Maplewood Home Sales October 2011

Address List Price Style RM BR TBT Sold Price DOM
103 MIDLAND BLVD $309,000 Colonial 7 3 1.1 $310,000 91
22 E CEDAR LN $375,000 Cape Cod 7 4 1.1 $377,000 15
36 PLYMOUTH AVE $419,000 Colonial 8 4 1.1 $405,000 86
383 ELMWOOD AVE $449,000 Colonial 8 3 2 $422,000 90
11 SAINT LAWRENCE AVE $475,000 Colonial 10 5 1.2 $475,000 36
77 CLAREMONT AVE $499,000 Colonial 8 4 2.1 $520,000 181
30 RIDGEWOOD TER $729,000 Colonial 10 5 3.1 $710,000 20
176-178 WYOMING AVE $777,000 Tudor 13 5 4.2 $750,000 74
454 WALTON RD $895,000 Colonial 12 5 4.1 $850,000 32


Average Days On Market:  67  Average List To Sales Price Ratio:  98%

Average List Price:  $392,711  Average Sales Price:  $563,625

Month # Active Listings Avg. List Price Avg. Sales Price Avg. DOM SP/LP % # Closed Listings
Oct 2011 185 $391,711 $563,625 67 98% 8
Sept 2011 188 $392,761 $452,000 58 96% 23
August 2011 196 $401,797 $501,859 65 97% 35
July 2011 216 $415,493 $460,027 85 95% 22
June 2011 234 $423,032 $484,167 63 98% 33
May 2011 232 $434,998 $499,137 62 97% 27
April 2011 243 $443,171 $559,600 30 99% 10
March 2011 225 $445,688 $568,867 73 98% 15
Feb 2011 177 $420,708 $417,285 75 97% 16
Jan 2011 162 $426,474 $418,213 73 98% 15
Dec 2010 159 $420,726 $417,288 61 94% 17
Nov 2010 196 $437,685 $407,233 101 92% 15
Oct 2010 152 $427,621 $478,708 67 97% 12

This data is taken from the Garden State MLS and is reliable but not guaranteed.













South Orange New Jersey Real Estate Offers Great Selection of Midcentury Homes

Are You Looking For A Midcentury Home Within A 30 minute Commute Of Manhattan?

Look no further than South Orange New Jersey Homes.  The Newstead section of South Orange offers a wide selection of midcentury houses.  This style of  home has made a huge comeback within the last 10 years as people move towards the desire for an easier life style.  The one level, open floor plan of these homes offer just that, and are becoming hugely popular.  These homes offer great flow and abundant space; great for entertaining.  I have a new listing in the Newstead section of South Orange that is perfect for the person looking for a Midcentury home.  This sprawling custom brick contemporary home offers 4 bedrooms, 3.1 baths, nestled amongst mature landscaping with a custom inground pool and spacious patio.  An additional In-law suite with a full bath is located in a separate wing on the opposite side of the house.  This home is a true entertainer’s dream home, offering value, space and privacy.

More more information on South Orange Real Estate in New Jersey and Midcentury Homes, contact Barbara Lawrence or visit


Want To Sell Your Maplewood, NJ Home Quickly?

Pricing is King in today’s Buyer’s market.    At the height of the market in Spring of ’05, just about any house would sell within a week, no matter what the condition, and often in multiple bids.  A good offer today is one close to the asking price and under contract within 30 days.  Right now, Buyers are in the driver’s  seat.  They want the best for the least amount of money.   In a market where the supply is greater than the demand, it’s crucial to create urgency and give Buyers a reason to make an offer right away.   I advise Sellers to be the best-looking house AND the least expensive.   In a recent NY Times blog, I discuss the story of a fantastic house that didn’t sell because it was priced too high to begin with.

Sellers that price their homes too high run the risk of pricing themselves out of the market.   When their properties don’t sell they reduce them, but then often it’s too late and they end up trying to chase the market.  As prices in Maplewood and South Orange have declined on average about 1% a month, the reductions are often not enough.  The good news is that the Maplewood real estate market is still thriving, and Sellers who price their homes correctly from the outset are reaping the benefits.




Has The Maplewood and South Orange New Jersey Real Estate Market Finally Reached The Bottom?

I’m very excited to share the news I learned last week at Jeff Otteau’s Real Estate Workshop.  If you’re not familiar with Jeff, he is renowned for being the most eminent authority on New Jersey Real estate trends.  His appraisal group has been studying the New Jersey real estate market for 30 years.

According to Jeff, Maplewood/South Orange Home Sales and other areas of New Jersey stabilized this past June, which more than likely means we’ve finally hit the bottom!  It looks like we’re in a recovery market right now. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a New Jersey Home or selling your existing Maplewood or South Orange Home and buying a bigger house, you have about a six-month window to purchase at a great price with excellent interest rates.

As we all know, the government has been falsely keeping the interest rates down – but this can only continue for so long.   By next year, rates will be up about a point.  And while “one percent” doesn’t sound like a lot, it translates to a buyer losing 10% of their purchasing power!  So the $500,000 home you can afford today will translate to only 450k affordability next year.  By 2011, we’ll probably be seeing interest rates escalate up to 7%.

Jeff predicted last week that the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit set to expire would be extended.  Well, he was right.  The Obama Administration announced on October 29th that the credit would be extended until April 30th with an expansion to include higher-income and current home owners.  The new plan will offer a $6,500 credit to people who have lived in their current homes for at least 5 years.  Couples earning up to $225,000 and individuals up to $125,000 would qualify for the break.  That’s up from the current $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples.  We’ll probably see a surge in the upcoming Spring market as more people feel confident buying and the interest rates stay down.

So, if you’re looking for a Maplewood Home or South Orange Home, do it now and with confidence!





Tax Appeal In Effect For Maplewood New Jersey Homes


As you may have heard, Maplewood Township has just begun the town-wide property tax assessment. This will be completed by the end of the year and will take effect in 2011. Similar to the South Orange home assessment a few years ago, with homes selling for roughly 25% below ’05 prices, assessed values have come down significantly.  While its not certain whether the revaluation will cause your taxes to be reduced signifcantly, it may be worth filing an appeal this year.  When determining taxes, the town allows for 15% above and below the assessed value, which they refer to as “corridors”. So for your taxes to be reduced, you need to fall below the low range of the corridor.

To find out if your home will likely win an appeal, you’ll need to know what the minimum or low range market value is for your home. If your home sold for less than the low range market value, it is definitely worth filing an appeal. You can do that by following this basic formula:

Take the current assessed value of your home and divide that figure by .6011 [this number represents the tax ratio (.5227) multiplied by 1.15].

As an example: A Maplewood Home closed in ’09 for $605,000. The current assessed value of that home was $577,800. The taxes were $26,925. $577,800 divided by .6011 = 961,238. This number represents the lowest value of a home that would justify the current taxes of $26,000. Since the house sold for 605,000, the range is far below the low range value of $961,238. The appeal on this home was successful and these taxes have come down significantly.

If after applying this formula you think you qualify for an appeal, you will need to submit your application before April 1st. To download an application, go to: With your application, you will need to include five “comparables” of recent Maplewood Home Sales within the price range of your home. 
Some good news – if you win the appeal this year, your new taxes will be retroactive from January 1st! I’ve seen many homeowners have their taxes lowered already this past year, so it’s definitely worth the effort!

If you need help determining the current assessed value and/or obtaining comparables, contact me. I’m always here to help!



Afraid To Buy Or Sell A Home In A Short Sale? It Just Got Easier!

We’ve been seeing more and more short sales these days in the Maplewood and South Orange real estate markets. For those of you who are not familiar with what a short sale is, it’s simply this:  the owner owes more to the bank on their mortgage than the market will bear on their house.  So if they want to sell their home, it becomes a negotiation with the bank to take a “short” – accept less as a payoff than what they owe.

The short-sale process can be excruciating for both Buyers and Sellers!  I myself had a short sale listing for over a year.  This particular home had 3 liens against it with three different banks.  It finally sold, but more than 4 sets of buyers dropped out because they got tired of waiting for an approval from the banks.  The Sellers got equally frustrated having to wait and produce endless documentation to the lender.

Buyers and Sellers, however, don’t be discouraged.  There’s good news!  As of  April of this year, the federal government has standardized short sales, as a part of their new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative Program, known as HAFA, a supplement to President Obama’s Making Home Affordable Modification Program launched in early 2009. The concept behind it is that lenders are now making an effort to help borrowers who can’t afford to stay in their homes,  keep them from going into foreclosure by establishing a pre-approval short sale process.

These new guidelines include standardized forms, procedures and timelines, and they also allow Sellers to receive pre-approved short sale terms prior to the property listing.  This could save Buyers months of agonizing and waiting to see if their offer will even be accepted.  The program also relieves Sellers from being liable for any future debt.  In addition, it enables the pre-approval process to begin once the home is put on the market, but before an offer comes in.  Up until now, banks wouldn’t even look at any short sale packages until there was an offer on the home.

To date, the drop out rate for short sales has been as high as 70%, according to the Senior Vice President of Bank of America’s Home Loans department.  Now, his hope is that that number will drop to between 10-15%.

Most of the big lenders are participating in the HAFA program, but it is voluntary.  If you’re considering purchasing a Maplewood or South Orange home in short sale,  find out if the bank  handling the short sale has opted in to the Making Home Affordable Modification Program.

This is good news all around for both Buyers and Sellers, making short sales definitely worth the effort of pursuing.