Returned to Sedona, AZ from Monterey, CA yesterday. We're searching for a new residence somewhere in the Monterey, Carmel areas. The depressed real estate market has hit those areas but not so much. Foreclosures and short-sales are plentiful, but the problem is that most of the REOs and short-sales are in lower-income areas where home ownership is related to long-term unemployment. In other words, houses ready to be bulldozed.
Homes worthy of purchasing weren't for sale. There were plenty of condos (apartment conversions that still look like apartments), and townhouses that resembled Noah's Arch (attached shared-walled-apartments). PUDS are plentiful (planned urban development), they are also called gated-communities that have housing associating fees, some really expensive. Think from $250.00 to $800.00 per month, depending on the location and size of the PUD.
We're going in with cash. Haven't had a mortgage for eight years and plan on not ever having a mortgage again. You'd think sellers would be pleased with a cash offer, considering the huge difficulties obtaining mortgage financing in the investment community. Sometimes getting mortgage financing will take up to six month. We have cash. That's an immediate transaction. Sellers don't want to feel they've been taken advantage of, they don't want to feel insulted...but getting cash is better than foreclosure or short-sale where the seller looses their entire real estate investment or have to swallow a huge financial loss.
We are in limbo now, homeless and without prospects. We have an excellent real estate agent in Monterey, working diligently for us. The confounding situation is that real estate agents are confused by the economic financial mess, convoluted by demanding indignant sellers, where offers and counter-offers end abruptly and properties drop out of escrow even when the buyers qualify for purchase. The market is confusing. Buyers and sellers reserve the right to cancel deals, the homeless and the unemployed are escalating. Where do we go from here? Hitch-hike across the galaxy I suppose and continue looking for that house we make a home. Perhaps our new home will be Noah's Arch, where all wildlife harmonize until the economic floodwaters recede. :)