Bradenton Florida Real Estate News

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Investor Workshop - Feb. 8th

Three Keys to Investing Success:
· How to find motivated sellers
· How to determine market value
· How to evaluate deals

This two hour workshop is led by Dan Forbes, president and co-owner of Premier Team Inc., along with his partner Marie Avery. Dan is a Certified Residential Specialist, a Graduate of the Realtor Institute, and holds a masters degree. He is a practicing real estate broker, Realtor, and investor in Bradenton, Florida. Dan has served as President of the Manatee Association of Realtors, Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, and an Ethics Instructor. He was named Realtor of the Year in 2005. Premier Team was named Small Business of the Year by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce in 2002.

The workshop includes a fast-paced powerpoint presentation loaded with practical advice to help the novice to intermediate real estate investor.

What you will learn:
° How to know a motivated seller from all the others
° 14 types of motivated sellers and how to find them
° Why you need to look for problems instead of looking for properties
° 30 ways to find motivated sellers
° A telephone prospecting script that works
° Simple ways to determine the market value of a house
° How to get experts to give you useful advice for free
° How to determine if a deal is good or not
° 7 principles you absolutely must follow when making deals
° How to avoid the alligator and attract the cash cow
° Using a Buy, Fix-up, and Sell Worksheet
° Using a Buy and Hold Worksheet
° How to make a good deal even better


When: Thursday, February 8, 2007, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Where: Jenny’s Lunchbox in Braden River Plaza 4402 S.R. 64 E. in Bradenton (Approximately 2 ¼ miles West of I-75 on the South side of State Road 64)

Cost: Advanced reservations are $10 for Bradenton Real Estate Club members and $20.00 for non-members.

Register Online at http://www.bradentonrealestateclub.com/ or call 941-746-0505

(Credit Card payments accepted online)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top 10 Luxury Markets to Watch

TOP 10 LUXURY MARKETS TO WATCH
In its January issue, Unique Homes Magazine lists what it expects to be the top 25 luxury markets in 2007, with Jupiter, Fla., ranking as No. 9.

According to the magazine, the communities that made it on the list collectively represent where the market is heading. Here are the magazine's picks for the top 10 and the factors that make them standout as leaders of the pack:

  • Annapolis, Md. (No. 1), great boating and affordable prices compared to Washington, D.C., or Baltimore, both of which are a reasonable commute from Annapolis;
  • Asheville, N.C. (2), eclectic ambiance draws the upscale to an outdoorsy, low-key lifestyle; Aspen, Colo. (3), four-season appeal, which is kept exclusive by restrictive zoning that restrains supply;
  • Atlanta, Ga. (4), a big-city appeal with lots of lifestyle amenities and new upscale communities;
  • Austin, Texas (5), posting record gains for most of 2006, a mix of newcomers are drawn to its great music and scenery and the cosmopolitan University of Texas;
  • Bellevue/Medina, Wash. (6), this city has lots of upscale neighborhoods that aren't as pricey as other northwest areas;
  • Beverly Hills, Calif. (7), its reputation as a Mecca for luxury remains untarnished;
  • Idaho (8), the state is a luxury newcomer with growing resort markets, such as Coeur d'Alene, McCall and Sandpoint;
  • Jupiter, Fla. (9), Tiger Woods started a trend here when he purchased a 10-acre estate for $38 million;
  • Manhattan (10), Wall Streeters flush with 2006 bonuses are snapping up desirable co-ops and town houses.

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Bradenton Real Estate

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Friday, January 26, 2007

What does our stabilizing market mean for buyers?

As noted in both local newspapers our Bradenton - Sarasota real estate market is showing signs of stabilization and improvement.

That's good news for sellers who have wondered just how far home prices would decline. It seems that we now know the answer. Home prices have fallen about 18 percent from the high of 2005 and now seem to be holding steady. It appears that we have already hit the bottom.

What does this mean for buyers? It means that TODAY is the best time to buy. Not next month, not next week, but today.

Sue Louis, regional senior vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Inc., agreed, predicting something home sellers have not seen much during 2006. "Be prepared to pay a price that may not be as low as you'd hoped, but that just might be your last opportunity because we are beginning to see multiple offers on appropriately priced homes."

Read the Herald Tribune article: Pulse of home sales strengthens
http://tinyurl.com/2eoal9
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Bradenton Real Estate

Bradenton - Sarasota Homes Sales Expected to Rise

Today's local paper ran this headline: "Realtors predicting home sale uptick". The article was full of positive news about our local housing market. Now that the 2006 housing numbers are in, it seems that the market correction has plateaued and that we are on the rebound.

Our Bradenton - Sarasota real estate market has seen the worst of this correction and better days are ahead. I've been saying this for some time now. Buyers need to heed this change and buy now or miss the best prices.

Read the full article here:
http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/16548926.htm
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Bradenton Real Estate

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Are you selling a vacant home?

Vacant homes may drive prices down even further.

As the number of homes available for sale goes up, it's no surprise that more homes are vacant - more than 30 percent during the third quarter of 2006 compared to a year earlier or 1.9 million homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau shows. That's about half of all single-family
homes on the market, says Michael Carliner, vice president of economics for NAHB.

Sellers facing this dilemma are dropping prices in an attempt to encourage sales. ''If buyers are waiting longer, then an increasing number of homes become vacant, which means sellers
become desperate and prices fall further. That's where we are in the cycle,'' says Anirban Basu, an economist who is chairman and chief executive of Sage Policy Group Inc. in Baltimore.

Declining home prices could trigger more defaults on mortgage loans if homeowners
struggling with two mortgages cannot cover the cost of the loan by selling the house, adds Celia Chen, director of housing economics for Moody's Economy.com.

Locally in our Bradenton market, 22% of single family homes on the market are vacant and 28% of the condos for sale are vacant.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Insurance cost relief for Florida homeowners

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 23, 2006 – Charged with the daunting task of reducing homeowners insurance premiums for millions of Florida property owners, the Florida Legislature last night passed a 167-page bill that could lower premiums between 5 percent and 40 percent and provide other insurance relief to millions of property owners. Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to sign the legislation today.

Here’s how legislators intend that to happen:

Lower rates
• Allow property owners to exclude windstorm coverage from their policies;
• Allow policyholders to exclude contents coverage;
• Remove the requirement that Citizens Property Insurance Corporation charge the highest premiums in the state;
• Repeal Citizens’ Jan. 1, 2007 rate increase and freeze rates at the Dec. 31, 2006 level.
• Eliminate the cap on deductibles so a homeowner can choose a deductible other than the standard 2 percent, 5 percent or 10 percent in current law. However, the policyholder must execute a written statement demonstrating understanding and intent, and must obtain approval by a mortgage or lien holder if the deductible is over 10 percent on a home valued under $500,000.
• Allow non-homestead properties to be eligible for Citizens coverage effective March 1, 2007;• Authorize Citizens to write multi-peril policies in the windstorm pool, which will result in a direct decrease in premiums for at least 110,000 policy holders.

Protect policyholders
• Require all Florida-only insurance company subsidiaries to have a surplus of at least $50 million in liquid assets to help ensure that policyholders can receive payment when they need it;
• Require insurance companies to evaluate the hurricane-security of a structure rather than the date of construction when determining risk and establishing premiums. Age of the home may not be used as the sole reason for rejection of coverage;
• Require insurance companies to give at least 100 days written notice, or written notice by June 1, whichever is earlier, for any non-renewal, cancellation or termination of a homeowners policy that would be effective between June 1 and Nov. 30;
• Require insurance companies to expedite payment of claims following a storm. Insurance companies must pay or deny a property insurance claim within 90 days of notice of the claim with an exception for factors beyond the control of the insurer. Violation is subject to penalty under the Insurance Code, subjecting the insurance company to disciplinary actions against its license;
• Prohibit excess profits by property insurers.

Expand the market
• Require any insurance company that writes homeowners policies in other states and writes auto insurance in Florida to sell homeowners insurance in Florida effective Jan. 1, 2008;
• Allow Citizens to write statewide commercial insurance policies and to determine policy limits and premiums;
• Allow Citizens to sell traditional homeowners policies to 350,000 customers who currently buy only windstorm coverage from Citizens;
• Enable insurance companies to purchase additional backup insurance from the state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund at rates lower than on the private reinsurance market;
• Repeal a law that had called for insurers to pay extra into the fund to build up its reserves;
• Allow state regulators to waive a deposit requirement for foreign-based reinsurance companies. The idea is to lure more worldwide reinsurers to sell coverage to Florida companies, raising the possibility they'll be able to find additional cheaper reinsurance.

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Bradenton Real Estate

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Negotiation Tips for buyers

Negotiating the price for your new home doesn't have to be a stressful experience. Anyone can be a successful negotiator if a few simple things are kept in mind.

First, remember an informed buyer is a confident one. Below is a list of questions that will allow you to become well informed heading into negotiations.

1. How long has the property been on the market? Usually, the longer the property has been on the market, the more likely the seller will be to negotiate.

2. Has the price been reduced during the listing period? If there have been any reductions, especially large ones, in relation to the overall price, then the seller will again be more apt to negotiate.

3. Have there been any other offers on the property? It's good to know what offers are being considered and what offers have been turned down and why.

4. Why is the seller selling? It is always good to know a person's motivation when negotiating. This will help you in choosing what offer to make.

5. What is included in the sales price? Furniture or equipment, washer, dryer, etc. This should all be taken into consideration when making an offer.

6. What is the price range of properties that have been sold in the area? This will give you a good idea of what the market is like in the area.

7. How long do properties stay on the market in the area? This average will let you know how heavy the competition is you may be facing.

8. What is the list to sale price ratio in this area? A good way to find out the sellers' past willingness to negotiate and how much or how little they may be willing to bend.

9. What is the average price per square foot of recent sales in the area? Now you will know how the house stacks up against others in the area, without worrying about size. It puts all houses on the same level.

10. What other factors may affect the property value of the house or neighborhood? Crime, flood planes, natural disasters, termites, and many other things help determine a home's value. Find out the history of the house and area.

COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS
The only final information you should get now is a comparative market analysis (AMA). You can request your REALTOR® to write one up for any of the houses you wish to make an offer on. A CMA is what a seller uses to set the asking price. It may show you that the price they are asking is a bargain or extremely inflated.

More tips:
Now that you are armed with knowledge, negotiations will be much easier. You will know what a good price for the house actually is.

When you get into the negotiations, don't be in a hurry. Remember to be relaxed and patient. You have all the information you need in front of you - don't hesitate to take time to look over it again. As the buyer, the ball is in your court. You can always raise your offer if you need to, but you can't lower it.

Remain aloof and don't act as if you've fallen in love with the house, make them convince you that the house is the one for you. Don't let them rush you into a buy. If they say there is another buyer seriously interested, don't become over anxious, they may be bluffing.

Don't get into a bidding war. If you are told that you are in competition with another buyer, let them make the first move, and avoid continuous bidding. A bidding war could possibly drive the price out of your range. Drop out of the bidding and see what the sellers' reaction is.

The key to all negotiations is to know your limits. If you've set a cap on spending, stick to it, don't let someone talk you into something you can't afford or aren't willing to pay
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Bradenton Real Estate

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Our Bradenton Real Estate Club in the news

Today's local paper here in Bradenton, The Herald, ran a nice article about our Bradenton Real Estate Club. Here's a link:
http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/business/16475336.htm

You are welcome to attend the club which meets for lunch and a presentation/discussion every Friday at the Stoneybrook Clubhouse in Heritage Harbour (S.R. 64 and I-75). More information can be found on the club's web site:
http://BradentonRealEstateClub.com

Monday, January 15, 2007

Why now is a great time to buy real estate

The real estate market experiences cycles of highs and lows. The typical cycle may take 5-7 years. Values begin to rise, sometimes quite rapidly, then they level off or decline, then they rise again. But they almost never decline to the level they were before the rise began.

Today’s market is what’s called a buyer’s market. It means simply that there are more sellers in the market than buyers. Buyers have the advantage.

People tend to buy at the wrong time. When the market is hot and prices are rising people are excited about the possibility of making money. They jump into the market and buy. This works out fine for a lot of people, except for those who buy at the top of the cycle. When prices begin to fall, those who bought at the top may find that it’s impossible to sell even at the same price which they purchased.

When the market declines some people are fearful of buying. But that’s exactly the right time to buy. Why? Because real estate always comes back!

Buy in bad times, sell in good times. That’s the way to real estate success.

Why is today’s buyer’s market a good time to buy? Here are some good reasons:

1. Prices are lower. In the $500,000 - $600,000 price range it’s not unusual to find that prices have dropped by $100,000 or more. In the $200,000 and below price range prices have also fallen. If you thought buying something for $200,000 was a good deal 2 years ago, then why isn’t it a good deal at $150,000 today? Which is a better time to buy, when prices are high or when prices are low?

2. Sellers are anxious or even desperate. They are more likely to consider low offers. They are more flexible in price and terms. Some haven’t had an offer in months. Your offer may be the only one they’ve had. Some sellers absolutely must sell. This is where you’ll find a bargain.

3. Zero cash deals are easier to find. Why is a zero cash deal better? It increases your cash on cash return and your return on investment. It involves less risk. It frees up your money which can be used to make other deals. It’s easier to find seller financing in a buyer’s market. The seller may finance your down payment.

4. Creative, low cash deals are easier to find. If you are looking to lease option a property or buy subject-to the mortgage when is easier, a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? When the seller is having difficulty selling and receiving no offers at all, your creative offer is more likely to get their attention. It’s easier to find seller’s who just need relief from their monthly payment.

5. It’s easier to find great properties that are sure to rise in value. During a hot seller’s market the best properties sell quickly. Some sell in hours. You may never even know they were for sale. In a buyer’s market for sale signs are everywhere. It’s easier to find a good property in a good location. These properties will rise in value faster than less desirable properties, when the market surges ahead.

6. Low-interest mortgage loans are easy to find. Lenders are looking for borrowers. Mortgage rates are historically low and it’s easy to get a loan.

7. Most of the negative news is behind us. We are seeing positive reports about the real estate market on the national level and now even on our local level. Prices won’t stay low forever. Buyer’s markets come and go. Now is a great time to buy.

by Dan Forbes
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Bradenton Real Estate

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Better days ahead for housing market

After bottoming in the fourth quarter of 2006, existing-home sales are forecast to gradually rise through 2007 and into 2008, while new-home sales should turn around by summer, according to the latest forecast by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Annual totals for existing-home sales in 2007 will be comparable to 2006, says David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist.

Soft Landing for Housing

“With all the wild projections by academics, Wall Street analysts, and others in the media, it appears that much of the housing sector is experiencing a soft landing,” Lereah says. “Despite the doomsayers, household wealth will not evaporate and the economy will not go into a recession. If you're in it for the long haul, housing is a sound investment.”

Source: Realtor Magazine Online
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Bradenton Real Estate

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mortgage Strategies for 2007

Because everyone's situation is unique, it's impossible to give general guidelines for mortgage strategies in 2007, but maybe some answers will help you in deciding your next mortgage move.

1. What's going to happen to mortgage rates in 2007?
Economists predict that long-term rates will rise in 2007. They made a similar prediction about 2006 and were only partially right: Rates rose in the first half of the year, then fell steeply over the next three months, then leveled off for a while.

The fact is no one can predict the movement of interest rates accurately. It's relatively safe to predict that rates will rise in 2007, but no one knows how far they will rise and whether it will be slow and steady through the year, or if most of the increase will take place in just a few months, with rates being relatively flat the rest of the year.

And the pundits could be wrong -- rates could actually fall in 2007.

2. Should I refinance in 2007?
The answer to that depends on many factors. If you want to refinance strictly to get a lower interest rate, you're probably better off doing it sooner rather than later because most observers expect rates to rise through the year.

There are other reasons to refinance. Some people refinance to get rid of mortgage insurance. Others do it to pay off their high-rate home equity lines of credit and consolidate all that debt into one mortgage loan. Still others look at refinancing as a way to escape rising interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages, particularly on interest-only and pay option ARMs.

If you decide to refinance for one of the above reasons, discuss it with a trusted loan officer or mortgage broker to make sure you have all the facts you need. You might find, for example, that it costs more in the long run (but less in the short run) to consolidate all your debt into one mortgage.

3. When should I refinance?
Refinance your mortgage when you're ready to do it. In other words, if it makes financial sense to refinance at a certain time, go ahead and do it. Don't wait for rates to fall further. You can't know if you grabbed the rock-bottom rate until after the fact, so don't even try.

When it comes to mortgages, getting a good rate is good enough. The world won't end if you don't get the absolute best rate.

4. Should I wait before I buy a house?
Waiting for home prices to hit bottom is just like waiting for interest rates to reach their nadir. You can't count on timing the market correctly. When you find the right house at an acceptable price, go ahead and get it. If house values in the neighborhood fall after that, well, you didn't buy the house just to sell it a few months later, right? The house is almost assured of appreciating over the next few years, even if its value falls for a while at first.

Source: Bankrate.com
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Bradenton Real Estate

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

December 2006 Market Condtions Report

Premier Team’s Market Conditions Report Summary – Dec 06
(from our study of the Gulf Coast Regional Multiple Listing Service)

Statistics for Single Family Homes:
Total Single Family Home Listings: 4098 - Up 52% over last year. Down 3.2% from last month!
Total Solds: 176 - Down 30% year to year
Median Sales Price: $275,000 – Down 13.8% from last year and down 21.4% from 2005 high
Absorption Rate: 11.0 months. This is how long it would take to sell all of today's listings at the rate homes are selling and if no other homes were listed.Average
Days on Market: 85 - Up 70% over last year

Statistics for Condos:
Total Condo Listings: 1944 – Up 111% over last year.
Total Solds: 51 – Down 43% year to year
Median Sales Price: $240,000 . Up significantly.
Absorption Rate: 14.1 months
Average Days on Market: 93 – Up 158%

Summary: Our Market is STABILIZING!
The signs of market stabilization are finally here. What has been evident for the rest of the state has finally arrived in the Manatee – Sarasota market. For the FIRST time since May 2005 total inventory has shown a decrease. Total listings are down 3.2% from last month and up only 52% over last year.

We also saw a $5,000 increase in December’s median price over November. This is the first month over month increase in 5 months. We are at the bottom of the cycle and should start seeing signs of improvement by mid-year.

The condo market probably has another 6 months of decline before it stabilizes. The absorption rate (supply and demand) has risen to it’s zenith of 14.1 months. Inventory rose slightly.

Prices may remain flat for the next 24 months, but 2009 should bring price gains as population growth continues. Hank Fishkind, of Fishkind and Associates confirms that our market is stabilizing. Orlando will be the strongest, and Miami – Ft. Myers will be the weakest in 2007.

We have seen a definite increase in sales activity for our team. Our November-December sale numbers were our best in 5 years! Personally, we are experiencing an increase in business.

Our Reccomendation: Buyers who have been waiting for the bottom of the market need to act now!

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Characteristics of today's home buyers

They're married, 46 years old and have mdeian income of about $67,000. After touring eight properties, they settled on a 1,729 square foot home for $217,600. Do you know this couple?

They're the typical Florida home buyer, according to the 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Florida Report.

Source: Florida Association of Realtors
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Bradenton Real Estate

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

7 Top Tips for Buying or Selling Homes

In most parts of the country, the New Year will dawn on a housing market that’s shockingly different from just a year ago. Overzealous speculation, too-lenient lending and aggressive overbuilding have combined to create the type of home-inventory levels and price stagnations that haven’t been felt in the U.S. since the early to mid-1990’s.

In short, the housing market, after a historic run-up in prices, is correcting. While that’s of little concession to current and would-be sellers, it’s not the end of the world either, especially if you don’t need to sell immediately. Economics elsewhere are encouraging. Recession doesn’t appear imminent. Wall Street appears healthy. Unemployment is low, and the general economy is good.

The market, as it always does, will reach equilibrium again, though probably not before mid-2008 or so, most economists estimate. So reset that panic button and sit back to raise a glass to 2007 as a transition year that will bring us one step closer to healthier home sales. In the meantime, take note of how home-buying and home-selling strategies change in a down market.

Here are seven selling tips and seven buying tips for ‘07 that could help save you a little grief in the short term and a lot of money in the long term.

7 selling tips for the down cycle:
1. Price to sell. If you really must sell now, don’t mess around. List your house based on what the market dictates today, not the prices that friends, relatives and co-workers got last winter or last spring.

2. Consider all credible offers. Holding fast for a better offer might put you in a situation where you’re merely playing catch-up with a moving market. Don’t assume there’ll always be another offer coming down the pike. You may need to come off your price 5 percent in some areas and 10 percent or more in others.

3. Offer to proffer. Buyers are requesting all kinds of enticements to spice the pot. Club memberships, prepaid lawn maintenance, moving-expense reimbursements, all appliances included and liberal repair credits are just a few possible throw-ins. Don’t be shocked if you hear, “Throw in that plasma TV and we’ve got a deal.” Consider in advance how far you’ll be willing to go, but draw the line, however, at “first-born child.”

4. Catch the wave at the source. Prepare your home for sale at the very earliest point this “spring” (actually early March or even late February), the time when seasonal buying interest is just starting to build.

5. Preserve your equity. Until the market stabilizes, refrain from borrowing from home equity (or raiding your 401(k), for that matter) to pay your bills, or for vacations and other purchases.

6. Gain in a sell-buy scenario. If you’ll be buying another home at the same time you’re selling your current one, the price reduction on the new one can compensate for the “loss” you’re taking on the old one. If you plan a “move up” to a better neighborhood and are paying 10 percent below list after selling your old home for 10 percent below list, your net dollar savings will actually be more.

7. Stay if possible. If you’re happy in your home and are meeting your expenses but want to sell due to continuing “housing bubble” fears, sit a spell. A home is a shelter first, and investment second. Except for a handful of markets that are still hyper-inflated, odds are that it will pay to ride out the storm. Generally, the early stages of a downturn are the scariest because that’s when amateur investors are dumping “spec” properties cheaply.

7 buying tips for the down cycle:
1. Negotiate with builders. Don’t be afraid to ask builders for concessions such as steep price discounts, closing-cost waivers, luxury upgrades, free landscaping, free trips and free club memberships. Many builder-incentive packages are worth 10 grand and up! In some markets such as Boston, new condos are selling for 20 percent less than they were in mid-to-late 2005.

2. Negotiate with home sellers. Unlike the go-go market of recent years, offers of 5 percent to 10 percent or more under asking price will not be inappropriate. (See “selling tips” for some of the throw-ins that buyers are being offered.)

3. Educated timing. Read up on local – not national – market trends, religiously read for-sale ads, and get a sense of what’s moving and where, then be prepared to jump on bargains, especially as the last of the speculators are being flushed out of the market and for-sale inventories are at their zenith.

4. Avoid hot spots. Stay away from buying homes in neighborhoods that appreciated significantly above average home prices in recent years – especially if you’re moving for the short term. Once prices in these hot spots are corrected, these often see slower upward movement or remain flat after the overall market heads north again.

5. Modesty is the best policy. Consider more modest homes in well-maintained, established neighborhoods. By contrast, pricing and re-pricing on expensive homes, new homes and new condos make those products riskier during down cycles.

6. Flexibility. For maximum flexibility in pouncing on the right deal, get preapproved for your home loan.

7. Follow fundamentals. Just because a lender will advance you money to live or build beyond your means doesn’t mean you’re standing on sound fiscal footing. At year-end 2006, $330 billion of adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, were creeping upward. Avoid risky interest-only loans and ARMs, opting for fixed-rate mortgages instead. And learn from the recent past: Don’t assume housing will appreciate enough in the near term to cover your home’s rising interest payments.