Monthly Archives: August 2018

The Most Stressful Event in Life – Transcript

Tom, here.

This is where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

You can go to the source of this information using the links available to you with the transcript of this episode.

What does Italy, France, and now the U.S. state of New Jersey have in common? They all have programs to help Seniors age in place, to be able to stay where they have often called home for many years. Irene, the company in New Jersey helping make this happen, is becoming a popular alternative to the Reverse Mortgage.

Malaysia joins a host of other countries such as New Zealand, Canada, and Australia to have restrictions or bans on selling to foreigners. Why? Foreign capital often pushes prices beyond the reach of local residents.

Did you hear about the International Monetary Fund warning? Kind of like a Tsunami warning if you are located near the coastline. What coastline? The figurative coastline that includes the many cities around the world where the wealthy have purchased high end homes and condos. Or like mountain climbers who are all tied together to prevent a single climber from falling. However, should several of those climbers fall at the same time, then none of those connected will escape the downfall.  Prices reduced in the Luxury Home markets of London, Beijing, and New York. So according to the warning, what is affecting just a few areas now will continue to spread to more cities around the world.

While lower end properties continue to decline in value, in Perth Australia, the high end market has gone contrary to that trend by having a 1.5% increase in value over the last quarter.

The Economist has a great article with graphs reflecting what housing prices have done in 22 cities around the world. Can you guess how much values in these cities have increased in real terms over the last five years?  The answer is:  34%

So, are prices leveling off and decreasing in the U.S. as in other parts of the world? As in all things real estate, it depends on where you live. Redfin did a study of six cities in the U.S. where you can still expect a bidding war. Can you name them? Here is a hint. Four of the six most competitive markets are in California.

What starts in California, doesn’t stay in California. In fact, due to the size of its real estate market, it has been said that California is a precursor of what will happen around the nation. Southern California, with increasing home values, has still seen an 11.8% drop in number of sales year over year. What price range saw a 21% decrease in number of sales?  $500,000. and below.

Learn why one million more people moved out of California than moved in along with information about its housing crisis and where people are going once they leave.

What is more stressful than a job interview? 40% of Americans say this is the most stressful event in their life. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is this 40% probably hasn’t given birth in their lifetime.

Other stats? Thirteen percent thought they overpaid yet only 10% had buyers remorse.

Here is a not too often thought about segment of the first time home buyer market. What segment is that you ask? How about those senior citizens in their 60’s, 70’s or even 80’s or 90’s who never bought a home. Learn what questions they may ask, such as “should I take out a 15 or 30 year loan.”

Speaking of seniors, do you know what other trend they are becoming a part of? How about the tiny house movement. Many don’t need the space they used to have and becoming mortgage free is a bonus.

Speaking of Seniors, what is happening in the Portland Oregon market? According to the Business Journal, when it comes to the assisted living boom, there are 1,000. units currently under construction in Portland and throughout the state of Oregon. View the many projects under construction.

Speaking of a hot real estate market. There is another kind of hot in Portland.

If you live in Portland or have just passed through, the city brings to mind rain and lots of green scenery. Some areas are more level and others hilly. But the temperature across town is the same isn’t it? Not according to an Oregon Live Article where it shows temperatures can vary by as much as 20 degrees from one neighborhood to another.

In the last few minutes you have been listening to this podcast, or reading the transcript, chances are you have been distracted one or more times.

Career Builders found that 75% of the employers they surveyed said they lost 2 or more hours of productivity a day due to distractions with 43% saying they lost 3 or more hours a day.

The reason? Three of the top four were smart phones, the internet, and social media.

How often is the average office worker interrupted? According to a UC Irvine study, the average work is interrupted or changes tasks every 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Recovery time after each interruption? 23 minutes and 15 seconds.

So it takes me about 7 ½ times as long to recover my focus as I spend on maintaining it.

Is that statistical proof that rather than working seven hours and getting a one hour lunch break, I should go home after working one highly focused hour because the same amount of work gets done either way? Right?

Acknowledging that interruptions cost us time is the first step on the road to recovery.

What are some of the solutions we can grab hold of?

An article on says to “schedule your interruptions”. Even though it might not work to set your kids down for the “ you can only interrupt me from ten to noon talk”, setting time aside to anticipate and work on those challenges that cause many of your interruptions, before that happens, makes a lot of sense.

Accomplishing one task at a time and building your focus muscle is at the heart of a New York times article. Several recommendations are given as to programs or apps that are available to disconnect us from social or internet temptations. They basically “distract the distractors”.

Whether in real estate or in life, it is those things we let distract us, that stop us from getting the house that we want or achieving the goals we set.

Thank you for listening to and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.

Which Housing Bubble Is About To Burst – Transcript

Tom, here.

This is where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

The Transcript version contains links to all we talk about.

Many non-resident Foreigners are now banned from owning property in New Zealand. This has come as a response by Parliament to the Housing Crisis that has seen a 60% annual increase of values across New Zealand and an almost doubling of prices in Auckland over the last ten years.

The Australia real estate market finds prices being reduced in five of it’s eight capital cities. The ratio of housing prices to disposable income has increased from 2x around 1980 to about 5x now.

In 2008 as the U.S. was headed into a financial abyss, Canada moved along hardly missing a beat. Here is an article explaining some of the why behind the stability Canada experienced.

Contrast the previous article that talks about the 180 years Canada has avoided a financial crisis, with a BetterDwelling article referencing the view of Canada’s housing market from China. It pointed out that Canadians lead the race in G7 countries for debt to income ratios. It is currently at 165%, which is even higher than the US ratio of 147% at the time of the US Financial Crisis in 2008.

Some say the Canadian Real Estate Bubble is about to Burst. Learn why, including the fact that 47% of Canadian mortgages have interest rate resets coming next year.

Speaking about the U.S. real estate market.

If you wanted to invest in real estate but don’t like the day to day involvement and want more liquidity than outright ownership, you could consider a real estate investment trust or REIT. Even if you are only thinking about investing, you can still get great information about return on your investment and what the public’s attitude is toward various forms of real estate.

Seeking Alpha has a great article with all the charts and graphs the most data hungry of us would enjoy. It not only covers residential real estate but also such things as office, retail, industrial and self storage to name a few. Break out reports on individual sectors such as manufactured homes are referenced. Record high occupancy rates are one of the positive topics covered.

What else are people saying about the U.S. housing market? The Lombardi Letter focuses on higher interest rates, the slowing housing market, and builder’s that are starting to worry.

For an upbeat view of the U.S. Market, read this GordCollins article that discusses how over half of all U.S. home values have rebounded to pre 2007 levels, home sales increased by 9%, and it’s description that “the US housing market is stable and optimistic — backed by a strong economic forecast.”

So, what state is one of the most affordable to live in? Can you guess?

The answer is…West Virginia. The cost of living is 5.6% below the national average and the cost of housing is 38.5% below the national average. For first time home buyers by state, it ranked number 2. See where your state ranks.

Let’s take a brief look at the Portland Oregon and Vancouver Washington real estate market. In July, year over year, Vancouver and SW Washington saw an average sales price increase of 10.3% to $383,000. whereas the Portland Metro only had a 6.4% increase but a higher average at $442,800.

There is one other dramatic difference between the two states separated by the Columbia River. The Vancouver and South West Washington area has more proposed or
“not yet under construction” homes listed in the RMLS system than any of area it covers.

You can click on the links for more details than one cup of coffee will keep you awake for.

Just a reminder that behind all of this information and statistics are people. People who worked hard to be able to buy a house. People who struggle with the high cost of having a family. People who are retired and face an uncertain future.

There are also people who have equity and cash available when they sell, that they would not have been able to save any other way.

Real estate can be a small part of a persons life yet have the potential to be the ship that sinks their finances or the life boat that keeps them afloat.

I could usually tell when a “how to buy real estate and make a million dollars with none of your own money” seminar comes to town. There would be an uptick of people asking about property for sale, not taking the time to talk to a bank or to begin to understand not just the benefits of owning a home, but the cost of home ownership and the risks involved.

Why is that? What would cause thousands of people to flock together for an investment seminar? Or to stand in line, not to buy a house to live in, but to buy a house with the intent of reselling it upon closing?

As a real estate broker, I first got into real estate because I wanted to learn about buying and selling homes, about investments, so I understand the attraction.

What I am talking about though, is more of the “herd mentality”.

There is an old TV show called “Candid Camera” This video clip was taken in the 1960’s and shows us, in a comical way, the influence of group behavior with something as simple as the direction we are facing in an elevator. What direction would you face?

You can watch a similar, more current video clip from a TV show called Brain Games. If you were in a waiting room, waiting for an eye exam, would you stand up just because others in the room did?

If I was at a restaurant and it was on fire, I am all for everyone following the crowd, getting out of the building, and saving lives.

Here is my question.

Once local media publishes a few articles about how the real estate market is shifting, how it is no longer a seller’s market, and how prices are no longer going up, an interesting thing happens. The basic truth of a slowing market becomes a self fulfilling prophecy to everyone who reads the article. If the market is slowing maybe I should offer far less as a hedge against dropping prices. Should I wait to buy a house until prices become way more affordable. How far down will they drop?

The answer to these questions may be yes, or may be no. You should look at your individual situation and see what works best for you. If interest rates went up, how would that affect your buying power? One price range or area of town may not be impacted the same way as another. If you want to live in an area where major positive improvements are being done that will create more demand, would now be a better time to buy or not?

What about selling? You may feel the pressure to sell before prices decline too much. Maybe you should. On the other hand, there may be other factors affecting your life that are more important than which direction the real estate market is going.

Whether in real estate or in life, getting the facts and making informed decisions that work best for you, is the key.

Thank you for listening to and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.

The French Rivera and Spaghetti – Transcript

Tom, here.

This is where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

You can also go more in depth by clicking on the links in this Episodes Transcript.

You have some money and are trying to decide where you might get the highest return on it if you buy a rental property. Now, where in the world would you go? What Country would you choose?

Can you guess who number one is? The Philippines with a 6.13% rental yield.

Canada comes in at number 17 with a rental yield of 3.9%. Learn about the other 23 cities from this Business Insider article.

When you think of the French Riviera, what comes to mind? Your last vacation? The Mediterranean Coastline? A movie set on the French Riviera? How about home ownership where 25% of the buyers are British, 20% French, and the balance from a host of other countries. This may be in part because France has no restrictions on foreign buyers other than the amount of time spent in their second home.

Want to buy a home in South America? How about Panama? Kent Davis is an agent in Panama and he has some excellent words of wisdom for you if you want to buy a home there. One piece of advise is the concept of time. That new construction home just might take a couple of years rather than the one to one and half years you are quoted. Who should you trust. How many ways can you be taken advantage of? Should you believe what you are told?

What are the most popular homes in the U.S. people bookmarked or saved during their searches? Trulia pulls back the curtain so you can learn more about these homes, whether the $71,534. home in Hunstville, Alabama or the $10,750,000. home in Washington D.C.

Prices Reduced in Sydney Australia by 4.5%. An article in Forbes explains why the Australian real estate market is declining, including the fact that 40% of all mortgages are interest only.

Let’s talk about real estate in the State of Montana.

You might consider the two ranches offered by Mort & Donna Fliescher for $50 million dollars. Of course only 7,000. acres of those acres are located in Montana.

Montana is the fourth largest State in the U.S. yet only has a little over a million people.

With good appreciation and mortgage delinqency rates two thirds of the national average, there is a lot to like here. With it’s “A” rated schools Bozeman is the top place in the state to live as well as one of the top 100 in the nation.

Billings, the largest city in Montana with a 2016 population of just over 110,000 has seen values increase 95.67% between the first quarter of 2000 and the first quarter of 2018.

Going west, what is happening in the Portland Oregon Vancouver Washington area?

A new record has been set for the most paid to buy a home in Portland’s Multnomah County . The Eastman-Shaver house in the west hills of Portland sold for close to $7,000,000. Learn more about this Mediterranean Style home. You might ask, “Just how much are the Property Taxes on this home?” The answer: A mere $65,000. per year.

Can you break a piece of raw spaghetti in two?

What typically happens?

When you bend the two ends and the piece of spaghetti snaps, it will in most cases break into three pieces.


That is the question first asked by physicist Richard Feynman and explained by two French physicists who received a Nobel Prize in 2005 for their theory.

The initial break would cause a “snap back” effect which would travel along the piece of spaghetti. It was how the spaghetti would fracture.

Two MIT students just became the first to be able to consistently break those pieces of spaghetti into two pieces after building upon the mathematical model of the French physicists.

What does spaghetti have to do with anything other than a great meal?

It could have a positive impact on a better understanding of steel struts used in buildings and bridges.

I think there is also an analogy here as it relates to real estate negotiations and personal disagreements.

We need to learn how to stop fracturing relationships and negotiations when we are at different ends of the proverbial piece of spaghetti.

We need to realize there is a point at which expectations snap and the negotiation process can be slowed down or abruptly ended.

It is only as we decide to stick together toward a common goal or understanding, that we are thrown into the pot of boiling water, become flexible in our attitude, and often come full circle so that the ends of the warm pot of spaghetti pieces are not so far apart.

How do we know when the spaghetti or negotiations are successful? I was always told to throw a piece against the wall and if it sticks, it is ready. I guess the same might be said for negotiations and interaction. When both parties have come together, softened their positions, and come to a mutually acceptable position that sticks, it is time to have some dinner.

Thank you for listening to and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.

One Persons Trash is Anothers Island Home – Transcript

Tom, here.

This is where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

The transcript provides links for you to go more in depth on the topics covered here.

There is only so much land on this earth so what other options do we have?

No Land? No Problem? Will technology save the day when it comes to a land shortage? There is an off the grid floating home a Canadian Couple spent twenty years building. You will find one person’s trash is anothers floating island home as shown by British Artist Richart Sowa. Even though you might enjoy a slide show video of Amazing Floating Homes, can floating homes really solve any of societies problems? Amsterdam came up with a plan to help alleviate their housing shortage by building floating homes.

What shows up in the World News for real estate?

CNN has a great article about the rising prices and the strong real estate market in Europe. Prices in Madrid have risen 10% and Dublin has seen nearly 12% increase in the first quarter. Another trend? Younger buyers are choosing smaller cities where they feel they can get a better quality of life.

One area where prices continue to be reduced is in the Countryside of Italy. Global Property Guide has an in depth article about what is happening in Italy’s Real Estate Market. With interest rates as low as 1.92% earlier this year, wouldn’t you expect a housing boom? Learn what is holding back a boom from happening in various parts of Italy. Keep in mind the number of owner occupied households they have. Would you guess it to be 60%? 70%? Maybe 80%? If you have to guess. Guess on the high side.

Have you ever thought about what the home ownership rates are in other countries around the world? There is a Wikipedia article that might surprise you.

Everyone strives for home ownership, right?

There is an article in Business Insider entitled “I’m a financial planner — here’s why I won’t buy a home” The author doesn’t say he wouldn’t invest in real estate. What he does say is that he won’t own the home he lives in. It’s an article worth reading.

Kind of unusual that someone would choose not to be a home owner isn’t it?

Maybe not so unusual if you lived in Germany. Although home ownership rates in Spain and Ireland are in the eighty plus percent range, Germany is on the other end of the scale for European Countries at about half that, or forty one percent. Why choose to rent over buy? Banking requirements for home ownership and government regulation may play a part in the decision and satisfaction with renting.

Did you know there is the “Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development” or OECD. It has a Better Life Index where it focuses on housing, education, jobs, and even life satisfaction across many countries of the world. Don’t visit this website unless you also want to learn about Work-Life Balance.

What is happening in the U.S. in the area of real estate?

Let’s look at the State of Florida.

If you are looking for an entry level Luxury Home in Sarasota County, you will pay 19.7% more than last year, That is the highest rate in the nation for the twenty fastest growing Luxury Markets studied.

Ever wonder what your real estate agent does on their off time? Donna Kalil spends her time off capturing Burmese pythons as part of a Python Elimination Program by South Florida’s Water Management District. Her largest? About twelve feet long.

Take 10,000. neighborhoods across the United States, focus on six factors including appreciation, crime, schools, and unemployment, and what do you find? You find that the Pine Ridge Neighborhood in the Naples Florida Metro area is the 10,000. to 1 favorite.

Did you know that Florida was number one of the top five states for Foreign Investors according to the National Association of Realtors?

Let’s go from the southeastern United States to the Northwest United States, the Portland Oregon Vancouver Washington Metro area.

Oregonlive has a great article about the 10 Portland-Vancouver neighborhoods where prices reduced over the last year. To put it a little more accurately, the median price declined year to year for the second quarter. The area with the biggest drop? The 97202 zip code which includes the Sellwood, Moreland, and Richmond neighborhoods where the median price declined 10.2%.

Can’t look at what has gone down without wondering which neighborhoods are the most in demand. The top two are North Aloha or 97003 zip code and North Hillsboro or the 97124 zip code, which is also the location of the 2018 Northwest Natural Street of Dreams.

That is a good reminder that no matter what city you live in, your homes value and amount of demand for it, can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood for the same size and quality of house.

Have you ever watched a time lapse of a water lilly opening and closing? Quite a beautiful site.

Some of us are so focused on what we see on the surface of the pond, we don’t begin to think about all of the plant and fish life underneath it.

There are variations of thought provoking stories about the lily pad.

If you had a pond with one lily pad in it and every day the number of lily pads doubled. At the end of 30 days the pond is completely full. The question is, how many days into the month are you when the pond is 1/2 full? As you might has guessed, the answer is not half way through the month which would be fifteen days.

The next question might be, if you were driving past that pond, on what day might you realize that the lily pads were there? Let’s say it is the 28th which is when the pond is 1/4th full. That leaves us plenty of time to correct the lily pad problem, right? After all, 75% of the pond is unaffected. However, 28 out of 30 days means about 93% of our month is gone, over. That leaves us just 7% of the month to take corrective action, even though only 25% of the pond is covered with a problem.

Maybe that is one reason why , whether in real estate or in life, it makes sense to solve problems when they are small.

Thank you for listening to and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.

The Houses 3D Printers Built – Transcript

Tom, here.

This is where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

Remember, you can check the transcript for this episode for links to information that peak your interest.

How in the world is real estate these days?

Techcrunch has an article about a new startup called Kazas. It aims to transform

the real estate process in Spain by reducing keystrokes,and saving the consumer time, providing accurate information and additional services. For those of you buying, selling, or working as an agent in other parts of the world, you should be thankful if you don’t have to go through the current four month home buying process.

What does British Columbia have in common with eight states in the U.S.? According to Realty Biz News, real estate agents will not be able to represent both parties in a real estate transaction, commonly referred to as Dual Agency.

Can you guess one country where the Luxury Home Market is booming? Vietnam it is. MansionGlobal has an article that does a great job of explaining the factors contributing to this expanding market including legislative changes, being more affordable than other popular Asian locations, and the coming completion of mass transit and airports in the country.

Where are we finding appreciation slowing and prices being reduced? Bloomberg has an article entitled “The End of The Global Housing Boom” where some of the players affected are London, Beijing, Sydney, and Manhattan.

Get your printer out and let’s build a house. Well, maybe not your printer but 3D printers have made the news.

In Switzerland, a robot builds a 3 story home.

In Shanghai, 10 houses are built in one day by 3D printers.

Learn more about the 3D printer that builds homes for a cost of $4,000. in 24 hours or less in developing countries and for about $10,000. as shown in Austin Texas.

Let’s take a closer look at the U.S. and the state of Idaho.

Boise has a shortage of housing due to the influx of people calling it home. Rents have risen 20% over the last year. One thousand units a year are needed for the projected influx.

It is also listed as number three of the 172 best cities in the U.S. to flip houses in, according to an article by Wallethub. Of course, it was beat out by another Idaho city, Nampa, which took the number two spot. Who took number one? Is it your city?

Now, who would have thought that a rock thrown in the water halfway across the world would impact Boise Idaho.

What metaphorical rock?

Here is what Idaho’s Erik Kingston says in this Idaho Press article “the nationwide market is being affected by a huge influx of investment from overseas, largely from China.”

So what happens in China, doesn’t stay in China. The large influx of investment capital dropped in the world’s real estate markets have created a financial title wave washing over the shores of even Boise Idaho.

Lets invest in ourselves for a moment.

Whether a real estate transaction or personal interaction, isn’t it our expectations that in large part determine whether we feel we are treated fairly or taken advantage of?

If you want to be entertained, there is a video except from Frans De Waals Fairness Study with Capuchin monkeys. Two Capuchin monkeys in cages side by side are given pieces of cucumber and in return they giveback a rock. Both monkeys quickly return a rock for each piece of cucumber. But what happens when one of the monkeys is given a more enjoyable treat, such as a grape. Now, you can search for this video or go to the transcript of this episode and watch what happens.

Real Estate prices in many parts of the world are still increasing. But what if you are in a location where they are leveling off but your expectations are that they are still increasing?

What if you make an offer on a piece of property not expecting the seller to take it, and they do?

How do you feel when you put your house up for sale and multiple offers come in. Was it under priced? You work through that and then the appraisal comes back low which means the bank says it is not worth what your buyer was willing to pay.

When you are buying or selling a house and there are two or three of you having to agree on what you are doing, are your expectations different?

Now here is the big question.

Which one of you is correct in your expectations?

I expect you learned something listening today.

Thank you for listening to and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.