Gay Realtor | Feng Shui Your Home

The origination of Feng Shui is, unsurprisingly, from the far reaches of China more than two millenniums ago where its primary use was to ward off bad luck. Unlike most eastern spiritual processes, gay realtor reports Feng Shui has been adopted in western culture as well in a manner mixing both the essentiality of good luck with traditional ambiance.

Feng Shui in its core is simply put as a fine way to decorate your house for those more organized minded rather than those dazzling with flamboyant creativity and for the interested dabbler curious to try something new.

The importance of Feng Shui in an individual’s home is divided into three important aspects, core values, rules in due process, and the extent.

Feng Shui untouched or stripped by time is at its core an extended spirituality. It is a belief system that instead of being practiced inside of a holy place of worship it is instead a more subdued, personal sort. The Chinese believe that Feng Shui is to help an individual better in personal health, personal wealth, and personal relations. The belief is that the Chi, the surrounding aura and energy, of placing and organizing certain objects and furniture in an order, brings about happiness to those nearby. These objects and/or pieces of furniture function as a representation of elements. For example, a table is wood, a small bonsai is earth, and perhaps a television would represent the element of metal/steel.

The mastering of your homes Chi, lies in mastering the ability to harness the luck and balance of the elements surrounding you. A certain organization may aim to create a blanket of division between loneliness and neglect with liveliness and companionship while other such organizations may create a hope of healthier days.

The rules of Feng Shui were at first created with the use of an object called the Elemental Compass. This compass connected certain directions with elements and decided which objects in which order created the best environment for success and happiness. This process is called Feng Shui Bagua. Alternatively known, bagua means eight areas, the spaces in which the elements fill on the compass including northwest, south east, etc. In more complex compasses, some of them match the element, the direction, the color of said objects, and titles next to the matching luck evoked by following the terms set. For example, north is fire ~ increases prosperity, and the best color for use is red, dark or light. The lighter shade of red it becomes the more east it becomes. Pink colors are to be set northeast, create better luck in your relationship, and represent earth; while northwest is purple representing better wealth and the wood element.

The extent in which you follow the rules are completely up to you.

Nowadays, there is a much simpler; stripped down version of Feng Shui for those not interested in following the precise slight obscurities of the traditional measures according to gay realtor. The westernized version of Feng Shui compass is organized as a square with three by three smaller squares inside. Instead of bagua there are nine corners, the nine corners start at the top of their square as white while leading down to darker versions of the same color. As one square ends and becomes another square the new color begins with a fading to white and then the new representative color begins. The top three is the same as the North West, north, and northeast of the Bagua compass respectively, purple, red, and pink. The noticeable difference in which the ninth corner appears is the idea of center. The center exists on the original bagua but the importance of moving from the beginning to the end, success, is primarily a goal in the western version. The Chinese traditional values import the idea of there always being a beginning and truly never an end.

If the aim is to Feng Shui your house, gay realtor suggests it is not something that someone can decidedly tell you. It is something that you as the owner decide on. Suggestions such as; a bonsai tree, television, colored carpets, etc. are of course up to you, but the importance of following the process, traditional or not, is the goal.

The freedom of choice is in the hand of the owner to keep honesty and truth to strengthen the Chi of your home.

Interview Questions to ask a Real Estate Agent before Buying a Home

Real estate agents are varied and have multiple levels of experience and motive. Finding a good real estate agent before you purchase a home is worth shopping for.

It will take time to find a home that you like, and you should be as determined to find a great real estate agent that you like and trust to keep your best interests at heart. A professional real estate agent or REALTOR® should not have a problem answering some of the following questions, and it will give you peace of mind. Communication and understanding should be a strong foundation of your relationship with your agent.

  • Is your real estate agent new, experienced in the field, full time or just part time?
  • Have they provided you a list of references with contact information?

Asking for references of past clients helps to get a good understanding of personal reviews, take the time to actually speak to some of them.

Contact people who have been home buyers working with this Realtor or company. Even if the references did not purchase a home, they will have very useful information about their experience with the Realtor.

If it is just a part time position for the Realtor, you may find it difficult to schedule meetings or viewings at times which are convenient to you. If they have a team, or assistants involved, get a list of anyone that you would likely be in contact with.

Determine the mode and frequency of contact whether via e-mail or phone. If you lack communication, you may miss important home viewing opportunities.

  • Does the agent have an informational and easy to access website for communication and reference?

It can save valuable time reviewing properties before you actually go to the location.

  • Does the Realtor represent you, or the seller?

This makes a huge difference when it comes to making a decision on the price. If they have a personal connection with the seller, they may not have your best interests in mind. Ask for a list of fees in writing, so that there are no surprises in the total cost.

When buying demand to work with a buyer’s agent (buyer broker), no exceptions!

  • Will the agent show all available properties from other companies’ listings, or just their own?

Buying opportunities could be missed, and it would be costly to have more than one Realtor.

These are just basic guidelines, but if you are not afraid to ask, it will make a much less stressful buying experience. Well constructed research builds the strong foundation of a future home.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-coast.

To Buy or Not to Buy, that is the Question

Whether or not to buy a home is one of the largest financial decisions most individuals will ever have to make.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to buying a home. Owning one’s own home can provide a sense of satisfaction, stability, financial security and comfort, although home ownership does not come without certain costs ~ both the benefits and the costs should be considered before making a final decision.

Homes are expensive both in their upfront costs and in their ongoing upkeep. Typically buyers finance such large purchases for 20, 30 and even 40 years, this means that the home will cost you much more in the long run than just the sticker price, in fact for the first 15 years of your loan your payment will largely pay interest and barely touch the principle (purchase price).

Fortunately, interest rates for home loans are typically quite affordable these days hovering around 4.5%.

In addition to the interest you will have to pay on your purchase there will be insurance costs and upkeep costs. Insurance is generally affordable and maintenance can vary widely. Of course these costs are significantly offset when you consider what you would be paying in rent and the fact that you are actually making an investment that will be at least partially recouped when you eventually sell your home.

In today’s economy, real estate prices have plummeted dramatically. One way of interpreting that plummet, however, is that in a majority of markets this is indeed the time to buy, precisely because prices are so low!

One of the biggest advantages to home ownership is the peace of mind it is supposed to give you;

  • Just think, you’ll never have to move again because a landlord decides they no longer want to rent their property.
  • You can buy furniture and your own appliances because, in theory at least, you will never have to worry about moving them.
  • Home ownership imparts stability.
  • You will be able to truly become a member of your community, a member that won’t be moving away after just a couple of years’ stay.
  • Your neighbors will finally begin to consider you one of them.
  • And for those with kids, your kids will go to the neighborhood schools, you’ll shop at the neighborhood grocery, and your family will attend church at the neighborhood church.

There are, therefore, many positives associated with home ownership. As is always the case, however, it is important not to delude yourself that everything will always be positive.

The decision to buy a home should be based on a careful consideration of the facts, not solely on emotion. Only then will you be assured that you are indeed making the right choice.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-coast.

Trick or Treat ~ What to Look for in a Home Inspection

Buying a home isn’t as clean cut as you would like it to be, requiring that you take the time to inspect the home before you decide if it’s the right fit for you and those that will be living with you if you have a family.

Your inspection should involve several things, most importantly, electrical, roofing, pluming and foundation. In addition, whether or not the floors are stable, without drooping spots or sink holes, and whether or not the windows are updated or if there is going to be an efficiency problem. At the same time, you want to do your homework and determine the condition of any included appliances. 

When you are initially going through the home, you are of course tempted by the difference to overlook many things, but you should always take the time to hire a professional certified home inspector and complete a thorough home inspection. I’d recommend an inspector affiliated with: The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) North America’s oldest and most respected professional society of home inspectors.

This helps to assure no scares or surprises by the home or the inspector.

The very first thing you want to consider is the actual electrical service panel and proper wiring throughout the home.

As you continue through the home, you’ll want to check out the plumbing… everything secure, and lurking lead pipes? How old is that roof, and how many layers are currently on the home?

You’ll want to also check out the windows as these are very important to the comfort of the home. If the windows are out-dated, it is easy to deduce that they will leak out heat and air, causing issues with efficiency. Updated windows seal in the heat and air into the home much better, therefore can introduce much greater savings when it comes to electric and heating bills. Also, updated windows signify that other elements of the home may have also been updated.

Don’t forget to do your homework when it comes to the inspection of a home, as there are things in the past that can affect the home as it stands today.

You also want to find out the average heating and lighting bills in the home by simply calling the utility company and providing the property address to ensure you aren’t getting into a money pit that is going to make it difficult to maintain the cost of the home.

If there are any major issues, they should be addressed before considering the home so you are able to determine the steps that will be taken to prepare the home for you.

Your real estate contract will allow for a home inspection, and working together with your realtor, you can determine what are safety / security issues and need to be addressed, vs. cosmetic issues which you noticed when you wrote your initial offer.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-Coast.

When Buying a Home, How Do I Find A Good Area?

Making the decision to choose an area for your next home is a complex one.  You’ll need to consider the school district, if you have or plan to have children, proximity to work, and a vast array of other variables that making the right decision often seems overwhelming.  A good area is a very subjective idea; one property may be perfect for one family, yet a deal breaker for another. 

It’s important to identify a baseline set of criteria so that the subjective idea of a “good area” can be defined.  In our experience, this is best accomplished by initially outlining a few key areas detailed below.

Work:

By far, the most important will initially be the proximity to work.  Unless you actually enjoy the monotony of hour-long drives to and from work each day, you’ll likely want to live as close to work as possible, without sacrificing too many luxuries.

Begin by identifying a maximum travel time to work.  This will create a radius around your place of employment that will help narrow down the areas you’ll have to choose from.  You’ll discover that the larger the city you plan to move to, the more beneficial this particular exercise will be for your future home search.

Schools:

Do you have any children, or plan to?  The school district will play an important role in your decision on choosing an area for your next home.  Even resale values are affected by the school district regardless of your personal desires, so spending time in this area is definitely financially smart!  We’ve already identified a target area around your work – now we’ll identify all of the school districts in this area and list each one in descending order from most desirable to least.

Some factors you may want to consider are student-to-teacher ratios, history of exemplary statuses, prior average grades in testing, and student size.  Larger schools in an area with lower education budgets may experience higher student-to-teacher ratios than average, so carefully research each district using online tools such as http://greatschools.com

As a rule of thumb, compare each district with your present school district to determine if you would be moving up or down in quality, compared to your children’s current school district.

Age of the Area:

Newer, undeveloped areas are in a constant state of change.  You may see a steady increase in home values in new areas if the supply is kept within a modest range of demand.  In some cases, the mere fact of builder competition alone will keep prices low while they are still developing an area, which can cost money if you unexpectedly need to sell right away.

Areas with older homes are opportunities to find properties recently renovated, or homes that exhibit a desirable, traditional characteristic that a new home simply doesn’t provide.  Home prices in older areas are also more stable and less subject to the ebb and flow of the real estate market.

Responsibility comes with age, unfortunately.  Older homes may be more subject to repair costs, and lack many energy efficient features that a newer home can provide.

Choosing the Perfect Area:

Work your way through the above exercise to get a clear picture of the ideal location for your next home.  When in doubt, be sure to contact a Top Realtor at GayRealEstate.com to get expert guidance on the discovery process.  As professionals that do this day in and day out, we’ve developed a keen sense for uncovering the needs that ultimately drive the decision on where to move.  We are experts in the real estate market; who better to talk to?

Contact a GayRealEstate.com agent today to get started.

Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com the Nation’s Largest Free Directory of Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors ~ Offering Free Buyers Assistance / Free Sellers Market Analysis and a Free Relocation Kit to Any City, USA.

Should I Remodel my Home or Sell it “As Is”?

This question is a common headache for many homeowners when placing their home on the market.  On one hand, a remodel could create a diamond in the rough, and possibly even encourage a faster sale.  On another, selling as-is in a competitive market could save months of listing time if priced right.

When You Should Remodel

Analyzing your competition can be a great way to gain insight into what buyers are looking for in your market.  It’s easy to assume a feature or amenity should immediately increase the value of your home.  In some cases it will, but many times a remodel will only bring your home to the market readiness of other similar homes in your neighborhood.

You should consider remodeling a room in your home if any of the following applies:

1) When analyzing sold history and currently active homes on the market, you find that this particular remodel is commonly found.

2) The room is in dire need of attention and a simple clean up won’t suffice to get it market-ready.

3) When analyzing sold history, a predominant higher price is offered for homes with this particular remodel.

You’re likely to never recoup the entire cost of a remodel, but getting your home up to par may be necessary to get your home sold in a reasonable amount of time.

 

When You Should Sell As-Is

If your home can be considered a “benchmark” home, or a home that is already loaded with amenities not commonly found in your market, you should consider selling as-is.  While a pricey remodel will certainly make your home shine during an open house, it usually costs more than it’s worth. 

You should consider selling your home as-is if your home meets any of the following criteria:

1) The average price per square foot in your market is deteriorating (down market).

2) Your home can be considered a “benchmark” home, or a home that has more features and amenities than the competition.

3) Your home is already on par with other active properties in the area.

 

The Rule of Thumb

First, ensure that your home meets the standard set by the competition currently for sale in your market.  If your home is not up to par, you should consider remodeling. 

If your home shares the same features and amenities as its competition, then you should consider selling as-is to avoid leaving any money on the table.  A remodel is always a nice selling feature, but many times it does not make financial sense and is simply a waste of time.

Take the time to get with your real estate agent to analyze your competition, and base your decision on what buyers are demanding in your particular real estate market.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealEstate.com ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors, offering Free Buyers Representation and a Free Competitive Market Analysis to home sellers.

Featured Gay Realtor: Ray Gernhart, ReMax Allegiance ~ Washington, D.C.

With Ray’s successful career of over twenty five years in real estate, he has personally experienced all the ups and downs of the market. Since 1985, he has coordinated thousands of new home sales as well as easing the transition for families as they move on to new horizons. Ray’s expertise lies in his complete understanding of all facets of real estate, from buying and selling, to an all-encompassing grasp of the individual financial aspects for each client.

Ray’s background and success has earned him top honors in every club available including Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Re/Max Chairman’s Club, RE/MAX Hall of Fame and the $20 Million Plus Sales Producer since 1999 with the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

Ray’s promise he makes to every one of his clients is to provide quality service, as a full-time agent, to achieve the client’s goals.

Why choose Ray?

The service that Ray provides shines through so that your real estate experience, either buying or selling, is a seamless process. He employs a full-time assistant to oversee the closing process ensuring that all the details are handled. This type of coordination creates a situation that moves effortlessly through the buying and selling stages. Ray’s dedication to his clients is proven through the numer of referrals and resales he is proud to be part of. Ray is there for you; before, during AND after closing. Bottom line? Ray makes real estate fun. He enjoys his work and it comes through in the service he provides. Treat yourself to a deal with Ray.

Click here to search for a gay or lesbian real estate agent anywhere in the country.

Professional/Personal Distinctions:

Associate Broker, VA, DC & MD Lifetime Achievement Award Winner RE/MAX Hall of Fame Life Member Top Producers Club

Specialties:

Residential and commercial real estate to the LGBT community for over 25 years!

Ray Gernhart is a Member of the National Association of Realtors®.

Occasionally we’ll feature one of our top gay real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some of the great Gay Realtors, Lesbian Realtors, Gay Friendly Realtors, and other Real Estate Professionals at GayRealEstate.com

View Ray’s Complete Profile & Contact them Immediately by Clicking Here

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news, gay real estate news and Gay Realtor stories affecting the gay and lesbian home buying and selling community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood!

Click here for list of gay realtors, lesbian realtors and gay friendly realtors Nationwide.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at:
manager@gayrealestate.com

Obama Administration Releases July Housing Scorecard

At Gay Real Estate, we keep you posted about all the residential real estate news affecting the LGBT community coast to coast, and in your neighborhood.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury today released the July edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest housing data offer continued mixed signals as home prices improved slightly but showed continued strain from foreclosures and distressed homes. Also, as more homeowners secure mortgage relief, fewer borrowers entered the foreclosure pipeline in June. The full report is available online at www.hud.gov/scorecard.

“This month’s housing data paint a mixed picture of conditions in the market – despite growing evidence of progress in the broader economy,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “We’re continuing to see a slight improvement in home prices and a decline in mortgage defaults as our foreclosure prevention programs reach more borrowers upstream in the process. But we have much more work to do to help the market recover and to reach the many households there and across the nation who still face trouble.”

“Tens of thousands of additional homeowners are getting real relief from the Administration’s programs every month,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “These programs are setting standards across the industry that are yielding more sustainable assistance for homeowners in the face of the worst housing crisis in a generation.”

The July Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:

    • Fewer homeowners fell behind on their mortgages during the month of June. In June, 4.4 percent of prime mortgages were at least 30 days late – a significant decline from the peak of 5.9 percent seen in 2010. Moreover, seriously delinquent prime mortgages – those at least 90 days late or in foreclosure – remained approximately 22 percent below a high of 1.9 million recorded last year. As new delinquencies decrease across the nation, the number of new homeowners seeking assistance through the Administration’s programs may also decrease.

 

    • The Administration’s recovery efforts have helped millions of families deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nearly 5 million modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of May 2011.This includes more than 1.6 million HAMP trial modification starts, more than 938,000 FHA loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 2.4 million HOPE Now proprietary modifications, reflecting the reach of standards developed in the Administration’s programs. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the total number of agreements offered continues to more than double the number of foreclosure completions for the same period (2.1 million). In June, nearly 32,000 additional homeowners received a permanent modification through the Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP); more than 760,000 homeowners across the country have received a HAMP permanent modification to date with a median payment reduction of 37 percent.

 

  • Even as new delinquencies continue to fall, eligible homeowners entering HAMP have a high likelihood of earning a permanent modification and realizing long-term success. The rate of modifications moving from trial to permanent is up to 74 percent, and the average time to convert from a trial to permanent modification is down to 3.5 months. Homeowners in HAMP modifications continue to perform well over time, with re-default rates lower than those on industry modifications. At one year, more than 84 percent of homeowners remain in their HAMP permanent modification. View the June HAMP Servicer Performance Report.

Also featured is the bi-monthly Housing Scorecard Regional Spotlight reporting on market strength in Riverside, CA and surrounding communities. The Riverside metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was among the nation’s hardest hit areas following the housing market downturn and a region where the Administration’s broad approach to stabilizing the housing market has been very active.

“Our Regional Spotlight shows that after years of rapidly rising home prices fueled in part by widely available – but ultimately unsustainable – adjustable rate mortgages, Riverside neighborhoods suffered a steep drop in property values and many severely underwater mortgages,” added Bostic. “However, we also show how the Administration’s approach to stabilizing the housing market has been a source of real help to local families – helping more than 131,000 homeowners to avoid foreclosure.”

The Housing Scorecard Regional Spotlight features data on the health of the Riverside housing market and impact of efforts to help homeowners at the local level including:

    • The Administration’s mortgage assistance programs have helped tens of thousands of Riverside families avoid foreclosure. Through May 2011, approximately 131,000 mortgage assistance interventions have been offered to homeowners in the Riverside metropolitan area, including more than 75,500 interventions offered through HAMP and FHA loss mitigation and early delinquency intervention programs. An estimated 56,000 additional proprietary modifications have been offered through Hope Now Alliance servicers. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the number of times assistance has been offered in the Riverside MSA is two-thirds higher than the number of foreclosures completed during this period (80,000).

 

    • Riverside homeowners are starting to see relief after struggling with some of the highest levels of mortgage delinquency and foreclosure in the nation. The share of area mortgages 90 or more days delinquent dropped from 17 percent to 12 percent over the past year – an improvement over the national decline of 1 percent over the same period. Completed foreclosures also declined from 9,400 in the first quarter of 2010 to 7,600 in the first quarter of 2011, although lender process reviews continue to affect foreclosure completions locally and nationally. However, many homeowners and loans remain at risk as nearly half of all mortgages in the Riverside area (47 percent) are in negative equity – more than twice the national rate (23 percent).

 

  • The Administration’s Hardest Hit Fund and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs have fueled local foreclosure prevention efforts and market stability. California has received nearly $2 billion through the Hardest Hit Fund to implement local solutions to borrower mortgage defaults and address the range of factors that contribute to a family’s financial problems. Moreover, approximately $191 million has been awarded to sixteen jurisdictions through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help purchase or redevelop residential properties and address the effects of abandoned and foreclosed housing. Both programs have helped provide stability to the Riverside housing market.

If you have a real estate story that you’d like to share with us with the LGBT community, please contact us at: manager@gayrealestate.com

NAR amends Code of Ethics to protect LGBT, yet finances anti-LGBT candidates

Code of Ethics amended

In January of this year, Article 10 of The Realtor Code of Ethics was amended to include sexual orientation as a protected class.  Article 10 in its entirety now reads as follows:

Realtors® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or sexual orientation. Realtors® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Realtors®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Discrimination problematic, NAR committee stood up

NAR had recognized that there was a problem in housing discrimination, and stepped up to the plate to ensure their members would not participate in denying service to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered) community.

If there wasn’t a need for an advocate in both the rental and homeownership markets, NAR would not have made this momentous change to the COE. What’s cool about our COE is that much like The Constitution, it is a living, breathing, evolving document.  Our Code of Ethics embraces the changes that have happened, that are happening in the world, and is able to adapt accordingly.

NAR’s historic political donations

NAR historically has donated fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats, based on their stance on housing issues, and usually it
comes out to be right around 50/50.

As of August 15th of this year, the split for monies donated is 45% to Democrats and 55% to Republicans.  It isn’t so much the lopsided-ness of the Republican v Democrat spending so far that is concerning.  What is, and what makes things so bassackwards, is who NAR is floating funds to either via PACs, parties, or direct contributions to candidates.

Looking at OpenSecrets.org which is a site that has the dish on who is donating, how much,
and to whom, we see one instance where NAR has donated $1,000 to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. She is near the top of the alphabetical list of donation recipients, and most people by now have at least heard something about her, which is why we are going to use her as an example.

Bachmann may have either sponsored or co-sponsored a couple of bills that can be considered housing friendly, but none of which have passed. One was in regards to flood insurance, and the other, repealing the Dodd-Frank Act.

NAR commits to LGBT community on one hand but not the other

Congresswoman Bachmann, if you follow the news, isn’t exactly a fan of
the LGBT community. It is surprising that NAR would place a pittance of housing legislation, which has gone nowhere, over those which they have pledged to protect.

Really, if one wants to fork over buck to someone who seriously cares about housing issues, NAR should start with Congressman Kucinich Yeah. Totally just said that.

This isn’t meant to be a pissing contest about political parties, or even social issues, and where we all stand as individuals. It’s more about where our principles are as a group, where they should be, and do we practice what we preach as Realtors. Do we actually, honestly, subscribe to the Code of Ethics that we promise to uphold, and abide by?

Realtors don’t discriminate, why should candidates?

If you are a Realtor, you cannot discriminate based on sexual
orientation, national origin, color, sex, race, religion, handicap, or familial status, and if you reside in the State of Ohio, you also cannot discriminate against those in our Military. End of discussion.

Why would we as individuals support candidates who do, even if they subtlety discriminate, no matter what their stance on housing? And more importantly, why would NAR?

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This story is reprinted with the permission of AGBeat. Kathleen Cosner at AGBeat is the original author ~ Please vist the link below to view the original story: http://agentgenius.com/editorials/nar-changed-code-of-ethics-to-protect-lgbt-yet-contributes-to-anti-lgbt-candidates/

 

Homes Of The ‘Real’ Jersey Shore

Homes Of The 'Real' Jersey ShoreIf you’re one of the millions who tune into MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” you probably picture the state’s coastline communities as a thick cluster of tourist towns like Seaside Heights, crammed with debauched guidos and guidettes packing summer crash pads and looking for love, or the one-night equivalent.

But what you don’t see is the other side of New Jersey, where expensive estates fill some of the country’s most affluent areas. Ask longtime real estate agents about the real Jersey Shore and they’ll tell you (after a chuckle or a sigh) that for every boardwalk tourist trap, there’s a ritzy enclave of multimillion-dollar homes just down the beach.

“Seaside Heights has always been a very different scene than we experience around here,” Richard Wight, the owner of Ward Wight Sotheby’s International Realty, which focuses on the northern end of The Shore.  “And that type of vacation is nothing like what we have down here.”

With the help of Realtor.com, Sotheby’s International Realty, Trulia.com and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, we compiled a list of 15 high-end homes for sale in New Jersey’s tonier beach towns.  All of these properties are priced at $1 million to $15 million.

In Pictures: Homes Of The ‘Real’ Jersey Shore

“Spring Lake, Brielle, Manasquan all offer white beaches and a small town community feel with no crime, low taxes and beautiful seashore homes that everyone wants whether part-time resident or seasonal resident,” says Robert White, a life-long New Jersey resident who works out of Coldwell Banker’s office in Spring Lake Township. “The southern tip – Cape May and Atlantic Counties – have really blossomed as well.  You’ve had a lot of knock-down and rebuild.”

Like other real estate markets in the U.S., prices in New Jersey’s shore communities plunged in 2008. But this summer premium home buyers are back, snapping up properties in affluent areas as they look to buy on the dip.

First-time home buyers are responsible for the activity in the Jersey Shore markets at the $400,000 price point and lower, but the $500,000 to $700,000 market continues to struggle to find buyers.  The summer’s hottest market: super-luxury vacation homes. “In the $1 million and up market the numbers are through the roof,” says White. “An average home in any one of these markets is under contract in as little as 30 days if it’s priced correctly.”

A $5 million Spring Lake estate listed with Keith Kernan of Ward Wright Sotheby’s International Realty just went into contract yesterday (after Kernan slashed $650,000).  Despite the price cut, he insists high-end home prices for the Spring Lake area, north of Seaside Heights, have risen as much as 3% to 4% in 2011.  Spring Lake is one of the Jersey Shore’s most affluent towns with a median list price for properties of $1.17 million, according to Zillow.com.  Situated on little more than two miles of shoreline, it tallied 69 home sales in the past year, most for more than $1 million.

At $2.35 million, 2107 4th Ave. in Spring Lake is typical of what you’ll find there. Five blocks from the ocean, it boasts a wraparound front porch, a fitness room, a home theater, a custom playground, and a built-in barbecue – it even has a putting green. Shopping and restaurants are a quick walk away, as they are in most Jersey shore towns.

Nearby Monmouth County is well stocked with similar houses. There’s a $3.1 million four-story on Shore Drive in Brielle; a $2.2 million pink-hued home in Belmar that recently raised its asking price; and a $2.3 million Bradley Beach manse with rooftop deck atop three floors accessible by elevator.

In Pictures: Homes Of The ‘Real’ Jersey Shore

In the past ten years Cape May, NJ– an island off the coast of Delaware – has pulled in more and more well-heeled Manhattanites, thanks to the area’s fanciful Victorian “gingerbread” houses.  Cape May’s year-round population of about 3,600 residents swells to as many as 50,000 in the summer months.  We included two Cape May homes on our list, including a $3.3 million, 13-bedroom, 13-bath Victorian stunner.

Even Ocean County, home to Seaside Heights and the cast of “Jersey Shore,”  has little in common with what you see on TV.  In Point Pleasant there’s an $8 million riverfront estate, including an 8,500-square foot main house, two boat lifts, and a six-car plus garage.  Three other Ocean City homes make our list, including a $10.3 million compound on Bay Road that touts a 7,500-square foot main residence, a 3,600 square foot guest house and an elevator.

One thing shore properties do not have: Space. The typical lot size in Spring Lake is 50 to 150 feet of water frontage and a 150 feet inland from that frontage; in fellow Monmouth County town, Ocean Grove, lots are even smaller – typically 30 feet by 30 feet. So while the house may be great, you better like the neighbors.

Morgan Brennan, blogs.forbes.com “Read Full Story”

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