"Buyers could hardly find a better time to buy," says Jeff Shaw, president of Century 21 Shaw Realty Group.
"There is a lot of inventory to pick from and many sellers are willing to do what it takes to get their homes sold," he says. It's common to see sellers buy down the interest rate for the buyer, pay the first month's mortgage payment, pay the first year's homeowner association dues or provide other special incentives, just to get the deal closed."
Shaw cautions that it won't be a buyer's market indefinitely, though.
"Things are still settling down," he says.
People are still moving and the relocation side of the real estate business has remained strong and healthy, he says. "We actually expect that portion of our business to continue to increase during the coming year."
There are great opportunities for families looking to move up, downsize or buy their first home, he says.
"If you're waiting for the value of your home to go up, you will likely find that the value of the home you want to replace it with has gone up even more," Shaw says. "I had been advising my clients to wait, but I don't think that continuing to wait to upsize or downsize makes sense any longer. With the strong national and local economy, low unemployment and very reasonable interest rates, this may be the time to make the move."
Shaw also cautions that foreclosed properties may not be the best deals.
"It can be extremely difficult to find just the right one, and then there could be thousands of dollars in repairs to make while the house sits empty," Shaw says.
"Buyers should realize that waiting for a foreclosure may not be the best financial decision, considering the selection of inventory and financing options available."
Shaw also works to reassure customers concerned about the number of lenders and brokers going out of business.
"We safeguard our customers by recommending that all buyers be approved by a reputable lender such as Century 21 Mortgage, one of the largest mortgage companies offering FHA and VA loans in addition to conventional products."
With no crystal ball to peer into, Shaw tells cautious customers this: "The real estate market is still alive and well, and all indications are that it will only continue to improve."
Century 21 Shaw Realty Group, with six offices and nearly 300 agents across the Tampa Bay area, has partnered with some of the largest relocation companies in the nation to serve its customers in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties.
In addition to being a real estate broker, Shaw is a licensed real estate instructor and certified public accountant.
For information, visit www.century21shaw.com or call (813) 643-0054.