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Shapiro: As Scottsdale housing marketplace shifts remember it is ‘normal & expected’

By Gary Shapiro | Free Press Point of View

Real estate is local and cyclical. Contrary to popular opinion, real estate is not realty TV. That’s why I’m so glad you’re reading this versus watching “Flip or Flop.”

Real estate is generally a person’s single largest investment. Unlike anything else, real estate captures top-of-mind awareness for most people.

photo of Gary Shapiro
Gary Shapiro

Recently, many sellers enjoyed the benefits of low supply and high demand. Fishing for buyers was like dropping a baited hook in a tank full of captive fish. It was “easy pickens.”

Sellers and their agents didn’t have to be talented, skilled or experienced to be successful. They just had to be able to fog a mirror. Buyers tripped over themselves to have the privilege of being selected to do business with a seller.

Often, sales prices exceeded list prices. Some buyers waived inspections and appraisals. They did anything they could to make themselves look attractive to a seller.

Things may be changing and evolving. If so, that’s actually normal and expected.

Some pundits say we’re headed to a balanced market where supply and demand factors don’t favor one party. Others say prices will fall. Some even say we’re headed to a buyer’s market. After five decades as a local Realtor, you learn certain things that are axiomatic regardless of real or perceived market conditions. I’ve seen it all and been through it all.

— Gary Shapiro

Here’s some reliable information so you can make strategic decisions.

First, I’m reluctant to label any market with a specific name. It may be a buyer’s market if you want to sell something that is less than desirable. But, not so if you have something to sell that is more strategic and coveted.

Second, metropolitan Phoenix is still on the Top 10 lists of destinations where people want to live. It’s not on the Top Ten list of places where people want to leave.

Third, the metropolitan Phoenix market is dependent on local builders providing adequate numbers of new built homes for buyers. Due to labor and supply issues and availability of materials, that’s not happening quick enough. Unless or until that happens, our market will not fully adjust. Experts say it will take local builders 10 years to catch up with demand.

Fourth, stop worrying about current interest rates. Instead, concentrate on doing whatever is necessary to owning the right home you really want. I’m a believer in the adage “Marry your home. Date your mortgage.” You can always refinance an unattractive loan when better options arise.

Fifth, now more than ever, it’s time to use the professional services of a Realtor to help you buy, sell or lease properties. Real estate is a serious business with consequences if you don’t take the appropriate and strategic actions.

If the market is trending so it is no longer like fishing in a captive tank, prudent sellers should take advantage of the skills and leadership qualities of their favorite Realtor to make a difference for them.

When supply increases and competition for buyers is keener, it’s no longer sufficient to merely drive a “for sale” sign in your front yard. It’s important to adopt a tried-and-true marketing program administered by a seasoned professional specifically designed to accomplish your goals.

It also holds true for buyers. The same way you should have trusted advisors in your corner for your medical, tax, legal and financial affairs, you need to cultivate a professional relationship with a Realtor.

Here’s my seasoned advice: Stay calm. Associate yourself with trusted advisers who have your best interests in heart and rely on their advice.

Editor’ note: Mr. Shapiro is a Scottsdale Realtor, Scottsdale Charro and co-founder of Scottsdale Leadership.

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