Sigh! This picture is a definite portrayal of how I feel after the Holidays! Now its January 2008 and as a Realtor, I am expected to start the new year with a rush! The stats for 2007, especially in Rhode Island, were not good, as you all know. Rhode Island was second to Michigan in losing population. We were 8th in foreclosures. The mortgage industry has realigned and unless you have impeccable credit and a good work history, you can plan on paying much more in interest rates for a home. We are reading doom and gloom everywhere about the Real Estate Industry. I have been working with REO's, which is Real Estate Owned property. This means that the bank has bought back their interest in a foreclosed home. These homes are actually still selling due to the fact that they are cheaper then the regular market. However, there are so many of them, that the prices are actually driving down prices of what we call market value homes! This is a tough pill for Sellers to swallow. Many sellers viewed the equity in their homes as actual money! Real estate is very much like the Stock market. It is not actual money until it is in your pocket!
I was interviewed for a piece in Rhode Island Monthly last month. The advice I gave and still give is: If you do not have to sell your home now, don't! If you do have to sell it, make it pretty and price it well. There is a lot of competition out there, but this does not mean you have to give it away. Check with a Realtor and find out just what prices are doing right now and then price yours accordingly. Do not try to price it by what you paid for it, or what you refinanced it for. Picture yourself as the buyer and view your home with a keen eye. Would you be impressed when you first walked in? Is there any odor from animals? Is it clean? Why would someone want your house as opposed to the 4000 others out there? Remember, location is important, but price rules!!! If your home stays on the market for more than three months, even after you have lowered your price, it starts becoming stigmatized and even a good buyer will pass on it, thinking there is something wrong with it.
Now on the other side. If you are a Buyer looking for a deal and are qualified for a good loan, then I would suggest you also contact a Realtor and get your ducks in a row. The market will go down within this next year, but no so much that you can afford to wait forever. It will also start rising again, my guess, around mid 2009! Take a look around and figure out where you can get the most for your money. History dictates that prices will rise again, so do not miss out by trying to play the market!
Research is key to making qualified decisions. I spend many hours researching the housing market and while I do not have a Crystal Ball (actually I do have one:), my predictions are based on everyday knowledge. This is my career! Be careful who you listen to when you are anticipating one of the largest deals in your life!