Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lowball! 8/22 - 9/3 (Essex and Morris)

Welcome to another edition of Lowball!

Lowball! takes a look at home sales from a different perspective. For those new to Lowball!, a lowball offer is when a buyer offers a significantly lower bid than asking in hopes that the seller accepts the offer. We take a list of home sales from the past month and pick out the sales that have the highest percentage difference between list price and selling price.

The purpose of Lowball! is to show buyers that the market has changed and buyers now have considerably more leverage than sellers. Just a short time ago, Lowball! offers would have been laughed at and discarded, however, not any more. The fact that so many under-asking offers are being accepted is clear proof that the market is changing.The list does not contain all sales, I hand-pick the most interesting sales from the list. These listings might be the highest dollar drops, biggest percentage reductions, or sales in towns that are thought to still be 'hot'. Please note, even with double digit percentage reductions, these homes are still incredibly overpriced.

Here are the lowball sales for Essex and Morris Counties from 8/22 through 9/2:

MLS #TownOriginal ListList PriceSale Price% Off OLP% Off LP
2256064South Orange$419,000$329,000$315,00024.8%4.3%
2259008West Orange$1,650,000$1,299,000$1,250,00024.2%3.8%
2276200North Caldwell$950,000$799,000$780,00017.9%2.4%
2205447Cedar Grove$1,499,000$1,399,000$1,250,00016.6%10.7%
2275929Ciry Of Orange$299,000$259,000$250,00016.4%3.5%
2260030East Orange$399,900$349,000$339,00015.2%2.9%
2242960West Orange$499,000$459,900$425,00014.8%7.6%
2280617West Caldwell$715,000$648,000$617,50013.6%4.7%
2248270West Orange$399,900$359,900$350,00012.5%2.8%
2256178West Orange$489,000$449,000$429,00012.3%4.5%
2271546Glen Ridge$599,000$569,000$530,00011.5%6.9%
2273497North Caldwell$1,095,000$1,095,000$975,00011.0%11.0%
2277164Glen Ridge$649,000$579,000$579,00010.8%0.0%
2264981South Orange$949,900$899,900$850,00010.5%5.5%
2281870West Orange$519,000$465,000$465,00010.4%0.0%
2256797East Orange$249,900$249,900$225,00010.0%10.0%


MLS #TownOriginal ListList PriceSale Price% Off OLP% Off LP
2252531Mountain Lakes$2,099,000$1,699,000$1,625,00022.6%4.4%
2246110Mount Olive$465,000$399,999$399,00014.2%0.2%
2280059Mount Olive$335,000$299,900$290,00013.4%3.3%
2273187Florham Park$769,900$699,900$675,00012.3%3.6%
2249362Florham Park$565,000$545,900$500,00011.5%8.4%
2277795Morris Plains$439,900$399,900$390,00011.3%2.5%
2220084Parsippany-Troy Hills$329,900$329,900$293,40011.1%11.1%
2300701Mountain Lakes$594,500$594,500$530,00010.8%10.8%
2230668Florham Park$1,250,000$1,199,000$1,125,00010.0%6.2%

Caveat Emptor!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Please note, even with double digit percentage reductions, these homes are still incredibly overpriced."

9/03/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to the previous post. I sold my house early last year and am thinking of lowballing. But some sellers are asking way too much that even a 20% discount over the asking price is still an inflated value. Buyers need to be cautious as 10% off the asking price doesn't have to be a good deal.

9/03/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger wfmukerm said...

Would it be too much to ask that closing dates be added to the table/info.? I am greatful for the data - as has been said before "you spoil us"

9/03/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

For the first time, today a house was re-listed using the old MLS #. Guess that Star Ledger (?) article from last week hit home, at least for some realrors.

MLS 2270662
Days on Market: 131
OLP: $2,895,000
CLP: $2,895,000 (no change)

This house was withdrawn on August 17th, and re-listed today.

9/03/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Sorry about the closing dates, they made the table too wide to fit.


9/03/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick C said...

I have spent a little time in Jersey and have no idea why anyone would want to pay $1 million to live there.

It is got to be the most generic and depressing place I have seen - outside of maybe the southern Detroit suburbs. And I've only been to the "nicer" areas.

9/03/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous michelle said...

nick c -

As someone who has visited 20 countries, 28 states, and has also lived for extended periods of time in France, New York, and California, I'd like to say that your statement is utterly ridiculous.

You are entitled to your two cents, and that's exactly what it's worth, but I doubt that you have experienced the best NJ has to offer. From where do you get your information on which areas are the "nicer" ones? Clearly your "little" time here was not well spent.

I moved BACK to NJ after spending time all over the country and world, and while the state sure has its problems (which state doesn't?) I find that it's still got loads to offer and is a great place to be. I find those who dislike NJ tend to be those who have experienced very little of the world and have a "grass is greener" attitude without having ever been on the other side of the fence.

9/03/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...


Don't mind nick c. He's just jealous that the Holmdel DM concert was one of the top 5 of the tour.

Commerce Center Stadium 18
North Brunswick, NJ

9/03/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick C said...

I have dual Italian/American citizenship but grew up in the U.S. I currently live in the Cayman Islands currently but also have spent time in Europe and South America both for work and experience - I can give you a list of places if you are interested.

My time in NJ was spent in North Caldwell on one trip, Clifton on another and Montawk (sp?) the last time. I agree that I haven't been to every city in Jersey.

The problem is that it is all just generic suburbs and highways. There is no culture or feel for community. No place to walk around and feel like you are alive. You have to drive everywhere - really depressing.

I did think that Hoboken (where we hung out after work) was really cool. If I had to live in Jersey for some reason, no question that it would be in Hoboken. But still not worth paying $1 million for - if I was going to shell out that type of cash, I would live in Manhatten.

btw/ Went out on the Jersey shore one night (too drunk to remember where) and it was fun due to alcohol and friends but really trashy (girls with mall hair, guys with Trans-ams trying to act really tough, just the works. It reminded me of going out on Detroit's east side. Any Detroiters out there would know what I was talking about.

9/03/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

FWIW, when I sold my home 13 months ago, I took 11% less than my starting price and was happy to get it and get out (and begin renting). An earlier offer, that I considered at the time to be a lowball, was 17% off -- back when prices were at their peak and numbers of listings were low. If I were selling the same place today, I'd take that 17% cut in a blink, because the market has turned so sharply and there now are a ton of competing properties for sale.

9/03/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


current count - 32300. The number has jumped almost 800 from two nights back.

9/03/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also missed the DM show at Holmdel but did see them at Jones Beach. :)

9/03/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous michelle said...

CF - I heard about that!!! Strange list of venues for the premiere...I have to go to Rutgers one day this month anyway so I just may have to schedule that trip for that night...

Nick C, your experience with our state sounds limited. Next time take a stroll around Red Bank, Morristown, Summit, Cape May, Lambertville, Princeton, or any one of a host of other places. There are many fine spots that are not overgrown with strip malls and parking lots.

Montauk is in NY, by the by.

I'm one of those people who paid (almost) $1M to live here, and I feel that it was money well spent to have a fab non-cookie-cutter house on three wooded acres only a 45 minute drive (or 1 hour train ride) to NYC and its vast array of amenities. It's a really diverse state and its proximity to other places is unparalleled. I hope you get to see more of it in a more favorable light sometime in the future.

Oh, and I doubt the guys down the shore had trans-ams. I'd bet good money they were actually driving Camaros.

9/03/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick C said...


I asked my friend, he said I was in Montclaire, not Montauk. Its all the same to me - but seriously, my bad.

re: Trans-Am vs. Camero, it was a few years ago and like I said, I had a few too many. So its a toss-up :)

I would probably like Princeton; Ann Arbor (I went to U of Michigan) is by far my favorite city in Michigan. Probably the only place I would choose to live if I went back home.

Sounds like you have a nice place - I do admit that land itself (3 acres) is a better investment than some Toll Bros shack.

Still doubt that I would pay $1 million, but I guess that's what makes a market.

btw/ don't talk too soon about the strip malls and large surface parking lots not being in your area. If Jersey continues to go the way of Detroit (its nicer and richer, but still the same idea), it will spread to your area too.

9/03/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick, why come onto a New Jersey blog and say you dislike NJ? You are either very bored or very stupid (or some combination thereof). Either way, thanks in advance for not posting here anymore. You bring nothing constructive or worthwhile to the discussion. Cheers.


9/03/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger InvestorDavid said...

I lived in London, Munich, Sydney as well as New Orleans, Houston, LA and SF (I am not talking about the places I have traveled).

If I have to choose, I would still live in Bergen County -- good school system, close proximity to Manhattan and very low crime rate.

There are problems in Bergen County and NJ but I still love here.

9/03/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anybody know how to find out how much one of my "Tell Them How Much You Would Pay" picks sold for?

I think it was MLS 3 2681471
but not sure, I lost it-the page is gone.

9/03/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Skeptic said...


"$1M for fab non-cookie-cutter house on three wooded acres only a 45 minute drive (or 1 hour train ride) to NYC" sounds like my neck of woods :) Do you live in Chester/Mendham/Randolph?

9/03/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Skeptic said...

"Please note, even with double digit percentage reductions, these homes are still incredibly overpriced."

Grim, how do you know if a house is overpriced or not? How do you calculate the "correct" price?

9/03/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Anonymous michelle said...

Skeptic - Very close! We're in Morris Township on the Mendham side.

Nick, my immediate area is all 3 acre zoning and while there are strip malls in the vicinity, there is also Morristown which is centrered around the Green, a park with streets radiating from it that have numerous shops and restaurants. It ain't perfect but it's an enjoyable place to walk around, just like many other towns in NJ.

I can understand how you may have a negative view of NJ given where you've been (I don't particulary love any of the 3 towns you mentioned) it's totally unfair to slam our whole state given your limited experience...and Jersey girls don't take kindly to people tawkin' shi!t about our state!

9/03/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who just bought at about 10% off asking and 20% down I have to admit that this blog did scare me. But here's why, after a bit of math, I think that, buying makes a lot of financial sense compared to renting.

The simple reason is that buying is basically a forced savings program, subsidized in the form of interest payments being tax-deductible. In my case, after taxes, and deductible interest - the rest is principal, which I basically pay to myself, in the form of equity.

This compares quite favorably to the almost $3000 I used to pay in rent (for a smaller and much shittier apartment), even if 10 years later(which is how long we plan on staying) I sold our house at the very same price I had bought it. This is precisely why rising rents matter a lot in the equation.

For me, the worst case scenario, would be if some unforseen circumstance forced us to sell prematurely, in that case I may well have to eat a 20% loss.

I guess I have to balance this potential scenario against the savings I will get from not paying 3000 in rent and no landlord who keeps rising my rent every year.

Compared to other cities, NYC is a city of renters, not homeowners. Yet, many people want the security of stable mortgage payments compared to renting, not to mention at least the possibility of building equity, even if prices stay flat. Yes, I could put the $500/month that I am paying extra over renting into the stock market, but the stock market is much more volatile than the housing market, and I am already tied to the whims of the stock market thanks to my 401k, so investing in my own house has another big advantage: diversification and spreading my risk.

Just my 2cents. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one to whom this logic applies - many others like me are still renting, and many are probably saving for a downpayment right now, just like I did, for many years. \

9/03/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, maybe it's not about incomes then.

1) There is a greatest transfer of wealth from the boomers. Maybe people get (several?) 100k as "house" wedding gifts from their parents.

2) Many 914 people live home (or with roommates) until age 30ish. Most people in the new generation have 6-fig bank accounts

3) and 6-fig salaries.

4) Add dual income,

and house prices are not a big deal.

$100k from guy's parents.
$100k from gal's parents.
$50k wedding profit
$100k saved by the guy.
$100k saved by the gal.
$50k profit from gal's apt.
$50k profit from guy's apt.

Please. That's $550k CASH right there, for an AVERAGE couple...

Oh, and even a $75k salary can get $200k mortgage. So, that's ANOTHER $400k in buying power.

That's $950k avail. to plow into a house....for a typical $75k couple

9/04/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$100k from guy's parents.
$100k from gal's parents.
$50k wedding profit
$100k saved by the guy.
$100k saved by the gal.
$50k profit from gal's apt.
$50k profit from guy's apt.

Please. That's $550k CASH right there, for an AVERAGE couple..."

Average? Where? I have to move there!

9/04/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

I think those numbers are a tad optimistic..


9/04/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Very few elite have the advantages you listed as conservative.

When I think about all the people around the country reading that list, it's pretty funny.

In reality, I've been to at least 10 weddings in the past five years, and not one of them got 50k in profit. Most spent more than they received in gifts and not one of them had $200k in savings.

This must surely be a NYC phenomenon if it is a common thing to you.


9/04/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

i tend to agree with nick c. NJ has little to offer in the way of culture and lifestyle diversity. it's mostly suburbs where you pile into your mini van and go to this or that mall or store. it's quite non-descript when you think about it. sure it has some special places like cape may but that doesn't make up the majority of the state. if you come from europe or any one of the major world cities NJ is quite boring IMO.

9/04/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

investordavid, you lived in sydney and would still choose bergen county? think it's time for your meds.

9/04/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

$100k from guy's parents.
$100k from gal's parents.
$50k wedding profit
$100k saved by the guy.
$100k saved by the gal.
$50k profit from gal's apt.
$50k profit from guy's apt.

Please. That's $550k CASH right there, for an AVERAGE couple..."

you are on crack, my friend.

I've been to about 20 weddings in the last 3 yrs and your description fits nobody I know. You've been reading the NY Times wedding section too much, I think.

9/04/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous reinvestor101 said...

Nick, why come onto a New Jersey blog and say you dislike NJ?

You guys kill me. Here's a guy who comes here and shares his honest opinion but gets beat up about it, yet many folks here are constantly complaining about how they hate NJ and are giddily awaiting financial misery to befall their fellow New Jerseyans. How many times has Bob been on here posting about money grubbing homeowners? Was he talking about homeowners in some other state? How many times have Unrealtor and Pat clapped their hands at flippers that they think have been caught? Were these flippers in some other state?

Give me a break

9/04/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger InvestorDavid said...


I thought about retiring in Sydney or Auckland and still thinking about that.

But those are not a good place to raise family since education is not considered important in Australia. But they do enjoy their lives.

9/04/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Please. That's $550k CASH right there, for an AVERAGE couple..."

Average couple - no

Are they out there? yes

Are they outbidding people for nice places? yes

Are they affecting the market on the margin? yes

Do they appreciate how easy they have it? generally - no, but some do

Do you have to learn to live with it? yes

Should you care? no, unless one of these operators outbid you for a home

Ultimate effect on your life? in theory - zero, unless you let it eat you alive


9/04/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$100k from guy's parents.
$100k from gal's parents.
$50k wedding profit
$100k saved by the guy.
$100k saved by the gal.
$50k profit from gal's apt.
$50k profit from guy's apt.

Please. That's $550k CASH right there, for an AVERAGE couple..."

you are on crack, my friend.

I've been to about 20 weddings in the last 3 yrs and your description fits nobody I know. You've been reading the NY Times wedding section too much, I think.}}}

No, its completely average and those figures are DOUBLE for the average Manhattan couple.

In Manhattan, I know of no couple with kids making less than $500,000 combined. You see many of them on the upper east & west sides and they move out to North Jersey when they need more space...

Check out how much space you get in Manhattan for less than a million.. Not much at all.

There is a TON of money in the 'other 4 boros' and suburbs of NYC especially Queens & Brooklyn and out on Nassau County as well. It seems like everyone is pulling down at least a quarter of a million every year and that is OUTSIDE Manhattan.

Nassau County is the second richest county after Bergen County by the way. You can't even find an apartment on Long Island for less than $2,000 a month. I doubt they are much cheaper across the Hudson.

Basically the attitude is that you either earn six figures and have that six figure bank account or you get the f**ck out of town.

9/04/2006 11:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NJ & Long Island are so divided by class these days that it is astounding.

People who 'love it here' are all making well in the six figures, own 2000 or 3000 square foot homes, have multiple cars, and spend a few grand in Manhattan every weekend.

Those who are making less than $200,000 a year stuggle here to get by. What is the point of staying in NJ or NYC if you can't afford the attractions or too poor to fit in??

If you aren't rich neither NJ or NYC is for you. One is judged by other solely by their income, what they are wearing & what they are driving

9/04/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$100k from guy's parents.
$100k from gal's parents.
$50k wedding profit
$100k saved by the guy.
$100k saved by the gal.
$50k profit from gal's apt.
$50k profit from guy's apt.

Please. That's $550k CASH right there, for an AVERAGE couple..."

You know what I have loved about this post??? the first word : CONSERVATIVELY....

Such a bullshit.
As far As NJ - it is an armpit of the united states when it comes to quality of life... I have lived in the west al my love and now I moved to NJ because first job out of the college is hard to come by in my degree - chemistry. I have lives here for 6 month so far, during the best seasons spring/summer.

Its sucks - it'd take 20k/year reduction in salary just to move back to the west - rent/hose prices/foreighners ass%$^&^%, crazy drivers/traffic/idiotic taxed/(state/local employees with high school diploma getting fatter paychecks that me - PhD) = I suffer everyday when I realize that I have made huge mistake accepting that job offer...

9/05/2006 12:53:00 PM  

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