It seems that everybody has an opinion when it comes to buying and selling homes. How many people have told you these common phrases when talking about real estate… “It’s a good time to buy”, “now’s a good time to sell”, “it’s a buyer’s market”, “it’s a seller’s market”, “we’re at the bottom so prices can only go up”, “those mortgage rates are going to climb”? But who told you and can you really trust them? Consider this – how can they really know for sure, and what’s in it for them?
The Real Estate Agents
Let’s be cynical here – when did you ever hear a real estate agent telling you that you shouldn’t buy? It’s an unlikely phrase to hear! After all, real estate agents make their money buying and selling homes – they do not earn a wage; everything they get is commission based so it’s in their best interests to encourage you to buy or sell, whatever the current market trends are saying. If a real estate agent can see you’re interested in a home it’s unlikely that they would try to convince you ‘not’ to buy it because the market wasn’t right!
Mortgage Brokers and Banks
Mortgage brokers and banks have a vested interest in you buying a home too. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who can buy a home without a mortgage you’re going to be keeping an eye on the mortgage rates, and trusting the advice of a broker or the bank when it comes to financing the purchase of your home. Can we trust them though – if they tell us the interest rates are set to go up, can they be sure? We’re unlikely to hear a bank telling you to hold fire on that house you want to buy because the rates are going to go down! If it means they get another mortgage agreed they’re likely to sound as positive as possible.
Can we even trust the newspapers? After all, many newspapers make their money from advertising, and banks and real estate ads make up a large portion of that advertising. If the newspaper runs a story about how terrible the market is they could lose some of their advertisers, so it’s in their best interests to present the market in a positive light. Even when the news is negative it can be spun in such a way as to make it sound positive.
So if you cannot trust the real estate agent, the bank, or the media, who can you trust?
Where Should You Go For Information on Buying a House?
The best source of information on buying a home is an independent source, i.e. one that doesn’t stand to gain from you making the decision to buy. There are numerous websites out there that can be easily found by performing a quick search, and you can use the information they provide for free. The majority of websites will not ask you to sign up, and if one does, move on to the next. Information about the real estate market and industry is free and readily available, you just need to know a little about how to interpret that data.
Looking at real estate market trends, and the reports and analysis that have been produced based on those trends, is a great way to figure out how the market is performing. There is so much information at your fingertips that just by doing a little research you can find out average asking prices, average sale prices, and whether the market is going up or down in your city.
You don’t even need to find a glorified website for this information. Just keep an eye on what’s selling in your own street or neighborhood and you’ll soon have a good idea as to how the market is performing – look for things like how many homes are for sale, and how long do they seem to be taking to sell, as these are key indicators.
Asking a real estate agent would doubtless be the quicker way to do things, but can you trust them? Yes, it takes time to do your own research but then you don’t normally decide you’re going to buy a house overnight anyway. Buying a home is a long process and at least if you spend the time researching to begin with you’ll be empowered – you will know what the market is doing and what to expect. In this way you don’t have to rely on anyone but yourself; put yourself in the driving seat and make the decision to buy a home when you feel you’re ready and when you feel the market is right.