You might be surprised to find out that the average price of a house in Madison New Jersey & Chatham New Jersey actually increased last year and Morristown New Jersey had a small lose. You may also be surprised to find out those homes in excellent condition sold quickly and for more money. However, homes that need work are not freshly painted or does not show well have continued to lose value.
If you are a seller, your home needs to show well to keep its value in this market. The yard needs to be nicely landscaped and depending on where you home is, it needs to be usable by a family with kids. The inside needs to be clutter free, freshly painted and nicely decorated. You want people to walk in and say, "Wow, this is a great house."
If you are a buyer looking for the best deal, there are many out there if you are willing to do some work. Look for the home that needs cosmetic work (this does not cost too much) and can save you thousands if you are willing to do it yourself.
While a new kitchen can cost between $30 and $100 thousand, bathrooms can go from $5 to $30 thousand for a complete makeover. However, if you just replace a vanity and toilet, you can frequently find this is very affordable and can make a world of difference.
So...if you are a seller get the updates done prior to hitting the market and you can not only sell faster, but you will realize much more money out of the sale; and, if you are a buyer, finding a home that needs the same can save you lots of money.
If you are a seller, do improvements to your home, then buy a home needing improvements and you will definitely make more money.
If you are a buyer, realize that the average home owner lives in their home from 5-7 years. Real Estate trends indicate that even buying now, you will score appreciation as we move forward. While I cannot say the market has bottomed (though it likely has), I can say, that buying a home is a great long term investment.
Happy house hunting!