Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where do we go from here?

I spent Sunday afternoon with my wife and kids, along with my sister, enjoying fall in Northern Michigan. First we went in search of a cider mill and fresh donuts, and found our way to The Covered Wagon near Lake Leelanau. I say found the way, because we worked from memory as opposed to maps in making our way through the Leelanau Peninsula.

Next we visited Jacobs Corn Maze, just a bit west of Traverse City on M-72. I've wanted to do a corn maze for a while, and was excited to hear that one was open in our area. Mike and Laverna Witkop and Steve and Lisa Fouch created a great recreational asset for our community, and we had a blast. Garrison and Jared (8 and 6) ran 90 percent of the time in the maze which means they put on several miles at a trot. Nathan at 2 1/2 tried to keep up, but also delighted in riding on grown up shoulders- "go fast! Go fast!"

Using the map provided and being able to read it was critical in getting through in a timely fashion. It would have easily taken us twice as long (if not more) had we not used the map. We quickly settled into a pattern. Kids run ahead with instructions to stop at any intersection. "Which way do we go?" and off they run again. Great fun.

Now I sit here wondering where we go from here once again, as the Economic Stabilization Act was defeated, the Dow plummeted, and debate (and finger pointing) rages on. I've been having mixed feelings on the defeat- I'm a fiscal conservative, but understand that the risk of doing nothing is significant. I had only the broadcast news interpretation of the Act, which provided little substance, and having heard enough spin on it, I decided to try to learn more.

After brushing through several news sites, I decided to turn to my professional association, and visited the National Association of REALTORs website at REALTOR.org. There I found a summary of the act written from the REALTOR point of view, speaking to the REALTOR community. This summary gave me a deeper understanding of facets of the bill. Here's a look at that document: http://tinyurl.com/4ghbho

Whether this act was the best possible solution will never be answered to everyones satisfaction. I firmly believe, however, that dramatic action is needed to address the credit crisis, and it is needed soon. Political infighting and rhetoric will serve no one, nor will placing blame for how we got here. May our Representatives and Senators be blessed with open minds, clear insight, and the strength to unite in action.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Understanding the Impact

It's a challenge to get a grasp on what's going on between Washington and New York, and how it is affecting our markets. Still more difficult is the task of predicting and tracking what works. I came across three articles on Inman News today that made it to my del.icio.us list (see sidebar) because they improved my understanding of the current situation.

First this article on the Fannie-Freddie Rescue. Debate it all you'd like, this action was essential.

Next, an analysis of the debate surrounding the proposed Treasury buy up of bad loans, including some speculation of what it could be, and how the program and the properties might be managed.

Third, Federal actions lead to housing hesitation takes a look a what impact all of this is having on buyers right now.

It seems for a long time, we've had every bit of good news stifled by a share of bad news or drama, supporting an atmosphere of uncertainty that has kept some buyers on the fence. I am hopeful that these bold moves will help to break up this hesitancy and move us out of deadlock. There are incredible values available in our markets, and likely in many others as well.

The buyers I'm working with are making great deals, and I believe will be some of the biggest winners when the market regains its footing... WHICH IT WILL DO! Those that act soon will take advantage as well. Those who wait until the market rebounds will pay higher prices, but still do well. So long as buyers are making wise financial decisions, based on need, and recognize they are making a long term investment, this is a good time to buy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MAR Convention

I'm currently at the Michigan Association of REALTORS Convention and Expo in Detroit.

Meetings opened last night with the REALTOR of the Year announcement. Congratulations to Joe Bayai! We were also proud of the nominee from the Traverse Area Association of REALTORS nominee, Peter Read.

I missed part of the Keynote speach to handle some business (good news!) and then visited the trade show before going to dinner.

This morning started with the RPAC breakfast and an address from Senator Mike Bishop. The Senator thanked us and encouraged us to stay involved, including contacting our senators and representative.

Then on to classes...I'm focusing on tech this morning, and thinking that podcasts might be a valuable means of communication with our mrmbers.

I've also gotten a glimpse of the behind the scenes power held in Google. Almost too much information, and I'm ready for a break and lunch.

Very cool that this event will be coming to Traverse City next year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Second Season

It appears the second season is upon us. I spent 30 minutes in Backcast Fly Shop yesterday. It wasn't my intention to spend that long, nor was I planning a leisurely browse of the store. I actually was hurrying, but wanted to buy this years hunting licenses.
What I found when I walked inside was a lengthy line at the register and more people lookinh through the wares.
There were three fly fishermen lamenting over the latest version of their favorite reel, which it seems isn't as durable as the model it replaced. One was having his reel replaced and re-wound with fresh line.
Another young man was looking for patching material for his waders, and I offered a suggestion based on my own battles with leaky boots. He later asked me where he might buy new waders locally. Others were selecting various bits of tackle.
All this at 4:30 pm on a Tuesday in September! This is a great indication that our heathy fisheries are of great value to our region.
I was pleased to see that folks were still travelling to our area to take advantage of our resources, and contributing to our economy while they were here!

Posted while mobile