Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Home Is A Lousy Investment - could it be that I agree?

There is no disputing Robert Bridges article in the Wall Street Journal is a must read and quite informative.  

Let's expand a bit on some of the concepts and thoughts.  Do we understand there are two totally different processes for buying a home compared to buying property?  When will our yearning for a national real estate index wane and thus Mr. Bridges wish in the final paragraph can begin to come to fruition.  

We need to understand there are real estate investors buying "properties" for a profit and that we are buying "homes" for a future.  The fact this article has to be written speaks to how far things swelled up in the early part of the century.  Real estate investments can be compared to the major indices (think REITS, real estate partnerships, etc); homes cannot and should not be.  That is not the primary reason for them.  You buy a home to build a foundation for you and your family, to squelch your desire to meet new friends and share good times, to make a difference in a local community, and of course to feed your hoarding addiction.  

We are constantly trying to find the index or indices that reflect the appreciation and investment return on our homes from a national perspective.  The problem is, the value of a home is inherently tied to the community in which its concrete is poured.  A home is anything but a national statistic. 

Take for example a local community dependent on tourism or a community dependent on one particular industry?  The idea that we can examine the real estate market nationally lies at the root of the issue of us considering it as a financial investment worthy of being compared to the equity markets.  

Take two towns 90 miles apart from each other.  We'd all agree in today's world, 90 miles is a lot of people's daily commute.  Price a home in New York City and price a home in Philadelphia and you'll see property values 5X's greater in New York City.  That's right 4 bedrooms in Philly $500,000, 4 bedrooms in New York City a cool $3 mil.  That's comparing two major cities just 90 miles from each other.  Now try comparing the local economy of a Santa Barbara, CA to the local economy of a Pittsburgh, PA.  

The point being, there is no magical national index for us to look at and review.  The homes that create the market create the very communities, neighborhoods, and block parties that we are in search of when searching for our perfect nest egg.  Buying a home is a contact sport.  Get out there, get local, and talk to the local experts.  That's how you buy a home and build the foundation for your wealth.  Not by researching graphs, earnings per share, book value, and by simply clicking "confirm trade".

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Innovative RE/MAX Technology Delivers - remax.com Connects Over 10 Million Customers to Agents
An overwhelming majority of families start their home search online and they find what they’re looking for on www.remax.com, the number one real estate franchise website. With advanced search properties and complete home listings in thousands of cities and towns, the site also connects homebuyers and sellers with award-winning and experienced RE/MAX agents through the RE/MAX LeadStreet® system. To date, remax.com and Leadstreet have provided more than 10 million unique leads for RE/MAX Associates across the country. And, those agents have helped millions of families buy and sell homes.

“The success of LeadStreet and remax.com is proof of our dedication to customer service and our dedication to our agents,” said Kristi Graning, RE/MAX Senior Vice President of eBusiness and Emerging Technologies. “The fact that RE/MAX agents have received more than 10 million leads, without the referral fee that our competitors typically charge, has brought more experienced real estate professionals to our network. And, those professionals make their customers a priority.”

LeadStreet debuted in 2006 and has sent out an average of 2 million leads a year to RE/MAX agents via email, which means they can receive leads on any computer or mobile device and get back to the customer within minutes.

“Staying on the cutting edge of technology is extremely important. Homebuyers and sellers today expect a quick response and they deserve one,” said Graning. “The combination of LeadStreet and remax.com has helped our agents become the most productive sales force in the industry.”

Two recent respected national surveys show RE/MAX agents continue to outperform their competitors, selling more homes, assisting more families, and leading all other national real estate companies in sales performance.

In the REAL Trends 500 survey, the average RE/MAX agent achieved 14.5 Transaction Sides in 2010, compared with the 6.8 average of all others in the survey. In the 2011 RISMedia Power Broker Report, RE/MAX agents averaged an impressive 14.7 transaction sides, outselling many competitors by more than two-to-one.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our customer service is the foundation of our culture! How are we doing thus far?

Richard was an amazing agent. He was always available (he even called us while on his vacation) and did a great job explaining complicated manners to us in terms we could understand. Being first time home buyers is obviously an extremely nerve racking concept, but with an agent like Richard I felt as though we had someone with vast knowledge who was both willing and able to guide us. Agent: Richard Strahm

Valerie Carlisle is a superhero. From the beginning of the process, Jon and I both knew that she was the perfect agent for us: kind, patient, great personality, and extremely knowledgeable about the homebuying process. She never led us astray, always made us feel comfortable and informed, and I would recommend her to any of my friends or family looking to buy a home in the Philly area. Agent: Val Carlisle

Our experience with our realtor was exceptional and we knew, as he did, our house would not sell quickly. So, patience was a virtue at that time. Agent: Bob Abbott

Scott was helpful answering questions and providing information after the sale as well as before and we appreciate that. Agent: Scott Loper