In all the years I have been in real estate, the seasoned agents may smirk, I have been told the most important thing in home buying is location, location, location. Almost nine years ago when I was sitting in my first real estate class the instructor said it over and over. It is such a common saying you think of it first when someone asks, "What is most important?" (Old car also comes to mind but that is for another post).
It has shifted. Did you feel it? When speaking with two buyers this week they asked me, "What are the interest rates? What do you think I will qualify for?" I cannot tell you how happy this made me. I was a loan officer prior to being a real estate salesperson. This parallels my first set of questions to a prospective buyer. The mindsets have adjusted, the questions are good ones.
The shift we have also seen over the previous year is people are being more realistic about their home ownership needs. Cost of ownership is first, location is second, and amenities are now pulling in third.
In this economy many good people have suffered losing their home to foreclosure and seeing their retirement circle the drain. I myself felt the shift of the stock market when I opened the mail and figured out exactly what I had left/lost. JL Boney said it best when he said, "Just keep thinking long term." Well, not all of us have that option if no longer in the workforce or planning the end of our career. In my opinion real estate is still the best investment.
I cannot say I am happy about what has happened to the real estate market over the past 24 months. However, it is refreshing to see how buyers are changing their priorities. It was a shift I never expected to see in my lifetime.
BTW- Have you hugged your loan officer today? (Insert expletive here). Some may feel they helped get us into this 'adjustment' but I have a feeling they are going to be an asset again.