Blaze Your Own Trail

I’ve walked Alabama’s [tag]Robert Trent Jones[/tag] Golf Trail, sampled Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail, and even explored the [tag]Lewis & Clark Golf Trail[/tag] in North Dakota. Each was worth the effort, offering good and sometimes [tag]great golf[/tag]. [tag]Golf trails[/tag]–marketing alliances uniting courses that would otherwise be competitors–are perfect for a restless [tag]golfer[/tag] like me. Digital Golf School

I decided to make my way through the [tag]central highlands of Florida[/tag], the state’s hill country of horse ranches and cattle farms. That’s the real Florida, the inland one–far removed, I thought, from plastic pink flamingos and the purple hairdos who plant them (although I would soon discover there’s no escaping either in a state where, despite being a senior citizen myself, an awful lot of residents call me “young fella.”) I took out a road atlas and plotted a general course. I would start somewhere around [tag]Tampa[/tag] and wander northeast to J[tag]acksonville[/tag]. Continue reading “Blaze Your Own Trail”

The housing bubble has popped

Rich Dad\'s Advisors®: The ABC\'s of Real Estate Investing : The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss (Rich Dad\'s Advisors) A recent story in the [tag]Wall Street Journal[/tag], “Hot Homes Get Cold” offered lots of its useful vignettes that serve as a microcosm of manic markets — starting with the bravado-cum-denial displayed by a medical-equipment salesman in Stuart, Fla.

Concerned about his [tag]real-estate investment[/tag] apparently going sour, he can’t afford to reduce the price to what homes now sell for in his neighborhood — which is about $100,000 less than he’s asking. Says the salesman: “If I got in a jam, I would have to drop the price, but I am not at that point.” His game plan: Rent the house, so as not to “lose my shirt.” That’s the mentality often seen in manic markets — the belief that you can’t possibly lose, and, when the price goes against you, you don’t have to deal with it, because it will come back. This fellow (and millions more like him) is going to find out that his belief is a mistaken one, in the same way that folks did when the [tag]stock bubble burst[/tag]. Continue reading “The housing bubble has popped”

Eminent Domain: Who defines the greater good?

When [tag]Mayor Michael Brown[/tag] envisions the future of this hardscrabble city, he sees no poverty, no drug dealing and no prostitution. Brown sees hope and high-paying jobs. But progress doesn’t come without sacrifice. The city’s multibillion-dollar effort to remake itself could send to up to 6,000 residents packing in potentially one of the nation’s largest eminent domain seizures, leaving many wondering who defines progress. The project has placed [tag]Riviera Beach[/tag] at the center of a nationwide battle over whether government should be allowed to force people from their properties for construction of private development. Mortgages For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Traditionally, governments have used [tag]eminent domain[/tag] to build public facilities like schools, parks, prisons, airports and roads. But the Supreme Court ruled last year in a Connecticut case that local governments can use eminent domain to seize property for private developers if it will be used to raise the city’s tax base and benefit the entire community. The ruling left open the option for states to devise their own regulations. An amendment and a bill are working their way through the [tag]Florida Legislature[/tag] to severely limit condemnations of personal property for any private use. Continue reading “Eminent Domain: Who defines the greater good?”

What to do if your apartment is sold from under you

Landlord\'s Rights & Duties In Florida, 10E Don’t panic. Knowing [tag]your rights[/tag] can mean the difference between a few days and a few months notice to [tag]vacate your rental[/tag] — and more money back on your [tag]deposit[/tag].

[tag]Marjorie Freeman[/tag] has one more day before she has to leave her apartment. Her belongings aren’t packed and the 53-year-old curtain maker has yet to clean her [tag]Tampa, Florida[/tag] -area duplex — mainly because she’s still scrambling to find another place to live. The property’s former owner told her she would have at least 90 days to vacate when the new owner took over. Instead, she was given 30 days — the only notice required by [tag]Florida law for tenants[/tag] with a [tag]month-to-month lease[/tag]. Continue reading “What to do if your apartment is sold from under you”

Florida No. 1 in new resident gain

For tens of thousands across the country, [tag]Florida[/tag] remains a magnet for those relocating within the United States, according to the [tag]Census Bureau[/tag]. A study released Thursday found that the [tag]Sunshine State[/tag] led the nation in average yearly net gain of new residents from other states between 2000 and 2004. Professional Real Estate Development

During the most recent five-year period, the number of people moving to Florida outnumbered those who left the state by a yearly average of 190,894. In a distant second: Arizona, with an average yearly net gain of 66,344. But people aren’t flocking from elsewhere in the country to [tag]Miami-Dade[/tag] or [tag]Broward[/tag] counties. In a trend that began more than a decade ago, tens of thousands more people leave [tag]Miami-Dade[/tag] for other states than move here each year. Broward has historically had more people coming in than leaving, but the net gain has dwindled from 14,898 in 2000 to 2,384 in 2004. The figures do not include those who move here from abroad, which continues to fuel South Florida’s population growth. Those who do come to the state from other states come for the weather and for jobs, according to Florida demographers. Continue reading “Florida No. 1 in new resident gain”

The lack of a housing bubble.

What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know about Cash Flow... And 36 Other Key Financial Measures

The [tag]housing bubble[/tag], or lack thereof, hit the headlines again this week. According to the latest Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index survey, 71% of consumers say it is likely that a housing bubble and collapse of prices could occur in the United States within the next year. Most don’t think it’s going to happen to them; only 32% expect the collapse of a housing bubble within their own area in the next year.

An exodus of U.S. workers from the technology-rich [tag]San Francisco Bay[/tag] and [tag]Boston[/tag] areas accelerated early this decade, according to Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, high housing costs on both coasts drove more Americans to cheaper cities nearby. One big winner is the inland [tag]Riverside, Calif[/tag]., area. It continued to attract residents from the Southern California coast from 2000 to 2004, experts say. States in the Southwest and Pacific-Northwest continued to attract many disaffected Californians, economists say. But their rate of U.S. migration gains slowed compared with the 1990s, the Census data indicates. [tag]Florida[/tag] continued to attract new residents at a fast clip. Continue reading “The lack of a housing bubble.”

Pasco County Leads Region In Drawing New Residents

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It\'s Not About the Money...It\'s About Being the Best You Can Be! A [tag]U.S. Census Bureau[/tag] report being released today puts [tag]Pasco[/tag] at No. 8 among counties with the largest number of people moving into them. From 2000 to 2004, Pasco had an average net population growth of 15,934 residents a year. That figure weighs people moving into the county against those moving out.

The bureau’s list of the top 25 population gainers included six other Florida counties: Palm Beach (seventh), Lee (ninth), Hillsborough (13th), Lake (17th), Brevard (22nd) and Volusia (24th). As a whole, the [tag]Tampa metro area[/tag], which includes [tag]Hillsborough[/tag], [tag]Pinellas[/tag], [tag]Pasco[/tag] and [tag]Hernando[/tag] counties, gained an average of 36,395 people per year during the first half of this decade. That was more than double the gain for the 1990s, when the metro area averaged 17,645 people a year. Continue reading “Pasco County Leads Region In Drawing New Residents”

Whiskey and Gunpowder

Whiskey and Gunpowder is a free, twice-per-week, e-mail service brought to you by a team of rebellious brigands. Greg’s note: Mish just sent me another article about [tag]housing[/tag]. “Well, it’s not really about housing,” he said. “It’s about customers.” “[tag]Customers[/tag]?” I asked. It seems Mish is looking at the [tag]mortgage origination[/tag] and [tag]real estate sales[/tag] businesses and wondering what [tag]brokers and loan officers[/tag] are doing to get and keep customers. “Oh, so it is about housing, then,” I said. “No,” Mish replied. “It actually has very little to do with real estate. It has to do with customers. Everyone has customers. You don’t have to be in sales, either, but you better be taking care of them.” So You Want to Be a Mortgage Broker

FOR SEVERAL MONTHS now, I have been talking with Mike Morgan/Morgan Florida, a real estate broker serving the Treasure Coast area of Florida. In our most recent conversation, Morgan tells me, “Prices have already fallen 10%, regardless of what median prices show. In addition, transaction volumes have fallen off the cliff.” Unlike other brokers I have talked to, Morgan is expecting “further declines in the neighborhood of 20% or so, more on condos.” He is advising his clients that “the market has changed and that sellers must accept that reality if they want to get their house sold.” Realtors openly telling their clients to expect substantial further declines simply is not the norm. Back in January and February, Morgan said, “Centex was so desperate to close deals before their March 31 fiscal year end they were offering $60,000 select home sites that were not selling well. But that is just the start of it. Centex was also offering 6% commissions to the agency booking the sale, plus an additional $10,000 selling bonus to top it off.” Continue reading “Whiskey and Gunpowder”

Is Housing Market Cooling Down?

The Pre-Foreclosure Property Investor\'s Kit : How to Make Money Buying Distressed Real Estate -- Before the Public Auction

Statistically, the leveling off of the [tag]housing market[/tag] is apparent. Nationally, sales of existing homes rose in February by 5.2 percent from the previous month, but that came after five months of decline and was still 0.3 percent below a year ago, according to the [tag]Realtor[/tag]’s association’s most recent figures. (Existing home sales in Polk County dropped nearly five percent in February, compared to a year ago.)

Some observers point out several unknowns, such as a possible rise in [tag]interest rates[/tag], which would offset other factors that would help builders in places such as Florida, where hundreds of thousand of people move each year. [tag]Freddie Mac[/tag], the mortgage company, reported that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.49 percent for the week ending April 13. That was up from 6.43 percent last week and the highest since mid-July of 2002. Continue reading “Is Housing Market Cooling Down?”

Meet the Splitters

An emerging generation of buyers is splitting off from the traditional snowbird flock and changing the definition of home away from home. Taking advantage of low-cost travel corridors with multiple daily flights, advances in technology, and virtual workspaces, “[tag]splitters[/tag]” choose to split their time between a [tag]primary residence[/tag] and a [tag]second home[/tag]. Some super-splitters split their time among three or more homes. Real Estate Riches: How to Become Rich Using Your Banker\'s Money

“[tag]Snowbirds[/tag] shift residences once or twice a year at the most,” says Jerry M. Ray, senior vice president for corporate communications for The St. Joe Co. in Jacksonville, Fla. “We’re seeing splitters who may go back and forth a couple of times a month.” Ray says St. Joe, [tag]Florida[/tag]’s largest private land developer in residential resort and commercial communities, such as office parks and retail complexes, noticed the splitters trend four years ago. Experts say buyers typically begin engaging in splitter behavior at about age 55 as a transition to [tag]retirement[/tag]. Continue reading “Meet the Splitters”