Saturday, July 21, 2007

Is It Time To Buy Yet?

Time to Buy?

It's a buyer's market. No denying it. Now, Atlanta is not like southern California, or DC, or Boston but it is a buyer's market here. Values aren't crashing. Interest rates aren't skyrocketing. Unemployment is at historic lows. Inflation is under control... for the most part. Of course, to listen to some of the media, all of those statements look suspect.

So, it's still a buyer's market. What does that mean in the real world?

To start with, if you are trying to sell a home, it needs to look its best. It needs to be priced competitively, and be well marketed. Don't expect to be able to set new records for your subdivision in the price arena. Don't expect your house to draw multiple bids and 6 days on the market. In fact, don't expect 60 days on the market. Think about 90 to 120. Really. If your agent is saying that nothing is different than 2005... think about another agent. This isn't to say that you can't or even shouldn't sell your house. Just be realistic in your expectations.

If you are a buyer... great timing. But, you also need to be realistic. I had someone say to me that they expected to be able to buy homes that were $500k last year for just $300k now... since values in some places (primarily CA, MA, NY etc.) were plumetting. Guess what. They aren't plumetting like that in those places, and they certainly aren't dropping like that here. That $500k house might go for $450k now, more likely $475k. You might get $475k and a "free" plasma TV.

The bottom line is that things aren't as bad as you might hear. But, they aren't great either. If you are a first time buyer, or don't have a home to sell, this is a great time to buy a house. If you are moving up (selling the $150k home to buy a $250k home) this is a good time to buy a house. If you are down-sizing, or getting out of home ownership, this isn't such a great time.

Last note. In regards to moving up, if you "lose" 5% on the $150k home, that is $7,500. If you get a 5% discount on the $250k home, that is $12,500. That puts you $5k ahead of the game. If you were to do that "move-up" during an up market, you would be on the other side of that equation.

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