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Monday, April 15, 2013

A New Housing Bubble? Or Is It Just Here?

I wrote a little while ago about helping Frugal Son buy a house. We are not experts on the process, having bought just one house. We still love the house, but--neophytes that we were--we were manipulated by everyone involved. A horrible experience, with many shady operators.

An acquaintance--the former head of the public library here--brought over her friend and neighbor, a very nice guy. I guess he will do as well as anyone. We haven't actually looked at anything. That is because the houses we are interested in seem to be selling in a matter of days. DAYS. So the agent calls the listing agent--and the house is already under contract.

Is this a new bubble brewing? Any advice on how to keep our heads would be much appreciated.


Duchesse said...

Trekking through houses is the only way to build your sense of value. (If they have a home inspection report, read it.)

I'd go to as many open houses as you can stand (without your agent). If they ask if you are working with an agent say yes (there's no advantage to keeping it secret).

Open houses mean you don't waste your agent's time and are free from the inevitable pressure to buy. (Remember for whom the agent is actually working: himself.) Also visit houses with an agent, but going to OHs that are "maybes" on your own means you use the agent for the best bets and build your knowledge on your own.

Anonymous said...

I'm also in NOLA (I'm the previous commenter whose daughter goes to the schools where your son is employed... by the way, does he happen to teach an after-school gardening class?) and we have a DEFINITE bubble in our part of town. We live near the Whole Foods and prices are going through the roof. A lot of places are being purchased by developers near us and turned into the NOLA version of McMansions - adding camelbacks, extending into the back yard, etc. Rents are through the roof over here too.

Shelley said...

I agree that knowing the areas in which you want to buy is important, as well as having a list of 'must-haves' vs 'would like to have'. When I bought in Salt Lake, the property market was rising quickly and houses being snapped up. It was a race to save up a deposit and I bought the first house I saw that met my criteria. Not my dream house, but it has served well. It's one of the few times I've been decisive. I think it's also important to differentiate between good value and prestige (unless the latter is important to you).

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--We took your good advice. Except we did go with the agent. Houses are getting offers a day after listing--is it 2007???

@buono...--I asked Frugal Son and he said--it's ok. C'est lui. thanks for the info about your beautiful area.

@Shelley--Glad to hear that it's possible for indecisive types--like MEEEEEEE--to be decisive about this.

Funny about Money said...

In these parts (darkest American Southwest) real estate is recovering but does not appear (yet) to be in Bubble Redux.

If that happens, the instant we can break even on M'hijito's house, we're selling and putting the kid and the dawg in a rental!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Funny--Really? He wants out?