• Here’s the deal: Realtor.com says median home prices are up to $225,000, with the hottest markets right now in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Santa Rosa and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.; and Denver. One measure of a hot market

    “Sellers in the hotter markets are seeing listings move between 29 and 49 days more quickly than in the rest of the country, and at an accelerating pace from just last month — an average of five days faster,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com. “These markets are especially attractive to buyers … listings are viewed two to three times more often than the national average.”

    If you’re looking to jump into the market, be prepared, and don’t focus on cutting the perfect deal as much as on a realistic deal that gets you a home you love.

    “Buying at a lower price might be the wrong thought process in this market,” says Edward Kaminsky, president of Kaminsky Real Estate Group in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “Information moves so rapidly through Internet sites that the chances of getting a bargain have long gone away. The bigger concern is where will prices be and where will interest rates be in six months, one year or two years.”

    Kaminsky offers a blueprint for buyers before they start looking for a new house:

    • Know your budget.

    • Shop within your budget.

    • Adjust your expectations if the market has passed you.

    • Make educated offers, and find out as much as you can before writing the offer. See if there are offers on the home you want, and if they are over the asking price.

    • Consider increasing your down payment to get your loan.

    Another big part of the preparation process is getting pre-approved, says Casey Fleming, a mortgage advisor at San Jose, Calif.-based C2 Financial and author of the blog LoanGuide.com. “To get the best deal in a competitive market, make sure you get pre-approved,” he says.

    But what many real estate agents won’t say is that your pre-approval must be credible, Fleming says. “Buyers should remember the highest bid is not necessarily the best bid,” he says. “The bid most likely to close is the best bid. If the mortgage advisor is experienced and knowledgeable, and works for a lender that is credible, the buyer has a good chance of having their offer accepted even if the offer is lower than others.”

    One good reason to buy now, even if prices are up and the inventory situation is sketchy, is that interest rates remain reasonable (at 3.79% for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan, according to BankingMyWay.com.) “Buyers should be taking advantage of the low rates and locking in a fixed low rate for 30 years,” says Craig McCullough, a Washington, D.C., realtor. “Even if prices were going to stay the same, rates are predicted to increase over the next year or so.”

    “Half a point of interest in not an unlikely rise, and depending on sales price, it can mean several hundreds of dollars a month to a buyer,” he adds. “Add in the likely rise in sales prices, and tardy buyers could face a double-whammy on both sales price and interest rate.”

Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Bernards Twp. 61  Baldwin Ct $164,277 $164,277 14
344  Potomac Dr $199,800 $193,500 40
120  Countryside Dr $203,000 $203,000 62
121  Smithfield Ct $219,000 $204,000 105
411  Penns Way $223,000 $205,000 65
34  Alexandria Way $239,900 $235,000 31
235  English Pl $243,000 $243,000 1
147  Woodward Ln $259,000 $259,000 30
230  English Pl $268,000 $268,000 27
150  Alexandria Way $294,900 $287,000 29
45  Smithfield Ct $298,000 $288,000 184
14  Woodward Ln $327,900 $316,000 134
149  Village Dr $369,900 $365,000 11
23  Cannon Ct $400,000 $408,000 6
71  Woodstone Rd $499,000 $495,000 16
30  Fairbanks Ln $514,900 $514,900 49
70  Lurline Dr $600,000 $595,000 14
38  Oak Ridge Rd $629,000 $630,000 32
41  Lake Rd $779,000 $745,000 213
19  Darren Dr $799,000 $865,000 23
10  Honeyman Rd $811,000 $836,000 76
40  Canter Dr $825,000 $826,000 7
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Bedminster Twp. 14  Ray Ct $259,000 $252,500 189
36  Fieldstone Rd $279,000 $279,000 15
63  Wescott Rd $289,999 $280,000 163
69  Academy Ct $305,000 $297,500 27
31  Pheasant Brook Ct $325,000 $315,000 38
49  Four Oaks Rd $425,000 $420,000 14
29  Stone Run Rd $447,000 $437,000 37
118  Westview Ln $499,999 $490,000 135
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Bernardsville Boro 1  South St $279,000 $240,000 86
12  SUNNYBROOK RD $389,000 $401,000 8
37  Old Fort Rd $615,000 $595,000 17
90  Roundtop Rd $879,000 $866,000 44
331  Claremont Rd $1,095,000 $899,175 118
151  Peachcroft Dr $1,195,000 $1,065,000 133
46  Mendham Rd $1,249,000 $1,265,000 173
116-1  DRYDEN RD $1,495,000 $1,350,000 36
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Bridgewater Twp. 622  Stratford Pl $75,000 $75,000 287
3  Columbia Dr Unit 4A $135,000 $125,000 41
466  Union Ave $152,900 $152,900 8
47  Morgan Ln, 1B $157,000 $151,000 351
316  Stratford Pl $195,316 $194,000 53
3007  Vroom Dr $215,000 $225,000 18
309  Strull Ct $225,000 $220,000 275
723  Kline Pl $239,900 $240,000 190
3105  Vroom Dr $249,900 $232,000 7
115  Chelsea Way $259,000 $245,000 21
716  Kline Pl $259,999 $257,000 201
128  Oak St $264,900 $245,000 119
546  N Bridge St $274,546 $265,000 87
3708  Vroom Dr $289,000 $277,500 20
1049  Hoffman Rd $295,000 $260,000 179
194  Crestview Rd $299,500 $295,000 123
461  Victoria Dr $309,900 $304,000 13
62  Stryker Ct $337,500 $325,000 8
4804  Patterson St $375,000 $365,000 41
207  Riverview Rd $379,000 $380,000 175
671  Foothill Rd $379,000 $400,000 6
317  Adamsville Rd $435,000 $424,500 49
1303  Pinhorn Dr $439,900 $429,500 15
810  Garfield Ave $449,000 $441,000 55
8  Glen Rd $449,900 $412,000 5
3001  Johnson Cir $459,000 $450,000 14
243  Dutch Farm Rd $469,000 $449,500 81
32  Stella Drive $479,900 $475,000 29
16  Northern Dr $489,000 $440,000 3
795  Star View Way $489,750 $492,500 30
695  Talamini Rd $499,000 $490,000 153
22  Stapleton Ct $535,900 $533,000 11
3  Wimple Way $589,000 $590,000 9
818  Dow Rd $599,000 $525,000 78
114  Oak St $599,900 $582,500 171
5  Fairway Ct $649,900 $610,000 143
820  Partridge Dr $650,000 $580,000 145
29  Kiser Ln $695,000 $683,500 83
3  Harrison Court $788,800 $748,000 92
4  Drysdale Ln $789,000 $780,000 314
679  Thompson Ave $800,000 $575,000 85
54  Stone Gate $915,000 $850,000 204
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Far Hills Boro 71  Peapack Rd $399,900 $385,000 114
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Peapack Gladstone 4  Brook Hollow Rd $634,900 $605,000 165
7  ORATAM DR $899,900 $860,000 156
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Warren Twp. 6  Saddlemount Ave $259,000 $243,000 197
41  Roseland Ave $349,000 $337,500 54
40  Gates Ave $450,000 $438,000 99
5  Upper Warren Way $589,000 $600,000 17
106  King George Rd $699,900 $675,000 91
74  Dock Watch Hollow Rd $1,099,000 $998,000 67
33  QUAIL RUN $1,199,000 $1,126,000 106
9  Quail Run $1,275,000 $1,225,000 48
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Watchung Boro 15  GLEN EAGLES DR $375,000 $338,000 596
820  Johnston Drive $490,000 $460,000 462
13  Pine Ln $499,999 $493,199 37
25  Gildersleeve Pl $799,000 $782,000 29
104  Ellisen Rd $1,450,000 $1,360,000 34
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Chester Boro 162  MAPLE AVE $289,000 $285,000 23
Chester Twp. 44  Ironia Rd $220,000 $233,000 84
14  Forest View Dr $695,000 $695,000 6
7  Knollwood Ter $750,000 $735,000 48
11  S Gables Dr $759,900 $722,500 268
7  Spring Lake Dr $1,099,000 $1,050,000 25
7  Chilton Rd $1,295,000 $1,259,000 183
55  State Park Rd $2,390,000 $2,100,000 222
Address Listing Price Sold Price Days
Harding Twp. 1  Woodland Rd $740,000 $742,000 21
514  Tempe Wick Rd $1,450,000 $1,155,000 212
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