Monday, September 29, 2008

Who's responsible for your home losing value?

Answer: you are.

You bought at too high a price. You knew it at the time. I don't care if the money was easy to get because you knew better. Home prices were having unsustainable double digit increases year over year and yet you still bought into that market because you thought it was an "investment". In fact, you probably offered over the asking price.

The problem with buying illiquid assets for too much money is that you can't unload them quickly enough when that price drops. And with liquid assets, you wouldn't offer too much because you can always find a cheaper deal. How often have you ever offered 10% over the asking price for a share of stock? Never (unless you're a corporate raider). And yet people did this routinely with houses.

Homes are just now being sold at the fair value instead of the uber-ridiculous prices that people bought in at a few years ago. And with the price falling back to a reasonable price for the quality of home and location, they're complaining that they're "losing value." I hear this complaint all the time. But if someone bought a home for the right reasons, even though they paid too much they shouldn't care that a neighbor's home is selling for the fair value now. Because, even as we knew at the time, individuals trying to be real estate speculators is a road to disaster.

So either stop complaining or go bankrupt so I can buy your homes for pennies on the dollar. Yes, I'm a bottom feeder.

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