Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It may be snowing outside but the festivities continue inside.

The ice & snow continue to remind us that we are only half way through the winter season. Even the freezing cold air and slushy sidewalks fails to shut down our wonderful little city.

Last Friday evening, I joined some friends for an early dinner and on to the World Premiere opening of "Coming Home" by Athol Fugard, at the Long Wharf theatre. The lobby was filled as usual, but it was such fun saying "Hello" to friends as I made my way across the room to my seat.

Coming Home is Fugard's follow-up of his play Valley Song, revisiting the same characters 10 years later.The main character, Veronica, comes home to Nieu-Bethesda in order to make plans for her young son's future, knowing that aids will end her life soon. The sadness of the story is balanced by the humor & lovable character of Alfred, whom Veronica has chosen to be her husband and father for her son.

It was a wonderful performance and we all joined the cast & crew for a champagne celebration after.

So it really does not matter that the Mayor has imposed a parking ban and the snow continues to fall and freeze. Life in New Haven just moves indoors. Next week it will be the Symphony at Woolsey Hall; a lecture about Picasso at the Yale Art Gallery; the Exhibition Tour of,The Tea Culture of Japan; and I must not forget the Super Bowl (but I must confess I don't know who will be playing).

Monday mornings mean - back to reality. Yes, homes continue to sell and buyers continue to surf the web sites looking for the best values.

Remember, that as many people that have spent and lived beyond their means or lost their jobs - there are a lot of people who have not. These are the people who are now taking advantage of the the decreasing home values; low interest rates; buying larger homes for less money and they still have a job to go to come Monday morning.

For those who have their home for sale and no showings or offers, it's always the price. When a home is priced right, there is a good chance you will get multi offers. It really does happen, even in this market.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it the extreme weather or the inauguration?

Well, the day is finally here and our city has come to a halt. Is it the extreme cold weather that is keeping people home or is it a preoccupation with the final days before we have a new President in the White House?

No matter where you are, conversation centers around the historic swearing in ceremony in Washington. Many friends and neighbors are making the trip, in some form of travel, just to see and be a part of history; no matter what the accommodations, or frigid weather they will have to endure, or form of travel needed to get there.

On the local streets and in the office, people are happy and the atmosphere is excitable. It's hard to focus on real estate. Tomorrow, I'm sure the office will be quiet, as people watch the swearing in ceremony.

In New Haven, the day will end with a Gala Inaugural Ball at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. I am particularly excited, because my granddaughter, Justine and her friend Roberto,will be joining me for an evening of dinner and dancing. The music of Phil Brown's Top Notch, 12-piece orchestra and Aqua ha Chocolate, a 10 piece salsa band, will provide the music and entertainment of dance exhibitions that will include Kenyan dancers and a performance by the Latin Heat Dancers. A large screen TV will show the festivities going on in Washington and the Inaugural Ball, all happening at the same time. A portrait painted by Tony Falcone, of Obama titled "Acceptance" will be auctioned to raise scholarship money, later in the evening.

Meanwhile, people are beginning to call the office for appointments to talk about - has the time finally come to list their home? I do think that we have bumped along the bottom of the housing market long enough and people are ready to get on with their lives.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Investing In Real Estate For You and Your Children's Future

Over the holidays I spent a lot of time with family, especially the grandchildren who range in age from 7 to 26. Dinner conversations were lively & boisterous.

The topics centered around academics, sports & scholarships. Academics were a given because everyone was expected to do well & be on a honor roll or Deans List. Homework was not complained about except by the parents, who insisted there was just to much. Sports were a never ending discussion. The pressure to be the best was really amazing. Is this peer pressure or parent expectations for financial benefit?

The daily schedules the kids & parents have to manipulate are more challenging then any wedding planner would have to endure. Not mentioned yet are the community volunteerism projects needed to round out a good school application.

As the cost of education rises along with cost of living, scholarships become increasingly important. Lowering the stress levels of all involved -
needs to be considered.

Here is one suggestion, that if started early enough, could alleviate some of the pressures parents & children face.

If parents or grandparents bought an investment home when the child and/or grandchildren were young, and sold when the time for college arrived, the appreciation of the investment could be substantial.

The pros are: mortgage interest rates are the lowest ever in many, many years; the inventory of homes available to choose from is very high; sellers are willing to negotiate because of credit debt and poor decisions made in an unstable economy.

The only con I can think of could be - if you purchased the largest & most expensive home in the neighborhood. Your protection would be a a good Realtor, who can give you supportive info and opinions of the neighborhood with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). a good day to start investing.