It is not because I was raised in California in the 60s, vote Democratic, eat granola or need a job. (I don’t. I have two, thank you) It’s not because I’ve made or lost a fortune in the stock market, am I anti-American, anti-corporation or want to bring capitalism to its bloody knees. I do not want to share my personal story of loss, health insurance, rate-jacking on credit card rates or banking fees here, I take responsibility for the decisions I’ve made and their consequences. And I’ll leave the commentary on the inner-machinations of who/how/why we got here to the pundits and those far more adept at these things than I.
Most of my professional life has been spent working in television and as theater artist; actor, director & playwright, and I’ve made a living doing what I love. I am at home with the dramatic expression of ideas, comfortable with change and used to the variables of a 1099 income. Suffice it to say Occupy Wall Street is not my first drum circle jam. But that’s not why I’m speaking out. Six years ago, when the prospect of single-motherhood was looming, I got my real estate license, worked my ass off in a difficult market and for the most part it has been good to me (I’m used to the variable income, remember?). I’ve worked the luxury market, helped buyers find their first homes, move up to larger spaces, and have numerous investors who’ve increased their cash flow with rental and fix & flip properties. I find it very gratifying and I’m good at it.
I support Occupy Wall Street because as a Realtor©, I have worked to save clients from foreclosure, spent hours negotiating with banks over short sales, sat around kitchen tables listening to frustrations with loan modifications, and spent as much on tissue as I have on champagne. (Okay, I exaggerate, but you get the idea.) I have seen this at all income levels and from clients who did not take out loans they could not afford, use their homes as ATMs or over-purchase. When they bought the future was bright and the payments were manageable. When the bubble burst and a few of life’s bumps hit (illness, divorce, job loss or downsizing) they tried valiantly to keep their obligations and pay the mortgage…until the day they couldn’t and their homes were worth less than they owed.
We may not all share an aching drive to be rich, but I’d bet that most of us want to work hard, prosper and live comfortably enough to invest in our futures, save for our children’s college and be prepared for retirement. We’d even like a vacation or two. For years we’ve trod along hoping things would get better and worked hard to make that a reality, even if the price of our hope was the depletion of our savings. At last we are exhausted. Too many Silverado, WorldCom and Goldman Sachs sagas played out on the nightly news, followed by stories of bailouts and bonuses for those who’ve shamelessly played fast and loose with our lives.
The tide has turned in America and around the world. The tsunami is hurling us forward faster than we’ve ever collectively moved before and there is no turning back. The social/political, dare I say… evolution is upon us, the old ways are outmoded and there’s no point in retreating to their ice age. It is time to start the conversation. We’ll figure out what the next best step is, but for now… shut up and listen.
How do you get into the real estate investing game? One house at a time. Real estate investing, like the stock market, can be daunting for some, but the payoff is worth the learning curve. My client, Kevin, became a landlord in 2007 with the purchase of his first rental property, half of a duplex in the City Park neighborhood of Denver. With a $150,000 purchase price and some minor upgrades to suit his specifications, Kevin was able to create positive cash flow within a few months. Two years later, we looked for another property, scouring for a neighborhood where you could still find a bargain, yet prices were pitched to rise. We found a larger single family, bank-owned home between Park Hill and Stapleton and were able to close on it for $136,000. The rehab was more inclusive, but with Kevin’s skill and good taste he created a very desirable rental which drew a very happy tenant. More cash flow. Today, we closed on his third rental property, in the heart of Park Hill. The $107,000 purchase price gives you an idea of what the market has done over the past few years and why Kevin is a happily building wealth through real estate. With a low down-payment, a well-planned fix-up budget and great interest rate, Kevin will be putting a total of $1,000 a month in his pocket this summer from his three investment properties. When you add in the tax benefits and property appreciation that comes with buying now and holding a long-term investment, Kevin is coming out way ahead.
Buying rental property is a great way for creative people to build long-term, sustainable wealth. For Kevin, this is the perfect blend of creativity and commerce and we’ll be following his journey through the fix-up process. Do you think this might be a good path for you? Call, text or email me, I’d be glad to show you successful strategies for building wealth through real estate. Till then, THRIVE BABY!
I help people buy and sell houses in the Denver metro area, many of which are a hundred years old or more. As I help my clients prepare to list or to move, we find some interesting things in the attics and basements of these storied homes. My recent discovery was page 11 & 12 of the Sunday Denver Post dated December 27, 1931. It was a time of high unemployment and economic anxiety. Here’s a bit of the what’s up two days after Christmas nearly 78 years ago:
*Pasco Santana, called the PLATTE RIVER HERMIT took residence in a cardboard house near the Sixteenth Street viaduct. With his “Back to Nature” attitude he chose this location, feeling the city dwellers were the ones missing out. “The river is my best friend, even tho it doesn’t say anything and just keeps rolling along” (The neighborhood would be too crowded for Mr. Santana’s liking today, even among the cardboard crowd.)
*500 SALESMEN ATTEND MEETING- Sponsored by the market development committee of the Chamber of Commerce in an effort to acquaint Denver wholesale and manufacturing firms of their “Buy-it-in this-Market” program. (Just like mama said, everything comes in style again).
*JONES OPPOSES PLAN FOR JOB RELIEF- Senator Attacks Proposal of Direct Federal Aid to Feed Needy.
*POPE APPEALS FOR UNIFICATION OF CHRISTIANS- Seeks United Front for Fight Against Unbelief and Immorality.
*BATTLE IS OPENED ON SULLIVAN LAW- A bitter attack on the recent amendment to the Sullivan law requiring all persons carrying a revolver to be fingerprinted and photographed. The National Riffle Association went on record as favoring a repeal of the Sullivan law.
*DECLINE REPORTED IN FARM MORTGAGES
*FARM WASTES TOTAL 250 MILLION TONS…and so it goes.
Business meetings, battles over government funding of social programs, religions striving to reconcile, gun control, mortgage declines. A lot has changed in America, but this makes me wonder if we’re really just swimming in circles. For the readers of these pages in 1931 times were really, really tough. World War I had shown the atrocities of which modern man is capable, the economy was in the toilet, confidence in our government was shaky at best. But somehow, though those years and all that followed we have prevailed. We’ve taken small steps forward and “giant leaps for mankind”, getting better every day. If you don’t retain your sense of reason and a bit of the Pollyanna perspective, it certainly never will.
Today the Stock Market is up and the housing market is showing signs of return. Denver is rated #3 among the nation’s best cities to work and Gov. Ritter announced that REpower USA was relocating their headquarters from Oregon reinforcing Denver’s growth as an epicenter of renewable energy. Interest rates are low and banks are still lending to qualified buyers, there’s an $8000 tax credit for first-time buyers and down payment assistance programs have revamped and restarted. But many of us are still struggling. For those experiencing job loss, soaring medical bills, upside down mortgages of a pending foreclosure, the Pollyanna attitude is surely put to the test. Focus on the good in your life, get yourself back on good footing, call in help if you need it.
Today’s headlines are experienced differently by each of us. Whether you’re feeling like you’re headed for the cardboard box by the river, or you’re looking for a home overlooking it, as a real estate consultant I can guide you through these changing times. For however the economic moment is treating you… this too shall pass.