You know what they say about opinions: they’re like armpits. Everybody’s got ‘em, and they all stink. I’ve seen people who are paid very good money for their opinions make wildly different predictions about where the housing market is headed. Some will tell you that we haven’t seen the worst of it yet, and that the bottom is still a long way off. Their motto? Hold off on buying, since the real buyer’s market is still a long way off. Others, however, are just as quick to say that the only way is up. Hold off on selling, in other words, because the next something – whether it’s a set of job numbers, or election returns – portends a great improvement, and it’ll mean that happy days are here again for home sellers.
The truth is somewhat more complicated. I’ve been in Real Estate long enough to know that there are no simple cause and effect relationships; the reality is more like looking at a series of Rube Goldberg machines, where one small change anywhere in the system can cause unpredictable ripples through the entire thing.
If you’re a seller, this means not waiting for the market to hit some magic number before you decide to put your home on the market. While it’s certainly possible that we could see marked improvements in the housing market in the coming months, it’s certainly nothing to bet the farm on, much less a split-level ranch (or whatever else you’d like to see snatched up by an eager buyer). Some financial analysts see a double-dip recession as a very real possibility. In that event, about the only thing you’ll be waiting yourself into is an even more depressed housing market.
If you’re a buyer, the same possibility of a double-dip recession doesn’t mean waiting for the bottom to fall out of the market. Remember, just because something can happen doesn’t mean it will. If the housing market remains consistent or takes another hit, it’s true that you stand to benefit. However, if the market improves – even if it’s only briefly – it could mean a jump in home value of ten percent or more. At first blush, that doesn’t sound like much; if you stop to think about it, or even to run the numbers, ten percent on a half million dollar home isn’t exactly chump change.
In either case – buyer or seller – this means one simple thing: your time is now. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve weathered the ups and downs of the housing market before. I have the experience and the connections to know how to make the best of even the worst situation, and trust me, this is not the worst of it (though if you wait, it just might be). Deciding to buy or sell in an “off” market can be a bit nerve-wracking. And while it’s true that better days, and better options, could well be just around the corner, it’s just as true that there are no guarantees in life, and you could just as easily find your options severely limited by waiting.
Help me to help you make sense of all of this. Call me at 201-930-8820 x212.