Updates from December, 2012

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  • The Reasons People Move [INFOGRAPHIC]

    11:20 am on December 28, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , chart, , , , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Charts, Consumer news and advice, People, Real Estate Trends, Seller Info, Statistics, The Housing Market

    by The KCM Crew on December 28, 2012


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  • Family Travel Five: Celebrity Haunts

    9:23 am on July 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: celebrity news, travel trends,   Filed under: Consumer news and advice, People, Tourism

    (MCT)—When it comes to valuing getaways, celebrity parents are no different than the rest of us. Here are five places, inspired by the travels of the rich and famous, where any family can deepen their bonds:

    1. The Galápagos Islands. The Jolie-Pitt clan is often on the move. While private jets, nannies and security teams take some of the hassle out of traveling with six kids, these high-profile parents seem determined to show their children the world. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and the children recently stopped in the Galápagos Islands, a World Heritage site off the coast of Ecuador, where they snorkeled, played in the sand and visited several of the islands made famous by Charles Darwin.

    It was reported the family divided their time between a luxury yacht and a land-based resort.

    (More …)

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  • Buying a Home? What About Greece? The Election?

    9:01 am on June 14, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, economy, Federal Goverment, Interest Rates, International, mortgage, People, Seller Info

     by Steve Harney

    As I travel across the country speaking with thousands of agents a month, I am always amazed at the first two questions I am usually asked:

    What impact will the European economic crisis have on real estate here in the U.S.?

    Shouldn’t people wait until after the election to find out who will be the President before buying a home?

    Today, I want to tell a story about Kevin Miller who works here at Keeping Current Matters and just signed contracts on the home he and Crystal, his wife, are purchasing. Kevin got married about a year ago and recently found out that he is about to become a father. He’s a great guy who truly loves his bride and wants the best for her and their family. It is for that reason that Kevin and his wife started to look
    for a home of their own.

    What About Greece?

    Kevin and I have discussed the purchase at times and the interesting thing is the European situation never came up – not even once! It isn’t that Kevin is naive to the situation. He probably understands it better than most as he has a degree in International Business and Economics. But, he isn’t buying a house in Greece or Spain. He is buying a home in Babylon,New York – in a wonderful neighborhood with a nice backyard that his future children will play in. Does the world economy impact his purchase? Yes it does. It is one of the major reasons he is getting a 30-year mortgage rate under 4%.

    What About the Election?

    Again, it never came up. We did talk about the fact that he is buying the home for a fraction of what it would have sold for just a few years ago. We did discuss the great school district. We did talk about how convenient the neighborhood is to the things he and Crystal love. Did we talk about the election? No.

    Not that the election won’t have an impact. It was just announced that Congress will postpone its decision on the government’s role in mortgage financing until next Spring (aka until after the election). The new rules, which are anticipated to be more stringent than the current rules, won’t be enacted until after Kevin, Crystal and their child are comfortably living in their dream home financed by a 30-year mortgage at an historically low interest rate. Meanwhile, no one knows what the new mortgage requirements will even be next year.

    Is the situation in Europe important? Of course. Is this election one of the most important in our nation’s history? Many believe so. Did either of these situations enter Kevin’s mind while he was deciding to buy a home? No.

    He was too busy caring about his wife, his new child and his family’s happiness.


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  • Future of U.S. Housing Markets Depends Largely on Echo Boomers

    8:58 am on May 24, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: echo boomers, ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, economy, NAR, National Association of Realtors, People, Seller Info, Statistics, The Housing Market

    The next two decades in housing markets depends largely on the Echo Boomers. That’s according to panelists at the “Shifting Demographics and Housing Choice: A Whole New World?” session held recently during the REALTORS® 2012 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

    There are approximately 62 million echo boomers in the U.S. Also called “millennials,” echo boomers are currently ages 17-31. According to the 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, younger home buyers—those ages 18-34—represent 31 percent of all recent home purchases.

    “We know that although many young people may be delaying home purchases in today’s economic climate, (More …)

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  • Michael Saunders & Company Foundation Information

    12:14 pm on June 2, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , ,   Filed under: Agent information, Buyer Info, Communities, Michael Saunders & Company, People, Seller Info

    Click on below image for a printable format.

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  • If Prices Are Falling, Why Are the Rich Buying?

    4:33 pm on March 15, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , upper end housing market   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Credit, economy, Federal Goverment, Home owner information, Luxury, People, Seller Info, The Housing Market

    by The KCM Crew on March 14, 2011

    There is an interesting phenomenon taking place in the real estate market. While house prices are falling, the rich are starting to purchase. DataQuick Information Systems reported last week that sales on homes $1 million or more rose 18.6% last year after four consecutive years of decline. This is at the same time that sales outside of this price point actually fell 2.8%.

    And even more amazing is that homes over $5 million have also increased substantially. Housing Wire reported that:

    In 2010, 975 homes sold in this bracket, up nearly 14% from the year prior.

    Why would the wealthy be starting to purchase especially when everyone is predicting that prices will soften? The people of wealth understand finances. They realize that the COST of real estate is a much more important than its PRICE. With the government attempting to make massive changes to the residential lending business, the wealthy know financing  a home may never be better. They realize it is time to buy. They can purchase a million dollar+ home for a rate lower than at almost any time in history.

    Rates are at historic lows and the spread for jumbo loans has shrunk dramatically. As CNN Money explained: (More …)

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  • What U.S. Cities are the Best Places for Retirement? Portfolio.com Ranks the Most Attractive for Seniors

    9:32 am on December 20, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , people relocation, , ,   Filed under: Baby Boomers, Bradenton, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Manatee, People, Relocation, Retirement, Sarasota, Seller Info

    Top Ten List Dominated By Warm Weather Cities

    /PRNewswire/ — Portfolio.com – the national business news site for small and mid-sized business (SMB) executives – today revealed its latest U.S. Uncovered study, ranking the most popular and desired cities for retirement. The study, which used a six-part formula to rank 157 metropolitan and micropolitan markets with at least 40,000 seniors, named Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida as the number one choice for seniors’ post-retirement plans.

    “Beginning next year, an unprecedented three million Americans will turn 65. While most of these seniors are expected to stay in their current homes, a significant number will decide to seek new places to live in other parts of the country,” said J. Jennings Moss, editor of Portfolio.com. “In addition to warm cities, we’ve also seen that seniors are attracted to communities that already have a significant population of retirees. This demonstrates that seniors will go to places that already have a comfortable infrastructure in place.”

    Already thought to be the classic retirement destination, the state of Florida is home to eight of the top ten cities in the survey, with Bradenton-Sarasota taking the top spot. Senior citizens represent 26.81 percent of the city’s population, which is more than double the national average of 12.9 percent. With a population of 688,126, Bradenton-Sarasota is the largest city among the top 10, while Homosassa Springs, Fla. (#7) is the smallest with a population of 140,357. More than 95 percent of seniors residing in Bradenton-Sarasota were born out of state compared to only 53 percent of the elderly residents of a typical U.S. market who were born out of state.

    The Most Popular Retirement Cities  
    Bradenton-Sarasota, Fla.  
    Prescott, Ariz.  
    Lake Havasu City, Ariz.  
    Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.  
    Naples, Fla.  
    Palm Bay-Melbourne, Fla.  
    Homosassa Springs, Fla.  
    Ocala, Fla.  
    Punta Gorda, Fla.  
    Port St. Lucie, Fla.  

    Two cities from Arizona earned a place in the top 10. Prescott, Ariz. ranked #2 in the study with 23.6 percent of its population comprised of seniors. Lake Havasu City, Ariz. followed directly behind taking the #3 spot. The rest of the top 10 are occupied by Florida cities including Cape Carol-Fort Myers, Naples, Palm Bay-Melbourne, Homosassa Springs, Ocala, Punta Gorda and Port St. Lucie.

    “The study explores a wide variety of markets, both in terms of size and geography. The markets that ranked the highest in the study were areas where the population of seniors is already substantial and growing rapidly,” said G. Scott Thomas, a nationally-recognized demographer who created the analysis for Portfolio.com. “While not surprising that many cities in the top 30 were from the southeast and southwest, there are several cities that have broken the stereotype of beach retirement communities including Seaford, Del. (#13), Barnstable, Mass. (#14) and Eugene, Ore. (#29) from the north.”

    The study used data from the American Community Survey, which was conducted in 2009 and released in September 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data was used from the top 157 metropolitan and micropolitan areas with at least 40,000 residents that can be classified as seniors. Rankings were determined using six statistical indicators: seniors as a share of the total population, median age, seniors born out of state, incoming seniors, difference in out-of-state births and difference in incoming rates.

    The U.S. Uncovered series provides original, insightful analysis of the American lifestyle and business trends of interest to the highly lucrative market of small- and mid-sized business executives, who will fuel the country’s economic recovery over the next five years.  Most recently, the U.S. Uncovered revealed the most educated cities with a unique “Brainpower Index,” ranking Boulder, Colo. as America’s smartest city. The series also disclosed the rankings of the cities with the “Highest Income Growth,” ranking El Paso as the city with the most growth potential; “Most Stressful Place in America,” ranking Detroit as the most stressful city; “Best Mid-size Places to Live” ranking Boulder, CO as the small city with the highest quality of life; “Best Big Places to Live,” ranking Raleigh as #1;  “Best Cities to have fun,” ranking New York City as #1; “Top U.S. Wealth Centers,” naming Newport Beach as #1; “Small Business Vitality,” naming Texas the best state and Austin the top city for small business; and “Best Places for Young Adults,” naming the Southwestern region the new frontier for young Americans with Austin as #1. About Portfolio.com

    Portfolio.com is the national business news site for small and mid-sized business executives. Comprising original, in-depth reporting, thought-provoking insights, colorful features, exclusive analysis of custom research, and an intelligent business-news filtering tool, Portfolio.com is the first national business media outlet dedicated solely to delivering actionable news and information to this coveted audience. Portfolio.com relaunched in December 2009 as the information destination for business executives, insiders and strategists within the growing and profitable American City Business Journals.

    About American City Business Journals

    American City Business Journals engages 13.5 million decision makers each month through the company’s 40 newsweeklies, 42 Web sites, digital newsletters and more than 400 local events across the country. It is the largest publisher of business-to-business information in the United States. More than 4 million readers each week engage with exclusive, in-depth coverage of local business communities; some 9 million unique monthly users engage with the company’s digital content; more than 11 million e-newsletters are delivered each month via email; and the company sees more than 1 million mobile page views each month. American City is a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which also operates Condé Nast Magazines, Parade magazine, Fairchild Publications, the Golf Digest companies, Newhouse Newspapers and cable television interests.

    Media contacts:  
    Sharon Oh / Maggie Duquin Nolan  
    Brainerd Communicators, Inc.  
    (212) 986-6667  

     SOURCE Portfolio.com


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  • Myths: The Earth Is Flat and Newspapers Sell Houses

    3:23 pm on November 16, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   Filed under: Agent advice, Agent information, Best Practices, Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Listing Presentation, NAR, National Association of Realtors, Newspaper Industry, People, Seller Info, Web

    by The KCM Crew on November 16, 2010 · 

    It is amazing how masses of people can believe something that is absolutely untrue. The greatest example of this is that at one time the vast majority of people believed the world to be flat. Today, we want to debunk another commonly held belief – that newspapers sell houses. Somehow this notion gained believability even though the facts consistently prove it to not be true.

    We should know what methods perspective purchasers use to find the home of their dreams when we are selling our house. That would enable us to develop the best marketing strategy to attract a buyer. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has just released the 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers*. This report is recognized by most as the best compilation of data on today’s buyers and sellers because of the enormous amount of data available at NAR’s fingertips.

    Let’s look at the actual search habits of today’s buyers as reported by NAR:

    It might interest everyone to know that less than 2% looked in newspapers, magazines or home buying guides when starting the search process. What do most buyers do?


    We can see that buyers today want to explore their options online (combined 47%) or check with industry professionals (combined 27%). You might be ready to argue that the use of the internet is a new phenomenon over the past year or so. However, the report looks back over the last nine years. Though it is true that the percentage of those using the internet has dramatically increased (from 8% to 37%), it might interest you to find out that even back in 2001 only 9% of buyers found their home through print media (again, that number is now 2%).

    If you want to develop a great marketing strategy to give your house maximum exposure, forget newspapers and look toward the internet. Where on the internet? The NAR report breaks down the most searched web sites this way:


    The buyer is attracted to the type of sites that have the greatest number of listings. These sites are normally generated by the real estate industry. You should make sure your home is on as many of these sites as possible. That will give you the best chance of attracting your buyer.

    Bottom Line

    Print media never was a great way to market a house for sale and its effectiveness is diminishing each year. Meet with a local real estate professional and put together an internet marketing strategy worthy of your home.


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  • Communities can age gracefully

    10:25 am on October 28, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Communities, People, Sarasota, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info

    By Ted C. Fishman

    For the past three years, I have been traveling in Asia, Europe and the U.S. to get a glimpse at a world population that is growing ever older. Before long, throughout the developed world, there will be more people over age 50 than there are under 15. This has never happened before.Older people, more than any other group, have borne the brunt of an increasingly mobile world where jobs and money move ever more speedily around a globe. Older workers don’t move or find new opportunities as swiftly as companies and capital do. Yet, one of the most hopeful and surprising trends in our rapidly aging world is the reassertion by communities of the qualities that make them uniquely attractive and less vulnerable to the tides that gut them of young people and leave older people to endure economic decline.

    In my travels, two American communities — industrial Rockford, Ill., and Sunbelt Sarasota, Fla. — offered contrasting views today of how a growing sense of place might figure in our older future to come.

    As in other challenged industrial cities, Rockford’s leaders face a local economy that often communicates to people in their 50s and older that they are past their use-by dates. Blame global competition. It moves many jobs abroad and spurs automation, which also destroys jobs for industrial workers. Nearly everywhere I go in Rockford, I meet former factory workers who feel they were urged to take early retirement or otherwise pressured out of their jobs too early. The local big box stores, and other employers that see the value of seasoned workers, suit them up for jobs. Few pay nearly the salaries the workers earned in their former gigs.

    Young move away

    One of the biggest complaints in town is that Rockford’s best-educated young people leave for the big urban metropolises, or go to select smaller places that are considered cool. Rockford is not cool. But it is trying.

    The city’s mayor was elected as a political novice at age 35 on a promise to make the city look and feel young again. His plan mirrors the ambitions of aging industrial cities across America. The schemes challenge the notion that economic fortune depends on how well a person, firm or place serves a wired, flat world. Instead, it argues for the creation of exhilarating places that have their own unique, attractive character that cannot be replicated in China or Brazil or wherever jobs might migrate to. A prime goal is to attract the young professionals and creative types who possess the generative juice to kick-start new economic activity. Cafes, river walks, cultural events and incentives for inventive businesses to fill in the decimated downtown are all part of Rockford’s plan.

     Ironically, one of Rockford’s great recent victories is the luring of a giant Chinese solar panel manufacturer to town. It didn’t want Rockford’s wooded paths or cafes. It wanted its Midwestern workers.

    What’s more, the niche that is best attracting new young professionals and creating jobs is the health care sector. It did not need local officialdom to help it grow. The needs of the growing numbers of elderly in the region took care of that. The hospitals are now the second largest employer in town. Older Rockford might not be the enemy of its rejuvenation; it might be the engine.

    Cool and old?

    Can a place get cool by getting old? That’s the idea in Sarasota, where one household in two is home to someone over 65. While the zeitgeist in Rockford makes people in their 50s feel old, in Sarasota someone 50, or 60, is a kid. Sarasota is flush with new not-for-profit organizations because retirees there crave new projects and start charities. The local Ringling cultural complex, which includes a circus museum, busies 700 older volunteers.

    There is so much going on in Sarasota to promote, and profit from, keeping older people engaged, active and healthy that one local civic organization touts the region as a kind of Silicon Valley for aging. It sounds paradoxical, but Sarasota’s critical mass of firms serving the older market produce a steady stream of innovation — in business models, services and technology — all with the needs and desires of late-life consumers in mind. Firms that pioneer innovative senior housing in Sarasota, for example, replicate it elsewhere.

    Unsurprisingly, one particularly competitive field is health care, the kind older people need and the kind they don’t, but spend for nonetheless. Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Health Care System is the second largest hospital in Florida. Some 1,300 doctors work in the area, a disproportionately high number for a population of 50,000. Highway 41 running past the main hospital is the kind of loosely zoned strip that other cities fill with car dealerships, but in Sarasota it’s a stretch of pharmacies, clinics and quasi-medical white-coat practices, most with big billboards.

    Health care is certainly a potent force in bringing outside money, what economists call “export” revenue, to town. It comes mainly in the form of federal Medicare funds. Specialties that rely on customers who pay their own way also flourish.

    Looking for a chiropractor, for prolotherapy or for a mesotherapy weight loss center? Highway 41 is the place. None of those businesses is relocating to cool or low-cost foreign climes. For them, Sarasota’s aging population has made it the best place to be. Even as Florida retirement communities go boom and bust, for Sarasota, being the community that best serves its older population gives it a vitality and stability other communities might well envy. And learn from.

    Ted C. Fishman is the author of the new book Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World’s Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation. He also is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.


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  • Island Style as seen in Sarasota Magazine, October 2010

    9:32 am on October 11, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , ,   Filed under: Communities, Luxury, People, Sarasota, The Gulf Islands

     A spectacular West Indies design breathes new life into a historic Siesta Key property.
    Author: Carol Tisch 
    Photographer: Matt McCourtney

    More than 100 years ago, one Sarasota family’s dream of a water-oriented, outdoor lifestyle on then remote Bay Island was realized by barging in a tiny wood frame bungalow from Tampa. Now a similar dream has led a young Sarasota family to build a grand new home on the property surrounding that historic 1905 cottage.

    Bay Island is a sliver of land separated by a canal from northern Siesta Key; today, you drive over the North Bridge to Bay Island and then cross another bridge to Siesta proper. But a century ago, visitors—who included celebrities and U.S. presidents, most friends of John Ringling—arrived by boat at Bay Island’s Hamilton Hotel and then traveled across the bridge by horse and cart to Siesta’s beaches. (More …)

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