“If you turn it over to the universe you will be surprised and dazzled by what is delivered to you. This is where magic and miracles happen.”
— Dr. Joe Vitale: Motivational author and speaker
WHEN THE PROPHET SAYS BUY – BUY!
John R. Talbott, previously a Goldman Sachs investment banker, is a bestselling author and economic consultant. When it comes to the housing market he is also a prophet. When housing prices started to skyrocket in 2003, he published The Coming Crash in the Housing Market correctly warning us that a real estate bubble was forming. Then in January 2006, he called the absolute peak of home prices in the US by releasing a new book, Sell Now! The End of the Housing Bubble.
Mr. Talbott, the person who accurately predicted the housing bubble and its bust, now has a new prediction – IT IS THE TIME TO BUY A HOME! In a recent article, Homes – Buy Now!, Talbott simply explains:
“I have been waiting for more than five years to offer this advice. It is now time in most cities across the country to buy a new home or refinance your existing home with thirty-year fixed rate mortgage debt.”
He goes on to explain that his conclusion is based on four different metrics, all of which favor buying today:
- Home Prices Relative to Peak Prices During the Bubble
- Home Prices Relative to Construction Costs or Replacement Costs
- Home Prices Relative to Incomes and Rents
- Home Prices in Real Terms, Not US Dollar Terms
If the person who called the real estate bubble and its bust says now is the time to buy, we believe it is time to buy.
MAKING IT HAPPEN, PART 2
In last week’s View article, we focused on 5 steps to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions. Those steps included: setting realistic goals, making a simple plan for each goal, announcing your goals, tracking and celebrating your progress, and avoiding the urge to give up if you have a setback.
Luckily, you’re not on your own to work through those steps. That’s because there are a number of social media websites and smart phone applications designed to help you.
Obviously, popular apps like Facebook and Twitter can help you announce your goals, hold yourself accountable, and receive supportive feedback from friends and family members. But there are a number of additional resources that you may not know about.
Here are just 5 social media sites and apps that can help you set your New Year’s resolutions…and stay on track!
1. Tweet Reminders. Twitter is great for connecting with people and sharing news instantaneously. But did you know it’s also a great way to remind yourself about tasks? Need a reminder to go to the gym… or to call those past clients? No problem. Visit the Tweet Reminders site, and then enter your Twitter username and up to 5 tasks or reminders. You can even pick a date and time. Then, Tweet Reminders will send you a direct message on Twitter to remind you about them. It’s both an easy and helpful thing to do.
2. Moteevate. Regardless of whether your goal is big or small, this site has the inspiration, energy, and advice you need to reach it. With moteevate, you get support from people you already know as well as advice from experts in the field – all while being surrounded by people looking to achieve similar goals. You can even moteevate in teams and act as moteevators for each other. The site also includes cool trackers to record your progress and milestones. Plus, you can customize the privacy settings to keep your goals to yourself or share them with others. And best of all, the basic platform is free to use with the caveat that you pay whatever you want after you achieve your goal. In fact, this honor system is the only thing old-fashioned about moteevate.
3. Toodledo. This is a businessperson’s dream app. You’ve no doubt seen a To-Do list before…but this app kicks it up a notch! Not only does it help you easily organize your tasks and set alarms, but it also allows you to collaborate with other people and establish sub-tasks to work towards your goal in small steps! Plus, Toodledo can be used on your mobile phone, in your email, on your calendar, and even integrated directly into your web browser. So you can stay on track from anywhere…and at any time.
4. StickK. The basic principle of this app is that “incentives get people to do things.” So if you really want to achieve a goal – whether it’s personal or professional – it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Basically, stickK allows you to create a Commitment Contract focused on achieving a specific goal. As part of the process, you set your goal and timelines, stakes, referee who will monitor your progress, and supporters who will cheer you on. If you achieve your goal in your timeframe, you don’t lose the stakes you wagered. But – the best part is – even if you don’t achieve your goal, the money you wagered goes to a worthy cause or charity that you designate. So it truly is a win-win situation!
5. GymPact. This is similar to stickK in that you put money on the line…but it’s different in that you can also earn some money. You start by making a commitment that you will go to the gym a certain number of times per week (don’t worry, you can change your pact any week). You also set the monetary stakes that you’ll pay if you don’t meet your commitment. Then, you simply use the GymPact iPhone app to check in when you go to the gym. When you meet your weekly goal, you’ll be rewarded with real cash, funded by the people who didn’t work out! The more days you commit, the more cash you earn. The only downside is that you need an iPhone (or an iPod Touch and a gym with Wi-Fi) to participate, since apps for other systems aren’t available.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media websites and apps designed to help you set and achieve your goals. Best wishes to you in the coming weeks and months.
And, if your New Year resolutions involve any financial or housing matters that I can help with, please call or email today. I’ll be happy to help out in any way that I can.
FED OFFICIALS CALL FOR MORE HOUSING FIXES
New programs and “housing policy interventions” are needed to help the real estate market rebound and boost growth in the overall economy, three Federal Reserve policymakers said Friday.
The latest statements join a range of calls by the Federal Reserve in the last week urging for more government intervention to help the housing market. Last week, the Fed released a 26-page white paper providing an outline on how the government needs to take more aggressive action to prevent home values from falling further, seek solutions to the foreclosure crisis, and loosen stringent underwriting standards that are keeping borrowers from securing mortgages or refinancing.
New York Fed President William Dudley said on Friday that the housing market is “only one factor behind the frustratingly slow” economic recovery, but it’s an “important one that deserves our attention.”
Dudley said that it’s important for monetary policy to complement actions taken by lawmakers in order to help stabilize home prices and bring about a recovery to the housing sector within the next year or two. He said programs are needed that are aimed at preventing additional foreclosures, easing burdens for home owners in refinancing mortgages, and getting more renters into REO properties.
“Forceful and effective housing policies have the potential to significantly influence the speed and strength of our recovery,” Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke said in separate comments made last week at an event in Virginia.
The Fed will hold its next policy-setting meeting Jan. 24-25.
4 WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR WEB SITE
A good Web site can do some of the work for you to bring in new clients. Tricia Andreassen, CEO and founder of Pro Step Marketing, recently highlighted ideas in an article at RISMedia about how to enhance your real estate Web site to make sure it’s serving as a lead generator for your business. Among her ideas:
1. Have a strong MLS tool on your Web site’s front page. “Having an interactive search tool where the visitor can choose a specific town, price range, and even property type can be a powerful way to compel them to want to click-through and access listings,” Andreassen writes. “Having an IDX-integrated search on the home page eliminates the need for buyers or sellers to click-through three or four levels just to view homes.”
2. Make sure your visitors can contact you. Ensure you are the point of contact through easy-to-find buttons throughout your Web site, even when your Web visitors are searching the MLS from your site. Make it so they can easily click a button to access more information, schedule a showing, or share the listing with a friend or family member.
3. Include social media features. Have icons to your Facebook wall or your Twitter account, and allow your Web visitors to easily share any information on your Web site via social media.
4. Set up e-mail campaigns. Allow your Web visitors to sign up to receive more targeted information from you. “For example, let’s say you come across a great foreclosure deal and you want to let your foreclosure buyer pipeline know about it,” Andreassen says. “Have the tools so that you can e-mail the entire group within moments to let them know about the new listing.”
5 TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR LISTING PHOTOS
High-quality images are an important ally in attracting buyers to your listing and selling a home, real estate pros say.
David Rezendes, who won the 2011 “Top Real Estate Photographer” honor by the Photography for Real Estate organization, offers up some of his secret tips to AOL Real Estate on taking better property photos:
Don’t always shoot wide. A wide shot can capture an entire room and show off its roominess, but sometimes focusing in on a vignette or architectural detail will better “convey the feeling of a house and give a stronger effect,” Rezendes told AOL Real Estate.
Remove clutter. Sure, you’re going to remember to fluff the pillows and ensure stacks of papers are out of the frame. But don’t forget to hide exposed power cords or personal items. “Keep your photos neat but not sterile,” Rezendes says.
Beware of vertical photos. “Shooting at a downward or upward angle can skew the vertical lines of the photo, making them no longer parallel,” Rezendes told AOL Real Estate. You can tweak this using photo editing software, but beware of it when you’re shooting if you don’t want to correct later.
Stay out of the frame. When taking a photo near mirrors or windows, watch the reflection so you or your equipment don’t wind up in the picture.
Don’t shoot into the sun. When photographing a home’s exterior, avoid taking the photo in the direct, midday sun. Instead, a better time to capture the exterior is in the morning or early evening, capturing the best natural light backdrop for the home.
CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSES HELP YOU STAY ON TRACK
To provide its members with the tools and expertise to build their business and better serve clients, the National Association of REALTORS® and The CE Shop, Inc., have entered into a partnership to provide continuing education for REALTORS® taking online designation and certification courses at REALTOR® University’s School of Professional Development & Continuing Education.
Continuing education is now available in 20 states across the country for several courses including some of NAR’s most popular certifications and designations, which include ABR®, GREEN, SRES®, AHWD, BPOR, e-PRO®, SFR, and RPR™. These programs help REALTORS® serve the unique needs of their clientele, including first-time home buyers, seniors, consumers interested in green building practices, and buyers and sellers involved in foreclosures and short sales. The CE Shop and NAR are currently in the process of securing continuing education for additional states in the U.S.
“REALTORS® bring value to their clients, and continuing education is just one example of how they do that,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “These courses encourage REALTORS® to strengthen their skills while offering them a chance to stay up-to-date with their designations, certifications and state-mandated continuing education hours. Meanwhile, home buyers and sellers can rest assured they are working with a professional who has exceptional real estate knowledge and experience.”
As an added member benefit, the courses being offered are approved for continuing education credit at no additional cost. The REALTORS® University School of Professional Development & Continuing Education offers over 400 hours of online education and professional development courses through Learning Library Inc.and is the exclusive provider of courses leading to NAR’s official designations and certifications.
REALTORS® University also has received approval to operate from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and has submitted an application for degree-granting authority to the Board. REALTORS® University will be applying for candidacy for accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The CE Shop is the nation’s leading provider of online real estate continuing education. The CE Shop proudly offers courses certified by the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO®) and approved by real estate regulatory agencies across the United States.
Learning Library Inc. is the leading North American provider of integrated education e-store, automation and management systems primarily supporting compliance education with a core focus on servicing the real estate industry and the NAR family for 10 years.