Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Real Estate - What Is It To Me?

This is a great business. There is nothing really simple with buying and selling real estate because of all of the complexities involved in what many of us may feel is a simple transaction.

The rewards that we acquire are bringing all of these individual facets together successfully for all of those involved. To me that is the rush that I get out of my vocation.

Are there some aspects of real estate sales that I am not wholly in love with - absolutely. Are there some tasks that I'd rather not do, or at least to a lesser extent than others - for sure. But as with anything else it is the total package.

It's what we bring to the business of real estate that will determine where we are going and how we will get there. For some, it may just happen. But there isn't enough longevity to that - waiting for things to just happen. It's what we bring in and of ourselves that will determine our longevity and profitability in this business.

OK, so I've written four paragraphs here and while most of this is just philosophical, I've not given you anything solid to grasp. A lot of things are intrinsic and not tangible. You can't touch someone's attitude, yet you may be able to feel it, be it their aura, etc.

It's like the old story, and I just found out that Abraham Lincoln stated this, but "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." It's just not going to happen, no matter how good of an actor that you think you are.

We've talked so much about developing a business plan and many do not do this even in their heads. I think that part of that problem, procrastination, whatever, is that too many feel this to be a daunting task. It doesn't have to be. Yes, it should hold several components, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a dollars and figures spreadsheet. Some do like taking it to that extent. Some of us are the engineers.

Let me just state that there is no right or wrong, I am only espousing my feelings about such.

I think we need to be introspective. Some like doing this more often than others. Some like to do this on an ongoing basis, while others may only do this occasionally. You have to know where you've been to possibly understand where you are going. You have to have learned the lessons of the past, otherwise all is for naught. You will only be repeating the same things over and over and unfortunately in many instances be expecting different returns. Chances of that happening are basically slim to nil. You'd only be kidding yourself and unfortunately this is done only too often by many.

The energies that you exude and surround yourself with will either make or break you. Some will unfortunately think that I'm just blowing this out my rear. But think of it, what do you want others to see and feel? What do you want to evince?

We talk and hear people say about all the negativities in the world and our businesses at present. And if you feel this way, then that is what people will see coming from you. How about all of the positives? There are pros and cons with almost everything. It is how you wish to look at it. Is the so to speak glass half full or half empty? These are your choices. Many will say that the industry is in turmoil and will be for years, our society is in turmoil. But homes are being sold every day. Where do you fit in with this picture? Where do you want to fit in with this picture?

It all comes down to choices and which road we wish to take. I guess that I've used several adages here, but they do show a point hopefully.

We all have issues. Sometimes we all have doubts. But it's up to you if you wish to befall into the crevice. Do you have a plan or something to utilize when you are feeling down or unsure? Or do you just fall into it and let it envelope you and just wait for it to pass?
It comes down to do you wish to take action or react to something. You will definitely get different results by both of these. An action is something that thought has been given to, whereas a reaction is something that is automatic.

Maybe I should retitle this post to read "A Philosophical Discourse - Where do you stand?" I enjoy writing and sometimes it helps me. I enjoy sharing my feelings and personal insights. But as I previously stated there is no wrong or right, it is just a matter of what works for YOU!

Till next time - Marc It Sold!


For information on Central Florida and Orlando real estate and Central Florida and Orlando homes for sale in addition to Central Florida and Orlando relocation contact Marc Grossman, your Central Florida Realtor @ 407-463-1034. Additional information is available for Seminole County real estate, Orange County real estate, West Volusia County and South Lake County.

To learn more about Marc and the services he has to offer, visit his profile & website.

Marc Grossman, GRI - http://www.OrlandoHomes-4u.com/ - 407-463-1034

Marc donates 10% of his net proceeds to Hospice of the Comforter.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Foreclosure Plan – Is this a Panacea or a Step in the Right Direction?

There was an article in this morning's Inman News Headlines by Glenn Roberts, Jr. entitled "Foreclosure fix: "'The Last Chance Mortgage' - How we got into this mess and how to get out."

The article was in regard to John Vogel, Jr's. plan to not only solve the problem that we're facing but to go one step further.

The plan is the best thing that I've read so far since we've been faced with this dilemma, but I see one major flaw. Let's first look at what the situation is. According to Mr. Vogel, "Two million homeowners are in danger of losing their homes" via foreclosure. What I am understanding is that he is proposing that the federal government administer a program that would refinance these properties facing foreclosure with a fixed-rate mortgage interest of 3.5%. The homes would be assessed at 80% of their current value and the homeowner in concession for participating in this program would give up any future profit from the home's appreciation.

The latter part is what is an issue with me. Yes, I do believe that for the help received the homeowner should pay in one form or another. But this then leads to the question, What incentive is there for the homeowner to keep up the property? I don't see many except for the homeowner to be able to keep the home and not risk foreclosure at this point in time and they would recoup their investment at sale.

The problem that I'm presently seeing is that many homeowners are willing to just walk away from their homes without regard to the financial and credit implications of a foreclosure. I've spoken with two people this week that are planning on such. I've even talked to them in regard to a Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure. One was possibly interested, the other didn't care. I'm sure what I'm seeing is not an isolated incidence.

I think this program has some great merit and is the best that I've come across so far, but I think we also need to possibly go one step further and maybe allow the homeowner to share in the profits at sale. Let's say limit it on a sliding scale depending on the house value, etc. or even just a flat percentage of the profits.

One point that I haven't mentioned so far is that the home property in question would be entered into a pool of affordable housing. Now some of these homes will most likely fit that criteria, I don't see homes in the upper price ranges fitting such.

I do agree with his opinion that a program such as this will free up capital. I further believe that it would increase consumer confidence and help propel the real estate market.

At the same time I also have a question if government intervention is the right answer. Yes, I can the benefits as written above. But the main question that comes to mind is, Will the lesson be learned? I'm afraid to say that even though it will by many, there will be many more that won't learn the lesson and will continue with the attitude - well they bailed me out once, they'll do it again. I don't think that this is far-fetched.

But at least it is a plan and a feasible one at that.


For more information on Central Florida and Orlando real estate and Central Florida and Orlando homes for sale in addition to Central Florida and Orlando relocation contact Marc Grossman, your Central Florida Realtor @ 407-463-1034. Additional information is available for Seminole County real estate, Orange County real estate, West Volusia County and South Lake County.

To learn more about Marc and the services he has to offer, visit his profile & website.

Marc Grossman, GRI - http://www.OrlandoHomes-4u.com/ - 407-463-1034

Marc donates 10% of his net proceeds to Hospice of the Comforter.

Marc It Sold!

Central Florida – Now is the Time to Buy!

Yes, you heard me correctly. Now is an excellent time to purchase that Central Florida home that you've been dreaming about! You don't believe me, well then read on.

If you look historically, you will note that the real estate market is cyclical, but this can also be said of many facets of our society. Check the relationship of recession and inflation in the basic economic cycle. I'm not going to go into that for this article, but you should be able to see my point. One more point, think of a fad, any fad, and you will realize that they as well are cyclical. OK, so onward.

Today, December's statistics for Monthly Sales and Inventory were published by ORRA (Orlando Regional Realtor Association). Now, while the number of homes being sold in the past month is not equivalent to the sales records that we've seen in the past several years - homes are being bought and sold everyday!

We are so very lucky to live in the type of democracy that we do. We have what some may call a Supply and Demand Democracy, whereas the simple aspects of supply and demand control the market and price. Yes, there may be other external forces, but we are just dealing in the basic concept here. No offense, but this is just simple Economics 101. There is no reason to further complicate the matter.

The one main issue that we are experiencing is that the inventory levels are comparatively quite high, but they have been showing a downward trend over the last couple of months. This is a very good sign and will hopefully continue this trend.

OK, I'm sure that some of you are thinking, so what about the subprime debacle that I keep on hearing and reading about in the news. This needs to be put into perspective. According to some of the many articles that I've read, the subprime mortgages represent only a quarter of all loans procured. How about the other 75% of the conventional, FHA and other loans that are supposedly performing well? And there have been an extraordinary amount of loans that have been written over the past several years.

We all saw the run up in sales and prices. There was no way that this could have been sustainable for an extended period of time. Yes, the median sales price has dropped as has the average list and sales prices as well. But they are still above the levels of 2½ years ago while this so-called run up was going on.

If you bought your home 3 years ago December in Central Florida utilizing the average sales price, you would have seen an 18½% increase over that period of time. And that translates to over $50K. That is not chump change in any way whatsoever. If you've read my past posts, you will note that I've stated time and time again, that real estate is not now nor has it ever been a short term investment.

Not all areas of the country are experiencing a downturn in prices. In many areas of the country just the opposite is happening.

I'm not going to sit here and blame the media totally for this negativity. Yes, we know that there are only a few major media conglomerates and they are trying to shore up revenues on all fronts and we know that sensationalism sells. But I also think a good part of it is that they do not understand real estate as well as a professional realtor does. Don't underestimate your realtor's knowledge.

In 2005, we were seeing monthly year over increases in the median price of homes of almost 35+% fairly regularly. In 2007, the largest decrease we saw was a little over 10% with the majority of months showing a much less than 4% decrease in year over median price.

We are very lucky to live in Central Florida and the Greater Orlando area. Our region has been for many decades been a destination area. This has helped us greatly. This region is the best performing region in the state of Florida because of such.

There are some great values out there and with interest rates relatively low - This is a great time to buy that dream home!


For more information on Central Florida and Orlando real estate and Central Florida and Orlando homes for sale in addition to Central Florida and Orlando relocation contact Marc Grossman, your Central Florida Realtor @ 407-463-1034. Additional information is available for Seminole County real estate, Orange County real estate, West Volusia County and South Lake County.

To learn more about Marc and the services he has to offer, visit his profile & website.

Marc Grossman, GRI - http://www.OrlandoHomes-4u.com/ - 407-463-1034

Marc donates 10% of his net proceeds to Hospice of the Comforter.

Marc It Sold!

Life and Real Estate – What Do You Want and Where Are You Heading?


What do you want out of life and real estate?

This is not meant to be a personal blah, blah, blah, but it's also the only way I know how to relate the way I see things. Call it Marc's semi-educated outlook, if you wish. I've been mulling this over in my head for a while since commenting on WooHoo Sally's post Business Plan 2008? The Art of Handling Life's Curve Balls ....First. She told me not to hide the real me under the jokes, etc. But it must be said that I do like the jokes and I do not think I'm hiding. I truly believe that laughter is one of the best medicines and especially laughter at ourselves.

Anyway, this one doesn't include much laughter or maybe even my normal caustic sarcasm that many of you have come to know. OK, so already I'm rambling. Let's see if I make this somewhat cohesive. With it being the New Year, there have been many, many posts in regard to predictions, business plans, changes that we are going to make in our lives, etc.

Yes, I have a business plan, it is basically a numbers plan, but it probably isn't specific enough for many in that it's not broken down into # of calls, # of hours calling, etc. Read Margaret Woda's post If You Don't Yet Have a Business Plan, This May Help You Get Started for a very simplistic business plan. We've all read that for you to succeed you need a business plan. Yes, you can have success without a business plan, but you will never come close to your potential. For some this is fine; and yes, I've also had a ‘secret business plan' in the past; one that I kept in my head. Again, writing it down on paper is one of the easiest things to do. And, the benefit that you will derive from that simple task is innumerable.

Writing is a very good thing, at least for me. When I'd been through some troubling times in the past I would start a journal. To me it was very cathartic getting it out. It was a release of sorts.
There are a couple of things that I'd like to touch on. We are in business, but one of the things that I see holding too many back is that they don't believe in themselves. Let me put it another way. How else can any of us expect anyone else to believe in us and our abilities, if we do not fully believe in ourselves? There is no way.

Yes, the old adage is true that you can fool some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people some of the time. Not too many of us have the ability to be that good of an actor as we might like to think we are. We wear our emotions on our sleeves. Even when we think we can hide them, they are more easily read than you may think and you are only kidding yourself, otherwise.

To be an integral part of this business; and, well forget about that, just in life in general - you need to believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Additionally, no one - not one damn person has the right to belittle you or make you feel inadequate. NO ONE!! None of us is perfect and anyone who thinks that he/she is - is a fool!

This of course, leads to a topic that we know and have read about quite a bit as well. There are many negative forces out there that will serve you no purpose whatsoever. Part of being in this business and part of selling ourselves is being positive. I, myself, limit the amount of negativity in my life - whether it be friends, acquaintances, situations, etc. Negativity will bring you down.
Think of it this way. When you've been around a negative person for a little while, how have you felt afterwards? I know that for myself, these situations and people are like energy vampires. They sap you of your energy and tire you if you fall into the trap and allow them to. You know the saying ‘misery loves company.' Yes, there are many adages, cliches and old wives tales. The fact is many of these are so very true.

Think of the people around you. Do you surround yourself with positive people and positive situations? The market is, period! (OK, so an exclamation point in this case.) Bob did I say that correctly? You can't do anything about it. But you can change how you look at it and take actions accordingly. You see that I did not say react. A reaction is just a knee jerk action without a plan and no direction. This again is another reason that you need a plan. A plan leads to action.

We have to keep ourselves positive even in the face of adversity. Almost all of us have so much to be thankful for. Yes, we've heard the statement that there are so many less fortunate than ourselves. Sometimes it's hard to see this because as the complicated human beings we are, we do just that - complicate matters. Everything and I mean everything can be broken down into its most simplistic form. When you do break things down to such, only then can you see the underlying cause of what's going on. What you are doing to yourself. Why you may or may not be succeeding.

But to do this you have to be introspective. It's hard for some people to look at their life from the outside looking in or to see themself in the third person. If you can't do this yourself then maybe you should speak with a respected person in your life or possibly even a psychologist. Now a proper therapist will not give you the answers, or at least they shouldn't. But they should ask you the questions to make you think and see for yourself what's going on in your life.

Once you get down to the basis or root, only then can you see what needs to be done to possibly make the proper changes, if need be. If you expect someone to give you the answers then you are only doomed to fail. No one can give you the answer, for you won't believe them in the long run. It has to come from within. Then and only then can you make a plan and take the proper actions that need be.

Now many people have a difficult time with change. Unfortunately, you are in the wrong business then. To be a successful realtor, mortgage broker, etc. you have to be adaptable to the times, situations, etc. Do not get me wrong, I am not telling anyone to get out of the business or what they are doing is wrong. I have no right to do that. Only you can make that final determination for yourself.

We will all run into so-called negative situations in this business. It doesn't always go easy. It is how you handle these adversities that will lead to your success. When you fall down, what do you generally do? You pick yourself up and brush yourself off and are a little more careful of your next step or so.

Don't look back on how it was. That's over and done with. You are in the here and today - not the yesterday and not even the tomorrow yet. You can't do a damn thing to change the past, but you can take action steps today to make for a better tomorrow for yourself.

All in all you have to remember that only you have control over yourself. You have the control to make things happen. You have the power to control your life and your destiny. Yes, they are clich├ęs, but are they not true? Take action! Take control! Be who you want to be and be the best at it that you can be!

Put a smile on your face and the whole world smiles with you!


For more information on Central Florida real estate and Central Florida homes for sale in addition to Central Florida relocation contact Marc Grossman, your Central Florida Realtor @ 407-463-1034. Additional information is available for Seminole County real estate, Orange County real estate, West Volusia County and South Lake County.

To learn more about Marc and the services he has to offer, visit his profile & website.

Marc Grossman, GRI - http://www.OrlandoHomes-4u.com/ - 407-463-1034

Marc donates 10% of his net proceeds to Hospice of the Comforter.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Vacant House Safety


This is about vacant house safety because of a situation that I had to deal with over the last several days. Obviously, this person was quite tenacious.
With all of the homes on the market, many are vacant and we need to be more aware of our surroundings than ever before and CAREFUL! Even looking back, I did something quite stupid myself. OK, so a little history and a short story - Imagine that!

I have a couple of Central Florida rental properties that are not presently occupied. One of them I hadn't been to in a couple of weeks. I knew that I needed to put new flyers in it as I've lowered the price and changed offices. So, I drove over to this house to put the flyers in the InfoTube and noted that my sign was missing. It's been previously taken (see how I didn't say ‘stolen' - oops, there I did) so I really didn't think anything of it except to be somewhat perturbed.

So the following day, this past Sunday, I went to the store and bought another ‘For Rent' sign and drove over to my house to place it in the yard. To my astonishment, the sign was next to the mail box. I had to wonder, but only for a moment, if I had missed it. I was ready to drive off when I decided that I needed to check the home out. As I entered the garage, there was something on the floor that I would not have left there and as I got out of my car, I noted that the lid to the washing machine was up, which it shouldn't have been.

What really floored me was that when I looked inside the machine, there were clothes in the tub. Needless to say I didn't think anything of it and entered the house, obviously knowing that someone has been there, even though at this point I was also questioning my sanity and stability. Yeah, go there, I can understand!

I walked in the house and several things were amiss in that many doors were closed that should not have been; the porch light was turned off; there was an empty soda can on the floor in one room and a rod was there as well. Even though this isn't my personal residence, I still felt violated (no need to go there, please!). After going through the house I'd noted that several doors and windows were unlocked, which was not the previous case. I'm usually careful with my homes. I also noted where I think the squatter came in.

The reason that I'm calling this person a squatter is because they did not do any damage to my house except for some dirt. So, I secured the home and called the police department to let them know what had occurred. The woman on the other side of the phone was silent for a while until she finally asked if I'd like them to patrol the area more often. Now, it has to be noted that this is a nice neighborhood and rarely has any issues.

So, Monday I go back to the house and note as I'm driving up to the garage that a blind appears to be more closed than I would normally keep it and as I enter the garage, I note that today there is a shirt lying across the washing machine. So, I immediately call the police.

Three squad cars show up and they go through the house with their guns drawn and come back with an empty pack of cigarettes. Not my brand. They were very nice and we all went through the home looking for ways of entry and a couple of windows were unlocked again including the one I thought they were coming through because I'd found footprints on the kitchen counter. I was wondering to myself about the security of this window the previous day, but checked it several times before I left.

So I went through the house and secured it again, checking it several times. Besides, I wanted to clean it up and vacuum because I was showing it on New Year's Day.

Well, I guess they weren't happy that I secured the home, so on New Year's Day when I went over they removed a window from the exterior door to the garage and I must have forgotten to lock the interior door. Again, I called the police and went through the whole scenario again. But dealing with the police is another story in itself.

Well, I went over there today and don't think that they got in after covering the window with some hard particle board.

The whole point here is we ‘assume' that when a house is vacant, that is the case. But we don't really know this at all. The fact is, not only in this case, but we do not have the right to assume anything.

More and more homes that we see on the market are vacant. I did a google search before writing this and couldn't believe how many articles popped up on this topic and I'm only talking about the last couple of months. This is obviously not an isolated incident and the tenacity of this person is mind boggling to a degree.

Some of the things that I've read tell us that if a home is vacant to cancel all of the services and keep up with the lawn. But this really isn't feasible if you are trying to sell or rent a home. One also mentioned to leave lights on, but shut the blinds. I usually leave them open so you can see if anything is going on inside, but I guess that the other hand is they feel that the possible intruder won't be able to see inside.

But, finally, one law enforcement agency wrote that if they've been vacant long enough, people will just kind of make themselves at home and squatters will come in. Now, I have to tell you that on one level I felt sorry for this person, because it appears that they just may needed a place to sleep. I really couldn't consider what they did as vandalism except for a broken screen and missing window. But the other hand is what they did was wrong and a violation.

Please just be careful and be safe. Many of us have vacant properties, whether they be our own or that of clients. We need to be diligent in our care of such. We need to make sure that we check them fairly often. This is not meant to frighten you but to heighten your awareness of yourself and your surroundings.


For more information on Central Florida real estate and Central Florida homes for sale in addition to Central Florida relocation contact Marc Grossman, your Central Florida Realtor @ 407-463-1034. Additional information is available for Seminole County real estate, Orange County real estate, West Volusia County and South Lake County.

To learn more about Marc and the services he has to offer, visit his profile & website.

Marc Grossman, GRI - http://www.OrlandoHomes-4u.com/ - 407-463-1034

Marc donates 10% of his net proceeds to Hospice of the Comforter.