I’m a real estate classified junkie. No, really, I am. So much so that it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years, never mind the Sunday morning yawns from my husband as I proceed to read the classifieds aloud, one after the other, at the breakfast table, hoping for a raised eyebrow, some positive feedback, anything. Actually, I need no encouragement.

We’ve rented houses for the summer, bought second homes and purchased fixer-uppers all through the real estate classifieds. And not just locally, either. No section goes unnoticed–Europe, Caribbean, time shares, you name it. I’m addicted. And yes, the same goes for certain real estate Web sites. I just can’t get enough.

I think it’s the optimist in me. Every ad is an adventure. Possibilities. Endless opportunities. I even do it when we’re in another city–on vacation.

But seriously, this type of ad hasn’t been around since at least 1995. So I asked a few friends, some with more than a few notches on their real estate home-buying belts, to give me a pulse check on the market.

“We’re looking for another property in Palm Springs,” one tells me, when I ask whether this is a market in which to buy or sell.

“But what about the big profits you have now?” I dumbly ask. “Are you taking your money off the table or trading up?”

“Neither,” the friend responds. They’ve done so well in the real estate market in the past 18 months that they’re looking for another cosmetic fixer to add to their portfolio. Highly leveraged? They think not.

“Don’t prices seem a little steep?” I shyly offer.

“Interest rates will be this low until November,” the friend says. “After that, all hell might break loose. This is a great buying opportunity.”

I sigh.

My husband isn’t convinced by my friend’s optimism. As I read aloud, “Walls of glass surround park-like grounds,” he winces.

“Why are you reading that? We’re not moving,” he says.

“Just listen,” I say. “Celebrity Row. Where is that? Don’t we want to live there? Aren’t we wanna-be celebrities?”

Then I just laugh because these ads are so colorful and so funny that it’s really the only reaction a junkie can have. Before I get us into trouble.

“Read the times for the movies,” he says.

Much safer.

Julie Brosterman is a consultant to the real estate technology, mortgage and servicing industries. After she spent 15 years in the title insurance industry, the Internet “spoke” to her and she has never looked back. She lives in Los Angeles.


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