Real estate success stories from the weekend

Many of my agents and clients are reporting great activity with both buyers and sellers.  Hearing about the success of others is always inspiring to me, so I thought a few pieces of good information would brighten the day for someone else.

Success story #1: An agent recently joined our office.  He was brand-new to real estate and started making phone calls, because that’s what we told him to do if he wanted to generate business (crazy idea…I know).  On his first night as a real estate agent, he found two buyers.  One of those buyers is an investor and is buying multiple properties for cash this year, in addition to using the new agent for a $2MM+ purchase of his personal residence (the personal residence purchase is the weekend success part).

Lesson: Make more phone calls.

Success story #2: An agent hosted an open house on Sunday and found five live buyers and one potential listing.  Because of the affordability level right now and the good press surrounding the new tax credit, buyers are out in full-force.

Lesson: The fundamentals in real estate don’t change when the market changes.

Success story #3: A seller who had been trying to get a short sale approved since last October finally got the lender’s approval.  Lenders are finally coming to terms with their situations and making better decisions than we have seen for the past 12 months.

Lesson: Persistence matters in this market.

I’m hearing positive stories every day, regardless of the market conditions.  We’re experiencing a “perfect storm” for buyers right now.  You never know when the bottom of the market is really the bottom until it’s gone.

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

The first-time home buyer tax credit will help us burn through some of the short sale and foreclosure inventory on the market.  The tax credit has been through several iterations.  Here are the broad strokes:

-The tax credit does not have to be repaid.

-The tax credit is only for first-time buyers.

-The tax credit is 10% of the purchase price, with a maximum of $8,000.

-So far, this only applies to property purchased in 2009.

-To qualify, single people can’t make more than $75,000 and couples can’t make more than $150,000.

For a list of frequently asked questions on the tax credit details, visit the tax credit FAQ page.

Home sale statistics

The US Commerce Department reported today that new home sales fell 10.2% in January, which is a record low.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes fell 5.3%.

What does this mean?  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has its work cut-out for it.

Everyone agrees that things are likely going to get worse before they improve.  Eight hundred billion dollars and change might not be enough to make an impact worth noting.

Progress should be celebrated, although it makes me wonder how much more money we’ll have to print to make the government program work.  Printing more money is easy, but creating a bailout mentality for America is the part where I take exception.

If we eliminate the efficiency of capitalism, the smart money will eventually go elsewhere. Until that happens, we are living in one of the best times to buy real estate in the history of the United States.  The smartest people I know are buying as much real estate as they can.  The first-time home buyer tax credit makes it easier for many people.  Our record low mortgage interest rates help too.