Blog :: 03-2008

Mortgage Payment Problems?

If you or someone you care about are caught in the midst of having a difficult time making your mortgage payment like thousands of other Americans and need help, give me call. I specialize in helping people save thousands of dollars by not letting the bank take complete control of your destiny. I can help get your home sold before it is too late and bankruptcy becomes the only alternative. I am discreet, direct and will work hard to help you out during one of the most difficult financial times that one can experience.If you feel like many others, that you could use some help in the financial and legal maze that you are in, give me a call. I can potentially save you thousands of $$$$.Remember waiting for a miracle will not solve the problem. I specialize in finding a solution for hard working Vermonters who are just having some current bad luck.Call me today and Ill work hard to fix this situation

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    Economist Promotes Optimism

    Therewas a conference this past week in Cambridge Massachusetts and the National Association of Realtors had Economist Yun Lay speak about the real estate conditions in New England. Interestingly enough, he supported what I have been saying for quite some time. The real estate market is not as bad as the media is making it out to be on a local level. Certainly there are pockets in all states that are feeling the pinch worse than others, but the fact remains that it doesn't encompass all areas in a state. In his presentation according to Robert Hill the executive Director for the Vermont Association of Realtors, Yun pointed out a number of favorable economic trends and showed that Vermont was doing much better than most of our region. The reality is that the doom and gloom approach is always more interesting for the media and typically sells more newspapers. Well I am not buying it, and we will choose to not participate in that way of thinking. "Buyer pessimism is self-fulfilling" was Yun's theme and we are much more optimistic than that.

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      Buyers and Sellers Value Good Agents

      In a recent study done by the National Association of Realtors, 79 percent of home buyers and sellers have used a real estate professional up from 77 percent over the last 3 years. Although the market has taken a turn for the worse in a number of areas, apparently not the attitudes of those people involved in the real estate transaction about using the services of a Realtor. Additionally, according to the 2007 study, 9 out of 10 buyers said they were very satisfied with their agent's knowledge of the sales process. In fact 90% of the buyers said they would use the services of their agent again or recommend them for others to use. In a market that has certainly become challenging, agents are rising to the occasion and proving that it is more than just putting a sign on the lawn and an ad in the paper. The real estate process is involved, with many different parties participating,with deadlines needing to be met,inspections to be done, appraisals to be coordinated, financing to be obtainedand negotiations to close; to name a few parts of the transaction. Realtors are required tomeet a standardof education and to renew those credits continually. The good agents go above and beyond the requirements, to stay ahead of the ever changing market so they can provide a great service to their customers and clients. In today's world, good agents are truly appreciated.

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        Retiring Wealthy or Not

        I read a number of books and magazines on personal finance and investing and found one common denominator. Those people who are willing to sacrifice in the short term for thelong term benefits, typically are the ones who have enough saved when it comes time to retire. There are so many people who feel that they can't go without the new car, the flat screen tv, the bigexotic vacation and all the other things that have no appreciable value. Because of this, according to Money magazine 45% of Baby Boomers have saved less than $50,000 for retirement.A majority of the boomers splurge any time they feellike they need ordeserve something. I found over the years, that the secret to build wealth is to live below your means, invest in appreciable assets and let time take care of the rest. If you can sacrifice now, you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you need help with your real estate investing, let me know. I can help determine where you should invest and where you shouldn't.

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          Spring Anyone?

          Okay, here we are for all intensive purposes putting a wrap on March and it is still quite cold going outside. The temperatures hovering around 22 degrees and is predicted to rise maybe in a few days to the 30's. Hallalujeh a movement in the right direction. I think I have talked to at least 8 people in the last week that have mentioned how sick and tired everyone is of the cold. Yes winters are long, but come on, we often have hit 50 degrees a couple of times in the past just to tease us a bit. Cabin fever I think is real, I can't remember a time when I wanted spring to be here so bad. I knew I shouldn't have gone to Florida to get a taste of what it's like elsewhere. For crying out loud it was in the 50's last week in New Jersey. New Jersey!! Oh well,I guess it's mother nature's gift to those inhabitants, because it is New Jersey. By the way, nothing personal to all my friends and family that live there. I'm just venting.

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            Go Cats Go

            We live in a great area with a number of collegeslocated in our community. This weekend is a big weekend for the University of Vermont and their hockey and girls basketball teams. Both are in the playoffs with the hockey team in the final four of the Big East tournament and the girls in the National Invitational tournament where they just defeated Dartmouth last night.They now will advance to the next round. It is an exciting time for the College and our community. We live a small area and sports are extremely important to us. With that said, we support our local sports teams enthusiastically. What a thrill it has been over the last few years to see first the incredible success the girls program had and then the mens team when they beat Syracuse in the NCAA tournament. It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament. Yes we get worked up about it, and enjoy every minute of it, at least I do.I played numerous sports growing up and whenI attended St. Michael's College I played soccer. For the last ten years, I have coached baseball so you can see, athletics are an integral part of who I am. With that said, this is a going to hopefully be a great weekend for the Catamounts and all I've got to say is, Go Cats Go.

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              Electronic Lock Boxes

              About 6 months ago our multiple listing service switched to electronic lockboxes to access listings. It has been an interesting transition incorporating more technology into our businessesand one I think that enhanced the security of our business and communication. By having an electronic code to use that is registered and then sent to the listing agents, we are able to see who has shown the property by receiving automatic e-mails updating us each time the property has been shown. We then can givefeedback as well to our homeowners that have been given to us via the system. Additionally, for vacant homes we can now keep track of who has used the key and when. It is a system that requires a bit more to remember in using the technology, but one that has improved our service to our clients.

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                Mamma's Boy

                Have you ever wondered how you became your parents? If you have children you know what I am referring to. Recently my two kids were arguing and out of my mouth without a split second warning I said,"I hope when you are older that you have kids just likeyou ". I'm not quite sure the sense that statement really makes or the real impact or lack thereof it had on their behavior, but it was the best I could muster up at that moment. It wasn't something that I came up on my own, no I had heard it before, when I was a boy from my mother. Have you ever stopped to think about how much you are like your parents and how your parenting style is sometimes influenced by your childhood? I remember as a teenager thinking I know I'll never say that to my kids, or I'll never make my kids do something they didn't want to do. Well, needless to say, there are times when I do things or say things that my mother used to "just because that's the way it is." By the way, that's another saying I used to hear, along with if my son or daughter says something is not fair, then my response is "Life's not fair". That too borrowed from my mother. Anyways, as I get older and hopefully wiser, there are times that we remember our past as we influence the present with our children. Sometimesit makesme chuckle.And in time, they too willdo the same. I guess 'it's just part of growing up", and that too has been passed along as well.

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                  Why Wouldn't You Buy Now?

                  I went to a seminar last week and received some interesting information about people's buying habits that seem to be right on targetat the moment.Just a few years ago we had a lack of inventory, housing prices were at an all time high, and it was a seller's market. With that said, people were looking at very few homes and deciding to make offers on these homes in a matter of minutes and quite often for more than the asking price. Interest rates were about the same back then as they are now. In today's market, we have a surplus of homes, interest rates are still around the 6% mark and it is abuyer's market. But, people are sitting on the sidelines to wait and see what happens. So some of the questions I have is, are there too many choices for buyers? Are the buyers waiting for interest rates to go up? Are the buyers waiting for their choices to disappear? Are the buyers waiting to pay more than the listed property's price again? Is it just too much of a good thing and that is why buyers are missing a great opportunity? These are all questions that eventually will be answered, but for now if I were a buyer Iwould stillask myself, why wouldn't I buy now, when everything is in my favor?

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                    Ice storm

                    I find that we seem to focus on the weather an awful lot. An explanation for that could be that we have a saying here, if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes. Also, it could bethefact that we do have 4 very distinct seasons and transitioning from one to the next is sometimes to say the least interesting. This past weekend we had a wild storm blow in that brought a driving freezing rain that left much of our area without power and lots of icy roads and sidewalks. Once the freezing rain hit, the temperature dropped making everything solid ice. The roads were treacherous and all the tree branches were encapsulated with about 1/2 inch thick ice. It was quite beautiful, but it caused many trees to bend and eventually come crashing down into power lines, thus causing the power outages. It was so strange that in some areas you could glide on top of the snow, because it had been turned to ice. I can't say that I have seen it this way in a long long time. Back in 1998 we had a similar storm which caused tremendous damage, so we are thankful that it was not that bad. Anyways, the extended forecast is for the temperatures to rise to the mid 30's by Wednesday. That will be a welcome sight, because for now it is that stupid kind of cold where you try to run to, and in our case, skate to our cars in the parking lot to go show property.

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                      The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner

                      I am in the process of reading another great book by David Bach with the above title. He really reinforces the advantages of owning verses renting in his books which makes complete sense. Landlords get their mortgage payments paid by tenants which helps them create wealth, while tenants don't accumulate any equity in property while they are paying rent. Landlords can be getting wealthier as tenants become poorer. In his book he provides information from the US Census Bureau that shows that the median price of homes increased from 1981 from around $60,000 to $246,500 in 2006. Think about that number alone. Over time, homes will typically appreciate as your mortgage is being reduced increasing the homeowners net worth. Yes there is no time like the present to purchase a home. Interest rates are great and so is the supply of homes. If you haven't purchased your first home yet, now is the time to start building some wealth.

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                        The Future is Bright

                        Having justgone toconvention, I realize that our market is not as bad as a number of areas across the country. For example, we are much better off than most parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts,Nevada and Pennsylvania just to name a few. In fact, based on our projections for closings, in March we will be up 76% from last year. That is huge !! We are definately feeling and seeing more activity in the market place. If you are trying to time the market, you shouldn't wait any longer. Interest rates are still incredible and we don't have massive construction going on in our area to over-saturate the market with listings. If you are looking to make a move, now is a great time.

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                          Fashion Model, Say What ?

                          An interesting thing happened to me at our annual convention this past week. I was asked to model the new gold jacket designed by Geoffrey Beane for Century 21. On a lark I said yes, thinking there would probably be 20 to 30 people standing on stage and I could get lost in the shuffle. They enticed me with the fact that I could keep the gold coat, so I said yes. They also had a famous fashion designer there to help with the process named Philip Bloch so I said why not. According to my wife, I could use all the help that I can get. Normally I like to fly below the radar for these types of things. Especially considering the fact that I would be in front of 5000 to 8000 people. Anyways, we went through about 5 hours of changing clothes and trying things on in preparing which wasalotlonger than I had anticipated for such an event. That night I checked my new pants that we had purchased for the show and found out that they still had the security tag on them. The store where we had purchased them fromwasalready closed and it did not open until 10:00 am the next day. Wewere scheduled to meet at 9:45 am to get organizedbefore our 11:30presentation. Long story short, Century 21 sent someone back to the store to wait for it to open and drive back the twenty minutes to get mypants back to me on time. I got my pants and strutted down the cat walkfor my 60 seconds of imagined fame. It was nerve wracking and exciting at the same time, but most of all it was something that I will never forget. Because the show must always go on.

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                            Back From Convention

                            I just arrived back from sunny Orlando two nights ago to freezing rain and cold. Oh yes, there is no question I am back home with more than likely another one and half months of winter left, if we are lucky. The convention was awesome. I networked with many successful business owners and agents and had the opportunity to exchange many ideas. The convention is always inspirational, educational and motivational. I feel that we can always learn something everyday if we just open our minds to the possibilities. This year the convention focused on getting back to basics and increasing our brand awareness that the power of the gold holds in the market place. With that, Century 21 will be promoting new commercials emphasizing the technology that backs our service to our customers. Additionally in some areas you will see a new color scheme that is being promoted in warmer climates by using a white background against the black and gold letteringfor ouryard signs. This should help them stand out even more to catch the attention of the consumer. Additionally a new line of clothing has been approved which will add to theprofessional attire forour agents. All in all, it was a wonderful trip but I am glad I am back home.

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                              keep your Legislator honest

                              Currently the Legislature is in session which is an important time for the general public and Realtors to pay attention to some of the bills that are being proposed. Some of the items that are being discussed can truly be detrimental to the affordable housing crisis that we have in our area. For example their is a water buffer bill for new construction homes being proposed that would for all intensive purposes shut down any future single family building because of its' restrictions. There is another bill being proposed that would create a statewide rental registry for apartment owners, which when really thoroughly thought about would be the beginning of a new system to charge more fees. The fees would ultimately be passed on to the tenant creating an even more difficult situation to afford housing expenses. It is important to be in touch with what's going on in Montpelier right now and if you don't agree with some of the proposals, let your legislator know. Take advantage of your rights and help us make Vermont, a more affordable place to live.

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