated our house to include several “universal design” features when my dad was living with us several years ago).

Like many of my generation, I’ve given lots of thought to whether to downsize or not, to stay in New Jersey or not, to invest in major energy-saving upgrades or not, to buy a more fuel-efficient car or not. I’ve also experienced the stress of several friends and relatives who finally decided to sell the homes they’d been living in for many, many years (not to mention the tough decisions involved with dealing with a lifetime’s worth of “stuff”). If you’re starting to go through any of these situations, I’d be glad to meet with you and share ideas or give you some things to think about; likewise if you have a parent who’s facing these same situations.

The real estate market is very interesting right now. Although home prices in Phoenix, Las Vegas, California and Florida have gone down from their peak valuations by as much as 50%, homes here in Rumson and Fair Haven are down by about only 10%. In addition, more homes have sold in Fair Haven in the first 8 months of 2011 than for the same time period in 2010, and have sold for higher average/mean prices (look for more information in a later post) . On the other hand, prices have dropped more in some of the neighboring towns, and with 30 year mortgage rates being below 4% (at or near all-time lows), it’s a great time for some people to buy their first house or condo. If you’re a first-time buyer, please know that I’m patient, not pushy, and will show you both the pros and cons of any specific property.

So what about you? How do you choose a real estate agent? My advice is to do it the same way that you’d choose a doctor: ask people for recommendations based on personal experience, and then get to know as much as you can about the person. Above all, you need to respect and trust this person, and know that he/she has the highest standards of honesty and integrity. If you think you’ll be selling your house in the next few years, start building a relationship with a real estate agent now instead of making a hasty decision later. If you’re looking to buy a house or condo, you might want to talk to two or three different realtors before deciding who you want to work with. In either case, I’d love to earn your trust and confidence so that I can be your real estate agent. Give me a call at (732) 239-0739 or email me at ldunikoski@dianeturton.com; my office is at 8 West River Road in Rumson.

Leonard "Len" Dunikoski, SRES Realtor Agent - Diane Turton Realtors

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