Archive for March, 2011

If America were a business, would you invest?
March 26, 2011

Bloomberg Business ran an article recently and the title really grabbed my attention: Would you invest in a company that lost $2 trillion last year and has a net worth of negative $44 trillion?  Every American’s per capita share of the total US debt – $143,000 and growing.  That’s a lot of debt on the books for this company called USA, inc.  Whether or not to invest in the US is a really good question with a very simple answer.  If the US were a company, most people would pass on the opportunity to buy its shares.  The truth is, however, that investors from around the world continue to buy US securities every day, looking for a safe place to invest their money.  Based on America’s track record, it seems like a safe investment and historically it generally has been.  However, people always learn the hard way that the future does not always look like the past.  Countries such as Egypt, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Libya, Japan, and Iceland are learning this lesson the hard way right now.  America is not immune to hardship as the recent financial meltdown has illustrated.  America’s rapidly aging population, its shrinking savings rate, and its ever-increasing cost to fund its entitlement programs, give much to be concerned about within our own borders.  To avoid facing even greater problems down the road, the US must take bold steps today by investing in its future.  Getting the economy to grow again is the most important task.  To do so, we must improve our aging infrastructure, expand access to technology, and most importantly, improve our education for future generations.  We must act now to cut unnecessary spending, encourage entrepreneurial activity, support small business, and get back to living within our means.  The time for positive action is now!

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North Fort Worth – A Great Place To Be
March 21, 2011

Everywhere I look around our office in N. Ft. Worth I see a wonderful sight – construction.  A new hospital is underway at 1709 and I-35W and a new emergency care center is underway on N. Tarrant, just east of I-35W.  Apartment construction is robust and new retailers are moving in each week.  Alliance Airport is continuing to grow and 1709 itself is even under construction after years of delays.  Lest we forget, there is plenty of residential construction in North Fort Worth as well.  Being at the center of all of this construction is very exciting, and Blue Leaf is proud to have its home base in North Fort Worth.  Blue Leaf is also excited to be looking at expansion opportunities in the Metroplex.  We look forward to growth in the year’s ahead but plan to keep our headquarters in the Alliance Corridor – it’s a great place to be and a great place to call home.  Please visit us online at www.BlueLeafRealty.com.

Don’t Be Shy About Reciprocation In Business
March 17, 2011

Unfortunately, the idea of reciprocation has gotten a bad rap these days.  On the one hand, the Law of Reciprocity is still a very important and essential ingredient for success in life and in business.  On the other hand, it is looked upon by some as selfish when a person does a good deed and expects something in return.  From time to time, performing random acts of kindness without any expectation of something in return is important.  In business, however, when you give it’s okay to expect something in return.  In fact, your success depends on it.  Don’t be afraid to reference the Law of Reciprocity when the time is right.  When you do invoke the Law of Reciprocity, just be sure to do so in an appropriate manner.  Apply these three ideas and watch the Law of Reciprocity work for you:

  •  Don’t expect a mountain if you only gave a mole hill.
  •  Don’t expect anything to happen right away.
  •  Don’t forget to give as much or more than you receive.

Applied generously and respectfully, the Law of Reciprocity will enrich your life and the lives of those around you.

Separating FACT from FICTION in Today’s Real Estate Market
March 10, 2011

With tax appraisal values within easy reach of the public and sites like Zillow gaining in popularity among consumers, estimates of real estate value are easier than ever to find but not so easy to stomach.  Furthermore, these estimates of value are seldom accurate and often do not reflect true market value.  A determination of market value is a process that takes time, energy, and effort to arrive at.  In addition to looking at comparable properties, a true estimate of value must take into consideration the general and specific factors that impact a property.  A home that sells for $1M, for instance, is not worth $1M the following year if multiple gas wells are drilled within hundreds of feet from the property line.  Including things such as loss of value due to the presence of gas wells within a formula or algorithm based valuation model is difficult, if not impossible, regardless of how sophisticated the algorithm.  I’m sure that Wall Street had developed some very fancy algorithms to sell the idea to investors that bundling mortgages allowed for diversification and thereby reduced the overall investment risk associated with CDOs.  We now understand what this led to in the real estate industry.  This is not to say that algorithm based valuations such as those used on Wall Street and by companies such as Zillow should be ignored entirely, but they cannot replace common sense, in-depth research, and practical experience.  As a result, real estate professionals have yet another opportunity to add value to their service by doing their homework, sharing it with the consumer, and explaining that companies like Zillow have a motive to make a profit through selling advertising and marketing, not by establishing real market value.  Somehow, it seems that we’ve lost sight of the fact that information from different sources does not necessarily carry equal weight.  Knowing and analyzing the source of the information is as important as the content itself.  Some of the real estate information on the Internet is useful but much of it is inaccurate or biased.  The best advice to the real estate consumer is to utilize Internet sites such as zillow.com but take the information at face value.  See the Internet as merely one tool among many.  Do your initial research online and then seek out experts who have the ability and the desire to help you separate fact from fiction.  This way you have the best of both worlds and you can get one step closer to determining real market value.

A Texas Sized Population
March 2, 2011

They say everything is bigger in Texas and they aren’t exaggerating when it comes to the Texas population and the Texas economy.  Born on this day in 1836 after an infamous band of soldiers defeated the Mexican army, Texas began its journey as a Republic.  Nine years later in 1845, Texas joined the Union.  Of course, there were a few bumps along the way, but Texas is still making progress and showing no signs of stopping or slowing down.  Since its early days as an outpost, Texas has grown and transformed itself into a major economic powerhouse.  Its economy is now equal in size to the combined economies of Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland.  Its affordable lifestyle, affordable housing, and continued job growth are catching the attention of individuals and businesses from all across the country.  According to US census data, there were 23 million people living in Texas in 2005.   That’s a staggering figure.  Even more amazing is that by the year 2030, the population is expected to grow to 33.3 million in Texas, roughly a 43% increase. According to the Texas State Demographer, the population is projected to increase even more dramatically as shown below. 

2015 – 27,650,568

2020 – 30,331,673

2025 – 33,245,883

2030 – 36,427,031

Approximately 25% of the state’s total population lives right here in DFW.  Incredible growth like this means that Texas and DFW will be an exciting place to live and work for decades to come.  Remember the Alamo!