I found this article on REALTOR@magazine on line. It is very hard to read the current National Housing climate.

Daily Real Estate News  |  April 24, 2009  |  

National Housing Picture Tough to Determine
Some liken housing data to the weather: If you don’t like today’s statistics, wait until tomorrow. The “facts” will change.

Here are some statistics from this week that sent mixed messages regarding the national housing market:

● The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that home prices rose 0.7 percent from January to February 2009.

● The February 2009 RPX Monthly Housing Market Report said home sales increased month over month in 22 of 25 key metropolitan statistical areas and 13 of these areas posted the largest gain in February 2009 since 2006.

● The National of Association of REALTORS® reported that existing home sales dropped in March 2009, and median prices fell 12 percent from a year earlier.

● First American CoreLogic announced that national housing prices declined 12.2 percent in February from a year earlier and have been in decline for 24 straight months. It predicted that home prices would continue to decline through 2010.

“It’s very difficult to paint a national picture [with anything] other than statistical information,” says Sherry Chris CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “Does that tell you everything you need to know? There’s no such thing as a national temperature, so to speak, in anything.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Dawn Wotapka (04/23/2009)

7 Reasons to Own Your Own Home from REALTOR.org

I found this article on REALTOR.org. I think it is very interesting.  

1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home. 

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing. 

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.
6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.





9 ways to Beat Negativity from REALTOR Magazine


9 Ways to Beat Negativity
The economy is hurting. Home sales in many markets remain sluggish. Uncertainty abounds. In this kind of environment, it’s easy to get discouraged.

But there’s no reason you have to stay that way, says Jon Gordon, author of The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal With Negativity at Work (Wiley, 2008). Here’s Gordon’s advice on how to come out ahead in this tough market.


1. Tell yourself a positive story. Life is a story. The story we tell ourselves and the role we play in that story determines the quality and direction of our life. The best real estate professionals are able to overcome adversity by telling themselves a more positive story than the rest. Instead of a drama or a horror movie, they define their life as an inspirational tale. Instead of being the victim, they see themselves as a fighter and overcomer. You may not be able to control market conditions, but you can influence the outcome of your story.


2. Model yourself after success. Are there real estate practitioners succeeding today? Of course there are. Seek out those people in your market and ask to meet with them. Learn from their advice and model their attitudes and actions. If they can succeed, so can you.


3. Focus on the important stuff. Tune out the negative voices and start making positive choices. What are you doing on a daily basis to grow yourself, your team, and your business? Don’t focus on the negative things other salespeople and the media are saying. Instead, focus on marketing your business, taking care of clients, and building loyal relationships. Every morning ask yourself this question: “What are the three most important things I need to do today that will help me create the success I desire?” Then take action on those items.


4. Replace “have to” with “get to.” This simple word swap can change your mind-set and your approach to work and life. It turns a complaining voice to an appreciative voice, and acknowledges that life is a gift—not an obligation. So often we grudgingly say things like “I have to go to this meeting,” “I have to meet with this client,” or “I have to sell houses in this market.” In reality, it’s not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do. Research shows that when we practice gratitude, we get a measurable boost in happiness that energizes us and enhances our health. It’s also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time.


5. Refuse to participate in the recession. Professionals who’ve thrived during past recessions continued to go about business as usual regardless of market conditions. They worked hard and focused on taking actions to grow their business. As others are paralyzed by fear, take the opportunity to charge forward.


6. Boost your marketing and advertising. It may seem counterintuitive to spend more money on advertising and marketing right now. But with so many of your competitors cutting back in these areas, this is a great opportunity to build your brand and gain market share. People are still buying and selling, and they will buy from those whom they trust and see in the marketplace.


7. Create a positive vision. Instead of being disappointed about where you are, make the decision to be optimistic about where you are going. Create a positive vision for your future and the future of your team. Vision helps you see the road ahead and it gives you something meaningful and valuable to strive towards.


8. Invite others on your bus. Invite colleagues and customers to board your bus for a positive ride. Send them an e-bus ticket at www.TheEnergyBus.com. Share your vision with team members and ask them to join you in making this vision a reality. Be a positive influence.


9. No more complaining. Abide by the “no complaining” rule. When you realize you’re about to complain, replace your thoughts and words with positive actions. Let your complaints help you identify what you don’t want so that you can focus on what you do want. The key is to turn complaints into solutions.

Source: Jon Gordon is a speaker, consultant, and author of The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy (Wiley, 2007), and The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work (Wiley, 2008). Gordon’s next book, Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else, is scheduled to be released next month.

Surround Yourself With Optimism

The best way to stay positive in this market is to meet once or twice a week with a group of brokers for coffee or lunch and discuss your pleasant experiences. We all have them but when things are tough we tend to dwell on the negative. Happy and upbeat brokers are the ones who are usually the most successful in good times or bad.  —Jade Mills, estates director, Coldwell Banker of Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Exclusively Representing Real Estate Buyers, with Buyers Values in Mind

Until recently, the real estate industry exclusively represented the Seller. A growing number of Real Estate Agents (and the public) want Buyers to have an equal level of representation in the Buying Process. The Swanson Group is one of Whatcom Counties best Real Estate teams offering Sundance Benjestorf as an Exclusive Buyer Agent. We are making every effort to give today’s home buyers the level of service they demand.

We firmly believe that the home buyer has a right to full and equal representation and service. As consumers learn how the real estate industry works, they are demanding the level of service that only an Exclusive Buyer Agent can provide.

Exclusive Buyer Agents can assist you with locating and evaluating property. An Exclusive Buyer Agent works to negotiate the best price and terms for you, not the Seller! They can assist you in evaluating loans and financing options, or help you find competent home inspectors and home warranty companies. Above all, the Exclusive Buyer Agent offers undivided loyalty and works to protect the Buyer’s interests throughout the transaction. An Exclusive Buyer Agent will not ask you to limit your level of service for their benefit. The goal of the Exclusive Buyer Agent is always to protect you – the Buyer.

Whether you are a first time home buyer or looking to upgrade; a relocation buyer, or someone looking for real estate For Sale By Owner… If you want to buy a home the best way possible, you owe it to yourself to see how a true Exclusive Buyer Agent can be your best answer to the complexities of real estate transactions.

Real Estate in Whatcom County…What is Going On?

OK…the Super Bowl is over and the Steelers pulled another one out of the hat. Regardless of who you were rooting for, it was certainly entertaining! I don’t know if there’s a good real estate analogy there, but it’s important we keep things in perspective.

We’re all reading a lot about the economy, jobs and the real estate market these days. Why is it that 99.9% of what we hear and read is negative? I realize that people are getting laid off or hours trimmed, stock portfolios are shrinking and that as housing prices go down many of us lose equity. Those are real life and they are negative and I won’t minimize them. But aren’t there some positives factors we should acknowledge?
“Like what” you say…..

  • It’s a “Buyers Market”….who says a buyers market means a bad market. Unlike the hot market of a few years ago, there is now good selection, good prices and historically low interest rates!
  • 30 year Fixed Interest Rates are under 5%.
  • Loans are not being handed out, but they are definitely available if you have a job and decent credit. Don’t believe the rumors that say nobody is doing mortgages.
  • If you currently have an adjustable mortgage on your home your payments may actually adjust downward.
  • This sluggish & declining housing market has made home ownership a real possibility again for many people that had been priced out of the market.
  • As rental rates have crept up over the last couple years and home prices have dropped slightly, purchasing a rental property as an investment makes good sense.

The bottom is this….not all the news is bad. This is a time of great opportunity. It’s just a matter of what lens you are looking through.