CLARK, NJ – Anthony D’Agostino of ERA Village Green Realty has been in the real estate business since 1968. In his 51 years, D’Agostino said, the real estate industry has changed drastically in several ways. He offered his insights about the real estate industry and market in a recent interview with TAPinto Clark.

#1: The real estate process has become more complicated.

“It’s not as simple as it was when I first started,” D’Agostino said. “My files back in the day, in the early days, were not more than a quarter inch thick. Today, they’re about two inches thick. There’s a lot more environmental issues, home inspection issues, financing [issues].”

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#2: Part-time and out-of-town realtors have become more involved.

“Today, because of the expansion of the Multiple Listing System, there are many brokers from outside of Clark that are doing business [in Clark],” D’Agostino said. The Multiple Listing System (MLS) began expanding in 2000, he said, allowing realtors from all over the state to list properties in a centralized database.

“Consumers should deal with local realtors more than dealing with realtors outside the immediate area, because they don’t know the area as well,” he said. “They’re not familiar with what’s going on in the township.”

Meanwhile, the number of part-time realtors, D’Agostino said, is at an all-time high. “There’s more people with real-estate licenses that are not full-time now than ever,” he said.

#3: The current market is a seller’s market.

The current local real-estate market is a seller’s market, D’Agostino said, because there are more people looking to buy homes than there are homes available to buy.

“I’d say more people want to move in than move out, in this area,” he said. “The inventory’s low. The inventory’s remaining reasonably low in Union County. There’s no land to be built, anything that’s being built is typically a knock-down of an existing home, ideally on a larger lot, but pricey.”

#4: Home values have been increasing for the last decade.

The average new or newly-renovated home in Clark sells for between $700,000 to one million dollars, D’Agostino said.

“If you look around town, you see a lot of larger homes that have been renovated or built, when a smaller home existed on that property. So, there’s more [tax] revenue coming into this town,” he said. “Hopefully the values will hold, and continue to increase a little.”

#5: Residential and commercial developments have impacted the market.

D’Agostino said Clark has become much more developed over the decades.

“The landscape has changed here. Many of the original buildings are gone. The old mom and pop stuff. Every available, open large track of land is being redeveloped,” he said. “It can’t hurt when you see people investing in Clark township with these developments. […] It keeps the taxes down. Real estate taxes are high, but increases are not exorbitant.”

D’Agostino also noted the ongoing increase in rental units, both in Clark and the surrounding area.  “There’s major development within all of the area, within New Jersey and in Union County, of high-density rental units being built,” he said. “They attract the millennials and the baby boomers who are downsizing, selling their existing homes and moving into luxury rentals. Brand new, no work to be done, no maintenance.”

#6: Technology and the internet have changed the playing field.

“People rely heavily on internet data, and it’s not always that accurate,” D’Agostino said. “The public is able to access, and these numbers are not always correct. The value indicators are not always correct, nor is the information. […] It’s best for consumers to rely on local realtors’ experience and knowledge of the local marketplace.”

“Technology offers a lot of information. The downside is, it offers too much information for the consumers,” he added. “In the end, [people should] still come to retain a professional, knowledgeable real estate agent, after navigating through all the data that’s available.”

#7: The role of the home buyer is changing.

“In the old days, the phone would ring, you’d talk to customers calling in on your advertising … and you, knowledgeable of the areas and of the best homes available, you would set up a tour for them,” he said.

D’Agostino said home buyers today regularly come to appointments with a list of homes they would like to visit, instead of relying on the realtors to select which homes to visit as had traditionally been done.

#8: The industry’s future is looking bright.

When asked what he foresees for the next ten years in real estate, D’Agostino said he hopes the industry will see continued success in the future. “I don’t foresee a downturn in the market here, as long as the inventory remains low. That’ll always save you,” he said.

D’Agostino said home prices have increased steadily since 2010, following a period of economic downturn from 2007 to 2009. “From 2010 to 2020, that’s ten years of good times,” he said. “So, you start wondering, ‘when is that cycle going to dip again?’ But I don’t see it right now.”

Whether or not the market sees a downturn, D’Agostino said the realtor will remain critical in the buying and selling process.

“I hope there’s no major changes,” he said. “With respect to the realtor’s role, I believe it will always be needed to guide people through the buying and selling process.”