Ok, I've ranted a bit there, but my point is, getting real estate market advice from a source across the country is probably not likely to yield very accurate results.
In Phoenix (which is to say nothing of the entire state of Arizona), we have sub-markets that have seen little, if any price decline. We have other markets that have seen dramatic 50% price declines, with no floor in sight. Location, location, location is the big deciding factor. Normalcy for declining markets will return when inventory balances against demand. In our hardest hit areas, it looks to me like the decline is years from ending. In other areas, balance is almost at hand, while in other areas, balance was never out of hand.
Have I mentioned that real estate is local?
Look, I know that for folks who don't have the time or the research skills that an agent can be a great help. Is an agent necessary? Not really. Not if you are willing to do a little reading and research. On the other hand, almost *EVERY* Realtor I spoke have ever spoken with during my investigation of their practices has tried to get me into a house that was dependent on two incomes to pay for and usually had crazy terms and a balloon payment.
If these Agents were committed to doing what was best in the interest of their clients they would not be talking folks into a house they might not be able to afford a few years down the road. Instead they get them in a house, however they can, and they get their commission.
From what I have seen, it is a combination of greedy real estate ages and irresponsible consumers who have created a lot of the problems you see today in the housing and mortgage industry. Add to threat the double whammy of gas prices that are almost double of what they were a year or so ago and that spells the real trouble we are in today - but I digress...
I wasn't bashing. Just calling a spade a spade. Suer there are decent folk in real estate but there are a lot of folks out there pushing to over inflate the market as well with no thought to what it does to the less fortunate. The whole housing as an investment attitude is what got us where we are today. If it was not for out of state (California and other) investors buying up houses to flip for a profit maybe more average folks in Tucson could afford to buy a house. IMHO it is borderline criminal what they have let the industry get away with and I'd say we should call for regulation of it but we all know how far that would fly with the current administration.
To be fair, when it comes to Tucson I am a little less than objective at times as I find what the real estate market has done to the town over the last 20+ years. They built all the way up the sides of the Catalina's - somethign the City Council promised they would never let happen but, in true Tucson form, someone's palm got greased and up the mountain side they went.
Much of the beauty of this valley has been destroyed so rich retirees can have good views and play golf.
But like I said, I'm partial to this place ;-)
They have been raping us out here for years. The rich keep moving out here and driving up the prices so the rest of the town can't afford to buy. It is insane.
That said, there are deals to be had but they are few and far between. Wait a while longer till more of the folks who overbought on variable rate loans with balloon payments at the end get foreclosed on and forced out of their homes. When thee are *lots* of empty new homes go looking for an older one. The new ones will *still* cost too much as folks will have too much in them to sell them for what they ought to cost.
Look for an older property, bought and paid for *before* the bubble. The folks selling these won't be upside down on them and probably won't be so hard pressed for $$.
Look for a private sale. The realtors out here, well most of them that I've dealt with, are vultures.
Oh, and when they say things like 'desirable areas' they are talking about expensive homes for folks with deep pockets.
If you have something more specific in mindf, please let me know.
I can see what size lots the listed homes are on. I can see what kind of appliances they have. I can see what kind of heating and cooling they have. I can even see what houses in the area sold for recently and over time. I can do this all online.
At the end of the day, there are *always* going to be those people who do not have the time, or maybe they have the time or not the initiative (or the confidence even) to do certain things (like find and purchase a home) on their own so Realtors, Auto Mechanics, Electricians, Appliance repairmen, and a whole slew of other professionals will *always* have a market. I'm not one of those people though and there are plenty of other folks who are not as well. Even in my business there are those who always hire a pro and those who always do it on their own.
Also, I'm sure that, just as in any other business there are stand up Realtors and Realtors who will do anythign to put a buck in their pocket,. That is one of the things you have to deal with in a capitalist society as capitalism can tend to nurture greed and bring out the worst in many folks unfortunate as that may be.
As for the pre-approval... my point was that Realtors were working with bans and lenders during the bubble to help folks get approved for loans they could afford *at the moment* but a lot of those were variable rate and with balloon payments.
If you look at what they did, they petty much created a large part of the mess we are in now. What it looks like from where I stand is that they did it on purpose figuring they'd take all this money from folks and, when they defaulted because of the balloon payment at the end, they could take the house back and sell it to someone else all over again.
It's like the old timers who won land in Texas (and probably every where else as well) do. They sell land, owner financed strictly to folks with no kind of credit because they know they'll miss a payment or two and then they'll take it back and sell it to someone else.
In this case they were not selling to folks with no credit but you have to wonder if they really thought every single person they sold to would be able to actually make that balloon payment...
If you are, as you say you are, a stand up kind of Realtor and you have your clients best interests, and not your own bank account, in mind when you sell a house then I applaud you and I hope your work ethic rubs off on more of your peers. :-)
I am sorry that you seem to have had a bad experience with more than one Realtor. We would have given you a directory of several mortgage companies to get your preapproval based on your income and your desired payment.
We make sure that the Buyers we work with are prequalified, and feel comfortable with the payment that they have been quoted, before we show them homes in their desired price range.
We personally take our Profession very seriously. one could probably do any job with a text book or the interent except probably brain surgery.....
It does not mean that you do not need a Professional to assist you.
Yes one can get information from Escrow on one house in an area, and yes probaby go through the motions of a house sale without a Realtor, but you may not have intimate knowledge of the market , the area, the houses that have sold, which one was a foreclosure, which one was not upgraded, which one has a larger backyard , which one had a three car garage fetc. or a market analysis.
I beg to differ that one does require the services of an experienced Realtor in a transaction. Best wishes...we love Tucson too.. Anne :)
I think you may have to look at Tucson changing from a quiet small town to a much bigger City...remember we hit the million population not so long ago.
We are on the most desirable cities to retire list ,even with a not so great economy.
The current market has great oppportunities for savvy investor, whether they buy from a personal owner or a Real Estate Agency listed property.
I believe, as a Realtor, I speak for our Profession that we are not " vultures"....quite the opposite... we are Professionals that assist Buyers and Sellers with the sale or purchase of their home.
Quite often we know the history of a property and have seen it sold many times.. We can provide valuable insight and experience to a Buyer and a Seller in their Tucson Home Purchase or Sale.
We often know about properties that are going on the market before they are publicly known.
Please think about the importance of words, before you bash a credible group of Professionals that work very hard to assist people with the most important transaction of their life..their home.
Didn't you say you bought a house. You need to change your name from "Debt Free Dave" to something like "Debt for 30 yrs Dave". Your losing credibility. How is that AZ market? Are we at 1999 prices yet? I guess it may take another few years or so.
The report in the NYTimes your are quoting estimates the "average" overpricing in Fl and AZ. So according to Steve's numbers, they are pretty much on track. Some areas of FL are still really hurting, like Miami. This is a combination of over building, market conditions and greed. AZ is a condition of market conditions and over building. Our entire business is to help clients locate the very best property across the country. Give me a call if you need additional help.
The Schaffer Realty Group