5 New Rules of Real Estate

by The Real Estate Faction on June 21, 2011

by Ilyce Glink
for CBS Money Watch

In the past 20 odd years that I have been writing about real estate, I don’t believe there has ever been a better time to buy a home.

Why? For starters, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages can be had for less than 5 percent. Recently, the 30-year rate hit 4.6 percent. If you want a 15-year mortgage, you can (for now) still get it for less than 4 percent. These are astounding rates. As Robert Fogel, a Nobel prize-winning economist from the University of Chicago, recently told me, it’s like borrowing for free. That’s how it feels to me, too: When my husband and I bought our first home in 1989, our interest rate was 11.75 percent.
At this point, it seems everyone wants the real estate market to get better:

• Realtors are selling a fraction of the homes they once were, taking a huge hit in income.

• Builders (at least, those that are still in business) are selling about one-eighth as many homes as they were selling in 2005.

• Appraisers continue to take some of the blame for the housing crisis, for over-appraising property in the boom years and under-appraising it now. Realtors say that more than 75 percent of the homes sales that fall apart do so because the appraisal comes in so far below the contract price that a deal can’t be worked out.

• And homeowners are desperate for the housing market to rebound — especially the more than 25 percent who are underwater with their homes — so they can refinance or sell their homes and move on with their lives.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t buy a home now and take advantage of super-low prices, historically low mortgage interest rates, and a significant supply of homes on the market. But to be successful in today’s real estate market, you need to understand that the game has changed.

Here’s my list of the biggest shifts:
…….Check back tomorrow


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