Still time in 2011 to buy low in real estate

Still time in 2011 to buy low in real estate

With federal tax credits, reduced prices, and lower interest rates, the real estate market showed improvement last year in the face of many hurdles.

Historically low interest rates provided golden opportunities for homeowners who wanted to refinance existing mortgages, as well as house hunters who also took advantage of low property prices that appeared to be stabilizing in some areas. During the first part of the year, first-time homeowners took advantage of the tax credit, which expired in September.

Even without the credit, real estate experts say 2011 will see much of the same. For some, it will still be a great time to buy or refinance, though consumers should expect more stringent requirements for securing a loan as lenders have beefed up their stipulations and some have instituted higher fees in the wake of the housing crisis.

Home seekers can take advantage of interest rates that are expected to stay low, despite trending upward, and secure bargain-basement prices. However, home sellers may have a tougher time. "It's turned into a buyer's market," says Portland, Ore., real estate agent Krista Meili, who is highly rated on Angie's List.

Meili says rock-bottom prices should entice those considering investment or vacation real estate properties as well. "It's also an awesome time to invest," she says. "I know it's a scary market, but there's inventory out there. Sellers are more willing to negotiate."

In a recent Angie's List online poll, 13 percent of respondents said they own a residential property that they lease and 6 percent said they are considering purchasing one to rent out.


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McNearney employs one assistant and uses licensed subcontractors for plumbing and electrical work. (Photo courtesy of Charles McNearney)
McNearney employs one assistant and uses licensed subcontractors for plumbing and electrical work. (Photo courtesy of Charles McNearney)

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