Friday, April 27, 2012

Guest Post from Tony Collins

For the week of April 23, 2012 – Vol. 10, Issue 17

QUOTE OF THE WEEK..."A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." --Walter Bagehot, English businessman, essayist and journalist

... People say home building can't recover any time soon. Yet the signs continue to mount that a recovery is underway. Off 5.8% for March, Housing Starts are up 10.3% from a year ago, to a 654,000 unit annual rate. The monthly drop came from volatile multi-family starts, while single-family units were down only 0.2%. And the number of homes under construction was up for the seventh month in a row! Even Building Permits are up 30.1% versus a year ago. It's early in the home building recovery, but some are saying we could get to 1.5 million units by 2016.

More signs the housing market is recovering slowly but surely came with March Existing Home Sales. Although off 2.6% for the month, at 4.48 million units, they're up 5.2% over a year ago. In addition, the median price rose in March to $163,800 and is up 2.5% over a year ago, while the months' supply of inventory stayed at 6.3. Frankly, no one expects a big bump in home sales soon, but the market is definitely beginning to heal, as it's obviously a great time to buy. 

When dealing with your home financing, I not only work with one of your largest personal financial investments; I also handle one of your biggest dreams. As your mortgage planning specialist, I will give you my best consistently. My team specializes in renovation financing both for the purchasing of a home or for renovating a home you already own. In fact, Renovation Loans are all we do. Renovation loans allow you to purchase or refinance and renovate the home in one seamless transaction.

With over 13 years experience working with only Renovation Loans you can trust myself and the rest of the St Louis Renovation Team to help guide you from application to project completion. 

Tony Collins
Renovation Specialist
Office: 314-288-2462
Office: 866-997-0358

A word from Provident: The housing market is getting ready to rebound. If you are looking to invest in real estate, now would be the time to start. If being a landlord isn't for you, contact us. We are ready to manage your units professionally and competently. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shadow market

 I came upon an interesting article about the "shadow" market of foreclosures. This article, while detailing Southern Florida, was very informative. I particularly liked this quote:

"At this rate, Verna figures it will be three to five years before lenders let all the homes go. The risk is that, by moving too slowly they could artificially raise prices in some areas, which might spur investors who bought homes as rentals to put them up for sale.
'The truth of the matter is we would have already gotten over it if they just let the properties get out there and get sold,' Verna says. 'So what are you doing? You're not stabilizing the market. You're creating more chaos.'"

If you are interested in investing in the real estate market, we can help. We are ready to be your property management team. We will find tenants, maintain or renovate the property, and take care of most of the hassles involved with being a landlord. (Sorry, you would still have to write the mortgage check each month. That's one service we don't offer.) Please contact us today for more information.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Preparing for Spring

Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, the grass needs mowing. With the arrival of spring, it's time to clean up our homes. Though there is no clear historical background for the seasonal cleaning urge, people around the world respond to it and houses become the cleaner for it. So what items should be taken care of as the seasons change?

Fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should definitely be checked. Detectors have a roughly 10 year lifetime before they should be replaced. They should also be cleaned regularly to ensure they are working properly, and have batteries tested. We all know how annoying it is to hear that incessant "beep beep beep" when the battery dies, but sometimes they just quit working. If we don't individually test them periodically, they may not work should we ever need them. At our house, we like to test ours about once a week or so on our family pizza night. Kidding. The oven tends to smoke and set off the alarm near the kitchen, which sets off the whole house. But it's always a good reminder to me and a good way to check them out too.

Furnace filters need to be changed regularly. If you have an HVAC unit (a heater and air conditioner in one), the filters need to be changed all year round. Depending on the type you prefer to buy, you need to change them monthly or every few months. With pollen and other airborne allergens hitting their high points for the year, changing filters can help alleviate any allergies your family members may experience. It's always a good idea to give the furnace a once-over when changing the filter also. Does everything look normal? Does it look dirty? If you ask questions of your furnace technician when they come out to inspect it yearly, than you know what to look for and can spot and potential problems. I'm not sure what's a worse situation- losing the heat on the coldest day of the year or losing the air conditioner on the hottest. Regular furnace and air conditioning inspections can help spot problems before they become major.

Inspect the exterior of the building. You should be looking for any damage that may have occurred during winter storms- missing roof shingles or loose siding. Also check the rain gutters and clear out any debris. April showers bring May flowers after all, but April showers plus clogged gutters can cause a mess and problem for your home if the rain is pooling somewhere and not draining properly. Now is a good time for clearing out any debris that may have blown into the flower beds or up against the foundation as well. Piles of leaves are very attractive to critters and pests of all sorts. If these piles are near the home, the pests may decide your home is even better than the leaves.

As your property management company, Provident can address all of these maintenance issues for you. We offer quarterly inspections of the property as well as coordinate any maintenance needs that are beyond our expertise (HVAC for example). A well maintained property saves money in the long run because small problems can be addressed before becoming huge headaches. Please contact us today to see what we can do for you!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Goodbye St. Louis?

It's no surprise that cities that have thrived on manufacturing jobs for so long as dying out. Manufacturing is slowly being shipped overseas. A lot of these cities are emptying out as the jobs leave. St. Louis is one of them. Some "experts" think that these cities will just die out and be abandoned over time. But it doesn't need to be that way. According to an interesting article I found:
"Globalization taketh away—but it also giveth. Cities like Buffalo or St. Louis now have access to things that even people in Chicago didn’t not that long ago. Amazon, iTunes, and a host of specialty online retailers put the best of the world within reach. Where once you couldn’t get a good cup of coffee, there are now micro-roasters aplenty. Where once your choices were Bud, Miller, or Coors, an array of specialty brews are on tap, often brewed locally. Restaurants are better, with food grown locally and responsibly. Slowly but surely the ship is turning on sustainability, with nascent bike cultures in almost every city, LEED certified buildings, recycling programs, and more. House by house, rehab by rehab, neighborhoods in these cities are starting to come to life."

New people are choosing to live in these areas. Why?
"No, this new generation of urbanists sees these cities with fresh eyes. They see the decay, yes, but also the opportunity—and the possibilities for the present and future. To them this is Rust Belt Chic. It’s the place artists can dream of owning a house. Where they can live in a place with a bit of an authentic edge and real character. Where people can indulge their passion for renovating old architecture without a seven-figure budget. Where they have a chance to make a difference—to be a producer, not just a consumer of urban life, and a new urban future. Above all, these people, natives or newcomers, have a deep and abiding passion and love for the place they’ve chosen—yes, chosen—to live."

St. Louis may be one of those cities that are generally looked down upon, but it has a rich culture and history. And really, where else can you potentially experience a tornado and an earthquake the same day? (Yes, the Mississippi River follows a fault line, in case you didn't know.) St. Louis is interesting and unique and deserves to be revived. We are interested in working with people who want to invest in St. Louis. We are ready to be your property management team as you purchase investment properties. Please contact us today for more information on how we can help you get the most out of your investment properties.