More than just real estate

What is the State of the Market?

Desty Lorino is a real estate agent with over 20 years as a licensed professional. Desty is with the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s North Shore office, located in Glendale.Today, he answers a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind lately: How’s the real estate market?

Just the other day I was outside shoveling with one of my neighbors and he asked me, “So Desty, how is the housing market doing?” Interesting question!

In answering that, an old cell phone commercial came to mind, where an actress portraying a realtor was switching back and forth between calls on hold. She was telling one caller “It’s a seller’s market,” and on another call she was saying “It’s a buyer’s market! Every closet is a walk-in closet if you try hard enough!”

So the answer: The market is great for someone who just sold their home, or for someone who just found a great home at a fair price. For someone whose home has been on the market for months with little activity, it’s not so great.  And this time of year, we have a traditional downturn due to one thing and one thing alone — the weather.

Just like we discussed before  about scheduling an open house, the weather has a huge impact on people’s interest in buying a home. Our traditional slowdown usually runs from Thanksgiving until late February, when conditions are less likely for a blizzard or ice storm to de-rail a move. Likewise, mid-summer, which is a great time to physically move, also sees a slowdown with festivals, vacations and other goings-on.

So right now, at the end of January 2011, is the market good for you to buy or sell a home?  Yes… specifically if you fit into one of the following categories:

  • First-time home buyers — With mortgage rates at near-record lows for the last decade, first-time buyers with decent income and good credit are still able to get loans. They may not be able to get loans above and beyond their means like some predatory lenders handed out five years ago, but they can definitely afford a home and start establishing equity.
  • Long-time home owners — If you’re thinking that now might be the time to downsize and you have a lot of equity (15-20 years) in your home, you will be able to get it out of your home. And if you don’t have a mortgage anymore?  You’re in great shape. Yes, hard to believe that some people have paid off their mortgage. They’ll have a lot of flexibility in pricing their home because they’re not trying to turn a quick profit (the exact opposite of people who tried to buy and flip homes just a few years back).
  • Anyone with realistic price expectations — With the state of the economy, nearly every home has decreased in value over the past five years. And, as the economy continues to recover, we expect those home prices to rebound too. When I work with someone to price their home, we take into consideration the current market conditions and a market analysis of like-minded homes within the same community that have sold in the last year. If you price your home realistically off these statistics, you’re likely to see the home sell. If you use 2006 or 2007 sales statistics, you may be waiting a while.

So, to sum it all up, how’s the real estate market? It’s moving in the right direction, with seasonal changes and an improving economy putting some wind into its sails. That is, as long as you continue to have realistic expectations.

Just don’t expect “every closet to be a walk-in closet,” and you’ll be just fine.

Have questions about home ownership? Contact Desty at Desty@realtor.com or ask in the comments section.

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