Like watching a pet rock?

That is an expression that has been used on the real estate market many times in the last three years.  I thought people had forgotten about pet rocks. That link on pet rocks is for the convenience of those under forty.

But no, this expression seems to be perfect for what is happening in real estate now. They were mentioned again today by a prominent real estate analyst to describe this listless home market.

What it means for you depends on if you are a real estate buyer, a real estate keeper, a real estate seller, or a real estate builder.

Real estate buyer:

You are in the driver’s seat. If you have good credit and some cash, you can buy quality at a good price. Find an excellent buyer’s agent and have fun.

Real estate keeper:

You may want to sell your home but it is worth less than you paid. Be patient. This may take a while. In the meantime, keep the home up and things will turn around.

Real estate seller:

You have to be realistic. Price it right, be ready to bargain, and you will have to be patient. If the right buyer comes along, you might be able to sell the home on contract.

Real estate builder:

Hang up your hammer and get a job at Wal-Mart.

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Right here, right now!

OW is the time to make a move and take advantage of what our current market has to offer.  Home ownership has never been more affordable in the Champaign-Urbana area, and following are some reasons why:

1.)    Selection – Did you know there are over 2,000 homes on the market according to our Champaign County Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service System, and homes continue to come on the market every day?  There are many options to choose from that will meet the needs you are looking for in a new home.

2.)    Motivated Sellers – Sellers who must sell in this market need to be smart and aggressive in their pricing.  Sellers know they have to price it right, and as a result, homes in our area are selling on average within 95-97% of list price to sales price.

3.)    Affordability – Interest rates are still holding low.  You can get a 30 year fixed loan for a little under 4%.  Eventually, those rates will go back up, and for every percentage the interest rate increases, you lose about 10% of your buying power.  With rates where they are, you are definitely able to buy more home now.

4.)    Financing Options – There are still loans out there that require no or low down payments.  There are also down payment assistance funds available for those that qualify.  Be sure to meet with a lender to find out what options would work best for you, and to get a clearer sense of how much it would actually cost you

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Champaign Urbana Real Estate Update

The latest statistics on  Real Estate in Champaign Urbana tells us what we already knew- this market continues to slip slide.  Usually statistics can be used to emphasize something that is minor or unimportant or a bald faced lie. In this case they throw light on the pink elephant in the room.

The feature seller buyer in a News Gazette article this am sold a condo listed for $165,000 for $130,000 (see pointer below for sellers) and bought a super house which is just what they needed in South Champaign and moved. This is so typical these days and at the risk of being beyond trite I’ll say it: “THIS IS A BUYER”S MARKET!”

Here are some of the stats:

-there were 32 more closings this August compared to last (239 to 271)…the good news.

-the average selling price was down almost $20,000 dollars…the bad news…maybe. Got to be that with mondo homes over $500,000 hardly selling at all skews this figure. Better stats are needed to see this for what it truly is.

-the number of homes on the market actually decreased last week from 2,100 to 2,025. But this figure has to be taken like the unemployment figures. Most likely there is a gaggle and a half of “discouraged sellers” who have withdrawn homes because they have been on the market since the Vietnam era. A figure that needs to go with this one is average days on the market.

So…what can we conclude?

First for sellers:

-Price it right, which means low. Possibly less than you paid or owe and certainly less than you want to get. It’s tough but the best advice a realtor can give you is start at a gettable price.

-Be ready to wait…and wait.

-Have the place ready, but get good advice on what to invest in to do that. Like pull down the flowered wallpaper but skip paving the drive.

-Consider selling on contract. Just be sure to use a realtor and a smart real estate lawyer– and no that is not meant as an oxymoron jab. Get one that knows real estate contracts and is reasonably priced. And like get one that went to Mount Holyoke or some such place.

Then for buyers:

-Whoo hoo! Have fun. Shop till you drop and find a cool dream house bargain.

-Be patient…but do not let this down market and low interest rates pass you by. Max Mitchell reminds us that they are “they are the most favorable (he means low) they’ve been since the ’70s”. The Vietnam era again…great days, right Max?

-Remember that sellers pay realtors. So call a realtor today. Shop for one that meets you needs and let them work for you. Believe me, they are hungry.

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