Managing Stress During House Hunting

There aren’t two ways around it, you’re going to encounter stress when you’re searching for a home. But it’s not just you; everyone experiences it. And why wouldn’t you? This is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in life. I know acknowledging this will make you nervous, but there isn’t any use in denying this while searching for your next living space. But no matter the stress you face, there are ways you can deal with it, and that’s what we’re here for today.

I realize we have brought this up in a lot of our past blogposts, but the best way to drive stress away when doing anything real-estate related is to hire an agent. They know the inner workings of the industry and can assist you in navigating the market as you figure out which house will work best for you and what you can afford. Any pressing questions you have, they can answer, or will get back to you as soon as they can if they need to look for the answer elsewhere. Agents are here to help you carry the work as you house hunt, and they will be there with you from the start of your search to the time you sign those closing documents.

Just like with college essays and projects, the best thing you can do to keep stress at bay is start your search. You probably have a date set for when you want to move, so don’t waste any time. Every minute is essential, and with buying a home being a very important purchase, you can’t afford to wait until the last minute and possibly choosing the wrong house in your haste to grab a property. You don’t want to procrastinate and then find the best homes have been snatched up. It’s best to start early so you can analyze all of your options in order to make an informed decision. Time is fleeting, so don’t let it get away!

As you begin your search, you should know what you want in your home. Although you don’t know which house you will end up buying, you do know what you want it to include. How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you want? Would you like a house with a pool? A two-car garage? A patio? Central air conditioning, or wall units? If you’re looking at homes without knowing what you want, you might as well conduct your search while blindfolded. Looking at homes without knowing exactly what you want may not be the best use of your time.

Here’s a word everyone wants out of their vocabulary: paperwork. Yes, we all would live more peacefully without it, but it’s a necessary evil when it comes to real estate. I’m not trying to alarm you in saying there’s going to be a lot of reading and signing of real estate documents, but to let you know this is something of which you NEED to keep track. With everything that goes into buying a house, such as getting pre-approved for a mortgage, obtaining an insurance plan, and putting in an offer, you can bet there will be paperwork to go with it. You should keep everything together in your home so if you ever need to reference back to a certain document, you’ll know where to find it.

Before you start the procession of purchasing a house, it will benefit you to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You can imagining how frustrating it will be if you find a property you’re interested in, only to find out you won’t be given any financing. It would be in your best interest to get all of the financial aspects in order from the beginning because agents and sellers only want to deal with buyers who have been pre-approved, obviously. What you should do is improve your credit score and get all of your bills paid on time. Doing these things will make you look ready in the eyes of the banks, and having your bank statements and current income records with you will assist lenders in determining your eligibility for a mortgage. Remember what I said not too far back about paperwork? This is why you need it.

As you house hunt, you have to be prepared to fit open houses and private showings into your schedule. I realize you’re busy with work, but going to as many open houses as you can is essential in seeing which houses will meet your needs. If possible, it will be best to see a few houses within a few days. That way, you won’t have an extended period of time between showings, and you won’t be straining to remember what you liked and didn’t like about a house. This will allow you to make easy and thorough comparisons of the homes. Despite having more time over the weekend to attend an open house, it may benefit you to visit a home on a weekday because there’s the possibility of there being less people, which will give you more one-on-one time with the listing agent, and you’ll be able to ask as many questions as you want.

When you’re buying a home, you’ll most likely experience the “fear of missing out,” which is a case when someone else may put in an offer on a house you only just viewed, leaving you compelled to put in an offer as well. This happens particularly in seller’s markets, which occur when there are high prices and low inventory. In such a case, your feelings may get ahead of your rational thoughts, influencing you to put in an offer. However, it’s important you don’t do this unless you’re certain this is the house you want. It may feel discouraging to miss out on a home, but it will feel worse to make a quick decision on a house, only to move in and realize this isn’t the house you wanted after all.

Yes, there is stress that goes into searching for and buying a home, but there are also a lot of ways with which you can combat that stress. Although some unexpected things may come up during the process, you can triumph over it all if you start on time and have a plan and some professionals at the ready. Buying a house is one of the most important things you’ll do, and you shouldn’t let stress get the best of you. At the start of each day, just look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself it’s all going to work out.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

 

Sources

www.engelvoelkers.com

www.blogs.psychcentral.com

www.moneycrashers.com

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm
Joseph Rand | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Sussex County, New Jersey

SUSSEX-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRActivity in the Sussex County housing market surged yet again in the first quarter of 2017, with sales up sharply even while prices retreated slightly after a strong showing last year.

Sales. Sussex sales were up yet again in the first quarter, rising over 32% from last year. And for the year, sales increased over 19%, with almost 2,500 home sales representing the highest 12-month total in over 10 years. Indeed, Sussex sales are now up almost 120% from the bottom of the market in 2011, as a clear seller’s market begins to emerge.

Prices. In our last Report, we noted that the 8% spike in the average sales price in the fourth quarter was probably not sustainable. Well, that played out as we expected in the first quarter, with prices retreating almost 2% on average and an eye-popping 7% at the median. Again, though, don’t read too much into quarterly price changes. Instead, focus on the rolling year, which shows more meaningful, and sustainable, price appreciation levels of over 1% on average and almost 5% at the median.

Inventory. The Sussex inventory of available homes for sale fell dramatically by over 36%, dropping to just 9.2 months. That’s a significant decline, but inventory is still higher than in other Northern New Jersey counties, which are all approaching the six-month inventory line that usually signals the beginning of a seller’s market. But if inventory continues to go down, we would expect that to put some additional upward pressure on pricing.

Negotiability. The negotiability metrics indicated that sellers were gaining some negotiating leverage with buyers. The days-on-market fell dramatically, dropping by 23 days and now down to just over five months of market time. And sellers were retaining a little more of their asking price, with listing retention jumping up to 96.5% for the quarter and over 95% for the year.

Going forward, we expect that Sussex is going to continue to see rising sales coupled with more consistent price appreciation. With an improving economy, homes priced at attractive levels, and near-historically-low interest rates, we expect buyer demand, coupled with declining inventory, to drive a robust Spring market and a strong 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Essex County, New Jersey

ESSEX-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Essex County housing market started the year strong, with another increase in sales activity finally showing some impact on pricing.

Sales. Essex sales activity was up sharply from the first quarter of last year, rising almost 12% and driving the rolling year activity up almost 5%. Buyer demand has been inconsistent throughout the year, certainly not as strong as we are seeing in neighboring Northern New Jersey counties. But Essex closed over 5,000 units over the rolling year, the largest 12-month total since the height of the last seller’s market over 10 years ago, and up over 65% from the bottom of the market in 2011.

Prices. Essex buyer demand is finally showing signs of an impact on pricing. The average price was up almost 4% from the first quarter of last year. Although the median was down just a tick for the quarter, and the rolling year pricing is still down, that increase in the average price was still promising. With inventory continuing to fall and buyer demand relatively strong, we would expect prices to gain some momentum in the Spring market.

Inventory. Essex inventory fell again, dropping almost 39% from last year’s first quarter and now down to 5.8 months. We measure “months of inventory” by calculating the number of months it would take to sell all the available homes at the current rate of absorption, and generally consider anything below six months to signal a seller’s market that would normally drive prices up. So the fact that Essex crossed that threshold this quarter augurs well for pricing in 2017.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators – the amount of time sold homes were on the market, and the rate at which sellers were able to retain their full asking price – suggested that sellers might be gaining just a little bit of negotiating leverage. The days-on-market fell by six days, and the listing retention rate was up sharply. Indeed, for the calendar year, sellers retained over 99% of their last list price. That’s another positive signal of potential future appreciation.

Going forward, we expect that Essex County’s sales activity will eventually have a meaningful impact on pricing. With homes still at historically affordable prices, interest rates low, and a generally improving economy, we believe that low inventory levels coupled with stable buyer demand will drive modest but meaningful price appreciation through a robust Spring market and the rest of 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 28, 2017 at 9:43 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Morris County, New Jersey

MORRIS-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Morris County housing market got off to a strong start in 2017, with an increase in sales activity coupled with some promising signs for pricing.

Sales. Morris County sales were up solidly, rising almost 9% from the first quarter of last year. This continued a streak in which year-on-year sales have now gone up for 10 straight quarters, over two years of sustained buyer demand. Transactions were also up 10% for the year, and are now up almost 60% from the bottom of the market in 2011. So sales have been strong for several years now, indicating sustained levels of buyer demand.

Prices. These persistent levels of buyer demand are finally having some modest impact on pricing. For the first time in several years, the average price was up, rising a little over 1%. And even though the median was down 1%, and the yearlong price trend is negative, we believe that sustained buyer demand coupled with  falling inventory is likely to drive pricing up through the rest of the year.

Inventory. Morris inventory fell again, dropping over 34% from last year’s first quarter and now down to just over six months worth of inventory . We measure “months of inventory” by calculating the number of months it would take to sell all the available homes at the current rate of absorption, and generally consider anything below six months to signal a seller’s market that would normally drive prices up. So the fact that Morris inventory is now close to that six-month mark indicates that we could be in for some meaningful price appreciation in 2017.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators showed that sellers are starting to gain leverage with buyers. The days-on-market indicator was down by 15 days, falling over 10%, indicating that homes were selling more quickly. And the listing price retention rate continues to rise, now up to just about 97% for the quarter and the year, signaling that sellers are having more success getting buyers to meet their asking prices.

Going forward, we expect that Morris County’s sales activity will eventually have a more meaningful impact on pricing. With homes still at historically affordable prices, interest rates low, and a generally improving economy, we believe that reduced inventory, coupled with rising buyer demand, will drive price appreciation through a robust Spring market and the rest of 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Passaic County, New Jersey

PASSAIC-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Passaic County housing market surged in the first quarter of 2017, with sales spiking and prices showing their first signs of meaningful appreciation in years.

Sales. Passaic started the year dramatically, with sales spiking almost 30% from the first quarter of last year. We’ve now seen sustained increases in buyer demand for over five years, with quarterly sales up in 21 out of the last 23 quarters. As a result, Passaic closed almost 3,500 homes for the calendar year, the highest total we’ve seen in over 10 years, since the height of the last seller’s market

Prices. More importantly, we’re starting to see these sustained levels of buyer demand have their first impact on pricing. Prices were up across the board, rising almost 2% on average and 6% at the median. Prices are still down for the year, due to the lackluster performance in most of 2016, but they seem to be finally heading in a positive direction. With buyer demand strong, and inventory falling, we would expect prices to be going up.

Inventory. The Passaic inventory of available homes for sale fell again, down almost 38% from last year. We measure “months of inventory” by calculating the number of months it would take to sell all the available homes at the current rate of absorption, and generally consider anything below six months to signal a seller’s market that would normally drive prices up. So the fact that Passaic is now down to just over six months of inventory is important, since it presages the possibility of price appreciation for the rest of 2017.

Negotiability. Sellers gained significant negotiating leverage in the first quarter, with homes selling far more quickly and for closer to the asking price. The days-on-market fell dramatically, dropping almost 15%–almost a full month!–and now down to about five months on the market. And the listing price retention rate jumped almost a full percentage point, and is now up to 97%.

Going forward, we believe that Passaic’s fundamentals are sound, with homes priced at relatively attractive levels, rates near historic lows, and a stable economy. Accordingly, we expect these levels of buyer demand, coupled with declining inventory, to continue to drive price appreciation in a robust Spring market and throughout 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Bergen County, New Jersey

BERGEN-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Bergen County housing market showed continued signs of emerging into a strong seller’s market, with declining inventory holding sales back even while driving prices up dramatically.

Sales. Bergen single-family home sales were up about 1% from last year’s first quarter, the tenth straight quarter of year-on-year sales growth. For the rolling year, sales were up a little more robustly, rising 7%. What’s holding sales back right now is not a lack of demand, but a lack of inventory. If we start seeing more homes hit the market, we’ll see sales go up sharply.

Prices. Bergen prices spiked in the first quarter, rising almost 8% on average and 5% at the median. That’s probably not a sustainable level of price appreciation, but Bergen homeowners can certainly start to depend on the 1-2% increases that we are seeing on average and at the median for the last rolling year.

Inventory. Single-family inventory continued to tighten in the first quarter, with the months of inventory falling over 21% and now down to 4.4 months. We measure “months of inventory” by calculating the number of months it would take to sell all the available homes at the current rate of absorption, and generally consider anything below six months to signal a seller’s market that would normally drive prices up. With inventory now well below that six-month mark, and falling into the “seller’s market” territory, we will continue to see upward pressure on pricing.

Negotiability. Homes were selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price, which is what we would expect of an emerging seller’s market. The listing retention rate is now about 96%, and the days-on-market is well under three months. As inventory tightens and the market heats up, we would expect to see sellers continue to gain negotiating leverage.

Condos. Activity in the Bergen condo market was up sharply in the first quarter, with sales up almost 11% from last year. Prices were more mixed, with the average down over 4% but the median up almost 2%.  With inventory now down below six months, though, we would expect to see more meaningful price appreciation this year.

Going forward, we expect Bergen County will enjoy a robust Spring market with both rising sales and prices. With inventory tightening, a relatively strong economy, near-historically-low interest rates, and prices still at attractive 2004 levels, we believe that sustained buyer demand will continue to drive meaningful price appreciation through the rest of 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 11:58 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Northern New Jersey Market Overview

New-Jersey-OVERVIEW_Q1-2017-QMRThe Northern New Jersey housing market surged ahead in the first quarter of 2017, starting the year with a dramatic increase in home sales coupled with modest-but-meaningful signs of price appreciation. With inventory levels continuing to fall throughout the region, we expect that sustained buyer demand will drive a robust seller’s market through the Spring and the rest of 2017.

Sales surged throughout the region. All the Northern New Jersey markets got off to a strong start to the year, with regional sales up almost 12% and transactions rising in every market in the region: up 1% in Bergen, 30% in Passaic, 8% in Morris, 12% in Essex, and 32% in Sussex. For the rolling year, sales were up over 9%, reaching sales levels we have not seen since the height of the last seller’s market. Indeed, regional sales are now up over 65% from the bottom of the market in 2011.

The number of available homes for sale continues to go down. We measure the “months of inventory” in a market by looking at the number of homes for sale, and then calculating how long it would take to sell them all given the current absorption rate. The industry considers anything fewer than six months to be a “tight” inventory that signals the potential of a seller’s market that would drive prices up — and we’ve now seen this market cross below that line for the second quarter in a row. Indeed, inventory was down from last year in every individual county in the Report: Bergen single-family homes down 21%, and condos down 34%; Passaic down 38%; Morris down 34%; Essex down 39%; and Sussex down 36%. If inventory continues to tighten, and demand stays strong, we are likely to see more upward pressure on pricing. With sales up and inventory down, prices are starting to show some “green shoots” of modest price appreciation. Basic economics of supply and demand would tell us that after five years of steadily increasing buyer demand, we would expect to see some meaningful price increases. And we’re beginning to see some promising signs: the regional average sales price was up almost 1% from last year’s first quarter, and the average price was up in almost every county in the report.

Going forward, we remain confident that rising demand and falling inventory will continue to drive price appreciation through the rest of 2017. Sales have now been increasing for five years, which has brought inventory to the seller’s market threshold in much of the region. The economic fundamentals are all good: homes are priced at 2004 levels (without even adjusting for inflation), interest rates are still near historic lows, and the regional economy is stable. Accordingly, we continue to believe the region is poised for a robust Spring market and a strong 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 9:27 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Dutchess County, New York

DUTCHESS-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Dutchess County housing market struggled through the first quarter of 2017, with sales and prices down after a strong 2016. We believe that this is just a short-term retreat in what will be a strong year for the market.

Sales. Dutchess sales were surprisingly down in the first quarter. Transactions fell over 7%, the first time we have seen year-on-year sales go down in almost three years. For the year, sales are still up over 6%, but the current trend is a little perplexing given that most of the Hudson Valley has been up significantly.

Prices. Home prices were also down, falling about 2% on average and the median, and down almost 3% in the price-per-square foot. For the year, though, prices are still up, so the first quarter results might just be an anomalous blip in the data.

Negotiability. Dutchess inventory continues to decline, down almost 19% and now down to under 12 months of inventory. Although we are nowhere near the six-month level of inventory that usually signals a “seller’s market,” we are certainly seeing some tightening that could support future price appreciation. The other negotiability indicators suggest that homes were selling just a little more quickly and for closer to the asking price — which is what we would normally expect with a tightening market.

Condominiums. The condo market was also down, with sales falling almost 23% and average prices down. For the year, sales and prices are still up, so, again, we might be seeing a short-term blip in the data.

Going forward, we still believe that the Dutchess market will improve in 2017, and that these first quarter results are just a short-term stall. With tightening inventory, a stable economy, near-historically-low interest rates, and homes still priced at appealing 2003-04 levels, Dutchess is likely to see rising sales and prices in the traditionally robust Spring market.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Putnam County, New York

PUTNAM-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Putnam County housing market surprisingly struggled through the first quarter of 2017, with sales and prices both down, even while the rest of the Hudson Valley was up. We believe this is a short-term blip in the data, and that Putnam is poised for better results in 2017.

Sales. Putnam single-family home sales were down over 6% for the quarter, only the second time quarterly sales have fallen in five years. For the year, sales were up over 12%, so the first quarter numbers might just be a quirk in the data.

Prices. Pricing was also down across the board, falling almost 7% on average and about 1% at the median and in the price-per-square-foot. Again, for the year, the pricing results are more mixed. We have been expecting meaningful appreciation in Putnam for some time now, and still believe that low levels of inventory and stable demand will drive prices up this year.

Inventory. Inventory continued to tighten, falling almost 30% and now down to under the six-month level that usually denotes a tightening seller’s market. With inventory this low, we would expect to see some upward pressure on pricing.

Negotiability. The days-on-market were down and the listing retention rate was up, exactly what we would expect in a strengthening seller’s market — homes selling  more quickly and for closer to the asking price.

Condos. The condo market was also a little weak, with sales and prices both down for both the quarter and the year. Inventory was ridiculously low, though, down to just over three months, so we do believe that the market is poised to come back in the Spring.

Going forward, we believe that these lackluster first quarter results are anomalous, and that Putnam is poised for a stronger 2017. The fundamentals of the market are tremendous: inventory is ludicrously low, rates are near historic lows, and prices are still at attractive 2004-05 levels. So we are hopeful that we will see rising sales and prices in a robust Spring market.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Orange County, New York

ORANGE-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Orange County housing market started off 2017 with a bang, showing clear signs of an emerging seller’s market. Not only were sales up yet again, but prices showed the first meaningful signs of appreciation in over 10 years.

Sales. Orange sales surged again, rising over 8% from last year’s first quarter. This continued a trend we’ve been watching for over five years, with quarterly sales now up in 10 straight quarters and in 19 out of the last 20. Indeed, for the rolling year, sales were up almost 20%, and the 3,600 single-family sales were the highest total we have seen since the second quarter of 2006 — at the height of the last seller’s market.

Prices. Orange sales going up is an old story, but prices going up is something new. Home prices spiked in the first quarter, rising over 7% on average and at the median, and rising 5% in the price-per-square foot. Indeed, the increase in the average and median sales price marked the highest quarterly increase since the fourth quarter of 2005. And over the longer term, while the 1.7% increase in the rolling year average sales price doesn’t seem like much, it was the largest yearly price jump since 2007.

Negotiability. The available inventory continues to tighten in the single-family market, with the months of inventory falling almost 34% and now down to the six-month level that usually indicates the border of a seller’s market. Meanwhile, homes are selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price, with the days-on-market falling and the listing retention rate rising.

Condominiums. Even the long-moribund Orange condo market showed signs of life, with sales up over 12% and prices up across the board. We’ve said for years that what the condo market needs is an increase in single-family pricing, to create a gap between houses and condo prices. That might finally be happening.

Going forward, we believe that the Orange County housing market is poised for a big year. The fundamentals are strong: demand is high, prices are still at attractive 2003-04 levels, interest rates are at historic lows, and the economy is generally strong. With inventory continuing to decline, we expect to see more meaningful price appreciation through the rest of 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 11:59 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,