“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London
WALL STREET JOURNAL & FORBES: IT’S TIME TO BUY A HOME
We believe very strongly that now is the time to buy a home. Some will say we are just saying this to create real estate transactions and commissions. Because of that, today we will quote what those outside the real estate profession are saying to the people who look to them for financial advice.
The Wall Street Journal
Last week, in an article entitled It’s Time to Buy That House, the WSJ told their subscribers:
“It’s an excellent time to buy a house, either to live in for the long term or for investment income…Houses aren’t the magic wealth creators they were made out to be during the bubble. But when prices are low, loans are cheap and plump investment yields are scarce, buyers should jump.”
In an article two weeks ago, MarketWatch.com (the on-line blog for WSJ) told their readers:
“Now could be the best time in history to buy a home.”
In a report to their subscribers, Capital Economics reported that:
“The previous declines in house prices and the more recent drop in mortgage rates to record lows have created an unusual situation in which the median monthly mortgage payment is more or less the same as the median rental payment.”
Why is this important? Last week, Forbes explained to their readers
“If rents simply kept up with inflation at a 3.2% annual increase, a $1,500 rent payment would cost that renter nearly $900,000 over the next 30 years. The same $1,500 payment made to their mortgage would be only $540,000 (because the payments don’t increase with inflation).”
They went on to explain the advantages of homeownership during retirement:
“Even with a dismal 1% growth rate over 30 years, a $300,000 property would appreciate well over $100,000 giving the homeowner an additional nest egg for retirement”
At a time when retirement is becoming much more challenging, an extra $400,000 (or likely more) can make a major difference not to mention the impact of NOT having to pay a mortgage. How much less would you have to save for retirement if you didn’t pay the mortgage?”
When the iconic financial newspaper and the iconic financial magazine say that it now makes financial sense to purchase a house, perhaps it’s time to buy a home.
10 STEP PROVEN FACEBOOK FARMING STRATEGY
Have GREAT success using Facebook pages coupled with “old fashioned” neighborhood farming…getting to meet so many people in our neighborhood, and providing lots of cool stuff for them.
- Create a neighborhood page on our website. I include photos, videos, listings, neighbor testimonials, etc.
- Create a neighborhood Facebook page with lots of photos.
- Door-to-door (yep, I know this is where I lost almost all of you) – using clear door hanger bags and a 5×8 postcard with two pieces of candy – promoting the Facebook page for the neighborhood. Without knocking or bugging people, just hang them on the door handles.
- Do this 4-6 times over the course of a 3 month period.
- Watch your page numbers grow.
- Start interacting with neighbors/residents – from yard sales, lost pet notices, HOA info, etc. and including photos, videos, etc.
- Throw little contests – drawing for a $25 gift certificate for a local restaurant. All they had to do was “like” the post and share a comment on what they love about the neighborhood. Draw a winner – on video, meet the winner in person, give all of the other participants “consolation prizes” (candy bars) delivering everything IN PERSON.
- As you deliver things in person, ask them to do video testimonials of what they love about living in the neighborhood. You can put those testimonials up on our web page and push a couple through to the Facebook page.
- Another contest – this one was simply a promo on who loved a particular yogurt store in our neighborhood. This can give you additional people to meet in person (giving everyone a $2 gift certificate).
- Start to do direct mail in your neighborhood to capitalize on the door-to-door and Facebook pages. This will help keep promoting the Facebook page – then use the Facebook page as our way to meet people IRL and build relationships with them.
Your goal is to become THE neighborhood realtor – the one everyone knows – the one that loves the neighborhood.
You will be building trust relationships with people – so that when I have something real estate related, it’ll be looked at and considered, not just thrown away.
Catch Christina Ethridge live at Agent Reboot Boise where she will be on a panel about Social Media Insights – Making the Smartest Investment of Your Time.
USE A COUPON TO BUY A HOME?
More real estate professionals are jumping in the coupon-frenzy by luring home buyers with group coupon deals to use in their home purchases. Buyers have to purchase the coupon in order to get the discount.
For example, a buyer may purchase a coupon for $30 and then use the coupon to receive $1,000 cash back at closing when they buy a home, such as in a coupon-deal offered by Prudential Carolina Sun Real Estate in Charleston, S.C.
Builders and some real estate professionals have started to use the coupons as a way to attract more buyers. For example, Van Metre Homes, a builder in Virginia, used HouseTipper to promote its coupon deal of $5,000 in closing costs. HouseTipper sold about 13 coupons at $50 each, and at least half of the coupon buyers have signed contracts for homes by the builder.
Some real estate agents are also using Groupon to offer coupon deals. But the new HouseTipper is a collective buying platform directly targeted at the housing and home and garden sectors and works with home builders, real estate brokers, lenders, and other housing-related companies.
TALK THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE ON CAPITOL HILL
On the day the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed online calling for federal action to get the housing market moving again, a group of lawmakers, industry leaders, and policy strategists were devising ways to do just that.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (D-Ga.) called for allowing underwater home owners to use money from their retirement accounts to help them stay in their home rather than lose it to foreclosure. Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) called for lenders to refinance mortgages of troubled home owners without requiring an appraisal. Richard Smith, president and CEO of national real estate brokerage giant Realogy Corp. called for a share equity program and also to make federally backed mortgages assumable.
These were just a few of the ideas to come out of a day-long meeting, hosted by two policy think tanks, the Progressive Policy Institute and Economic Policies for the 21st Century, that these and other housing leaders participated in to find solutions to the housing crisis.
“This meeting called by the private sector is the kind of meeting that ought to be taking place on Pennsylvania Avenue and in the Capitol of the United States of America,” said Sen. Isakson.
NAR President Ron Phipps set the tone of the conference when he said the market is capable of self-correcting but it needs two things. First, it needs the federal government to stop intervening (or threatening to intervene) in the market in the wrong way such as by imposing a 20 percent down requirement in the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule or by talking about curbs to the mortgage interest deduction. Piecemeal federal intervention in foreclosure processing isn’t helping, either. Second, it needs the government to intervene in smart ways. Hence, the search for solutions like those offered up by Sen. Isakson, Rep. Cardoza, and others.
Had the conference, called “New Solutions for America’s Housing Crisis,” been merely a talkfest among policy strategists, many of the ideas for getting housing moving again might not get to the ear of Congress as quickly as many would like. But with several lawmakers there, including Sen. Isakson, Rep. Cardoza, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), half the battle of getting the ear of Congress has already been won. Sen. Isakson is a widely respected leader in the Senate on real estate issues and Rep. Cardoza has been on the forefront in seeking solutions to the housing crisis, as you would expect he would be: his district is in California’s central valley, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country. In some parts of his district, underwater home owners outnumber those with positive equity by a factor of three-to-one.
In his Wall Street Journal piece, Neal Lipschutz made an important observation. “There are reasonable proposals offered from many corners that don’t spell stimulus in capital letters but would do some good,” he said. The housing conference, which got underway just about the time his piece came out, makes it clear that iT’s not because of a shortage of ideas that the housing market is stuck in neutral. What’s needed, rather, is leadership, said President Phipps. “We’ve had plenty of talking about blame,” he said. “We need to get to solutions.”