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America is Becoming a Landlord's Delight - 10/28/11 03:46 PM
According to an article by Lawrence Yun there are 1.4 million more renters in America today than a year ago. This is good news for landlords and aspiring landlords, because the increased demand without corresponding increases in supply translates to higher rents. If you're thinking about buying some income property, the cash flow projections should become increasingly more attractive. If you're a renter, you can probably expect to see your landlord with a new truck after he raises your rent. Given the attitude today in Washington that America will be better off as a nation of renters, investment property looks better (6 comments)
Residential mobility is non-existent for many Americans - 10/28/11 03:01 PM
New York Times reporters Jennifer Medina and Sabrina Tavernise wrote yesterday of the shifting patterns of American migration. The article documents the lack of residential mobility among Americans since the beginning of the recession. There is reason to believe that some of the immobility is due to the lack of employment opportunities in traditional big city centers of commerce and industry. There is little reason for anyone to relocate in search of a job when few exist. If the recession were to recede, and more employment opportunities return, it's likely that there would be an increase in migration, but only for (2 comments)
Lakeville 2011 Market Status and Projections - 10/28/11 12:29 PM
Lakeville 2011 home sales totals are on track to exceed 2010. According to data provided by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Lakeville, has had 568 closed sales so far this year. There are 49 accepted offers awaiting closing, which suggests that, with another two months left, 2011 total units sold should easily exceed the 2010 total sales of 605. There are 327 active home listings which calculates to about six months of inventory. If you have a home to sell, the absorption rate, the calculation of the ratio of homes for sale compared to the number of homes sold, (2 comments)
What the heck is a Housing Woe? - 10/24/11 02:42 PM
An article by Associated Press titled Obama to promote new steps to help housing woes reveals some reasons why the government is so adept at being ineffective. The housing industry could use some help, and the greatest help we need from government would be to stop doing harm. The President is going to order changes to the Homes Affordable Refinance Program that will do nothing to improve the status of the housing industry. As a matter of fact, it will probably create more obstacles. The program will make it easier for some homeowners who are underwater to refinance their loans at (0 comments)
One less bad guy in Minnesota -- Good guy could be in trouble - 10/23/11 12:35 PM
Thursday night, a woman was assaulted and robbed in a south Minneapolis grocery store parking lot. A witness chased the robber and eventually there were gunshots, and the bad guy is no longer a resident of earth. The robber had a gun, and it was drawn at the time he was shot by the Good Samaritan. The shooter had a permit to carry a firearm, but he now has to prove that he is not a murderer. The Minnesota, the only legal justification for shooting someone is self defense. The fact that the other guy just committed an assault and robbery (4 comments)
Minnesota's Cultural Heritage -- Minnesota Vikings? - 10/22/11 05:21 PM
The Minnesota Vikings have been complaining about the tent that they have been using, off and on, for the location of their home games. Some fans might say that the Vikings actually play football there, and I will concede their opinion. There are a number of proposals for a partnership between various levels of government in the acquisition of land and development of surrounding infrastructure, and the new stadium. Most have involved new taxes or expanding gambling in the state. For the record, I'm OK with a new stadium, and I'm OK with shifting some of the tax exempt gambling activity (5 comments)
Teachers in Lakeville get time off to write letters - 10/20/11 12:38 PM
The Lakeville, MN School District has agreed to allow teachers to leave their assigned classroom to write recommendation letters for students applying for college admission. Upon their request, their classroom duties will be covered with substitute teachers. No teachers will be asking to be replaced today or tomorrow because they are all theoretically attending their labor union's convention, for which they are annually allowed time off. I always wondered why those conventions couldn't be scheduled on weekends or during the three month summer recess. I guess I'm just not educated enough to figure that one out.
The Land of the Bland -- Renterville - 10/20/11 12:02 PM
Did you ever notice that the place you're renting is kind of bland? The walls are all the same color. The place next door is distinguished from yours by a different number and little else. The only personalization of the place is that your name is on the mailbox. Have you ever waked in the morning, looked around, and forgotten that you're no longer in a college dorm? You're in the Land of the Bland, and the only way out is to make a decision for your individuality. The reason for the blandness is simple. Your living space has to be (3 comments)
Housing starts up 15% in September -- Good news? - 10/19/11 10:09 AM
Housing start data was released a little over an hour ago, and September was up 15% to the highest level in seventeen months. A fair number of the starts were multi-family construction, facilitating America's conversion to being a nation of renters. This is probably good news for builders, and they certainly could use some good news. It is, however, mixed news for homeowners who would benefit from inventory drawdown more than increased construction activity. There is something that just doesn't seem right about the immobility of homeowners today. There are so many folks underwater that they have no traditional way to (3 comments)
Progress report on government efforts to turn the housing market around - 10/18/11 12:34 PM
We have been in a housing depression for a few years now, and our federal government continues to do the most to get us out of here when it does nothing. Unfortunately, government can't leave bad enough alone, and the brain-bound folks on the Potomac have been busy creating nothing but smoke and mirrors. The downturn and resulting foreclosure crisis has been addressed with programs designed, not to help stabilize prices and stop the bleeding, but instead to help banks keep caretakers in the property they will eventually repossess. There are government incentives for loan modifications, often no more than a (4 comments)
If you could invite two people to Dinner? - 10/17/11 05:46 PM
Billi Evans asked this question several months ago and there were some thoughtful responses. I marked it for comment notifications, and just came upon it again today. Anybody care to weigh in with your choice? All comments to Billi's original post please. Via Billi Evans (Murney Associates):
Can you imagine inviting any two people that have ever lived to dinner? Hitler and Ghandi? Adam and Eve? Oprah and Gayle? Jeff Foxworthy and Chris RocK? Any two of the four Beetles? Steinbeck and Hemingway? Janis Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald? Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell? The head of PETA and Michael Vick? (0 comments)
Real Estate -- The "Good Old Days" are over, but so are the "Bad Old Days" - 10/17/11 11:42 AM
The good old days of annual double digit real estate price increases are nothing but a memory. Also gone are the days of annual double digit price drops. Our real estate market has approached the point where there is a hint of stability, with much smaller fluctuations in value. While no predictions can be 100% accurate, all indications are that changes in either direction are more likely than not to continue to be less acute. Unlike the stock market, where volatility is becoming the norm, real estate prices tend to head much more deliberately in one direction or the other, or (1 comments)
REO Homes -- Lack of Clutter Creates Buyer Challenges - 10/16/11 12:40 PM
REO's, real estate owned homes, often referred to as foreclosures are a substantial part of the current listing inventory today. For buyers, there are some differences which make REO property attractive in some ways, unattractive in others. They are often priced competitively from the first day of listing. That makes them easy to identify for a cost-conscious buyer, which describes just about all buyers. It makes it so easy that everybody looking for a home finds a well priced foreclosure quickly. There are often multiple offers for competitively priced homes, and the competition often yields more than asking price. REO property (0 comments)
Dakota County home sales are on track to exceed 2010 totals as well as 2008. According to data supplied by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc., year to date sales of homes are ahead of two of the previous three years, and they also exceed the average sales of the last three years. That average figure is significant because of the uneven sales that resulted from the home buyer tax credits. Although it is unlikely that either the number of annual sales or the prices of homes will return to their pre-downturn levels, it does look like maybe (0 comments)
Walking Away vs. Fading Away - 10/13/11 02:47 PM
A number of my posts have been directed at people who are paying their landlords' mortgages for them. In declaring independence from their landlords, many renters can experience new levels of lifestyle and freedom. Now that it looks like the big drops in real estate prices are behind us, new home owners can feel confident that their lifestyle upgrade can endure for the long term. The tragedy of home ownership is apparent in the half generation of home owners who bought before the beginning of the downturn. There is a huge number of home owners who are underwater but not otherwise (2 comments)
Apple Valley, MN 2011 Vs. 2010 Home Sales Market - 10/13/11 12:52 PM
The Apple Valley 2011 sales environment looks on track to exceed 2010. According to data provided by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Apple Valley, has 537 closed sales so far this year. There are 96 accepted offers awaiting closing, which suggests that, with another two and a half months left, 2011 total units sold should easily exceed the 2010 total sales of 618. There are 283 active home listings which calculates to about five months of inventory. If you have a home to sell, the absorption rate, the calculation of the ratio of homes for sale compared to the (0 comments)
Save Money On Commissions!-Charlottesville, VA 10-10-11 - 10/10/11 02:46 PM
Fulton has related an incident that is all to common among home buyers, especially first time buyers. New construction is the area where an experienced agent representing the buyer can smooth out a lot of bumps in the road, many of which a buyer may not have even noticed. The job of the builder's agent is to get as much out of the buyer as possible for the agent's employer. Builders' agents would like you to believe that the only negotiation allowed is the color of the walls, if that. You will not get a better deal if the commission that (2 comments)
Rice County Market Update - 10/10/11 02:18 PM
According to data provided by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Rice County has 387 active home listings with 566 closed sales so far this year. There are 85 accepted offers awaiting closing, which suggests that, with another two and a half months left, 2011 could be a fairly good year. Total homes sold should easily exceed the 2010 total of 642. Like much of the rest of the country over the last few years, Rice County has experienced a decrease in number of homes sold. The steep price drops over that period seem to have slowed. Although there is (3 comments)
Northfield YTD Home Sales Exceed All of 2010 - 10/10/11 01:51 PM
For 2011, Northfield sold home totals have already exceeded homes sold for all of 2010. According to data provided by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc., there were 198 homes sold in 2010, and the year to date sales are 203. With another 23 sales under contract pending final closing, and two and a half months before the end of the year, it's possible that this could be the best year in the last five in terms of total units sold. It's good to see signs of increased home buying activity in Northfield, and it should encourage folks (0 comments)
AFL-CIO wants me to participate in an Occupy Wall Street disturbance - 10/10/11 12:12 PM
Since I have a previous experience with mandatory union membership, my name is on their email list. Today's email was disturbing. The AFL-CIO has no business fanning the flames of class warfare -- that's the President's job. The union leadership still thinks it's the 1930's. Their definition of fair is making someone else pay for the spending that they often encouraged. That's not a huge surprise, given that the average union official has a substantially higher income than the working people who pay their salaries. So, if someone else pays the union officials above-scale wages, shouldn't someone else pay for (0 comments)
Dealing with the fears of fence sitting first time buyers - 10/09/11 12:43 PM
People who claim to be home buyers are sometimes not really sold on the idea of leaving the Land of the Bland, the world of temporary housing, the rental world. At some point in their journey to a better lifestyle, they are slapped by the harsh reality that they are contemplating making the biggest financial commitment in their lives. Or, are they??? Many of my first time buying clients are limited in their buying power by their previous and ongoing commitments. The first time buying couple typically have two late model car or truck loans to pay. The original amount of (3 comments)
Why are landlords so demanding? - 10/09/11 09:28 AM
If you're a renter, there's a good chance that you have given some thought to owning your own place. There's also a good chance that part of the reason for wanting to own your own home is the conduct of your landlord. He will not let you do hardly anything to personalize your home, he won't let you have a dog, he won't let you park your boat in the driveway, and he gets really upset when you're a couple days late with the rent payment. You're paying your landlord's mortgage, and he is making a profit renting to you. Why (6 comments)
If home ownership is so great, why are so many people losing their homes? - 10/07/11 10:13 AM
Even in times when home values are increasing, people have life-changing events that cause them to have to sell their homes. Today, many homeowners have owned their homes for a while and have borrowed against the home's value to pay other bills or to make large purchases. Many others bought their homes near the top of the market, and they are simply not worth what they owe. The problem arises when someone has to sell their home today. Job loss, illness, divorce, or death of one of the income producers all are reasons people can no longer afford to keep their (4 comments)
Thoughts on Steve Jobs from a Young PC-Loving CEO - 10/06/11 11:50 AM
There are, as Niki says, many memorials written in testimonial to the life of Steve Jobs. I have tried to write one myself, but it keeps coming out like boring, trite, more-of-the-same, and that is so much the opposite of the man who changed the world of business and technology. Via Nikesh Parekh (ActiveRain): Thoughts on Steve Jobs from a Young PC-Loving CEO The world is filled with memorials to Steve Jobs tonight. I am not a Mac user, though I love my iPhone and there are probably 10 Apple devices in our house now. I am not an Apple fanatic, like (1 comments)
Is now the right time to graduate from renting to owning? - 10/06/11 10:14 AM
There are two broad groups of renters. There are those who are trying to figure out how they're going to come up with the next month's rent payment, and there are those who are trying to figure out why they are still making a rent payment. The first group have problems that real estate professionals may not be able to address. This post is for the benefit of the second group. You are making a monthly payment that will be consumed just in time for the next monthly payment. You probably recognize the potential uptick in your lifestyle if you (3 comments)
The most qualified authority to determine your housing needs? - 10/05/11 02:29 PM
There are some self-proclaimed experts on housing, most falling into two groups. First, the journalism majors who just read everything they could find in Wikipedia on real estate, or at least all they could find in twenty minutes. Housing is a trendy topic, and the journalists always strive for popularity. You definitely know more about yourself and what will best improve your future lifestyle than that journalism major armed with twenty minutes of generic research. The amount of time they have resided outside their parents' home or a college dorm can often be measured in weeks or months, not years or (1 comments)
Tee Party reinvents the definition of "Shared" - 10/05/11 12:43 PM
Marketwatch reported this morning that NY Senator Schumer, member of the TEE (tax everyone else) Party, sometimes called the Democratic Party, wants to create a new 5% surtax on millionaires. The report says that his statement was that these hard economic times call for Shared Sacrifice. I always thought sharing was more inclusive than that. If almost half the population is paying nothing in income tax, shared sacrifice may better serve America with everyone's participation. What seems strange is that the funds raised would be used to fund the jobs bill. So, we want to encourage the creation of more jobs (0 comments)
Landlord Appreciation Day - 10/04/11 05:37 PM
There's only one Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Valentines Day, Grandparents Day, Administrative Professional's Day, etc. each year. In the case of grandparents, they often share their day with up to three others. Great grandparents don't get their own day, so they have to share Grandparents Day which is already a little overcrowded. The one person who is honored, not once yearly, but a dozen times each year, is your landlord. The first of each month is Landlord's Day, or Landlord Appreciation Day if you choose to call it that. He doesn't get anything from Hallmark, but he always receives a nice (2 comments)
Apple Valley 2011 Market Data - 10/03/11 11:53 AM
Apple Valley market activity for the first three quarters of 2011 is similar to Dakota County tabulations. According to data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc., There are 287 active residential real estate listings in Apple Valley with 515 closed sales, year to date. Inventory is just over five months and a little lower than the overall Dakota County inventory which is closer to six months. The percentage of distressed property listings and sales are similar to the overall county numbers. 36% of the active listings are disclosed as distressed (either lender owned or potential short sales), and (0 comments)
Dakota County Market Summary For First Three Quarters 2011 - 10/03/11 11:22 AM
The first three quarters of 2011 have passed, and Dakota County real estate results are in. According to data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc., There are 2315 active residential real estate listings in the county with 3721 closed sales so far this year. That would calculate to a little under six months current inventory. 44% of the closed sales were disclosed to be distressed property, either lender owned or short sales. The fact that over half of the sales were not distressed property should encourage homeowners who are considering trading for another residence. Priced right, a non-distressed (0 comments)
Attention Homeowners Who Want To Move Up - 10/02/11 12:52 PM
There are probably millions of homeowners who are living in a home that does not fit them. They made a reasonable down payment when they bought their homes several years ago, and they have made all their payments on time. The result of the housing crash has left them with a home that is worth less than they now owe, and that makes it difficult to buy a new home. Payoff of the current mortgage plus a downpayment on a new home plus selling and moving expenses equals a hurdle just too high to make a switch. If this description fits (7 comments)
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