Do you feel there is going to be a real estate bubble?
Nash: No. Are some coastal and resort markets over-heated, yes. I don't feel that markets will collapse. But investors and property owners should be ready for longer market times, diminishing over-full-price and multiple offers in over-heated markets. Prices could plateau and appreciation levels will hover at more historical levels. If you live out-of-town from where you purchased property on appreciation speculation, I would keep in very close contact with a un-biased professional in the market, daily.
Have real estate appraisers contributed to the rapid increase in home prices?
Nash: Not necessarily. You have to understand their role in a real estate transaction. They are hired by the mortgage lender to appraise the property. The homebuyer pays for the appraisers services. The lender is in business to lend money and the real estate brokerages want to close the transaction and receive their fees. In most markets there are solid closed comparable properties that justify underwriting the loan. In rapidly appreciating markets, where there are no closed comparables to support the new value, all the participants in the transaction should be aware that there is risk involved in the new value assigned to a property in a real estate contract.
What should homeowners and investors do to protect themselves from a potential bubble?
Nash: Look for incentives by builders on completed new construction buildings or homes; this indicates an over-supply of new units. Research days on market or the length of time of property has been on market. If the typical time recently has been 30 days for sold properties and current market times for the majority of sold properties are 60 or more days, the market is softening. Home prices and mortgage rates effect each other, as interest rates drop, the more buyers can afford to pay for a home, but as rates rise buyers can afford less of a purchase price. Watch interest rates as an indictor of deflating prices.
What is your position on interest only loans?
Nash: Consumers need to look at the long-range implications of interest-only loans. They should keep in mind that if their home value declines, they still owe the loan amount, which could be higher than their homes market value when they sell. If appreciation remains low, in the two to five percent range and the cost to use a full-service real estate company to sell their home is five to seven percent, their appreciation will actually go to pay selling and marketing costs, ouch!
What do you think about two new books:" Irrational Exuberance" and "Freakonomics" that touch on residential real estate?
Nash: Both make solid contributions for real estate consumers and investors in today's environment. Everyone is looking for information to make real estate decisions. While there are many inflammatory headlines, I've found the majority of the accompanying dialogue; offer good market and real estate practices advice.
The term Realtor® is generic to most consumers but are all real estate agents Realtors®?
Nash: No and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is diligent on protecting it's status as an registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. NAR has approximately 1.1 million members, while industry sources state there are about an additional 1.4 million real estate agents not members of NAR.
What housing style will be hot in five years?
Nash: The ranch. As the boomers age they'll go from the two-story "I've arrived" colonial to the "I've retired" ranch. Five years ago ranch homes were not that popular and languished on the market in some areas. This last year several clients looking towards retirement and downsizing have asked to see only ranch homes.
Why did you write your fourth real estate book "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home"?
Nash: I wanted to focus on informing the consumer to understand the questions to ask the other participants in their next real estate transaction. I ask questions like, "What is dual agency?" and "Are you being served if your agent is a dual agent?" I explain the back end of the real estate business, which is important if you as the consumer want to manage the front end of it, i.e. your transaction.
Why is 1001 Tips different from other "how-to" real estate books?
Nash: Early on my publisher wanted the book real simple. Its style is numbered tips with an explanation in bullet-points. Editorially light, but not real estate light. The reader can pick it up and put it down and grasp each tip without having to read four additional paragraphs. Plus I've been through many transactions as a real estate broker and understand what the buyer or seller needs to know in their transaction before they walk out of closing or escrow. With home prices today, consumers should demand to know.
Is location, location, location a cliché in real estate today?
Nash: Location, price, risk.
Mark Nash author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home has shared his real estate insight with CBS The Early Show, Bloomberg TV, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Universal Press Syndicate. 1001 Tips is Mr. Nash's fourth real estate book. His tips for consumers are drawn from real world experience as a broker in Chicago.