Understanding the Housing Market

By: Martin Lukac

You may have been looking at the real estate market for some indication as to whether you should buy or sell a home. What should you be looking for?

Recent reports are pretty gloomy. Sales are dropping, rates are rising and the market is slowing down. What does that mean to you?

If you are a seller, it could be that you will have a harder time selling your home. If you are a buyer, you could have more to choose from, but a higher interest rate on your mortgage. If you are in the industry, you could be looking at a potential loss of income due to fewer sales.

If you are smart, you'll forget the market and look at the area you are looking to purchase or sell in.

Many parts of the U.S. are cooling off. Others are still experiencing booming sales. The market is a never-ending up and down. Your area could be a seller's market or a buyer's market.

If you are looking to sell, you can be sure that things aren't the same as they were when you bought your house. Real estate values have gone up, hopefully. Your neighbors could also have their homes on sale, which means that you aren't a rare find in housing.

Or you could be in an area where your house will be the most desirable property in town. You never know.

That's how real estate is. The conditions that make a market good for one party can change overnight. All it takes is a few more houses on the market or less sellers to change a market.

Watch for what is going on in your neighborhood, or the area you want to buy in. Are new families moving in? Are homes selling quickly? Are there only a couple of homes for sale? Are improvements being made? Do you see many people looking at the homes for sale?

If so, then you could have a good chance at selling your home.

No matter what the market is like, there will be a buyer for a home. It just depends on time and price. If you are in a depressed market, you can find that by making your home attractive, you have better chances of selling it. In a hot market, you house sells itself.

If you are looking to buy, you should look at your own finances before you look at the market. Determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Look at what your budget allows, not to what you can stretch into. In a hot market, you won't have much bargaining room on the prime homes. In a slow market, you may find that you have increased negotiating power.

No matter what interest rates are, there will be a point in which you can not afford to buy a home. Yes, they are up now, but not so much that buying a home right now is unreasonable. They are still very low when compared to rates from a decade or more ago. They are expected to go up, so don't think that they will necessarily come back down soon.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home, there are many factors to consider. The overall market is interesting, but really won't impact your home as much as the neighborhood and area market.

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