It's ONLY A Buyers Market If You ACTUALLY Buy!!!

Real Estate Agent with Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199

My little sister called me the other day and in an excited voice declared, “I think I might need to look at houses…It’s a GREAT time to buy a house right now, you know!”Little Sis

After the pregnant pause ensued (the one where my condescending big sister brain struggled with my professional Realtor brain) I finally said, “No? Really? What makes you think that?” (You can tell which brain won out.)

“Well. I have a friend who just got a fantastic deal on a house and I think it might be time for me to think about looking!”

Ok, so which part of what I have been saying for months now did she miss? Apparently, the same part that ALOT of buyers are missing…that would be the part that sounds just like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking whenever somebody you aren’t listening to tells you something: Wah, wah, wah, wah…

It’s been on TV; it’s been on the radio; it’s been in print and on the web…where hasn’t it been if you’re a professional Realtor and tuned in to everything real estate ever since they first uttered the words U.S. HOUSING CRISIS!

But here’s the thing… if you are just another economic-shell shocked human being wondering what happened while you were busy enjoying the last twenty years of your life, it may well BE the first time you are realizing it! After all, we all know sellers who still don’t seem to understand that a buyer’s market means that they, too, will not be seeing the profit from the sale of their home that their neighbors saw last year. What in the world makes us think those same folks are out there telling their friends and relatives that they just heard it’s a great time to buy a house!

Its human nature to think that, as long as your world doesn’t seem to be terribly different, then all those problems THE MEDIA is describing must be happening to other people! After all, if you hadn’t really saved that much for retirement, you might not notice that 401Ks everywhere have become 201Ks. If you’re just getting started thinking about long term career goals, job loss statistics are probably lost on you. And if your friends and family don’t have to sell their houses any time soon, you may not have heard that the prices sellers are getting for their homes are easily 10 to 20 to (gulp) 50% less (depending on where you are) than last year’s sellers got for their homes. Just as this past presidential election cycle was the longest in recorded history, so too, it seems to many of us, is the recovery from the housing crisis. But if you don’t vote…or don’t want to buy a house…who cares? It’s only a Buyer’s market if you actually BUY!

Let’s face it, those of us in the business are fully aware that we are in the army now…if we, as professional Realtors, can get some of this housing inventory sold, we will have begun to win the battle that will lead to winning the war! And if we can win the war to get the housing market back on track, we will win the war to get the whole U.S. economy back on track! We are the key! (How’s that for a pep talk?!)

So what do Realtors have to do to get buyers to see that this is serious business? The government is anteing up $8000 in tax credit to get some of you moving. In fact FHA is getting ready to let you use that $8000 as part of your down payment…without having to wait until after closing! Combine that with unbelievable, never before seen, never again to be seen in this lifetime, interest rates (which, by the way, are just as fantastic for those of you who don’t qualify for the tax credit) and you guys should be fighting to get on my schedule to look at homes! I mean full on, no holds barred, hair pulling,fighting!

Oh, I know you’ve called me and we’re trying to get together...but, what with your vacation and all…how ‘bout next month? I even know a lot of you are working with other agents because you’re looking at my listings and you’re even having your agents call me to see if anybody else is looking at the house you like. But what’s up with having your agent write up a preliminary offer, spend days verbally sparring with me and my seller before reaching a tentative agreement, and then I don’t see another thing in writing from you for two weeks?

Spectator SportBuying a home is not a spectator sport! It is a major and serious step toward achieving the American Dream. You’ve heard of that haven’t you? That’s when you get a pretty little piece of dirt with a cozy little roof over your head to come home to after a hard day at work! A place to call your very own and nobody (well except for the HOA, and, of course, your Realtor when it's time to sell) can tell you what to do there! It's a place where you can paint the walls any color you want, invite friends over whenever you feel like it or get a puppy!

Give us poor Realtors a break… we've done all the work already, helping our sellers see that they need to provide you with a home in really great condition and at a really great price (no they aren't happy about that last one but THEY trust us.) How can you go wrong?

So, little brothers and sisters, I'm here for you! I promise to show you opportunities you won't believe are available! I promise to walk you through the process every step of the way and answer ALL your questions and teach you really COOL stuff about home ownership! I'm telling you there is a SALE, a REALLY BIG SALE on real estate right now and you shouldn't miss it!

I mean seriously, when it’s all said and done, when did your big sister ever really steer you wrong? Don’t answer that…. 

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SarahGray Lamm is a licensed, full time, residential real estate professional in the Triangle area of North Carolina with over 100,000 hours of experience. She specializes in serving the real estate needs of home sellers, home buyers and investors in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham and Northern Chatham County and is proudly associated with Allen Tate Realtors, the Carolinas #1 independent realty company.

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Disclaimer: Comments and contributions via (or other electronic or print media) do not establish an agency relationship with any third party. Blog posts are intended to be informational only. Please be advised that real estate practices vary by region, from state to state and from market to market. The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. All parties in need of legal, accounting, tax, or real estate guidance are directed to consult with the licensed professional of their choice. Please seek specific guidance from a retained professional in the specific field(s) required to service your interests.


Comments (56)

SarahGray Lamm
Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 - Chapel Hill, NC
Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience

I LOVE it when a plan comes together! You all are great and thanks for the enthusiastic responses! Who knew siblings could be such great fodder for blog posts (I'll bet you do now!)

A special thanks to Ron Tiller for posting the Secretary's remarks!

I'll be doing my due diligence and visiting alot of you shortly! Thanks again!

P.S. @ Mike Schneider - struck a nerve, huh? I think you SHOULD blog about your ME factor...very good!

May 13, 2009 01:11 AM
Dave Shockley

Sarah great article.  I hope you don't mind but I am sharing it with my agents through our LinkedIn group.  I wanted them to know that they aren't the only ones with this opinion.

Best Regards and keep up the great attitude.

May 13, 2009 02:12 AM
Scott Baker Coldwell Banker Realty - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio

SO VERY TRUE. It is amazing to me how many first time buyers and buyers in general don't know about the $8,000 Uncle Sam is bribing some buyers to enter the market. And for move-up buyers, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? Absolutely NO better time to move up, none. Better buy now or be crying about missed opportunity 2-3 years from now.

May 13, 2009 02:14 AM
Inez Meehan
Keller Williams - Torrance, CA

Great post!  I think buyer's are for a surprise!!! Not all areas are buyer's market!!  I agree --only will be if they decide to BUY!! What is happening with my buyers: I send them listings, and they think they can wait and choose!!  Surprise!!! If the house is on a good location, priced right, are seeing multiple offers now and will sell for higher prices.    Then they scream... WHAT?  this is a buyer's market!!!!  Indeed, for the smart buyer that just put the offer on the house.  LOL.... Some will learn... some won't!!!  Touche   

May 13, 2009 02:16 AM
Robin Landis
ERA Dennis Realty - Lutz, FL

Thank you Sarah!!! I laughed, I cried....LOL!!  These same lookey looks who won't pull the trigger now in this great buyers market will be complaining a year from now about what they could have bought at a better price or interest rate.

If we could just get people to turn off their TV's and stop buying in to all the gloom & doom that is projected everyday we could fix alot of things. Consumer confidence is a big issue here in the Tampa Bay area. Prices keep dropping and buyers keep waiting-instead of just negotiating a really great deal now. WE WON'T KNOW WHEN WE'VE HIT THE BOTTOM OF THE MARKET TILL WE ARE STARING AT IT IN OUR REARVIEW MIRROR!!!

Reminds me of an old Bee Gees/Sat Night Fever Song(I know, just dated myself!)-It goes like this-"Whatcha doin on your butt, on your butt?? You should be dancin.....yeah...."(in our case-you should be buying YEAH). Ok, so this market does tend to leave us too much time to let our minds wander!! LOL!!!

May 13, 2009 02:42 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Good post big sister.  Everyone's all confused as to what to do - funny you've been telling your sister that all along and then she actually pays attention to someone else not in the business!

May 13, 2009 04:13 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I really think now is the time to buy.  I don't know when the prices will climb again, but the interest rates are so low it is hard to believe.

May 13, 2009 04:32 AM
Ed Vogt
Midwest Properties of Michigan - Grandville, MI
Grandville, MI Midwest Properties

I'm exited about the tax credit for down payment for my clients.  It's definitely a nice nudge for those who are going FHA.  Yes, it's a great time to buy!

May 13, 2009 05:18 AM
Dana Wilkinson, Coldwell Banker United, The Woodlands TX

Once this incentive is available for the down payment, I think a lot of hesitant buyers will jump off the fence and get serious.  This is something we all have been hoping for, and it should make quite an impact in my area.  Very exciting news!  Thanks for the informative and well-written post!

May 13, 2009 05:36 AM
Irja Kujala

YES! So true, and what are the buyers waiting for. Once the interest rates start going up (and they will, maybe sooner than we'd think even), then we'll see the rush to the gates. People are cattle.

May 13, 2009 06:00 AM
Scott Hendrix
Century 21 Select Properties - Knoxville, TN
Realtor, Historic Home Specialist

This market is great, but buyers still think that everyone is desperate to sell and that homes can be bought for pennies on the dollar!  This is a harsh reality for some and, yes, there are some great deals floating around out there, but we still have to educate buyers daily as to what the market really is like.  It is such a great time to buy and it may not be this good ever again.  Let us all keep praying the market continues to get better across the country!

May 13, 2009 06:21 AM
Gloria Laughton Allston (Burgdorff ERA-Princeton)

Great post - well written and on the money!! 

Thanks Sarah.

May 13, 2009 06:25 AM

You are absolutely right, realtors will do their job or the economy will faulter forever.  Also, if troubled home owners ever do have their loans renegociated, loan officers will have to be involved because they are the only ones who know the paperwork.  It is rediculous to assume the the mega banks tellers can handle the complexity of the transaction.  All they are actually doing know is egnoring short sell offers and foreclosures because that is all the know how to do.

Those yahoos is Washington fially did SOMETHING right in the 'first time home buyer"  program.  To bad that they are just now reallizing 'not enough money for down payment" is the biggest deturent to purchase.  The $8,000 is of little use if they can't get to it.  We've just put together a company to monetize it by using a asset purchase like the IRS rapid refund.  This method could be used all over the nation.  Trouble is time is so short to put all this together.  I just wish congress had thought this thing through better.

Good article.  Love your writing.


May 13, 2009 07:10 AM
Jean Groesbeck
Compass - Anacortes, WA
Broker, CRS, e-PRO, ABR, ASP, CNE, IMS

Great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you...just what I needed at the end of the day!

May 13, 2009 11:26 AM
REALTOR - Buy or Sell in Any Season!

I am a big sister, too, and also the smartest kid in our family - - but they don't listen to me either!  When the tax credit first came on the scene, I had a young buyer ask me if it was possible to use the credit up front as a down payment - - you can bet I'll be contacting him tomorrow with the news that FHA is implementing his suggestion!  Thanks for the entertaining post.

May 13, 2009 12:55 PM
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

SarahGray....this news from FHA about the downpayment use of the $8000 tax credit is awesome! I've got to get THAT word out...and maybe that will open my flood gates of business? Let's hope so!

Great your take on the Big sister advise!

May 13, 2009 02:33 PM
Carol Simonson
ReMax - Westlake Village, CA

Attention:  ALERT THE MEDIA!!!

Thank God for your big sister (And her friend who got a good deal!) 

Otherwise...none of us would have ever known about the real estate bargains out there. the big secret is out!  I fully suspect that your sister's declaration to you regarding market conditions - will to make the headlines. 

We've all been waiting for the big sisters of the world to finally speak! 

I know I'll sleep better tonight.

Carol...wondering why nobody has been listening to the good news out there until now?


May 14, 2009 07:40 AM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It's the opposite of the discussion we had with sellers that the house wasn't valuable as money unless it was sold and converted.

Buyers who choose not to buy will wonder why not when prices and interest rates are up later.

May 14, 2009 04:28 PM
Patty Mortara | Hunterdon County (NJ)
Hunterdon County Homes - Flemington, NJ

I think we need bumper stickers made up with your headline...

It's ONLY A Buyers Market If You ACTUALLY Buy!!!

I think we all have them, the buyers that are convinced that the market is going down another 10%... hhhm, I've been working with a couple on and off for a year. The three homes they liked, they finally got to right offers on, all went into bidding wars, they didn't get any of them. They all sold for exactly what I valued them out at.. but noooo they want to pay $50K less to cover the downside of the market. They will be kicking themselves. But you can lead a horse to water -- ya can't make them drink!

May 17, 2009 04:06 PM
Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Suburban - Cary, IL
SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL

I really like Patty's idea of the bumper stickers that say, "It's ONLY A Buyers Market If You ACTUALLY Buy!!!"

No one has a crystal ball, but we DO know that now is a VERY good time to buy!

Jul 16, 2009 03:01 AM