Bergen County, A NJ Market Bellwether

Bergen County new listings climbed by 4.5% and this was further supported with closed sales climbing 2.6% in March. The inventory of homes available in Bergen County has continued to erode, falling by 12.3% to 2,732 from 3,115.

Right now the inventory of supply has dwindled to just 4.5 months supply, which is down 13.5%.

This reflects the movement of buyers from the high prices of New York City to the more reasonable prices of those neighboring metropolitan areas such as Bergen County, which has easy access to Manhattan.

But this isn’t the whole story in Bergen County from our assessment. Townhomes and condos have skyrocketed in terms of new listings and closed sales.

New listings have climbed 16.4% from 2018 to 418.

Closed sales have also soared by 18.9% in 2019 to 189 closed sales from 159 closed sales. It does seem that the median sales price has fallen from $345,000 to $320,000, but this is not necessarily a negative, rather the bidding wars have abated and the bargain hunters are now gaining additional ground.

The months of supply in Bergen County currently has also fallen from 5.3 months to 5.1 months. Inventory continues to be a problem, falling over 7% from 1,133 to 1,053, a 7.1% decrease.

Bergen County is perhaps a prescient market because it indicates what we can expect moving forward for the rest of 2019. It appears that bargain-hunters and buyers will gain additional ground, bidding on properties that they can afford. It also appears that the increase in some inventories should be snapped up very quickly, as the days on market averages between 73 and 76 days.

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/

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Referral Marketing Part 2

Referral Marketing is often the most overlooked form of new business development. Before Facebook Ads, Google Ads, newspaper ads (what’s a newspaper?), or robo calls, Referral Marketing was the #1 source of new business leads.

Key #4 Plan: Everyone has a network.
Not all networks are the same or produce the same return on relationship. Cultivation of a network involves a plan.

Today most of our business networks include:
1. Friends/Family
2. Business Networking Groups
3. Customer Reviews and Opinions Posted Online
4. Testimonials
5. Social Media Networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)

Key #5 Make Your Service Experience Sharable:

There are many ways to create a wow factor for your customers through platform, back office, pricing, speed, accuracy and execution.

Key #6 Identify Your Primary Target Referrals (Loyalists):
Sometimes people need a nudge. Create a list of individuals from your:

■ Your Best Connections (your most loyal customers, think about which of your current customers would refer Counsellors Title Agency 100% of the time)
■ Your Best Current Referrers

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/

Referral Marketing Part 1

Referral Marketing is a promotional strategy that encourages current customers to refer new customers, sometimes with an incentive.

Most Referral Marketing is part of a reputation management strategy that includes:

Business and Marketing concept on metallic gearwheel

■ Business Networking Groups
■ LinkedIn
■ Facebook
■ Websites
■ Twitter

All referrals begin with Competence: A proven track record for execution.

Hoping for referrals is not a plan.

Everyone needs an RBP: Referral Business Plan.

Referral Marketing is often the most overlooked form of new business development. Before Facebook Ads, Google Ads, newspaper ads (what’s a newspaper?), or robo calls, Referral Marketing was the #1 source of new business leads.

65% of New Business Comes Through Referrals

According to world-renowned sales trainer Tom Hopkins in Sales Prospecting for Dummies, your closing ratio for non-qualified leads is 10 percent versus a 60 percent close ratio with referred leads.

A Referral Business Plan™.

Key 1 Competence: Competence translates into Quantifiable Results – in the case of Counsellors Title Agency, that means speed, accuracy, personal access, no junk fees, decades of experience.

Key #2 Trust: Referral business is really a reciprocal strategy whereby who you are, what you do, the way that you do it, and the results delivered is historically reproduced.

Key #3 Message: Referral business happens when a need is matched with an answer that is easily communicated by others, to others bearing a positive reflection upon the person referring.

What people say and how they say it depends a great deal upon what you give them to say. Neilsen did a study on the most effective means of advertising, and #1 and #3 came down to specific aspects of your referral funnel.

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/

Titlewise Newsletter

New Jersey’s values continue to ride the crest of its quality of education and family-friendly metrics. Even as existing home sales dropped slightly year-over-year, nationally, prices remain at the present levels. In addition to the start of the spring selling season, the iBuyer Platforms continue to gain more visibility. One reason for this being that Millennials comprise the majority of sales right now. 

To read the entire newsletter, click this link: https://conta.cc/2GIVSA1 

March Sales for Monmouth & County Ocean Counties

Monmouth County
Single Family Homes for March
Key Metrics    2018   2019   Change
New Listings  1,037   1,113  + 7.3%
Closed Sales     496      457   – 7.9%
DOM*              67        68      + 1.5%
Median PX   $421K $425K  + 0.9%
% of PX    97.5%   97.3%    – 0.2%
Inventory   2,691  2,588   – 3.8%
Months Supply 4.5 4.50
*Days on Market

Ocean County
Single Family Homes for March
Key Metrics      2018     2019    Change
New Listings    1,351    1,407     + 4.1%
Closed Sales       611      605      – 1.0%
DOM*                86           77      – 10.5%
Median PX     $293K   $300K    + 2.4%
% PX Rec’d    96.5%     96.7%    + 0.2%
Inventory      4,203       4,101      – 2.4%
Month Supply  6.5           5.9       – 9.2%
*Days on Market

NJ March Single Family Sales Up

New Jersey single family home sales climbed to 5,908. In addition to the quandary of ongoing housing price increases and affordability concerns in many U.S. markets, the first quarter of 2019 saw a fair share of adverse weather as well. Sales totals were mixed across the nation and sometimes dependent on what was a persistent wintry mix, especially in the Great Plains, Midwest and Northeast. Meanwhile, new listings and total homes for sale have been trending lower in year-over-year comparisons in many areas, and last year’s marks were already quite low.

• Single Family Closed Sales were up 0.8 percent to 5,908.
• Townhouse-Condo Closed Sales were down 7.2 percent to 1,782.
• Adult Communities Closed Sales remained flat at 524.
• Single Family Median Sales Price increased 5.2 percent to $305,000.
• Townhouse-Condo Median Sales Price increased 4.1 percent to $255,000.
• Adult Communities Median Sales Price decreased 1.2 percent to $182,750.

The Federal Reserve recently announced that no further interest rate hikes are planned for 2019. Given the fact that the federal fund rate has increased nine times over the past three years, this was welcome news for U.S. consumers, which carry an approximate average of $6,000 in revolving credit card debt per household. Fed actions also tend to affect mortgage rates, so the pause in rate hikes was also welcome news to the residential real estate industry.

Monmouth Ranks as a Family County

The website NJfamily.com ranked every NJ town with a population of over 1,500, and factoring such things as local hospital quality and commute time. Monmouth is the fifth-highest-income New Jersey location by per capita income ($40,976).

As of the 2017 Census estimate, the county’s population was 626,351, making it the state’s fifth-most populous county. 

This is the list that they came up with for Monmouth County.

1. Marlboro Population of 40,306
2. Fair Haven Population of 5,950
3. Allentown Population: 1,811
4. Brielle Population: 4,724
5. Shrewsbury Population: 4,122
6. Holmdel Population: 16,640
7. Little Silver Population: 5,908
8. Millstone Population:10,517
9. Manalapan Population: 40,013
10. Colts Neck Population: 9,968

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/

The Emergence of iBuyer Platforms

I am not sure if you are totally aware of the trend of iBuyer platforms, but it seems to be growing and gaining momentum.

Clearly, the iBuyer category – or buying a house directly from a seller in a simple, online transaction – seems to be a part of a number of different real estate platforms today, two of which are Zillow and Perch.

In a recent announcement, Perch stated that it was looking to provide the complete services package including buying the house from the seller, providing closing services, mortgages, and even title services.

A Perch offer to seller differs from what Zillow is offering in that its offer will be valid for six months. By providing this window for the seller, it will enable them to navigate the current market to find a suitable home in which to move. Much of this is driven by the ongoing inventory shortages prevalent in most of the U.S. markets today.

Upon the selection of a new property, the sellers then work with Perch to close both deals in the same day. But this doesn’t come cheap: the Perch fee is a 6% fee on the seller’s home.

The Contingency Problem
Most agents are often stymied by the challenge of sellers finding a home to move into after they choose to downsize or even move to another state. Perch’s approach to the contingency problem is that they seek to work with homeowners to line up the sale of their old home with the purchase of their new home.

The vision and strategy is to simplify and limit the number of moving parts for sellers to execute and move into their next home.

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/

 

New Jersey 8th Best for Families

According to Wallethub study, New Jersey ranks as the 8th best state to raise a family. The ranking is calculated upon a number of different factors. New Jersey scored a family-friendly score of 58.98.

New Jersey’s ranking in some of the categories included:

3rd – Median Family Salary (Adjusted for Cost of Living)

4th – Infant-Mortality Rate

8th – Violent-Crime Rate

11th – % of Families with Young Kids

16th – Child-Care Costs (Adjusted for Median Family Income)

Raising a healthy, stable family, sometimes requires moving to a new state. And the reasons for moving are often similar: career transitions, better schools, financial challenges or a general desire to change settings.

But wants and needs don’t always align in a particular state. For instance, a state might offer a low income-tax rate but have a subpar education system. However, families do not need to make these kinds of tradeoffs. They can avoid such problems by knowing which states offer the best combination of qualities that matter most to parents and their kids.

Best States for Families
Overall Rank
(1 = Best) State Total Score ‘Family Fun’ Rank ‘Health & Safety’ Rank ‘Education & Child Care’ Rank ‘Affordability’ Rank ‘Socio-economics’ Rank
1 Minnesota 65.32 13 4 8 8 3
2 Massachusetts 63.58 7 3 3 21 19
3 North Dakota 62.34 35 9 1 10 1
4 Vermont 61.61 44 1 5 24 4
5 New Hampshire 60.90 43 2 6 13 6
6 New York 59.81 2 17 22 3 45
7 Wisconsin 59.29 19 14 16 5 11
8 New Jersey 58.98 26 13 2 2 32

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065/

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/

Zillow’s Disruption of the Industry

When Zillow purchased Mortgage Lenders of America in November 2018, some believed that the model would follow the old General Motors approach: comprising a number of different real estate services under the same roof. But now Zillow announced the rebranding of its mortgage lending services business, calling it Zillow Home Loans. 

Initially, when Zillow came on the scene in 2012, it was simply a new platform for properties to be listed (and in some cases valuated, though the accuracy of those valuations has never met expectations).

So now property buyers were able to search for homes as well as mortgages through Zillow’s site, and lenders were able to advertise their rates on Zillow’s mortgage marketplace. With the shift in its branding, mortgage companies will be competing with the platform that they are advertising on. This definitely is a disruption in the business model that has been offered for years. This represents a 180-degree shift in the business model of Zillow, which as recently as 2015 defined itself as a media company that provided high-quality leads for real estate pros, not a real estate company. So much for honesty in advertising.

But Zillow isn’t just in the mortgage business now; in 2017, when it announced the launch of “Zillow Instant Offers,” Zillow began offering cash for a seller’s home from selected investors interested in buying it, all within Zillow’s platform. This program then evolved when Zillow began buying and selling homes directly to and from homeowners.

“Getting a mortgage is often the hardest, most complicated part of buying a home. Since our inception, Zillow has been empowering people with information and resources to make smarter real estate decisions, including helping borrowers shop for the best lender and loan for their new home,” said Erin Lantz, vice president and general manager of mortgages at Zillow.

“With Zillow Home Loans we are taking an incredible step forward to deliver an integrated payments platform to complete the financing for Zillow Offers that delivers a more seamless, on-demand real estate experience today’s consumers expect,” Lantz added. “We continue to offer consumers the power of choice to shop for loans directly through Zillow Home Loans or through our popular mortgage marketplace.”

Through this marketing funnel, Zillow allows sellers the ability to accelerate the transaction by having Zillow buy their home and with Zillow also offering other potential buyers access to a mortgage, all on the same property.

This is obviously having a transformational impact upon the real estate model of today and tomorrow. It is very clear that the Amazon model of digital domination and disruption has landed into the front yards of everyone in the real estate business and those owning or buying a home.

The Zillow Footprint
■ Zillow averages approximately 150 million visitors per month.
■ Zillow reported $1.33 billion in revenue in 2018, the majority of which came from its lead generation services to real estate agents and lenders.
■ Zillow is projecting its lead revenue to reach $2 billion by 2023.

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 Cleaning Calls for a Strategy

Believe It or Not
There is a methodology for decluttering and clearing out your house of unwanted or unneeded clutter. Green and White Press Drill on Table

One of the methodologies for accomplishing this is called the KonMari system. The KonMari method is a step-by-step system for decluttering and cleaning out your home, as created by Marie Kondo.

One of the secrets to this method is to organize your decluttering campaign into five distinct categories:
1 Clothing
2 Books
3 Papers
4 Miscellaneous (which includes DVDs, pantry spices, picture frames, sheets)
5 Sentimental items

The clothing category is further broken into sub-sections such as jackets, tops, bottoms, pajamas, handbags, belts, shoes, hats, socks, underwear, jewelry and such.

The book category includes cookbooks, magazines, kids’ books, reference materials, textbooks and phone books (do you still have those????).

The paper category includes coupons, taxes, files, warranties, greeting cards, wrapping paper, checkbooks, lecture notes and such.

The miscellaneous category includes kitchenware that you no longer use, utensils, cups, mugs, picture frames, sheets, tools, pots and pans, yard tools, soaps, makeup, lamps and such.

The sentimental category includes photo albums, journals, diaries, memorabilia, trophies, personal letters.

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/

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