The Home Sellers Nobody Talks About

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

National news and real estate professionals talk a lot about the people who purchased at the top of the market and now owe far more than their homes are worth. They discuss the legal and moral issues involved in strategic default and of course  everyone is talking about short sales and the difficulties they present.

But nobody talks about the people who sold at the top of the market.

What did they do? Did they re-invest that money in similarly priced properties – so they’re now facing the same “underwater” situation as the people who purchased their homes?

I know some of them did lose those profits.

Some of them came to our little community and created a “bubble” here.The locals were pretty upset - because all of a sudden, no one who lived and worked here could afford to buy a home.

I know of one mobile home that sold for $136,000 and then 3 years later sold for $245,000. I was the listing agent the first time around, and when I saw what it sold for next I called to see if that had been a typo!

No, it was the real price. Then those buyers invested another $50,000+ into granite counter tops, new siding, a cute little barn, and other improvements. They sold last year for $200,000.

The family that sold for $245,000 re-invested their profit in a waterfront home - at the top of the market - so I guess they didn't come out ahead in the long run either.

But for some, it was like winning the lottery...A fun tractor to own!

Another gentleman I know had a better outcome. I don’t know why he purchased here before he sold his other home, but he did – and he moved in about a mile from me. He had his other home for sale as the market was reaching the peak, but had listed with a disinterested agent. It wasn't even being shown.

I kept nagging him: “Terry, the bubble is going to burst. You need a better agent.” Finally he listened, and a few weeks later the house was sold. Then, within months, the bubble did burst. Had he waited he probably wouldn’t have lost money, because he had purchased before prices skyrocketed. But he wouldn’t be buying the toys he plays with today.

big boy toysI wonder how many other senior citizens are buying “big boy toys” (or big girl toys) with their profits after selling at the top of the market?

These photos show a couple of the toys he bought with his "real estate lottery" winnings. Since he likes to stay busy, he's also completely remodeled the house he bought here.

And no, these "big boy toys" aren't an indication that he's being selfish. He's a widower, so there's no wife who is doing without toys of her own while he plays.

I just wonder now and then - How many of those sellers are enjoying their profits, and how many lost them?


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Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

There are some great stories of winners in a down turn.  But most were not able to time it correctly.

Apr 17, 2011 06:24 PM #1
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

I sold my own personal residence in 2006 for top dollar.  I can buy the same house today for 40% off.

My friend made $100,000 profit after taxes on a residential lot, in 30 days.  He made another $200,000 on 4 townhouses in less than one year in 2005.

My brother and his son also made $100s of thousands of dollars in the Phoenix Market back in 2003-2005.

But alas, I know many others who are stuck with $250K mortgages on properties that are now valued under $100K, IF they could find a Buyer.

It was a Game; there were Winners and there were Losers.


Apr 17, 2011 06:42 PM #2
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Marte,

Interesting perspective, for most people they would likely move from one to the next and the highs and lows come out in the wash,

the people that "played the market some will have done well, some will have been caught. as always it is all in the timing, NOW is the time to be out there buying....

Apr 17, 2011 07:00 PM #3
Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL
SaraMana Properties - - Bradenton, FL - Listings In Paradise

I liked your blog post and I thank you for sharing it with us!

Apr 17, 2011 07:21 PM #4
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Tim - I enjoy the happy stories...

Fred - Glad to hear you have rich relatives - and that you did OK yourself.

Peter & Linda - I agree. If you want to invest in real estate, or buy a home that won't eat up all your dollars, now is the time to buy.




Apr 17, 2011 08:20 PM #5
Jeffry Evans
Temple, TX

Wow, that it an amazing bubble created by speculation (I guess it's speculation). In my market in Texas, things did not have that kind of huge swing, up or down. It is a much more stable market.

Apr 18, 2011 01:08 AM #6
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

My husband and I sold our townhouse at the height of the market and rolled the profit in our single family home.  What we've lost is what we made on the other.  Hard to be angry about it.

Apr 18, 2011 04:16 AM #7
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jeffry - Our market here has for many years been influenced by Caifornia. City people who think they want peace and quiet and privacy move here - and then a few years later many of them find out they don't like the cold winters, the dirt roads, and the lack of shopping malls, concerts, etc. and they go home. This time they came with too much money and drove prices out of reach for the long-term residents.

This time was also different in that some came with plans to become land developers - we now have several parcels of semi-developed land sitting around waiting for things to turn around again. The beginnings of what will be residential subdivisions - someday.

Chris Ann - That's a good way to look at it - glad you didn't get hurt!

Apr 18, 2011 05:18 AM #8
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