What Homeowners Can Do

The eternal question in response to any market volatility--be it up or down, in stocks or real estate--is a simple one: How does this affect me? In housing it depends, of course, on which rung of the real estate ladder you occupy. Here are five perspectives on playing the vastly changed property game

Illustration for TIME by David Goldin

The eternal question in response to any market volatility — be it up or down, in stocks or real estate — is a simple one: How does this affect me? In housing it depends, of course, on which rung of the real estate ladder you occupy.

Buyers: Maximizing The Advantage

1.With the number of homes on the market up 19% from a year ago, buyers (finally) hold the best cards. To play them, start entertaining all the offers homebuilders and real estate agents are hurling your way. How about a finished basement? Or having the seller pay your closing costs? The downturn has yielded less obvious opportunities too. John Mead, a teacher in Calhoun, Ga., paid $120,000 for the three-bedroom house he found on Foreclosure.com a solid $40,000 less than similar offers he was considering from people not as desperate to sell. (Don't feel guilty...

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