With Market in Flux, Realtors Take on New Role: Soothing Presence


(Wednesday, October 17, 2007 3:08 PM EDT)

Emotions can run high when buying or selling a home, and Realtors get to see their clients through it all.

What have things been like recently?

John McNamara, a Realtor with Prudential Carruthers, has observed that buyers and sellers have concerns about similar things.

“They're both nervous,” he said. “Both are concerned that things are overpriced. Sellers feel like they have to give something away, and buyers feel that no matter the price, they need to come in lower. It's a Catch-22.”

John Jorgenson of Long & Foster said he thinks “people are nervous,” but doesn't think the feeling is going to last.

“The overall feeling is that we've been in a buyers' market, and buyers and sellers don't think this will last another year or so,” he said.

Heidi Hommel of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage also has noticed nervousness in sellers and buyers.

“I think serious buyers are being analytical and wondering what's going to be the bottom line. There's some anxiety about what's going to happen in the future,” she said. “From a seller's perspective, they've realized they have to be realistic to sell.”

From what Brad Winkelmann of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has observed, buyers are feeling positive about the current market.

“My buyers have been very happy, emotionally. The buyers are feeling very good about value for money right now,” he said.

And his sellers haven't been hurting too much, either.

“Frankly, I've been fortunate because a lot of my sellers probably aren't as distraught as people may think,” he said.

Even if they have to sell their homes at a lower price, when they go to buy, “what they're finding is that they're getting more value for [their] money on the purchase side. It works out for the positive, overall,” Winkelmann said.

Jennifer Harper Thornett, a Realtor with Re/Max Distinctive, has noticed a clear difference in mood between her buyers and sellers.

“I think buyers are excited about the opportunity and are doing their research on their financial options,” she said. “Sellers are having to make concessions that they never thought they'd have to make.”

Like many in the profession, Ratan Kumar of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage says the news media isn't helping the situation.

“Unfortunately, people read the national media,” he said. “That, along with all the other bad news we get . . . the spirits are not as high as last year.”

Individuals, Kumar said, are “looking for any kind of encouragement to just jump back in and find some excitement.”

Nihal Beidas, a Realtor with W.C. & A.N Miller, a Long and Foster company, sees many sellers who are hesitant to put their homes on the market.

“Sellers, of course, feel reluctant to put their houses on the market, so unless they have to, I'm not encouraging them to put it on the market,” she said.

But she does recommend that people take action and buy, if they're interested.

“For buyers, it's their best time,” Beidas said. “I wish we could just gain their confidence.”

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