A Summer of Rental Discontent

June 21, 2012

 A slow down in apartment construction, coupled with low vacancy rates and a rising millennial demographic will continue to fuel a rise in apartment rents this summer.

According to Trulia, a company that tracks rents and home prices, it now costs more to rent than to own a home in 98 of the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas.

Moody Analytics reports that demographics has become a leading factor in more people renting then buying, and “demand for rent will remain solid over the next two years.”  While the overall rental rate is 35%, the renter rate for those between the ages of 25-29 is nearly 65%, and for those under 24 years old, it is 77 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

On the single-family home stage, the rental craze has made it frustrating for the homebuyer. Inventory of “decent” homes is being depleted as investors snatch up single-family homes for the purpose of renting them out. Those left on the market are receiving multiple offers, resulting in bidding wars.  And prospective buyers with FHA loans are finding out that their loans may require sellers to do more home repairs than other loans. Subsequently, if a seller receives multiple offers, they may avoid the ones with FHA loans.

Prospective buyers are also losing homes to cash buyers and bidders with bigger down payments.

This is all playing into the hands of investors who surmised a couple of years ago:  “Accumulate hundreds or thousands of homes, rent to the 99% and make a killing when they dump them back on a property-starved market in three to five years,” according to Personal Real Estate & Investor.

Happy Mother’s Day

May 13, 2011

On Mother’s Day morning, 2011, a man on our quiet neighborhood street took his own life on his back patio. A chilling morning for many to say the least, but a more devastating one for his mom, to be sure. 

Reasons are not important, nor how it all went down. The reality is the lives of his survivors were changed forever in a single instant.  

Since Sunday, two things have weighed on my mind that should be food for thought for all of us. 

First, more of us need to watch closely for depression in our fellow man before it is too late. According to WebMD,

more than 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

And second, guns do kill people. In 2007, 34,598 people killed themselves, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of them used a firearm.

I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

December 7, 2010
During the rush of the holiday season, it may be harder to beGreen ChristmasGreen Christmas the green person you strive to be throughout the year, but here are some simple ideas from Mahalo that can help us all feel a bit better.
The 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the United States could fill a landfill the size of a football field 10 stories high. Send e-cards or at least reuse cards you receive to make gift tags.
The tree: If you love having a real live tree, try to buy your tree as close to its source as possible to cut down on fossil fuels. If you prefer the artificial kind, make sure it was made in the U.S.A.
Switching to LEDs for your holiday light display is 90% more efficient than incandescent lighting. 
The best way to eliminate waste is to give less. 

Be a giver of green gifts, i.e., items made of organic or recycled materials.  

 Skip the wrapping paper if possible. Wasting an entire roll of paper disguising a new bike is a waste. And remember to reuse bows.

 For a complete list of green tips for the holidays, visit Mahalo.

Keep Your Pumpkin From Shriveling Up

October 29, 2010

Does your pumpkin need a facelift?

Let’s face it, once you’re done removing the orange goo Jack-O-Lanternand the ritual of carving the family pumpkin is over, old Jack can start to look a little tired within a few days, especially in the South.

Here are a few tips from Articlebase.com to keep your creation still looking good for the big day:

* Put your pumpkin in cold water after it’s carved; it will soak up the water and get firm.

* If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, put it back in cold water for one to eight hours.

* Add a very small amount of unscented bleach to the water to stop premature molding.

* Put a thin coating of petroleum jelly on exposed, cut edges to keep the water from evaporating and to preserve the cuts, as well as the pumpkin.

 * Spray your pumpkin with a plant mister to keep it from shriveling.

Orlando Real Estate Investing Alive and Well

October 19, 2010

Orlando real estate investor eyes investment market growth

Lenny Layland, founder, and broker/owner of Investorlando Realty based in Longwood, Fla., was one of 45 professional investors invited to attend the Investment Provider Leadership Summit in Phoenix, Arizona last month. For the past 11 years Layland has also run his own private real estate investment fund, Investorlando, Limited.  Layland says, “Real estate is alive and well, regardless of the recessionary climate.  In fact, it is one of the best investment opportunities in years.

“People don’t realize how big this is,” he adds. “It’s even a larger market than I thought, even on the international stage. For example, New Zealand investors at this conference see our prices as dirt cheap and are actively investing in the U.S.”

Layland, who graduated from Miami University with a degree in finance and turned down offers from Wall Street to become an independent investor and broker, has real estate investing in his blood. His parents retired to Florida after years of home investing in the small town of Eaton, Ohio.

Investorlando Realty, and the related real estate investment fund formed in 1999, provides individuals multiple, simple and diversified ways to invest in real estate.   The newly launched brokerage also offers property management, buyer representation, marketing, and consulting for residential, investment and commercial buyers and sellers.

Investorlando offices are located in the historic Longwood Village Inn, which opened as the Waltham Hotel in 1887. It is one of the few remaining 19th century buildings remaining in Florida today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Housing Remains Under the Gun

September 20, 2010

Any time a major industry struggles, factions seem to square off, and housing is no exception. The argument being bantered around in circles today is whether buying a home is a smart investment or just another staple.

The New York Times reports that economists are taking sides on this issue. One side believes housing is a luxury good, meaning home prices will rise nearly as fast as incomes in the long run. The other party theorizes housing has become a staple and prices will rise slowly with general inflation, like food.

In a recent article in Time titled “The Case Against Home Ownership,” the writer made some stirring observations for not owning a home. That struck a nerve with the National Association of Realtors, prompting President Vicki Cox Golder to fire off a letter responding that “recent attacks on the value of homeownership are knee-jerk reactions to current economic conditions.” The letter stated: “The positive impact of homeownership on society has been well documented; extensive research from government agencies, industry, and academia has shown that homeownership contributes to stable communities, helps reduce crime and improves academic achievement.”

And finally, there are those who have been touting the advantages of renting as opposed to buying, like freedom from debt and more leisure time with family, as reported in the August 27 issue of The Hestia Report.

Design trends: What’s ‘out’ in 2010

January 28, 2010

It’s that time again  to look around the house and be sure you are not dating yourself with your design elements.

According to Christy Scanlon, COO, of Masterpiece Design Group in Winter Park, Fla., here’s what’s out for 2010. 

  1. Heavily textured rugs.  Flokati and shags hold a lot of allergens.  With the new trend of green and healthy living, the focus is on a  healthier home environment.
  2. Entertainment armoires.  With the current sizes of LCD televisions and flat screens, the traditional entertainment armoires are being replaced with low storage consoles.
  3. Dark rustic kitchens.  Kitchens are taking a cue from the industrial kitchen.  Kitchen designs are sleeker and streamlined, which in turns creates a “clean” look.
  4. Painting your trim darker than your walls.  This was a very popular trend for the past couple of years that is now dating your design.
  5. The traditional living room.  We are finding that the room people once called a living room on a floor plan is now being called a “flex room.” The buyer now wants to use every bit of square feet, therefore the room that housed beautiful furniture you rarely stepped foot in, is now being used as a family game room or home office.
  6. Less clutter in accessorization.  Use large, bolder accessories in lieu of the small, dust gathering items we have seen in the past.

Interested in “what’s in for 2010” and which colors to use to create a cozy, soothing home for your family? Visit the Jan. 28, 2010 issue of The Hestia Report.