People ask me every day how's the real estate market, to which I reply, "great!"Â However, all things being relative, it depends on whether you are a buyer or seller.Â There is no good place to put your money these days.Â With interest rates on CD's, bonds, IRA's, 401K's at a historical low s there is no reason to buy or keep your money in any of these vehicles.Â Â With the volatility of the stock market and the government's ability to manipulate it, most people are afraid now to take a chance on stocks, especially those that were burnt in the 2001-02 crash and more recently the 2008 decline.
So everyday people are looking to put their money in real estate.Â So there are now not only a lot of potential buyers out there, but there are lots of buyers with CASH.Â
Anyone else experiencing this?
Have you seen the value of your home drop year after year and all of your hard-earned equity go down the drain?
Has this caused you to rethink when you can retire?Â If you are close to 60 did you think you would retire at 62, sell your home and take your equity to the mountains or the beach or near your grandkids and pay cash for a house and live the simple life on your retirement income or social security?Â
Well, what are you waiting for?Â You never know when you will lose your health.Â If you put things off too long, you may never get to enjoy the things you have dreamed about in retirement.Â Whenever I talk to a financial planner they always tell me that most people seem to think they will need at least 75% of what they were earning in retirement.Â
Well, I would like you to think about this scenario:
House in Atlanta or Orlando was worth $590,000 in 2006.Â You still owe $290,000.Â You thought you would work a few more years, sell this house and take the $300,000 equity and buy a smaller home in the mountains, a cottage at the beach or back to your original home town for $250,000.Â Well, now you might get $390,000 for your house if you are lucky.Â HOWEVER, that $250,000 cabin in the mountains or on the beach can now be bought for $90,000-$150,000.Â Â So let's say you pick one for $150,000 yet you only have $100,000 in equity.Â A loan for $50,000 at today's interest rates for 15 years would make your payments under $400/mo.
But now you would be living the life of your dreams.Â You would have gotten out of the burden of the bigger house that every year the value seems to continue to decrease.Â As more foreclosures take place in your neighborhood, you could end up living in a dangerous area.Â Why wait?Â Why keep working.Â Are you really increasing your equity and net worth?Â Probably not, you have probably had to take a cut in pay along with loss of equity in your home and stocks and bonds.
But more importantly, you probably have no idea how much less the cost of living would be in a smaller community.Â Your utilities would probably be cut in half.Â If you move to the mountains you will probably have a well and septic system which basically cost you nothing (a little bit of electricity to run the well pump).Â Think how much your water and sewer bills are in Atlanta for instance.Â Insurance is less, homeowners, car insurance (less crime and vandalism), health insurance is signiciantly less, etc.Â Taxes are approximately 1/3 or less than in big cities, yet you would have much more land more likely.Â Since you wouldn't be working full time, you would spend lots less on gas and car maintenance, lunches, clothes, dry cleaning, etc. etc.
In fact, if you look in your closet I bet you have enough clothes to never have to buy anything the rest of your life.Â
So sit down with a pencil and paper and do a budget.Â Itemize everything you spend now.Â Then draw a line through all the things you won't have to pay in "dreamland."Â Â Make a list the best you can of what your expenses will be where you might move to.Â Â Get the payoff on your mortgage and then contact a good realtor in the area where you want to live.Â There are foreclosures, short sales and homes that people must sell every day.Â
Start living the American Dream, make a plan and work it!!