Where is the Market Going?

The public has been getting mixed messages lately, especially from the media, which add to the confusion of, “Where is the market going?” It’s important to remember that the media loves to sensationalize all news. They would have us believe that we are about to experience radical spikes in prices, interest rates, etc. As I mentioned back in April, we are still experiencing a market correction, or leveling off period. In fact, many believe that in the near future, with just a bit more correction, we will be in what is referred to as a “cleansed market.” Interest rates are low and are expected to remain that way. The economy is strong on the local level. These factors increase consumer confidence, giving buyers a wonderful opportunity to trade up, trade down, or buy for the first time.

Median local sales prices have remained surprisingly steady. Homes are staying on the market a bit longer now, so gone are the days of rushing right out and putting an offer on a home before it disappears. However, there is still a high demand for housing in Ventura County and adjacent communities. This is partially because of large local employers such as Amgen and Countrywide Home Loans, and the countless benefits of our wonderful way of life, excellent schools, etc.

There is an active inventory of properties for sale. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says a healthy market is one that has six months or less of inventory. Ventura County is seeing about a 5.7 month supply of homes on the market. In many parts of the country right now, there are standing inventories of 30+ months or more. It’s a wonderful time for buyers in this area to find a home that will match their needs for the long term.

A bit more about inventory – If inventory stays on the low end, as sellers are holding on to their properties, prices will rise. Our local inventory is low because our cities, for the most part, have reached maximum size. With relatively low inventory, we may experience a modest home price appreciation during the remainder of 2007. If you need some questions answered, want to lay a strategy for home buying plans, or are just curious about the more specific details regarding the market, please call us.

We’ll get together for a complete evaluation, tailored just for you. You may decide that it is indeed the right time to go ahead and buy the investment property you’ve been considering, purchase a second or vacation home, or whatever you’ve been dreaming of.

What’s in an Agent?

There has been an increasing trend recently among people who are selling their homes to do it themselves. This is traditionally referred to as “For Sale By Owner,” and the prime motivator is usually cost savings. Even though there are many homeowners out there who have tremendous business savvy and are highly intelligent, the intricacies of selling one’s own home present countless headaches to anyone who is not a highly-trained and accredited REALTOR®.

As you consider the benefits of hiring a Real Estate professional, what traits should you seek in an agent? Good agents are never pushy, always good listeners, and reliably consistent. Even though you might feel that they are being brutally honest at times, it’s truly in the best interest of properly pricing and marketing your home. It might not be what you wanted to hear regarding your asking price, for instance, but it’s accurate. Accurate pricing is key to a smooth transaction. That’s why good agents listen hard, to gather all details and assess them.

Seek an agent with a sense of humor. This relationship will last awhile, possibly many years to come, and you want to find a mentor who can also be your friend. It’s imperative that you trust your agent, and you can’t do that if you don’t like them. This person should also be patient. Remember that it’s in everyone’s best interest for your agent take a “client for life” approach. This is accomplished by building a mutually beneficial relationship, which will considerably decrease everyone’s stress levels and create an enjoyable atmosphere.

Demand complete information and a straightforward approach. You will receive a valuable education during your transaction process. Your agent genuinely wants you to be happy with the customer service you receive. This should include divulging every detail you want to know. However, it also mandates that the agent simultaneously and deftly handles all of the massive amounts of paperwork and legalities, plus the interface with Escrow, Lenders, Title Companies and other agents. These interactions should be seamless to you. That’s why you hired a pro.

If you ask your agent a question and he or she does not know the answer, they should promptly find the answer and tell you. Your representative needs to be direct with you, to create solid direction and to be strong. Once you’ve successfully completed your sale, you’ll be very grateful that you hired an agent. Most likely, you will wind up recommending this person to your friends and family. Last but not least, statistics prove that sellers who use an agent almost always make out better financially than the “Do It Yourself” homeowner. Not to mention all that unnecessary work you saved yourself! We thought you’d like to know.