Today in Sedona, Cottonwood, and all of the Verde Valley the lower priced properties are taking off. There is very little activity in the higher priced market. Most buyers are interested in the affordable properties, and there are new listings in the affordable category daily. These include traditional (non-distressed) sellers as well as short sales and bank owned properties. Homeowners who need to sell because of job relocation, a desire to downsize or upsize, or other traditional reasons are beginning to realize that they need to price their homes to compete with the short sales and foreclosures.
In January I started working with a first time buyer couple. Their desire to take advantage of the First Time Buyer Tax Credit was secondary to their desire to move out of a small one-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom home of their own. They were well qualified in the eyes of their lender, but did not have a large down payment. They decided to utilize the USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing program which allows 100% financing. Most properties in Yavapai County qualify for this program.
The first home that my clients chose was a lender owned property. We submitted our offer to the listing agent and she presented the offer to the lender. After a couple of days the lender rejected the offer and informed the listing agent to: "Bring us an offer with 20% down". My clients were very disappointed, but continued to look at homes. The next three homes that they made offers on all turned out to have multiple offers. My clients were determined to stay within their budget and not compete in any bidding situations.
Finally there was a new listing which was a traditional seller. My clients made a full price offer and it was accepted. The inspection period went well and the seller agreed to make the minor repairs requested by the buyers. Escrow went smoothly, the appraisal came in at the right number, and last week we closed and I was able to perform my favorite task, delivering the keys to a new homeowner.