Friday, October 24, 2008

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You!

As I was driving home from a closing - a very satisfying closing, I might add - I heard on the news that sales of existing homes rose 5.5% last month. This is the HIGHEST percentage in five years, the reporter said.

Obviously some of this is the result of foreclosures being sold at rock bottom prices and the correction of pricing, now estimated at 10 per cent. I do see more foreclosures out there from the brokerages who deal with them. Just the signs. And then some sit for a while, so the price can't be that good. And frankly, not so many in Skaneateles. We are still doing all right.

I had another closing on Thursday but in the city. When the home - my listing - was on the market I was overrun at an open house. We had two offers within a matter of weeks. The interest remained high even when it was marked contingent and pended. But this was a home in the low $100,000 range and in excellent condition.

I will state it again: there are bargains out there. Buyers have only to look and not wait. If they wait too long the bargains will cease to be. Investors and risk-takers will buy up the extra inventory and we will be back to business as usual - 75 homes on the market in Skaneateles, not 140. Prices increasing, not decreasing. And those who wanted to wait will pay more.

Warren Buffett gives sage advice on which he has built his fortune. I paraphrase, but it's something like buy when everyone else is fearful, hold back when everyone else is buying. He would say, and has said, that now is the time to jump in to the real estate market. My clients who are closing - and I have several - are thrilled. Some don't pay rent any more into the deep hole and others have moved into homes they have dreamt about for years. My investors just smile.

And the mortgage crunch? Don't believe it! With good credit everything is still possible. One of my recent buyers received a 5.87% fixed rate mortgage (30 years) and - and! - almost $1,000 back at the closing, no money down. While that program may be gone now, there are others out there for the single family home buyer. There's a rate cut coming next week and an election to bring about change. We are on the upswing - it's time for everyone to move!