From the Record:
Seller beware: It’s a buyer’s market
By KATHLEEN LYNN
As a real estate broker, Joanne English Rollieson knows how to price houses. But a rapidly cooling real estate market recently forced her to cut $30,000 off the $525,000 asking price for her own home in Teaneck.
“Buyers have a lot to choose from,” explained English Rollieson, president of English Realty in Englewood, who was successful in selling her four-bedroom Colonial. “If sellers are motivated to sell, they need to be more realistic with their prices.”
It’s a lesson home sellers are learning all over North Jersey. After five years of record sales, double-digit price rises and frantic bidding wars, the fizz has gone out of the real estate market, both nationally and in North Jersey.
The signs of a slowdown are everywhere. The National Association of Realtors recently reported that its index of pending home sales — that is, where the contract has been signed but the deal has not closed — is down 16 percent from July 2005. And the U.S. Commerce Department recently reported that the inventory of unsold homes was at a record high.
“Sales are slowing, homes are plentiful and sellers are negotiating,” said David Lereah, chief economist of the Realtors association.
For sellers, all this data adds up to one question: How to sell in a buyers’ market?
The first answer is probably the most painful: Price it realistically. Just because your neighbor got $600,000 a year ago doesn’t mean you’re going to get $650,000 — or even $600,000.
“A lot of sellers haven’t accepted reality,” said Nick Tselepis of the Nicholas Real Estate Agency in Clifton. “Anything eventually will sell — it depends on the price.”