AVONDALE, AZ—Sophia and Blake are what you might call the ideal candidates to the real estate market in third quarter 2009. At 26 and 27, respectively, they have two college degrees between them, good credit, and both are employed.  They have a small savings account they intend to use as a down payment on their future home together. They’ve lived together in an apartment before renting single-family home together. As Sophia puts it, “We want walls of our own.” What they got with their walls was a yard, too, and so they filled that up with a puppy. Most importantly, Sophia and Blake have a plan: to take advantage of the $8k tax deduction for homebuyers that is stale dated for November 30, 2009. Sophia and Blake are the ideal candidates for a NAEBA member (National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents). But they don’t know it yet.

  • All they know is that prices are down, and they read that on Zillow.com’s report that nationally home values have slid 17.5% from their values in 2006, which most experts agree was pretty much the peak year of the market.
  • Trulytimes.com reported on July 11, in “Housing price reductions are proliferating” that nearly a quarter of all homes in the United States listed for sale have had at least one price reduction, average discount of 10%.

So Sophia and Blake are pretty confident they’ll score a sweet purchase…if they move fast.

  • Sales of existing homes rose in July for the fourth consecutive month, lending support to economists who argue a recovery is near.
  • Sales of previously owned single-family homes were up 7.2% compared with June and 5% from July 2008.

Most serial homeowners will confess that they wish they could have a do-over on one or more aspect of the home purchase they made first time around. First-time homebuyers often buy into the dream rather than the reality of homeownership. A listing agent, working both sides of the deal, who represents only one side of the transaction can’t balance both the buyers’ and sellers’ objectives like a NAEBA member.

What Sophia and Blake don’t know yet is that a real estate agent who is a member of NAEBA would show them homes beyond those included on the Internet so that they can feel confident that they’ve vetted all available inventory in their chosen community. Nor do Sophia and Blake know that an exclusive buyer’s agent who is a member of NAEBA will help them negotiate who pays points and closing costs—an expense that will inevitably come out of one side of the deal. A NAEBA member will insist on an inspection while a selling agent doesn’t necessarily have to point buyers in that direction. Most importantly, a NAEBA member counsels with buyers on the front end of house hunting to determine what the buyers can really afford to buy so as not to tee the buyer up to be interested in a home that is out of range for their income. At the same time, a NAEBA agent will insist on an inspection of the property to identify and diagnose any existing problems with the home that require repair or may down the line. NAEBA is a rapidly growing alliance of exclusive buyer agents practicing throughout North America. The non-profit organization was founded in 1995 to educate the public about exclusive buyer agency in real estate. NAEBA member agents provide full fiduciary services to their clients and advocate the right of consumers to be fully represented when purchasing real estate. The association even has its own code of ethics in order to establish trust, integrity and professionalism.

This past weekend, Sophia and Blake picked up the New York Times article in the business and economy section that reported: “Almost exactly two years after it embarked on what was the biggest financial rescue in American history, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that the recession is ending and that it would take a step back toward normal policy.” “Though the central bank stopped well short of declaring victory, policy makers issue their most upbeat assessment in more than a year by saying that the downturn appears to have hit bottom and that consumer spending, financial markets and inventory building by corporations all continued to stabilize.” That, of course, was welcome news to Sophia and Blake who have decided it’s time to put their interests ahead of the sellers by aligning with a real estate agent who represents their buying interests exclusively—a NAEBA member. The tax credit deadline for first time home-buyers is looming. Besides, adds Sophia, “Our puppy needs a permanent yard.”

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