The Housing Chronicles Blog: A little sunshine in the doom and gloom

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A little sunshine in the doom and gloom

Actually, this just proves my suspicion, that there are buyers out there, ready, willing and able to do the deal (how many will close escrow may have to wait for another blog entry). Since the stupid deals (which accounted for about 70% of transactions over the past five years, according to um, an expert, i.e., me) are gone, in their place are home sales that make sense. Still, many buyers continue to sit on the sidelines, waiting for reality to hit pricing. But when that does happen, buyers re-enter the market.

An agent in one of the hardest-hit markets is averaging a sale a week, an acceptable, maybe even better than average, rate before the boom. What’s this agent’s secret? She basically rolled back to pre-2003 standards and procedures. She is also advertising in unusual venues like carefully targeted PennySaver ads in certain communities. There is a level of handholding, educating and financial housing-cleaning that would have been unheard of during the boom. Loans are obviously much harder to come by and take a lot more work to make happen. The new homes themselves are an incredible bargain – everything that used to be an option is included. These simple, even obvious strategies are the big secret.

The agent is Marie Keefe and she is selling four homes a month at Avalar in Coachella. She cut pricing from the mid $200-$300K to $180-$260K range, and this price cut still includes back and front yard landscaping and a ton of included features.

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