Paris Car Sharing Plan?

Paris’ ambitious mayor has a new “green dream” after the spectacular success of his bike-sharing scheme launched a year ago: a version for electric cars.

Under Bertrand Delanoe’s environmentally friendly plan, a driver could pick up a car, say, on the Left Bank, snake up the slopes of Montmartre, then drop it off — and only pay for the minutes spent behind the wheel.

But cars, even electric, are already proving more divisive than bikes. Continue reading

Real Estate Prices Rise for Four Straight Months – Is Anyone Noticing?

Amidst the gloom on Wall Street about housing someone forgot to check the stats. The National Association of Realtors® has now reported four straight months of rising housing prices, but it seems no one is listening.According to NAR statistics, the median home price has fallen from a high of $230,200 in July 2006 to a low in February 2008 at $195,600, a drop of 15%. Since February, however, it has risen steadily every month. By May the index (which will be revised on July 24) had risen to $208,600, up $13,000 and a full 6.6%. Another indicator, the mean home price (otherwise known as the average home price), has also shown strength and has risen from a low of $242,000 also in February of this year to $253,100, a rise of $11,100 or 4.5%. It, too, has risen every month since February of this year.

“I just don’t know where Wall Street’s brains are today,” said David Michonski, CEO of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy in New York City. “Everyone on the Street is wringing their hands over housing when in fact the average American has been out this spring buying homes and pushing the median price higher. This has got to go down as one of Wall Street and Main Street’s biggest disconnects in history.”

In addition, on an annualized basis the volume of home sales has also risen somewhat from a low of 4,890,000 homes in January to 4,990,000 in May.

“Rising prices on expanding volume should not a crisis make on Wall Street,” says Michonski.

So why the crisis? Continue reading

Recent Customer Survey!

Would you recommend our team to a friend or relative?

Absolutely – This is our 2nd time working with Kendee.  She has been very patient with us & spent extra time to always make sure we were understanding each step of the process.  We were and are very hapy with her service and will always look to her 1st with any upcoming needs in the future!

Great Time To Buy!

The real estate market is the best I have seen in my 33+ years in real estate for buyers, whether they are buying for lifestyle to move in with their families or for buying for investment.There are four main reasons why I say this:

First – The interest rates are still near 40 year historic lows.  Rates continue to be well under 7%. 

Second – There are more homes for sale than we have had for decades – therefore there is much more to choose from as a buyer. 

Third – Prices are stable in the heartland of the USA and in several states, California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona as well as the rust belt of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio the prices have dropped enough that the smart buyers are beginning to jump back in the market to take advantage of the lower prices.

The fourth and final reason that now is the best time to buy is – affordability.  According to the National Association of Realtors, the trade organization for Realtors, we are at near a 5 year low in affordability.  In addition, Wachovia published a paper on real estate on July 14 of this year comparing the median price of homes in the USA with the disposable income our citizens have, according to the US Department of Commerce.  They found that the worst affordability was three years ago and the best was August, 1980.  Today they report that we are near that 28 year low.  Now is the best time to buy real estate!!!!!

One other factor to consider is that according to the National Association of Realtors the average median increase in home values in our country since 1972 is 6.2%.  What a great annual return on your investment.

Buying for investment is a little different than buying to live in.  If you are investing, make sure you work with a professional Realtor who not only knows the local market, but invests in real estate themselves.  Then take the emotion out of the purchase.  Worry about the age of the roof, appliances, furnace, air conditioning units, water heater, etc as well as the type of construction to determine what kind of building maintenance would need to be done.  Do not worry about things like what the backyard looks like from the window over the kitchen sink.  Don’t worry about what it would be like if the back yard would not be ideal for your children.

You should also have your sales person provide you with comparable sales that have recently been sold so you are aware of values and do not bid or purchase an overpriced home.

We have so many additional tips on our website, including video tips on buying and selling as well hundreds of thousands of homes for sale.

– Jim Gillespie, Coldwell Banker CEO

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Recent Customer Survey!

Q: What suggestions do you have for improving our level of service?

A: Cliff was very prompt with returning emails & calls…nothing to improve!

Q: Would you recommend our team to a friend or relative?

A: Yes, without a doubt.  Our closing attorney was even impressed with Alpha Mortgage.

Recent Customer Survey!

Q: Is there anything that was important to you that we did not address?

A: No, my expectations were exceeded!

Q: What suggestions do you have for improving the level of our service?

A: None, Mr. Buckery was prompt, professional and effective and made the process of securing a loan unexpectantly pleasant.

Q: Would you recommend our team to a friend or relative?

A: Absolutely.  We were referred to you by family and would do the same for other family members or friends!

Recent Customer Survey!

Q: What suggestions do you have for improving the level of our service?

A: There aren’t any, they did an outstanding job!

Q: Would you recommend our team to a friend or relative?

A: I would shout out nothing but praise!

Loan Officer: Mike Bass

Recent Customer Survey!

Q: Would you recommend our team to a friend or relative?  

A: Absolutely – we have never had such a great experience with a mortgage service in the past.  On the day of our closing there was a problem with the people buying our home and Kendee went above & beyond to try to help them so that both closings could be completed.  We will recommend Kendee Blake & Alpha Mortgage  without hesitation!

Understanding Credit Scoring & Credit Repair

Wilmington, NC – Credit remediation is a subject consumers often face with fear and trepidation, and for good reason. With the exception of recognizing that the best score wins, the average home shopper knows very little about the whole credit scoring process. Sub-prime borrowers who are eager to move into A-Paper territory often find themselves at a loss when trying to find ways to upgrade their credit history. The good news is there are ways to improve less-than-perfect credit scores and obtain a loan for the home you really want. The first step in the process is making sure that you have a current copy of your credit report. Congress recently amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act so that consumers may now receive one free credit report annually. There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Since entries can vary across bureaus, you’ll want to request a free report from each of the three companies. (Go to Continue reading