Gordon Gekko Rises Again

Gekko Would LOVE 2008

Gekko Would LOVE 2008

The Stock Market CRASH of September 29, 2008. Gordon Gekko would be in his finest hour. Money is being lost……………… and made on Wallstreet. Funny how when the real estate market has been sucking air, Wallstreet was packaging all the bad mortgages and selling them off. It took a few years, but now everyone has their pants around their ankles.

Now Wallstreet wants the common American tax payer to “bail the out” of this jam. Everyone is pointing fingers. Obama is blaming McCain and McCain is blaming Obama. I ran across an interesting video clip today that helped me see through this mess. See it here :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

In 2004, it was brought to the attention of our congressional leaders and you can see the reaction in the video. In 2005, if I had walked into one of those Wallstreet Banks, they would have called security and had me removed from the building! When everyday Joe got into trouble with a mortgage they no longer could afford, Wallstreet could give a hoot! GREED as Gordon Gekko used to say! It won Michael Douglass and Academy Award, but in 2008 it is for real.

I’m certainly not an expert in what is going on. I certainly have had and like most of America am having a rough time with the real estate market. But what I do know is that those big banks went into this mess thinking they were going to make a killing. They wanted those restrictions lifted so they could loan more and more money. GREED. Now they lost money and need to be bailed out! What about the everyday American. How is this going to trickle down and help Average Joe?

I do know that banks are not lending! That is causing a real estate (and an everything) meltdown. But I will bet you this: WHEN those lenders get bailed out by the government / U.S. Tax payer, they will not be quick to loan money again. Why? GREED. The fix only works if money is bled back out into the streets. If Wallstreet is not willing to loan money on Main street, the bailout will fail. Gordon Gekko would have made a killing!

Putting It All Into Perspective

Picture from Pewter Report

Picture from Pewter Report

As I watched Matt Bryant kick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory yesterday against the Green Bay Packers, it put life into perspective for me. The man lost his son. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. As I watched the game, Matt did not look like he was there. Like Brett Farve a few years ago on Monday Night Football, Matt was rolling aces, nailing the victory for the Bucs. I don’t think he was really there. Instinct on the field is what made those kicks automatic.

The stock market crashes, the Senate did not pass the bailout plan today, the housing crisis is ongoing. Matt and Melissa Bryant don’t really care. When you lose a child, it puts it, money, into perspective. The market will be back, the Bryant family will never be the same.

May GOD bless the Bryant family and help them through this difficult time.

Suddenly, the market crash is not such a big deal. I will hug my kids extra hard and extra long tonight and thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that I have this day with them!

Kids And Moving

They tell me that next to divorce and death, that buying and selling a home can be one of the most stressful things we can do in our life! When moving, it is always difficult to leave family and friends behind. Sometimes it simply must be done…..its’ life. Career changes, promotions, lateral moves to a different city or state (Tampa Florida is great but the way). We as adults can take it in stride! The Internet has made it a little easier, text messages, picture messages, the modern era of communication! Recently, my stepson Todd, a lifetime resident of Tampa moved cross country to Montana! I hardly know he is gone as he can communicate with his mother daily!

Kids & Moving.  I can kill this entire “easy move”scenario here and I’m about to be Mr. Joykill in one simple word. TEENAGER. Oh the drama! Although we as adults can recognize “puppy love” and all things drama, it is as real as real can be to those teenagers who have established “clicks” and worked hard to gain the acceptance of others at school and in social circles. To move to a strange town and start from scratch is definitely more traumatic for them than the parent. To the parent, it is a positive move in a better direction (90% of the time) to the teenager, it is the opposite (10%).

So how can you make the transition as smooth as possible? I see couples moving to Tampa and they don’t bring the kids when they come to town to search for homes, excluding the kids from this important decision making process! Then, when I stop by after closing, I can usually see the disgust in the teenagers as the trucks are unloading! The biggest mistake you can make when moving is not making the kids part of the decision making process when selecting a home. They get an opportunity to get familiar with the area, meet a few kids their own age if they are lucky and maybe, just maybe, become a little less resentful and a bit more accepting of such a move. By making them part of the process, it softens the blow and makes it more of a family move as opposed to Dad and Mom ramming it down their throats.

Be sympathetic to them. Don’t dismiss their heartache! Remember what it was like for us? Can you imagine being relocated to another city at 15 or 16 years old? The trauma is real. By allowing them to participate in the process, they will be better understanding to your situation as well. Don’t forget to remind them that you also have to leave friends and loved ones behind! Remember, you are all in this together and if handled correctly, your family will grow closer together as a result of the move.

Florida Voting Machines!

Florida At It's Best!

Florida At It

I voted in the preliminary election in Tampa a few weeks ago! WHAT A STEP BACKWARD! We had the BEST, easy to understand machines I had ever seen! Hanging chads were a thing of the past! Slide your card in, touch the screen, a confirmation of your vote appears, touch the confirm button and you are done!

That WAS 2007.

In 2008, Florida is back in the stone age! Come to find out, those new, state of the art voting machines are now in use at our Florida landfills! What we have now is the old “fill in the bubble with a #2 pencil” gig going again! WOW, I feel like I’m taking the final highschool exam at Chamberlain High, circa 1981.

WHY you ask did Florida ditch the new machine? Simple they tell me. With all of the computer electronics, they were afraid somebody could tamper with the results! I started thinking about it. I noticed AFTER I vote, I slide my “1981 card” into a slot……. a computer slot! The COMPUTER calculates the vote from that polling station and they take the cards to ANOTHER machine at the tally all of the polling station for the final vote!

I want a recount on who voted to eliminate the new machine and go back to the caveman days! The GEICO Caveman is rejoicing. I am not. Shame on Florida for allowing a few politicians intimidate you into wasting MILLIONS of tax dollars on this project.

What is Right With Tampa

Tampa Skyline

Tampa Skyline

With all of the negative publicity surrounding real estate these days, with the government “takeover” of FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC, with record foreclosures in Florida added to skyrocketing homeowners insurance rates and unpredictable gas prices, and with frequent hurricanes (Hurricane Ike is about to hit Florida so hard that they may re-name the state Tina Turner) what is there to like about Florida? Who would want to invest in Florida or Tampa Bay?

With all of the negatives, there is one really good reason to invest in Florida real estate. MONEY. The overall population of Florida is expected to double by 2030. Although builders over extended themselves with all the armature investors on 2005, even those investors who held on to bad investments will soon reap the rewards of their patience! A few things to remember about Florida: There is NO STATE INCOME TAX! That alone offsets most of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph on this blog! No snow! We are the Sunshine State! I’m at the beach the week before Christmas getting a tan while the rest of the country is shoveling snow! The Arts, the nightlife, the diversification of life and lifestyles! Not to mention The Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), The Tampa Bay Rays (MLB). The Super Bowl will again be in Tampa in February of 2009!

I was watching my favorite show last week (The Million Dollar Listing on BRAVO Network) and my friend Chad Rogers (who is the star of the show, a Realtor reality show) was showing property in Malibu and Beverly Hills. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Talk about sticker shock! In Tampa, you can buy a brand new home in The Reserve of Old Tampa Bay (some of the best real estate in Tampa) for less than $1,200,000! I’m talking a 4000 square foot home on the water! Get in your boat and drive to Nassau water! That home anywhere in LA would bring $20,000,000. There are no $20,000,000 houses in Tampa and any agent who disagrees is talking EGO, not reality!

The fact that you can purchase a quality home in Tampa for $300,000 that has 3500 square feet, five bedrooms and three to four baths with a pool and a three car garage in a SAFE, great location (neighborhood) with some of the best schools anywhere in the USA (with a pool) is unheard of! In Tampa it is abundant! Yes it was over developed in 2005 and 2006, but the people are still coming, the jobs are still coming, there will be a time in 2010 where investors will say about Florida, “Could have, should have”. And here we are! To find out more about Florida and Tampa real estate, visit my website at www.headofrealestate.com

Free Ways To Increase The Value of Your Home

I was showing property this weekend to an investor from New York. As we went from house to house, I was stunned at how poorly some of those houses showed! Do agents communicate with their clients anymore? After listing your home, the Realtor you hired should walk you through the entire house and call out issues that hinder buyers from making offers on your home. And Agents wonder why the failure rate of new agents is over 80%.

Here are a few tips for getting TOP DOLLAR for your home when listing:

Clean everything in sight! PAINT  A N Y T H I N G  that needs to be painted! Clean the carpet, wax the floors, wash windows! Clean your closet! Pack any unnecessary items in boxes and store them in another house or storage unit! Thin out your furniture. De-clutter the house so it shows bigger and flows smoothly. CLEAR YOUR KITCHEN AND BATHROOM COUNTER TOPS. Store those things underneath the cabinets so the home shows cleaner and more open. Take EVERYTHING off your refrigerator (talking exterior and top as well). Open blinds and turn on lights when showing.

Also, I recommend getting a home inspection before you list. This will help you avoid surprises after you are locked into a legal Sales Contract that requires you make those repairs with a General Contractor (Florida). By knowing about those defects prior to listing, you can fix them yourself or with your own reputable handyman, saving yourself time and money later on.

Clean the house! Some of the houses I showed this weekend were filthy! A clean looking and SMELLING home is much more appealing to Buyers. If it is hot outside, turn the A/C down so it is refreshing to walk into. Nothing is worse than it being ninety-seven degrees outside and walking into an oven! A nice cool home will make the buyer stay longer and take a better look! Try to make your home show well. It takes EFFORT, but the rewards of selling your home in this market far outweigh the alternatives…… your home not selling! Now get to work!

Labor Day time to review

Another Labor Day is here! In 2005, it signaled the end of the boom, the bubble popping, the nail hitting the tire or whatever you want to call it. The slowdown began. By March of 2006, two more tires were flat and by Labor Day 2006, just one year after the boom, the tires were off the car! 2006 to 2007 was more of the same! I believe Labor Day 2008 could be the beginning of the recovery!

The one big difference between the last few years and today is one simple fact. Houses are selling! Record foreclosures, “short sales” galore. The banks are being stingy with the money, nobody will loan money to home buyers…………………………… yet houses are still selling.

Much of the sales activity is investor related. That should sound the alarm bells for America. TRUE INVESTORS ARE NOW BUYING! I remember in 2005, when the amateurs were overnight real estate investors, everyone followed the armature! Just like the “Day Traders” of the stock market a few years ago. Everyone was a player in the stock market. Then the bottom fell out. Who became wealthy? Those true investors who were there to pick up the pieces!

Who will become wealthy in 2009, 2010 and 2011? Those buying the deals today! Why not? You can buy at or below 10% less than today’s market value as added insulation to your investment! STILL, there is a great supply and demand differential. Inventory is still high. There is still time to right your bad investments from 2005 and 2006! Jump on the real estate train today and ride out what has become our national nightmare! Ten years from now, real estate values will be double what they are today!

If you are not getting the message, here it is again: BUYERS, THIS IS YOUR MARKET!