One of my favorite things to do is to be with my best friend at her house in Martha’s Vineyard. For nearly a week now I’ve moved out of my New York real estate head and relaxed my mind. I know I am addicted to scanning and analyzing the Hudson Valley market on a daily basis so diverting my attention is not always an easy thing… shopping, seems to help. I must confess I’ve looked in every real estate office window on the Vineyard and picked up every booklet and brochure even though I have no intention of buying anything. I just need to know what is available in this little piece of paradise and for how much. As luck would have it we were checking out our purchases in an off the beaten path boutique today when the sales woman, who is also a realtor, turns to my friend and exclaims “oh, are you Honey Bernstein who has that great house in Oak Bluffs? I have clients who would love to rent it”. My friend replied that her house is totally rented for the summer as always but wanted to know how the sales market was doing on the Island. At this point I am trying not to get sucked in, not to engage in another discussion of when and if we’ve hit bottom, I don’t want to know about the amount of inventory and if the buyers are still calling the shots. I move slowly toward the door and I hear my friend say “I’d like to introduce you to Joan Lonergan who owns a real estate company and is an expert in the Hudson Valley second home market”. I cannot be rude so of course I introduce myself and we exchange information. Naturally I asked about the market on the Vineyard, how much has it declined from the top of the market ? How long is the inventory taking to sell? Is there a backlog of houses and are the buyers as hesitant as they had been in the past few years or are they more decisive? We compare notes and in my mind it’s not different that our market, higher average sales price but all relative. Quoting our stats, as realtors do, I heard a few of the “islanders” in the store say the magic words…. Oh, but this is Martha’s Vineyard, its different here. So now I see the conversation has moved from reality to fantasy and how “special” the homes are and how “special” the locations are and how “special” the views or water features are and how desirable the real estate in this corner of the world is. I wanted to say of course it’s all true but that does not make you immune to the market trends. I thought about how many times I’ve heard how “special” a house, community, setting, location or how construction materials, pools and gardens are supposed to justify an unrealistic price because of something “special”. Our job at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty is to assess the value of every individual property on the market and to compare it to the specialness of all the other properties that have sold in the recent past. We do not do real estate by crystal ball or by what someone needs, but by what a buyer is most likely to pay in the current market. When I get a magic wand I will be the first to help all my clients get what they want but for now… all I can do is give advice based on what I know and not on what I wish.