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April 20, 2009

My Turn: Local real estate sound investment

This week's "My turn" column is by Becky Thomas and Betsy Shultis, owners/brokers of Benson Agency Real Estate.

How is the local real estate market? This is a question that we as Realtors are often asked.

First, it is important to remember real estate is local in nature and typically what is happening nationally isn't appreciably affecting our real estate market.

The greater Oneonta real estate market is strong. We are privileged to be more than slightly "insulated" from the extreme up-and-down cyclical curves seen in the overall national market. Our area offers stable employment opportunities with several local colleges and hospitals, a robust mix of small-to-medium-size companies and a thriving tourism industry.

The current national market conditions have brought interest rates to an all-time low, and with the current first-time homebuyer tax credit, home buying is more affordable than ever. For more information on the federal tax credit, visit www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or making a move to a larger home, this is the time to buy with inventory of saleable homes up in all price ranges.

Your Realtor will advise you on the steps of the home-buying process.

One of the first things you'll need to do is to talk with your local bank or mortgage professional. They will, through a pre-qualification process, be able to advise you on the home price range that will fit your budget and comfort level.

At that point you can start your search with a price range in mind. When you find the perfect home, your Realtor will guide you through the process from contract to closing.

As a home owner, you will be building equity, gaining tax savings and realizing pride of ownership.

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