Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lake Havasu Now and Then

In 1998 you could buy a house (not including lot) in Lake Havasu for $76,900, and a fairly decent lot for $18,000.

This is a current page out of a local real estate magazine. Homes are priced in the mid to upper 200's. Lots are scarce and starting around $90,000. Amazing what 10 years can do. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gold in 'dem 'dar Homes

Photo taken in desert surrounding Lake Havasu
For the past several years people have treated their homes as goldmines, and have kept mining the gold out of it and now the price of gold is going down. I found this following letter at thehousingbubbleblog.com and I could not say it any better than one commenter on the site did.
RE: Mortgage bailout plan due to the subprime implosion
Dear Senator Dodd,
With every passing day the memories of my youth become more strained. But I am not so old that all clarity has faded. I can still remember much about growing up in this great nation of ours. Our family was large. Only my father worked. We had little. But we never asked, nor would we have accepted, anything from anybody else. The envelopes that we put in the church collection basket were filled with coins and dollar bills. There was a “mission bank” in our cupboard. Its contents were periodically sent to the poor in Africa and then filled nearly as quickly as it had been emptied. Our clothes were handed down. So was an ethic of hard work and responsibility.
What happened to those days? Today, responsibility is a curse word and hard work is a punch line. It is not necessary to rely on one’s self nowadays. That is not in vogue. The game plan in the 21st century is to do whatever you would like, whenever you would like, and if there are dire consequences wait for some half-baked do-gooder political bailout.
There are reports that you are searching for a way to pull the borrowers and lenders of this disastrous housing mania from the jaws of the monster they worked so hard to create. These buyers were not buying homes to raise families. These lenders were not lending money to add stability to their communities. They all rushed to the mountains, with picks and shovels in their hands, when they heard the first cries of “gold”. Often they turned those picks on each other. While these reckless souls were prospecting for disaster, there were some of us that kept our heads down, worked hard and saved our pennies. Now you wish to steal our pennies and hand them to these “victims”. They are victim only to their own greed.
Did Jefferson, Franklin and Washington understand the situation of the common man any better than the politicians of today? I cannot say for sure. But I would hope that their understanding of the situation would be more substantial than what you have demonstrated. I would hope that their solutions would be for the long-term stability of this great nation and not just a reward for those that have played the system. I would hope that they would exhibit more vision than the current governing body that appears to be so blind. It is sad to see government officials seem so shocked by a disaster whose birth was so easy to foresee. Where were you five years ago? Did you just stand aside and let this madness reign because it was the easy thing to do?
We, the hard working and responsible of this nation, are being killed. And it is the people in power, like you, that are doing the killing. Every time you bail out the greedy, you kill us a little more. Every time you give a handout to reward lying and cheating, you kill us a little more. Every time you rush to give assistance to the lazy and irresponsible, you kill us a little more. The
Republicans throw us to the big business wolves. Then you come along and pick off any flesh that remains. For god’s sake, either quit killing us, or just finish the damn job. And when the task is complete, climb to the top of the highest tower and herald our demise, for all the world to hear. Let the entire universe bear witness to what you have done. This is something that has been worked at for years. Your accomplishment should not go unnoticed. Take pride in the destruction of Responsible America. It appears to be the goal of your life’s work.

Here is the link to his letter.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Can't Sell My House Special

Picture taken March 16, 2007
Why do people leave their Christmas lights and decorations up three months beyond the season? It takes more effort to put the stuff up than it does to rip it down, which these people need to do for poor Santa.

I guess I don't understand why people choose to live like pigs. One can only imagine what the inside looks like. Why not take pride in your home? It only hurts the value of your home and your neighbors' homes to leave this junk up year 'round. There is a house in another neighborhood where they celebrate Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Fall, and Halloween all at once. I'll have to get a picture of that one too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Location, location, location

For sale. New construction homes with a lovely view of a superstore right in your own backyard! Wake up each morning to the music of delivery trucks delivering their goods, and the lively song of employees yelling at them. Drift off to sleep each night with the glow of floodlights dancing through your bedroom window, and the gentle whisper of the dumpster truck. Walking distance to the superstore means you'll save, save, save. These beautiful 1500 square foot sh*tboxes won't last long, and they're priced to sell!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

For the Price of a Downpayment

This house was purchased in a very, very small town in Iowa. There are no stoplights, one gas station/grocery store, one hardware store, one coffee shop, and a volunteer fire department. Approximate population of 300. There is no police force...just a sheriff if there is a problem, which there never is. It is a town that time has passed right over, including real estate prices. The house, five acres, and two barns were purchased three years ago for $40,000. Today it is worth...$40,000. There is nothing surrounding the house but farmland as far as the eye can see.

There still are places in America where one can cash out and have basically no worries, with nothing to do. A home within the city limits of this itty bitty town can be as low as $25,000. The same house that in southern California could go for $600,000.

Everyone has their own idea of paradise. What is yours?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

How Much is a Trillion?

In the year 2008 a trillion dollars worth of adjustable loans will be due. That means either people will have to refinance for a fixed loan, pay the new adjustable rate (i.e. a $1500 mortgage payment could become a $2000 payment), or sell.

Just to show how much a trillion dollars is:

A trillion dollars is so large a number that only politicians can use the term in conversation... probably because they seldom think about what they are really saying. I've read that mathematicians do not even use the term trillion! Here is some perspective on TRILLION:
Trillion = 1,000,000,000,000. The country has not existed for a trillion seconds. Western civilization has not been around a trillion seconds. One trillion seconds ago – 31,688 years – Neanderthals stalked the plains of Europe.

You can find the above quote here.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

So You Want to Live Where it's Cheaper?

Well, we thought we did. After 3 winters of this we are out of here. That isn't acutally our car, but it is our neighborhood.
The winter weather in northern Illinois is cold, icy, salty roads, cars are always dirty, windy, cloudy/gray, and did I mention cold? We thought it would be a simpler life, but life is tough no matter where you live so I want to live where it is warm! No more icy winters please. If I want to see snow, I'll be glad to drive to the mountains. It'll give me something to do.
Also, property taxes are high in this area. For a $160,000 house we paid $3700 per year with a 10 day grace period. You don't pay it in 10 days, tax sale here we come! Heating bills are easily $180 to $220 per month for a 1,750 square foot house.
Summers are very pretty, and so is fall, but these winters can be long and drawn out. I also miss the variety of landscapes that you can see out west. Here, you can drive 4 hours in any direction and it looks the same as where you left.

Ocean Front Property

This is where I lived for 15 years, before my wife came along and civilized me.
She didn't seem to quite catch on to the boat life, but she gave it a fair shot for six months, during an El Nino year on top of that.
Living on a boat in Santa Barbara was a great option for me. I started out when I was 21 years old, and paid $10,000 for my boat and slip. Before this power boat I had a sailboat, which I did four years of living on. I loved sailing. I actually had a choice to buy a condo in Santa Barbara for $43,000 in 1984, or stay on the boat. I chose the boat, and have no regrets except for the money I could have made. My sailing experiences are priceless though, and if I could go back in time I would make probably the same decision. I was only 22 years old and living the moment, and could have cared less about the future. Sure, I would have made about $400,000 in real estate, but the memories I have are priceless. It was always fun for me.

Havasu Where it all Started

This picture was taken in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, when one could buy a house for $109,000, and I did! I turned around and sold that house for $212,000 six years later.

I moved back to the midwest where I grew up, and where my wife was accepted into nursing school, but still follow the real estate market in Arizona and the west coast. Now that my wife is finished with nursing school, we are planning to move back out west and buy a house within a year.

I am making this blog to chronicle the real estate market, because that is what I enjoy doing. I am by NO MEANS a professional. This is just a hobby for me. I welcome comments and suggestions as I blog about real estate news and my opinions.

I chose the name for this blog, because that is how the real estate market seems right now. We just recently sold our home in Illinois after being on the market for over 90 days for $157,000, original list price of $169,500. Since then, similar houses are listing at $154,000, with one selling for $150,000. We are now renting until June, when we will be moving back out west, and will rent there for about a year to see how the market goes.