How to Be a Winner in Today’s Real Estate Market

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

One of my best friends told me last night over tapas and sangria, that the time had come for her to purchase her first home.

She is well prepared: she has done all the research, checked off all the requirements for credit, income and money for a down payment, and thought about the future. She knows the importance of a great agent.

Now, did I have any tips for how to spot a bargain?

First of all, I told her, remember that a reduced price does not necessarily equal a good deal. Perhaps the house was overpriced from the start. Keeping this in mind, pay extra attention to the following types of listings:

  1. Old ads. A survey by online real estate agent Redfin suggested that a whopping 83% of heavily discounted homes have been on the market for 90 days or more. 
  2. Estate sales. Chances are the sellers can’t wait to cash out. Plus, since they didn’t pay for the property, they may be less concerned about getting their initial investment back.
  3. Fixer-uppers. Many times, the fact that the owners are selling before making major repairs signal a preference for a fast sell over a high price.
  4. Recent purchases. If a house was purchased less than five years ago, chances are, the owners are either desperate house flippers or financially strapped and unable to make their mortgage payments.



Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.