My dog, Buck, never gives up. No matter where we walk, he will vigorously hunt until he finds his prize: a castoff ball of some sort (lacrosse, tennis - he's not particulary discriminating - the older the better) which he then proudly places at my feet. Big dog smile and tail wagging rapidly, he knows that even if I ignore him at first, I will eventually give in and toss him the ball. Together, we will engage in a prolonged game of fetch and he will be happily rewarded for his unyielding tenacity (not unlike many buyers). Buck is the ultimate optimist!
And so am I when it comes to real estate. (No, I don't hunt for old tennis balls or chase after them for that matter). Sure, I read the papers, listen to the news reports and gather all of the relevant statistics I can with respect to our specific marketplace ( I too, can be obsessive) so there's no denying that home prices have softened and that overall, sales are down.
Still, I remain optimistic as to our future.
Because the dream of home ownership is very much alive and well.
Yes, Buyers are more discriminating than they used to be and certainly, they are purchasing more conservatively, but Buyers are also undeniably and intimately engaged in the process: often times, asking me about a new listing even before I have had a chance to alert them to it. They are keenly interested in what is selling and for how much, they anticipate every beat and nuance of the market and they collect sales information as eagerly as my dog collects used tennis balls!
Like all good detectives (or an excited black Lab) these Buyers are constantly tracking each and every opportunity that presents itself. In many cases, their tenacity is paying off. Buyers who are stepping in to take advantage of this more conservative marketplace, are often times, securing homes that were previously unaffordable and unattainable just a few short years ago. (This is true for every segment of the marketplace from budget foreclosures to three million dollar estates!) With a relative market in hand, they realize their upside often offsets any down side.
So if you find yourself increasingly attracted to the marketplace at this time, you are in very good company. There are wonderful opportunities to be had in nearly every community and at every price point.
So wag your tail, jump for joy and get excited. It's okay to be optimistic! (just don't run into the street!)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.