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Blog | March 29th, 2013

The housing market is doing some strange things, and I don’t think any of the old axioms regarding real estate even matter anymore. Granted, I’ve never bought a house before and just started looking, so I’m no authority, but here’s what I see:

Everyone is confused. Sellers are skeptical and can’t catch a break, dare not raise their prices, but can’t afford to lose more, and buyers have been sold on this idea that the market is simply brimming with golden opportunities that slip just a little further away each day. Get ’em while they’re hot.

The problem is that neither of these are right. Sellers are taking low offers, and buyers are everywhere, so the market gets flooded with great deals that disappear within hours. It’s disheartening, and it’s unfair to all parties except the lucky few who end up pocketing the deals. When I buy a computer, I do my research, I weigh my options, and when I decide I want something, it’s mine. Not so with houses: I do all of that, and suddenly it’s too late and someone offered ten thousand more to buy what I’d just gotten my heart set on.

Then there are foreclosures. Oh holy house, Batman, the foreclosures. Everything is bank owned, and they want all of their forms exactly right and on time just so they can ignore all of their own rules and deadlines. Remember that bailout, Fannie Mae? Apparently not. They’d be happy to let you take a number.

So what we’re left with is a market flooded with an array of houses abandoned in a state of semi-flip, a distorted view of availability for buyers, and a ravenous but underpriced market for sellers. I don’t know how long it’ll take to settle down and start to make sense again, but clearly this situation benefits only one party: the banks.