I write a monthly article for the Boulder Area Realtor Association . I thought I would post it here as well.
We are living in the information age. Some of the information comes to us unsolicited and some we actively seek out. We get information via email, websites, newspapers, friends, family, television; the list goes on and on. The problem isn’t enough information, it’s too much information. Many times the information conflicts with other input we have received, and it is up to us to sort through, digest, decide and react to it all.
This syndrome is especially true for information on the real estate market. The consumer is bombarded with a variety of “sources”; national news, their neighbor who has their house on the market and HGTV are just a few examples of how market perceptions are formed. An individual forms their opinion based upon the aggregation of all of this information. Lately the overall opinion has been, well, negative. Let’s be honest, we haven’t had the strongest market lately; sales are down, foreclosures are up, short sales are in the news and consumers have shut down on making large purchases. So what’s wrong, the message matches the reality, right? Wrong!
The myth is that the market has disappeared with the economy and that there are no buyers out there. The myth is that you can get a house for 20% off the list price in Boulder County. The reality is that there is still a market for homes that are very well priced. The reality is that a home needs to be in good condition in order to compete. The reality is that the market is strong for homes that are in areas and price ranges targeted by first-time homeowners. The reality is that there are quick offers and multiple offers out there for homes of sellers who understand and have reacted to the market we are in. The reality is that we are in a market where smart buyers can make a good investment. The reality is that there are many people who would like to move but feel like it is a bad time to do so. The reality is that our prices have been very resilient. The reality is that the real estate market is cyclical and you cannot panic at the bottom or get overly exuberant at the top.
So, what about the statistics? Numbers don’t lie but they do only look one way, backwards. If you focus too much on the fact that sales were down 19% in August from a year ago you lose sight of the fact that there are opportunities in every market. A smart Realtor is the one who sees opportunities in the market and communicates those opportunities to everyone they meet. The market in Bend, OR was a boom town until, all-of-the sudden, prices fell 20%. Now Realtors are super busy helping buyers who love the idea of buying a house at a discount. Everyone needs a place to live, we are not selling widgets. The market for shelter cannot disappear. The numbers are ugly, but that doesn’t mean that the future will follow. Yes, we have some challenges yet to overcome and some hard work ahead, but let’s make sure our personal message to the public includes some of the positive realities of the local market.