This COMPELLING guide is based on countless residence sales, the most recent data, and insight from the nation’s leading real estate and marketing experts.
In The REMARKABLE GUIDE to Selling Your Home FAST in Bergen County (updated for 2020), you’ll get:
- TODAY’s real estate facts about Bergen County, New Jersey which includes cities of Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hackensack, Harrington Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle River, Tenafly, Teterboro, Upper Saddle River, Waldwick, Wallington, Westwood, Woodcliff Lake, and Wood-Ridge.
- Top analyst predictions for the year
- Proven step-by-step actions to selling your house ridiculously FAST (our secret recipe)
By understanding where we are today and where we are headed, you can best use the strategies and tactics to sell your home FAST anywhere in Bergen County.
Real Estate TODAY
Nationwide housing has been on the rise since the bottom fell out in 2008. Unlike the market frenzy and unscrupulous lending that lead to that disaster, the rise has been slow and steady. That is GOOD news for all. We haven’t seen any major market corrections and don’t expect to do so any time soon.
Today’s Bergen County Home Details Summary
- The median sale price for the County is averaging 455k (as of Oct. 2019) which is a decrease of .44% as of last year. Moderate increases/decreases in value are more sustainable and less likely to herald in a jolting crash.
- Homes sold in the county averages 104 days on the market. Bergen homes are selling slower than the national average of 68 days.
- The ratios of asking price to sale price for homes are holding strong at a 98% average. (If a seller is asking $100,000 the average sale price would be $98,000).
- Interest rates are still at historic lows, in the high 3% to low 4% range. These low rates have kept housing affordable in Bergen County.
WHAT BUYERS WANT
- The biggest desire of today’s buyer is to be able to purchase a home that is “turn-key”, meaning they don’t have to do ANY repairs. In most markets, sellers will do better if they fix-up their home before listing.* Homes that are fixed up appeal to a wider selection of buyers and will always sell for more. With all the HGTV hype, people still want Chip and Joanna to fix it up for them rather than do it themselves.
- Suburban housing is on the rise with more buyers wanting “walkable” communities and strong public transportation. Fort Lee has one of the best “feet” friendly areas in Bergen County. Many big restaurants near each other that are walkable with great sidewalks. One of the more popular parks is Fort Lee Historic Park that views over the Hudson River and the city skyline of New York. http://yourhaus.com/blog/real-estate-developments-watch-bergen-county-nj/
- Your “average” buyer is looking for at least 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and about 1,900 sq. ft. If your home is not this, don’t worry, average is just a number.
- 88% of buyers purchase with traditional loans, which means that your home will need to qualify for financing. Certain lenders have guidelines about the type and condition of the home they will lend on.
- The biggest energy efficiency concern is a good performing HVAC system.
OTHER REAL ESTATE INFO
- Nationally, short sales and foreclosures are down.
- The average seller has $55,000 in equity in their home.
- The average person lives in their home for 9 years.
Now we know where real estate is, let’s check out where real estate is headed.
- The majority of economists are slightly bullish about real estate for 2020 and expect prices to moderately increase.
- The median home price for Bergen County is expected to increase to $460,460 (around 1.2%) within the next year.
- NAR predicts slow but steady growth in both housing sales and prices.
- Low-interest rates are predicted to remain throughout 2020.
- Builders are optimistic and continue to develop but they are holding less land, especially in the hottest markets. In Bergen, there is a major commercial development in Fort Lee alone that can potentially attract more job-seeking folks to move in town. A residential skyscraper complex that was built a few years ago called The Modern cost $239M to build and overlooks the beautiful Hudson River. Another area where investors need to keep an eye on is Englewood. There are many commercial spaces available to be built one for local residents to enjoy the traditional downtown setting. http://yourhaus.com/blog/real-estate-developments-watch-bergen-county-nj/
- One of the factors that have slowed real estate is a lack of skilled labor in construction trades. This lack of labor has created a bottleneck that has moderated development.
- Record highs in the stock market are often good for the future of real estate. If and when investors become concerned about overvaluation in stocks, they often turn to real estate which is considered a more stable investment vehicle.
- Student loans continue to be a burden to buyers. In the State of New Jersey alone, it is estimated that over 1.1 million residents owe more than $44 billion in student loans. https://www.inquirer.com/business/fedloan-student-debt-rights-new-jersey-murphy-20190712.html
- Much of the neglected housing has been purchased and renovated by investors and buyers leaving fewer opportunities for “fix and flip” style investing.
- Housing prices are considered “high” per the affordable housing index. The least affordable markets continue to drive buyers to more affordable ones. In Bergen County, the cost of living average is 143.3. Which is higher than the national average of 100. https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/county/new_jersey/bergen
- More communities are developing into “Hipsturbia” communities. Buyers want walkable areas with pet parks and coffee shops. These “hipster” neighborhoods are popping up all over the country and are expected to continue to do so throughout 2020 and beyond. A good example is the Paramus Fitness Park located in Fairway Oaks Park. It has a great gym for people who want to get in shape and also a great jogging path. Projects like these are great as fitness is still a booming trend for millennials in today’s day and age.
The 6 P’s
Now we know where we are and where we’re headed, we can develop our plan to beat the Bergen market in selling a house FASTER than anyone else. This sweet plan has been developed, refined, and perfected on the sale of hundreds of homes in the county. It’s totally updated for this year.
Are you ready? 🙂
There’s a marketing strategy called “The Marketing Mix”. This classic strategy is based on the 4 P’s of marketing:
This list was created to make sure marketers were executing a complete and thorough marketing campaign when selling their wares. This strategy is very good…but by adding two “P’s” of our own, we’ve made it AWESOME for selling houses FASTER and for more money too throughout the Upstate!
Before we get to the super-duper marketing stuff, you’ll have to make some decisions… you see, it’s not that hard to do this, but you gotta have your stuff together. Not so easy as, “Sugar, we gonna sell our house. I got me here a sign to put in the front yard and a cash buyer will come a-knockin and pay full price, as-is.” That would be sweet but there’s more to consider:
- How long will it take to get the house ready to sell?
- How long should you expect the house to be on the market?
- How much effort will it take to fix up the home to sell at top dollar?
- How much effort to fix the minor items?
- How much effort after an inspection?
- $ Investment
- How much $ investment to get top dollar?
- How much $ investment to fix it to be market-ready (but not top dollar ready)?
- Are there risks of a slowing market?
- Is it likely that extensive and expensive repairs will show up on an inspection?
- Should you start working with contractors?
- How much will you make with a top-dollar sale?
- How much will you make selling to an investor?
- How much will you make selling with no/minor repairs on the market?
This is a weighing game. If I was a nerd, (which is debatable), I would create a calculator to factor in all of this stuff to help compare options. Umm, here’s the Nerd House Decision Calculator. I guess the jury’s out about me being a bit nerdy.
OK, are you back? Finished nerding out and made your decision? The 6 P formula works for whatever decision you made; the actions just vary a bit. You can summarize it as People, Process, Price, Place, Product, and Promotion.
Even if you tried to do everything in this plan alone, you would still need to have a bunch of people to actually sell the house (buyer, attorney, lender…). Start with the mindset of building your winning team.
Your A-Team is CRITICAL to selling your Bergen home rapidly. Here’s a breakdown of who you need on your team, and who the optional players are:
- Home designer: not getting fancy here but somebody needs to decide on the paint colors and drape textures. It could be you, your Momma, Uncle Joe or a professional designer.
- Repair person(s): Just about every home needs something. The repair persons can be a single fix-it-all, like your Dad or a team of specialists. Either way, you’re going to need somebody to get your home ready for the big event! Just an FYI: Calling the “big guys” in is often a recipe for ruin. We recently received an HVAC quote for 4X what we normally pay for the same service. Somebody will be breaking the bank to get these repairs done. (thankfully, it won’t be you)
- Photographer: Again, this can be you but first make sure you can take some sweet pics: otherwise, have an awesome photographer lined up. Amazing pics make all the difference. Quality photographers are typically around $150-$300 depending on the area and size of the house.
- Marketing guru: As you’ll see in learning more about the 6 P’s, marketing is more than just throwing a home up on Zillow. To sell fast and get more money, you need to have a plan and execute with precision. After reading this – you will be that guru! 👍
- Attorney/Title Escrow Company: You will need a closing agent to close the quick sale of your home. Good attorneys will often give you guidance and even free contracts as long as you commit to using them to close the transaction.
- Real Estate Agent: You may want to sell with an exceptional agent. THIS is a good tool to find the very best agents in Bergen County:
- Home Stager: If your home is vacant OR a bit too cluttered, you might want to add a home stager to your team. Home stagers can use what you have or bring in entirely new furniture to make a home look its best. Statistically staged homes do sell faster and for more money – funny because the buyers don’t get to keep that stuff :).
- You also might want to sell For Sale By Owner (FSBO). Although good agents can be incredibly valuable and worth every penny, in some markets a perfectly prepared home (like yours) will literally sell itself!
Sweet! You’ve got an AMAZING team in place. Now it’s time to think through the process.
Are you still here? Great. I’m not a big process kind of guy but you definitely need to be methodical to sell fast for top dollar. Don’t overthink this; all you are doing here is organizing in your head—and on paper—what you want to do and how you’ll do it.
- Develop a project overview. This should just take a minute but will describe what you decided about your home sale. It will summarize your goals on repairs, speed of sale, price, ease, etc. This overview will be your guide. Here’s a short and sweet example:
- The Johnson’s Selling Plan “We want to sell our house FSBO doing only the minimum repairs for a buyer to qualify for financing. For repairs, we will paint the kitchen and repair the flooring in the back bathroom. We will put some of our extra stuff at Aunt Denise’s house. We will price a bit lower than the market because we are not using an agent or doing repairs.”
- BAM pretty clear what these sellers are looking for. They are going to sell FSBO, only do minimal repairs and price lower to move it. Pretty simple.
- Your plan may be different, and it can be longer—but don’t go on forever, or you’ll lose track of your priorities. Make sure your entire team understands your project overview and is on the same page.
Pricing isn’t about pricing low to sell fast. It’s pricing right. If you wanted to do what the Johnson’s are doing, you’ve got to offer a discount… but you don’t have to give your house away. Take into consideration what homes in the area are selling for and how long they take to sell. Some neighborhoods sell in an average of 8 days (that’s blazing fast) while others might take 180.
In Bergen, homes sold are averaging 104 days on the market. It’s not only what homes have sold for that determine the price but how quickly they move. In a FAST market, you might be able to sell a house that is in less than stellar condition, even without offering a discount. But, if your market is SLOW, you’re going to need to get aggressive if you want to sell it quickly – this means pricing to sell and executing the rest of this plan with great precision.
Place is often overlooked by home sellers, but it is a critical question for homebuyers. You need to answer the questions:
- What is incredible about my location? “We are 2 minutes to ABC School, 3 minutes from the HWY and so close to shopping of all kinds!”
- What developments/improvements are coming to Bergen County? “The developers just broke ground on the new XYX shopping center, which will include a Chipotle.” (I’m sold)
- You can highlight “place” in your listing description, pictures of your property and in your marketing.
The product here is your Bergen house. But it’s not the bricks and mortar and drywall and shag carpet, it’s the feeling. Selling a house isn’t about selling value. It’s not about colors. It’s not even about quality. It’s about feelings – nothing more than feelings :).
You see a house is a purchase like no other. For most, it will be the largest purchase they ever make – but – even bigger than that – this is where they will spend the bulk of their lives! Kind of a big deal. So, when selling your home sell the feelings.
- Make the home a beautiful, livable space. Reduce clutter and remove extra personal items. You don’t want prospective buyers feeling like they are intruding on your house but instead that they are looking at their house.
- Make it smell good, but not too good. Sorry, I have to share this quick story. It should be relatively amusing ;). A few years back I stayed at a “boutique” hotel in London. I was trying to save a few bucks and the hotel looked great online… when I got there, it was AWFUL. But one saving grace is that as I walked down the long, dark, narrow hallway that leads to my room they had motion sensors, face level glade diffusers. So although I was scared for my life, at least I got sprayed multiple times in the face with the delicious aroma of Glade Red Honeysuckle Nectar.
Anyway, I can’t tell you how many homes that I’ve been in with prospective buyers have had to leave because the seller went berserk with the smelly stuff, typically trying to overcompensate for a stinky dog or spouse. Don’t be that seller. Do a thorough cleaning, do your absolute best to remove any stink and keep pets away if possible. Hard to believe, but some people may not love your 22-foot anaconda.
- Be absent. There are few things more awkward than looking at a person’s home to purchase it while there are people in PJs at 3:00 pm in one room and others almost naked in bed in another (yes this happened). This is kind of a no brainer and if you’re reading this article, I’m pretty confident you wouldn’t do what those dear folks did. But, do make sure that everyone is out of the house so that potential buyers can talk and view your home freely.
- Have pictures from different seasons. This is a really cool idea where you share pictures of the gorgeous spring flowers and incredible winter views, etc. Buyers can see that home is beautiful year-round.
- Give important information. You may have added some really cool features like soft-close cabinets or an amazing $7,000 square Numi toilet (who doesn’t need one of these! It has a touch screen with 12 language options and speakers). Let your visitors know about some of these super cool features by placing little note-cards in the areas you want to highlight.
Finally the fun stuff! Promotion is what people typically think of when they hear the word marketing. For most homes, more exposure is better. Here’s a list of places to get maximum exposure for your house.
- The Multiple Listing Service (MLS). If you are working with an agent, they will be sure to list it to the MLS. This is the central data source that feeds Redfin, Realtor.com, etc. Even if you are selling FSBO, you may want to pay for a listing on the MLS through a flat-fee brokerage. That’s because 87% of homes are purchased through an agent.
- Zillow: Zillow is the most visited real estate website on the Web. It has powerful search capabilities, is super user-friendly and is free for sellers – sweet!
- Craigslist: Believe it or not, people still search for homes and find them on CL. Kind of crazy to me, because it was actually developed in 1892 (no it wasn’t). But it’s true. People still look for homes here and, thankfully, it’s still FREE. I love that price.
- Facebook: The Facebook marketplace is also free and a great additional place to get exposure. You can also market, fairly specifically, to potential homebuyers directly on Facebook. I have gotten many responses to a couple of deals I have made through Facebook Marketplace. It is a very powerful tool that is underrated.
- Instagram: You can market here for free as well. Here’s a guide to advertising your house on Instagram: https://fitsmallbusiness.com/instagram-for-real-estate/
- Yard Signs: A small number of buyers still come from yard signs. But, in this case, the more exposure the better.
- Guerilla Marketing: This is where you can get really creative. Are there large employers in your area that have people moving in all the time? Can you market to that business? Would your home make a great Airbnb? Marketing through local investor groups may also make sense.
And there you have it. The 6 P’s of home marketing for Bergen County, NJ. Definitely not rocket science, but everything you need to know: the secret to selling your house fast and not losing your shirt. Of course, if you wanted a fair, fast and friendly offer, we at www.FastHomeSales.com would welcome the opportunity to work with you.