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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Location, location, location...

...the three most important factors in the Real Estate business.

I made a 1% commission this week; I've been a licensed Realtor® since the 80's. Since then, I have owned an apartment building, a couple of houses, and the lot on which I plan to retire.

The apartment building was a "fixer upper" that I bought to renovate, then sell. Unfortunately, the bottom sort of dropped out of the real estate market when I was in the renovation phase, so I wound up being a landlord for a few years...something I didn't really wish to be then, nor ever again. I'm quite happy that I don't still own that investment.

My first house I lived in for about 15 years, and did quite a bit of work on during that period of time, eventually selling it in favor of a larger property.

The house in which I currently reside, which I moved into a few years ago, was/is also a "fixer upper". I've done all the fixing up required to make everything quite functional, in addition to several upgrades, plus building an addition and a deck. The only things remaining to be done at this point are "cosmetic" improvements. Regardless of that, the place is now worth over twice what I paid for it...although a lot of that is what is known as "sweat equity".

My retirement lot I purchased last year with some of the aforementioned equity, in anticipation of the value going up. This it has done already, by a factor of 3 or more.

There's much talk of a "real estate bubble", which certain market analysts claim is going to burst at some point in the future. The way I figure it, even if it does just that, my holdings will still be worth more than what I paid for them.

As is generally the case, real estate is still one of the best investments going...


Blogger Bob_inSpain said...

Sometime people say, one thing they are not making any more of is LAND... and they keep making more people.

Of course, this is not literally perfectly true... they do fill in swamps and oceans, build islands... people may someday live under the sea or in space... and some countries seem to be doing a good job of killing off their populations w/ wars, famines, and diseases... but, the idea is basically solid most places, most of the time.

And, given supply and demand...
real estate should generally be a good investment. More people, constant land... easy math!

That being said... it is always possible to make good deals or bad deals in any market. Timing can matter too. This bubble can collapse, and the people who bought their property 10+ years ago will still be OK. Land is not overvalued like those tulip bulbs back when... the land is really useful.

Now, if a spot gets nuked... or if the big local employer leaves town (same thing) that changes the whole picture!

Buy low... sell high!
Eat smart. And live well.

November 02, 2005 5:42 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Well, I hope the real estate bubble doesn't pop too soon... My daughter just got a new job with a real estate services company. Apparently it is growing very fast. I suppose it could shrink very fast too if... "POP!"


November 02, 2005 6:22 PM  
Blogger cave_nate said...

dang i hope the bubble pops soon houses seem over valued around here (Montg. Co Pa) seen a silly condo go for $300K. and some one bought it. they must were smoking something.

maybe the high gas prices will help simmer things down...

renter nate :-)

November 02, 2005 6:40 PM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Good golly camo, is there anything you're NOT into?

My place is also a fix-r-upper. After seven years, all systems are upgraded (furnace, well pump, electric, some plumbing, new windows, roof) and alot of the cosmetics are done.

There's still tough choices to make, the most recent being the NEED to take care of the sub-floor under the toilet and the WANT of new flooring in the kitchen and living room. Darn it's hard being a responsible homeowner sometimes! ;o)

I don't understand what this housing bubble is all about. Interest rates are as low as I've ever seen. There's new construction of huge houses everywhere (who are these people and where do they get the money?!?!?) and lots and lots for sale.

November 02, 2005 6:52 PM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

Yea I too have a fixer upper. Took 6 plus acres of raw woodland, made room for a foundation. Added a well and septic. Had a freind rough it in. Did the mechanicals,heat, electric, plumbing, communications. Most of the siding. Family helped alot. Paint,Insulation, Siding. 7 years later still finishing. Plus remodeling! No decor lasts forever!Added Man Cave.
One Victorian Era Home.albeit 100 years late.
Dreams of romance with Mrs. Gone.
Homes along the lakes and on Mackinaw Island were the inspiration.
Sometimes I wish I would have taken the other route(fix up existing, AGAIN)
Most people don't recognize the effort it takes as I'm sure you know. You really have to keep motivated( I have not always) and stay the course.
They just hire "contractors"
Great Post, Best way to make money in USA!

November 02, 2005 7:57 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

They're still making land in Hawaii, too; on the Big Island, and Southeast of there, where another island is growing. It's still underwater, and will continue to be for thousands of years yet, but it's already been named "Loihi".

Real estate prices are quite high now, but even if the "bubble" does pop, real estate is basically a solid investment...except for those who buy high and sell low, contrary to Bob's sound advice.

As you know, I'd be more than happy to find you a "tax shelter" in PA, but I understand your reluctance.

Ever heard of "Jack, of all trades"?
(I am he)

Libby Gone™:
If one is handy around the house, as it were, these "fixer uppers" are the best "bang for your buck", no doubt about it...

November 02, 2005 10:07 PM  
Blogger JR said...

Even in good times Apartment Building are a tough sell...

A good location is always worth alot more than what you paid for it... I would find it hard to move at any price...

November 03, 2005 1:56 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

I'm going to find it incredibly easy to move when I retire; even though my current location is excellent, my retirement destination is paradise...

November 03, 2005 5:43 PM  
Blogger Libby Gone™ said...

When you have a spare moment( I don't see how you can have one, you go getter)Let me know how to emphasize or italic or whatever it is called. Like paradise in your last comment. Thank you.

November 03, 2005 8:15 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Libby Gone™:
HTML tags are shown above^. Those are "b" for bold, "i" for italics and "a" for a URL. To close them, put "/" inside the brackets, in front of the letter. The URL code is a bit more complicated; do a web search for HTML...

November 04, 2005 1:03 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Mr. Trades, of course! I always wondered who exactly you were. :o)

Yesterday, I was watching video of my place when I bought it in '98. WOW! Have I been busy! I just may be reinspired to tackle the bathroom!

There are pros and cons of course in building new and refurbishing. One particular challenge for me has been the cockeyed lines in this house. There is NOTHING square or plumb about the place! Example: setting kitchen cupboards included shimming 1" at one end, and cutting out a piece of the back of another to accomodate the hump in the floor. I can set an egg on my counter and it does not roll. :o)

It's also a handy excuse for trim that doesn't QUITE fit.

Don't forget:

Measure twice, cut once: Norm Abrams

I like it so much, I have it in my own house!: Bob Villa

November 04, 2005 7:29 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Yup, that's me, the famous Irish fellow; Jack O'Trades...

November 04, 2005 8:26 AM  
Blogger mk77 said...


November 05, 2005 9:06 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

What was it that you didn't understand?

November 05, 2005 2:46 PM  
Blogger mk77 said...


Just passin by, sayin g'day.

November 05, 2005 6:17 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Ah. G'day back then, mate. :-)

November 05, 2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger hooey said...

The nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. will bring the majority on the United States Supreme Court READ MORE...

November 09, 2005 12:38 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

But I already commented on that post o' yours, way before now.

Nice new profile pic, BTW...

November 09, 2005 3:43 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Back to home improvement. Started gutting the bathroom yesterday. There's no turning back now!!!!

November 09, 2005 7:16 AM  
Blogger camojack said...


November 09, 2005 8:44 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Not sure how much 'fun' it will be, but I can say looking at drywall all torn up and peeling from the glue that held on the wall board is motivating! The problem is, I have NO idea what I want to do in there! All I know is the subfloor has to be rebuilt under the throne, or I may be ruling from the crawl space soon! YIKES!

November 10, 2005 8:21 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Definitely make sure the "throne" is well supported; that's one place where you really want things to stay where you put 'em...

November 10, 2005 11:47 PM  

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