Different areas experienced the market going south at different times.
Here in Sarasota/Bradenton, we peaked about July of 2005 through that year and by February/March of 2006 we literally hit a brick wall!
Other areas did not experience the free fall 'till a year or two later.
So, here in Sarasota, I "benchmark" the current value to be what the Tax Office recorded Value in 2004.
Check your tax rolls, and go back a few years and see what the Tax Office recorded
on the property ...and their valuation is pretty accurate.
Too many owners used their homes as their personal ATM Machines when prices started skyrocketing...that is why so many owners are in the horrible situation they are in today...they voluntarily did this to themselves...taking out false profits, mortgaging 90 - 100% at the peaks, taking money out to buy other over-valued property...taking money out to buy cars...vacations...education...and now we are in this terrible economic mess!
And the lenders, in concert with the Government, encouraged this to happen...
So what do we do about this going forward?
We go back to basics...
I do believe that if you are a seller, and your house has not sold in 30 days, you need to adjust 3 - 5% every 21 days 'till you hit the level where an educated consumer feels the value in the property...That is the Market. Plain and Simple. It is not Rocket Science!
If you are a buyer, and it truly is a great time to be a buyer...low interest rates, plenty of inventory, plenty of motivated owners who need to sell... Do your homework...research what the value was in 2004 and work with your Realtor to come up with an offer that makes sense for you.
Above all, if you cannot to afford to buy a home with Cash, by all means, put down 20%, giving yourself a cushion...don't overspend...buy what you really can afford to pay...look at a smaller home....learn from the recent mistakes and there are some great deals waiting for you!
Michael Saunders & Company
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202