There are four actions possible for current home-owners: Do nothing, Sell, Refinance, or Convert the Current Residence to an Investment.
Do Nothing: This is for those individuals who are either happy and content in their present situation and don't want to take any chances, or those who are so caught in the current perceived uncertainty of the real estate market that they simply aren't equipped to make a decision. (I mean absolutely no slight at the latter; it's simply a truth that some people don't really know what's going on and don't have the information to equip them to make a decision.)
Sell: Lots of people can fit into this category, but I'll break them down into two general groups - those who see opportunity and want to grab it, and those who simply have no choice but to liquidate the current holding.
Refinance: This group also falls into two basic camps - those with equity in a property and see a benefit to repositioning that equity, and those who are currently in unfavorable financing terms with the ability and inclination to take advantage of better financing terms.
Investors: This group is who I'll call the opportunists. They see a value in holding the current residence because they can either make money renting it, or they foresee the value of the property increasing in the future and are so confident that they want to leverage their position by getting into another property where the same will happen. (Or, perhaps they might have otherwise been a seller, but just see the value in holding real estate as a strong suit in their overall investment portfolio.)
So, what to do?
The mortgage market currently requires that you come to the table with a fairly strong hand - good credit, financial reserves, good future income potential, etc. If you fall into this category (and if you're unsure, consult a trusted mortgage professional for some guidance), now may be a great time to consider a buy and hold strategy.
I am often asked about the fix and flip market. In my opinion, now is probably not the best time for most to try their hand at this. If you're asking if now is the time for fix/flip, you probably are not well-versed in this market niche and there is a big learning curve. And, for the inexperienced, there is enough uncertainty so that your exit strategy cannot be confidently guaranteed.
But for the buy and hold purchaser, there are opportunities, whether you are in an appreciating market, or in a market that will rebound nicely due to economic longterm fundamentals, or a market where foreclosures allow you to buy a property at a substantial short-term discount.
Again, if you are considering buying or refinancing, your first step should be to consult a knowledgeable mortgage consultant. Opportunities abound! In the new real estate industry, seeking guidance from a trusted advisor is essential.
Greg Polashock is a Real Estate Home Mortgage Loan Consultant and Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist with Cherry Creek Mortgage and resides in Castle Rock, in Douglas County Colorado. He can be reached via email at Greg@GregIsFinancingSolutions.com, by phone at 303-887-0672 or on the web at http://www.gregisfinancingsolutions.com/.