HP'ers, have at it. What advice would you offer to potential home buyers and Desperate Homedebtors? And what advice would you offer to ramen eating realtors on commission?
Answer: It's a great time to buy because home prices are coming down and there are a lot of homes to choose from. Plus, the interest, the property tax, private mortgage insurance (starting this year), and any points you pay on a mortgage can be tax deductible. And since homes typically appreciate over time, homeownership is an investment that builds equity. And if you get a fixed-rate mortgage, your payment stays flat, whereas rental payments can always go up.
Q: What is your best advice for potential clients looking to sell their properties right now?
A: Since there is a record number of about 53,000 homes listed for sale on the Arizona Multiple Listing Service, and since only 10 percent of these properties are currently selling, my advice would be that if they do not have to sell their home right now, don't put it on the market. But if they do have to sell, their house must be in "parade-ready" condition. And it must be the most attractively priced property among comparable homes in the area. Plus, they need a Realtor who will pull out the stops when it comes to marketing their home, and who will do everything possible to make it stand apart from the competition. Otherwise, the chances of the home selling in this market are remote.
Q: What housing/real estate trends do you foresee in 2007 for the West Valley?
A: No one has a crystal ball. But based on the Arizona Multiple Listing Service data, there's about a $40,000 gap Valleywide between the price of homes being listed and what they end up actually selling for. I believe this gap is going to have to narrow before sales pick up, which means that home prices will have to come down even more than they already have.