Did You Miss the Boat to Buy a Home?

buy a homeA Sacramento home buyer called yesterday to lament about her attempts to buy a home. She asked me if this was a good time to buy or a bad time to buy. It’s not as simple as that, I’m afraid. It’s a good time to buy if you can conform to the market, and if you can buy a home. That’s because interest rates are low and prices are very affordable. But it’s a lousy time to buy as well because you might not be able to buy a home at all. It’s not like a buyer can make a full price offer and expect that offer to be accepted. Come on, this is not the middle of the Mojave desert — even though that’s how Bay Area investors see us — this is Sacramento.

Sacramento — a severely distressed real estate market that is beginning to rebound. Prices are inches up. Prices are not kissing the sky like Jimi Hendrix. Yet home buyers are making crazy offers like Charlie Sheen on a bender. I can quietly list a home and slip it into MLS and within 24 hours, I’ll have a pile of offers on my desk for $20,000 to $50,000 more than list price. If this isn’t madness, I don’t know what is. If those Charlie Sheen offers were cash, I’d be dancing naked on my desk, but they aren’t. They are financed offers, and if the property won’t appraise to get that loan, they may as well be offering us a cart filled with gold bullion, which we all know will never leave the vaults at the U. S. Mint.

I can’t tell you if this a good time to buy a home. It depends on how much stamina you have and your appetite for rejection. It depends on your type of mortgage, too. It depends on who you are working with, which Sacramento real estate agents you choose to represent you. I can tell you the Elizabeth Weintraub Team is closing deals. I can tell you that some of the largest real estate companies in Sacramento tend to list most of the homes for sale in Sacramento. Some of the real estate companies do not put every listing immediately into MLS. If you are lucky enough to be working with a top producer in Sacramento, you might gain a bit of an edge.

It doesn’t mean that going to the listing agent ensures that buying edge because no reputable listing agent in Sacramento would put her seller at a disadvantage. No way, Jose. We want our sellers to get the highest and best offer; there are no compromises. No favorites. Everyone has an equal chance. But you might get a chance, and that’s the important part.

In this seller’s market in Sacramento, hitching your wagon to a top producer might be the wiser decision.

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