With a long face primed for sympathy, I get asked "How are you doing in this market?" quite frequently. Well-meaning friends and others who know I'm a realtor, assume I am suicidal about THIS MARKET... broke, in debt, and have no one to sell to, sitting all alone in an empty office day by day twiddling my thumbs.
My answer always shocks them. "I'm doing great! I have helped 20 families manage their life by buying or selling a home this year." TWENTY! (Not my record of 55, but enough to give me great satisfaction that my career is still on-track.)
"Who the heck would buy (or sell) in THIS market??? I hear it's tanked. Prices are down. And who would buy these days knowing they may lose their job???? Who has any money to buy?"
Welp.... here's the answer. Who I have sold to this year will tell you what the market is about right now.... who is buying and who is selling....
I started off 2009 with May* and her husband. She had been transferred to So Cal during a reorganization. If she wanted to keep a job, she better move. She had help from her relocation benefits, and had enough equity left over to afford a downpayment down south. (* some unusual names have been changed to protect those whose Mom is a realtor, yet they bought or sold from me.)
Buyer #2 - I love Nate! First time homebuyer, mid twenty's... ready to start being responsible and spend weekends at Lowe's. Bought a short sale, had it appraise for $40K more than he paid. THEN got the $8,000 tax credit, which was more than his $6,000 down payment. And payments less than his rent would have been. Happy Camper! (And by now, master floor refinisher, I'm sure!)
Next.... Chuck and Mary selling their life-long home. He was offered a new territory in Arizona, and, tempted by the warm weather, moved. A first time homebuyer bought theirs - (they got the $8K credit.)
Billie wanted to move across town to be closer to her grandkids. Bought a fantastic newer home from a real seller who actually had equity! Woo-Hoo. Now she Skypes her grandkids from 2 blocks away!
Jim and Mary felt ready for Sun City's "cruise-ship-on-land" atmosphere, so sold their home of 25 years... to a first time homebuyer... who got the $8K credit. I'm sure they are playing golf, instead of mowing lawn, as we speak.
Brian and Wendy moved here from a big home in Colorado, into a stunning newer home with a pool in Serrano. At a shockingly low price. She's a nurse, and he has a great state job.
Next came Shannon and Ron who had 92 year old Grampa living with them, along with 3 kids... in a home so small, they had to go outside to change their mind. They bought a bigger home, with room for all, right next to a park. (Grampa was SOOOOO cute!)
Clay and Pat bought two rentals... convinced that the upcoming economy makes this the perfect storm of interest rates, prices, and tax laws to make it INSANE to not buy rentals now. We're now on the hunt for two more, and Cllay's become an expert rehabber.
Stephen, one of my friend's sons, joined the ranks of adulthood by becoming an accountant and buying his first home, all at the same time. Woo-Hoo. And he racked up the $8,000 credit, plus payments comparable to his rent.... BUT HE OWNS IT! Feet up on the ottoman, beer in hand, "Go Niners" reverberating throughout the house...... Life is good.
Josh... another twenty-something first time buyer, took the bus to my office from his state job, and wanted a home near the bus line. We got a great deal, that appraised about $60K more than our purchase price. He also got the $8K credit. Another happy camper.
Bob and Marcy felt the pull of home yanking them back to Fair Oaks after 8 years on the East Coast. A mega runner, Bob wanted a special home where he could fall out the back door and be on our magnificent American River Parkway trail. A little clandestine digging revealed the perfect spectacular bluff home, right on the trail. They move in soon. And you can bet he'll be a happy runner!
Sharon's a teacher, who after owning many homes in many locations, had recently moved back in with 90 year old Mom. Interest rates and prices were just too attractive to keep her at Mom's, so now she's painting and redecorating her own home, adjoining the parkway where she walks every weekend. SHE got the credit, too!
Bob's Dad died this year, and he needed to sell his life-long home. I did it.... for $70K more than his neighbor offered him "to save on the realtor's commission". Bob and his bank account LOVE me.
Scott and Gina moved here from the Bay Area, where they couldn't afford a yard bigger than a postage stamp for their 3 darling active girls. A sports scout, they could live anywhere. Here, they got a first-time purchase - 2000 feet of exquisite beauty on a cul-de-sac, a 3 car garage, and a play structure. Their daughter caught their dinner the other day in Folsom Lake. Happy? Yeah, I'ld say!!!
My friend's Mom moved to a care facility, so I sold her condo to help pay for her care. Unfortunately, Mom passed away during our escrow, but the funds will help pay for care of her husband.
Josh and Melanie... now HERE are happy campers. We've been looking for 2 years. (Yeah, you could say I'm patient) Their son grew up (well, tripled his age, anyway), and they had a new daughter during the time of our hunting. I felt like part of the family. Right before Christmas we closed escrow on their new home, with a pool and huge play structure. They are already deep into a kitchen remodel. The good news is that prices tanked during the time we were looking, and they ended up buying at a rock bottom price with a killer interest rate.
Then there's sweet Sam and Michelle - other first time home buyers, who only put $4K down on their new home, and will get $8K back from the Federal credit. They have already painted, done flooring and have such pride in their own home. They want to expand their family and wanted a home of their own to do it in.
Then there are more, including Craig, whose escrow fell apart when his Mom passed two weeks before closing, leaving him a home. Who needs two? Cancel escrow.
So, as you can see, people buy or sell for many reasons. Death, expanding family, taking on the responsibilities of adulthood, job transfers, changing family structures. Lots of reasons. As a realtor, I love just taking care of my peeps. I chose to not jump into the listing of bank foreclosures, or to specialize in short sales, and instead have continued to focus on what my peeps need. And as you can see, they keep needing to move, buy, sell, or make a change. It's a great business. A good life.