What’s the market like?

Back when I was with another real estate firm here in town, my office building backed to a creek.  There was a tunnel where the creek went into one of those round concrete tubes and came about under a parking lot behind a bank about 40 feet away.  One of my best memories of that building was a day I had both of my then very young boys with me.   My boys and I hung out behind my office for what seemed like forever, dropping leaves and twigs in the creek on one side of the tunnel and then running to see where it would come out and how long it took.  You could drop a stick in the same place twice, but it would never come out in the same place or in the same amount of time.  (Another favorite memory is the helium tank we had.  I’d suck in the helium and make the funny voices for my boys…..but that doesn’t really go with this post that well.)

Hope this isn’t too far of a stretch for you here, but that day reminds me a lot of the real estate market.  See, it too never stays the same.  Too many variables with prices, interest rates, the economy, what people read in the news, to ever stay still.  Back in 2005 any listing would sell in a heartbeat.  All the agents wanted listings.  Then, if you had a buyer, it was like gold.  Then, only houses under $150k seemed to be selling well.  Then rates started dropping, and all the sudden over $300k was doing good.  Then it was hard to sell new construction.  Then the tax credit frenzy and subsequent bust, then…..not much.  Now, we’re almost back in a mini-frenzy again.

Yeah, it is really like a little frenzy, especially with the better priced and/or better located properties.   I’ve got 6 houses pending right now.  One is in a neighborhood that just a few years ago was considered one of the least desirable areas for the price range.  I keep getting call after call on it.  If I had put a sign in the yard of this house a year ago…..well, it would have been there until now.  Another one is a sweet little house.  It sold a year ago for just a little less than my buyer is paying for it.  The seller took a new out of town job.  There is no better proof of a stable market than the same house selling for a bit more just a year later.  Oh, I forgot to say we almost had multiple offers on it.  I’m also having buyers tell me they want to see a certain house, then it turns out that it has already sold before they can go see it.

So where does this leave buyers and sellers?  If you’re a seller and you’re not seeing this action, your price is wrong.  Period.   If you’re a buyer, you need to realize that there are a lot of people out there shopping too.  I think I’d get pre-approved with a lender so that if you do find “THE” house, you are ready to pull the trigger.  If you see something online that looks nice, go see it.  Don’t mull it over for a few days.  Get out and check it out.  I guess the bottom line is not to be on the fence too long for a property you like enough to consider.  Decide if you want it or not pretty quickly.  I always try not to push people into a deal, but I do sometimes push people to make a decision if I think the place won’t last.  I’ll tell them to figure out if they want it or not.  If they don’t, cool, we’ll move on.

Oh, my old office building?  Just to show how everything is always changing in real estate, it is now in a landfill somewhere and a brand new bank building is in its spot.  The creek is there though…….and I’ll find a way to use the helium tank story in another post.


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