What Happens After the Bubble Bursts?
(Written on March 18, 2007)
What happens when the real estate bubble finally bursts? Is it all bad news? Well, it's bad news if you were going to use your equity to put your kids through college, but if you're a real estate investor, it ain't all bad.
The end of a real estate boom is the beginning of the buying season. It's time to start looking around for bargains. If you don't see any bargains at first, hang on, you will. As prices continue to fall, the buyers take control. This is where new real estate success stories are written: in the shopping phase. Be a creative buyer and the real estate world is your oyster.
For instance, finding a rent with an option to buy is the ultimate way for a person with no start up capitol to get started in real estate investing. In a strong real estate market, nobody will rent a property with an option to buy but in a weak one, they will. Rent with option properties are usually in need of repair or, at least, a little TLC. So, someone willing to trade a little time and some sweat; will be able to find a diamond in the rough at terms that he or she can control. Remember in a buyer's market, often the seller will do anything to get out from under the debt of a particular property.
A buyer's market also opens up a world of creative financing possibilities. When it is a seller's market, a seller will never take back any part of a mortgage because he knows he doesn't have to in order to sell the property. However, when things just aren't selling, he or she might have to. As a buyer you can make your first offer using terms that would be a dream come true for you. You see, you're in the driver's seat, now!
So, unless you have the purchase of a mansion in Georgia contingent upon the sale of a Condo in Connecticut, take heart, falling prices are good news for real estate investors! After some time passes and you have accumulated some properties it will be your turn to ride the wave of rising prices to wealth. For now, it's time to take advantage of the fact that too many people have held on to their investment properties way too long!
How long will the housing market crash last and how bad will it be? Remember, real estate prices vary region by region. After the 80's bubble burst, some parts of the country never felt a thing. Others, like the northeast were hit hard. The lean years were from 1988 to 1994. This, which was a six-year span, is usually, about an average time of a market down cycle. In 1994 buyers started to come back into the market, but nobody noticed because housing prices were still falling due to the glut of houses remaining on the market. When real estate starts selling after a sharp drop in prices, but the prices still keep falling, this is a great sign for the real estate investment community. It means BUY! The surplus of housing will soon dry up and prices will soar. That's the way it is in real estate, feast or famine!
It is impossible to say how much housing prices will drop during a real estate price crash because the real estate community will only lower the market prices so much. A particular seller, however, may be willing to accept an even lower than "the market" offer. It may be worth it for this seller to unload this property at this below market price rather than hold on to a property that is becoming a big problem for him or her. This is when a real estate investor needs to be bold. Never be afraid to offer a seller a ridiculously low price, you never know, he or she might just be willing to sell at that price. To this seller, that ridiculous price might sound good!