Winning the Game of Real Estate

You’ve seen the headlines: house prices are down, foreclosures way up. Is there any good news? If you’re a first-time home buyer, yes indeed. From Chatham to Warwick, here’s the latest scoop on the Valley’s housing market


(page 6 of 10)

hand putting Monopoly house pieces in order

Putting It All Together

With the dizzying amount of information about the economy bombarding us every day, it’s certainly a challenge to keep a clear head when it comes to real estate. Several experts we spoke to summarized two key points to help make it easier:

One: Think locally

Prividera echoes Adele Arnell George’s observation that the regional housing market is the most important to track, more so than the national scene. “I’d encourage anyone considering buying a home to focus on the condition of the market where they want to live,” he says.

“What’s happening in California, Arizona, Iowa — pick a state — or whatever is being reported on the news as the national housing market, doesn’t always matter as it applies to the Hudson Valley. What conditions do matter are in the community where you want to buy that home.

“You wouldn’t turn on the Weather Channel and expect a forecast: ‘The United States will be sunny and 76 today.’ So to turn on the TV and hear ‘The national housing market is plummeting’ — that’s not accurate for everyone. The question to ask is: ‘How does that relate to my local community?’ ”

Two: Think priorities and principles

“Certainly, one of the core American dreams is owning a home of your own,” Prividera says. “And for many of us, it’s the largest investment we’ll ever make. If you’re buying a home to have a roof over your head, a place to call your own, to raise your children, then you won’t be so focused on thinking, ‘A year from now, can I flip this and make $100,000?’ — because your home has a value to you well beyond the monetary. You’ll most likely be able to ride out the current real estate ups and downs.”

Chuck Bartolo adds that it might help, too, to ponder deeper lessons in the current economic meltdown.

“Maybe good things will actually come of all this,” he says. “As a country and as individuals, we’re being forced these days to rethink choices we made in the past; perhaps we’re not going to make the same ones in the future.

“Perhaps we were on the wrong track for too long and didn’t realize it until we had this big turnaround in our economy. It’s a national wake-up call.”


Next: How to get a simpler mortgage


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