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Do not time the market? Why are realtors saying this now after a decade saying the opposite?

For years realtors told us to time the market.

Do you remember this?

"There has never been a better time to buy." (buy now before it is more difficult to buy)

"Buy now before you are priced out of the market." (buy before prices get to expensive)

"Prices have fallen and interest rates are at all time lows." <from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and probably 2011> (prices are lower than they were, buy now before they go up again).

Each of the above statements (straight from the NAR handbook) were all telling us to time the market. If it made sense to time the market then why not now?

After being told for over a decade to TIME THE MARKET (WHY) are you realtors suddenly telling us not to in the past year? Do you know something we do not? Do you know prices are dropping so if we wait awhile longer prices will fall even more?

Or are you so desperate for a sale that saying anything (even if that means suddenly contradicting what realtors said for over a decade) to create urgency seems like the best message to make someone buy now?

We should have timed the market until now? Timing the market made sense then but not now? Had we bought back then money would be lost on a declining asset. Surely there is no reason to think that same asset will stop declining now, is there?
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November 30 2010 - Adams Morgan
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Answers (5)

Oh, do you mean like all of the sellers that I tried to convince to price their homes for the current market in 2007 who were greedy and didn't sell and now they can't sell because they are upside down?   I can't speak for the industry as a whole, but I try to give the best advice that I possibly can given what I hear, what I experience, what I read.   It was clear to many of us in 2004-2008 that the market was reaching unsustainable prices - nobody was listening when we tried to tell them to sell and they aren't listening now when we tell them to buy. 

Of course we're trying to get people to buy or sell - surprise, surprise, that is what we do.   Whatever it is that you do for a living are you telling me it's any different?   Do you try to turn away business.   Give me a break.
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December 01 2010
The best advice I can give regarding "timing the market" is one I learned a decade ago when I first began my real estate career (when home values usually increased around 3% a year...).  You must look at real estate as a long-term Investment.  All real estate markets are driven by local economies. Yes, money can be made in the real estate market but it is a different market now and as we have learned over and over again a continually changing dynamic. Supply and demand is the key to real estate values and a home is only worth what a buyer will pay.  It must be a calculated risk to buy with the intent to make money and the reasons to buy are as vast as the individual buyer.  There is no one generalized answer and every transaction is different.  That's what makes it such a fascinating business. 
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December 01 2010
One of the interesting realities to become apparent as result of this amazing downturn in the resisdential market has been the recognition that there is very little intelligent and objective resisdential market analysis.
In an enviroment where all analysis is provided by salesmen, bearish sentiments are always shouted down by the bulls.  Stand up as I did in 2006 and suggest the market was becoming overheated and see what the reaction is.  Still today I take heat from my colleagues when I suggest this bust is not yet over.  
Consumers would be wise to recognize that Realtors are not analyst, they are salesmen.
It is both foolish and a little unfair to expect someone whose income depends on sales, right now, today, this month, to provide "advice" that is not driven by that fact.
I do a great deal of consulting and analysis for various entities.  In those cases I charge an upfront fee and usually exempt myself from representing the property later.
And secondly, in most of those cases I am being asked to not simply determine the current value, but where I expect the value to go and along what timeframe.  This type of analysis goes far beyond multipling sqft x "X."
Under a typical setting, Realtors are always going to say, "there's never been a better time to buy."  It is a nationwide marketing campaign slogan today and it was said five years ago and will be said by those same voices for years to come, no matter where the market really is or where it is headed.
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December 01 2010
Dan and Pasadenan you both have good points.  A consumer needs to be educated to the market place and do their own research.  Relying on advice from a commissioned salesperson in ANY industry is not wise.  Listen to what your representation has to say and then do your own research.  Ultimately you and not your agent/salesperson is going to reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of your decision.  The best advice I can give a client is to get educated.  I can show them the stats and give them my opinion, but it is up to them to make the decisions.
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November 30 2010
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As near as I can tell, all of those Realtors® have been calling the "bottom of the market" since 2004 except Roberto Ribas, and then when they are shown that they are wrong, they simply state that "no one has a crystal ball".

But I can't get any of them to take me up on my offer to sell them a crystal ball.

It appears to me that most studied pitchmen like Billy Mays, and learned that the most important thing in a sell was to "create urgency".  Apparently most that go into that profession enjoy the challenge of convincing someone to be a client, and then to convince that client to take an action that they otherwise wouldn't have take, to buy or sell for a given amount.  And then they like to claim that was what the buyer or seller wanted, so they made them happy and "provided a service".

I'm sorry, but that is not my idea of "service" and I'll go out of my way to select representation that doesn't work that way.

But the only ones not saying it is the best time to buy seem to be the ones that have other sources of income and really don't "need" the commissions to pay their present bills.

And why have they not be saying it is a good time to sell?  Simply because there is already too much on the market thus the agent would have to work to hard to get the property to stand out?  Or because they want owners to lose more equity first?
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November 30 2010
 
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