SK, Home Buyer in 07601

What is the housing market like in Northern Bergen County, New Jersey? Is it truly a buyer's market?

Asked by SK, 07601 Tue Mar 11, 2008

If it is a buyer's market, how much could I lowball with my initial offer on, for example, a house with an asking price of $400,000?


Help the community by answering this question:


Although what some of the agents have stated "look at the comps... homes in the area are still selling... etc." are true... remember they are still the agent and represent the seller unless you sign a disclosure stating they are a buyers agent.

Instead research yourself or inquire about recent homes that sold for 10%+ below the original list price... find out the history of the home [how many days on the market, how many times was it listed, was it ever reduced] and pay attention to your answers, if they cannot answer that then they are protecting the seller or simply do not know, if they are willing to research for you good if not hang up and call another agent.

There is a ton of information you can receive right online by either going to the government website or simply google your information. Check recent home sales, check for a history on the home, check its assessed value... we are in a market more comparable to that of 2004, therefore you have to deduct 17% from the assessed value if its as recent as 2007... in addition, we are still declining and project another 10% decline for next year... it should become more stable in 2009 and increase 3-5% per year from there.

also, keep in mind that a home is worth only what someone will pay for it. therefore if an agent explains that a seller will probably get x amount of dollars you should respond with "how do you know... is there an offer on the house?"

the longer a home is on the market the more chance of a better negotiation you will have... that does not mean disregard new houses as you may pass up something you truly like... do not go over what you can afford and keep in mind the market decline... as many owners are paying higher mortgages than its home worth, so why would you "buy" into it. GOOD LUCK!!!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Update yesterday 9-15-08 Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch bailed out by Bank of America on top of Bear Stearns collapse in March 08' AIG worlds largest insurer may go out of business on mortgage insurance loans.

These firms provided the cash for the upper end of the market "jumbo" via their respective, now defective mortgage securitization businesses. I predict 96 to 98 prices adjusted for inflation by 2010 -2011.

The mortgage funny money period is dead, thinking of paying $750,000 or more for a house you better have perfect credit and 30%, so so credit bring 50% of purchase price or forget it.

The average home seller and realtor is clueless as to what these events are doing and will continue to do to residential re prices now and in the future.

If I were a seller I would price to 2000/01 prices now, and sell asap. Within 2 years you will look smart.

Dollar has been strengthening, so don’t expect an Indian family to over pay via the no longer existent Rupee 30% more buying power. Northern Bergen county is home to Wall street types suffice to say they are not earning money, if they still have a job.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Prices have depreciated in BC and will most likely continue for the next 12-24 months, although at modest /insignifigant reductions in the more affluent, desirable towns. If you can walk from the property if terms aren't met, go low and see what happens. There's cetainly no inventory shortgage of 400K homes in bergen county.........
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 19, 2008
Prices may not be dropping that much....YET. Lowball at 25% below, or $300,000. If they don't accept, then wait two months for their home to sit on the market and then offer again at $275,000. You can continually do this with many properties until you find a seller that is ready to play ball. Don't worry about insulting anyone...this is business, and there is no room for emotion.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
Northern Bergen County is the epicenter of Wall Street types, how they do, determines prices of RE.
It is not Manhattan, other than some benefit of some (no longer the case) Rupee vs. Dollar strength ie: in 2005 - 2006/07 Indian buyer pays $3mm is not equivalent to you paying $3mm, because of the weak dollar they had at least 30 - 35% more buying power. I anticipate prices dive, will not quite, but nearly follow California, Florida and Nevada's depreciation over the next 2 years, sooo instead of making a "good buy", at this point you will probably be kissing your money "good bye". Take annual rent multiply by 17 (14.5 is national avg.) premium is because of proximity to Manhattan, and there can be found the "market value" of the house. Anything above is subjective to say the least and very risky, not to worry banks wont fund that silliness anymore. All RE is local and some towns are more "infected" by spec builders, flippers etc. Time is not the leveraged mans friend.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
In Ramsey, for example, values are basically unchanged over the past year. Last year the median home price was $614,000, this year it is down to $603,000. This change is not statistically significant. The average home is selling at 94-96% of list price and days-on-market is around 90.

So this is not the type of market where a real lowball offer will typically succeed. Unless the home has been on the market for a very long time, you can expect to pay $378,000-$385,000 under normal conditions. So basically expect to pay what the recent closed sales have indicated. The market is pretty stable in northern Bergen right now.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
Dear S.K.,

I would strongly advise you to stop using manipulative, brainwashing, real-estate terms such as "buyer's market".....think about it, there is no such thing as a buyer's market, ever! How can there be buyers if there are no sellers - i.e. buyers market always equals sellers market. Real estate greedy geniuses, that frequent this site a lot - you know the ones partially responsible for what's happening today - use such terms to masterfully trick people into buying when really they shouldn't.
I would agree with someone here who said to lowball at least 25% - that's the only way you can get your best shot. Also, don't get temped - there are now more houses than ever for sale - and it will take awhile for them to get sold!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 30, 2008
Many buyers are starting at a 10% discount, so a $360,000 offer might be a good starting point if the house is priced correctly. If you want to PM me with the address of the house, I'll give you a more educated opinion. I've appraised homes in every town in northern NJ and can tell you if the home is priced well to begin with. If it's really worth $350,000, I'd start with $315,000 or so. The list price may or may not be reflective of the true value of the property. You need to know the market value of the property and the seller's motivation to arrive at the correct aggressive offering price.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 21, 2008
I live in the Englewood Cliffs/Tenafly area and I see the same houses for sale month after month. This would indicate that there is a serious disconnect between sellers and buyers. The apparent high ratio of houses available to actual sales would indicate that if the sellers were more realistic the housing prices would declne. That is, one of the reasons that housing prices have held up is that the housing appear to be selling at depressed rates.
In addtion, I follow the foreclosures on realtytrac for this area and sadly there is a dramatic increase in both foreclosures and lis pendens in Bergen County.
While many of the contributors point to the ongoing problems in the financial sector I would like to add that there is no doubt that we will see very dramatic increases in local, state and federal taxes due to a toxic mixture of government debt, increasing mandates and the newest bailouts (should we add Detroit to our tax burden?) .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 21, 2008
Bergen county is made up of vaious towns and cities and each market has its own market conditions. If interested in finding out more about which towns are depreciating and which are stablizing ill be more then glad to assist you. I have seen some homes in bergen county still fetch over asking if priced right and other sitting on the market for months. Do your homework, then make an educated decision.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 20, 2008
Dear SK,

Your question is really too generic. Housing markets differ by town, sometimes even within towns. But ask the generic question and you will get generic the point of pseudo science along with generic numbers to "back" it up with.

What is truly a buyer's market? You don't specify any definition of such here and the best answer therefore is that in my own opinion buyers probably have a better chance of dictating terms in the home buying process than we have seen in a long time. Don't forget though, that this imbalance did not start because of too many sellers, but rather because there aren't enough buyers that can get themselves qualified to get a mortgage from banks. That's a distinct difference from the eighties when rising interest rates forced down home values.

Will lowballing as a generic strategy therefore work? Well, throw enough stuff on the wall and something will stick. But I would not recommend it as a sound homebuying strategy. In my opinion you would be much better served if you attempted this with local experts on your side. A buyer agent works for you so no conflict of interest there. An appraisal and/or home inspection report can really uncover all the hidden downsides to a property at literally a fraction of the total purchase price.

Knowledge = power. Enough said.

Jacobus "Jack" Vollenberg
RE Appraiser/RE Sales Associate
Vollenberg Appraisers/ERA Statewide Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
S.K. The market in Bergen County is unlike any other market in NJ. Our proximity to NYC will always enable us to keep values at a premium as compared to the rest of the state. Although the market has been depreciating since 2005, our home prices have not dropped a great deal. The best advice is this. If you find a house that you fall in love with, work with a Realtor that knows the area. He/She will be able to research comparable properties to see if this asking price is close to fair market value. Then depending on the comparable prices, adjust your offer accordingly. Feel free to contact me with any further questions. I do most of my business in northern bergen county.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 1, 2008
if they bought the house before the bubble
they may go for it
try to find out what they paid for it
good place to start


good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
If you contact me with the specific listing and area you are interested in , then I can give you an educated answer, not a generic one. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sharon Kozinn
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 12, 2008
The homes may stay on the market longer but the Northern Bergen County area is highly desireable and prices are not dropping too much, only on the homes where the price was not priced right to begin with there is a larger reduction. Home owners in these areas seem to also bee more finacially stable and there are less short sales and forclosures so the market may just stay stable due to the fact that homes are selling near listed prices, good school sytems and easy commute will continue to keep these prices at a different Market value, as well as Manhattan has had a slight increase in Prices.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 12, 2008
Hi Shamaila.

It is a really good buyer's market however making an offer within the sales comps is what it's really about. Buyer's market doesn't necessarily mean a seller will take a lowball offer especially unsupported. You should get yourself a buyer's agent and have them run the recent sales comps for you (making the necessary reductions for the change in the market) and you'll have a better idea of what the house is worth in this market. Good Luck!

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
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