A real estate sign advertising a new home for sale is pictured in Vienna, Virginia, outside of Washington, October 20, 2014.       REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo - RTX2MOVT
A real estate sign advertising a new home for sale is pictured in Vienna, Virginia, outside of Washington, October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo - RTX2MOVT

Home ownership is at its lowest rate in more than 50 years. For many, the "American Dream" of home ownership is out of reach. The Atlantic assistant editor Adrienne Green presents her Q&A with Tom Salomone, a real-estate agent in Coral Springs, Florida, who has witnessed the changes in the market over the course of his 40-year career. Salomone discusses how to help buyers find properties that they can actually afford. Here are a few excerpts.

I know oftentimes it can take viewing three or more houses to find the right fit when looking to buy a new house. What are some of the challenges of facilitating those transactions?

I think from a seller’s standpoint the biggest challenge is making sure you have the property in a physical condition and a price point that's competitive in the marketplace. We all feel that what we have in life may be worth a little bit more than the market bears. From a buyer’s standpoint, you always have to distinguish between needs and wants. Some buyers are extremely realistic. Others may have more wants than what their real needs are. Those needs will sometimes dictate what they can afford from a mortgage standpoint, or how much cash they're working with or from their savings. There are challenges on each side. Eventually people will get to a point where the property is priced properly and the buyer will key in on the needs of their family.

Since you’ve been in the real-estate industry for more than 40 years, you’ve worked throughout the burst of the housing bubble and other economic crises. Did your business or clients experience any challenges during that time?

Yeah. The biggest change in the industry has been the financing aspect. With what happened in the crash, now banks are much more stringent. It's a different time as far as how people are qualified to obtain a mortgage to buy a property. The banks are much more careful in making loans to buyers.

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