Vol 8 No. 22 - February 20, 2008

What’s out in real estate in 2008

By Louise Bolger
sun staff writer

Ready for what’s out in 2008? This is the second part of real estate guru Mark Nash’s list that I happened across in December. Not surprisingly, many of the what’s out items are related to the poor quality of the real estate market and what can be expected in the year ahead.

Unrealistic home sellers aren’t even a blip on home buyers’ radar. If you’re not ready to make deals and sweeten the pot, chances are you’ll be ringing in the new year under the same roof on Dec. 31. Proper pricing is the number one way to get your property moving, but offering cash concessions in the form of closing costs or amenities help a lot.

If possible, don’t leave a house empty. If you must move out of your property, warm it up with some neutral personal touches so it doesn’t look like a big empty box.

Homes have again become just that – a home, not a piggy bank to shake when you need some cash. For at least this year, the days of double digit home appreciation are out. Most markets will see flat appreciation or low single digit.

The words adjustable rate mortgages should be stricken from the data base of every home buyer’s brain. Only the very wealthy buyers, who can afford the risk, should consider this type of financing in the market we’re in, especially the negative amortization loans that have gotten millions of people in trouble.

Another very popular practice in Florida has been pre-construction pricing on new construction. Investors practically ran over each other to throw money at projects that weren’t out of the ground yet, and many of them have lost money even before they had a chance to close on their investment. Chances are you’re not going to see much if any of this in 2008, even when you find builders putting up new developments.

What’s also out in 2008 are real estate agents who dove into the real estate boom with little real knowledge of the business and without the ability to weather a down market. This is a good thing for the industry since the professional and experienced agents will provide better service in an adjusting market.

As far as what’s out in home design, a few changes and a few standards: I thought formal living rooms have been out for a long time, but they made the list this year anyway. Find a way to redesign the space by integrating it into the flow of the house.

Vaulted ceilings and very high ceilings are also out. Buyers apparently like ceilings between 9 and 11 feet. Consider adding a loft to cozy up your home and add some usable space.

Balconies to nowhere are out. Either make the balcony large enough to serve a purpose or don’t have one.

With the economy on shaky ground, most buyers will be looking for quality not quantity this year. Therefore, bigger may not be better. Oversized homes are expensive to maintain, repair and upgrade.

Without a doubt, the best of what’s out in 2008 are any locations that are even a little off the beaten path. Buyers now more than ever are sticking to the location, location, location philosophy of home buying.

2008 is predicted to be a turn around real estate year. If buyers are really getting back to basics, then Anna Maria Island is ready with one of the best locations on Florida’s west coast. What’s not to like about your basic island in paradise?


AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper