Saturday, June 18, 2011

Perfect Timing—In Real Estate, Does it Exist?

Years ago, my then 3 year old son wanted us to videotape him singing a song. He was not like most toddlers, wanting to record Twinkle Twinkle or a quick chorus of Happy Birthday on tape. No, he loved the Hal Ketchum song, Small Town Saturday Night and wanted us to record him singing the entire song.
I can still see him start the first few lines then pause with his blonde head bobbing slowly as he concentrated. We stopped the camera and asked if he forgot the words. He said of course not and started again. But again he paused at the same point. This time we kept taping because we now knew he was still listening to the melody in his head, waiting for the words to start for the next verse. We were amazed that at such a young age, he wanted his timing to be perfect…even without any background music playing.
Whenever I hear that song play, I remember my little boy trying so hard to perfectly time his singing without any assistance and only his memory to guide him. It also makes me think about all those home buyers and sellers hoping to perfectly time their real estate transactions.
Keeping a musical beat for a 3 year old is easier than timing the real estate market…WAAAY Easier! While my son had the memory of a tune to follow, home buyers and sellers really don’t have a road map for this market. Yet time and time again I hear comments similar to these.
“I’m not going to GIVE away my house. I will wait out the market and list when things get better.”
“This home seems perfect but I’ll wait for the next price drop.”
“I don’t think the market has hit bottom yet.”
“Interest rates have been low for quite awhile. I think I will wait to see if home prices drop further too.”
“I love the house but I'm going to wait. I want to make sure I do not overpay.”
Just like the stock market, it is impossible to project and time the real estate market. We can make educated guesses or predictions on the market based on what is currently happening. But know one really knows if you would get more for your home by waiting a year or if you would be paying less for a similar home in the future. By the time prices begin to recover and trend upward, you have missed the bottom of the market. If in your hyper-local community, home prices start selling for higher prices there is no guarantee you will receive more for your home. Like all other aspects of the economy, there are predictions and opportunities but knowing which prediction will perfectly direct you to the right opportunity; that is hazy in the proverbial crystal ball.
It’s Time to Step to the Beat of Your OWN Drummer
I know it's cliche but when investing in real estate one cannot follow the crowd and take a "wait and see" approach. Residential real estate is like no other investment because of the extremely personal aspect. People need a place to live. Deciding to buy or rent in this market is not a cut-and-dry decision. There are several pieces to the "rent vs buy" puzzle, including getting the right mortgage and working with an experienced REALTOR® for the buyer.
While home sellers have to understand how to make their property stand out from the pack with aggressive pricing, thoughtful staging and expert marketing, sometimes it does make sense to wait to move up to a larger home in a market like this. But more often, people make successful and quick transitions to new homes with expert advice. Sellers that “give away” their homes often “steal a home” at a fabulous price on the other end of the transaction when they buy their new property. Buyers opting to move forward now are getting awesome interest rates and bargain home pricing to boot! It is a good time to buy a home and homes are selling at fair prices considering the current economy. People sitting on the fence waiting for the “perfect” time may end up disappointed because nothing is ever perfect.

Copyright 2011