OCRenter sends his well wishes for a happy new year:

For those in Jim’s readership that do not know me, a quick introduction. I’m OCRenter, a former blogger that ran the now dormant “Bubble Markets Inventory Tracking” blog. The blog lasted a little over 3 years from late 2005 to early 2009, initially tracking inventory of homes for sale, then progressing to uncovering mortgage fraud stories and documenting knife catchers. The blog was a refuge for the “lifetime renters” that were “forever shut out of homeownership.”

Real estate cheerleaders labeled the blog “permabear.” But remember, there’s nothing the price can’t fix. A year ago, this “permabear” became one of those “homedebtors.”

Home shopping circa late 2008-2009 was in essence buying in the midst of chaos. But chaos also meant opportunities. Jim has seen the house, and he agreed that it was a fantastic opportunity. The house was purchased during the credit freeze, and some say its price point was to be never replicated again.

But it has, over and over in many fine neighborhoods across the land. I may not be blogging, but I continue to track home closings. And boy have I seen some fantastic deals that were made this past year. In fact, within my neighborhood, I’ve seen purchases of similar homes within a couple of months of each other that differed by $500-600k in price.

So how do you make sure you end up on the right end of these bipolar price points?

Adherence to the principle of “the price point of one.” This simply means although the general $/sqft in your target neighborhoods may be $300/sqft, you stick to your price point +/- 5-10%. Because quite frankly, screw the general $/sqft of the neighborhood, you just need that one house to hit your goal.

Find the price point that is reasonable and stick to it, and open yourself to multiple strategies. Realize that if an opportunity comes up within 10% of your price point, it may very well be worth your while to jump even though you may suffer from a minor knife catching scar.

My general feel for 2010 is continued chaos, with the general pricing staying relatively the same as last year. Flexibility remains the most important virtue when it comes to taking advantage of the ongoing chaos in the marketplace. Don’t corner yourself to one street, one neighborhood, or one zipcode (yes, this is directed at 92130). Don’t marry yourself to the idea that you got to have a new home, or an old one. Be open to possibilities, with limits, of course.

Lastly, I am a firm believer in Karma. And ’tis the season to take advantage of a contractor (a non-Jim the Realtor certified one that is). A lot of these guys were making money hand over fist during the boom years. What I’ve seen so far is everything from inside and out, follow the “50% off from peak year pricing” principle.

Happy Hunting and Happy New Year,


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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, bubbleinfo.com which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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