Long-Term Perspective: Value in Maplewood/South Orange NJ area real estate comes with time not timing

You can’t believe everything you read, even if it’s true. 

There’s little use in me trying to hide that the national real estate market isn’t what it was last year. That’s pretty obvious. Here in Maplewood and South Orange, NJ, people aren’t lining up around the corner for open houses, making sight-unseen offers, or blithely submitting bids at 30% over list price.


I believe it’s important to impart to clients that in the same way that all real estate is local, it’s also personal. The trends shouldn’t drive your decisions, especially if you’re capable of buying. Holding off on buying and paying 100% of your housing budget towards astronomical rent only benefits your future competition. Yes, mortgage rates are much higher than they were two years ago, but those conditions were part of a national response to a pending economic crisis. 


Know that the demand from the Covid-19 market is still out there, it’s merely waiting for the rate dam to crack. Why be part of the flood when it does? If you can act now, you’ll realize the distinct advantage of having fewer people to compete against in a more motivated seller market.


We often say, “you marry the price, but date the rate.” This means that mortgage rates change. What you agree to at closing isn’t a life-long commitment. There are alternatives, too, such as rate buy-downs and adjustable rate mortgages. 


Know that you’ll be working with sellers who are serious about wanting to move. They likely have to buy under the same conditions, meaning they’ll be open to negotiation with buyers who are as equally motivated. 


I would encourage you to think more about the future than the present. The benefits come with time, and the longer that goal is put off, the less time you have to fully realize it. There are also some classic sales and investment strategies to buying in these markets, namely, it’s always good to act when others aren’t—especially in real estate. In times like this, you’re buying real estate when it’s on sale, and putting yourself in a better position to realize value when it’s time to sell. 


Every downturn has its advantages, and we’re telling clients that this one has many. For starters, the country’s fundamental economics are stable, if not very positive. Unemployment is under four percent and new jobs continue to be created at a surprising rate. Inflation is our lone dragging indicator. Should it right itself on the heels of interest rate hikes, the Fed will be able to slowly ease things back into normalcy, at which point, more buyers will enter the market and sellers will once again have their say.


In short, don’t be one who says, “I wish I had bought it when…” 


Know that realizing the value in real estate comes with time, not timing. The market always fluctuates, and when it’s ebbing instead of flowing is when to move.


Wondering about what’s happening in the changing real estate market? Email Allison at [email protected] to set up a time to chat about real estate, mortgage options and what markets are offering the most opportunities. 


The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group is a top producing real estate team based at Compass in Short Hills, NJ. We are local market experts, specializing in real estate and homes in Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn/Short Hills, Montclair, West Orange, NJ and the surrounding towns. We are driven by earning great testimonials and referral business from happy clients. You can read our testimonials here.