Thinking of Selling in Downtown JC?

With so many folks talking about selling their homes in downtown Jersey City, I decided to share some of my recent experiences with clients preparing to sell.  As I previously reported, homeowners in downtown Jersey City have been among the hardest hit by the property tax revaluation with the annual taxes on many homes more than doubling.  Listings of one and two-family homes increased by 100% and condo listings increased by 71% over the same period last year (Feb-March).

Open House Signs

Preparing to Sell.  Some homeowners initiate costly renovations such as adding a room, or renovating a bathroom or kitchen, in the hope that this will increase their profit when they sell.  However, contractors are charging a premium for even small renovations in hot areas like downtown, which makes the return on that investment less than the cost.

The National Association of Realtors has done a lot of research on this and concluded that most renovations do NOT pay-off.  They feel that the only ones that add more value than they cost are “curb-appeal” projects like new windows, new doors, and new paint, but only if needed. Popular renovations like a kitchen remodel will have an 80% return, bathroom remodel has a 65% return, and master suite has only a 65% return.  Although it may make your home more attractive and sell faster, you won’t get back the money you put into it.

So, what can you do to help ensure that your home will sell quickly and for the best price?  Take a look at some nicely staged homes on Zillow and you will see it is pretty simple.  The best steps are to clean, organize, de-clutter, de-personalize, and re-paint in light neutral tones, if needed.  It is also a good idea to rent a storage unit to remove boxes of clutter and excess furniture. Remove photos, books, posters, pictures and other keepsakes, so surfaces and walls are clear of all personal items.

Selecting an Agent.  Your next step is to select a broker to list and market your property.  According to New Jersey Realtor®, the overwhelming majority of sellers contacted only ONE agent when they were ready to sell.  This statistic is striking when you consider that your home is probably your most valuable asset and even a 1% reduction in commission could save you $10,000 on a $1 million-dollar sale.  Aside from the money, doesn’t it make sense to talk to at least 2 agents before your list, to get their ideas on market value, marketing strategy, and commission?

Select an agent that will aggressively market your home on the internet.  Most buyers will first look online before contacting a real estate agent.  With the advent of Zillow, Facebook, Trulia and other digital marketing platforms, the agent you select must be well-versed in this marketing media.  Professional photography and a high-quality listing video are good places to start.

Select an agent that you feel confident will competitively price your home.  Remember you cannot under price a home but you can over price it.  If you price it just under market value, you will attract offers and the market will determine the value through the bidding process.  However, if you over price the home, it will sit on the market for months and folks will begin to wonder what’s wrong with it.

Letting go.  Selling a home is not just about the numbers.  You’ve lived in your home for years and part of the preparation process is preparing yourself mentally to let go. You will be less emotional if you make a conscious decision to “let go” by saying, this is no longer my home, it is just a house, an asset to be sold.  Picture yourself in your new home and look toward the future!

If you are thinking about selling your home, I hope you’ll consider making me one of the agents you contact.   If you are interested in receiving a free consultation or comparative market analysis, please contact me at

This article was prepared by Thomas Gibbons, a licensed Real Estate Agent at Warren G Curtin Realty.


Photo of Tom Gibbons with Dwell | JC logo