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Some thoughts on Real Estate and Natural Law on the last business day of 2011. - 12/30/11 09:50 AM
Today I will be closing out fiscal year 2011 for my business. And while the numbers were not completely disappointing, the amount of stress and hardship really was not commensurate with compensation. Which begs the question: “WHY?” Why indeed. The real estate world has become one of complete chaos. There are those that follow the rules and those that don’t. And even when there are no shenanigans afoot, new twists and turns tend to wreak havoc on EVERY transaction. It is a natural law that entropy will continue to erode stability. Order will continue to deteriorate with each passing moment. We (11 comments)
What is the outlook for the real estate market in 2012? - 12/29/11 08:58 AM
The question I have been asked most often in the last few weeks is: What is the outlook for the real estate market in 2012? It’s an interesting question, because there are many dynamic factors involved in the state of housing in North America. First and foremost are the immutable laws of supply and demand. If there is more product than there are consumers, the market will continue to decline. And while we can’t change the rules of the axiom, we can certainly control the variables. Either the supply of homes for sale has to be reduced or the number of (12 comments)
Georgia Association of Realtors contract forms will no longer be available free of charge to non-members. - 12/28/11 08:30 AM
With each passing year our standard Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) contract forms are revised to adapt to an ever changing real estate universe. Generally speaking, most changes to preprinted real estate contracts are reactionary and not preemptive. Whether successful or not, litigation drives change and most contract updates are specifically designed to avoid lawsuits. These annual tweaks cost money. A lot of money. And the money comes from the dues paying members of the Board of Realtors. For years non-members have been getting a free ride. Beginning in January 2012, the GAR contracts forms will no longer be available free (14 comments)
Working during the “’Tween” week is always unique and interesting. - 12/26/11 08:10 AM
Now that we are in the ‘tween” week between Christmas and New year’s Day, it’s time to wrap up the year. I only have one more closing scheduled for this week, and so my 2011 business is pretty much concluded. But there is plenty that needs to be done in order to start 2012 off with a bang! For whatever reason, I have always preferred even numbered years. Not to mention the fact that 2012 is a presidential election year and an Olympic year which will make for some pretty interesting events throughout the course of the year. And so I (93 comments)
Blinded by the light and deafened by the noise: Memories of Christmases Past. - 12/25/11 08:30 AM
As a child of the 1950’s that was reared in a very large family Christmas has a special place in my heart. In the days before video games and smart phones, Santa brought real toys for good girls and boys, and even those of us that were on the “marginal” list were rewarded with a treasure trove of new goodies! Every Christmas Morning started the same way: Sleepy eyed children attempting to negotiate the stairs while being blinded by the array of intense movie lights that lit up the room like the sun. As a result, all of the old movies (17 comments)
Are you bored by the holidays already? Not me! - 12/24/11 08:42 AM
In the many years that have passed since my childhood, the holiday season has consistently expanded in length, scope and complexity. As our society moves forward, we seek to retain our traditional ties to our past while at the same time, embrace the new interpretations of what the holidays mean to us as a culture. The annual influx of “new” activities and additional rites by nature multiplies the amount of “celebrating” in which we will participate. It can be overwhelming at times. And of course, there is a breaking point at which one becomes so jaded by all of the hoopla (22 comments)
The best Christmas gift of all! - 12/23/11 09:15 AM
With Christmas less than two days away, it is time to move from denial to acceptance. As we attempt to reconcile our intentions with our actual accomplishments, there is usually a shortfall in the “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” column on the balance sheet. One might choose to engage in a fruitless frantic frenzy in an attempt to salvage their “Currier and Ives” or “Dickensian” ideal of what the holiday should be. My preference is to sit back, relax, say to myself; “it is what it is” and enjoy the holidays without regret or self-loathing! Instead, I’ll celebrate with family and dear friends (13 comments)
How much will you get done on the shortest day of the year? - 12/22/11 07:59 AM
Last night at 12:30 AM EST, the tilt of the earth relative to its solar orbital position achieved the maximum declination in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result, here in the Northern Hemisphere we will endure the minimum amount of daylight between sunrise and sunset. It’s the official “first day” of Winter,” and the beginning of the next phase of seasons as defined by both scientists and theologians alike. It is NOT coincidental that the winter holidays for most cultures occur during this period of extreme darkness. Even the most ancient societies realized the significance of this astronomical event and observed (21 comments)
Holiday music…What is your FAVORITE holiday song? - 12/21/11 08:59 AM
In many ways when it comes to holiday music I am a traditionalist. It seems that in most cases, the older the song, the better I like it. I love the ancient tunes from the middle ages. “Adeste Fidelis (O Come all ye Faithful).)” “Greensleeves (What Child is this,)” and “In Dulci Jubilo (Good Christian Men Rejoice)” are among my favorites. I also love the nineteenth century classics such as “Stille Nacht (Slilent Night,)” “Un Flabeau Jeanette, Isabella (Bring a Torch Jeanette, Isabella,)” and “Cantique de Noel (O holy Night.)” As far as modern songs go, I love Mel Torme’s “The (14 comments)
Looking back on the “Glory Days” of real estate with fond remembrance! - 12/20/11 08:57 AM
Although it seems like centuries ago, just a few years back the holidays were treated a lot different in the real estate business. In those better times, the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas were populated with a continual stream of vendors and affiliates arriving at the office bearing gifts of food and drink and other goodies. The perpetual holiday buffet of freebies left little appetite for supper, as we feasted on sweet and savory treats of every sort and description. It was a veritable Bacchanalia of celebration that was eagerly anticipated each December. However due to the current state of the (45 comments)
The one constant throughout life is Christmas! - 12/18/11 09:02 AM
In an ever changing fast paced world that affects our lives in so many ways, the one constant is Christmas. No matter how old we are and how many Christmases we have commemorated the spirit of the holiday ALWAYS takes us back to the magical times of our youth. Christmas is a direct connection to our past that stirs the soul and warms the heart. It is also a time to look back and remember those that are no longer with us. And even though these loved ones are no longer with us in the flesh, they live on in our (14 comments)
The “wait until next year” timer has been reset! - 12/17/11 08:45 AM
It happens EVERY holiday season. There are always things that we wanted to do, projects that we wanted to complete, and new traditions that we wanted to initiate. But there is an inverse proportional relationship between holiday time and well-intentioned opportunity. As time continues to accelerate at an ever increasing rate with each passing hour opportunity diminishes with each passing second. We are rapidly approaching the “event horizon for calendar year 2011. It’s time for a reckoning of what will actually get done this year, and what will be relegated to the “wait until next year” list. Eeady or not, the (16 comments)
What is you photographic intent? You need to know before you release the shutter! - 12/15/11 07:44 AM
The proliferation of photography due to the digital explosion has had both good and bad consequences. On the good side, digital photography is inexpensive, relatively automatic, and easily instantaneously shared with as many eyes as you can convince to look at it. On the bad side, all of those same reasons have led to a plethora of poor photographs prodigiously promulgated publicly. A good photograph can be the result of one of two possibilities: It can either be the result of winning the “digital lottery” in which one takes as many chances as possible and hopes that there is a winner, (46 comments)
Is it time for more regulation of Homeowner’s Associations? - 12/14/11 08:58 AM
Homeowner’s associations or “HOAs” have become the bane of the contemporary real estate transaction. In theory, an HOA is a good thing. It provides an opportunity to establish rules, standards and guidelines for a community for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life and preserving property values. In practice, many HOA boards are rife with ignorance of the law at best and corruption at the worst. Overzealous officers and directors often can derail a closing with ill-advised attempts to collect monies to which they are not legally entitled. When faced with these obvious extortions at the most inopportune times, most (13 comments)
Please don’t forget our fine feathered friends this holiday season! - 12/13/11 08:11 AM
It has been said that bird-watching is the most popular hobby in theUnited States. Many of us put out a feeder to attract different species of birds to our homes. We enjoy identifying the birds that visit our feeders. Some are transient, some are seasonal, and many are year round regulars that have come to depend on a reliable source of food. And the fact that they do indeed become dependent on a regular food supply makes it incumbent upon us to maintain the resource throughout the winter months. Even though the cost of bird seed has risen dramatically over the (17 comments)
Spending less time online and more time in the real world lately? You are not alone! - 12/12/11 08:22 AM
The holidays are upon us and time has become even more precious. As a real estate processional, I am always busy. If you throw in the seasonal demands of family gatherings and social obligations, every second become precious. So it is not unusual for time to be meted less generously for suddenly secondary interaction in the online world of social networking. The meting of minutes for cyber pursuits dwindles consistently until the new year arrives. There is still something to be said for the “face to face” in the “here and now!” We are social animals and we still need to (18 comments)
Dark Days and Holiday Lights! What a perfectly festive combination! - 12/11/11 09:18 AM
Daylight dwindles, the Solstice loomsTo herald Winter’s dark and gloomYet glowing warmth will pierce the nightTo cheer the soul with festive lights! (R Weisser 2011) One of my favorite aspects of the holidays is the proliferation of outdoor lighting displays. As winter approaches, the surety of impending storms and long hours of darkness are mitigated by the once-a-year festival of lights. We always take advantage of the collective efforts of thousands of local revelers by taking drives to see the lights with holiday music playing in the background, or (10 comments)
Generational Music. The “Same as it Ever Was!” - 12/10/11 09:01 AM
Since the first drums were carved and wild reeds were hollowed, music has belonged to the generation that created it. As a child of the late 50’s and 60’s, my key musical influences were Rock and Roll and the British invasion. And although fifty years and countless new songs have been proliferated since my “Glory Days,” I will still stop what I am doing when I here Elvis belting out a hardcore rock number or the Beatles harmonizing in 4/4 time. And so when I perform in public, I am often asked to play a song that I don’t know or (16 comments)
Investing in real estate in an unfamiliar area? My advice: Do your homework! - 12/09/11 08:58 AM
I get several calls a week from investors around the country that are attracted to our low house prices. When you are getting about one percent interest on savings, the notion of 20-30% return on investment is pretty enticing. Unfortunately, most of these callers are basing their interest solely on the price of the home and not any other factors. There are many reasons that a house is priced under $25K, and none of them are usually good. And the occasional good house that slips in is gobbled up by an owner-occupant that lives in the area and is ready to (27 comments)
Life in the “Biggest Box” world. Will bricks and mortar become a thing of the past? - 12/08/11 09:11 AM
After the Mom and Pop shops evaporated in the radiant discharge of the Big Box stores, it seemed as if the paradigm shift in shopping habits had stabilized. When shopping in the Big Box, one could see, feel, and touch all of their potential purchases in a climate controlled, intensity lit acre of countless hot item displays and rack after rack of merchandise. But a new trend has emerged over the last five years in which these vast and expensive arrays of goods offer the savvy consumer little more than a test drive or a basis for comparison shopping. When it (19 comments)
When Updates Run Amok Chaos Ensues! - 12/07/11 08:03 AM
About a week or so ago, something really unusual happened on my computer. My MacAfee anti-virus program, my Adobe Flash Player and my Windows 7 all updated at the same time. Apparently as a result of these “improvements” to my system my computer was rendered nearly useless. No problem … a simple restore should have taken me back to the robust operation that I have come to expect. But oddly enough, despite my best efforts, I have not been able use the “Wayback” machine to undo the fiasco. I am the first to admit that I push my computer to the (14 comments)
“Some like it hot” but I guess I’m in the minority because I love cold weather. - 12/06/11 07:59 AM
When I moved to Georgia nearly forty years ago, I was glad to escape the bitter cold winters and the frigid winds of Western Pennsylvania. And even though we occasionally have cold spells and even snow and ice storms, the winters here in Newnan Georgia are relatively moderate compared to other regions in the country. Call me crazy, but I miss the cold weather. I thrive in the wake of icy blasts and revel in the sensation of an Arctic wind that cuts right through you. It really gets me going! And nothing tastes better when you are chilled to the (23 comments)
There is at least one good thing about the current economy… - 12/05/11 09:01 AM
In the days when cash flowed freely and credit was issued without reservation, America became a throw-away society. If a product malfunctioned or an expiration date neared, the item was simply trashed and replaced with a brand-spanking new one. Convenience was the order of the day and the landfills swelled with the byproducts of rampant consumption. These days, we don’t instantly run to the merchant as often to replace a troublesome television and we are much more likely to push the envelope on the “best if used by” dates on our groceries. Frugality may not be the best thing for business and (13 comments)
“Home for the Holidays!” It’s more than a simple song! - 12/04/11 09:43 AM
In spite of distant miles apartA seductive siren to the heartSuch a tantalizing lure for willing preyThat draws us home for the holidays! (R Weisser 2011) It’s a recurring theme this time of year, and for good reason. Nothing compares to the annual collective celebration of the holidays. It’s not a coincidence that the days of joy and revelry occur at the end of the calendar year. Because the holiday season is a time for both reflection and looking forward at the same time. And no festive celebration is complete without (10 comments)
Do you have the “Write” stuff? - 12/02/11 09:29 AM
Often during conversations with my associates, they often wonder how I can write a blog post each and every day of the year. The general queries are usually something like: “How do you know what to write about?” or “Where do you get you ideas?” What strikes me as interesting is that these folks are never at a loss for words when it comes to the coffee klatch or the office brainstorming session. They have plenty to say. As a matter of fact, it is often difficult to get a word in edgewise. So it seems that all one has to (17 comments)
Oh my goodness … Can it be December already? Staying focused on what is REALLY important in life. - 12/01/11 08:54 AM
For whatever reason, the last few weeks of the year become a vortex that accelerates with each rotation. It seems that the days are sucked away as we scramble to maintain composure in the face of deadlines of both work and the demands of the season. As we struggle against the tempest of time, the festivities of the holidays are often relegated to the status of “as time allows" as we remain determined to make a living. Which is really quite sad when you think about it. Even Ebenezer Scrooge finally realized that there are things in life that are more (13 comments)
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