Well, 2020 has been a long and winding road to say the least. No one in January could have predicted the real estate roller coaster that was this year. Despite the horrific tragedies of the pandemic, there has been a silver lining in some areas in real estate. Particularly – the burbs!
As a real estate appraiser covering northern and central NJ, the year started off stronger than normal. This was primarily due to the low interest rates. Refinancing was in full swing and things were moving along nicely.
Then in mid-February, when the spring market really started to gain momentum, the entire buying and selling arena paused. The next two months represented the height of the Covid-19 intensity. During this time the mortgage rates dropped again and demand for refinancing increased.
Many appraisals turned into desktop orders, meaning no physical inspection was necessary. In these cases, the lenders allowed for virtual inspections, meaning the homeowner would FaceTime with me and walk around the house while I observed the quality, condition, floorplan, and room count.
By mid May, things became a little more under control regarding the pandemic and the floodgates opened in the real estate market. So what normally was a busy spring and summer market, then became a busy summer and fall market. The difference was, not only was there built up demand to move to the suburbs within the residents of NJ, especially in congested areas like Hoboken and Jersey City, but there was a mass exodus of people who lived in New York City that wanted out.
With inventory low and demand high, this caused extreme bidding wars on many properties. Even in areas that were typically not as desirable, I appraised properties that were $50,000 over list price. In some higher end markets, I saw properties going $200,000 and more above list price.
The problem appraisers face when the market moves at such a ferocious pace, is that the sales to support these high values is not there…..yet. This makes supporting these new high and often emotionally driven value bids challenging. It wasn’t until the August/September time that there were enough closed sales that it provided quality support for the market’s appreciation.
Even through to Thanksgiving, the market showed high demand with properties still going over list price. Some homeowners or realtors caught on and started to list high, and that’s when I saw properties sit on the market. Just like any market, when properties are priced correctly, they tend to sell quickly. Knowing the value of the home is a key component to listing it properly.
As you can see in the beginning of the year, the median list price was $499,000 and the sale price was $487,000. By the end of the year the median list price was $530,000 and list price was $540,000. This is an increase of 8% which makes sense as I’ve done studies of other towns that I’ve appraised in and the average range is right in the 7-9% mark. Also look at the list price to sale price ratio. In the beginning of the year, properties were selling at 98% of the list price. In the summer and fall, on average they were selling at 100%.
As an appraiser since 2002, I’ve seen the cycles of the real estate landscape. Not since 2005, have we seen a market as hot as the one in 2020. For an accurate fair market valuation of the home you own or one that you are potentially buying, please give us a call at 908-233-1337.
Evan from American Realty Appraisals came out to our home last spring to conduct a home appraisal in support of our property tax appeal. He arrived promptly at the agreed time, was very professional and conducted a thorough walk through. We were very satisfied with the results of his appraisal - they were well-researched and accurately captured the features of the home. His appraisal proved to be a crucial element in a very successful tax appeal. I would gladly recommend his services to others.
I was extremely pleased in my experience with American Realty Appraisals. Evan was very knowledgeable and was happy to answer any questions I had. His appraisal was useful in our being able to successfully appeal our taxes. It was worth every penny. He also shared some suggestions on how to shore up insulation efficiency around the house. 5 Star service. thanks!
Evan was extremely helpful in our obtaining a favorable result from our tax appeal and I highly recommend his services
If you want the Do's and Dont's. I would say DO use Evan. It was a very smooth and easy process. He worked around my schedule. His turnaround time was very impressive. Price: He was in line with the other quotes I received. And you DON'T need to worry. I will recommend him and use him again
Prepared the documents to submit for a tax appeal and accompanied me to the tax appeal hearing to present my case. I have used American Realty Appraisals twice and have won my tax appeal each time.
I was appealing my real estate taxes and American Reality did an appraisal on my home. The appraisal went well and as a result the tax appeal was successful and our real estate taxes were lowered.
I was ignoring go through Tax appeal process because I thought it was so cumbersome with very little chance of winning. In this process, I used Evan for a tax appeal. Not only we won but it was very easy and simple process between him and the lawyer. I highly recommend to use Evan, he knows what he is doing!
The tax appeal through you and Lisa Walsh was successful, and you may use me as a reference any time in the future
Evan was great. He was instrumental in helping me to appropriately lower my taxes via an accurate appraisal. I highly recommend his services to anyone in need of an appraisal in NJ.
When the interest rates dropped last year, I decided that it was a good idea to refinance my mortgage. I was recommended to American Realty Appraisals by my mortgage company. They were affordable, expedient, and ultimately put together a very comprehensive report with figures, photos, and local comps. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a professional and honest appraisal company.
Evan and his team at American Realty Appraisals are simply the best at what they do. As a mortgage banking professional, I have worked with dozens of appraisal firms over the years and I continually return to American Realty Appraisals when I can for their expert advice and service. I would highly recommend them if you are an individual looking to have your home appraised, or a banker looking to add a high quality appraisal firm to your list of approved appraisers.
Before I went to list my home, I hired Evan at American Realty Appraisals. I wanted an unbiased opinion of what my home was worth. He provided a thorough report that gave me piece of mind and a leg to stand on when it comes time to negotiate. I was also pleased with how fast he turned the report around after the inspection.
I am an attorney in Westfield and I refer all of my clients to American Realty Appraisals. I have worked closely with Evan Siegel for the past two years and I have been impressed with his professionalism, integrity and expertise as an appraiser. Relying on his appraisals, I have been able to negotiate property tax reductions for numerous clients in Union County. I highly recommend American Realty Appraisals for all of your residential real estate appraisal needs.
ARA did a great job of handling my tax appeal. The guidance was spot on and the staff, specifically, Evan Siegel, was professional and knowledgeable. The outcome was excellent and I'm saving a good amount of money on my real estate taxes. Thanks ARA!!
I used Evan for a tax appeal project. It was a seamless operation between him and the lawyer. Zero blips, and we won.
Mr. Siegel performed an appraisal for my home for tax appeal purposes. He was very professional and helped me lower my taxes by 17%. I am quite satisfied with his work.
Highly recommend. Excellent service, professional, prompt. Great result