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Real Estate Reality

Realtors are hard-wired for upbeatness.  And Karen Scott is among the cheeriest of the cheery realtors I know.

But when I asked recently for her assessment of the current market, she did not bubble nonsensically.

“We’re in unprecedented times, especially for Westporters,” she said.  “This is a marketplace people never expected, or thought would happen.”

Yet, she noted, “there is life — especially in the last couple of weeks.”

Karen  — who’s with KMS Partners of Coldwell Banker — added:  “There are opportunities to be had.  If you’re a buyer with a job, good credit and money for a down payment, you can buy.”

The media has created fear, she said.  But there are mortgages available — though with more scrutiny than before, and perhaps a longer wait.

People still relocate, Karen said.  As they have for years, when they compare various towns Westport often seems desirable largely because of our schools.

“We worried that a very large budget cut would ruin our school system,” she continued.  “Cuts had to be made, but I thought it ended up okay.”

This 6-bedroom, 6-bath, 5-fireplace property is NOT in the hot market segment of sub-$1 million homes.

The choice of inventory is greater than ever, Karen said.  One result:  Buyers have more time to pick and choose.  “Gone are the days when you had to make a decision by tomorrow, or it would be gone.  If you can get a great rate, a good deal and can stay a few years, this is a great time to buy.”

The hottest markets in Westport, she said, involve homes under $1 million, and first-time buyers.

Sellers, meanwhile, must price their properties below the competition for 2 reasons:  to attract buyers, and satisfy appraisers.  Some lenders now require 2 appraisals.

Karen said that realtors are “adjusting to a different way of doing business.  We have to exhibit enormous patience.  Buyers are all set to buy, then they read a scary headline and get all worried.”

However, compared to January, the “media hype and fear has subsided a lot.  Sellers have made adjustments, lenders are lending, and people are holding onto their jobs.”

Some observers think the bottom of the market has been reached.   Karen cautions:  “You never know the bottom until you see it in the rear-view mirror.”

Karen Scott loves her job.  “Business is still being conducted.  And real estate is still a fascinating topic — people are always talking about it.  Everyone has an opinion, or a story.”

Looking for a spot on Saugatuck Shores for under $1 million? Check out this $975,000 baby.

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