January 8, 2009
By Dana Mahon at 5:50 pm
The current economic situation has put fear into the hearts, minds and bank accounts of nearly everyone around the world, and word on the street seems to be that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. (If it ever does!) Just when you were starting to consider giving up or selling out, however, we found some experts to share their advice. We hope this information will put your minds at ease, or at least help to guide you through these challenging times. We spoke with an experienced realtor, a financial planner and a couple of mortgage brokers, and here is what they have to say about planning for, coping with and surviving this economic situation.
Vancouver View: Housing prices are starting to fall, finally! When do you expect
the market to bottom out?
Peter Colls: Anyone with a crystal ball would be a very rich man! Generally speaking, the top or bottom of a market doesn’t show up until six months after the fact. If you know your local market and micro-market, there are values to be had. As well, seldom-available property types may not only be available, they could be available at good-to-great value.
VV: What advice would you give to a new homebuyer given the current state of the market?
Peter Colls: There is obvious uncertainty out there, but the bottom line is everyone needs somewhere to live. If your job is secure, you can take that worry out of the equation. My suggestion would be not to let the uncertainty of the market hold you back. Right now there is still a moderate amount of business because there is decent inventory from which to choose and active buyers are able to see good value. In the spring the market historically tightens up. The great deal that was on the market this winter could very well be gone come spring. Markets change when they change; an experienced realtor can advise you on such tightening of the market.
VV: What would you say to someone who is having trouble selling his/her home?
Peter Colls: The market is the market and there is only one reason any house doesn’t sell-price. Ultimately, if there is value in your home-i.e. location, improvements, condition, exposure-the market will create value. Unfortunately for some, the timeline of current market circumstances may not coincide with immediate need.
VV: What are the top three things people can do right now?
1) Find an experienced realtor you trust who has seen a few market cycles.
2) Find someone who can teach you to become your own expert in your particular niche in the marketplace.
3) Understand the historical annual cycles of our local market and have the confidence to work with that knowledge.
If you are making the right lifestyle decisions for the right reasons, consider this: real estate at long last is not only “on sale”, but offers an almost four-decade low in interest rates as well as good inventory and obviously less urgency in decision-making.
Peter Colls is a RE/MAX Hall of Famer and Master Medallion Club member of the Vancouver Real Estate Board. Peter has sold over $150,000,000 in sales volume. This is the fourth market cycle in his 19-year real estate career.