June 2011

30 Jun 2011

The World (and our data plan) Is No Longer Unlimited

I worry about running out of things. When I was a kid…I worried about running out of peanut butter, summer days, and allowance money for 45s.* My teacher would tell me “Look, Tommy,** you live in the U.S.A. Your opportunities are limitless. Our boundaries are limitless! We are a nation that doesn’t run out of things!” Still, I worried.

When I got older, I began to worry about running out of numbers. I studied baseball statistics more earnestly than my 8th grade math, so running out of numbers was a real concern. Then, the big worry set in. What if we run out of every possible combination of telephone numbers?  Would my family always be stuck with a party line?+ Might I never have my own, private, phone number? (This was a big concern to a teenager.)

29 Jun 2011

What Makes A Good Social Media Communicator?

Social media communicator. It’s funny to think that that phrase was not in existence a mere handful of years ago. In fact, if someone had approached me at my college graduation and said that I would soon become a social media communicator I would have laughed and looked at her as if she had four heads and 8 pairs of eyes. Wondering what in the world a social media communicator even was, I would have said, nah, that’s not me. I only use Facebook to keep tabs on my friends (ok, fine, the occasional ex-boyfriend) and post pictures.

Today, I’m obviously whistling a different tune and don’t bat an eyelash when someone defines me as a social media communicator. I am exactly that and do not stand alone. Social media communicators today are vast in number and varied in shape and size (not physical, mind you).

28 Jun 2011

3 Lessons Learned In Today’s Real Estate Market

In today’s real estate market, new and unique challenges are facing our clients on their journey to homeownership. When approached correctly, we can often discover success as we overcome hurdles during the journey. My parents used to tell me to always look at your mistakes as an opportunity to learn. In other words, you need to get caught up in the experience so it doesn’t happen to you again. Those words have stuck with me, especially when it comes to my job. We are living during a period where there are many uncertainties, but those uncertainties give us an opportunity to learn from any and all mistakes we may make as we navigate through this unchartered terrain.

One of the most noticeable challenges I have noticed is transactions that aren’t closing on time. Here are the top 3 reasons transactions don’t close in today’s real estate market:

“You have been declined for the mortgage loan”….

This is the #1 reason a buyer doesn’t get their dream home – they were declined for the mortgage.

Solution = get PRE-APPROVED, NOT pre-qualified.  The mortgage process is changing and getting more restrictive in today’s economy.  Buyers who apply for the loan process before finding the home have a much higher success rate.  This way the only contingency to complete is the appraisal process.

The property didn’t appraise”….

When you read that sentence you may have thought that the reason a home doesn’t appraise is due to price.  Well, you might be surprised to know that the reason a home does not sell is due to property condition and/or repairs which is a direct reflection on today’s appraisal process. New appraisal standards not only note the value of the property, they also note many condition issues.  The appraisal process is now very similar to the inspection process.  Trying to sell “as-is” is no longer passing the appraisal process.

27 Jun 2011

A True American Marketplace

I had the pleasure of arriving early at a local farmer’s market one morning and watched as all the farmers arrived and set up their stands to display and market their goods. It was prime time for home grown tomatoes.

I watched curiously as all the different strategies started to unfold themselves. Some farmers had their tomatoes shined and stacked. Others had bins or baskets with tomatoes that were ripe but not cleaned nor stacked, allowing the customer to pick and sort. It was a true marketplace.

After they set up, they all scouted their competition. A few deliberately priced themselves to be the cheapest and some marked theirs higher, determined to get their price. I talked to one gentleman who said his strategy was to be the best of show and price. When I asked him why, he smiled and said, “That way I can sell my produce and get out of here by noon to go fishing with my grandson.” I couldn’t argue with that. Another gentleman said that he was in no hurry. He’d get his price, even if he was the last man standing.

24 Jun 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Newcomers to our region sometimes are surprised to discover an unexpected sport thriving in our backyard: college baseball. That’s right, college baseball. Northerners have such a short season for their college baseball teams because the climate just doesn’t allow for as many games. Down south we don’t really have that problem, although I’m sure many of us would argue that these heat waves we’ve been having rival any type of colder weather!

The Charlotte 49ers baseball team played their first game on February 18, 2011 (a win over Coppin State).  With such a long season possible, it’s no wonder that so many of the college teams in our region experience great success.  Young student athletes are attracted to programs that give them the opportunity to play lots of games and develop their talents accordingly.

23 Jun 2011

Build Me the Home I Want…Please!

I am one of the 40 million baby boomers roaming around out there asking the same question as many others: “When are builders going to pay attention to us and build homes that we want to move into?” What does this home look like you may ask? Well, it would be a one to one and a half story home with 2- 3 bedrooms, a couple thousand square feet, modest finishes, a small private court yard, a reasonable price and in a location with access to the necessities.

Alas, it seems as if the builders have essentially abandoned us. They got us hooked on our first starter home, then moved us up a couple of times to eventually the 4 bedroom, 4000 square foot home with the theatre room, hot tub and 1 acre lawn…then POOF! They are gone! They are MIA when it comes to providing homes and communities that we want and will buy. We don’t need all that space and “stuff” anymore. We have figured out that a more compact and manageable home sets us free to turn the key and go… maybe to our other compact home on the coast or mountains, to a place we’ve been dying to see, or just free to spend money on something else.

22 Jun 2011

Does Wedding Insurance Cover “Cold Feet?”

Every year, there are approximately more than 2 million weddings in the United States. Did you know that June is one of the most popular months of the year to get married? Newly engaged couples spend countless months, and in some cases years, preparing for their big day. It is one of the most romantic days a couple can share together…but for some, it can be the complete opposite.

Newly engaged couples have had the option of taking out wedding insurance which helps protect them from unforeseen circumstances that could ruin their big day. Does this type of insurance cover “cold feet?” It would be nice to make sure that you get your money back if your special someone leaves you at the altar.  But the answer to that question, for now, is no.

21 Jun 2011

Keeping Your Cool in the Carolinas

Have you thanked Willis Haviland Carrier today?

In 1902, the folks at Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company in Brooklyn, NY, were having a problem. The heat and humidity present in the printing plant was wreaking havoc on their process for aligning color images on paper. The solution came about thanks to the efforts of Mr. Carrier, a young engineer who found a way to control the problem. His invention, initially patented as “An Apparatus for Treating Air” (U.S. patent No. 808897), was the world’s first spray-type air conditioning system.

Willis Carrier and some partners eventually committed their joint life savings of $32,600 to form the Carrier Engineering Corporation. They went on to great success, improving their product to become a “centrifugal refrigeration machine” suitable primarily for commercial use. Silent Generation Alert: Do you remember going to movie theaters that proudly proclaimed “It’s cool inside!?”

20 Jun 2011

Upside Down

While not a good place to be in it is not the end of the world. Paper wealth was exhilarating these past six years. I remember my Wachovia stock value and the value that I could receive if I sold my car or home.  It was mesmerizing.  Fast forward a few years and now appreciation levels and rates of returns have all normalized. Similar to the stock market, housing, for most of the country, is in the process of finding its new value system.

A recent report from CoreLogic indicated that underwater mortgages and borrowers with less than 5% home equity accounted for 28% of all residential properties.  More than 11.2 million, about 24% of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity at the end of Q110.

17 Jun 2011

How Will Mortgage Underwriters Look at Your Income?

Just imagine you have found the perfect house, started a new job and are ready to move forward with your life. Feels pretty good doesn’t it?

Now imagine that you have everything lined up except for one detail, a detail that is perhaps the most important of all. Prior to signing on the dotted line and happily moving forward, make sure that you take the time to sit down and go over the details with your Mortgage consultant.


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