Is “Now the Time to Buy?”

Discretion is the better part of valour.


Yes, interest rates are scraping along the bottom of multi-decade lows.

And yes, home prices are down dramatically — and Buyers have never had more choices.

Unfortunately, all those things were just as true in 2008 as they are now.

And with hindsight, we now know that 2008 was hardly the bottom of the housing market.

Selling vs. Advising vs. Spinning

With that track record still very much in people’s minds, you have to question the advice now being proffered by various industry consultants to Realtors trying to stir today’s still-reluctant Buyers.

Namely, that Realtors should be taking out their bullhorns and screaming that “Now is THE time to buy!”

What I find doubly ironic is that those same industry-types are quick to note that the number one attribute consumers cite in choosing an agent is . . . their integrity and credibility.

Market Predictions

“Yeah, yeah, ” I can hear people say — followed quickly by, “But, is it a good time to buy?”

I don’t know any better today than I did two — or five — years ago.

And anyone who says they do is full of it .

But what I can say is that, if you have a bigger or smaller family, or a good job opportunity in another city, or just got married/divorced, or just got a nice raise . . . it might be the right time for you to buy or sell.  

Personal Circumstances Paramount

I also think it’s appropriate to remind — vs. cajole — prospective Buyers of the following: 

–That, after a big fall in prices, the downside risk is less than when prices were at their peak a few years ago.

–That the cost of a mortgage, relative to rents, looks compelling in many metro areas nationally (including the Twin Cities).

–That housing still enjoys a number of tax and financial incentives that, while they may become less generous, are unlikely to go away any time soon.

–And even that, notwithstanding the abyss of the last few years, home prices tend to appreciate long-term — which, given how most Buyers use leverage to buy a home, translates into a handsome annual return (again, long-term).

But, should you buy because your new home is guaranteed to be worth more in six months or even two years?

Sorry, I don’t think anyone out there is buying that right now.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply