Wednesday, February 25, 2009

House Designs

When it comes designing houses, people come up with ideas as diverse as the universe itself. Here are some interesting ones I saw on youtube

Going green? Here is a guy that is making Recycled Homes

And homes that the big bad wolves dream of blowing down

Here is an interesting Sliding House

This is a nicely built cave house, but unfortunately being foreclosed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Can you change the world?

Can you change the world? Can a single person determined to make a change for the better succeed in a world full of obstruction and negativity? More importantly, what if you were to believe the world of negativity that you cannot make a difference and join the self defeating ideas of a world asleep? Surely, you would have lost even before you ever started. However, if you believe you can give a try despite the world of negativity, you have given yourself a fair  chance. A chance that can make a difference. Here is a wonderful video that says just that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Atlanta Properties Group

Today I swithed to a different broker; Atlanta Properties Group. Keller Williams Realty has served me well, but I decided it was time to try out a different broker in order to find a broker close to where I am. I believe Atlanta Properties Group is well positioned to help me serve my clients in the best possible ways.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

February 14th marks a day set aside for the lovers and the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of valentines... but the history of the Valentines day is far more amusing when you look at its history. According to the Wikiedia, the Valentine's Day was originally a pagan festival that was renamed after two Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. Yes, you read that right! If you want to find out more, just dig into the Wikipedia link mentioned above and/or read "The History of Valentine's Day" from Regardless, enjoy the day by sending out a Valentine to your favorite person!

Wish all my readers A Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What are banks doing with the bailout money?

Many have been wandering what the banks are doing with the bailout money as they seem to be hoarding it, instead of helping to ease the credit crunch. In this article titled "Bank CEOs flogged in Washington" CNN is reporting the CEOs of 8 top banks being questioned by the law makers for the unwillingness to lend to consumers. So, the real question that we have to ask as tax payers is "what are the banks doing with our handouts?"

While I have no insight into the practices of banks, I can only postulate.  Here is what I think... Imagine you are a home owner getting squeezed by the credit crunch. If some one were to give you a lot of money that you could use for whatever you like, what would you do? Go and blow it out on a new car, new furniture, and big screen TVs and home entertainment systems? That would be one way to spend it, but if it were me, I'd hoard that cash and spend thriftily so I wont go into foreclosure. Now imagine a bank that has acquired many homes thru foreclosure proceedings, being squeezed by the credit crunch and forced to sell those homes at huge discounts to avoid bankruptcy. Now, if a benevolent government were to hand them a ton of other people's money, all of a sudden they don't have to feel the tightening of the screws any more. Instead of being forced to sell the homes at a huge discount, the bank can hold on to the properties much longer and can afford to reject the low ball offers. Instead of lending to the consumers at around 5.5% and risk loosing money again, it seems much more profitable to hold on to the houses longer in hope of a recovery and reduce the losses with the free money. In a way you cannot blame them, but the money was given for the specific reason of unthawing the credit markets. I could very well be wrong here, but I think this is the reason why the banks are behaving as they are. While the bankers get bailed out with public money to protect their assets, the consumer gets left out in the cold to be foreclosed. In any case, it is us, the consumer, that gets screwed once again!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bottom in sight?

Lately, I have seen a number of articles looking for a bottom in real estate.  I tend to agree since we have been in a recession for well over a year, housing affordability is better than ever, along with lower mortgage rates and the government taking corrective action in multiple fronts.  Although I dont have a crystal ball, I believe there are many reasons to expect the prices to stabilize in the near future. In my opinion, some of these reasons are;
However, these reasons are not enough to stabilize the market. With the consumer confidence at record lows, and huge unemployment numbers, the would be buyers have been delaying the purchases further. So, what remains to happen before the sentiment changes is the creation of new jobs. Hopefully, this is issue will be addressed by the bailouts, for what they are worth.

It is hard to predict exactly where the real estate market will be in the future just as much as it is hard to predict where the stock market will be headed. However, if you buy responsibly whiten your means in this down market, a home can be a long term investment, in addition to providing you shelter and tax breaks. As each person is in a unique situation with different circumstances, each person should evaluate their own situation when making such decisions. While a brand new expensive mansion will be an option for one person, a fire sale fixer upper with a big discount might be the option for another. Whichever option suits you best, there are far more options available to the home buyer today than to the buyers of yesterday.

Here are some articles that I've been reading recently
Hovnanian's CEO Foresees Housing Are We Drawing Near a Housing Bottom?
Can We Expect a Springtime Bounce in Housing Prices?
The Future of California's Housing: Shortage Ahead?
Homebuilders Agree: January Was A Good Month
Searching for a Housing Bottom? Look at New Sales Activity
Seeking Stabilization in the Housing Market? Look at This Chart
Housing Inventories Offer Positive News
New Home Market Inches Closer to Normal
A Nation of Mortgage Slaves