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Is now a good time to buy a house in Charleston, SC? It seems like prices are going down and it might be

Asked by Voices Member, Tue Feb 17, 2009

cheaper to rent. Thanks.

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I think Steven gets the award for the worst advice/sales pitch to buy.

How could anyone in the world justify buying right now?

Person asked if it was a good time to buy assuming it is cheaper to rent and prices are going down. Every freaking Realtor has the same drivel: "It's a great time to BUY!!!!!" Are you kidding me? How can you claim to be a professional adviser spewing crap like this?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Found the bottom, It is to early to judge whether or not feb 17th was a GTTB or not check back in 2-3 years. You might respond with why 2-3 years. The reason is a buyer should not buy a home with the expectation of selling in 6 months.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 2, 2009
Eager Buyer: It is a great time to rent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Eager Buyer = Troll. Fail.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Let's boil away all of the confusion.
As an investor, a broker, and a realtor .... it is always a good time to buy real estate, IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT.
It's about finding the right deal, 17 cents on the dollar is almost always a good deal.
Somtimes 50 cents on the dollar is a good deal, sometimes more than 50 cents.
It all depends on the deal.

Eager buyer, I'm happy to give you my 2 cents re: any particular deal you are looking at.

Rich
http://RichardLSlater.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Mr Eager Buyer, it's Candy again,
I meet people all the time like Mr. Leveraged, who are so disastisfied with real estate agents. It is painful for me to deal with the fall out, like this, when someone has had a bad real estate experience, or is just negative about the real estate process.

Not all real estate agents are pillars in their community. But I know so many realtors and, trying to be objective, I know that the majority of them try to do their best.

Yes, asking a realtor if it's a good time to buy is like asking a car dealer if it's a good time to buy a car!
(Extra points for the good analogy)
We make our living selling homes. But, it is stupid in any business to create unhappy customers. In real the real estate industry repeat business and referral business is the way we make our living! If all we had to depend on was new customers walking in the door, and phone calls from yard signs we wouldn't be able to pay our bills. With that in mind, a real estate agent will likely give you very good advice on the market in your area. You may not be a customer/client now, but you or someone you know, will be in the future.

Real Estate is a career, not a job. Careers are built on providing quality, dependable service. Find someone locally who comes highly recommended and get some advice. It won't cost you anything. Ask several people and compare answers. But in the end, if the time is not right for you. Don't buy.

It appears that this question has pushed a lot of buttons! Hope this helps.
Candy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
I've read through the answers here, including my own, and I think that the best thing for you to do is to rent.
If you are unsure that home ownership is a good thing in your area, then don't buy.

Buying a home is a huge decision on so many levels. The home you choose needs to be a place that feels right to you. We all know that buying a home is a very emotional decision for most people.
Not just an investment. You need to feel good and excited about a home and the investment part may be secondary.

Yes, real estate is a good investment, for all the reasons you've been told. And buying when the market is down, in real estate, stock and bonds or even groceries just makes sense. But if the time is not right for you to make an investment like that, then it's a good time for you to rent. In time, you may feel more confident in your local real estate market to take the plunge.

I have worked with many potential buyers who seemed to be forcing themselves to buy because it was "the right time" or "a good investment". They were quick to find fault, and easily discouraged. People who are not in a positive frame of mind about spending many thousands of hard earned dollars can be hard to deal with. They just aren't happy about it.

So, even tho my general advice still stands about buying in a down market. Without a good feeling about it, I think you should wait. And yes, I have advised many of my clients to wait until the time is right, for them.

Candy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Look at what some of these Realtors say to this poor person:

"Best to talk to a Realtor and ask for their assistance in watching your market and see what the trends tell you. Once it all bottoms out, prices will begin to rise."

"If you rent. all the money is gone. period."

"Now is the time to buy not rent. We have seen a huge increase in showings and offers this year."

WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE HONEST? DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND THAT NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME TO BUY!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
My sentiments exactly Steven Alsbury...we've already seen an upward turn as far as showings and offers, so far this year.

We have to have showings and offers before we get sales and closings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
All signs point to it being a better time to rent rather than own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Steven:

Awesome Picture.

Horrible advice.

Now is the worst time to buy ever. Why do it now? Why not just rent? You are telling this person to loose money so you can get 3%. How is that good for them?

You say: "Once the market hits bottom it's too late." Does that mean you would not advise someone to buy after the bottom comes? Let me guess....you will say "It's a great time to buy! Prices are rising!!!"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Dear Eager Buyer -
You ask if now is a good time to buy. That depends on a number of things that are specific to your situation and price point. While prices may continue to decline, interest rates are at an all time low. If prices continue to decline but interest rates go up, waiting may cost you money. Are you a first time homebuyer? If so, there is now a tax credit up to $8,000 that will expire at the end of 2009. The best thing for you to do is contact a Realtor who can discuss your goals with you and look at your situation in depth.
Debbie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 24, 2009
I can not be that everyone claims that now is the best time to buy in Charleston, but it is not. Prices are dropping and with the layoffs and foreclosures looming they might just get even worse. It is still much cheaper to rent. The ratio between income and home pices is off too and suggest that even the prices we are at now can not be supported.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 18, 2009
Hi again,

Think of it this way.

Worst case scenario:

You buy a home and your pay the mortgage and the taxes for 3 years. Then you decide to sell that home. But the market has not improved a whole lot in 3 years (worst case scenario). So you put the house on the market at the best price that you can.

You determined your rock bottom price by adding the real estate fees (the amount the real estate company will charge you for marketing the property...usually 6%) and the closing costs to the price you paid for it. You add a bit of "padding" to the price to hopefully cover the taxes you paid on the house over those 3 years and a bit of room for negotiation with the buyer.

If you sell it for the rock bottom...you will get all the money back that you paid for the house, you will pay your closing costs and real estate fees and walk away with nothing. no profit.

But you will have lived in the house for 3 years and gotten your investment back.

If you rent. all the money is gone. period.

That is why real estate is a good investment.

Why do I think that prices will eventually go up? Because they always have. Home values fluctuate over time but the overall trend is upward. It may take time to recover from this down turn. But I am confident that we will recover. The American economy depends of the strength of the housing market. The low interest rates and tax credits for new home buyers in the economic stimulus package are helping to boost the home buying market.

Thanks again,
Candy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Eager Buyer, A lot of people think it's a bad time to buy, that waiting is the best option if you can.
A lot of people will scream it's a great time to buy...

There is a difference between expressing a general opinion (great time/bad time) and an opinion that concerns just an individual. We do not know all your circumstances or finances. We do know the decision is YOURS. We present our opinions and facts (if anyone has any) then you decide. You determine the value.

There is a discussion here........http://www.trulia.com/voices/General_Area/Open_Opinion_Threa…
that you might find interesting or want to join in..

As far as Charleston, you will get comments from Pros and Non-Pros, some local, some not and places you might find information. You make use of it or not according to the value you place on it.

Good luck, Dunes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Candy you said: "If you the decide to sell your home in 3 years, even if you break even...in other words, even if you sell the house for exactly what you bought it for, plus closing costs and real estate fees and walk away with nothing...you will have lived in the house for free! That is a tremendous gain. "

I do not understand. How do I get a "free" house? Don't I have to pay the mortgage, taxes, etc? Wouldn't it be better to just rent the same place if the rent was less than the mortgage, taxes, etc?

Also, what are the "real estate fees" for?

Are you sure that prices are going to go up? This article says they are dropping. ("January's median price is a steep drop even compared with homes sold in December, which had a median price of $191,600. And the last time monthly home prices were in the mid-$170,000 range was during 2004.")

Anyway, I guess I need to hire a Realtor to help me with all of this. Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
These facts should provide some good insight as to where the real estate market is headed in Charleston, South Carolina. THIS IS SOME GOOD NEWS! Hope it helps!

Fact: The pending home sales index increased to 87.7 percent. It was only 82.5 in November which is actually over 2 percent higher than the same period one year ago in December of 2007.

Fact: Lower home prices results in lower property taxes, higher potential resale values and lower insurance.

Fact: Homes remain more affordable than they have been in years in conjunction with lower interest rates.

Fact: New home construction is continuing to fall each month. In time .... new homes will begin to be built because they are required to replace old old homes. Also the increased population due to age, immigrations and of course, birth will mean new homes WILL be built.

Fact: "Houses for Sale" inventories are diminishing. A six month inventory of homes on the market is normal, but today (versus a few months ago) that rate has fallen to roughly 9 months from approximately one year.

Fact: The historic median home price to income ratio average 3.2 to 1. This number is now 3.6 to 1 from a high of 5 to 1. so we are nearing the norm.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Does anyone belive that now is a bad time to buy? Is there is ever a bad time (market) to buy or is it always a good time to buy?

It seems like many peoples' homes have decreased in value recently. I do not want that.

I see many properties that are for sale at a price than is much higher than it costs to rent (ie, $300k to buy, but only $1k to rent). Would it be better to buy one of these types right now, wait a while to buy or just rent for a lot less money?

Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Eager Buyer, Perhaps these sites will help you with some information for comparables ect..
http://www.bhgrealestate.com/Views/Look/Default.aspx
The information on this site is from the county public records and shows housing trends ect..crime..schools..
and can be broken down into neighborhoods ect...
Trulias interactive map is good for information on a market area....http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/South_Carolina/Charleston-…

These sites are good for rental trends and rent price comparables....http://www.zilpy.com/
http://www.rentometer.com/

Use this site....http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/wiki/REO_Database_List.asp
to look through the Bank and Gov property for sale sites.....like these for example..
http://www.countrywide.com/purchase/f_reo.asp
http://www.homesales.gov/homesales/mainAction.do
http://www.homesteps.com/hm01_1featuresearch.htm
http://bankofamerica.reo.com/search/

Keep an eye on unemployment and foreclosures
These two sites are good for mortgage rate information......http://www.fhfa.gov/
http://mortgage-x.com/general/rate_trend.asp

Hope this helps you with forming a general feeling for the market area, Dunes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Eager Buyer,

Now is the time to buy not rent. We have seen a huge increase in showings and offers this year. This tells me the prices are good and will increase as the supply dwindles. The most important advice I can give is to work with an licensed real estate agent so you know you're getting the best deal in any particular area.

Please let me know if I can help.

Kelly Timmons
Compass Real Estate Services, LLC
(843) 817-2652
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Hi Eager - it all depends on your personal situation - many buyers are trying to wait until the market hits bottom but the only way we truly know is when it passes you by on the way back up. Couple things I would consider are your long term plans, advantages and disadvantages to renting versus owning along rates and current trends. If you would like to speak in further detials...please let me know and I would be happy to help you out with no obiligation.

Thanks,

Randall Sandin
843-209-9667
rsandin@carolinaone.com
Carolina One Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
Hi Eager buyer, I just want to clarify the buying thing versus the renting thing.

In my opinion, renting is a loss. You will never build any home equity, or have any profit from a sale if you continue to rent.

If you rent for 3 years, and then decide to move, you will have lost all of the money that you spent on rent over that period of time. You will have build equity in the property for the owner!

If you buy, even if prices go down a little more, (they may, and they may not, depending on your local market) they will eventually rebound.

If you the decide to sell your home in 3 years, even if you break even...in other words, even if you sell the house for exactly what you bought it for, plus closing costs and real estate fees and walk away with nothing...you will have lived in the house for free! That is a tremendous gain.

Real Estate has always been a stable, but long term investment. Yes, some people have made money fast in recent years but in general it takes years for a real estate investment to actually show a real gain.

Let me know if that helps.
Candy
Web Reference: Http://www.candybarnes.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
In my opinion there could not be a better time to buy, especially Downtown! I have several properties that are now priced below 2005 levels and make perfect residences or investments. If you choose to rent, bad move, you will be funding someone's investments and not building any equity yourself. Now is the time to buy and trying to catch the falling knife or predict the bottom is impossible. Feel free to contact me for more concrete info...

Dan Lorentz
ERA Tides Realty- Partner
Realtor, ABR
CTAR Realtor of Distinction- Director's
ERA Beyond Excellence Award
843-532-4653
f-866-895-6219
327 Folly Road
Charleston, SC 29412
http://www.danlorentz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107845

I jsut read this article and thought about you. Might help you with your decision making.
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
I do not quite understand. Why would we buy something that looks like it is going to drop in price when instead we could just rent the same thing, pay less and avoid the loss? I appreciate everyone's help and insight though - good professional advice. I sure need it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
It seems like there is a large selection of both rental properties and properties for sale that are priced well. If your goal is to get into home ownership and you plan on staying in the Charleston area for a couple years now is a very good time to buy. You can debate whether we are at the bottom or not, but everyone will agree prices are very attractive. Since it will likely be 2 to 3 years before we begin to see appreciation in real estate, the key will be, how long will you be in this home. If longer than 3 years, you should go for the buy. Great prices plus great interest rates with the new homebuyer bonus, it will be hard to find a better time.
Call if I can help!
Chris
843-327-8986
Chris@iopRealEstate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
If SC is like most parts of the country, home prices have come down. Interest rates are also excellent right now, which makes it a good time to buy.
Buying is always preferrably to renting if you have decided to stay in an area, have kids in school, or jobs that are very stable in the area.
Your home equity may grow over the years ahead and even if you were to break even on a home sale in a few years, you would have lived there for free! (versus paying rent all those years)

I recommend that people rent if they are unsure where they want to live, if family or job situations are in transition, or if they have goals that will take them out of the area within the next few years.
That said,
The question may really be, have home prices reached the bottom or should I wait longer and see what happens?
Start looking. There are some great home values out there and if you find a home that is right for you, then it's time to buy. It may take a couple of years for home values to rebound but in the end, real estate is still an excellent long term investment.
Hope that helps
Candy Barnes
Century 21 LeMac Realty East
Mountain Home, Ar
cell number 870-404-8877
Web Reference: http://www.candybarnes.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
So many homes to pick from...foreclosures, short sales, and sellers with room to negotiate! Plus excellent interest rates and the possibility to receive the first time home owner's tax incentive....YES now is the time to buy.
Please let me know if you'd like to receive some information. I'd love to help you begin your search.

My best,
Laura Sargent
Carolina One Real Estate
843-509-2375
lsargent@carolinaone.com
Web Reference: http://www.laurasargent.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
I think if your ever going to buy now is the time! With lower mortgage rates and home prices what do you have to loose! Why pay someones mortgage?
Plus the President will be signing a buyers tax credit of up to 8,000 dollars today. One more reason to buy in 2009.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
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