“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” -Alexander Graham Bell
By now we are all aware that the foreclosure crisis is many layers deep, touches every person in America, and the impact will be felt for at least a few generations. The stories of those most affected by foreclosure are frequently discussed in any news medium you care to look. But there’s another story out there and it’s just as important to tell. There are new and beneficial real estate opportunities that have suddenly presented themselves to those people who have decided to move beyond fear and look at Dayton Ohio real estate with new eyes. I’d like to share a few of those stories.
Did you ever see the video of the baby elephant who gets stuck in the watering hole? The baby needs help, the mama needs help, the extended family works together to get this baby unstuck. Most mothers will tell you that once you become a mother, all children are your children. Your kid’s friends are extended family, and that was the situation with recent buyers.
Their daughter’s friend had become family and needed a place to live. The buyers- middle class folks who lived in a modest 3 bdrm, 1 bath brick ranch home in Clark County- were in a position to help. It was good timing for them. They saw a need, saw the opportunity, figured out a way to make it work. They looked at several homes, made a few low ball offers, and we found a seller who was willing to negotiate. They purchased an outdated property for cash, fixed it up, and are now renting it to the friend. A simple business transaction? On paper, yes. But emotionally, this was an extremely satisfying transaction for everyone involved, including the seller. The property was an estate sale, so there was a lot of emotion involved from the seller’s side as well, and they were very happy to know how the property was going to be cared for.
I’m seeing more parents purchasing homes for their kids. Lower home prices mean that the parents, who often have more cash, have better credit, and have the skills and ability to take a distressed property and renovate it, can do that for their extended families, and that’s good, but there’s more to this story because the other thing that’s happening is that it’s creating some continuity in the Dayton area. Young families are putting down roots.
This is happening across economic lines. Cash buyers are looking in neighborhoods that were once neglected. You can buy a big home in the Dayton area for under $15,000 and absentee owners are getting some competition from Dayton area families who want to own a home but can only pay cash.
I have a client who lost a good job. He has access to cash, and has become an attentive landlord, using real estate to provide income for his family. One of his purchases was located around the corner from his home, it’s a short sale that he is now renting back to the previous owners. In this transaction, everyone made the most of a difficult situation. Local people are becoming conscientious landlords; renting to their own children, or are purchasing property in their own communities. This can create a vested interest in making sure that rental property is maintained and cared for. Not only does the landlord benefit, but neighborhoods and communities can benefit from this as well.
First time home buyers are another buyer niche that can create wealth through real estate even in this market. This is not the same wealth that the market sustained prior to 2007, this is slow, steady and purposeful planning by using low interest rates to purchase very specific investment properties in just the right locations, in order to create another stream of income for these younger home buyers.
I don’t know what the long term effect of the upheaval and resulting change in attitudes and opportunities will be, but in the short term it means that there are families moving into neighborhoods that need the stabilization families often bring. It means Dayton can have communities in which there are renters and landlords who have ties to each other and to the neighborhoods in which they live. Each of my clients has taken a crisis and found the positive opportunities available. There is no denying that doors have closed to many people, and I’m not here to proclaim the old Realtor’s saw about “This is a great time to buy!” because obviously that’s not the case for many people, but, every change and challenge bring an opportunity for someone, and right now there are plenty of doors that have just been thrown wide open for a whole new group of people; doors could have only opened in a real estate market like Dayton, circa 2011.