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Luxury Homes in Bergen County, NJ

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Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Properties

For much of my 25-yr career, I've worked in the Luxury Market --- towns like Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River, Ridgewood, Ho-Ho-Kus and Allendale. We used to refer to 3,000 square foot, $950,000 homes luxury homes.  Then came the roaring 1990s, and we started seeing homes built the size of the local municipal building. Five thousand square foot homes became the norm, but in time we saw homes over 8,000 square feet going up, and that's when I began to worry.  It's one thing to build an 8,000 sf home on a 2 acre lot (Saddle River, for the most part), but squeezing it onto a little over an acre seemed a bad idea.  I remember taking a buyer to look at homes in Wyckoff where most properties are a half-acre or a little more.  He really wanted a luxury home, in Wyckoff (great schools), but when he saw a 6,000 sf home built on a .58 acre lot, he cracked, "It looks like an overpriced Levittown! (a town on Long Island built by Abraham Levitt --- the beginning of tract housing at affordable prices).

When we bounced back from the 1987 market crash, in the late '90s, we started seeing spec homes of 6,000+ sf homes going up, and selling like they were giving them away.  I kept saying, "We've been through this before. I don't think it's safe to be building homes that only appeal to 25% of the buying pool."  But, they kept selling

From 2004-2007, we watched as banks gave loans that our clients were marginally qualified for, but we didn't say anything.  What can you really say to couples who are thrilled to be buying the homes of their dreams?  "Wait! What if you lose your job??" I've never made it a practice to involve myself with the financing end of buying a home.  My feeling is most people only want to talk to their banker/lender about such personal information.  But, I always call the lender to be certain they can "comfortably afford" the home they want to buy.  But, of course, what do I expect the lender to say ---"no, they can't, but I don't want to lose the deal.?" As I always say, if you don't want to pay for a new roof, don't call a roofer.

Prices of luxury homes are still down at least 10-20% over the 2004-2008 market, but we're starting to see more of them come on the market.  It's helping the sellers to know they're probably not going to see what they paid for the home in 2005.  Good luck with that!

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