Answer: When someone else buys the house you wanted.
In other words, we’re still in a buyer’s market, but certain houses or certain neighborhoods are in demand, which means some houses sell fast or there may even be multiple offers.
Most buyers, particularly first time buyers, are worried that they will pay too much for a house, that the market will continue to drop after they buy. So they wait for the “bottom” of the market.
Here are the problems with that strategy:
- The “bottom” is only recognizable in hindsight. There is no sign-post that says “Bottom of the market will be hit next Tuesday at 4 PM.”
- There are typically multiple bottoms of the market. The market doesn’t usually behave like a yo-yo – up, then down, then up again. Instead it sort of dribbles like a ball rolling over an uneven surface. Up, then down, then a little up, then even, then down, then down some more, then up again. Slows then picks up speed, then slows again.
- This strategy treats real estate as an investment, which it might be if you are buying a home strictly for investment purposes, but for people who plan to live there and make it home, it shouldn’t be your primary criteria.
Buy the house that fits your needs, that makes you happy and that you can afford. Pay what you’re willing and able to pay. And realize that you’re buying more than just a house, you’re buying intangibles like comfort, hope, protection and dreams too.
© 2011 Susan Pruden. All rights reserved.