Despite the doom and gloom you might hear about the real estate market, people are still buying and selling homes, says Jeff Shaw, president of Century 21 Shaw Realty Group.
"People are still moving," he says. "The big advantage now lies with first-time buyers because the large inventory of homes to pick from really helps insure buyers can get exactly the home they want at a good price.
"For first-time buyers who qualify, we offer programs to get them into a home for little or no money down. These are not the subprimes you might have heard so much about, but are true government-backed loans in which buyers with average credit purchase homes with little or no money down."
Shaw says "upsizers," people looking to buy a larger home, are another group faring well in today's real estate market.
"If you want a bigger house, better schools, nicer neighborhood, waterfront property, now is a great time to make a move," he says.
Shaw contends the tighter market won't hinder those wishing to move up.
"Let's assume you sell a $200,000 home with a market correction of 7 percent, or a reduction of $14,000 from the amount you might have gotten a year ago," he says. "If you were to purchase a $400,000 home, the market adjustment would amount to $28,000, a savings of $14,000."
Despite these factors, sellers can do well in this less-fervent market.
"While the real estate frenzy of a couple of years ago is over, sellers can still get a good price for their home," Shaw says. He does recommend that sellers plan on having their home on the market longer than in the past.
So how can sellers make the most of the market?
"The general rule today is the better the marketing program, the quicker the sale and the higher the sales price," Shaw says. "If you list your home, make sure you understand what type of marketing program you will be getting for your money. Because of the extended days on the market, it will cost more to continually market your home until it is sold. A sign in the yard and an ad in the community paper might not be enough to get the job done."
In addition, Shaw says, sellers need a marketing program that reaches buyers across the country interested in moving here.
"The Internet plays a big part in this," he says, adding that leads to the company's relocation department are up 35 percent. Most of the leads represent home buyers from outside the Tampa Bay area, Shaw says.
Century 21 Shaw Realty has seven offices and nearly 300 agents throughout the Tampa Bay area. It has partnered with some of the largest relocation companies in the country to serve customers in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties.
For information, call (813) 643-0054 or visit www.century21shaw.com.