Among all the other trials and tribulations we're leaving for our children and grandchildren home ownership is near the top of the list right behind freedom, healthcare and education. The American dream of owning a home may be slipping way for millions of Americans in the future. It seems to be the same old thing. The rich get richer and the rest of us rent homes and apartments from them. Perhaps it's time for schools to mandate courses in how to live in America in addition to studies in one's chosen field. These courses could include Marriage and Relationships 101, Raising Children in Today's World,  Helping Others in Need, What Freedom Really Means and How to Buy a Home and Keep It. But seriously... Some may think our leaders have failed us we need someone who will pull it all together for us. I don't think so. We need to take it upon ourselves to fix what's broken. It seems to me that this is a time to pull together as a country and help each other realize the dream our forefathers lived and died for. A time to think of the nation and all it's inhabitants, not only ourselves. Each of us in our small way can do something to help others less fortunate. Wouldn't it be great if every person in our country had a piece of the pie however small that is? You bet it would. It starts with personal responsibility and doing what it takes to achieve our goals.  Home ownership can be one of those goals but it doesn't come easy for everyone. It takes planning, discipline and forward thinking. We as realtors can help others achieve this dream. Today is as good as any to start doing just that. 

The home ownership rate may now be at a 50-year low, but that doesn’t mean the dream of home ownership is dying, says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, in his latest column for Forbes.

In the second quarter of 2016, the home ownership rate dropped to 63.1 percent, but Yun notes it’s clear that home ownership still matters to Americans and to the economy.

According to Yun, the drop in the home ownership rate does not mean that Americans aren't interested in buying a house. Indeed, plenty of recent surveys show overwhelmingly that Americans have a strong desire for home ownership. NAR’s Housing Opportunity and Market Experience survey, for example, revealed that 87 percent of consumers believe home ownership is part of their American Dream. In a recent Ipsos survey, 86 percent of consumers said home ownership is their dream.

Many Americans say they would like to own, but the timing isn’t right yet. They may not have enough saved for a down payment or some say they can’t qualify for the current tight underwriting standards that is preventing them from getting a loan to buy.

Over the long-haul, home ownership tends to provide wealth accumulation for owners. A typical home owner’s net worth was $195,400 in 2013 compared to a renter’s net worth of $5,400, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Since 2013, home prices have risen by 17 percent too, giving home owners more wealth.

What’s more, home ownership is good for the economy, says Yun. Most home owners typically sell their home and move on to a new home in a 7- to 10-year cycle. That cycle can contribute to economic growth and job creation because each home sale tends to have a multiplier effect in boosting home remodeling, furniture businesses, mortgage origination, moving companies, even restaurants, etc. According to NAR calculations, one new job is supported from every two home sales.

“There are multiple positive benefits of ownership to individuals and society,” Yun writes. “However, it has to be sustainable. Home owners must understand the responsibility of ownership and take on a mortgage that is manageable and not overstretch their budget. At the same time, there should not be any unnecessary barriers to ownership. Widen mortgage access to those home owners who are willing to stay within budget. Assure an adequate supply of homes at all price points to assure the future possibility of steadily moving up in society.”

Source: “Why Homeownership Matters,” Forbes.com 

The Death Of Home Ownership

good • will noun

1. friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.

“the plan is dependent on goodwill between the two sides”

synonyms: benevolence, compassion, goodness, kindness, consideration, charity

“Increasing liberty among people who harbor ill-will toward others almost guarantees a decline in peace, while increasing liberty among people of goodwill almost guarantees an increase

in peace.  

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A popular Christmas carol has a repeating refrain of “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem embodied in the Christmas carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” was written during the depths of the devastatingly destructive Civil War. And yet its lyrics inspire the desire for universal peace on earth and goodwill to men, where in this context the word men is gender-, race- and nationality-neutral and all-inclusive.

So what’s happened? How did we arrive at a place where immigrant babies are locked in cages, our President is praising murderous foreign dictators and the general population crudely argue with each on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? When has 
divisiveness between it’s citizens ever created a wonderful environment to live in?

We are at a crossroads my friends, at a time where what we do in this moment will shape our world for the next few decades. Do we want peace and love or do we want to fight our way to devolving into a “Mad Max” type existence from which there is no return.

I’m a business-minded creative person and seeing the positive side of things is easy for me. I have faith that most of us are seeing that as well. With that in mind I think it’s up to us to be tolerant with those who see the glass half-empty and bring forth a 
focused and purposeful narrative.

It does us no good if we complain and shake our heads when people espouse views that are intolerable. We need to engage with them and intelligently present our side regardless of how they respond. We also cannot wait and pin our hopes on a white knight to ride in and save the day.

It’s up to us to “stay the course”. If our point of view is strong enough and highly focused we will arrive at a better place. One where we can finally practice “Good will towards all”.

Why a Boutique Real Estate Firm is Better than a Big Shop

Whatever happened to goodwill?

I've been at 2 big brand agencies and now I'm at a boutique agency, PLG Estates in Los Angeles home of Netflix star Peter Lorimer. The difference is apparent...and it's to the benefit of the client. That may seem counter-intuitive but it's true. Why?  Because I have total flexibility to use my own creativity and wits to market homes. Peter encourages agents to embrace the full forces of social media, to push the envelop of what is available to us all. (For the record I come from the advertising world where I was a creative director for major entertainment studios and ad agencies)

The big brands I worked at discouraged that at every turn. I had an idea of putting together my own magazine with my take on what the community and potential clients may want to read. An interview magazine with successful members of the communities I serve speaking to how they achieved success in their chosen fields and their connection to anything real estate. You can view the magazine at www.areyoureadymagazine.com  The big brand agencies were opposed to my request because they had their "own" magazines. I wanted to create my own ads and I was told they needed to be approved. I wanted to do my own social media campaigns and I was told to turn it over to the in house creative director. 

All that being said I read Chad's take on the reason boutiques better serve client's and I'm in agreement. I hope you find as much value in what he wrote as I did.

From a Post by Chad Hendrix

We know you've got a lot of options when choosing a real estate agent. 

So, what's better...selling or buying a home through a big, national brand real estate firm or going with a smaller shop? It's a fair question. Each option offers its own benefits and drawbacks, and what's right for you might not be right for your neighbor or your best friend. 

We may be a little biased, of course, but we do think it's better to go with a boutique real estate firm than a big shop. Here's why.

The Internet Has Leveled the Playing Field

Back in the day, Realtors had to work in a central office to exchange information on which listings were available, what their clients were looking for, etc. Obviously, the more agents in an office, the more information could be exchanged. This is no longer the case. The internet - specifically, the online Multiple Listing Service - has given everyone the same access to the same information, as long as they are an accredited Realtor. It's no longer a disadvantage to work at a small real estate firm, or even as an independent real estate agent.


Big Box Shops are "Charging" You for Things You Don't Use

Maybe you used the same big real estate firm for your last two moves, paying a standard 6% commission rate on each home sale. When you work with one of those agents, that commission rate is likely set in stone, and they may even get a smaller portion of it than an agent at a smaller firm will (because that big firm has to pay for that big office and that big billboard and those big training classes), meaning they're stretched thinner and less likely to fight for every dollar on your behalf. Conversely, a smaller firm's commission structure might be more flexible for favorable to you, as a consumer as well as to the agent themselves.

You Want Better Customer Service

Most big real estate agencies have quotas and sales goals like any other large scale business. This kind of pressure can put agents under pressure that's not doing you any favors - making them take on more clients, sell/buy homes quicker, and generally providing a lower level of service to a higher number of customers. At a small shop, agents are more likely to have independence and trust, and they're less likely to be constrained by quotas. That translates to better service for you, and a more personalized approach to real estate. 

Rely on Experience, Not the Status Quo

At most big firms, there are a set roster of mortgage brokers, banks, inspectors, and so on that everyone "uses" for their transactions. This kind of "nepotism" can cause both sides to get a little lazy, falling back on habit rather than working in the best interest of the client. At smaller firms, agents are less incentivized to go with the flow and instead are rewarded by working with the best professionals in a number of fields. Not only that, but they feel more responsibility to the small 'brand' name than they might to a big box firm, so they're likely to work even harder to maintain a solid industry reputation.