The Sweet and Sour Spot?

Blog03Just a quick thank you to the pros at Michael’s on Main Restaurant for letting me take a wok on the wild side and a stroll down memory lane this past week. Indulging me with a guest-chef gig in their ongoing series of Tuesday food and wine events. After reprising a few of my old chops, I think I’ve got it out of my system now. Time to put the cleaver down and get back to food for thought…

 

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah. Talking about the “sweet spot” of the market. The erogenous zone of price where buying activity is really stirring. Where mounting excitement and the heady thrust of demand is firing on all cylinders.

 

When I returned to real estate from my culinary sojourn there were ten anxious voice mails waiting for me. Seven from different people – talking about almost the same exact thing. Coincidence? I think not.

 

See if any of this sounds familiar: “We’ve been holding off buying. Now we’re ready to get serious and take the plunge.”

 

Or: “We’re looking for a 3/2 in a great neighborhood between $550 -$650k.”

 

Or: “We definitely need 3 bedrooms or 2 with an office. Walking distance to a few restaurants.”

 

Or: “We could spend up to $750k but we really want to keep payments low. We’d like to stay closer to $650”

 

Or: “We’re first time buyers but we think now is the time. We can stretch as high as $500k with interest rates so low.”

 

Or: “We’re getting a gift from the folks. One of the condos in our complex finally sold. We can get out of this place whole and finally afford a real house with a real yard.”

 

Or: “We’ve been looking for something in the $600 – $650 range for a year now and there just isn’t anything available.”

 

Or: “Every time something decent comes on, it’s gone in a couple of days with multiple offers!”

 

Or: “We’re first time buyers. All we are competing with are rich investors. Every time we find something below $500k – someone throws a cash offer in.”

 

Or: “When are more places going to come on? How long do we have to wait??”

 

I’m guessing that for seven out of ten buyers reading this, some of the above resonates strongly with your own situation.

 

You figure: Market’s past bottom. Prices going up. Interest rates won’t stay low. Rents will get higher. Economy is more hopeful. Life goes on despite the distress of the downturn. A home is a great thing. You’re ready to get back in the game. Not in a crazy way. In a smart way. Buying below your means rather than way above.

 

Odds are: You’re looking for something in the “Sweet Spot” – $500 to $650ish. Three bedrooms – if possible. Two baths. Safe neighborhood. Yard. Not a fixer. Pride of ownership. Potential for appreciation down the road.

 

Simple right? Reasonable thoughts and desires. But what happens when everyone wants the same thing? And there’s not enough to go around? The Sweet Spot starts to develop a Sweet and Sour taste. A buyers market doesn’t always feel like a buyers market.

 

Will the $650k’s start pushing up towards $750? Will $850 places come down closer to where demand is? Will more high end homes drop below the magic million mark in search of buyers?

 

By the way, the other three calls on the machine were from Sellers wondering whether they should wait till spring to put their homes on the market. What should we tell them?

 

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