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Posts tagged ‘value’

Dear TZ – What’s our Cranford home worth?

Dear Team Zuhl,

After Hurricane Sandy, the recession, and all this talk about short sales and foreclosures, we don’t have any idea what our Cranford home is worth! Do you know?

~Cranford Clan

Dear Cranford,

Of course we do! Today’s market in Cranford sure is different than it used to be, but the same rules apply.

Call us today for a free comparative market analysis. We’ll look at the other properties in your neighborhood that have sold recently and compare them to yours to get a reasonably good estimate of what your home would sell for in today’s real estate market!

~ Team Zuhl



Free Comparative Market Analysis of your Clark Home

Do you know what your Clark home is worth? We do!



Call  us today for a free Comparative Market Analysis! We’ll compare your home with others like it and can usually estimate within 2% of what your home would sell for in today’s market.



Writing an Offer on a Home

Once you’ve found a home, your agent will help you write an offer.

An offer takes the form of a contract and specifies everything about the conveyance of the property. Then, your agent will present the offer to the listing agent who will present it to the owners.

How Much Should You Offer?

In writing an offer, some buyers are concerned about offering too much. They think that if their offer is accepted, that means they could have offered less and still gotten the house. Other buyers are concerned about making an offer that is too low. They’re afraid that the sellers will be insulted and will refuse to negotiate.

Our advice to you is to make an offer that reflects what the property is worth. The only way to find out what it’s worth is to compare it to other similar properties that have sold in the same neighborhood. Your Realtor will call that a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). For more information on how CMAs are written, please read this article.yellow

What Other Information is in the Offer?

In addition to how much money you’re willing to offer for the home, there are other factorsthat are included in your offer and may impact the seller. One factor is the time frame. Your seller might want to close quickly or slowly to accommodate some event so your offer might be more appealing if you’re offering a flexible closing date. The type of financing you’re securing and the amount of your down payment are also important to your seller. They may feel more secure if your down payment is large or if your loan is a certain type.

You will also be asked to provide a check as earnest money. This is money, usually $1000, that indicates that you really intend to follow through with this contract as it is written if it is accepted by the seller. Of course, if the contract fails to be accepted, you will be refunded that money. If the sale gets to closing, this money will count as part of your down payment.

Then What?

Your agent will present the offer to the sellers. Possibly, they’ll have you write a letter telling the sellers a little about yourself to make the offer more personal. Additionally, your agent may present the offer in person to negotiate on the spot, with your permission.

The seller will either accept the offer as written, make a counter offer, or simply say no. If they accept the offer as written, congratulations! You’re on your way to owning the home you’ve chosen! If they make a counter offer, then your agent will negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a meeting of the minds. If they say no, then you’re back to the drawing board.


Preparing Your Home To Sell

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Here’s how to make sure that your home’s first impression is a great one!

There are 3 factors you need to consider when you list your home for sale:

1. Location – Where your home is located has the biggest impact on how quickly your home will sell and an important first step in selling a home is to study the real estate market conditions in your area. Please contact us for the most recent real estate market reports for your neighborhood or go to Your real estate professional will also help you to compare your home with others like it to see what the market value of your home is. This is called a Comparative Market Analysis.

2. Marketing – Not all real estate professionals are equal. Choose the agent that you trust to do the best job in marketing your home.

3. Condition – Only you can control the condition of your home. Prospective buyers who tour your home and are comfortable in your home will be more likely to buy it. To prepare your home for sale, you’ll want to make sure that all routine maintenance is up to date. Then, remove all clutter as best as you can. Store, sell, or dispose of everything you don’t want to make your home the most appealing to prospective buyers.

The steps you need to take to make sure your home is in an appropriate condition to show at its best, please go to and watch the free video named “Preparing Your Home To Sell.”Image


As always, if there’s anything Team Zuhl can do to help you get your home ready to sell, we’re just a phone call away!

Union Real Estate Market Report

Buyers and sellers in Union, NJ, need to know the market details before they make any decisions. Here’s what you need to know this month about real estate market values in Union.



For an analysis of the data, please click here.

For more information, to browse listings, or to request a Comparative Market Analysis, please click here or call us at 908-917-4189.

What’s my Union County home worth now?

Dear Team Zuhl,

I’m thinking about selling my home, but I’m not sure what it’s worth.  How can I find out?

Pondering Pat


Dear Pat,

The easiest way of finding out what your home is worth, is to contact your REALTOR and ask for a Comparative Market Analyis (CMA).  Many agents, including Team Zuhl, will not charge ANY fee to do a Market Analysis.   An appraiser will charge a fee, usually several hundred dollars, but in many cases the appraiser will provide a more accurate number.

A CMA is only an estimate of the value of the property based on similar properties that have sold within the last 12 months in your town. A CMA is an educated estimate of what the home should sell for on the date the analysis was prepared.

When Team Zuhl does a CMA for a homeowner, the CMA is comprised of 3 different analyses: Tax Analysis, the RPR Sellers Report generated by the National Association of REALTORs and a Comp Analysis. 

The Tax Analysis looks at the assessed value of the subject and comparable properties.  A ratio of assessed value to sale price is generated and averaged for all the properties.  That average is then multiplied by the assessed value of the subject home giving an estimate of the current value of the subject property.


The RPR Sellers Report is generated using data gathered by the National Association of REALTORs, by accessing MLS and other data sources.  It uses historical, market and geographical data and will pull information based on properties sold within a certain radius of the home regardless of town or zip code.  It is similar to the ZEstimate found on, but your REALTOR can adjust several variables to compensate for market activity and condition of the home.

The Comp Analysis is similar to what an appraiser would do, however we only using the data retrieved from the the local MLS and we don’t have access to square footage and other measures. This is a direct comparison between the subject property and sold comps.  Feature differences, lot size and condition are the most important factors taken into account.    

An appraisal will give you a more accurate evaluation of the current market value, as an appraiser will take attributes of different homes and add or subtract value based upon those attributes.  They will also incorporate square footage and price per square foot.  Those values are generally not available to REALTORs.  

While an appraisal is more accurate, we usually arrive at a value within 2% of the appraised value on properties that we list and sell, using the methods described above.  When there are few (2 or less) comparable properties an appraisal will always be the most accurate method of determining value.

So Pat, we hope that helps you with your question.

 – TZ

2013 End of Year Real Estate Market Report for Union County

Union County home buyers and sellers – here is the 2013 year end real estate market report! 

Let’s begin by comparing the average sale price in the various towns of Union County through 2012 and 2013. 


It’s obvious that Westfield has the highest sale price of the county – and has for many years – and Rahway and Linden make up the homes with the lowest sale price. It’s also obvious that there are a wide variety of homes in Union County and there is something for nearly every budget! The middle towns – Springfield, Clark, Cranford, Kenilworth, and Fanwood – have homes that fall in the middle of the pack with average prices in the $330-$430,000 range.


When we combine these two graphs together, however, a new picture emerges.

Here we see 2012 average sale prices in the blue and 2013 sale prices in the orange. Homes on the more expensive end of the spectrum seem to have increased the most and homes on the lower end of the spectrum seem to have increased the least.





Less obvious, however, are the two towns that actually lost market value in 2013 – Kenilworth and Springfield each showed a decrease in average home sale from 2012 to 2013. Are they the best kept secret bargains of Union County? Also less obvious is Scotch Plains – while prices are among the highest in Union County, they increased only a little from 2012 to 2013. Will 2014 be the year that Scotch Plains home values catch up with the other similar towns, or will Scotch Plains remain a more affordable option?

For more information on an individual town, please read the most recent market reports below:

“Let’s just price our home a little higher to leave room for negotiation…..”

“Let’s just price it a little bit higher so there’s room for negotiation,” Mrs. Homeowner said.

“You never know!” Mr. Homeowner agreed.

Mrs. Homeowner nodded. “We can always lower the price later!” 

When I invest my time and my money into marketing a home, I want it to sell. Simply put, I don’t get paid until the keys exchange hands. While the strategy Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner wanted to use is common, it’s also a result of being grossly uninformed.

If you overprice your home, there will be no one to negotiate with. Buyers are educated – they can see, with the click of a mouse, all of the homes available in a neighborhood in their price range. And if your home isn’t at least average in that pile, they won’t even bother to come see it. So if you price your home a little high – even 2 or 3% higher than market value – no one will come to see it and therefore you won’t have any buyers to negotiate with. Homes listed for $500,000 attracts buyers who want a $500,000 home, not buyers who want a $450,000 home. Homes listed for $500,000 also compete with the other homes that are offered for $500,000 – if your home is only worth $450,000, it will not compare well.

If you plan to reduce the price later, you’re reducing the number of potential buyers that will see the home. Trying out a higher price for a few weeks sounds like a great idea, but experienced real estate professionals know that the longer a home sits on the market, the more buyers think there’s “something wrong” and are less likely to make an offer. Take a look at this graph – it’s easy to see that showings decreases pretty dramatically after the first week on the market.


Homes that are listed above market value will eventually sell if the homeowner reduces the asking price. But, the home will sell below the actual market value because of the perception that hte home is unsellable.




Don’t make the mistake of thinking buyers are uneducated. Call us for a free, no obligation Comparative Market Analysis and find out what your home is actually worth!

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