Life In The Trenches

I don’t know, I somehow can’t resist a photo that has a connection with food. Call me zany…I had all these trench photos and I liked this one best.

Alot of my posts are simply my observations about the local real estate market and about Foster City specifically. I really do want to identify these comments as observations rather than fact but they are, in fact, what I experience every day and what my peers are talking about too. So, I thought I’d congeal some of these thoughts into a post in it’s own right.

I think that it’s significantly harder for buyers to get loans in 2008. Nevertheless, you can get a loan if you’re qualified. I’ve seen plenty of buyers forced to wait because they simply are not ready right now. I don’t think that’s a bad thing because buyers are now going to have to afford the home that they’re buying before they buy it. It was simply crazy that folks were buying houses when their sole criteria for qualifying seemed to be “can you fog a mirror?” I think buyer’s need to create a gameplan and save a decent down payment before jumping in now.

I think there are more sellers than “serious” buyers right now. In other words I think there are plenty of buyers out there, but most are on the fence about the decision and as a result sellers are nervous. Oddly enough, there are still price ranges where there really isn’t enough inventory and multiple offers are occuring. For example, try finding a good 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in the $850,000 range…it doesn’t even exist in Foster City at all. On the westside in San Mateo, Belmont or San Carlos it’s very hard,and if something comes up you’ll see multiples.

In case you were not aware of this, there are lots of businesses that exist via the real estate industry. There’s Title companies, Home Warranty companies, direct lenders, mortgage brokers, business coaches, printers, advertisers of all types, website designers…also of all types. Almost all of them have sales people that call on my office…and thus, me. There’s alot less of them this year. A couple of weeks ago one of the big players around here, Financial Title, closed it’s doors one afternoon. Every office…all of their employees were let go immediately. I can’t tell you how many mortgage brokers I know that have either gone to work for a big bank or have changed industries. It turns out 3rd party originators aren’t too popular on the secondary mortgage market so most of the big banks won’t work with brokers like they used to.

I know lots of real estate agents who are really having a terrible year too. Many are stuggling to survive. Strangely though, I know some agents who are having their best year. For my part I’m working harder and making less money. Honestly, I’m really blessed because I’m still selling homes and making a very good living…it’s just not 2005. Buyers want to take more time making their decisions and listings tend to take longer to sell. It’s actually all just a normal cycle in my opinion…it’s happened before and it’ll happen again. The pie has gotten a little smaller and there’s less people able to feed off of it…but there’s still lots of people still doing well. Compared to almost everywhere else this area is doing fine. We had it amazingly good for a very long time…and now we get to adjust. Sometimes that can be painful.


  1. I work in sales at a software company. We’re seeing a lot of resumes from people in the mortgage industry.

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