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Articles Tagged "For Sale NJ Homes"

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Buy A House | 24 Posts
Homeowners | 2 Posts
Market Updates | 2 Posts
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Realtor Tips | 8 Posts
Sell A House | 12 Posts
Selling | 1 Posts
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March
10

Home Cleaning Tips That Can Help You Sell Faster

 

Selling a home can be difficult, but one of the easiest and most important steps is to make sure your space is spotlessly clean for potential homebuyers that walk through the door. Whether you hire a professional cleaning service or do it yourself, a few simple tasks will help your home look and feel brand new.

 

Emphasize the entrance

With any home tour, it's important to make a strong first impression. Consider replacing or painting the front door to liven up the outdoor entrance. Clean and polish any door knobs and fixtures. Place seasonal decorations like flowers on either side of the door or choose a wreath.

 

Declutter, depersonalize, and organize

Your home will look cleaner and bigger when it's not full of so much stuff. Keep only the essentials and put everything else in storage, or donate it. Be sure to remove any personal items like family photos, collectibles, and mementos, which make it more difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. 

 

Focus on floors

Take the time to steam clean all carpets, mop any vinyl flooring, and use a wood-cleaning product on any hardwood floors. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service for marble or tile.

 

Freshen up the paint

When was the last time you really looked at your walls? Painting the inside and/or exterior of your home can dramatically improve its appearance and make it feel fresh. Stick to neutral colors such as white, beige, or alabaster to appeal to more people. For the exterior, choose simple paint that matches other homes in the neighborhood.

 

Clean up the yard

Doing a simple landscaping cleanup can have a major effect on curb appeal. Start by mowing the lawn, weeding the flowerbeds, and pruning the bushes. Consider planting small flowers to add a pop of color.

 

Deep clean the kitchen and bath

The rooms buyers most closely inspect (and judge) in a house are the kitchen and bathroom. Wipe down or paint the kitchen cupboards, clear everything off the counters, and clean the grout between the backsplash tiles. Deep-clean the tile and grout in the bathrooms, and organize the medicine cabinets (buyers will open them). Make sure everything is sparkling clean. Nobody wants to imagine soaking in a dingy tub. Lastly, make sure no mold is present. Nothing is more off-putting to potential homebuyers than seeing mold in the kitchen or bathroom.

 

Looking for more tips on cleaning your home before putting it on the market? Reach out to one of our agents at 732-634-9100 for some recommendations.

February
10

Should You Stage Your House to Sell It?

 

When you decide to list your house for sale, you may wonder whether or not to stage it. How much does staging cost? How do you do it right? Will it increase buyer interest? Let's take a closer look at the process.

 

What is home staging?

Home staging is the art of decorating your house to appeal to potential homebuyers. It allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in your home, which could increase the number of offers and size of the offers you get. Staging has many benefits that can lead to a successful sale without having to pay the many costs of a full redesign. Your best bet is to hire a professional stager who knows the elements of design and what appeals to buyers in your area.

 

Will staging help your home sell?

According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP), an investment in home staging is always less than a price reduction or lower starting price. It's a proven, up-front investment to help get the highest rate of return on the sale of a property. In fact, it can net 5-20% more in the sale, according to statistics tracked by IAHSP and National Association of Realtors.

 

How much does it cost to stage a house?

Home staging costs around $1,500 on average but can range anywhere from $600 to $4,000. The pricing depends on the location, size, and list price of the property, as well as the number of rooms being staged, the type of furniture and decor, the duration of the initial staging agreement, and whether or not the property is vacant. The 2022 Home Staging industry statistics showed that $3,250 is the average investment for staging a vacant property.

 

Here's a breakdown of the costs you're likely to see:

 

  • Initial consultation: From $150 to $600 and typically takes about two hours

 

  • Room-by-room staging: The individual cost of staging a room is about $500 to $600

 

  • Price per hour: Ranges from $25 to $150

 

  • Price per project: Most stagers provide an estimate for the project after your design consultation, ranging from $800 to $1,000

 

  • Furniture rental: For vacant homes or as needed, rentals can cost anywhere from $500 to $600 per room, adding up to $2,000 a month

 

  • Maintenance projects: Costs for things like light fixtures, refinishing, hiring a cleaning service, or painting will range depending on your needs

 

Is home staging worth the price?

When it comes to staging your home to sell, the cost of staging is usually worth it. There are plenty of affordable ways to get the jobs done and the experts at JJ Elek realty can help. Contact one of our agents at 732-634-9100 for more information.

 

January
6

How to Sell Your House in 2022

Thinking about selling your home? It can be an overwhelming, with tasks like home inspections, staging, and marketing piling up on your to-do list. To make the process a little less daunting, we've put together a quick guide to selling your house in 2022.

10 Steps to Selling Your Home

  1. Hire a home inspector

While it's the buyer's responsibility to get the home inspected, hiring your own home inspector before negotiations is a more proactive approach. Known as a "pre-listing home inspection," this step will reveal the exact condition of your property, and if you've already addressed repairs, it's less likely that anything new will arise and impact your negotiation.

  1. Make small upgrades

After you've addressed necessary repairs, take the extra step of making small upgrades to help increase your home value. Some ideas include:

  • Enhancing your outdoor space with landscaping
  • Brighten your home by painting your ceilings white, adding mirrors, and adding light sources like recessed lighting
  • Upgrade your kitchen with new appliances or countertops
  1. Declutter

Limit the amount of stuff in your space to help potential buyers be able to envision themselves and their belongings in it. Clear off tabletops, remove personal photos, pack away toys. If you're looking for a quick turnaround, bring in a professional organizer to help get your house in order.

  1. Find a real estate agent

Real estate agents are easy to find, but finding the one for you can be a challenge. Get referrals and read online reviews to narrow down your options. Once you select one, you and your agent should come up with a plan of action with timelines.

  1. Price your home to sell

When thinking about how to price your house:

  • Use online tools to get an idea of what your house is worth
  • Look up homes in your area that were sold within the last few months and are similar in size, location
  • Don't lump your house in with other comps in the area. Factor in your home's unique features
  • Conduct an appraisal

Remember that market conditions and buyer behavior change often, so work with your real estate agent to ensure your home is priced accordingly.

  1. Stage your home
    Whether you work with a professional or take on this task on your own, this list may help you stage your house successfully:
  • Clear the clutter
  • Deep clean your house's interior
  • Add accent pieces like flowers, small plants, or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen
  • Bring in light by removing curtains and open blinds to let in natural light
  • Organize all closets and drawers
  1. Get professional photos taken

Nothing sells a house faster than professional photos, so consider hiring a professional to take some of your home. Aerial photography with a drone can offer a bird's eye view of your property and the surrounding area has become increasingly popular with buyers looking online. You may also want to consider having your home digitally scanned for a 3D online tour.

  1. List your house

Your real estate agent will list your home online on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that it shows up on real estate websites. You should also do some marketing of your own. Spread the word through family and friends. Share your listing on social media and send out emails.

  1. Be prepared to negotiate the sale price
    Your agent will help you navigate the negotiation process when offers are being made. Depending on a variety of circumstances, you may not get the exact price you set, but your agent will ensure you get the best one.
  2. Sign and close
    During the closing process, property ownership is officially transferred from the seller to the buyer through the transfer of the deed and signing of documents. Once you've signed all of the paperwork— congratulations, you've sold your house!

When you're ready to sell your home, partner with an agent at JJ Elek Realty. We offer well-developed, strategic programs that accelerate our clients—both buyers and sellers—to the top of the market.

 

 

 

October
28

Choosing the Real Estate Company That's Right For You

When you decide to pursue a career in real estate, it's important to remember that there's no one-size-fits-all real estate company. To find the one that's best for you, consider the following factors.

Location
While technology has given us a great deal of mobility, you'll want to consider how long it will take to commute to your prospective office for meetings, checking mail, and gathering marketing materials.

Size

Would you like the buzz of a larger company or the calm focus of a smaller one? In metropolitan areas, your choice can range from 10-agent companies to hundreds. The larger companies might have more than one office, so office size might be a more important consideration than company size. It's strictly a personal preference.

Brand Reputation

It can be a major selling point to be able to tout your company's local market share when potentially listing a seller's property. However, you'll also a company with brand recognition can mean a lot of competition with people in your office—more so than if you were with a smaller office. You have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what works for you.

Company Culture

After interviewing a prospective manager or broker, think about how they described their company and how they came across. Follow your intuition. Also remember to explore the company's website, call a few agents who work there, and get a sense of what it's like to work with the team.

Training

It's good to have guidance the first few times you evaluate a property, list a sale, and structure and negotiate complex purchase transaction. A company with continuing education courses can help immensely after you obtain your license.

Administrative Support

It's nice to have an office that handles tasks like uploading your listings to MLS and transaction paperwork processing. The accounting department will also be important to you in terms of receiving your commission.

At the end of the day, the right company for you is the one where you feel comfortable, supported, and successful. JJ Elek Realty is that and more for so many agents in New Jersey. Contact us today for more information at 732-634-9100.

July
31

How to Get Started Selling Your Home

 

If you're planning on moving, downsizing, or just want to trade in on years of good homeowning for an experience someplace else, you'll have to get ready to sell your home. It's a big task with many complicated steps, but the hardest thing is organize a moving van. The legal stuff? That can be handled by professionals. Here's how.


Hire an Agent

It would be nice if we could just shake hands and take a check for our house, but it's not that simple. Land and property ownership requires much more time and official approval to transfer. That's why you should look for an agent to help you.

 

A JJ Elek agent can get you on the market and handle all the paperwork. Even if you already know who you're selling it to, they'll speed up the process and get the keys in their hands. Want to get the best price on an open market? An agent is a must. They know all the details and have the connections to help buyers to find your home.

 

Set the Scene

There's a good chance there are things left to do to the home before it can be sold. An agent can help set a deadline and determine the best time is to sell based on the market trends. Then they can help get the house inspected so it can be approved for future ownership.

 

There's no need to overspend to prepare a home. If there are problems, fix them simply and conclusively, but don't lavish it with costly upgrades. Spending more won't necessarily raise the price in the end. Clean it up and take photos that show the house from room to room. You can do it yourself, but a professional will know what buyers want to see.

 

Hit the Market

Once your house is on the market, your agent will receive the requests and run the best ones by you. Make sure your expectations are well tempered. If you try to set the bar too high, buyers will pass it over. No one settles on just one house when they're looking to buy. Once you set a good price, expect it to alter as tours begin. Once that's set, an agent can help arrange the taxes that will be incurred and produce a final profit.

 

Closing Up

The last step is the closing paperwork to finalize the sale, and you're set if you have an agent to facilitate the process.

 

If you'd like more information about selling a home in the Woodbridge, NJ, area, we can help. Contact JJ Elek Realty to get started today.

June
4

How to Make Your House a Home

 

It can take a while for your house to feel like home when you first move in. Even when the boxes are unpacked and the shelves are stocked, it can still feel a bit too new. Only you know what makes you feel cozy, safe, and happy, but we're here to help you Here are some ideas to get you started.

 

Hang art

Research shows that simply looking at art can reduce stress and make you happy. Hanging framed photos and other types of art in your house helps instill your individual personality and interests into the space. Adorn your walls with art sooner rather than later upon moving in.

 

Display items that remind you of your childhood home

For many of us, our childhood house stands out as what really feels like home. Whether it's a special piece of furniture, a jewelry box from your old bedroom, or even a few old board games, these things carry special meaning and will make you feel a sense of warmth. Display them if you have them.

 

Add extra light

Insufficient lighting, or worse, fluorescent lighting can detract from a house. Make sure your existing lighting fixtures emit warm temperature shades of white or yellow, which promote relaxation. And open the shades for daylight when possible.

 

Keep it clean

It's difficult to be completely comfortable in a place that's filthy or filled with clutter. Your physical space is an expression of the way you feel, and if you want to feel truly relaxed and at home, you should make an effort to keep your space worthy of relaxation. Keep your floors and other surfaces clean, and make it a habit to clear clutter before it gets out of hand.

 

Adopt a pet

There are few things that make a house feel more like a home than being greeted by the unconditional love of a pet. If you have the time, money, and desire to take on the care of an animal, consider adopting one at your local shelter.

 

Go green

Just like art and animals, plants and flowers can positively impact your mood and reduce stress. If you don't have the green thumb, there are plenty of houseplants that even the most famous plant killers can rely on for sustainable nature in their homes.

 

 

A house should be more than just a place to crash at the end of the day. Simple design details can capture feelings of warmth and pass those feelings on no matter where you are in the space. Take the time to make it feel homey. You deserve it!

October
19

Sold HomeSelling a home can be a stressful, complex process—but it doesn't have to be. Whether you need to sell quickly for a new job or you simply don't know where to start, there are a few tactics you can use to increase your home's marketability and decrease your time on the market. And the first step is partnering with JJ Elek Realty.

A JJ Elek Realtor can help you at every stage, from setting a price to marketing the property to closing the sale.

Preparing to Sell Your Home
Assessing your home is important at the beginning of the home-selling process. Problems like chipped paint, dirty walls, unfinished remodeling projects and cluttered garages can leave room for improvement. Our agents can help you make a list of the interior and exterior projects to complete before placing your home on the market.

Determining Property Value

Many factors go into determining the value of a home. The selling price is not cut and dry. The seller can negotiate the price, split closing costs, or offer different allowances, to make the sale of the home complete. A qualified JJ Elek agent can provide a fair market analysis of the homes for sale in your area.

Marketing Your Home to Sell

Working with a JJ Elek agent is the best way to harness some great marketing strategies for both traditional and online promotion of your home. There are a number of different ways that an agent can drive traffic to view your home, including:

  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Open Houses
  • Websites
  • Print Advertising
  • HOMES™ Magazines

Selling Your Home

When negotiating the offer and the counter-offer, a professional agent can help you sell your home faster and easier. Is the proposed offer near the asking price? What if several offers are received at the same time? Is the counter-offer fair? This negotiating process can seem very complicated, but if you're backed by the right JJ Elek agent, all of this can be made hassle-free.

Home-Closing Process for Sellers

The home-closing process is always changing. JJ Elek agents keep up with all the best practices to assist with evaluating the buyer's financing availability, successful home inspection completion, and various lender conditions (ex. title search, title insurance, termite inspections, surveys, and appraisals).

Survive the Move with JJ Elek

Moving can be one of the most emotional times in your life. We can help you with all of the questions you may have about the selling process. Contact us today to see how easy and stress-free our experienced agents can make it for you!

September
4

Each year, U.S.companies transfer 500,000 - 600,000 employees, and about 60 percent of the moves involve the purchase or sale of a home (and often both). Numbers like these show the demand for real estate agents with relocation expertise to make the move as painless as possible.

If you're relocating out of state for any reason, your real estate agent can help at every stage of the relocation process, from before moving day to settling in. Let's get into some specifics.

Finding a moving company

Agents can take some of the pressure off of a hectic moving schedule by finding a reputable moving service and booking you a great price. Since they often refer clients to movers, there's a good change they can get you a better deal than you'd find on your own.

Packing
Need someone to pack and ship your things to you? Have any items that require special care in moving? Real estate agents can provide tons of tips. From getting your hands on moving boxes and optimizing the packing process to advice on disposing toxic or recyclable items, having an expert on your side during this stressful part of relocating helps a lot.

Visas and immigration compliance
If your move is international, your agent or a relocation specialist can help ensure you can legally enter and work in your new home country.

Finding a new home
Whether you're buying or renting, a real estate agent can put you in contact with a vetted real estate agent who is an expert in your new home area. They can also help navigate the closing process if you buy. Some states use a lawyer to close while others don't, and earnest money totals can vary from a few hundred dollars to 10 percent of the purchase price. It's good to have an expert fielding these issues and any questions.

Transferring services
Updating legal information, transferring services to a new home, and switching service providers all happens during different stages of the moving process. An agent will know how and when to update each to avoid stressful moving surprises.

At JJ Elek, we know how stressful relocation can be, so we put extra care into making the process as smooth as possible. If you're relocating to or from New Jersey, contact us today for more information.

July
15

If you're a home seller who assumed you should write off the housing market as a lost cause this summer, think again. Now that lockdown restrictions are loosening up in some states, home buyers are out with a vengeance—and many of them are eager to make up for lost time. Indeed, houses are selling now, creating a red-hot housing market. If you're waffling on the matter, now's the time to move.

A Very Significant Demand with an Acute Inventory Shortage

As companies continue requiring employees to work remotely, people looking at their existing homes in new ways. They're envisioning more space to help them do their job and living farther from the office to get more bang for their buck. This has given rise to buyer demand in the suburbs and in smaller, cheaper cities.

That said, home sales could be even hotter if there were more homes for sale. The inventory of existing homes available fell a staggering 18.2 percent annually to just 1.57 million at the end of June 2020 (June 350,000 fewer homes that this time last year. The latest numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department's monthly report noted new-home sales increased for the second consecutive month, going up 13.8 percent above the revised May rate and 6.9 percent above the June 2019 estimate of 726,000.  

In June, sales were up in all areas of the country, with the biggest gain coming in the Northeast, a surge of 89.7 percent. Sales jumped 18 percent in the west, 10.5 percent in the Midwest and 7.2 cent in the south. Take a look at the market breakdown:

New-Home Sales: 776,000

For-Sale Inventory: 307,000

Months' Supply:  4.7 months

Median Price: $329,200

Further Sales Gains on the Horizon

Home sales are being helped by historically low mortgage rates, which earlier this month dropped below 3 percent for a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage for the first time in nearly 50 years. Economists believe low rates and the aforementioned changes in home preferences brought on by the pandemic will combine to support further sales gains this year.

Regardless of the state of the market, the experienced agents at JJ Elek Realty make the home-selling easy and hassle-free for our valued customers.

June
30

No matter how you look at it, the economic fallout from the coronavirus will be brutal, with a projected 6.5 percent decline in real gross domestic product in 2020, and an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent at year-end, according to forecasts by the Federal Reserve.

You'd expect these catastrophic circumstances to weaken the housing market, but what we're starting to see is quite the opposite. Listings platforms like Zillow have noted normalization in website traffic, hinting that buyers are ready to shop again. A boost in weekly mortgage applications goes even further, suggesting shoppers are already prepared to buy.

Add in all of the buyers whose spring home searches were stymied by the pandemic, and we can confidently say the housing market is on fire.

Two Lows Driving High Times for Housing

Record-Low Interest Rates

Due to 2020's unprecedented global events, interest rates are the lowest they've been in 50 years. In May, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.2 percent, which is fantastic for homebuyers. According to the National Real Estate Association, the estimated monthly mortgage payment on a home purchased at the median price of $286,000 with a 10 percent down payment on a 30-year fixed loan was $1,131, just $90 more than the median rent of $1,041 (as of 2020 Q1). This could be the best time to buy a house for that reason alone!

Lower Unemployment Rates

The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 11.3 percent in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is higher than the worst period of the Great Recession, it's an improvement over the 13.3 percent of workers who sought unemployment benefits in May. Plus, higher-earning professionals haven't suffered the pandemic-related layoffs faced by retail, tourism, and hospitality industries. This means many white-collar workers who were confined to their homes for months on end may now be seeking more space and are more likely to have the funds to purchase a home.

For new homebuyers, the current market presents some terrific opportunities. To be able to borrow money, practically for free, and find more space for lower prices, it would be unwise to wait if you had put your plans on hold. If you're looking to buy or sell a home, partner with JJ Elek!

June
15

The pandemic is still affecting the country, but it hasn't stopped people from looking for homes to buy. And more often than not, they're finding themselves in the suburbs.

As the housing market recovers from the COVID-19 shutdowns, views of online listings in suburban ZIP codes are spiking. Researchers at Realtor.com found they grew by 13 percent compared to May 2019, nearly doubling the rate of those in urban areas.

More space. Fewer crowds. Lower costs.

Everyone has their own reasons for choosing where to live, but many homebuyers are on the hunt for more space for lower costs, fearing the economic slump could lead to higher taxes. Additionally, nearly a third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas in the wake of the pandemic, according to new data from Harris Poll.

Is this a permanent trend or temporary shift until the virus is contained? There's no way to know just yet, but the recent sentiment among homebuyers suggests the former. If that's the case, it would be a complete 180 from recent years where many markets were focused on reviving downtown areas.

Before the crisis, millennials were looking for more lively environments with walking access and empty nesters were selling their large suburban homes to move to smaller dwellings, in or near cities.

The post-pandemic working world

Your job and your residence have long been tied together but we're all learning this might not have to be the case. Now that employers are more comfortable with interacting through video conferencing, there's a good chance more employees will be working from home in the future. Plus, many businesses say remote employees are just as productive, if not more.

Even New York's banking and finance companies are shifting to the digital space. In an April interview with Bloomberg Television, Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman said it's clear the firm will have "much less real estate" going forward, finding they "can operate with no footprint."No one really knows how the pandemic will progress over the next year, in big cities or elsewhere. But what we can count on, for the most part, is that homebuyers will continue to focus on the essential aspects of living, such as safety, property size, privacy, health, and affordability.

Contact JJ Elek today to help with your next move!

May
29

Virtual prices on homes in a neighborhood

If you're trying to buy a home while social distancing, you can take advantage of virtual open houses, 3D tours, and video conferencing with real estate agents. But is that enough for such a valuable investment?

Apparently so. According to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, 25 percent of agents have had at least one buyer put in a contract on a home without physically seeing the property.

Technology to the Rescue

There's no doubt purchasing or selling a home during the pandemic is more challenging, but it's not impossible. Transactions are still happening with the help of technology.

Obviously, we all still prefer to see a home in person before making a purchase, but for those who can't pump the brakes on this big life event, things like accurate listing data, detailed photos, and virtual and live video tours are there to assist.

Low Mortgage Rates Are a Motivator, Too

Buying a home now also has its advantages from a financial perspective. With mortgage interest rates at an historic low, your monthly housing payments will be lower, too, giving you more control than staying in a rental where costs might go up.

Buyers May Have the Upper Hand

While some home sellers are waiting for better market conditions to list their homes, others don't have that luxury. This gives buyers the upper hand, for at least a short period of time. That said, you don't want to turn the seller off with a lowball offer. Instead, start by playing it safe and offer a modest discount off the asking price.

One positive takeaway in the face of all these uncertainties is that the real estate market was in a good position before the pandemic hit. This should help it recover as life moves toward the new normal.

May
15

When social distancing guidelines and the stay at home mandate took effect, many real estate professionals wondered how they'd do their jobs. The good news is, people are still buying—and that means focusing on showing homes in the safest way possible is paramount. Here are some best practices for listing and showing a home in the time of COVID-19.

Show homes remotely
From first look to final walk-through, you can complete your entire transaction remotely. But do you really want to? Although most people still prefer to see a home in person before making a purchase, a recent realtor.com survey found that 24 percent of people would be willing to buy a home sight unseen with virtual and live video tours. So, if you're not quite ready for in-person interactions, you can still get the job done.

Perfect your disinfecting skills
Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer have become essential in the time of coronavirus. If you're conducting physical home showings, keep both in your car so you can clean your hands and all frequently touched surfaces. Need some tips on how to disinfect?

  • Use the right cleaning solution. The best cleaners are either a bleach solution or a 70 percent alcohol solution. Or make your own bleach-based cleaner with 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. No bleach on hand? Use 70 percent rubbing alcohol, which is already diluted.
  • Allow the solution to sit on the surface before wiping it. If using a bleach solution, experts say to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. Also, be sure to follow the instructions on the container if using disinfecting wipes.

Share the protection
Keeping masks, hand sanitizer, and shoe covers at the door has become normal practice. If you're showing a property in person, be sure to have these items available for use.

Remember, one of the most important elements of a successful real estate transaction is consumer confidence. Going out of your way to make buyers and sellers comfortable during this time will go a long way for all involved.

April
15

Many people who were considering buying or selling a home in recent months are now unsure. As federal and local governments continue to enact new regulations, it's hard to know what to expect. To help you make sense of what the pandemic means for the housing market, we're here to shed some light on the recent state of real estate.

More Virtual Showings
Buying and selling a home the traditional way with open houses, guided tours and handshakes is not a possibility these days. Savvy agents remain hard at work, however, conducting business from their homes. This has led to a vast increase in virtual showings. Whether it's via Zoom, FaceTime, IGTV, or videos uploaded to websites or YouTube channels, realtors are able to give a detailed look at the interior and exterior of a home.

One-on-One Showings (with Extreme Caution)
Personal protection equipment (PPE) is now a necessary part of life. Agents are permitted to show houses to serious prospective buyers on a 1-on-1 basis or to immediate families, as long as everyone wears a face mask.

Closings Continue
Did you have a closing in the works before the current state of affairs? Good news. You can continue to close your transactions virtually. If an in-person closing is necessary, safe social distancing and PPE are a must.

Modified Inspection Procedures
As part of the home sale process, homeowners must get a Fire Certificate or Certificate of Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide Alarm and Fire Extinguisher Compliance, which requires an inspection by the town. Many inspectors are requesting the homeowners not be present. Some towns have simply waived requirements. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Fire Safety has issued guidance, stating that lieu of inspection, the following is acceptable: "...a certification that one or more smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, as applicable, have been installed and tested in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:70-4.19." Be sure to keep up to date with the changing regulations.

What About Notaries?
A bill allowing remote notary is waiting for Gov. Murphy's signature. With personal knowledge of the individual, satisfactory evidence of ID by a witness, or two different proofs of ID by the individual, and audio & visual recording of the performance of the notarial act, the notary can get the job done. Stay tuned!

Contract Clauses
Because current regulations may hamper the ability to get a mortgage, title, home appraisal or timely inspection, homebuyers are adding coronavirus clauses to contracts. These specify the ability to delay a closing is permissible due to the current health crisis, protecting a buyer from losing their initial deposit if the transaction falls through due to COVID-19-related events.


JJ Elek Realty Stands Strong

Despite the challenges of the current real estate market in New Jersey, sellers are still selling homes and buyers are still purchasing them. And the team at JJ Elek is guiding the way.

 

 

March
26

JJE-Cares

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that has affected us all, our office is temporarily closed to ensure the health and safety of our employees and clients.

However, our Realtors are hard at work, doing their jobs remotely, and we are just a phone call away to help with any of your questions or concerns.

In times of uncertainty like this, we will do our very best to be there for all of you who need us.

Our thoughts are with you and your families during this challenging time.

March
13

Homeselling

Thinking of selling your home? Getting top dollar and doing so quickly requires a sound strategy. Is it best to price your home lower than everyone else in hopes it will sell fast—and maybe even spark a bidding war? Or should you go high assuming you could always drop the price if no one bites?

Ultimately, it's not you who decides your home's value—it's the buyers. The best plan of action is to put yourself in the buyers' heads, see your home as they do, and price it accordingly. (And it wouldn't hurt to wait until summer when prices experience the largest gains, according to the National Association of Realtors). Here are some other helpful tips.

Don't get emotionally attached
You've spent years creating memories in your home. It's understandable that it may be difficult to make business decisions with that as a backdrop. Try to keep emotions out of the picture. Take advice with an open mind and you'll end up with a more realistic view of your home value. 

Get the property in peak condition

If you're planning to set the price ambitiously, it better be the best-looking property in its price range. Before you list it, make all necessary repairs, give it a deep cleaning, and upgrade carpets, paint, and fixtures. Be sure to give the landscaping a good sprucing as well. After all, it gives the first impression.

Tour competing listings

Be sure to get acquainted with the local competition before you list your home. View all the properties for sale in your market that fall into your price bracket. If you do this several weeks in advance of putting your home on the market, you'll have a good picture of what buyers are dealing with.

Get a comparative market analysis

Even better than touring properties, your agent can gather data on the homes recently sold in your area nearby. These "comparables" or "comps" show you what's happening with nearby homes in your price range.

Be real with your agent

If you feel like your agent is recommending a lower price than you feel is justified, be sure to have a conversation. It's important to understand their reasoning. Some agents are quick to make a commission and move on to the next client. Agents with integrity will balance your needs with theirs and use the best strategies.

Hire an appraiser

You can go one step further than the market analysis and hire an appraiser. This professional will determine the market value of your home for a fee. Perform due diligence and make sure your appraiser has plenty of experience with homes in your neighborhood, market, and price bracket.

Have an open house for family and friends

Before you have an open house for the public, do yourself a favor and present your home to your family and friends. Once you feel it's in shape to be listed, give them a tour and ask their advice on pricing. They're likely to be honest, realistic, and helpful in determining its value.

When it comes to selling your home for the best price, you can't cut corners. Partner with a top real estate agent at JJ Elek, use technology wisely, and stage your home beautifully. It won't be long until your home is sold for a price that just might exceed your expectations.

February
25

questions

The country is full of people who sell real estate, but they're not all the best one for your property. Some of them are willing to go the extra mile while others are just looking for a commission. What can you do to make sure you find the best listing agent for your property?  

It all starts with the right questions.

Interview at least three possible listing agents before you make your decision. Here are some questions to help you along the way.

  1. How much can you sell my home for?
    Ask all three agents how much they think your home can sell for. If two of them say $400,000 and the third says $500,000, the latter may be a ploy to get your business (AKA "buying" a listing). The higher bid may scare away potential buyers and cause you to inevitably lower the price.
  1. What is your specialty? 
    If you're a senior looking to sell your home and your agent specializes in younger families with starter homes, they're probably not the best choice for you.
  2. How many clients are you selling homes for at this moment?
    One highly experienced agent may be able to juggle 12 properties, but you're less likely to get personalized attention directly from them as opposed to their assistant. On the other hand, an agent with less experience and no other current clients might be hungry. Use your gut and go with the one who feels right.
  3. What do you expect of me? 
    A good listing agent has expectations of the seller. Maybe they prefer you leave the home when they're showing your home. Or perhaps they have very specific suggestions on how to prepare the home for the market. This is typically a good sign that they think like a buyer.
  4. Do you have references?
    Past and current clients have great insight into the type of listing agent you're dealing with. Ask them up front if they're willing to share some contacts with you, and if they are, be sure to follow up.
  5. What's your fee? 
    If you don't ask agent about the commission, you may not learn about it until the closing, and that's really too late to negotiate anything. Agents have their reasons for not wanting to negotiate commissions and they aren't all tied to financial gains. If you don't ask, you don't really know what you're getting.
February
4

Checklist

You've decided to sell your home and the listing agent is eager to put it on the market. But is it ready to be on the market? The truth is, it's up to you as the homeowner to make a good first impression. From the landscaping to the interior to having a designated place for you and your listing agent to work in, here's a handy checklist to use to help you get ready for an agent to advertise.

  • Research the market: Learn what homes similar to yours are selling for so you can get a better sense of what your home is worth. Although you'll probably make some adjustments as you get closer to your listing date, it doesn't hurt to run the comps early.

  • Assess the property: Understanding the condition of your home will help you match it to comparable properties in your area. It also gives you the opportunity to make necessary repairs before listing. If you're unsure of what needs fixing in your home, get a pre-listing home inspection. It allows you to discover potential issues and address them, instead of the buyer finding them and calling off the deal.

  • Address repairs: Certain property damage, like flooding, may have to be disclosed depending on where you live. It might be worth fixing it now, so you don't have to disclose. Now it also the time to patch up any holes, replace broken hardware, and fix plumbing issues.

  • Build marketing plan: Work with your listing agent to develop ways to spread the word about your house for sale on social networks, in the community, and to family and friends. You'll have great insight to helping with the listing description.

  • Organize paperwork: When it's time to sell, you'll need copies of taxes and utility bills. permits for past renovations, home warranties, land surveys, and more. Gather them together so you don't have to worry about it at the last minute. Knowing the estimated mortgage payoff amount can also help you determine your profit when you sell.
  • Set the listing price: Sit with your agent and run comparisons roughly 30 days before listing. This will help you gauge your home's current market value and set the right listing price.
  • Start staging: It's time to make your home look its best. Declutter, pack up lesser-used items, do a final pass at donating unused items, and move as much as you can to an off-site storage unit. A nearly blank canvas makes staging your home much easier.
  • Paint: About a month before listing for a fresh-looking coat when our home goes on the market. It's best to choose a neutral tone.

  • Add curb appeal: Make the right impression with the exterior. After all, it's the first thing potential buyers see both online photos and in person. It's as easy as adding flowers, cutting the lawn regularly, painting the door, and adding accent lighting.

  • Do a deep clean: Get any carpets professionally cleaned in addition to the windows, screens, bathrooms and kitchen appliances. Also clean regularly the whole time your home is on the market.

  • Hire a photographer: Before your set an appointment, make sure your home is camera-ready. See if your photographer can create a virtual 3D house tour to give your listing an edge.

  • Plan for showings: Consider some logistics like where you'll go during showings, how much notice your listing agent needs, and whether you'll have lockbox tours.

If both you and your listing agent feel your home is ready for the world, you've done your job!

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