Take advantage of today's real estate market

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Michael Dixon Realty

Are any properties being sold in the Americus and Ellaville market these days? The answer is yes. Even in today's market, which is depressed at worst and uncertain at best, people are buying and selling real estate. Foreclosures account for some of the numbers, but let's take a look at listed properties during the past 30 days, beginning November 21.

The Americus area Multiple Listing Service, which includes Sumter, Schley and adjacent counties, records sales on a daily basis. In the past 30 days, 10 listed residential properties have changed hands. They ranged in price from $26,900 to $485,000. In the same period, no listed commercial or land properties have been sold.

The total number of residential properties listed in the MLS in the past 30 days has ranged from a high of 136 to a low of 131. This tells us that in the same period that 10 residential properties were sold other properties were newly listed, so there was never more than a five-unit spread in the number of properties on the market. The total has remained above 130 for the entire period.

It's also clear that inventory -- the number of unsold houses in the MLS -- remains rather high week after week, which is another way of saying that not many are being sold. Ten sold houses in 30 days is one house every three days. With over 130 houses to choose from, that sales figure seems pretty low.

However, let's not forget FSBOs (For Sale by Owner) which are not listed in the MLS. A few of them have been sold in the past 30 days. Also, some foreclosures and some REO's (Real Estate Owned by banks) were sold, and not all of them were listed with Realtors. Add them all up, and the total houses sold exceeded the 10 in the Multiple Listing Service.

What can we surmise from all of this? For one thing, even when the economy is in recession some people buy and sell real estate. In fact, some buyers are extra active in "down" markets. They sometimes are able to buy properties below normal market value. For example, the market for houses priced below $60,000 has been good for investors lately. Many are buying these small houses, renovating them, and renting them out for long-term income. Many investors believe real estate is a safer place to put one's money these days than stocks.

Buyers with adequate credit scores and other qualifiers can obtain mortgage loans. While lending qualifications may have tightened up since the days of high-risk lending that threatened to collapse the mortgage industry, money is available for the qualified buyer. Is that you? Find out by talking with a mortgage lender. (Remember: Deal with local lenders when possible. To them you are more than an account number in a distant location; you are part of their community.)

After you have been pre-approved (with conditions) for a mortgage loan, get together with a Realtor and look at some properties in your price range. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what you can afford.


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