Buyer's market? Really?

techedMay 10, 2011

I'm trying to buy a house in the Chicago burbs, but every move we make seems to be wrong. We are moving from DC, where the market is strong and I still had to lose money on my house. Chicago markets are supposedly at 2003 prices, but sellers or agents are still pricing very high. After being shut out of several deals, we finally found a potential house for us. We thought it was odd that after being on the market a year, the owners were only willing to show it one specific hour per week. We did our research and found it on a foreclosure list. Yes, the owners didn't tell the agent they were being foreclosed on. Apparently, their deal with the bank is that they can "try" to sell, so they are keeping it listed while they try to make some business deals and get out of their financial troubles. They figure the bank won't get around to evicting them for a year or so. I feel for them, but aren't they misrepresenting the situation to bank? Geeze, I could buy their house and fix their financial problems right now. Meanwhile, very little new comes on the market, and what is decent sells in days. What is this nonsense about it being a buyer's market?

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I also see a limited market for buyer's in my area. Most people today will not list their house so there is not much on the market.
I see some good prices and others too high, it varies by each house.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 9:59AM
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That's an interesting observation, but I see it around here, too.
People aren't listing their houses because they don't want to (or can't afford to) list at 2003 prices and because it's not a "seller's market".
There's almost nothing for sale in my neighborhood until someone dies, and then the heirs sell quickly for nothing, dropping the comps and prices even lower.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 10:22AM
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I'm having the problem where the good houses are being snapped up within days of being listed. I feel like we have to be prepared to "pounce" when we see a home we like - if we get to see it before it goes under contract.

So, suprisingly, it was much easier to sell our home (under contract withing 4 days of listing) than it has been to buy a new home. Foreclosures and short sales are really a small percentage of the inventory here (at least in the areas we're looking at). Its seems like there are just a lot of buyers right now and inventory is just average.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:02AM
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Internet MLS listings allow buyers to weed out 90+ percent of all listings. The remaining decent ones (updated, priced right, decent location, etc.) are the ones that get all the buyer attention.

Our strategy for the last three houses was to find a house that has good bones and a good location, but shows horribly. Our recent purchase was a foreclosure that lingered on the market almost a year. The blurry MLS photos showed a dirty, trash-filled house. The listing description was mostly describing the terms of sale, versus the nice features this house has. While this wasn't a "steal", it was a good 10% under market value, and with a few grand of repairs and upgrades along with a thorough cleaning, we'll have an awesome house.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 10:35AM
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I don't know about the "2003 prices" comment; I'm not seeing that here. But we're in a top school district within walking distance to schools, town, and train; those factors have kept home prices in our town a bit more stable. You can't really lump all the 'burbs together... if you aren't on the train line, even just a town or two away, the prices drop. (Who wants to be stuck in their car all the time?) Or if you go to another school district, home prices can drop. So those may be more of a buyer's market. And regarding the situation with the undisclosed foreclosure... well that's just weird and hopefully an anomaly that has everything to do with the sellers and nothing to do with the location.

It seems like there are many homes for rent right now, especially builder spec homes. I would have a hard time buying long distance, so I wonder if renting for awhile and getting a feel for different areas would help. Then you will be close by to see something and pounce on it if it's the right one. (Funny I just saw that maurenemm used the same word.)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 12:42PM
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