So many of us giggled nervously as we thankfully avoided the end of the world a couple of weeks ago. But judging by the continued “end of the world” type coverage the Case-Shiller housing study got this week, maybe we are nearing the end.
Yes. I am joking, but I am amazed at the attention this report gets. It covers 20 markets, yes only 20, and that is just one of its many flaws. Yet many consider it “the be-all-and-end-all” economic indicator that defines our entire national housing picture. As we know, all real estate is local, and it is unfortunate that the reporting on a 20-city “national” index can have such a jarring impact on otherwise rational people.
Look at some of the headlines the other day:
“Home prices at lowest point since 2006 bust”
“Home values continue downward churn”
“No relief in sight’ for falling home prices”
And even in paradise – Maui- the front page headline in the paper screamed “Crash Spreads.” And Maui isn’t one of the 20 markets. In fact the nearest market covered is San Diego, a mere 2500 miles away!
Shawn Daly, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Evanston, Illinois, had to calm down two skittish buyers this week.
One, who is currently working in Iraq, had initially placed on offer of $450,000 on a lakefront Chicago condo. The sellers countered with a price of $525,000. But after seeing Case-Shiller inspired headlines on the web, Shawn’s client emailed him to ask that he lower his offering price by $50,000. Shawn explained that the sellers did not agree with his first offer so if he went lower he wouldn’t get the home. The buyer calmed down and agreed.
Shawn correctly pointed that the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are meaningless to individual buyers who are looking at specific houses, on specific streets, in specific neighborhoods.
Then yesterday, Shawn met another client for a tour of potential homes. They hardly said hello without telling Shawn they were more nervous than ever after seeing the report on the news.
You have a right to be nervous, but I can’t say this enough. Now is the smartest time in my 36 years in real estate to buy a home if you have the lifestyle reason, financial stability and viability to do so.
And it’s all about “Triple I…P”. Inventory, Interest rates, Incentives and Pricing. Start with inventory, because most communities have seen a rise in the amount of homes on the market, you have more choices. Interest rates for mortgages remain at near-historic lows and have actually trended down over the last 7 weeks, with Freddie Mac reporting 30-year fixed rates now averaging 4.55%. Incentives are the tax advantages to home ownership. And of course, there are prices. Prices are down from mid-decade highs, but in many, many markets are showing stability, slight declines or even increases. Home affordability remains near record levels and the price-to-value proposition in most markets is extremely compelling.
If you are interested in buying a home, you owe it to yourself to contact a real estate agent in the community you are interested in. Look at homes, do a rent vs. buy analysis, explore what is available in your price range.
Don’t just take my word for it. Do your homework.
You might just be surprised that the end of the world isn’t here yet … at least until next month’s report.
updated 4:55 pm
Thanks for all the comments. I wish I could have gotten more into the Case-Shiller debate, but clearly I can’t get “too much into the weeds.” But here is some other food for thought – consumer sentiment is improving. Consumer spending has been up 10 months in a row. Also, most economists are predicting a 2.8% GDP growth in Q2 up from 1.8% in Q1, certainly not great but at least going up. Obviously the signs for the economy are showing improvement. Home ownership is an investment in your lifestyle and not for everyone. I am a huge proponent of the longterm benefits of owning.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Newly Listed $45 Million Estate In Beverly Hills, CA 90210 - Los Angeles-Platinum Triangle-Beverly Hills-Real Estate-90210-Bel Air-Holmby Hills-Sunset Strip-Hollywood Hills-Luxury Estates-Mansions-Celebrity Homes-Homes For Sale-Listings-Realtor-Real Estat
Newly Listed $45 Million Estate In Beverly Hills, CAPosted by Kenny Forder on August 30th, 2011 | 17 Comments »
This newly listed estate is located at 2571 Wallingford Drive in Beverly Hills, CA. Dubbed The Hutton House Estate, it was built in 2000 and is situated on 5.2 acres of land. It was modeled after Le Petit Trianon at Versailles and boasts over 22,000 square feet of living space with 7 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. According to the Real Estalker, the house is owned by a Korean woman whose money comes from hospitals or commercial real estate. The unfinished property was purchased at auction back in January of 2007 for just under $17,000,000, then finished by the new owners and flipped back on the market with a $32,000,000 price increase in February of 2009. Then it was taken off the market and it’s now back on with an asking price of $45,000,000.
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Make your Los Angeles home earthquake ready - Los Angeles-Platinum Triangle-Beverly Hills-Real Estate-90210-Bel Air-Holmby Hills-Sunset Strip-Hollywood Hills-Luxury Estates-Mansions-Celebrity Homes-Homes For Sale-Listings-Realtor-Real Estate – http://ww
Make your Los Angeles home earthquake readyDate Published: August 26 2011
That’s the number of earthquakes that occur each year in Southern California, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Officials at the University of California Berkeley Seismological Laboratory say about two of those rank at a magnitude of 5.5 or above on the Richter scale. That magnitude is enough to cause major damage to the structure of any building. While we have no way of predicting when an earthquake will strike, it’s best to be prepared for when an earthquake hits the Los Angeles area.
Homeowners need to make sure their homes are structurally sound. Abe Simantob, of highly rated LA Private Eyes Engineers in Los Angeles, says it’s important for a home to have shear walls if it’s going to hold up against an earthquake.
“Imagine a table with four legs,” he says. “If the legs are bolted to the ground and you shake the table, it’s going to wobble. If we nail sheets of plywood between the legs and shake it again, it doesn’t wobble so much. That’s what shear walls are.”
Simantob says it’s also important to make sure that a home’s structure is properly bolted down, or it may be shaken off its foundation by an earthquake.
Walls and foundations aren’t the only parts of a home that are highly susceptible to damage from earthquakes. Ken LaRue, of highly rated Weatherline Reroofing and Repairs in Orange, Calif., warns the type of roofing makes a big difference in how much damage might occur during an earthquake.
“Fiberglass shingles are the best because they’re very lightweight,” he says, noting tile roofing can weigh three times as much as fiberglass. LaRue explains excess weight could cause potential problems, as it could fall off the roof during an earthquake and damage other parts of the home and cause injuries.
There are also smaller steps that a homeowner can take that can be just as important in preparing for an earthquake. Securing the water heater to the wall is an important one.
“Many people think it’s just a regulation,” says Lindsay Latham, of highly rated Fix All Handyman Service in Anaheim, Calif. “They don’t know that if the water system fails, there are 40 gallons of water stored away in the water heater that can be used.”
If the water heater comes loose in a quake, it can easily snap the gas line and cause a very dangerous leak. Latham suggests that homeowners should have an idea what natural gas smells like so they can spot a leak right away. He stresses that gas leaks are “extremely likely” to result from an earthquake.
“There’s no breaker for gas lines like there is for electricity. If the line snaps gas will spill. Then all it takes is someone to light a match and it’ll catch on fire,” Latham says. “You just have to be diligent. People don’t think it’s going to happen so they aren’t prepared.”
Ten ways to prepare your home for an earthquake1. Have an inspection done to make sure your home is up to code.
2. Locate and know how to use your emergency shut off valves.
3. Buy a crescent wrench (the tool needed to operate the shut off valves) and store it near the valves.
4. Make sure no fire hazards, such as paint, are stored in the attic. They are much less likely to spill and catch fire on ground level.
5. If you have any knick knacks on shelves or tables, secure them – especially if they’re valuable.
6. Bolt down all large appliances like the water heater and refrigerator.
7. Have an emergency plan and make sure everyone in your home knows what it is.
8. Locate the safest places in the home during an earthquake, in case you can’t exit right away.
9. Make sure everything you may need is easily accessible, in case you do have to evacuate your home.
10. Have an emergency kit ready. Include canned goods, water, first aid supplies and medications if needed.
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August 31, 2011
Remember the Sun
The Sun Is Always Shining
If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away.There are times when gloom or darkness causes us to momentarily lose sight of the light. Although it is at these times when the thought of the sun can help us. Its warm, glowing rays brighten even our thoughts, and it‚s good to remember that despite appearances the sun is shining right now. We may not be able to see it at this very moment, but if clouds block our view, they are only filtering the sun‚s light temporarily. If darkness has fallen, we know that the sun is still shining at this very moment somewhere not too far away, and it‚s only a matter of time before it will shine on us again. When we remember that the sun is still shining, we know that things are still in motion in the universe. Even if life feels like it is at a standstill, sometimes all we need to do is have faith and wait for the time when everything is in its perfect place. Or we can we can choose to follow the cues of the sun and continue doing our work and shining our light, even when we can‚t yet see results. In doing so we exercise our patience, making sure we are prepared when opportunity knocks and all other elements are in their right and perfect places. The sun also reminds us that our own shining truth is never extinguished. Our light shines within us at all times, no matter what else occurs around us. Though the sun gives us daily proof of its existence, sometimes our belief in our own light requires more time. If we think back, however, we can find moments when it showed itself and trust that we will see it again. Like the sun, our light is the energy that connects us to the movements of the universe and the cycles of life and is present at all times, whether we feel its glow or not.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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