Sometimes we get so obsessed with being on top, that we completely forget about the advantageous of being on the bottom - but the "bottom" - as it pertains to real estate can be a very good thing, especially if you are a Buyer. Whether you are purchasing (or selling) at the "top" or near the "bottom," it's always about "CONTEXT." I spoke about the "bottom" a few weeks ago and as often happens, I received excellent feedback from many of you.
Which is great - the more opinions, the better!
I happen to enjoy a good debate (which is probably why I married a lawyer). Truly, I am as interested in the dissenting voice as I am in the ones that concur. And boy do you dissenters come prepared - with graphs and statistics that account for an overview much larger than our fair Hamlet represents. You bring me national, if not global context. (Thank you. I appreciate the homework involved.) With reason and earnestness, you explain to me that you are waiting for the market to "bottom out!"
Fair enough. I really appreciate your invaluable contributions to the discussions and you may in fact, be right about your predictions for more downward adjustments ahead. Time may be on your side and you are welcome to continue to wait. (Take all the time you need.) As an Oakland/Piedmont specialist, I can only speak to the markets in which I work and in that vein, context is everything!
To illustrate my point, I was recently involved in a high-end transaction where the Buyers and the Sellers were well apart in terms of their determined "value" on a home (potato, patato!). More often than not, the difference is surmountable but in this case, the offer price was well below asking and the gap seemed too large to forge. Here's where context became very critical to the process. With sound arguments, extensive research, comparable sales and quantifiable evidence, a mutually satisfying value was reached within a few counters and the Buyers and Sellers both came out on top! (Context was established.)
So when I am asked to consider national statistics, I am acutely aware of how important they are to you, but they aren't nearly as relevant as what is happening right here and right now in our own backyard - which is increased activity and demand where both Buyers and Sellers are working to find a middle ground within the context of our current marketplace.
And while you pass on today's opportunities on the chance that home prices will continue to decline, the interest rates have ticked up more than a half a percent over last week's rates. Added to the life of a 30-year loan, this difference can FAR outstrip the extra savings you may achieve by waiting further.
Top or bottom? It matters less than your family's' goals, your immediate needs, the right home at the right time and the context of the marketplace today!
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.