The NJ Housing Market... It Really Is as Bad as It Seems
In my five years in Bergen County, I have pretty much steered clear of the housing market. When I moved out here from New York City, I spent many weekends searching for a home. We hit open house after open house and poured over listings feverishly. The minute we walked through the front door of our house, we knew we were home. We hadn't been in the house for longer than five minutes when we told the broker that we wanted to make an offer at asking price. A few weeks later, the contract was signed and the house was ours.
Once we moved in, we happily left the real estate market behind. Many of my friends in town spend their weekends trolling open houses. Over a quarter of my friends have moved to upgrade their home. Although I admired their beautiful new houses, I had no desire to follow in their footpath. Moving was way too stressful for me.
Whenever I bumped into real estate brokers at events around town, I asked them about the state of the New Jersey real estate market
purely as a way to make small talk. Still I found it oddly reassuring when they told me that things were not as bad as the papers made it out to be. "Houses are still selling," they assured me.
Then my husband accepted a new job... in Ohio. And I found myself calling the same brokers and this time really paying attention to what they had to say. Turns out that things really aren't so peachy in our neck of the woods. The houses that are selling are few and far between. As a matter of fact, there are currently three times the number of houses on the market that there were last year. And many of them of have been on for over 120 days. Bottom line, we were advised to price at our house at exactly what we bought it for five years ago. The broker tried to soften this cruel blow by telling us that this was only a 20% loss in value from the high, and that if we had invested that money in the stock market we would have lost much more. That silver lining did little to lift our spirits.
So now we're feverishly de-cluttering
, removing all pictures and signs of personality from our home to turn it into a "product" that will hopefully cause some "price excitement" when it goes on the market in two weeks. As each room gets the Pottery Barn treatment, our house feels less like a home and the move, although still three months away, becomes more of a reality. Only time will tell whether we will be the exception that sells or just another statistic to feed the reports of a dismal housing market.
This is an original NJ Moms Blog post
. When not sorting through piles of clothes and toys to gear up for her move, Vanessa blogs about cooking and parenting at Chefdruck Musings