First Snow for Rumson-Fair Haven Homes

Rumson home sales snowfall

January 18, 2016: the First Snowfall of the Winter

Yesterday we had our first snow of the 2015-2016 winter season. It started with just snow flurries that melted when they hit the ground, but later we actually saw about half an inch of accumulation. Rumson homes are pretty when they’re covered in snow (so are Fair Haven homes). I noted only a few homes without any snow on their roofs- probably an indication that they need more attic insulation. By the way, I recently saw an article that said adding attic insulation actually increases the value of a home by more than the cost of the installation; one of the few home expenses that really pays for itself.

Yesterday also was a holiday: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. While listening to WQXR on the radio I heard Newark-born Bass-Baritone Dashon Burton sing one of the most beautiful versions of “We Shall Overcome” that I’ve heard in a long time. You can listen to a sample of it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Struggle-Redemption-Shall-Overcome/dp/B015VY2QPG

Len

Rumson Fair Haven Realator

Posted in Homes in Fair Haven, Homes in Rumson, Rumson Fair Haven Real Estate Agent, Rumson Fair Haven Realtor, Rumson Realator | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Check Your Credit Report

real estate rumson NJ

Did You See the Rainbow This Morning?

If you’re planning to buy Rumson NJ real estate, Fair Haven NJ real estate, or any other real estate, you should know your credit score. A good credit score will help you in many ways, from making it easier for you to get a letter of mortgage pre-approval from a mortgage lender to helping you get the lowest rates when you actually apply for a mortgage. Let’s say you’d like to submit an offer to buy a Rumson house: put yourself into the Seller’s shoes. If you, the owner, received 3 bids offering the same price for your Rumson house, the strongest offer would be from a buyer who’d be ready, willing and able to pay with cash. The next strongest offers would come from buyers who didn’t have to sell their existing homes to buy yours; of these, a bid with a letter of mortgage pre-approval would be stronger than a bid without one. Notice I said mortgage pre-approval, not pre-qualification; pre-qualification doesn’t involve as much due diligence as a pre-approval.

Even if you’re not planning to buy a home in Rumson-Fair Haven, you should take advantage of the Fair Credit  Reporting Act, which gives you a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the major credit reporting agencies. Why would you want a copy? Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission says:

“Your credit report has information that affects whether you can get a loan – and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. You want a copy of your report to:

Make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.

Help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information – like your name, Social Security number or credit card number – to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to get a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance or even a job.”

You probably know that there are 3 major credit agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. I recommend that every 4 months you apply to ONE of the three agencies asking for a copy of your report. In that way you’ll be able to continuously check your credit 3 times throughout the year. For example, contact Equifax in January, Experian in May and TransUnion in September. Write notes on your calendar to remind yourself, and I’ll also remind you 4 months from now in this blog,  http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com. Whether you apply online or by using either of the other two methods, you’ll need to provide your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth.

When you ask for your free report, be careful. There’s only one central website, a toll-free number, and a mailing address you should use. The official web site is  https://www.annualcreditreport.com, and you can get all the information about it, the toll-free number and the mailing address at the Federal Trade Commission website, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm (be sure to read the warning about “Imposter” websites).

Hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at (732) 239-0739 or email me at ldunikoski@dianeturton.com. The time to build a relationship with a real estate professional is BEFORE you plan to buy or sell a house.

 –  Len

Rumson Fair Haven RealatorLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road -Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

Posted in Fair Haven NJ Real Estate, real estate Rumson NJ, Rumson NJ Real Estate, Rumson Real Estate, Rumson Realtor | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fair Haven Real Estate Market: 2015 Year-End Update

house fair haven

This home at 42 Brookside Avenue sold in December for $1,325,000

If you wanted to but weren’t able to buy Fair Haven NJ real estate in 2015, you’re very lucky. The median selling price for homes sold in Fair Haven only increased 3%. You shouldn’t have to pay a lot more than you would have a year ago. This is despite the fact that at year end, the 3 other key, objective real estate indicators are predicting higher prices for Fair Haven homes in the near future. The number of Fair Haven home sales is up, indicating higher demand, which drives prices up; the number of Fair Haven listings is down, indicating less supply, which also drives prices up; and the real estate absorption rate is shorter and within the range that indicates a “selller’s market”. Here are the actual numbers; any positive news for Fair Haven home buyers would have been highlighted in underlined italic font but as was the case last month, the 2015 year-end statistics don’t have any good news for buyers:

 Fair Haven Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – December 31

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                              93                  119     28% more homes were sold.

Listings/Month*        37                    35      5% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*        4.7                  3.6      Stronger demand vs. supply.

Median Sale         $715,000      $745,000     3% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

 

In 2014, Fair Haven home prices increased 7% (from a median of $667,000 to $715,000). Any increase in home prices is bad news for buyers, but this year’s 3% increase doesn’t look so bad compared to last year’s. If you’re interested in the Fair Haven real estate market I can give you the statistics for other years as well.

When should you start looking at houses? As soon as possible. You should look at as many homes in your price range as you can, so you get a sense of what’s available in your budget. That way, when you find a house you like, you’ll have a better idea of whether it’s priced at or above the market. You don’t want to pay more than you have to for any house, and your Realtor will help you determine whether a seller’s asking price is reasonable or not.

Remember that other astute real estate buyers will be looking at the same houses, so you may have to act quickly if a great house comes on the market priced at (or below) fair market value. We saw several bidding wars in 2015, and several homes closed above the sellers’ asking prices. A bidding war is great for the seller, but not necessarily good for the buyer.

A Realtor can show you all the Fair Haven real estate currently listed in your price range, and can alert you as soon as a new house comes on the market. What do you do if a great Fair Haven house comes on the market and you live out of state or aren’t able to look at houses on a work day? Sometimes the photos posted by the listing agent don’t tell the whole story, so I’d be glad to walk through the house and make you a video of what it really looks like.

Take advantage of the public Open Houses (usually held on Sunday afternoon in our Rumson-Fair Haven area). When you go, just remember that the Realtor showing the house works for and has fiduciary duties to the seller. Don’t you want to work with someone who only has your best interests in mind? If you go to an open house and they ask you whether you’re working with a Realtor, feel free to give them my name. That way they won’t pester you with emails and phone calls.

Note: I wrote this article, and the views expressed in it are mine; they do not necessarily represent the views of Diane Turton Realtors.

Len

Rumson Fair Haven RealatorLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

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2015 Rumson Home Sales and 2016 Predictions

houses rumson, rumson houses

This Rumson home at 5 Heathcliff Road sold in December for $1,175,000

Whether you’re buying or selling a house, it’s good to use key, objective indicators to help you decide whether this is a good time for you or not such a good time. Those same indicators can help you look into the future and predict whether home prices will rise, fall or remain constant during the next year. January is the perfect time to look back on the prior year and see what happened to those indicators for our local real estate market.

I look at four (4) key indicators every month: the number of Rumson homes sold, the number of Rumson homes on the market, the real estate absorption rate and the median Rumson home sales price. An increase in the number of homes sold indicates higher demand, and higher demand normally results in upward pressure on home prices. This is great if you’re a seller, but not so great if you’re a buyer. An increase in the number of homes on the market has the opposite effect: more homes available means a greater supply, and an increased supply tends to put downward pressure on home prices; good for home buyers, and not so good for home sellers.

The real estate absorption rate includes both supply and demand. It’s a calculation of how long it would take to sell all of the homes currently on the market if homes continue to sell at the same rate as they have in the past (I use the past 12 month time period, but some people use the past 6 months). An absorption rate of between 5 and 7 months is a “normal market”, while greater than 7 months indicates greater supply than demand (a “buyer’s market”) and less than 5 months indicates greater demand than supply (a “seller’s market”). Any significant increase in the absorption rate is good for buyers, and any significant decrease is good for sellers.

Finally, the median sales price is the price at which 50% of the home sold at a higher price and 50% of the homes sold at a lower price. I prefer the median rather than the average price, because the mathematical average can be unfairly affected by a handful of sales at very high or very low prices.

Here are the Rumson numbers for the 4 key objective indicators as of December 31st. Good news for home buyers is underlined and in italics:

    Rumson Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – December 31

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                             110                 107     3% fewer Rumson homes sold.

Listings/Month*        75                    77      3% more homes on market.

Months Supply*        8.2                  8.9      Weaker demand vs. supply.

Median Sale        $1,130,000   $1,200,000   6% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

As you can see, we ended the year with 3 of the 4 indicators showing good news for Rumson real estate buyers: fewer homes sold, more homes are on the market, and the real estate absorption rate is indicating a “buyer’s market” that’s even better than it was for buyers a year ago. The one key indicator that’s not good news for home buyers is the median home sales price, which is 6% higher than it was at the end of 2014.

How can we explain a higher median Rumson home price when 3 of the 4 indicators are predicting lower home prices in the near future? There are several ways to look at this apparent contradiction. One way is to rationalize that, for many reasons, Rumson is one of the most desirable Monmouth County towns to live in, and to conclude that the median home price would have been even higher than 6% had there been more demand or less supply. Another factor may be that 9 of the 107 Rumson homes sold in 2015 were new construction, and newly-constructed homes tend to sell at significantly higher than the median sales price. A third factor may be that more of the Rumson homes that sold in 2014 had been damaged in super storm Sandy, and those homes sold at distressed prices (very few such homes are still on the market). I’ll have to drill down into my database of individual home sales to try to clarify these possibilities.

If you’re thinking of buying real estate in Rumson (or Fair Haven, Little Silver, etc.) in the next few years I’d be glad to sit down with you and discuss these indicators with you in more detail. Although the Fed has indicated it’s intention to raise interest rates slowly in 2016, the consensus is that there won’t be any dramatic increases in mortgage rates in the next 12 months. That gives you time to visit the homes in your price range, save for a larger down payment, and improve your credit rating so you’ll be able to qualify for the lowest mortgage rates. Together let’s make this a VERY good year for you!

Len

Rumson Fair Haven RealatorLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

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Cherry Blossoms for Christmas and New Year’s Day

Rumson-Fair Haven Cherry Blossoms - December, 2015

Rumson-Fair Haven Cherry Blossoms – December, 2015

This is the first time that I remember seeing Cherry Blossoms on Christmas (and for the week after). Our unusually warm weather brought many surprises, but this was one of the best. As we walked or drove through our Rumson-Fair Haven area we saw many cherry trees with little pink blossoms. Maybe not the size and number we’re used to seeing in spring, but faint hues of pink and white here and there.

Like many Rumson-Fair Haven homes, we have several cherry trees on our property, so I took several photos to capture the moment, and I’d like to share 3 of them with you. The cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan, and it has special meaning to the Japanese (and to Chinese and others as well). As I recall, it’s a metaphor, a simile for life itself. Like the cherry blossom, life is beautiful but only lasts for a brief time so we should enjoy both while we can.

A Reminder that Life is Beautiful but Brief

A Reminder that Life is Beautiful but Brief

This time of year brings the beauty of holly with its evergreen leaves and bright red berries, and we can enjoy the holly berries for a long time, but the cold and the rain will chase the cherry blossoms away soon.

Cherry Blossoms, New Year's Day 2016

Cherry Blossoms, New Year’s Day 2016

Will we have as many cherry blossoms when the “normal” time comes for the cherry trees to bloom? I don’t know, but I’m going to enjoy these while they’re here, and I hope you do too. Take some time to slow down, enjoy the beauty around you, and think of your life as a cherry blossom: beautiful but brief (and once in a great while, beautiful at times when you’d never predict it to be).

Len

Rumson Fair Haven RealatorLeonard Dunikoski, GRI
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
(732) 239-0739

Posted in Fair Haven NJ Real Estate, Fair Haven Real Estate Market, Fair Haven Realator, Homes in Fair Haven, Homes in Rumson, houses rumson, Rumson Fair Haven Real Estate Agent, Rumson Homes Sold, Rumson NJ Real Estate | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rumson Home Sales: December 1st Update

houses rumson

This 4 BR 2 1/2 bath home at 7 Ivins Place sold in November for $1,150,000.

As predicted, earlier this week the Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points (0.25%) and indicated its intention to have 4 more rate increases in 2016. Chairperson Janet Yellen said next year’s rate hikes will not necessarily be the same amounts and not on a regular schedule. If you  intend to buy Rumson real estate and pay with cash, this really doesn’t affect you. However, if you intend to take advantage of mortgage financing at today’s low rates before they increase significantly, you should start your house search as soon as possible.

Seven (7) Rumson homes sold in October, and with those sales one of our 4 key, objective real estate indicators turned positive for home buyers. The Rumson real estate absorption rate increased from 8.0 months at this time last year to 8.1 months now. An increase of 1/10th of a month isn’t much, but t’s an important indicator because it looks at both supply and demand. It’s a calculation of how long it would take to sell all the Rumson real estate listed for sale if home sales continue at the same rate as they have in the past year. A real estate absorption rate between 5 and 7 months is a “normal market” and anything greater than 7 months is considered a “buyer’s market”.

Here are the numbers for the 4 key objective indicators as of October 31st. Good news for home buyers is shown in italics and underlined:

    Rumson Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – October 31

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                             89                   96      8% more Rumson homes sold.

Listings/Month*        76                    75      2% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*        8.0                  8.1      Slightly weaker demand vs. supply.

Median Sale        $1,165,000   $1,222,500   5% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

 

In addition to the 4 key indicators, I track other indicators such as the average sales price, the average listing price, the average number of days on the market, etc. I also keep my own database of every home that sells in Rumson (and Fair Haven), using information from the tax records as well as information from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This information helps me in several ways: when a potential seller asks me what their home is worth, I can give them a far better estimate than any computer program can. Since I try to visit every new listing of Rumson-Fair Haven real estate, I know what the interiors of the homes really looked like and that’s information you can’t get by just looking at the listing photos.

The database helps me when I’m working with Rumson real estate buyers as well. I can give them information such as the number of Rumson homes that sold for less than assessed value, the average percentage over assessed value for homes that did sell above assessed value, the average price per square foot for differently sized homes, etc. It also gives me excellent “comps” (comparable sales) to use when a buyer asks me for the current market value of a home they liked.

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Rumson or Fair Haven, remember that finding the “perfect” house involves both subjective feelings and objective data. Subjective feelings involve the way a house makes you “feel” if you were to live there and objective considerations involve evaluating the investment you‘re making (is the house listed at, above or below market value, and will the house be easy or hard to sell when that time comes, etc.). I share some of this information in these blog posts, but I reserve some of the information for buyers and sellers who are my clients. If you’re a “customer”, I’ll deal with you fairly and honestly, but if you’re my client I have specific fiduciary responsibilities that go above and beyond fairness and honesty.

Real estate laws vary from state to state. In New Jersey, before you discuss with a Realtor® your motivation or financial ability to buy or sell a house, that Realtor® should give you and explain to you something called a “Consumer Information Statement” (CIS). The CIS outlines the 4 types of relationships you can have with a New Jersey Realtor®, and it’s important that you understand the differences before you become a Realtor®’s client. If a Realtor® doesn’t give you a CIS and explain it thoroughly to you, find a different Realtor®.

Len

Rumson Fair Haven RealatorLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

 

Posted in Rumson Fair Haven Real Estate Agent, Rumson Fair Haven Realtor, Rumson Homes Sold, Rumson NJ Real Estate, Rumson Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fair Haven Real Estate at the End of November

house fair haven

This Fair Haven house at 900 River Road sold in November for $1,995,000

For the 3rd month in a row, all 4 of the key, objective real estate indicators are predicting higher prices for Fair Haven homes in the near future. The number of home sales is up, indicating higher demand; the number of listings is down, indicating less supply; the median selling price is up, saying you’ll have to pay more for a home than you would have a year ago; and the real estate absorption rate is shorter and within the range that indicates a “selller’s market”. Here are the actual numbers; any positive news for home buyers would have been highlighted in underlined italic font  but as was the case last month, this month’s statistics don’t have any good news for buyers:

 Fair Haven Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – November 30

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                              83                  113     36% more homes were sold.

Listings/Month*        37                    35      5% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*        4.8                  3.5      Stronger demand vs. supply.

Median Sale         $692,000      $730,000     5% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

Most economists are predicting that the Federal Reserve will announce an increase in the federal funds rate at its meeting later today. If it happens it will be the first time the Fed has increased interest rates in nearly a decade, and will indicate the start of a process of “normalization” of interest rates, which have been held very low since the 2008 banking crisis. The Fed’s action will have a ripple effect through our economy, and home mortgage interest rates will rise as well. The only questions seem to be how much of an increase is coming this month, and how many other increases might be expected in 2016.

The consensus is that the Feds will act carefully and in very small steps, so changes in mortgage interest rates are expected to be small, at least for the short term. This will result in an initial spurt in home sales as consumers attempt to lock in low rates before too many other rate hikes occur. If you plan to buy a home in the next year, please read December 6th’s post, “Mortgage Advice from an Expert”, and consider the 7 recommendations presented in the article.

Start talking to one or more mortgage lenders, asking them what you need to give them in order to get a letter of mortgage pre-approval (NOT just a letter of mortgage “pre-qualification”). There should be no charge to get such a letter, and obtaining it doesn’t commit you to use that particular lender when the time comes for you to actually submit a mortgage request. Much of the information you submit for a letter of pre-approval will be used to process the mortgage request itself, so lenders who already have this information should be able to act more quickly that lenders who don’t have it in their files.

Talk to one or more local Realtors® and ask them to give you the names of several mortgage lenders with whom they’ve had recent positive experiences. Your choice of mortgage lender (and of an attorney) will be important later on when you’re trying to meet a specific target date for closing on a sale. There always are “last minute” items that turn up between the home inspection and the closing date, and you don’t want to be dealing with a mortgage lender who doesn’t have a good track record. In my experience, a local mortgage lender gives better service because both the Realtors and the attorneys have dealt with them in the past, and know who to call when problems arise. Mortgage lenders are very competitive with rates, and it’s unlikely that you’ll find a big difference between rates quoted by 3 different trusted lenders.

Yesterday’s advice and the advice above applies to everyone who intends to finance their home purchase with a mortgage, and not just to Fair Haven home buyers. The more you know about the home buying process, the better.

Len

Leonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

 

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