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No matter who you might have talked to about the real estate market in 2009, you probably heard the same old question, " Is now the time to buy?" Although prices were low on homes and condos throughout Marco Island and the 951 & US 41 corridor ( whether short sales, REO, or regularly priced homes), some of the more important questions asked by our customers were, " Where are the best places to buy?" and " Are we at the bottom yet?" As we drew to the close of 2009 and the start of 2010, most of the answers to those questions came from the buying trends and needs of our customers. Cash for Exclusive Condo on the Beach Having spent two winter seasons renting a condo on Marco Island, one customer decided it was time to purchase a condo as a vacation residence. After fi nding the perfect unit, an exclusive condo on the beach, the customer was able to make a cash offer well below the original asking price. Having kept in tune with the pricing in this particular building and with cash in hand, the customer was able to take advantage of the falling prices at the right time. First- Time Buyer Another buyer, while renting annually on Marco Island, was able to purchase an affordable bank-owned ( REO) studio. Not only was he able to take advantage of the low price offered by the bank, he also saved money with the new homebuyer's credit of up to 10% of the purchase price of the unit, as well as the Homestead exemption. This drastically lowered his monthly payment, enabling him to purchase a studio close to the beach and shops that specifi cally suited his needs. Rental Property Bought by Europeans One couple visiting Marco Island for the fi rst time from Europe, who also happened to be in the real estate market, wanted to purchase a rental property by taking advantage of the strong European currency. After a week of getting to know Marco Island and the value that the beaches and boating activities bring to this area, they were able to narrow down their choices to two homes and are now in the pro-cess of putting an offer on one of them. This couple was specifi c in regards to what they wanted in a home and with the strong Euro-pean currency, they are now on their way to owning the rental property they desired. In each of these cases, the individual cus-tomer had specifi c needs and because of the changing real estate market, we were able to meet their needs and help them fi nd the perfect property. These are only a few examples of what we experienced in 2009, and almost every customer we talked to asked us, " Is this the time to buy?" along with some more pointed questions, such as, " Where should I buy?" and " Is this the bottom of the market?" Looking Ahead Marco Island has always been, and always will be, a very popular destination for families. But when it comes to the 2010 market, many questions still remain. Will mortgage rates continue to stay as low as they are now? Will the current administration step in and help with the current short- sale and bank- owned delays that are prevalent throughout this area? Will our current real estate inventory continue to sell and bring with it steady market prices? These questions have yet to be answered, but once these issues are addressed, we are confi dent that our popular Marco Island will have a strong and quick recovery. New Year 2010 www. marcoreview. com Page 9