Mobile A Must

Dick Tracy was right when we saw him talking to his two-way wrist radio back in the day… January 13, 1946. That is when Dick Tracy introduced the world to the 2-Way Wrist Radio, becoming the most prominent feature on the New York Daily News’ cartoon section. Navigation, Car, Drive, Road, Gps

Right now, according to the National Association of Realtors [NAR] report, the typical home buyer is 46 years old, married without children living at home, and has a median income of $91,600… oh, and finding their homes over the Internet.

Well, now about three-quarters of buyers are finding their homes using their phones, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

The mobile-phone is used by approximately 80% of Millennials, which means that buyers younger than 38 years old are using their phone to find the homes they end up buying.

Not far behind are the 78% of Gen Xers that are navigating their selection of homes for sale via the smart phone portal. Even the 68% of Young Boomers are house hunting on their phones. Not quite Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio, but heck, it’s an epidemic of buyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the typical buyer contacted an agent and visited a median of 10 homes over 10 weeks before purchasing a home.

Broken out by generations, it was older buyers who spent the shortest amount of time looking at houses. The so-called Silent Generation, meaning people older than 73, spent eight weeks searching for homes, while Young Boomers spent 12 weeks on their home search. All the other generations found a home in 10 weeks, the report said.

The phone is making the hard part of buying a house easier by bringing the buyers to the front door of the agent listing the property. And considering the inventory shortages being experienced throughout the country, speed, access and action are critical to getting the house you want.

Only 20% of respondents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said that the “paperwork” part of the transaction was the most difficult step.

The open house approach to selling a house, once a must, is no longer a big priority when it comes to the buyers out there. Open house showings accounted for 53% of home searchers while the other 47% said they didn’t rely upon them.

Just a small percentage, 7% of respondents, reported they didn’t use online information while searching for a home to buy.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/
Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

Digital Distraction

Digital distraction, disruption and diversion are eroding our productivity and even our happiness. The average business person receives 121 emails per day, not including social media alerts, text messaging and podcasts. silver iPhone X

All of this digital information is producing the kind of mental turbulence that is becoming more of a hindrance than a help if not managed properly.

People are connected through digital platforms rather than physical platforms.

According to a recent study, it is common for people to spend more than 75% of the workday on at least three devices, which promises to accelerate the transactional aspect of our digital economy rather than fostering thoughtful analysis and discussion.

We are living in a ‘remote reality’ that calls for a new set of digital skills, without which burnout becomes inevitable. Research is showing that burnout can increase absenteeism by 37% and workplace accidents by nearly 50%.

In order to combat this new problem, three protocols and habits can mitigate the effects of this stress:

1. Simplify: Return to the old thinking model – begin with the end in mind. Remember, simplified solutions are attractive and sought after.

  • Limit time online
  • Call, instead of text
  • Get focused
  • Recognize when technology is complicating things

2. Individuality: A human is not an algorithm. They are more creative and have more depth than a bunch of numbers running around a program. Getting it done right requires teams that understand clearly what the outcome looks like. Don’t standardize, personalize!

3. Teams and Networks: There is no going backward – social media networks are here to stay. Just keep in mind that a business culture is comprised of humans, personalities and possibilities. Face-to-face connection must become a corporate value. Research has discovered that a personal connection is 34 times as powerful as email for getting things done. The personal network is both a value and a skill; allow your people to discover both for themselves.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

A 2020 Vision for Housing Pt 1

Despite what appears to be a slight slowdown, U.S. home prices continue to rise in most regions, excluding those areas where appreciation has been in the double-digits for years. 

        Housing Market

But the size of those gains varies greatly from one city to the next. In New Jersey, we have seen single family homes rise on average by 4.1% and inventory fall by 12.8%.

New Jersey has not seen a surge in the price of homes other regions of the country has seen. Morris County has seen home prices increase by 7.1% while Bergen County average price fell by 2.9% from 2018. Salem County posted the biggest gain in the median sales price, skyrocketing by 22.9% to $141,000. But still such gains are atypical for the state.

According to the National Association of Realtors® [NAR], it sees “the median price of existing-home sales will continue increasing, but at a slower pace of 4% in 2019, to $269,000, and 3% in 2020, to $278,500.”

According to a January 2019 report from the NAR, home prices in the U.S. rose 47% over the past six years, while wages only rose by 16%. They see U.S. prices will gradually slow to a normal and sustainable pace. The stability of the market could point to a good time to buy a home.

Some of the incentive to buy in the coming months rests upon the fact that mortgage rates are currently resting at historically low levels.

On a historic note, an article published by Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management cites that the current election cycle may support buying a home in the coming year.

Presidential Elections and Stock Market Cycles, written by Marshall Nickles, found that all of the major stock market declines occurred during the first or second years of the four-year U.S. presidential cycle. No major declines occurred during the third or fourth years. More specifically, from 1950 to 2004 (using the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index), the most favorable period (MFP) for investing was from October 1 of the second year of a presidential term to December 31 of the fourth year. [https://bit.ly/2mcE0Xy]

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!

Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

 

Mortgages Hit $9.4 Trillion

Certain financial milestones were reached in the second quarter of 2019. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, mortgage balances rose by $162 billion in the second quarter, reaching $9.40 trillion. This represents a $150 billion increase over the former high mark of $9.3 trillion, which was reached in the third quarter of 2008.

On a macro scale, mortgages held by homeowners represent the largest component of household debt. Such loans, which also include refinancings, increased $130 billion to $474 billion in the second quarter of 2019.

The high point, in terms of liabilities, is underscored by the increase in household incomes, which have also grown significantly since 2008.

Total U.S. household debt has been on the rise since 2013. In the second quarter of 2019 it increased by 1.4% from the first quarter to $13.86 trillion. This represents the 20th consecutive quarterly increase.

On the equity side of the equation, available homeowner equity reached an all-time high of $6.3 trillion in the second quarter of 2019, representing a 26% premium over the previous peak recorded in 2006, prior to the housing bubble.

According to Black Knight, the average homeowner had $140,000 in available equity to borrow against. Approximately 55% have interest rates that are at least .75% higher than the current rates.

According to Freddie Mac, the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a three-year low of 3.55% in August.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!
Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

Why You Need an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy

Predicting what might or could happen affecting your property in the future is gambling and taking a risk that is unnecessary.

By purchasing owner’s title insurance, the owner protects themselves from financial loss should an event develop regarding the rights to ownership of your property. There could be hidden title defects that prior title search had not discovered. Additionally, your owner’s title insurance will protect you from financial loss by paying the cost of defending against any covered claim.

How Title Insurance Policy Protects the Owner’s Interest

Some common examples of problems covered by an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy include:

  • Improper execution of documents
  • Mistakes in recording or indexing of legal documents
  • Forgeries and fraud
  • Undisclosed or missing heirs
  • Unpaid taxes and assessments
  • Unpaid judgments and liens
  • Unreleased mortgages
  • Mental incompetence of grantors on the deed
  • Impersonation of the true owners of the land by fraudulent persons

Counsellors Title Agency makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented herein and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!

Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

Spring Lake Getaway

Now that the Summer of 2019 is moving on, and the season of fall is upon us, it could be a great time for that romantic getaway without having to fight the crowds for a table for two on the shore.

New Jersey Monthly recently featured a special on romantic getaways in Monmouth County’s town of Spring Lake.

In many ways, Spring Lake is almost a snapshot taken from the days before the Internet, the mobile phone and social media. Most of the ‘social media’ took place on those grand and majestic porches that surrounded those Victorian homes that came with streets lined with tall trees, green lawns and lots of flower beds to stop passersby.

The town of Spring Lake is still known for its pristine, beautiful beaches and a two-mile boardwalk.

And for those looking to buy a special gift or piece of original artwork, there is the town’s Third Avenue, with its boutiques, pizza parlors, ice cream fountains and art galleries.

In addition, Spring Lake has a wide variety of inns and bed & breakfasts.

Inns
Beacon House | 100 Beacon Blvd, SG
Johnson House Inn |25 Tuttle Avenue, SL
Normandy Inn |21 Tuttle Avenue, SL
Ocean House Inn |102 Sussex Avenue, SL
Spring Lake Inn |104 Salem Avenue, SL

Hotels and Motels
The Breakers | 1507 Ocean Avenue, SL
Chateau Inn & Suites |500 Warren Ave, SL
Doolan’s |700 Highway 71, SLH
Grand Victorian |1505 Ocean Avenue, SL
Hewitt Wellington |200 Monmouth Avenue, SL
Walden on The Pond |412 Ocean Road, SL

Cottages
Ashling Cottages |106 Sussex Avenue, SL

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

LET’S CONNECT ONLINE!

Connect with Ralph on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CounsellorsTitleAgency/

Connect with Ralph on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralphaponte/

911 – Never Forget

On September 11, 2001, when the two passenger aircraft, the American Airlines Boeing 767, Flight 11, and the Boeing 767, United Airlines Flight 175, flew directly into the World Trade Center  North Tower, and the second into the South Tower, the course of history shifted and America would be thrust into a long-term conflict with multiple terrorist organizations. The nearly 2,900 people who died in those buildings including first-responders who were trying to rescue them.  Both towers afire, burning debris covered the surrounding buildings and the streets below while hundreds jumped from the towers to their deaths in an attempt to escape. About 30 minutes later, a third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the west side of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. and a fourth plane, United Flight 93, crash-landed into a field in Pennsylvania killing all 40 souls on board. Today we take a moment to remember those who sacrificed their lives. New Jersey lost 749 souls in the attack — more than any state other than New York.

 

First-Time Buyer Trending Higher

As the formation of households has slowed, so have the number of first-time buyers fallen from prior levels as recorded from the years 1997 to 2013.

In the last 20 years, the number of first-time homebuyers has seen a steady pattern of year-over-year loss. As seen in 1997 when first-time homebuyers accounted for 2.1% of all US households, representing 2.13 million households, it has fallen to approximately 1.8 million housing units or 1.5% of total US households in 2017.

According to the Harvard study, 35% of first-time homebuyers in 2017 have never been married; this compares to 23% of the prior year. Married homebuyers comprised 61% of first-time homebuyers in 1997, which declined to 46% in 2013. According to the study, the trends seem to suggest that there is a fundamental shift in the way young households are approaching first-time home purchases. It is no longer necessary for individuals to be married in order to make a purchase of a home with an unmarried partner.

The report also saw the average age of first-time homebuyers changed minimally over the last 20 years. In 2017 the mean age for a first-time homebuyer was 34 as compared to 32 in 1997.

From 2005 through 2013 the number of first-time homebuyers had fallen from a high of 2.2 million to under 1.5 million in 2013. Since 2013, though, the percentage of first-time homebuyers has increased to 1.8 million from the 1.5 million in 2013.

On a percentage basis, first time homebuyers accounted for 43.7% in 1997, which compares to 38.5% in 2017.

Here is the link to the Harvard study:
https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/First%20Time%20Homebuyers%20Brief%20FINAL_alt.pdf

Monmouth County Now and Then

To best understand Monmouth County real estate values, it would be prudent to view values today with those of 2011 and 2012.

An Example: 2011 vs. 2019
In September 2011, there were 838 new listings and 356 closed sales that month.
Compare this with the 958 new listings and 862 closed sales for July 2019.

These numbers demonstrate the the market in Monmouth was over 120% more active in 2019 than in 2011.

What is even more profound is the inventory of listed homes in Monmouth County from those in 2011 compared to 2019.

If one were to compare 2012 to 2019, one of the most distinct differences would be the inventory of available homes on the market. In July 2019, according to New Jersey Realtors, there were 3,058 homes available on the market. In July 2012, there were 826 homes available for sale and just 480 closed sales.

The median sales price in July 2012 was $384,000 and the percentage of price received was 94.2%. According to the report, there were 12.5 months of supply back in July 2012. This compares with 5.3 month supply and 3,058 homes available for sale in July 2019. Another market distinction is that sellers in 2019 received 98.2% of the list price and the median sales price was $469,000.

This only goes to prove that markets change and so it is important for both buyers and sellers to consider the significance and power of trends within the context of their own homes.

Fun in Monmouth County

Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold
End summer by playing some family-friendly historical games. FREE!
Seabrook-Wilson House Tours
Sundays, September  8, 15, 22 & 29 from 9-11 a.m.
Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth
FREE! Visit this house, which dates back to the early 1700s showing displays on the ecology of the bay and local history.

Historic Battery Lewis Tours
Sundays, September 8, 15, 22 & 29 from 12-4 p.m.
Fridays, September 6, 13, 20 & 27 from 12-4 p.m.
Saturdays, September 7, 14, 21 & 28 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands – Rocky Point section
Tour the newly restored Historic Battery Lewis and learn about the history of this important former coastal defense site. FREE!
Wednesday, September 11 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Thompson Park, Lincroft – Meet in the Old Orchard parking lot.

Wednesday, September 25 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Big Brook Park, Marlboro – Meet in the Elsa’s Lodge parking lot.
Explore the trails with a Park System Naturalist and discuss all manners of plant and animal phenomenon. Open to all ages; under 18 with adult. FREE!

How Buyers Look for a Home

How buyers search for property 
88% of all buyers search for a home on the Internet
87% search for a home through an agent
55% search for a home from a yard sign
45% search for a home with an open house
30% search for a home through a newspaper

Only 2% of buyers purchased from a search in a newspaper

The number of Agents contacted before selecting one
66% contacted one agent before selecting them
16% contacted to agents before selecting their agent
13% contact the three agents before selecting one

Most buyers are coming from the internet
40% of buyers come from the internet
35% come from an agent
11% come from a yard sign
And 6% come from a friend

How agents market their listings
92% lists on the internet
77% use yard signs
58% use open houses
31% use newspapers
25% use magazine ads
27% use syndication sites
18% use direct mail

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