Feeling over stimulated and loving it
Well, the Obama stimulus package has finally hit central Massachusetts in a big way … and we are certainly loving the feeling out here. Finally, at last, the mini-vacation the real estate market has been enduring over the last few months is over, and it's back to work – and not a moment too soon.
The last few weeks have brought buyers to the market in droves, driven by affordable housing prices, an $8,000 federal tax credit for home purchasers, record low interest rates, and the very first signs of spring. By the way, in case I run out of room, you really need to learn the details of the $8,000 federal home purchase tax credit and how to use it to your advantage. I have several great resources available to you on it, so e-mail me at steve@ stevelevine.com and I'll send them your way.
Anyway, the results of the various elements of the stimulus package have been simply mind boggling to those of us in the trenches every day. I know that I personally have been involved in several transactions of the last couple of weeks in which there were multiple offers on properties … to the stunned amazement of all involved. So much for the time when a buyer could look at a home, think about it for a few months, and then come back to not only find it still available – but cheaper as well. Suddenly we've seen a few home sellers actually raising prices with the appearance of each daffodil.
What we are not seeing yet, and really need now, is an infl ux of inventory into the market, and this very unbalance is making the sudden swings seem even more pronounced. For all the media hype about the market being flooded with homes, we're really not seeing the inventory we'd come to expect this time of year. Normally our phones are ringing off the hook this time of year with home sellers ready to make that spring move. Hopefully the nice weather, and the positivity starting to hit the mainstream media will finally bring some of the potential home sellers out of the gloom of the last few months. After over 20 years in the real estate industry, I can honestly say than I have never, ever seen the type of opportunities that there are in the market today. Millionaires are being made each and every day right now, and the only question is who they will be. Mark my words now, there will come a time in the near future when people chatting at a party will be referring to the lucky folks who purchased back in 2009, just as they talked about people in my development who were smart enough to purchase during the far bleaker market of 1992.
Yet it was in the midst of all that made 1992 a scary year in the financial markets, that more millionaires were being seeded than you could possibly imagine. People with the courage to step up to the plate that year found their homes double in value, in many cases, within 36 months. I can still remember the people I was working with in 1995 and 1996 looking at homes in my neighborhood in the mid 400's, wondering in disbelief why they hadn't bought a few years earlier.
Nobody can possibly speculate as to what the value of a home will be three or four months down the road, any more so than we know what the value of a stock will be at the end of the next quarter. Warren Buffet, the proclaimed Oracle of Omaha, has been plowing billions of dollars into the stock market in the past two months, based on that very same principle. He said that he doesn't know, and doesn't care, what the value will be like next month, because he knows where it will be years from now.
In short, now that it appears that we have weathered the storm, and survived what was likely the "bottom" we all had sought, it's important to look forward and be able to truly evaluate what the next 10 years may ultimately hold. To those who have the courage, they will be reacting to a time of opportunity that we likely may never see again in our lifetimes.
One of the biggest challenges for upgrading homeowners, of course, has been finding a way to achieve the maximum value for their current home – especially those who purchased near the peak and had little equity to begin with. For them, I'm thrilled to be able to roll out my annual "Homeowners Blend" program, at least for the first five or 10 folks that I hear from. That will allow them to potentially increase the net sales price of their property quite a bit, which is always a great tool. E-mail me or call for more information on that, and I'll fill up the slots on a first-come, first-served basis.
Steve Levine is President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent at REMAX First Choice. He has been ranked as the top REMAX Agent in New England since 1999, and can be reached on line at www.stevelevine.com or by phone at 508-735-4663.
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