Real estate frustration in finding a new home

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rustymutt
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Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:21 am

Good Morning Bogleheads! I need advice. I'm relocating to Colorado in the next few months.
I've been looking online at homes for 3 years, as we've wanted to move there for sometime. Many trips. The problem I'm encountering is that
any Realtor I've used, just sends me portals, or MLS listings, and expects me to find what I want, then let them show it to me.
I need a Realtor that will find me what I want, then collect the commission. I've been communicating well with any whom I've worked with that listen, but they all seem almost lazy on my behalf. I'm so frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm, that I could cry at times.
I don't want dig through there oddly configured databases. They don't seem to even be able to separate out ranch homes, from 2 story homes.
I'm not sure how to go forward at this point. I can't drive there weekly and return. They seem to just throw everything your way, and not do any screening or work on it. If they want a commission, am I wrong for expecting them to do some work for me?
Is there another better way to approach this. I've even had a buyers agency with one Realtor. I got nothing from her for over 2 months. Seems that Colorado is full of non professional role playing agents, with a few exceptions. This might be the case for any move, I don't know. Please help with advice. I don't believe I'm expecting to much of them, as they will be making a nice commission. :confused
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jfn111
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by jfn111 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:46 am

I'll speak as a Realtor, We usually set up MLS searches as a starting point. After conversations with the client we can narrow the search down based on neighborhoods, house style, size, number of bedrooms, etc... After the client starts identifying certain features we can do more work.
I will then start driving to the houses, taking pictures, doing CMA's and identifying 7-10 houses to show them when they come to town.
Out of town buyers can be difficult because you are doing most of the communication by phone and e-mail. Houses can come and go quickly, in hot markets, and I will often do a lot of work in anticipation of the client coming to town only to have the house be under contract before they arrive.
Since you are not under contract with a specific Realtor keeping trying different agents until you find one you can work with.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by stan1 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:49 am

Are you ready to buy the house right now? You may be sending a message that you are "just looking" in which case the Realtor might be reluctant to spend time with a client who isn't ready to buy. Have you been clear on what your needs are? I would agree with looking at houses on the internet and finding ones that you would like to see in person (based off location, size, photos, etc). This will help the Realtor understand what your requirements are. You might want to consider renting at first so that you can learn more about the neighborhoods and traffic (Denver is sprawling).

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by goaties » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:05 am

stan1 wrote: You might want to consider renting at first so that you can learn more about the neighborhoods and traffic (Denver is sprawling).
Yeah, I know this doesn't answer the question you asked, but I agree with the above. Moving to a new area, you simply don't yet know who your friends will be, what activities you may end up doing etc. The house you buy now may end up being too far from those unknown, but important, things you develop over the next few years.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by livesoft » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:06 am

I had a buyer's agent to which I gave an explicit list of features I wanted. I told her, "Don't send me anything that doesn't meet these criteria." I only looked at two homes. One, my spouse tricked me into looking at and I walked out in less than a minute after seeing lack of adherence to the list. The second home we bought.

So have you been forceful in explaining what you want. Do the features / criteria you insist on exist?
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:09 am

When I bought I was happy to use the MLS as a way to rule out most and select a few that I was interested in. And then to further downselect after a drive-by.

I prefer to do this because I don't expect a realtor to understand what I am after aesthetically and in other ways.

I think you need to do enough meditation to get yourself into the zone where you are ready to buy a house. I don't think you are there yet.

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Colorado is weird right now

Post by daveatca » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:50 am

In greater Denver and all along the Front Range from Castle Rock north to Fort Collins, for sale inventory is at a record low.
For example, typical inventory in greater Denver would be 22K and it is 4.5K.
The result is: multiple offers, typical DoM of fewer than 30 days, and selling for over asking.
In many cases you need to be able to make an offer within minutes of the house coming on the market.
In many cases, buyers are waiving inspections and other contingencies.
Real estate agents don't need buyers, they desperately need sellers.

Spend some time at http://insiderealestatenews.com/ to get a feel for the market.
Also, "Colorado's home sales prices grew by 9.1 percent in January from a year earlier, the highest rate of appreciation of any state in the country, but metro Denver's growth rate was even higher, at 10 percent." - http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/ ... gains.html
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lthenderson
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by lthenderson » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:22 am

I've been in that boat. My solution is to find another realtor and be specific up front of what you expect from them. You should be preapproved for a loan and show them that you are ready to buy. If you tell them you are thinking about moving, they are going to prioritize people with money in hand over you. They work off of commissions.

However, like others mentioned above, the best way if you can't spend a week there looking is to rent short term so that you can get to know the neighborhoods, understand the value of housing so you can make a competitive offers and spend some days with the realtor looking at houses in person to explain what features you like or dislike.

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tainted-meat
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by tainted-meat » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:40 am

If you have been looking for three years and still have not bought a place, then you are probably not as ready to buy as you think you are, which explains why realtors are not spending much time on you.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:04 am

I appreciate all the suggesting and comments. Thank you all so much. I am ready to buy, and have even told the agents that I might make a cash offer in most cases. Lack of quality homes is a huge issue in Colorado. Many of the homes we've been taken to, are quite simply not worth anywhere near the asking price. Seems that many people there just list at a high price looking for a snag. I'm spending the next 2 weeks out on the front range and hoping to find a new agent who has already heard the issues from my point of view. If I find the home I want, I'm buying. No hesitation now, as I'm newly divorced. I've give thought to renting, but really can't find anything to rent. Lack of housing is really a problem.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:09 am

stan1 wrote:Are you ready to buy the house right now? You may be sending a message that you are "just looking" in which case the Realtor might be reluctant to spend time with a client who isn't ready to buy. Have you been clear on what your needs are? I would agree with looking at houses on the internet and finding ones that you would like to see in person (based off location, size, photos, etc). This will help the Realtor understand what your requirements are. You might want to consider renting at first so that you can learn more about the neighborhoods and traffic (Denver is sprawling).
I don't feel the need to send a agent that message. That's why I ask them to help. If they don't believe me, then that's not in their best interest, and maybe shouldn't be in that business. At the current time, there just isn't much in quality housing, another than people who are selling do to relocation.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:11 am

tainted-meat wrote:If you have been looking for three years and still have not bought a place, then you are probably not as ready to buy as you think you are, which explains why realtors are not spending much time on you.
I looked for two years in this current home before buying. I don't rush expensive decision.
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rustymutt
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Re: Colorado is weird right now

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:13 am

daveatca wrote:In greater Denver and all along the Front Range to the north, for sale inventory is at a record low.
For example, typical inventory in greater Denver would be 22K and it is 4.5K.
The result is: multiple offers, typical DoM of fewer than 30 days, and selling for over asking.
In many cases you need to be able to make an offer within minutes of the house coming on the market.
In many cases, buyers are waiving inspections and other contingencies.
Real estate agents don't need buyers, they desperately need sellers.
Spend some time at http://insiderealestatenews.com/ to get a feel for the market.
I've picked up on what you've stated. They lack quality homes right now up north, and that's why I switched to the southern part of the state. Seems that more quality homes are available at modestly less prices. Even the new homes I've been showed in the north have quality issues.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by PaddyMac » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:16 am

I don't think I would want my realtor to pick my house, only you know what you want. When we moved from CA to NM, we spent a few months looking at houses online and building a list. Once we had an offer on our house in CA, we whittled our list down to about 20 or so options and booked a flight to NM. We sent the list to the realtor ahead of time and booked her for the weekend to drive us around. She added a few homes to our list, and then drove us around for two days as we thoroughly checked each one out. I took photos of every home, about a dozen per home, so we could keep them straight. She even called someone who had pulled their home off the market the previous year, and asked if we could look at it as it had the square footage and office space we were looking for.

On the plane home, we whittled it down to a choice of two or three houses, then a few days later we bought one over the phone. The realtor spent two days driving us around, plus time to prep and close the sale. But her INVALUABLE local knowledge was worth a fortune (she had sold so many homes in the area, worked for a builder for many years so knew good house construction from bad, knew which homes had good HOAs, etc.). IMO, she earned her commission.

If I were you, I would follow a similar route, that way you will know that you considered every home available. Yes, it's time consuming to search online, but it's also fun when you find something good! And at least you'll know that you didn't miss out on a great home because someone else had rejected it first. (For instance, when we bought our house in LA, the realtor had not put it on the list because "it had too many stairs". But it was a great house for us, and we wouldn't have even seen it if I hadn't found it in the LA Times Sunday paper first.)

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by PaddyMac » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:19 am

By the way, we started looking in the Denver - Boulder area, but didn't like the selection of homes available, as well as some of the attitudes (at the time, pre-recession, CO was annoyed that CA movers were driving up prices). We settled on New Mexico because of the better weather, and how friendly and affordable it is. If you haven't considered NM, the cost of living here is great, and the weather is much better than CO (unless you like snow).

Also, we live in a pinyon-juniper pine forest (east of Albuquerque) and the area looks like the nice forests in CO. There are some lovely mountains in the northern half. Just like AZ, NM has mountains in the north and drier/deserty area in the south.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:26 pm

rustymutt wrote:Many of the homes we've been taken to, are quite simply not worth anywhere near the asking price.
What makes you come to this conclusion? If the lack of inventory is very low and the area is desirable, then just because a price "seems" high doesn't make it so. A home is 'worth' what people will pay. It seems like people are paying more than you are comfortable with. If these homes are selling, that is what they are worth.

I moved to Seattle (HCOLA) from the midwest. It required a mental recalibration that 2 bedroom 1 bath homes that weren't updated were starting at $450k in the city. What are they "worth"? They sell like hotcakes, usually for more than asking price. It's only worth what someone will pay for it.

I'm vaguely familiar with the real estate market in northern Denver as I have family there. It's a very sought after location. You may need to rethink budget/home requirements/etc.

Your real estate agents may not be helpful because you have unreal expectations. Just a thought.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by black jack » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:07 pm

Hikes_With_Dogs wrote:
rustymutt wrote:Many of the homes we've been taken to, are quite simply not worth anywhere near the asking price.
What makes you come to this conclusion? If the lack of inventory is very low and the area is desirable, then just because a price "seems" high doesn't make it so. A home is 'worth' what people will pay. It seems like people are paying more than you are comfortable with. If these homes are selling, that is what they are worth.

I moved to Seattle (HCOLA) from the midwest. It required a mental recalibration that 2 bedroom 1 bath homes that weren't updated were starting at $450k in the city. What are they "worth"? They sell like hotcakes, usually for more than asking price. It's only worth what someone will pay for it.

I'm vaguely familiar with the real estate market in northern Denver as I have family there. It's a very sought after location. You may need to rethink budget/home requirements/etc.

Your real estate agents may not be helpful because you have unreal expectations. Just a thought.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by gator15 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:57 pm

I can send you a personal message with contact information for an agent I used. I believe he only works in the Denver area, but he did an outstanding job for me. You don't have to hire him, but having a discussion with him about what you are looking for may provide the help you are seeking. He was great with my wife and I as it took us over two years to purchase a house and he was patient along the way. We were very picky and yet he was patient. He help find my wife dream home. He is very knowledgeable regarding the Denver housing market.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:19 pm

gator15 wrote:I can send you a personal message with contact information for an agent I used. I believe he only works in the Denver area, but he did an outstanding job for me. You don't have to hire him, but having a discussion with him about what you are looking for may provide the help you are seeking. He was great with my wife and I as it took us over two years to purchase a house and he was patient along the way. We were very picky and yet he was patient. He help find my wife dream home. He is very knowledgeable regarding the Denver housing market.
He may also know good realtors in nearby areas to recommend.

To the OP, since you are apparently living by yourself now (no kids with you?), you have a lot of flexibility in terms of putting up with a less than optimal rental. I would definitely rent for awhile, get to know what areas are good or bad, and go to a lot of open houses.

As to things being overpriced, that may or may not be the case. Look at what houses actually sell for. The newspapers often report that once a month or so. Having lived on both coasts, I can tell you that houses in the center of the country look like they're being given away free once you're used to coast prices. Of course, you risk a fall in prices after you buy, but is the house to be a home or an investment?

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by an_asker » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:21 pm

rustymutt wrote:Good Morning Bogleheads! I need advice. I'm relocating to Colorado in the next few months.
I've been looking online at homes for 3 years, as we've wanted to move there for sometime. Many trips. The problem I'm encountering is that
any Realtor I've used, just sends me portals, or MLS listings, and expects me to find what I want, then let them show it to me.
I need a Realtor that will find me what I want, then collect the commission. I've been communicating well with any whom I've worked with that listen, but they all seem almost lazy on my behalf. I'm so frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm, that I could cry at times.
I don't want dig through there oddly configured databases. They don't seem to even be able to separate out ranch homes, from 2 story homes.
I'm not sure how to go forward at this point. I can't drive there weekly and return. They seem to just throw everything your way, and not do any screening or work on it. If they want a commission, am I wrong for expecting them to do some work for me?
Is there another better way to approach this. I've even had a buyers agency with one Realtor. I got nothing from her for over 2 months. Seems that Colorado is full of non professional role playing agents, with a few exceptions. This might be the case for any move, I don't know. Please help with advice. I don't believe I'm expecting to much of them, as they will be making a nice commission. :confused
To move there, why is it so essential for you to buy? Why not rent and move, then do your research locally and buy?

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by jfn111 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:49 pm

gator15 wrote:I can send you a personal message with contact information for an agent I used. I believe he only works in the Denver area, but he did an outstanding job for me. You don't have to hire him, but having a discussion with him about what you are looking for may provide the help you are seeking. He was great with my wife and I as it took us over two years to purchase a house and he was patient along the way. We were very picky and yet he was patient. He help find my wife dream home. He is very knowledgeable regarding the Denver housing market.
Referrals are the life blood of this business. Most good agents go out of their way to not only earn this commission check but the ones down the road.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by NYC34 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:25 pm

I bought a house in the front range about 5 months ago. I put in an offer nearly 6% over the asking price the first day it was on the market and I was one of 5 offers, all over the asking price, I was able to purchase the property. That is the reality of the current housing market in Colorado.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by jesscj » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:59 pm

I suggest you need to be in the area to buy right now, I live in the front range and price have gone up a lot in three years and inventory at record lows a recent article in the city I live in north of Denver has less than 2% vacancy. Homes are not on the market long and are going for higher prices. Also home prices are expected to keep pace, Colorado's economy is doing well one of the best in the county right now, supply and demand. I'm not sure where you are looking but the city's and neighborhoods vary a lot in prices up and down the front range, and you also need to figure in drive times to work as well if you live away from work, traffic tends to suck in Denver metro area in pretty much all directions.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by malabargold » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:03 pm

Funny, my last realtor commented that I was the only client he'd had who did his own searches (this was
a few years ago). We spent nearly 7 years looking for the last place we bought, and the wait
paid off in spades, perfect house, magical location, bought for a relative song at the nadir of the housing crash.

So don't get frustrated. Its one of the more significant purchases in life.
From what the folks in Co. are describing, it is a hot seller's market. It will simmer down eventually.

But after 3 years and if you are at your wit's end, talk frankly with your realtor, tell him you are ready to buy NOW
and that you expect him to come up with half dozen prooerties that fill your bill.

If he won't comply, there are many others who will

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by Watty » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:11 pm

After looking for so long and not finding what you want it might be good to consider having a home built to your specifications.

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:11 pm

Watty wrote:After looking for so long and not finding what you want it might be good to consider having a home built to your specifications.

Building is quite expensive. I'd rather get a used home at a premium discount. I have talked with some builders, and they don't impress me either. I'm a picky guy. Last home I had built in 1991, before they had it finished, they offered to buy it back from me for more than I paid them. I made them build it to the city department building codes. For example, it's not uncommon here for sand to be used around the socked drain tubes set inside/outside the footing ledges. City code calls for river rock, which isn't sand. Sand holds water, and river rock doesn't. Things like that made them mad, and they didn't like me at all. But hey, it's my money and they agreed to build it for a set price. Builders get away with this type cutting of corners to many times. The city inspectors don't have the time to check everything. Even some electrical 220V wiring wasn't installed to code, and the inspector labeled this, but the builder never fixed it. The city code people signed off anyway. I fixed it myself. No, not interested in that again.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:17 pm

I spent an hour with my latest agent this morning, and he understands my frustration and told me he's drive to the other side of Colorado for me if I needed a picture of a home. I like his attitude, and will spend time with him next week. He's set me up with a MSL that I understand and a video on how to use it. This is the first agent to do that. Instead of getting upset with me and arguing, he's getting it done. Last 2 agents just would tell me they didn't follow me. I got tired of explaining myself.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:21 pm

jesscj wrote:I suggest you need to be in the area to buy right now, I live in the front range and price have gone up a lot in three years and inventory at record lows a recent article in the city I live in north of Denver has less than 2% vacancy. Homes are not on the market long and are going for higher prices. Also home prices are expected to keep pace, Colorado's economy is doing well one of the best in the county right now, supply and demand. I'm not sure where you are looking but the city's and neighborhoods vary a lot in prices up and down the front range, and you also need to figure in drive times to work as well if you live away from work, traffic tends to suck in Denver metro area in pretty much all directions.
Last summer, on the way to Castle Rock, I got to show my wife a funnel cloud. She had been born and raised in Kansas, but had never seen one. Then it started to hail. Then 30 minutes after I spotted the funnel, the sirens went off. At this point I was in the fast lane, and couldn't get over, or off because of slow, stop and go traffic. I'm retired so working and drive on I25 isn't a issue for me.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:25 pm

NYC34 wrote:I bought a house in the front range about 5 months ago. I put in an offer nearly 6% over the asking price the first day it was on the market and I was one of 5 offers, all over the asking price, I was able to purchase the property. That is the reality of the current housing market in Colorado.
Sadly, yes this is the truth north of Denver. My sister confirms this also. I't a crazy market for real estate out there. I've turned to the south part of the state, which seems more reasonably priced. Canon City is a cool smaller town, up a ways in the Arkansas river basin. Royal Gorge is nearby.
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South Park

Post by daveatca » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:57 pm

rustymutt wrote: I've turned to the south part of the state, which seems more reasonably priced. Cañon City is a cool smaller town...
Follow the old railroad west and check out Salida. It has a hospital and the weather is reasonable.

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Re: South Park

Post by rustymutt » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:04 am

daveatca wrote:
rustymutt wrote: I've turned to the south part of the state, which seems more reasonably priced. Cañon City is a cool smaller town...
Follow the old railroad west and check out Salida. It has a hospital and the weather is reasonable.
That's interesting, cause my sister of Fort Collins, told me the exact same thing.
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by dailybagel » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:17 am

Hikes_With_Dogs wrote:
rustymutt wrote:Many of the homes we've been taken to, are quite simply not worth anywhere near the asking price.
What makes you come to this conclusion? If the lack of inventory is very low and the area is desirable, then just because a price "seems" high doesn't make it so. A home is 'worth' what people will pay. It seems like people are paying more than you are comfortable with. If these homes are selling, that is what they are worth.

I moved to Seattle (HCOLA) from the midwest. It required a mental recalibration that 2 bedroom 1 bath homes that weren't updated were starting at $450k in the city. What are they "worth"? They sell like hotcakes, usually for more than asking price. It's only worth what someone will pay for it.
Coming from the New York City metro area, I'd kill for a 2-bedroom at $450k. When taking the pulse of the local market, I'm seeing nice 1-bedroom apartments around $550k. <sigh>

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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by an_asker » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:24 am

dailybagel wrote:[...]Coming from the New York City metro area, I'd kill for a 2-bedroom at $450k.[...]<sigh>
Please don't come to Florida - you will decimate us! ;-)

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rustymutt
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Re: Real estate frustration in finding a new home

Post by rustymutt » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:34 am

an_asker wrote:
dailybagel wrote:[...]Coming from the New York City metro area, I'd kill for a 2-bedroom at $450k.[...]<sigh>
Please don't come to Florida - you will decimate us! ;-)
Florida sink holes scare me more than Kansas Tornadoes. I don't want a be buried alive in debt, or a sink hole. Gasp!
I'm amazed at the wealth of Knowledge others gather, and share over a lifetime of learning. The mind is truly unique. It's nice when we use it!

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