The Wisdom of Hindsight in the Real Estate Market

“Consider the following observations about the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. real estate market:

A home in Silver Spring, Maryland comes on the market and sells in one day. That’s no big deal. But the real estate agent received forty-one offers. I’ll repeat: Forty-one offers in only a few hours. A home in the city of Alexandria sells in one day at a price $100,000 over the asking price. I’ll repeat: The house sold for $100,000 more than the seller’s asking price. More than 30 people camped out for 7 days in order purchase units in a new urban townhouse development. I’ll repeat: Thirty people living on the streets with sleeping bags and tents in order to buy in a new townhouse development. ” A dream come true you say? These are excerpts from the article “One Word For Metro Washington Real Estate: Insane, written by Henry Savage for…in March 2004.Almost five years ago Mr. Savage painted a picture of a thriving sellers market that had gained so much momentum that home buyers were waiving financing and home inspections to make their offers more attractive to home sellers. As we have all witnessed, any market, whether stocks or real estate, cannot sustain this level of exuberance before something has to give.Home prices increasing 20% per year eventually results in fewer buyers for these over priced homes. Add to this mix, greedy money lenders offering low introductory interest rates (only to spike in a few years), and resulting in too many people owning homes they can’t afford. The demand for real estate begins to decrease, inventory rises, and eventually home prices drop. Sound familiar?The increase in interest rates, would also have a devastating effect on all of those buyers who purchased homes with little or no deposit and are faced with the expiration of the attractive introductory rates. Foreclosures and housing gluts would be a natural result of this market.Mr. Savage predicted this outcome in his article; stating “the bigger the boom, the bigger the bust”. Real estate, as do all markets, runs in cycles. The plight of our current market is the fall out from the golden age of real estate we experienced a few years ago.Currently, in the Metro D.C. market, the average Sold price is just under $550; a 12% increase from the same time last year. It’s not 20%, but definitely a more realistic increase one would expect. Perhaps we are entering a new cycle in real estate; one that reflects adjusted home prices, sensible lending practices, and smarter buyers.

Posted in Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Life Insurance – Does It Work? Shouldn’t The Real Question Be How Does It Work For You?

There are those who wonder about life insurance-does it work? Similarly, others question if whole life insurance worth it. Others ponder about universal life insurance-does it work? Still others ask about term life insurance-does it work?I will answer all the questions with more questions: What do you mean does it work or is it worth it? Shouldn’t the real question be do they work for you, if so how, and if not, why not?Shall we have a look?Life insurance-does it work?Let’s start with the basics:

All life insurance offers a tax-free death benefit

The owner of a life insurance policy decides who gets the death benefit

The person or entity that receives the death benefit is called a beneficiary

The main purpose of a death benefit is to protect the beneficiary from financial hardship

It is not death insurance

Cost is based primarily on a person’s health and age in that order

Not everyone qualifies

There will only be one claim per policy per person-we are all going to die someday

There are two main types: Temporary and permanent
Is there anyone in your life who would suffer a financial loss when you die? Does it make sense that when you die there will be enough money to pay your final expenses, such as burial, medical bills, and debts? Does it make sense that when you die, especially if it’s unexpected and untimely that your family, loved ones, and/or business have enough money to carry on?If you answer yes to any of the above questions, life insurance probably works for you.Is whole life insurance worth it?Again I will answer with questions.Do you want:

To be insured the rest of your life?

Your insurance premiums (what you pay) to be fixed and never increase?

To be able to enjoy living benefits (cash value) as well as the death benefit?

The amount of the cash value to be guaranteed and know exactly what it’s worth?

To be able to sell the policy back to the company for its cash value?

To be able to have access to the cash value any time you want or need it?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, whole life may be a good fit for you.Are there ways to earn better return on your money? There absolutely is.What concerns you more, the return OF your money or the return ON your money?How important is permanent protection to you?How important is the word guarantee to you?Universal life insurance-does it work?More questions for you to ask yourself:

Are you willing to take some risk that the cash value may not perform as planned?

Do you want the flexibility of being able to manipulate the amount of your premiums?

Are you OK with the fact there are more moving parts in UL than whole life (WL)?

Do you want permanent insurance that you can purchase at a lower initial premium than WL?
If you answered yes to ALL the above questions and you want to be insured for the rest of your life, you may want to consider UL as an alternative to WL.There are several kinds of UL. As long as you understand how it works, it can be a great tool to assist in long-term financial planning.Both WL and UL can be very effective tools to supplement retirement planning, college planning, or as a supplemental employee benefit.Term life insurance-does it work?You guessed it. More questions:

Did you know the word term is similar to the word lease?

Did you know term insurance is the equivalent to renting your insurance?

Do you want to be insured temporarily for a specified period of time?

Are you willing to pay the higher premiums (sometimes exponentially higher) when the term expires?

Do you want only a death benefit?

Are you OK with knowing you will probably outlive your term?

Did you know that less than 5% of all term policies never pay a death benefit because of the above?

Is immediate cost of insurance your main concern?
If the answer to all the above questions is yes, a term policy may be what is best for you.Similar to a lease-with-option to buy, some (not all) insurance companies offer the ability to convert from a term policy to a permanent (WL or UL) policy at a later date.Last but not leastDid you know you can own more than one policy? Perhaps all the different kinds mentioned could work for you.How much insurance do you need? To be adequately and fully insured, a guideline is to be insured for 10-15 times your annual income.What will your budget allow? Start with that then decide how much of a death benefit you need, then decide if it’s whole life insurance, universal life insurance, or term life insurance that is best for your situation. Don’t forget. You don’t have to pick just one.How often should you review your situation? It’s probably best to review at least once a year.Are you and your family, loved ones, or business protected against financial hardship regardless of if you die too soon or live too long?Do you have a guarantee you’ll still be here tomorrow?If not, what are you waiting for?How can I help?Leave comments or questions below.

Posted in life insurance | Tagged | Comments Off

Live Entertainment

Using an entertainment agency can take away any headaches sourcing live entertainment can bring.When planning an important event such as wedding receptions, corporate events, birthday parties, school and university parties such as summer balls, it can sometimes feel daunting finding the right entertainment! You may want to look at hiring a soul and funk band, swing band, pop band, rock band, hire a cover band or hire a DJ but haven’t got a clue where to start looking, this is where an entertainment agency can really help. They will have a wide range of live acts available to hire and will also have the knowledge and experience to ensure you find exactly what you are looking for.One of the most popular events to have live entertainment at is weddings. Weddings are a special occasion and one that should be celebrated to the maximum so why not add a bit of spice to the proceedings by including some first class entertainment. Deciding on a wedding band or wedding entertainment can make people feel pressure because you want your guests to have a great time. This is why you may want to consider dealing with an entertainment agency that has a lot of experience in this area. They can come as a great help as they can offer advice and guidance, making sure you find whats right for you and your guests.Other popular events to have live music at are corporate events. Corporate parties including the works Christmas party can be one of the biggest events in a companies calender. You may have been put in charge of organising the event or be a boss that wants to reward all the hard working staff but haven’t got the time to put into making sure you get the right entertainment. After all, we are all busy enough as it is without having to do all the research it takes into ensuring that the works parties entertainment is great – this is why you may want to consider an entertainment agency to do the work for you. The variety of live acts available means that you will be spoilt for choice! Also they will have many reviews and testimonials that will help to reassure you that they have done this all before.Whatever the event an entertainment agency can help and give you advice and guidance you need to make sure you find the live entertainment and wedding band you need!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off