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Charo Bhatt's Blog

By Charo Bhatt, CRS, SRES, CDPE | Broker in Fremont, CA

Weighing Your Personal Economy vs. Nation's economy

When I talk about real estate with my clients, friends, family and even my fellow Realtors, I hear the usual stories of buyers holding off due to fears of the slow economy or they are waiting for that perfect “screaming buy” to come along before purchasing. I also often hear about sellers not listing their homes because they wouldn’t get as much in this challenging market as their neighbors did a few years ago. I, however, choose to look at the market in an entirely different way – one focused on opportunities.

After my clients wring their hands about the nation’s high unemployment rate, the fragile economic recovery, and other economic stories they had seen on CNBC or read in this morning’s paper, I reply with a simple question: “Ok, but how is your personal economy doing?” After a puzzling look, I explain that while the nation’s economy is important, it’s not nearly as relevant to them as their own personal circumstances when it comes to buying or selling a home.

In many cases, my buyers have secure jobs with good incomes and strong savings and investments. With home prices easing and mortgage rates near record lows, they were personally in a good position to afford the home of their dreams – perhaps in a better position than they will be in the future when interest rates rise and home prices rebound. Conversely, many of my sellers have a great deal of equity in the home that they had owned for years and would walk away with a good profit. I remind them why they wanted to sell in the first place – to move up to a larger home, or maybe downsize in retirement, or perhaps relocate to be closer to their grandkids.

This story should remind all of us that it’s important for consumers to weigh their own “personal economy” against the nation’s economy when deciding whether to purchase or sell a home. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily drumbeat of economic news. You can’t turn on the TV or the radio, or read a paper without the latest economic minutia. While most experts agree that the U.S. economy is recovering and the risk of a “double-dip recession” appears over, some days it still feels like we’re taking two steps forward and one back.

But we can’t lose sight that what really matters in our investment decision isn’t the latest jobless figures or manufacturing orders or even the Case-Shiller index, it’s our own personal circumstances. Assuming your “personal economy” is reasonably good, it may be time to swallow your fears and take advantage of this window of opportunity to buy a home.

I’m reminded of the old saying that you make your profit on real estate when you buy, not when you sell. It’s a lot like the “buy low, sell high” philosophy of investing in stocks. While no one questions that there are economic challenges out there in the market, there are also tremendous opportunities. By the time all of those macro economic concerns have been lifted – when the “all clear” bell rings again – it’s doubtful the same opportunities will be around in terms of prices and mortgage rates. Your “personal economy” may just be the best indicator you have when considering whether to make a real estate move now rather than later.

If you are ready to make an informed decision about your real estate future, please contact me directly. I am happy to help you in any way I can.

Charo Bhatt, Broker Associate

Coldwell Banker 


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