Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My First Post

What do I say? This blog is supposed to be about real estate in general and home/building inspections in specific. Like the show “Car Talk” on NPR radio (Saturday @10am here in Atlanta, I love those two wops on the show. I can say wops because I am one so don’t go all pc on me) which goes off topic all the time, I expect I will do that also.

I will make this first post short. It will be on topic. Having performed over 3000 inspections over a 14 year period, I think I am qualified to talk about real estate and inspections.

I can also talk about the real estate bust, what it has done and what it means as well as any other pundit out there, many of whom have never been in real estate but went to school for journalism, which should be changed to “sensationalism”, which all today’s media seems to do.

So I will talk about the bust. For some people, it just was something that happened to others. For many of you it means you have a home worth less than you owe on it, and for some of you that difference is more than a year’s gross salary or even two years!

For those of us who get their daily bread from real estate sales, this was a disaster. Many of my personal friends and business acquaintances have gone bankrupt, lost homes, lost their savings and all of the net worth. On top of that their income is way down.

I too lost my rear in the downturn. Unlike some, I am not doing things the way I always did. I used to market to realtors for business referrals. Now I am also marketing directly to buyers. In the future, selling agents will be more like transaction expediters. Listing agents (who post the real estate to the Internet) will have more clout. A realtor told me this a few years ago, and I thought he was wrong, but now I see what he meant.

Most buyers know all they need to know about the homes they are looking at, the schools and the neighborhood, from the internet. So now I am going online with this blog, a new webpage and soon a Facebook business page.

For you the potential buyer, what can you gain from this real estate meltdown?

You can get a home cheaper today (in real dollars) than you could have for 6 or 7 years. If you are a first time buyer, this means you can get a home priced like they were when you were in high school.

What should you watch out for?

Stay away from so called “upcoming” neighborhoods. Gentrification of these neighborhoods is driven by investors, who take a risk and go in first and renovate and sell to you, the end buyer. Investors cannot easily get loans anymore for these ventures, and if they can, they are more nervous about being stuck holding it too long. So they are sticking to safer, less risky ventures/neighborhoods.

So the hood, is likely to be the hood for some time. So unless you want to buy in a neighborhood that is a bit unsafe, and may not “Gentrify” for many years be careful.

These neighborhoods tend to have more vacant foreclosures (read that as potential crack houses) so resale prices may stay low for the foreseeable future. Some will say; A dump at half off is not such a dump. True, but from an investor view point; half off on house I can’t sell later is half off of on a losing proposition.

Look for low priced homes in good neighborhood. You can never do wrong on the lowest price home in the best neighborhood.

All foreclosures are as is; so get a good inspector!


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