June 30th, 2009
An unheard concept in the real estate business? Maybe not unheard of, but rare, and that can be said of any business involving sales. The one question that is almost always answered with at the very least a little bit of "fudge" is, "How's it going?" Just about any salesperson on the planet will answer (with a huge smile), "Great!" - regardless of the fact that, in truth, they hadn't made a sale in six months! Salespeople are trained to always put up a positive front, no matter what.
Do you know what? I think you, the buyers and sellers of this world can handle the truth, so here is it. Real estate sales here in Door County are not great. In particular, sales in my little part of the world - that part of Door County north of "the bridges" - are down to a fraction of what they were just 3 years ago. This is my 30th year selling real estate in Door County, and I've never seen worse.
So here is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In northern Door County we primarily sell vacation properties - second homes, shorefront properties, condominiums - properties intended for recreational use, luxury properties. In hard times, people stop buying luxuries. At the same time, many people find they can no longer afford their vacation property, so put it on the market. The resulting high numbers of properties for sale drives down values.
Is is all bad news? No. First of all, real estate values probably rose too high too fast. A market correction was in order, and that is what we are getting. A dose of reality is a good thing, and the vast majority of Door County property owners will not lose money on their investments. They just won't make quite as much. It's good news that people who did invest in Door County real estate are finding it a more stable investment than many others. It's good news for buyers right now because, if they buy now, they will be buying at yesterday's prices. More good news for buyers is that the interest rates are still very low, making it an even better time to buy.
So, if you are selling Door County property, you will not get the price you may have gotten three or four years ago; but, you will still receive a fair price. If you are buying Door County property, you may find a real treasure at a great price.
And that's the truth.