Mood of the Market
Moderate homebuyer: Moderation in all things is an aspirational standard, and that applies to real estate just as it does to most other endeavors. With respect to real estate, moderates don't have a super-predictable set of behaviors. Rather, real estate moderation is focused more on how they make their real estate decisions than on what real estate moves they make.
Moderates tend to do their own budgets, run the math, get a good basic sense for what they are looking for, talk to the relevant professionals (a list that, at various times, may include a real estate broker/agent, mortgage pro, accountant or other tax professional, financial planner and real estate or estate planning attorney(s)) -- and then get out there and buy a home, no muss, no fuss.
No drama. No trauma. No paralysis of analysis. No frenzied rush into -- or out of -- the market based on the trend of the day. Of course, they take their home and their finances seriously, so moderates don't make offers lightly or throw money at homes. But moderates tend to buy homes that they feel they can afford and enjoy without going into the poorhouse, but also without trying to get their mortgage payment lower than their electric bill.
Moderates do sometimes invest in real estate, but they also have other, non-real-estate-related assets in their savings and retirement portfolios.
Course-corrections/things to watch out for: Moderates tend to make their decisions about whether and when to buy based on their lifestyles, their families, their plans for the future and their personal finances -- not based on what their mom wants them to do or what some television pundit or home price chart suggests they should do. And that's a good guideline for the rest of us to course-correct to.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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