Vol. 8 No. 33 - May 7, 2008


To buy or not to buy – that is the question

As evidenced by the diversity of homes showcased in the annual tour of homes in March, Anna Maria Island is home to a tremendous variety of home styles and lifestyles. The homes on the tour ranged from ultra-modern to homes with a Mediterranean and Italian influence to a spectacular waterfront property and a converted cottage.

We all know there’s a lot to choose from, especially in the current real estate market. But is it the right time for everyone to buy, or should some buyers sit it out?

Dual-income families should always consider buying their own home rather than renting, especially if they have the assets to do so and a good credit score. Individuals who have been renting and have stable jobs with adequate income should start taking advantage of some the great deals available, which could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This is a particularly good time to look at the higher-end properties, if you can afford them. The pool of buyers for these properties is shrinking and prices are coming down, which could enable buyers to enter into a range of homes never before affordable to them. But don’t get caught up with a property that may be too much of a financial stretch just because it’s on sale. Buy what you can comfortably handle.

It may not be a good time to sell for retiring couples, if they need the funds to relocate, or people who are considering other life changes in the near future. Also, if your job is a little shaky or your employer is impacted with the economic downturn, it’s better to wait out the market.

Naturally, if you’re an investor interested in flipping properties, this not the time for you unless you plan on making a long-term real estate investment. However, purchasing raw land and holding it until the real estate cycle changes could be a smart move requiring less of a cash outlay and ongoing expenses. And if you purchased a home with 10 or 20 percent down and find yourself with your equity eroded away, don’t even consider moving on.

When will be the right time for everyone to buy or sell? There are as many opinions out there as there are properties for sale. That being said, most business models suggest the window of opportunity for buying is within the next six months, especially if interest rates continue to decline. However, we probably won’t see any appreciable increase in values for some time until buyers step up and relieve the overstocked market.

Investing in real estate used to be considered a no-brainer investment, and some real estate professionals still think it is. With prices down, inventory high and interest rates near a 45 year low, it would appear it’s the perfect time to buy. However, only you know what’s right for your family and your financial position. Use your brain even for a no-brainer decision.

Recently, I wrote a column about Sears Kit homes which I indicated were predominately constructed in the Northeast and Midwest. Several of the Sun’s readers contacted me to say there are two kit homes in our area, one on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria and another in Sarasota, as well as several in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Thanks for the feedback. It’s always appreciated.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper