Recently, a group of my blogger friends and I decided it would be fun to play real estate agent and compare what you buy in each of our locations at different price points, HGTV style!
In my area of Bergen County, New Jersey, there are currently a few thousand open real estate listings, so I narrowed it down to single family homes before filtering them by price. I didn’t filter to a certain part of the county, so we’re going on a county-wide tour.
$250k and Under
When I narrowed the search results down to this price range there were still 411 listings to choose from with a lot of them being foreclosures, short sales, auctions, or for sale by owner. Most of them needed more than a little updating and upgrading. After scouring the listings for a diamond in the rough, I found this little beauty:
Located in Oakland, NJ with 5 bedrooms and 3,500 sq feet, this home is a steal. It’s listed at only $205,000! It’s a foreclosure and is estimated to be worth at least twice that. The picture doesn’t do it justice and the interior looks to be in pretty decent shape. It was built in 1947 and does need a few updates, but for that price a new owner could probably afford to put in some new kitchen cabinets and counter tops.
If you’re not into colonial style homes, that’s too bad. No, just kidding! I also found this home listed at $224,900. It’s located in Maywood. It appears to be in good shape, at least judging from the outside. If I were looking to move there, I’d be willing to check it out. It’s kind of adorbs.
I was expecting to have even more choices for this price range, and I wasn’t wrong. Total results: 980! I was also hoping to see homes with a few more updated already completed and in better shape overall. This one didn’t disappoint:
This home in Westwood is listed at $498,777 with 4 bedrooms and almost 2,000 sq feet. It was built in 1950 and has been fully updated. There are some awesome architectural features, and it’s family friendly too with a large playroom in the basement and a large fenced backyard with an above ground pool that would be great for lazy summer afternoons with the beans (when they’re old enough that is!)
I also couldn’t resist showing you this gorgeous Victorian in Waldwick, which was built in 1900 and fully renovated in 2008. There’s still some old-school charm in the woodwork but with some new-school features, like granite and beautiful wood floors. This home is listed at $435,000 and has a lot of curb appeal.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect in this price range as the houses I found in the $250-500k range were all a good size, in nice locations, and had most, if not all, of the updates done for you. This price range was kind of a wild card. Some houses were HUGE but needed updates, some were brand new construction, and others were so stuffy there’s no way I could picture my family living there. The best example I could find is this newer construction home:
It is located in Midland Park and was built in 2000 and has been treated well since then with its best feature being updated to match current tastes today. It has jet tubs and an underground pool out back. Listed at $725,000 it is still slightly under the $750k range too.
This amount of money better buy you a pretty amazing house. After all, there was nothing wrong with the last 3 houses we looked at, and some of them are about half what the top of this budget is. I was expecting to see some over-the-top houses in this category, and this one was just that.
With a whopping 4,000 sq feet, 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, this house is listed at $989,000. It sets on almost a full acre of private land, which is all landscaped. It has an underground pool, a separate cabana house, a basketball court, a huge storage and gardening area, a 3 car garage, a gym, and a bar. Whew, that was a mouthful! I guess this is how the other half lives.
Hey, it was fun looking at what I can’t afford wasn’t it? But seriously, it was interesting to see just what is on the market in my area at different price points. I have to say I was a little surprised to see so few listings in the $500k-750k range, and what listings there are did not seem much bigger or better than those listed just under $500k. I know if I were going to pay that much for a house, I’d expect it to be top-notch, with all major updates already done. In actuality, I’d probably gravitate toward one of the two in the $250k-500k category.
I think the biggest downfall of property in this area of the country are the crazy property taxes. Some of them are more per year than my entire salary, so that would definitely have to be factored in to anyone looking to buy in this area!
What price range do you think fits your needs and style best? Also, check out these other bloggers who are showing off real estate in their cities:
- Frugal Portland: Portland
- Broke and Beautiful: New York
- Michelle of Shop my Closet: Denver
- Paul of Don’t Quit your Day Job: Silicon Valley / South Bay Area
- DINKS Finance: Washington D.C.
- NZ Muse: Auckland, NZ