Saturday, October 28, 2006

SW Florida Real Estate Market Report

Here is the latest in SW Florida real estate market news. Sales are down and prices are too, however there are some pieces of good news in this report.

Monday, September 25, 2006

SW Florida Real Estate Values Report August 2006

Linked Blog features links to Florida home sales statistics, and SW Florida real estate values and information. Great Resource for Lee County Florida and all of SW Florida real estate.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Texas Real Estate Market Reports

The 2006 real estate market report from the Texas Real Estate Center is now available on my website. The report covers census data, employment and unemployment, major industries, business climate, education, transportation and infrastructure issues, growth patterns and much more. Click on the link below to download this report.

2006 Real Estate Market Report

Some highlights from this report for the San Antonio area are as follows...

Average Home Prices in San AntonioThe median price for a San Antonio residential home in 2005 was $131,100. The required income to qualify for this home is $30,899 while the median family income in San Antonio during 2005 was $50,500. This means that a residential home is still attainable for the average San Antonio family.

Christina Whipple

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SW Florida Home Sales Report July 2006

Florida recently reported home sales for Fort Myers Cape Coral real estate as well as all of Florida. Read Full story here.

Friday, July 28, 2006

SW Florida Real Estate Home Sales Report

Latest numbers are out for Florida's housing market, including single family home sales and condo sales in SW Florida. Real estate sales in SW Florida have changed over the past year. Check out our Blog for the latest news and information.

Brett Ellis

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Go Star Power Annual Conference

Star Power Systems is hosting their annual conference in 2006 in New York City July 19-22. Top Agents from all over the world will be in attendance to hear today's latest and greatest techniques for selling real estate.

Brett Ellis will be a featured speaker in the Thurday AM Yechnology session entitled "Road Warrior Technology." To sign up, simply visit Go Star Power Annual Conference website here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The State of Housing in the State of Texas

During the past three years, there has been a global boom in housing prices, sales volume and construction. According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and other media, home prices in Shanghai surged 26 percent last year and 90 percent since 2000. In the past year, prices climbed 19 percent in Hong Kong, 48 percent in Bulgaria and France, 63 percent in Spain and nearly 100 percent in South Africa.

In the United States, the median home price rose nearly 33 percent during the past three years and 13 percent in 2005, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports the number of homes sold increased from 5.6 million in 2002 to an annualized level of nearly 7.1 million in 2005. The number of new single-family dwellings built increased 6.7 percent over the past year, from 1.531 million in 2004 to 1.635 in 2005.

Texas' housing boom reflects an active and growing housing market, but one experiencing a much slower rate of increase than the rest of the country. From 2002 to 2005, the Texas median-priced home increased from $124,500 to an estimated $136,500, a modest 9.6 percent. The average house price grew from $155,600 in 2002 to $174,100 in 2005, an 11.9 percent increase. MLS sales during that period increased from 201,422 to 265,886, a 32 percent increase.

National media have portrayed the rapid appreciation of housing as a price "bubble" that could suddenly and dramatically burst, leaving homeowners and the market reeling. But here in Texas, is a housing bubble fact or fiction? Could the housing market explode like an overinflated balloon? Probably not.

Several factors indicate that while Texas' housing market is doing well by historical standards, it is not experiencing a price bubble. Important indicators include:

  • Texas' home prices have appreciated at rates significantly less than the national rate.
  • Texas' current rate of home price increase is about equal to the "normal" rate of the past 15 years.
  • Across the country and around the globe, lower mortgage interest rates and easy mortgage credit are primary reasons for home price increases.
  • The median-price-to-median-family-income ratio in Texas is not disproportionate to the historical norm.
  • Residential construction in the state has maintained a reasonable balance between supply and demand, avoiding a shortage or excess supply situation.
  • The inventory of houses for sale is only slightly less than "normal," reflecting relative balance between supply and demand in the marketplace.
  • The national housing bubble, to the extent it exists, appears to be localized to several states and specific metropolitan areas with extraordinarily high rates of home appreciation.

Markets continually change and adjust to the primary factors that impact them. Some factors become more important at certain times, and other factors may have surprising effects, either good or bad. The economic outlook for the rest of 2006 includes modestly higher interest rates and continued increases in employment and personal income levels. These factors are among the most important to the housing market and housing prices.

If the rate of new home construction continues at the current pace with small-to-modest cost increases, there is no reason to anticipate a housing shortage that would drive prices up. If mortgage interest rates increase, as is generally regarded as probable, sales volume may decline somewhat, leading to more modest price gains.

As the overheated coastal housing markets begin to cool, Texas may see increased investor enthusiasm as focus shifts to Texas where price appreciation has been more moderate.

Source: Texas Real Estate Center

Sunday, April 23, 2006

BIG RIVER DAY Saturday June 10, 2006 Come and Join the FUN!!!

BIG RIVER DAY Saturday June 10, 2006 Come and Join the FUN!!!

Canoeing, Fishing Derbies,
River Clean-ups, Storm Drain Marking & More!
Marine City Fishing Fun Day: (10am – 1pm) Free fishing at Broadway Park on the corners of Water and Broadway streets. Fishing poles, tackle, and bait provided. Informational literature on Michigan’s fish and reptiles available. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact: Marine City Recreation at (810) 765-8094 or .
Marine City: Wastewater Plant Tours (8am – 11am) Have you ever given thought to where your dirty water goes after it leaves your house? How does it get cleaned? Find out during this unforgettable tour. Located at 1696 South Parker Street (M-29). Contact: Jeff Wren at (810) 765-9011 or

Visit My Web site,, for more information or Call Wynne on cell 586-260-7653

Monday, April 17, 2006

Texas Housing Affordability Index

It is common knowledge that housing in Texas is more affordable than in most other parts of the country. Just how much more affordable is clearer in light of changes to the Real Estate Center's Texas Housing Affordability Index (THAI). The Texas median-income family earns 79 percent more than necessary to acquire the median-priced Texas home at $129,100.

The equation for the affordability index is: Index = Median Family Income (MFI) Required Income to Qualify for a Conventional Purchase Mortgage (RI) Where: RI = Required Monthly Mortgage Payment × 12 Qualifying Ratio (QR)

The qualifying ratio is the lender-stipulated maximum ratio of monthly mortgage payment to gross monthly income allowed for a borrower to qualify for a mortgage loan. The required monthly mortgage payment is the amount the borrower will have to pay on an 80 percent, conventional mortgage at the effective interest rate for the area.

What this all means in generic terms is that it is easier for the average family living in Texas to purchase a home than for the average family living in most other areas of the country.

Christina Whipple

Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Blog SIte in SW Florida

A new and comprehensive weblog has been created in SW Florida. It contains links to search the MLS, school and governemnt information, as well as popular news feeds, hurricane information, travel and weather, and much more. Please visit The site was designed and hosted by Real Estate which designs top weblogs for real estate agents.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006



Ten Georgia Counties Among the Fastest-Growing in the U.S.

According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, ten Georgia counties are among the 40 fastest-growing counties in the nation in terms of population. The information was gathered between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005. The Georgia counties are listed below, followed by their percentage of growth, and are listed from largest to smallest increase:
Forsyth 6.4
Newton 6.2
Paulding 6.0
Barrow 5.8
Henry 5.6
Jackson 5.5
Effingham 5.4
Cherokee 5.4
Douglas 5.3
Walton 5.0
Coweta 4.3
Bryan 3.9

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How well do Limited Services Brokerages Perform?

How does limited service representation affect a property's time on the market and selling price? Recent research sponsored by the Texas Real Estate Center revealed that limited service representation can indeed have significant negative impacts.

Limited service representation and discount brokerages in single-family residential markets have been widely scrutinized by the real estate industry. The Internet portal Yahoo! moved from the sixth most visited real estate website to second (behind through its series of partnerships with limited service and discount brokerages. Some of these brokerages offer consumers menu-based pricing, with fees for specific services, such as listing the property on a MLS system, rather than an across-the-board fee for full representation. Others advertise sharply lower commissions while still promising to provide consumers with all of the traditional services.

Limited Service Research Results

Most of the study results were statistically significant, indicating valid relationships exist between limited service representation and marketing performance (time to sale and sales price). The empirical results show that limited service listings sold for 1.7 percent less than typical exclusive-right-to-sell listings and took 17.1 percent longer to sell. Given that the typical discount offered by limited service brokers is approximately 2 percent, there does not appear to be any net gain to sellers using limited service representation.

For example, if the limited service broker charges a total 4 percent commission, then the commission plus the 1.7 percent lower price is approximately equivalent to a 6 percent commission from the seller’s perspective. This would indicate that limited service brokerage offers no dollar advantages to the seller over typical brokerage when using the exclusive right to sell contract.

If "time on maket" is taken into consideration as well, then limited service brokerages could actually COST the seller depending on the fixed costs of carrying the property on the market (mortgage, maintenance, etc...).

But what about agent experience?

Other research has shown that agents associated with limited service brokerages, either no service or menu-based-pricing, tend to be less experienced than those with traditional brokerages. The Texas Real Estate Center study revealed that sellers using listing agents with less than two years of experience received 1.1 percent less for a house compared with sellers who used agents with two to five years of experience, and the marketing time was 1.9 percent longer. While 1.1 percent may not seem to be a large amount, it represented more than $1,900 for the average property in the study. If the listing agent had more than five years of experience, the seller received 0.8 percent more than sellers who used agents with two to five years of experience, and the property sold 1.5 percent faster.

Source: Texas Real Estate Center

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

For Millionaires Only? Naperville Segment Grows...

What's the buzz?
According to the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois...

In Naperville there are currently 172 Single Family (there are also 2 condos in the 520 Washington building) homes on the market over $1,000,000 - 24 of them are under contract (meaning pending a sale) leaving 148 properties for sale. In 2005 there were a total of 58 sales over $1,000,000.

What does it all mean?
If the market is as good as it was in 2005.... those 148 properties have the remaining months of the year to grab one of the remaining 36 sales. Leaving 112 disappointed Sellers ready to face the market in 2007. Of course, this is assuming that no other homes will be coming on the market in that time (silly assumption).

So if I'm a buyer what does this mean?
A buying opportunity! There are motivated sellers that will be be anxious to work with you.

If I'm a seller what can I do?
Be aggressive. Cutting edge marketing combined with realistic goals is the key to your success.

Is all hope lost?
No. In fact there is the evidence that this segment of the market may continue to grow, as evidenced by the yearly numbers:
2005 - 58 sales over $1,000,000
2004 - 37 sales over $1,000,000
2003 - 19 sales over $1,000,000
2002 - 17 sales over $1,000,000
2001 - 9 sales over $1,000,000

Another important fact to keep in mind are the increased numbers of custom built premium homes in this range that won't show up in the MLS system.

For a look at some of the premium homes in the Naperville area visit:
Luxury Homes of Naperville

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mega MLS

Where are the MLS goings? Are large MLS's better for consumers and the agents they serve?
It seems that our state of California is heading quickly towards having larger regional MLS systems. Northern California just announced the merger of 5 MLS regions into one and the writing is on the wall to have others. It is likely that by end of 2007 All of Northern California will be one MLS. Somebody will not join of course either by political or contract limitation but for the sake of this point over 120,000 will be on one system. If Southern California follows, as it appears it is headed with systems like the Alliance, soon all of California could be on one system.
Is this good or bad? And why?
Are agents going to try selling in areas they have no knowledge since they now can get easy access?
Are we going to get better services and MLS technology with economies of scale?
What are your thought?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2006 California Market Forecast from CAR

Leslie Appleton-Young, the Vice President and Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors, spoke at our office meeting last week. Armed with 100 power point slides, their predictions are for a Southern California “soft landing.” The reasons for this prediction include great financing terms, a strong job market, a growing economy, and low inventory.

A link to her presentation is included here. If the link doesn’t work, email me at

Friday, February 17, 2006

Texas Homestead Exemption

The Texas Homestead Exemption, in addition to providing legal protection regarding your home, can also save you money on your property tax bill. A homestead exemption reduces taxes by lowering a home's taxable value. All school districts offer a $5000 homestead exemption, and some taxing units offer a percentage exemption of up to 20% of a home's assessed value. Homeowners can lower their property taxes by applying for these exemptions for which they are eligible. You must own your own home and occupy it as your principal residence on January 1. You can have only one principal residence and one homestead exemption.

A special form is needed to apply for homestead exemptions. The form must be completed and returned to the appropriate appraisal office not before January 1 but no later than April 30. You can download the application from, fill out the form, and send it in to your appraisal district.

Don't fall for misleading solicitations to file your homestead exemption. There is no fee to file a property-tax homestead exemption. Shortly after the purchase of a home in Texas, you might receive letters on official-looking stationery offering to file your homestead exemption for you for a fee. Even some people who have lived in Texas their entire lives confuse these letters as a form from a state agency requiring a mandatory fee.

The actual process is both free and easy so take a few minutes to save yourself hundreds of dollars on your tax bill.

Christina Whipple

CA requirement is a little late - comparing February 2004 with February 2006

Life has little ironies, and real estate is no exception.

California buyers agents are now required to tell their buyers that the offers they make are not confidential. The seller and his agent may choose to share the information in your offer, such as the price and terms of the offer, with anyone, including another buyer or agent to entice them to outbid your offer. This information may be important to buyers because it may affect the price and/or terms of their offer. It could also affect what strategies might be used in order to get offers accepted, such as having an offer expire quickly before the seller has a chance to receive another one.

Now that this requirement is in place, however, there may not be many markets that find it useful. Calfornia, New York, and Florida are still in relatively strong sellers' markets, but here in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, it’s much closer to a normal market in February 2006. February 2004 in Southern California was another story, however, and that’s when this requirement would have been more useful because we had a double-digit number of offers on every property. The highest number of offers on one property that I was involved in was 26. My buyer didn't end up with that property, by the way. In fact, I wrote 15 offers at or above asking price in February 2004 and didn't end up with any of those properties. For February 2006, we have 3 offers written and accepted, all under asking price.

This requirement is just about 2 years too late, but it'll be in place the next time we're in the strong seller's market of the real estate cycle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's a Buyers' Market in Michigan

Have you read George Will's article on the state of the State of Michigan??? Click here There is no question this State is hurting in many economic ways what with auto plant layoffs and shutdowns, unemployment, our corporate income-tax burden . . . Apparently it's been a good economy for United Van Lines who reported that last year the ratio of outbound to inbound moves was the state's highest since 1982!

On the bright side, it's a fantastic market for buyers right now. Whether you are a first-time buyer, an investor, or a move-up buyer you can find some great deals on homes right now. Don't get all in the doldrums about the financial state here but act while prices are the best they've been in years! For assistance, call us at our tollfree number, 800-923-3245.

And the economic state of Michigan will improve!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Florida Homestead Exemption

Great article about the benefits of filing for the Florida Homestead Exemption, as well as a link to the application form for Lee County Florida. Follow the Link to this article at the top.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Questions about PodCasts

Some questions about how to use a PodCast and how it could be made more valuable to the public have been posted at Comments are requested, although moderated.

Like, why would the public listen to a PodCast about real estate?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

10 Common Mistakes That Cost Sellers Dollars

Now that we are experiencing a more balanced real estate market, Sellers have to do more than place a sign in the yard, set a price 20% higher than the house down the street that sold last week and have 2-3 offers in their hand in a couple of days.

Buyers are more discriminating. They will not accept a home with the defects they might have put up with just 6 months ago. So, what mistakes should a Seller avoid for a profitable and smooth transaction?

  1. Improper pricing
  2. Not providing access
  3. Bad housekeeping
  4. Not making repairs
  5. Poor showing techniques
  6. Relying on traditional methods
  7. Being emotional
  8. Not knowing the market
  9. Unqualified prospects
  10. Choosing the wrong agent

Click here for an Interactive Seller Guide on how not to make these costly mistakes. Or, contact one of the REALTORS listed on this site for more personalized information.

Ruth Ann Macklin

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

San Antonio Poised for Growth

Over the past several months, I have been writing about the investment oportunities in the San Antonio residential real estate market. Statistics indicate that the next several years will see continued growth in this market segment as a result of population expansion. Today, I noticed that CNN Money has listed San Antonio as #1 for projected growth in the next two years.

CNN Money Article

For the next 2 years, the San Antonio market is projected to grow at between 7% and 8% annually. Please contact me if you are an investor looking for residential purchases in the San Antonio area.

Christina Whipple

Monday, January 30, 2006

Denver weather in January

The real estate activity in Denver has been up this January due to beautiful weather.

Does that affect your market? Often we have folks who think houses do not sell during the winter as "folks just do not go out to look". Frankly, this tends to be true, right up through the super bowl weekend in Denver, then Katie bar the door. Cabin fever hits and the rag tops come out and the motor cycles. People who have been cooped up since Thanksgiving start coming outside and implementing their plans to get a move on.

Check with your top agent to see how their market responds to the "last legal holiday-SuperBowl Sunday". Do they have an increase in showings? The Denver market as a whole surely does.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese New Year

Chinese New year starts today and it is the year of the dog.If you were born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982 or 1994, you were born under the dog year.According to the Chinese horoscope dog people are loyal and honest and can keep secrets. They have sharp tongues and may say things to you that hurt you. They are cool-tempered people and do not mix well at parties. They always seem to have money.Chinese New Year is a good time to settle debts and it is good to begin the year with a fresh start. That means you will see the Chinese out looking at real estate in the next few days with their friends and relatives.Gung Hay Fat Choy! (Happy New Year)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Florida’s Existing Home Median Sales PriceRises 27 Percent in December

Florida’s Existing Home Median Sales PriceRises 27 Percent in December

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 25, 2006 -- The median price for existing single-family homes in Florida continued to rise in December, reaching $247,000 -- an increase of 27 percent compared to the statewide median price of $194,000 in December 2004, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

In December 2000, the statewide median sales price was $116,200, which is an increase of 112.5 percent over the five-year period, according to FAR records. The median is the midpoint, which is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes was $213,500 in November, which was 13.5 percent higher than November 2004, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In California, the statewide median price in November was $548,400; in Maryland, it was $302,822; in New York, it was $280,000; and in North Carolina, the average resales price was $215,160.

Statewide, a total of 17,505 homes sold last month compared to 20,592 homes sold in December 2004, for a drop in the sales pace of 15 percent during the holiday period. Realtors across the state reported that inventory levels appear to be on the rise following months of tight supply in many markets.

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.27 percent last month, up from the average rate of 5.75 percent in December 2004. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among Florida’s larger cities, the Jacksonville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported gains in both sales and median price in December compared to the same month a year ago. A total of 1,356 homes changed hands last month compared to 1,261 homes sold last year for an 8 percent increase. The market's median sales price rose 20 percent to $190,400; a year ago, it was $158,900.

Kay Seitzinger, president of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and assistant manager with Watson Realty Corp. in Ponte Vedra, said a strong local economy fuels housing activity in the area. "Businesses are continuing to relocate to the Jacksonville area," she says. "The growth is phenomenal. The military and service sector are our strongest two industries, but we're gaining a lot of diverse small businesses. Job opportunities are here and land availability allows for continued growth and development."

The Fort Myers-Cape Coral MSA was another larger market reporting strong sales in December, with a total of 1,084 homes sold for a 24 percent increase. The area's median price rose 46 percent to $322,300; a year ago it was $221,200. According to Brett Ellis of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group, 2005 capped a great year. "Historically, the best on record. We did see some slowdown heading into the 4th quarter of 2005 which will carry over to 2006. Inventory levels have risen dramatically, and sales are down compared to similiar periods over the last several years. We think the market is taking a bit of a beather as many have been priced out of the market. Investor activity has slowed dramatically and many are cancelling contracts when they find out they can't resell for a profit. It all depends when and what price you got in. We've been saying for well over two years ultimately the end user will drive this market, and we're at that point now. Going forwrad, absorption of existing inventory will be determined mostly by the end user, and not the investors. We're back to normal supply and demand."

As for the state’s smaller markets, the Ocala MSA reported a 4 percent increase in the number of homes sold in December, with a total of 559 homes sold compared to 540 homes sold during the same time last year. The market's median sales price rose 44 percent to $162,700; a year ago, it was $113,300.

Wilbur Van Wyck, president of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Riverland Realty in Dunnellon, says that the area's scenic beauty and leisurely lifestyle attract buyers.

"The secret is out about Ocala and that it's a great place to live," he says. "This is a beautiful area that offers less traffic congestion, a friendly community and still laid-back lifestyle, creating a strong demand for homes here."

A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is available by click here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Top 10 Tips for making your home burglar-proof

About half of home burglaries are committed with force. Burglars are opportunists, they don't spend more than 60 seconds trying to break into a home. If you're sitting in a home with cheap locks and a bare-bones alarm system, chances are an intruder could blow through your door and take off with your valuables and be gone long before the police arrive.

See for the complete post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Durango, Colorado Realtor Has The Method

This is not really a new idea, as I have been doing this for almost 10 years for my clients. The new twist, however, is the ability to have your IRA borrow money to help you in the acquisition of that real estate. This past May my Team along with The Bank of Colorado and Entrust New Direction IRA held a seminar at the college and we discussed this concept at length. I had the program videoed and would be happy to share a copy with you. Just send me an e-mail with your mailing address and we will get one right out to you. The very short version of how this works is this: (1) Your retirement account needs to be the type that allows you to hold real estate in it. That may require you to move it to a different company and we can help with that. (2) The property must be for INVESTMENT purposes. You cannot live in it, nor can your children or parents. Aunts, uncles or your brothers or sisters could be tenants, however. (3) It could be vacant land that produces no income, but is held strictly for appreciation purposes. (4) Especially good properties for this purpose would be “fix and flip” homes where you take a few months to fix and repair it, then sell it for a short term profit in a couple of months. Since the IRA holds the title and the IRA’s investments do not pay taxes at the time the profit is realized (there are some exceptions to this), you can see where this vehicle could be very helpful.

For additional information, please contact Rick Lorenz CRS, ABR Broker with Team Lorenz @ The Wells Group. website: or via e-nmail at or toll free at 1-800-955-0259.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Greater Kansas City Real Estate

Looking for a great real estate investment? Kansas City continues to be a prime location for both investors and homeowners. Values are steady, but still allow for buy and hold investors to have cash flow with most of their rental properties. Commercial real estate and multifamily apartment buildings are priced considerably less than many other major markets around the country. Heck, you can still find prime development ground at less than 5k-8k per acre.

The Korn Team is a team of top agents serving the Greater Kansas City area. Our website offers many tools such as searching our list of over 19,000 properties currently for sale. You can also tell us what you are looking for and we will connect your search with our MLS directly.

For more information about investing in Kansas City visit our blog site at

If you have further questions or wish to contact us directly, send an email to or call us at (816) 224-KORN (5676).

Top Agent Blog

Having just returned from the San Antonio CyberStar Summit, I was surprised at the Realty Times story talking about the number of real estate licenses in certain state versus last years totals, and their relations to the number of Realtors in those same states.

As an example of the increase Colorad had an increase of 24% to a total of over 52000. Those who are Realtors only number in the 25000 range. And to the public that is huge. Realtors have a code of ethics and therefore have a self regulating professional organization, which a licensee does not have. And the public now has a 20% chance of having a licensee that has one year or less of experience represent them.

One of the worst things that can happen to a buyer or seller is to be un-represented.

See for the complete post.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bleeding Edge?

I dropped my 650 one too many times and found myself with a device that only the screen worked. Strange but it seemed to happen the SAME DAY Verizon released the 700w. Well I was itching to try it and this was all the excuse I needed.
Ok so I plucked down the $ and switched to the dark side (verizon) and have been spending the last week trying this new device out. Here are my initial thoughts.
It is not for the first time pda/phone users just like a tablet is really not for first time laptop users. It is way more powerful, more intuitive, more versatile than the palm os version. I find I use the buttons and almost never take the stylus out. As most windows devices it is menu driven. As long as you think like that it works great. It has a few bugs. Yes. And I find that it still locks up for a few seconds at time as the little processor is trying to catch up. The web surfacing, ability to change font size, interaction with word, excel, powerpoint and most of all outlook. GREAT. The ability to find any third party software... None really, as of yet.
Overall I would recommend those on Sprint to wait the 6 months till they get it and it will most likely have the bugs out. Others that have been using Windows Mobile on another device and considering jumping to the 700 I highly recommend. Anyone on Verizon that has a 650. You will like the 700 better. Just like any device, plan on a bit of getting use to time. I for one find myself like a pc user on a mac. I know it can do it. I know there is a command or button... But I just can't seem to find it where I think it should be. Eventually I will get the full hang of it. Don't get me wrong. It has a lot of well thought of items. Example, when a caller calls and becomes a missed call you can call back that number or any others that are in the contact list. Just by using the center button you can navigate pretty much anywhere and the window button can take you back to the today screen(main starting point) no matter where you are at. You can also keep multiple programs open at one time... Though no recommended by this user. These are just a few.
I run outlook so this worked well for me. I have not experienced it on Top Producer, Agent 2000 (Online Agent) or the other real estate programs. Also out lockbox keys do not accept the palm system so I do not know if GE (supra) has a program for this.

I will post soon a month with the 700 to follow this up.

Sell High, Buy Low

In California where prices are high, we're encouraging our investor clients to sell high priced properties now and diversify. Since we're seeing the leading indicators of some California markets slowing down (for example, median number of days on market is increasing), then continuing escalation of California prices is no longer an easy bet.

Here are the highlights of what we're telling our clients who are investors or potential investors. At, you can find a more thorough explanation.
  • Diversification is recommended by many financial experts. We recommend diversification in real estate as well. For example, owning one high priced property may not be as secure against market changes and vacancy factors as owning several properties.
  • Choose a part of the country where they are experiencing a buyer's market (more homes for sale than there are buyer's currently willing to buy them).
  • Choose a part of the country where you like to visit so you can possibly deduct one trip per year to visit your property, after consulting your tax advisor, of course.
  • Make sure the agent you're working with in that area is a Cyberstar and has a local property management team to refer you to.
  • Sell a property in a high priced market, and buy several properties in one or or more of the areas experiencing a buyer's market. For example, some of our clients buy several properties in the same area, and other clients buy several properties in different parts of the country.

Being an investor is not difficult if you buy in areas where prices are low and especially if they're currently experiencing a buyer's market there. I'm in the process of buying a condo in Cary, NC for $56,000 where my down payment and closing costs are $6100. The agent I bought it through can be reached through

For help choosing an investing market, email

Affordable Residential Construction in San Antonio

Construction in San Antonio continues to grow. Jack Inselmann, new housing analyst with MetroStudy, noted that 2005 was another record year. The 16,340 houses built in 2005 blew the top off the previous year with a staggering 27 percent increase. The boom has not yet driven prices past the average buyer, another sign of its sustainability. Half of all production is in the $100,000-to-$150,000 price range. The Texas Real Estate Center estimates the median price for a house in San Antonio at $135,000. The center estimates the area median income is 61 percent above what is needed to qualify for a median-priced house with a conventional loan.

Christina Whipple

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rockland County Real Estate Market

Calls are coming in fast and furious from local homeowners. Many want to know, ‘when the spring market begins?’ In Rockland County, even with chilling temperatures and snow on the ground…the ‘early spring market’ is here. We are seeing more and more new listings on the daily hot sheets. Buyers are also starting to look at homes on the advice of their accountants or financial planners. Many have received a year end bonus and need to make a financial investment that will yield a tax deduction in the current year. From what I can see, we are in the midst of a transition… from a strong sellers market to a healthy balanced market. Most buyers are being more cautious and not making quick decisions and offers on properties right away. Many sellers are a bit frustrated that their homes are not selling as quickly as their neighbors. This is a sign of a changing market! If you would like to see what is for sale in your neighborhood, visit: Search Rockland Homes.

Naperville Real Estate 2005 by the Numbers

2004 Home sales in Naperville (Single Family, Condos & Townhomes)

334852$320,000 $354,484

2005 Home sales in Naperville (Single Family, Condos & Townhomes)


In 2005 the Highest Priced home sold in Naperville according to MLSNI (won't necessarily show custom builts and private sales) was a home for $2,850,000 and the lowest was a condominium for $90,000.

The average home in Naperville appreciated about 9% in 2005 compared to about 8.7% in 2004

We've spent some time compiling the 2005 sales in Naperville by subdivision. The file is large so I posted it here Naperville Real Estate 2005. A Caveat: Until 2006 there was no provision in our MLS for consistent subdivision/area input, so we have tweaked the data to correct misspellings and different opinions on what an area should be called, some license has been taken to try to make the #'s work.

All stats are compiled from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, provided for informational purposes only... not guaranteed

Monday, January 16, 2006

San Antonio Growth Fuels Real Estate Market

Anyone looking for a rapidly growing real estate market need look no farther than San Antonio, Texas. As the nation's eighth largest city, San Antonio, is poised to move even higher in the rankings. The Alamo City had a 2004 population of more than 1.2 million, a four-year jump of 8 percent. The only other big city nationwide to gain more than 5 percent was Phoenix (Pop. 1.4 million). If San Antonio keeps growing at its current pace, it will pass San Diego, CA., to become the seventh largest city by 2010.

All this population growth means that the real estate market continues to grow at a steady pace as well. And, with the population predicted to double by 2020, real estate investments should continue to appreciate.

Christina Whipple

Friday, January 13, 2006

Birmingham Michigan Market Conditions

Residential Highlights ... Birmingham, Michigan

This is a great time to be looking for a home when the prices are reasonable. Oakland County Michigan's inventory is on the rise. The 12,498 active residential listings at the end of last quarter would last 12.34 months at the current rate of sales. Oakland county saw 3rd quarter 2004 sales of 4,160 homes Sold drop to 3rd quarter 2005 sales of 3,037 homes Sold. Sales dropped 26.99%.

Appreciation Not Continuing...Average sale prices didn't appreciate, but it went down very little. During the 3rd Quarter that ended with Sept. 2005 it was down 0.0762% from the 3rd quarter ending Sept. 2004 ($262,400 v. $262,600).

Mortgage Rates May Rise Due to China

China has recently signalled that it may diversify its investments in the US. Traditionally, China has been a large investor in US Treasury Bonds, which influences the price of mortgages as the 30 YR mortgages closely follow the US Treasury 10 Year note plus a premium.

If China backs out of buying US Treasuries, the 10 Year note yield could blossom, which could lead to higher mortgage rates. Higher loan rates could potentially power home sales forecasts, both nationally and in Southwest Florida.

Did you know you can listen to our weekly radio show in Fort Myers Florida over the Internet? You can, simply click here to Listen. You can also search for homes in SWFL using our free MLS search service. Be sure to check out out Lee County Florida Real Estate Blog for current information on the Fort Myers/Cape Coral and Southwest Florida real estate market.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Changing CA Market?

With the media virtually convinced of the doom of an impending real estate bubble, make sure that you get the facts.

We have a listing in San Pedro, CA, and we received an offer on it that was dramatically less than our asking price. The justification from the agent was, "because the market has gone down so much."

In preparing our counter offer, we included recent sales data. That data showed that, in fact, the San Pedro market has increased by 21% in the last year, and by 6% in the last 3 months. So, our property should not sell for less than the similar unit in the same complex that sold 6 months ago.

Whether you're a buyer, a seller, or an agent, make sure you're looking at accurate data and making your own conclusions, not simply believing hype from someone in the media industry trying to meet a deadline.

New Loan Limits for San Antonio

As of January 1, 2006, loan limits have changed for conventional, FHA, and VA mortgage loans in Bexar County (San Antoino) and the surrounding counties of Kendall, Comal, and Guadalupe.

The new loan limits for Conventional loans are:
  • Single Family - $417,000
  • Two Family - $533,850
  • Three Family - $645,300
  • Four Family - $801,950
The VA limit has changed to $417,000.

FHA limits have changed as follows:
  • Single Family - $200,160
  • Two Family - $256,248
  • Three Family - $309,744
  • Four Family - $384,936
This should allow buyers more access to properties in and around San Antonio.

Christina Whipple

Monday, January 09, 2006

California Real Estate Law Updates for 2006

Important Updates to be Aware Of

Some important new real estate laws have taken effect as of January 1, 2006 in California. Here are some highlights that may affect California property owners:

Disclosure of Supplemental Property Tax Bills
Selling or changing the ownership of California real estate will generally trigger a reassessment of the property tax bill. Many buyers don't realize that they may have to pay supplemental tax bills after they take ownership, and it comes as a big surprise in their mailbox. In order to protect buyers from this mailbox surprise, CA Assembly Bill 459 requires sellers of most residential properties, or their agents, to disclose to their buyers that supplemental taxes may be assessed.

Small Claims Court Amount Increases
Individuals may now file small courts claims for amounts up to $7500, up from the prior limit of $5000. This only applies to individuals, not to legal entities such as corporations or partnerships.

Notice to Terminate Tenancy Shortened to 30 Days
A 30-day notice to terminate month-to-month tenants is all that is required of landlords unless rent control or subsidized housing rules apply. Any existing laws that require a minimum of a 60-day notice will be sunset at the end of this year.

Meth-Contaminated Property Disclosure
The new laws require property owners to disclose in writing to prospective buyers or tenants if an order has been issued prohibiting the use or occupancy of a property contaminated by meth lab activity. Noncompliance with these new laws may result in a civil penalty up to $5,000 and other actions.

Looking for Santa Clarita or Los Angeles County California homes? Click here to check out the latest listings!

Linda Slocum