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Have We Started the Next Boom in Real Estate?

I have recently spoken real estate with many people: my brother in Illinois, friends in Alabama, New York, Massachusetts, and on. Since I am a Realtor® they ask my professional opinion on buying and selling their homes. The math in the market is simple. If you have cash for a down payment, a good credit score and are ready to move there are plenty of homes to chose from in just about every market of the US.

Homes are more affordable today than they have been in the 35 years since we have had an affordability index. Interest rates, while above the nadir, are far below the average for the past 30 years. The national news tends to focus only on the negatives. For instance all of the stories on the low level of housing starts sounds terrible, however if you own a home and want to sell this is great news because less housing starts mean less competition for your home when you sell.

On the other hand, if you are looking at buying real estate, every time you hear "bad news" on TV about decreasing prices what you are actually hearing is that you will get more house for your dollar when you buy.

Also remember every local market is different. I mainly work in the College Park and Winter Park market of the Orlando Metro area and while there is still plenty of inventory to choose from, the number of homes on the market has shrunk 49% from our 2008 highs. We're at about 10,085 as of today.

There has also been an ongoing debate of whether it is better to own than rent. In the short term it may make sense to rent. But consider this statement by the prominent investor Warren Buffet: "Home ownership makes sense for most Americans, particularly at today's lower prices and bargain interest rates. All things considered, the third best investment I ever made was the purchase of my home, though I would have made far more money had I instead rented and used the purchase money to buy stocks. For the $31,500 I paid for our house, my family and I gained 52 years of terrific memories with more to come."

In this same note he stated that a housing recovery should begin in about a year. The quote above was from Buffet's letter to his shareholders and can be seen in entirety here

So are we in the next boom? Maybe or maybe not, but we are much closer to the bottom than we have been in a long time. And you could see some erosion in pricing in the short term due to over supply however there is no where near as far to fall especially in Central Florida where are pricing is flirting with ten year lows in many areas. And that is not taking into consideration inflation!

Do you have your sites set on a new home?

Not my real dad Not my real dad

15 Easy Last-Minute Gifts for Father's Day (Some are Free)

With Father's Day this Sunday, I thought you could use some last-minute gift ideas for Dad. Here are 15 easy suggestions -- some don't even cost any money. Be sure to check our our Father's Day Gift Guide too.

1. Tune up his lawnmower
2. Buy him a case of his favorite beverage
3. Watch the ball game with him in his Man Cave.
4. Take Mom shopping while he watches the big game
5. Help him set up a workshop.
6. Buy him the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB package on cable/satellite of his favorite team
7. Buy him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant (I hear Hooters has a great grilled cheese sandwich)
8. Take him fishing or golfing and don't expect him to pay
9. Invite him to poker night with your friends and don't fleece him
10. Clean the gutters
11. Change all the batteries on the smoke detectors
12. If you live at home and you are out of college, pay some rent
13. Organize the garage the way he likes it
14. Get his car detailed
15. Call him or visit him in person and say "Happy Father's day, you're the best!"

What could have been?

BP Oil Spill--Where the Money Could Have Gone

The oil spill in the gulf is concentrated pollution. And everybody is rightly upset about it. And we should do everything in our power to fix it because we can directly see the devastating effects. However, everyday our homes and offices in the United States are wasting far more energy and releasing far more pollution just through inefficiency. The waste is more spread out, impacting the entire Earth, yet we still we are slow in enacting a policy to improve our use of fossil fuels, reduce our dependence on it and find alternative, clean, carbon neutral power.

According to this article on TreeHugger.com, if the US used what it will spend on cleaning up the oil spill for residential upgrades we could make 3 million homes more efficient. And this would save 40 times the amount of energy released into the gulf not just this year, but every year. It would create thousands of jobs and spur a new housing market. I appreciate our laser focus on fixing the Gulf oil spill issue, but I worry that we'll only fix it to go back to the status quo. (Disclosure: Writer owns stock in Altair Nanotechnologies and Raser Technologies.)

Were there no oil spill, what would like to see that clean-up money spent on?

Moen Rainshower Shower Head Moen Rainshower Shower Head
Courtesy of Moen People sing in the shower. Now its your chance to dance in the rain. The Rainshower Showerhead provides self-pressurizing Immersion™ technology to channel water through the showerhead with three times more spray power than most rainshowers.

Singing in the Rain--Moen's Showerhead Giveaway

I just received an email reminding me to update or create a profile for my chance to win a Moen Rainshower Shower head.

Unfortunately I am not eligible to win, but I bet 99 percent of you who read this blog are. I wish I were, as my wife would be thanking me for months for installing this fixture in our bathroom.

To be eligible to win, you must sign up by February 3,2010.
Here is the link:
Moen At Home eNewsletter Sign up

And this is the email Moen sent me in its entirety:

"Time is Running Out!
Don't miss your chance to win a Moen Rainshower Shower head.

At Home eNewsletter is now customized based on your profile preferences. Update/create an account and select your preferences to be entered into a daily rainshower showerhead drawing until February 3, 2010. Update/create early for a greater chance to win!"

Good luck and let me know if you win.

And if you have one of these already lets see some comments below.

Shocking Shocking
Some ex's will go to extremes.

Don't Mess with My Tool

A woman from Olympia, Washington allegedly was so angry when her husband left her that she left him with a little extra power in his power tool. So when he attempted to use his table saw he received a powerful electric shock.

The Olympian newspaper reported that the woman is accused of reversing the wires on his 220-volt table saw causing him to receive a shock so intense it knocked him to the ground. Thurston County sheriff's deputies say the man did not need to go to a hospital.

From www.TheOlympian.com on 1/9/2010: "Carolyn Paulsen-Riat was booked Friday into the Thurston County Jail for investigation of third-degree assault, domestic violence, and second-degree malicious mischief. A judge released the 33-year-old woman on her own recognizance."

So remember: Next time you step out on your wife, be sure to take your tools with you.

Do you have a story that relates to Home Improvement? Tell us about by submitting a blog idea or commenting below.

A Workshop Accident A Workshop Accident
My friend Stan Fettig learned the hard way that he should have used a push stick when getting this close to a table saw blade. PS he is one of the finest woodworkers I know.

What not to do in the Workshop

We have seen plenty of blogs with pretty stuff. Now lets take a look at your battle scars. Have you ever met a soldier in a bar who did not want to show you his scars? Heck, he or she earned them the hard way and have the right to show them off.

We at Renovate Your World want to hear your "workshop war" stories and see your wounds too. We might even publish them as a warning article cautioning other DIY'ers on what not to do. Please don't sever a limb just for us, but if you have shots that can help prevent others from making the same mistake, send them along.

College Park Home College Park Home
Orlando Home For Sale This home is for sale in Orlando and is the inspiration for this blog.

Real Estate Vernacular

I recently put my Florida home on the market and am so frustrated with the real estate dance. Here's the deal: When someone visits your home, the Realtor generally gets feedback from the buyer's agent. This feedback is usually filled with non descriptive terms so as not to offend the seller or give them false hope. Then your agent translates that message to you. Unfortunately, with one Realtor watering down and another translating, you the seller are often left in a total state of confusion. Did they like my house? Is it going to sell?

Here is a simple guide/translation for Realtors and homeowners that I've discovered/created. Hopefully it will help prevent any party from taking offense or getting confused or mistaken.

Scenario: Your home has just been shown. You ask your Realtor, "How did it go?" Your Realtor answers:

1. Amazing = Buyer paying cash; wants to close as soon as you can get your stuff out.

2. Awesome = Buyer pre-approved for a loan, in your price range and has money ready for escrow.

3. Great = Buyer ready to make an offer; looking for financing.

4. Very good = Buyer close to making offer.

5. Good = buyer wants to make an offer but needs to wait for additional family member to see property.

6. OK = Buyer likes the house but has issues that can be overcome.

7. Not bad = Buyer liked the house but has just started looking.

8. So-so = Buyer liked the home but can't get financing or house out of price range.

9. Bad = No potential buyers today.

10. Very bad = Buyer breaks stuff in your house.

11. Extremely bad = (Worst case scenario) Buyer steals all your valuables, beats up your agent and leaves evidence of a serious crime in the master bedroom.

The use of punctuation and capitalization can also muddy the message if the feedback is given via email or text message.

BAD is worse than bad and

EXTREMELY BAD! is much worse than extremely bad.

Good Luck and Happy Selling!

Have a home visit go horribly wrong? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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