Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing
By: Tara Lynn Wagner
For realtors worried about the market, the standing-room only crowd that gathered at the Scandinavia House Wednesday night probably felt like a welcome mat.
The seminar, called Realty Check, set out to answer questions from buyers as they begin to dip their toes into the unfamiliar waters of real estate.
"How's the market doing? That's the number one question they ask," said Miesha Washington, a broker with City Spaces. "My answer is, the market's a little soft or a little slow but it's doing okay."
Brokers lined the room with information about new construction projects. They say traffic has been heavy – even if sales have been lighter. A glut of inventory, they say, means buyers are looking longer and refusing to settle for less than their dream home.
"A three bedroom with two bathrooms, greenery, and a yard," said potential buyer Urszula Lozowska of what she is looking for in a home.
"There's nothing but apartments out there, so I think we have enough time to find the perfect apartment," said Doreen Chambers, a fellow potential buyer.
Clearly buyers are out there and they know what they want, but in the current climate, it turns out that's only half the battle. Realtors say it's equally important that they know what they can afford.
"Definitely get pre-qualified, pre-approved for a mortgage so you know exactly what your price point is before you start to look," says Michael Davis, a sales manager at Steelworks Lofts.
Keep in mind that while builders may accept 10 percent down, more often than not, mortgage companies will not.
"You have to be under a million-dollar loan amount to get 80 percent financing nowadays," says Davis. "Ninety percent is difficult, but it can be done."
With potential buyers' frantically scribbling notes about credit scores, realtors tried to plant the seeds of confidence in their otherwise cautious minds.
"Over the next five or 10 years, it's almost impossible for the value of your real estate not to increase," says Halstead Property Executive Director of Development and Marketing Stephen Kliegerman.
Not that they necessarily expect it to take that long. They're hoping that once a new family moves into the White House, other houses will start moving again, as well.
"Once our new president comes in and we get a new stimulus package, we are hoping that takes care of this for us," says Davis.
Friday, November 14, 2008