Why Real Estate is still a great investment in an economic downturn.

“Let history be our guide” as the old adage says, and that’s exactly what we need to do when it comes to our current economic situation and more specifically our current real estate market.

Real estate has long been a strong investment. Throughout history we can see those that invested in buying up real estate have set themselves up in an advantageous position for their future. How can you try to do the same?

As many Americans are taking their money out of the stock market, because of the failure of the financial market many more are taking advantage of investing their money in real estate.

I have spoken with many individuals that are so scared about the economy, that they cannot see the forest through the trees. When I tell them that they should invest in real estate they seem a bit confused, the reason being with home prices falling, they think that it is a failing market. The funny thing about real estate is that it is a finite commodity. We cannot make more land, and everyone needs a place to live, so individuals will either buy a home or rent a home.  And even if property prices fall dramatically, as the old adage goes, “time heals all wounds when it comes to real estate.”

Learning from History

Take for example John D. Rockefeller Jr. During the Great Depression developed land and was the sole financier of a vast 14-building real estate complex in the geographical center of Manhattan, Rockefeller Center, and as a result became one of the largest real estate holders in New York City. *

I know here in Grand Junction, CO that some of the wealthiest people are ones that bought up a lot of real estate in the Grand Junction area in the 1980’s when the oil shale industry closed up shop and moved out of town. The local economy as well as the national economy was in a downward spiral at that time, similar to today. As the market started to recover they started to develop the land or sold it off and are now financially set.

What a Deal

Let’s take a look at a great deal. In Tolleson, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix, there is a 4 bed, 2 bath, single family home listed for $110,000. What a steal. Even better are the 4-plexes for sale near the colleges and universities in Phoenix that are listed around the same price as this home, and are fully occupied with renters. Naturally this equates to immediate cash flow.

Obviously invest in areas that are desirable for people to live in. Waterfront property is always sought after, as well as warmer and more temperate climates.

Make sure you have investment goals for the real estate you buy. Is this setting you up for retirement, helping you build up your portfolio by attaining more assets. Then when you are looking at purchasing property you can have a gauge to go by.


Tips for Sellers: Make your home show the best!

No matter if the market is hot or cold it is important that your home shows well. Below are some great tips for helping your home show better.

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash

fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

If you have questions about real estate in Grand Junction, CO, e mail Andrea with any questions. The market is stable in Grand Junction, but it is still importatnt to make your home stand out amongst your competition.

If you need some staging tips, let the Real Estate Super Diva come by and give you some pointers on your home. ;o)

Andrea Haitz, Broker Associate
“Taking Real Estate to New Heights”
Keller Williams Grand Junction Realty LLC
970-256-9100 office
970-201-3578 cell

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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