How to Find Your Gem in a Depressing Housing Market

Are you sick of all the statistics and news about the housing market?  I find it makes people constantly doubt their decisions about their own homes and about their decision to buy or sell.

“Yesterday I heard this,” and “The news reported that,” is what I hear constantly from buyers and sellers who are losing sight of what the real estate market is all about.

Real estate to you, to me, and to any individual is located ONLY in the neighborhood where you live or where you are considering buying a home.  That’s it!  Your real estate market can be a one mile radius, and it does not directly relate to what you are hearing on a national level.

This is not to say markets don’t influence each other.  All the markets are highly connected, and a depressed market in one city affects another town and so forth.  There is no doubt that what is going on elsewhere affects us – real estate or otherwise.

Yet, when buying or selling a home you make a big mistake when you try to make sense of the national numbers.

So how do you shop for your gem with the depressing news and exauhsting statistics in the background…not to mention everyone’s unsolicited advice?

First, focus on the neighborhood and learn the facts.  How many houses are selling?  What is the average time on market?  What is the average sale price?  What is the sale price to ask price ration?  (In other words, on average, for how much less than asking are homes selling.  For example, on average, homes sell for 96% of asking price, or 4% under asking).  Your real estate agent should be able to put together all those numbers for you, and make sense of them as well.  (Or just send them to me and I’ll make sense of them for you).

Don’t like numbers?  Just keep looking at homes and compare them to each other in a small area.  Look at houses you don’t think you’ll buy just to learn.

If you do this, you’ll be able to spot a great deal on a home when it comes on market.  Don’t be shy to make a great offer when such a home comes on market.  If you love a home and you know it is priced well compared to recent home sales in the immidiate area, make a strong offer to secure the property.

The goal is to find the home you love and to buy it at a fair market price, not to see how much less than asking you can get it for.  Don’t fall victim to the national housing market cynicism.

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