When I first discussed with the couple what they were looking for in their new home, I got a LONG list of must-haves.
- At least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
- Good Neighborhood, Close to Moody Air Force Base
- Around 1600 square feet
- At least a 1/2 acre lot
- Move-in Ready
- Wired and Watered Workshop with plenty of room
- Fenced in Backyard
- Large Kitchen with plenty of counter space
- All appliances in the home, including the washer and dryer
- 2 car garage
- Open Kitchen and Great Room
- Pantry in the Kitchen
- We don't want to go over $115,000
What has happened in our marketplace is what I have coined: GREAT Expectations. Buyers are watching the news and listening to "the smart people" who are giving a false perception about what is really going on in real estate. You know the smart people, the real estate experts on the morning and evening news who are giving a broad and overall opinion about what the real estate market is doing. While their perception and analysis MAY be true of the real estate market nationwide, chances are, it is far from reality in each local market. Also, included in those "smart people" is your Uncle Joe. You know, Uncle Joe, the one who at Thanksgiving is telling everyone how to invest their money. He could be 80 years old and have made a fortune selling toilet seat covers, or your cousin who hasn't had a steady job in 20 years, but either way, he's a genius...or thinks he is. Put in your situation, though, Uncle Joe would never follow his own advice. It's more fun just to tell other people what HE would do. These "experts" would tell you that you can go out and buy a mansion, have all the appliances included, get a fence and not have to do a thing to the property because the seller is so ready to sell, they'll do ANYTHING, including, pretty much GIVE it to you!
Well, I'm calling BULL on this one! STOP LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON!!! Wake Up!
While I would love to be able to sell any home buyer EXACTLY what they want, it's just not going to happen! Foreclosures have affected our market and caused price corrections throughout the country. In many places, though, prices have not dropped significantly, they have only corrected to a fair market value. You see, prices rose so quickly during the boom that the market NEEDED to slow down and deflate, it was inevitable. Foreclosures have helped that. However, when you are looking to purchase a foreclosure, please don't expect to be able to just walk in with your recliner and your television and move right in. Most of the time they'll need some work. You can count on a minimum of carpet cleaning, but you should expect missing appliances and lights, holes in the walls, missing flooring and sometimes...they actually need cleaning. Who would've thought?? This is not everything you want for pretty much free. First of all, foreclosure companies are not dropping their prices ridiculously low anymore. They are accepting what they believe is fair market value. Second, sellers can not afford to throw in everything and their dog. They are already getting less for their home than what they owe on it, so they certainly can't afford to add a fence and replace the carpet.
It's time to get REALISTIC. Talk to a CAREER REALTOR. One who makes their living selling real estate in the market you are looking to purchase in. This person should know everything there is to know about market trends and what you should expect. While they don't have psychic powers and can't tell the future, they should be able to give you the expectations of particular areas and neighborhoods for the coming years. Real estate agents are not perfect, but Career Realtors are the most familiar with what's going on their real estate market. Take advice from the real experts who truly know what's going on. Get realistic about what you can expect in terms of pricing and amenities. Don't be so disappointed that you talk yourself out of investing in your future by buying real estate now, and miss out on the opportunity and joys that come with home ownership.
These buyers I was working with eventually decided to just not buy a home. In one of the best markets for buyers we've seen in nearly 2 decades, they decided to throw their money away on rent. Their excuse for backing away was because they were afraid they may not be able to sell in 3 or 4 years. I really believe they decided not to buy because their expectations were too great for the market. They were not able to get everything they wanted in their home, so they were disappointed when they saw the reality of real estate in Valdosta, Ga, and weren't satisfied because they didn't find the home with absolutely everything they were expecting.
Get out of the clouds and let's get Realistic Expectations that will prove a great investment for your future.