What’s going on

Dear Homebuyers and Sellers,
These are confusing times.
The media is relentlessly painting doom and gloom pictures splashed over front pages with huge headlines as if everybody would be out in the streets at any moment now. Hard-luck stories are described as the norm.
And yet:
The median home prices have risen in several places.
The interest rates are pretty much like they have been except now people actually have to be able to pay back their mortgages.
Were does that leave us?
The market has become more balanced. That is a good thing for everybody.
Sellers are still getting their appreciation. Buyers have more choices and there is actually some negotiation going on with win-win results. The interest rates are good. Inventory is up so there are good houses and condos to buy.
The economy in the SF/Bay Area is great. Our biotech, medical, tourism, financial, export, real estate and computer industries are strong and growing.
Three former governors, Davis, Deukmejian and Wilson are telling us that over the next 20 years the Bay Area will add more than 1.6 million new residents and California will add 8.4 million more.
No matter how you feel about that, they have to live somewhere.
The Real Estate market is cyclical. A little up, a little down. But over the course of the existence of the Bay Area real estate values have always gone up in leaps and bounds.
Houses are not stocks on Wall Street, even though the media and investors are treating them as such.
Homes are for habitation, not for speculation.
We are buying a lifestyle.
We live in our homes and have the freedom to create our lives the way we want in our own space.
And we get a tax write-off on top of it.
Once we sell our personal residence we get a tax break of up to $250,000 on any profit.
That alone is fabulous.
Where else can you enjoy yourself and get a tax break for it?
Trying to guess a top or a bottom in any market is futile. Nobody knows. None of the experts know.
We can all guess and use different ways of measuring, depending on whether we think the glass is half-full or half-empty.
The builders have overbuilt in certain areas and they have to sell quickly because their monthly overhead is huge.
When a few people make some money, all of a sudden so many others jump in to try to get a piece of the pie that nobody makes anything any more. That’s what happened with new housing.
Of course new housing starts are down.
The ones that were built have to be sold first. That is not rocket science. But you would not know it reading it in the paper.
What is there to do?
Now is a good time to buy and a good time to sell.
Why wait until the market goes up again so that you have to compete with 15 other people if you are a buyer?
As a seller you have your appreciated value. If you are buying your next house, it is a wash. Chances are that the house you are buying is in the same situation. Or if you are moving to a different state you are way ahead.
The interest rates are good. The banks have money, only the players have changed. Nothing new there. There will be solutions to the subprime mess, which by the way do not include regular adjustable or interest only loans.
One thing that did change though is that now it is even more important to work with professionals:
Experienced real estate agents, loan officers and escrow officers.
Not everybody who passes a test can help you make the best decisions.
Go for experience, knowledge, skill and caring.
A sound purchase of a home isn’t about clicking on pictures on the internet.
If that was all, then, no, we would not need anybody.
In reality this is the place where the real work starts, not ends.
The best time to buy or sell is the time you can buy and want to sell.
If that is today, go for it.
Homes are there to let you live the life you love,
not to dictate your decisions.
Write or call me anytime.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Heidi

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You can count on on me for straight-forward advice about Real Estate