Kronhead, Home Buyer in 07920

Mendham Property: A Fair Offer?

Asked by Kronhead, 07920 Wed Feb 11, 2009

I am interested in a property in mendham which i know sold in early 2003 for a price in the region of $400k less than the current listing price. The property has been listed for a long time (through the back half of 2008), and been through 2 or 3 price reductions, and has still not sold. I dont believe the current owners have made any significant upgrades to justify the current listing price since their purchase in 2003. Given that i keep hearing that prices are now in the 2003 domain, would it be a reasonable place to start to offer at around the 2003 purchase price level, bearing in mind that it is so vastly different from what their expectations appear to be? I don't wish to insult anyone, and im a good prospect as a buyer (nothing to sell, finances in place etc). I know noone is able to categorically say what the best thing to do is, but i would welcome advice and opinions. Thanks!

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Anne Shearman, , Morris County, NJ
Sun Feb 22, 2009
I agree with my associates, in that inventory is high and more coming on with the Spring. You need to hire an agent to work with you to find the right home for you. If this one is it, you will only know when the offer is made and accepted or rejected. It must be in writing and the best foot forward is to have a written offer with a 30 day close, no real estate to sell and a pre approval letter from a reputable bank or lending institution accompanying the offer. I can offer a good source with current information about home prices in the area you are looking. Go to my website and order the Market Snapshot for Mendham. Good Luck!
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Lisa Tempesta, , Parsippany, NJ
Tue Feb 17, 2009
You seem to be obsessing over this property for a reason :)
Without knowing which particular property you are referring to, I would suggest that you make it a serious offer by putting it in writing to the seller through your buyer's agent. You don't know what kind of situation the seller is in or how much they are really willing to accept without putting a formal offer in writing. Don't worry about potentially insulting the seller. You should know very quickly after you put in the offer whether or not the seller is willing to entertain it. It is your buyer's agent's job to get you the best price possible for the property. A strong and assertive agent will have no problem representing your offer in the best light. But if you don't ask, you definitely won't get. With a $400,000 price change, it seems as though you are looking at one of the higher priced homes in the area. But you don't mention what percentage from list is this drop. It's possible that the owner thinks this was a huge drop, but if the drop was less than 7%, it may not have been enough of a drop to move it. Right now, there are 56 homes on the market in both Mendham Boro and Township over $1M, so it seems that there are plenty of things to choose from. I would imagine that this is a very unique home and has something "special" about it, or it wouldn't be even a thought in your mind after al this time.

You say that you have your financing in place and nothing to sell. So it sounds like you will be a great buyer for whatever property you decide to move on. I hope this helps you make a decision. You never know what will happen. Maybe they turn you down today, but in 6 months when the house is potentially still sitting, they may be more amenable to your offer.
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Gregory Bain, , Ocean County, NJ
Tue Feb 17, 2009
So, when will the seller ever know what you consider a "fair offer"? You have been looking at the place for several years and my guess is someone will eventual make an offer and they will accept. And, you will be saying to everyone here that if only you knew they would accept that price you would have bought it.

Good Luck.
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Kronhead, Home Buyer, 07920
Tue Feb 17, 2009
Thank you for your responses. I fully appreciate that just because i, or anyone else for that matter, opines that house prices are now at 2003 levels, it doesn't necessarily make it so. Any given property is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it, right? The difficulty is that mendham doesn't have very much housing stock, and the market has been more or less stagnant for a while. Finding a suitable comp or comps with which to build a case is not going to be easy, and this is further complicated by the house being somewhat unique (relatively small property, relatively large plot, with most of the value in the land rather than the building). This property started off at a listing price $400k higher than at present, and this was well before the economic meltdown. I think the sellers have been chasing a falling market, and always ending up re-listing at an inappropriate level, despite what must have seen like dramatic reductions to them. Im thinking that they aren't going to feel especially impressed at our offer of significantly below current listing price, as i think the pill may just be too bitter for them to swallow.

But then again, he who dares, wins! (sometimes). I'd love to get this house, but there is no way on earth that im going to pay what i consider to be a price thats inappropriate in the current market, even though i wouldn't be looking to move at any time in the short/medium term.

We will see....
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Deborah Bruen, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Thu Feb 12, 2009
If the house is on for a significant amount of time the problem is most likely the price. I encourage you to make an offer and see how the seller responds. If the seller barely budges that is a good indication that is fairly firm on his price and if there is a significant difference you might want to consider moving on to another home. There is a significant amount of inventory out there right now and unless you desperately want this particular home I would move on.
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Christine Al…, Agent, Morris Town, NJ
Wed Feb 11, 2009
Hello Kronhead,

In this market any offer is a good offer. With excellent credit and nothing to sell any home owner would be crazy not to at least entertain your offer. As a Real Estate professional it is our responsibilty no matter how ridiculous we may think the offer is to present it to the other side. If you love the house and are willing to negotiate I am sure you know as well as I that purchasing a home in Mendham will always be a good investment.
You don't plan on selling in 2-4 years do you?

Good Luck with your purchase. .


Christine M Altamuro, ABR
Weichert Realtors
Corporate Sales
0 votes
Lisa Tempesta, , Parsippany, NJ
Wed Feb 11, 2009
In today's market a qualified offer is a good offer. Seller's may not agree, though, so you need to be prepared. If you are working with a buyer's agent, have them run the comparable sales for similar properties that have closed in the last 3 months. This will give you the most current information on what properties are selling for in Mendham. You can make a more informed decision based on comps as to what kind of offer to start with. Do not be afraid to "insult" the seller. They may not want to believe the current value of their home, but having the comps will help to justify a price. If you don't ask you don't get, and you should know very quickly what the sellers are thinking based on their response. Please let me know if you need additional help or need a buyer's agent to help you with this transaction (if you are currently not represented by anyone). I would be more than happy to look up the closed sales for you.

Good luck with your potential purchase.
Lisa Tempesta
Broker-Sales Associate
(973) 668-6322-cell
0 votes
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Wed Feb 11, 2009
Hi Kron,

Here is some data for Mendham Twp:

Median home price:
2003: $795,000
2004: $950,000
2005: $949,000
2006: $999,900
2007: $1,050,000
2008: $962.000
Last 6 months: $975,000

So, based on the data, Mendham Two has not declined to 2003 levels. If I had to guess, I would say that the current median home price of current listings and homes presently under contract will be in the neighborhood of $925,000-$950,000.

Having said that, your offer should be based on what the home is truly worth today as an individual home with its individual features, condition, location, competition, and recent sales from the immediate vicinity. If I were your buyers agent, I would evaluate this home, and this home's owner and his motivation.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as an insulting offer if it is presented properly and professionally in person by an agent who knows the ropes and knows how to present in a dispassionate and convincing, yet compassionate manner. An offer needs to be SOLD, not presented. Very few agents are good at this. The VAST majority FAX the offer and hope for the best.

If you would like me to evaluate this property, this seller, and handle the offering properly and professionally, contact me via my website. This offer is obvioulsy open to other buyers also. Ask your agent the mechanics of how they make their offer. If they fax it and wait, you are losing money and maybe your house.


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
0 votes
Camille Mill…, , Flemington, NJ
Wed Feb 11, 2009
Yes, pricing has dropped to about the 2003 level on average but not in all townships. I'd love to buy a beach house in Sea Girt at 2003 prices but I doubt anyone would sell it to me:) Do some research to determine pricing in Mendham. You may may find a 2003 price is to low but a 2005 price is just perfect. I'm finding incredible buying opportunities every where and some negotiations even surprise a seasoned agent like myself. If you do the research and still feel your pricing is correct then go for it. It never hurts to try.

Camille Miller
Just Jersey Properties
0 votes
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