Just when it seemed that the market was headed back up, the talks and signs of a "double-dip" recession started to rear their ugly heads. So, what does that mean for the real estate market? Well, in our local area (Owen County), you most likely won't see much of a change. Things have been tough for sellers for quite some time and even when things were starting to look up, things still weren't looking to good.
With that said, you would probably expect the next thing for me to say to be "it is a buyer's market". Typically I would be saying this and to some extent it is true. However, new lending requirements and the current state of our economy have made it increasingly difficult for buyers to find financing. Couple that with the decline in property values and that reflection on appraisals, and it is increasingly difficult for buyers to become buyers.
Now, there is more than gloom and doom to my message. If you are a seller, it is a perfect time to refinance to make things easier on yourself in the way of payments. It is also time to evaluate your property and decide whether or not you really want to sell or if you want to make improvements and wait for the market to rebound. To the potential buyers, it is time to save some money and do it the right way. The lure of 100% financing was just too much for some people and is in part what caused the collapse that we saw. Save for your down payment (no less than 15%) and buy your home with some equity and save some money on mortgage payments. Not only will this help you in the long-run, but it will also make buying a home easier when sellers see how serious that you are. If there aren't a whole lot of hoops to jump through to get low down payment financing, sellers may be willing to take a little bit lower price given the assurance that you are going to be ready to close.
In closing, always seek the input of a real estate professional before buying or selling property. It is a complex process with many pitfalls. For sellers, the expense of the commission only comes if there is a closing and your real estate agent will be worth every penny. For buyers, the seller pays the commission, not you. Your real estate agent gets paid by the seller at no cost to you. That is like suing someone in court and having that person pay for your lawyer and you just can't beat that.