Many who read the media reports over the year would probably see the industry in these perspectives:
- If you buy a house, you'll just end up losing money and never build equity.
- Mortgage loans are a scam
- Realtors are driving prices up because they just want big commissions.
- Houses will never sell.
- You can just do it on your own.
- If you do some upgrades, you can add tens of thousands to the value of your property.
Then there's the truth about Real Estate:
- Houses are one of the best investments you will ever make in your life time. Equity and value increases over time. Buying today and trying to sell for huge profits with a few months or even a year or two is not likely. The key is knowing what you can afford, negotiation, and not using your property like an ATM (constant refinancing for cash outs or taking huge equity loans).
- Predatory lending does exist. Know the loan and the real terms you are signing to. There are many great options such as 40 and 50 year terms now and reverse mortgages for seniors just to name a few.
- Realtors charge in many different ways and at different rates. It is always up to the individual. Most Realtors and brokerages will be able to explain the reasoning behind their fees. I always provide a breakdown, and customers are amazed not only at what they get for that fee but how much I am NOT making compared to what they thought. Thank you Ms. Sawyer for all of the misinformation in your segment on '60 Minutes'.
- If you want to (or must) sell, your property will sell when:
- It's priced correctly
- It's marketed and advertised correctly and on-going
- You're open to negotiation
- You CAN sell on your own, but will probably be frustrated if you have not done a lot of research and have a very detailed plan.
- Pricing can not be found through any 'automated' service on-line. None exists.
- Advertising on one website is not enough.
- Just a lawn sign is not enough.
- Entry into MLS is not enough.
- Follow-up and negotiation is key.
- Upgrades and additions may not add any value at all. In fact you may find that you may end up losing money. Be careful with upgrades and additions if you are planning to sell soon. My recommendation is hold on to that money and do the necessary repairs and stage the house attractively as opposed to any major work.
Is the "market" bad? Real Estate is not the stock market. Real Estate a few years ago was historic, but not any where the norm. Again, bad? No, just back to normal. Here's looking at a bright 2008 and hopefully a media industry that has lost all the rest of the tried out negative angles on stories.