Monday, August 3, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
(Back in 1986, I was still an Army Officer, working for the Defense Intelligence Agency. After 20 years of service, I was preparing for a career change to become a Real Estate Broker. The first course I ever took was a Finance class taught by Pat Zaby and I've been a fan of his ever since. The following is from his recent newsletter. Hint: It Is A Smart Time To Buy Real Estate... NOW... because in the chart above, we are now at "Low Risk - High Opportunity)
Reasons to buy now:
The Selection is tremendous – with more homes on the market, buyers have a better choice as to what fits their needs.
The Values are above prices – due to the increased supply on the market, prices are below actual values in many instances.
The Interest rates are incredibly low – current mortgage rates are lower than they've been in 50 years and we may not see them this low for generations. The interest rates can have as profound an impact on the cost of housing as the price of the home itself!
Tax advantages: Deduction of interest and property taxes... Capital gains exclusion... Favorable LTCG treatment on balance... Home Tax Credit.
Social benefits: Provides shelter and security... Provides stability – (12 years vs. 3 years; U.S. Census American Housing Surveys)... Encourages community involvement... Fulfills part of the American dream.
Here in Palm Coast, FL, I just sold a house to a Flagler County Firefighter/EMT. In 2005, the house would have sold for about $230,000. He got it for $127,500 and it appraised for much more. The hazard policy insurer required coverage for $192,000... Talk about great price and great value! If you're ready, call me... You don't want to miss the bottom!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
- Down 4 points, 4th down, 3 seconds left in the Super Bowl, 30 yards from the end zone, last play of the game... Can the quarterback make the throw? Can the lineman make the block? Can the receiver make the catch? They've all done it before, under lesser circumstances.
- 7th game of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, down 1, man on first, the count at 3-2... Can the batter put the inside curve out of the park... for all the marbles? I mean, he did win the Home Run Derby at the All Star game.
- NBA Championship even at 3-3, down 91-89 in the 4th quarter, a three point attempt with 1 second on the clock... a foul! A slow walk to the line for 3 shots at victory... or despair? The guy has made 100 in a row at practice before, but what about now, in the surreal cacophony - for a place in sports history?
Golic and Greenberg were "right on" this morning. Was Michael Jordon more physically gifted than Scottie Pippin? Some would argue the opposite. How about those guys pedalling up the Pyrenees in the Tour de France? Minus the HGH and the lab-oxygenated blood, most of these athletes are merely marginally differentiated mountain climbing machines. Boxing, wrestling, MMA, tennis, rugby, hockey, track & field, skiing, swimming... any sport? The most compelling difference between the champions and the rest of the field is mental toughness. The "want to." The "need to." The ability to ignore the elephant in the room at the precise moment required.
I made myself a promise to go to school on this. My days of competitive sports are in the rear view mirror, but I do get up and go to work. And I do believe every aspect of our lives, including our response to this current economy, can be improved with a Golden Rule philosophy... and a dose of mental toughness! Thank you, Mike & Mike!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
If Yogi Berra had a shot at this, he'd say, "Ya know, 90% of a recession is half mental!" Now the truth is that our current situation is a cocktail of Wall Street Greed, Banking Ineptitude, Consumer Foolishness, Global Economic Confusion, and good old fashioned Fear, fueled by the media's incessant need to print garbage... all shaken, not stirred. That having been said, it's a mess and we need to consciously work our way out of it.
I've been a Real Estate Broker for the past 22 years and I've seen some ups and downs. Prior to that, as a career Army Officer and a housing consumer, I once was the proud owner of a 16.75% Veteran's mortgage in 1981, near my job at the Pentagon. And that wasn't half bad, considering they had topped off at over 20%! Makes today's rate of 5% seem pretty good, hmmm?
If you are a buyer today, prices are low, rates are low, and inventory is abundant. And you are operating from a position of vengeance... getting back at the way sellers treated you from 1995 to 2005. Most, however, are being fooled by the saturation of so-called "short sale" listings, most of which are presented at unrealistic prices. These are predominately nightmare transactions and not for the timid. It's a chaotic market, comprised of angry, emotional sellers, ill-advised agents, and uncooperative banks. It often seems that the bank's strategy is to run in circles, hoping for some magic "bailout money" to save the day. Shame on them - They were the ones just 2-3 years ago, giving 120% ARM financing, at 3% initial interest, on $500,000 homes... to people making $30,000 a year! About 75% of current Flagler County MLS listings under $200,000 are "short sales." The bad news is that they play havoc with "real" market pricing and nationally, fewer than 10% ever close.
So now you are a seller in this chaotic quagmire. What to do? Here are some thoughts, based on a great deal of "hands on"experience:
- If you don't have to sell now - Don't! If you can wait it out, real estate equity rewards the long term.
- If you're "moving up," say, from a modest home to a larger, nicer one - to accommodate a growing family - Good timing! It always pays to move "up" in a "down" market. You may take a big hit on your sale, but think of the "net gain on equity" when you let me help you negotiate a great deal on the new house!
- Keep emotions out of your sales mix. Although Duke's basketball team often beats my Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, I admire their coach, Mike Krzyzewski (how do you get "Shashefski" out of that?)... Why? Because he is a master of objectivity. His system of recruiting and coaching is based on logic... and it works.
- There are far more homes for sale, than there are buyers to purchase them. The supply-demand curve is quite steep in the buyer's favor. If you bought IBM stock for $200 a share, you won't like today's high of $96, but that's the market. Simply put, it is what it is!
- Don't be angry at the market. It will only keep you from selling.
- Remember "Location, Location, Location?" Well, it's been replaced by, "Price, Price, Price."
- Fix it up! It used to be that you fixed it up to get more money, and to en extent, that's still true. However, the real reason is to stand out in a market crowded with old, dirty, ill-maintained, trashed properties. You don't have to renovate the whole house, but cleaned carpets, fresh paint, and landscaping go a long way to separate you from the crowd (whatever your price range). Your mantra should be, "It's Showtime!" There is a reason why model homes look so good... They make you want to buy them!
- The rules are the rules. If you live on the Ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway... or on a Salt Water Canal... or in Hammock Dunes/Island Estates... or Hammock Beach or Ocean Hammock, etc., your situation is not exempt. The crazier that prices got on the high side... well, that's the crazier they may get on the low side. Those stories about $750,000 building lots on the golf course selling at auction for $250,000? They're true!
- Don't be guilty of these classic seller stances:
- "We don't want to give it away."
- "In order for us to do what we want to do, we need $________ at closing."
- "Let's just try it at this higher price and see what happens."
- "We expect our agent to run lots of ads and hold open houses."
- "Let's try this on our own... Let's be For Sale By Owner."
- "The market is so bad that an agent can't really help us."
- "Well, another agent said we could get a whole lot more for the house."
- "Our home is better than all the others."
- "We heard that the house down the street sold for $________."
- "Our price shouldn't be affected by all the distress sales."
- "If it doesn't work out, we'll just give it a rest and try again in a few months."
- "We can always rent it out and sell next year... when the market is better."
If you are thinking of selling, test your "motivation mindset." Where is your need to sell, on a scale of 1 - 10? Today's reality? It's all about price and motivation. How's this for a cautionary closing statement:
"If you're not at least an 8... Wait!"