Today's Headlines - Realty Times
Posted On Monday, 06 June 2022 19:38
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“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Countryliving.com

The economy is changing, and families and individuals are modifying their living arrangements with the right financing. J.P. Morgan, CEO Jamie Dimon said recently, “brace yourself” for the economic hurricane. He was basing his prediction on the Federal Reserve’s perceived plan to continue bumping their Fed rate up multiple times this year and into the following year to try and push down inflation.   As the Fed continues to raise its rate and reduce its balance sheet of securities, the result looks like a recession in the future. 

Consumers tend to restrict the number of purchases and switch to more affordable brands in response to the rising prices caused by inflation.  Homeowners with a fixed-rate mortgage historically have fared well compared to renters, because the principal and interest portion of the mortgage payment for homeowners is generally fixed and not going up and down with the Federal Reserve decisions. 

Some trends we see from the mortgage desk. 

  1. 1. Renters escaping rising rents to buy their own home or build one.
  2. 2. Retirement brings about time to downsize to a smaller home or move up to a larger home and live with other family members.
  3. 3. Parents, children, and grandchildren moving back under the same roof and buying or building, or modifying the home they need. 
  4. 4. Real Estate investors are acquiring more income-producing properties.
  5. 5. Consolidating debt by refinancing to include variable-rate home equity lines and credit card debt to enjoy one stable payment. 

Lenders are working to provide just the right loan products to meet the needs of these trends.

  1. 1. First-time homebuyer programs to assist renters to buy their first home. Many of these products offer down payment assistance to minimize the funds needed to close.
  2. 2. Cash-out refinance loans to allow borrowers to refinance their first mortgage including paying off a variable-rate home equity loan and other adjustable-rate debt like credit cards.  By including variable-rate debt like credit cards and home equity lines into one, fixed-rate mortgage, the homeowner can eliminate the rising costs of the variable-rate debt.
  3. 3. One-time closing loans that allow a borrower to lock in a mortgage rate for a year and not have to re-qualify during that time while their new house is being built. 
  4. 4. Renovation and repair loans to help families affordably finance modifications to the home to allow for changing living arrangements.  

RENOVATION AND REPAIR LOAN- GI JERRY- FINDS HIS FOREVER HOME (BUT IT NEEDS WORK)

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My phone was buzzing. When I picked it up a realtor friend was on the line.   “Jo, you know I have been selling homes for many years but this client we just have to give him some extra help.”

The realtor, a former military veteran, told of his elderly client who also was a veteran.  After his years in the military, our customer GI Jerry spent most of his life driving an 18-wheeler. He never bought a home because he stayed on the road all the time.   Now he was a widower and retired. The restless feeling, he had fought off over the years since getting out of the military really tugged at him how.   He wanted to have his own home where he could put his feet up on his own front porch.  

A few years went by, and Jerry would go look at houses for sale.  “There were some really big ones, “he said.  “There were some really pretty ones, but they didn’t feel like home.” 

One day Jerry convinced his realtor friend to take him to see a home that had been sitting on the market for several months.  The realtor advised Jerry that the old house was a waste of time. “It’s abandoned. It’s in terrible condition.  No lender is going to want to lend on that house.”  

But when Jerry stepped through the front doorway, his mind and his heart resonated with a blissful, secure feeling of being home.  He told the realtor and later told me, “No rhyme or reason—I just FELT peace when I stepped through the door.  I KNEW I can rest here. I was finally home.” 

The roadblock for Jerry was the condition of the old home.   But the realtor and our mortgage team went to work.  We helped him get a good contractor with an itemized bid on what it would cost to fix up the old place.  

We ended up getting Jerry approved for an FHA 203K renovation and repair loan so he could go ahead and close on his home and get draws from the repair escrow account gradually as the work was completed.  Within a couple of months, Jerry was able to move into his newly renovated Home Forever Sweet Home.  

If Jerry did not use the special renovation and repair loan, he would have been caught in a Catch-22 because the lender would not give him the mortgage until the structural repairs were done, but Jerry would not be able to do the repairs until he had the mortgage and owned the home.

Posted On Thursday, 09 June 2022 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 09 June 2022 00:00 Written by

Augmented reality has seemingly had its “time and place” in our lives in the past decade, most notably through interactive games like Pokemon Go or other geocaching applications. So many business professionals and general consumers have filed it under the label of a luxury item that it is only good for entertainment purposes.

But little do many who turn a blind eye to the powers of A.R. know that there is a whole growing and disruptive world outside of this physical one we call home. A.R. is not “just a passing fad” or “some type of video game”; it has transitioned recently from a digital technological concept to a diverse and disruptive application implemented in so many different ways available to us.

From GPS systems to smart refrigerators, so many versatile technologies and characteristics of those technologies make up the concept of A.R. But the most notable environment that A.R. is really starting to shine in is not just in the physical products that A.R. is integrated into, but rather, the digital world those products connect to. Let’s explore that landscape a bit further.

The Metaverse and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Facebook announced late in 2021 that they would be rebranding to use the name “Meta,” which for some may have meant next to nothing. However, they are much farther ahead of the game than even some experts realized, as what is now referred to as the “Metaverse” was in and of itself a Hard Trend future certainty long before the time of this writing.

Around the time of their rebranding, we started to notice an emergence of the acronym “NFT” dominating the news headlines. An NFT is a “non-fungible token,” which, when compared to our tactile reality, is quite similar to a priceless work of art. Built and registered on the blockchain, an NFT is a digital token, design, or type of digital product that is unique in being the only iteration of it in existence.

NFTs have essentially brought legitimacy to digital art, and its value is measured in cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Bitcoin, and others. And this creation, authentication, and exchange all happen without ever producing a single, physical item. So, what do NFTs and the Metaverse have to do with the concepts and traditional ideas of Augmented Reality?

The Metaverse is made up of a multitude of technologies run by digital devices in which people interact. Sounds quite a bit like social media or even email, doesn’t it? The principles are quite similar, actually! For instance, you exist in the Metaverse as an Avatar of yourself and interact with others in the Metaverse by way of customs emulating the physical world. This includes the politics of exchange, communication, and basic cultural etiquette.

Now, NFTs in the Metaverse and their value are equivalent to physical goods we purchase in the real world from small businesses or big box stores. Digital currency giving you the ability to purchase digital products in a digital world may seem like an advanced version of the popular game from the early 2000s called “The Sims,” where you live a second life, so to speak. However, the behavior of individuals in the Metaverse is simply a by-product of the actual disruptive technological functionality behind what runs all of these new A.R. applications.

A Case Study In Our Common World: Tonal Mirror and Digital Fitness

Wearable devices and other interactive technology in the fitness industry were and still are commonalities in so many consumers’ lives. But the fact that Augmented Reality is at play in everything from Apple SmartWatches to FitBits and Peloton bicycles has been overlooked by dozens.

All these devices connect to some type of virtual landscape, where our equity is measured in calories burned, miles biked, steps taken, and even hours slept! That virtual landscape is very much part of the Metaverse, and often the interactivity involved is by way of gamification. For instance, the traditional way this is represented has been seen in FitBits, where you can start a step challenge with other family members and friends to see who meets their goals first.

One very recent digital device in the at-home fitness industry you may have noticed gaining traction is the smart mirror, notably by the company Tonal. Similar to Peloton, you actually pay a monthly fee, as you would for a membership to a gym, to have access to interactive training from a personal fitness coach, and ways in which you measure and document your progress in, you guessed it, a virtual landscape — a Metaverse of sorts.

Similar to geocaching, Augmented Reality and physical fitness equipment are prompting you to partake in something physical that gets documented for digital equity of sorts. That equity may not at the moment come in the form of an NFT or pay you in cryptocurrency, as discussed earlier in this blog, but it is still a measurable asset valuable to your health.

These digital technologies are getting so streamlined that during the pandemic, many have personally preferred to make the shift to investing in at-home digital workout devices like Tonal’s smart mirror instead of going to a physical gym, hiring an in-person physical trainer, and having no way to really measure the benefit from the specific activity the trainer had them do.

Augmented Reality and the Metaverse Are All-Consuming Hard Trends

At-home versus in-person preference aside, there is no question that A.R. and its newest iterations in the Metaverse are continuing as a Hard Trend that will quite literally impact everything we do. In a way, it already has; it is just going to get more streamlined than ever before.

Businesses had to move to a more augmented way of working in the virtual landscape brought about by the pandemic. Many had not only never utilized Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but they also hardly had a single thing in place to accommodate virtual workspaces. Now, communicating via remote work software like Basecamp, where tasks and due dates can be assigned and traditional email can be omitted, is becoming the standard for both virtual employees and ones that have gone back to the office.

What business leaders must do is take a long, hard look at A.R. and its current impact on the world inside and out of their own industries and start to develop an Anticipatory strategy around how it will further impact their industries and the world in the future. A.R. is a type of convergence between the digital and physical worlds, and there are so many areas that can and will be disrupted as this type of technology improves.

An example comes from looking at the concept of digital products like NFTs. Much of manufacturing has now transitioned to taking something digital and producing it into something physical, such as additive manufacturing with 3D printers. What about when we can more efficiently work and produce from within the realm of the Metaverse, where on-site employees wear A.R. glasses to receive instructions in real-time from off-site employees and not have to stop and check an email?

Above all else, look at A.R. and all the different iterations of it from the view of an Anticipatory Leader to get a handle on where your industry and organization will have to head to stay on top of any disruptions that will come as a result.

Posted On Tuesday, 07 June 2022 00:00 Written by
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It is very hard for markets to find their way when those in power and in control are just so WRONG all the time. When the former FED Chair and now Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, someone who should know things about economic issues, absolutely gets inflation so incredibly wrong that she states that the only cure is for the government to spend trillions more dollars, even well after just about everyone else had given up the whole “transitory” nonsense. It gives people pause to think about how she would be so far off the reality we are experiencing now.

When the current FED Chair Jerome Powell, the original author of the whole, “inflation is transitory” myth, tries to work himself out of the corner he painted himself into, by slow rolling raising interest rates and pushing congress to abandon the thoughts of continued spending trillions more dollars; it just makes you try and imagine what do they really know, or worse yet, could they really NOT have known? 

It gets no better with housing information. There are those who profit from making claims that are not supported by anything other than theory. Some would be happy to say anything negative they could find and put a huge headline on it just for the value of the “clicks” it attracts, not the facts it contains.

When the markets can’t find someone to believe in or trust, it can be painful. Just look at your 401k or your bitcoin wallet! Inflation has no plan. Supply chain issues continue and let’s not talk gas prices! The boarder remains open, nobody knows what to believe about COVID, monkey pox, or anything coming from the CDC. The worst of it is that NOBODY really believes that Joe Biden has any real plans to fix anything, and neither do any of his staff or cabinet. 

We must focus on our own local reality for now. What is happening in our individual markets? What are rents doing? What are home prices doing? What are payments looking like for homes our clients really want to buy? What kinds of programs are we likely to use to solve some of these problems? When everyone at the top is wrong, it is up to the individual to sort out everything on a hyper local basis and apply our knowledge to provide solutions for our clients and referral partners.

Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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