How to Purchase a Home in 2023

The Ann + Melinda Group


How to Purchase a Home in 2023
For our current and prospective buyers, we know you are facing one of the most competitively challenging markets for Bergen County real estate in recent decades. You have likely faced multiple bidding wars on homes and faced disappointment on more than a few occasions. It’s times like this when having the right agent really matters. We understand the terms that it takes to get your offer accepted, and other agents know and value our professional reputation, so they consider us a trusted partner.

What Matters in a Competitive Offer

In today’s market, you might be surprised to hear that many accepted bids do not come from the highest amount offered. Rather, sellers often look at the best total package, which boils down to the least amount of risk. What goes into terms besides price?
1. Closing date
2. Inspection parameters
3. Financing details, including amount of deposit, amount of mortgage, timing of commitment, and reputation of lender
4. Being represented by a well-known local agent with a reputation for excellent transaction management
We have some creative ways we have helped our buyer clients stand out even when they couldn’t provide many significant concessions in these areas, so let’s discuss that if we haven’t already.

What’s Coming in the 2024 Bergen County Real Estate Market

Real estate analysts do not see the supply and demand imbalance in our area changing anytime soon. While many buyers thought higher interest rates would help reduce prices, we’ve seen the opposite occur. In Bergen County, here is the year-over-year trend in median home prices:
2018    -1%
2019    +1%
2020    +8%
2021    +11%
2022    +9%
That means on average, a home that was purchased for $750,000 in 2019 was worth roughly $980,000 at the end of last year. And it’s continuing to appreciate in 2023. For those of you that are serious about securing a home, it’s better to do that sooner than later. Interest rates will always fluctuate, and you have an opportunity to refinance when they drop, but your purchase price is definitive. You should secure that before Bergen County real estate market prices go any higher.

Our Tips for Navigating the 2023 Real Estate Market 

1. Be Ready. You must be preapproved if you’re taking a loan or have a current proof of funds statement if you plan to pay cash. With the speed at which homes are selling in the competitive Bergen County real estate scene, you don’t have time to scramble to get this together once you find the right home. On that same note, never wait until the open house for a first viewing. Schedule a private showing with us immediately. By the time the weekend rolls around, offers are usually in hand and decisions are ready to be made.
2. Shop below your budget. List prices in most cases are essentially starting bids. Bergen County homeowners are encouraged to underprice as a strategy to bid the house up. That means if your maximum budget is $600,000, you shouldn’t be looking at $599,000 listings. Stay closer to $550,000 so you have room for the bid process. Certain homes are an exception if they are overpriced to start, and we can guide you when we see those.
3. Don’t fixate on the list price. As we said, list prices are often random numbers chosen with a bidding strategy in mind. Attaching yourself too much to that number by saying, for example, “I don’t want to go more than 5% over list,” is an ineffective approach. Where the price ends up all depends on where it starts. If a home is worth approximately $1,000,000 in today’s market, it’s going to sell 5% over asking if the seller chooses a $950,000 starting point, and 25% over asking if they start at $800,000. Both scenarios happen all the time, and we can guide you appropriately with each specific house.
4. Trust a professional. Especially if this is your first home, you will hear many opinions from friends and family. Most have not purchased a home in a market like this. Parents, for example, many times want to be protective, but they are used to a buyer’s market where you have an opportunity to negotiate. This is not that time, so listening to the advice of professionals that work in the market each day is essential if you want to be successful in securing a Bergen County home  We never place pressure on you to do anything you’re not comfortable with, but we will be honest with you about what’s needed, and you can make a decision from there.
You can ask our many satisfied buyers – purchasing a home today is possible! Let’s talk further so we can produce a personalized strategy to get you there.

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