This is good news! Now how do we get there? All economists are a bit confused on what needs to happen. First, let's get to the acceptance piece of the puzzle.
(1) We are not in an economic recovery. Change needs to happen in many areas of the system we have to work with. Real estate taxes are not only too high but they are not in proportion to reality. Not even close. Think on this. Why are homes on one street, same square footage, same design and similar age taxed thousands of dollars apart from their counterparts? This needs to be addressed. Tax assessors are working within guidelines of a "boom" that went way out into la-la land. Yet, they are assessing at those sales figures. It is a chain reaction in a system that needs to be redesigned.
There is a much needed reality check. Regulators, consumers and banks need to wake up quickly, which brings us to (2) how we can renew our systems to have them fit into the change that is occurring in our democratic way of life. By 2020, the world will have an estimated 9 billion people to clothe and feed. This is not a one-sided problem. It is a chain that has been broken. The chain of real estate ownership was created years ago when people began to buy and sell, price and live in their own home. Leasing was not looked upon as the American Dream. Owning a home was.
Now, renting is so much more attractive to our pocketbooks. Why? Think on this. You see a $250,000 home in the paper. If you pay out of pocket 20% down that is $50,000. Who has this in an account? Then up to another $10,000 for closing costs. Then your principal and interest is about $1,200 a month (about 6% rate), then you have taxes, which can be about $350 more a month, plus insurance can be about $150 more. You are at around $1,700 a month, and if there are those homeowner association fees, oh no?
Now, the facts of these troubled times, this home is not holding value. Not good news for the American Dream concept. Next year it will probably be worth less, yet are taxes going up? So (3) is finding a way to build value in real estate again. Now, just suppose you can pay $1,100 a month to live in that same $250,000 home? When something breaks, you don't have to pay for the fix. No taxes, fees or owner concerns. Just renters insurance to protect your own "stuff."
This brings us to (4) curing the disconnect of communication breakdown with banks, consumers and those running the real estate and mortgage worlds. Examples are government tax offices, Realtors(r), mortgage professionals, jobs depending on industries that thrive on real estate such as contracting and engineering companies, etc. Pricing and regulation need to be cut drastically. Have you been food shopping lately? Our food supply is beginning to offer us less and short us as packaging is less for us to pay more. Boxes are small. Loaves of bread are smaller. So what can change all of this?
(5) is plain and simple laws designed for the people, by the people. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, it called for government for us.
Kerry Mitchell is the founder and course developer of Green Real Estate Education, which is on target to educate more than 20,000 real estate professionals in going green by 2009. Mitchell established the recognized certification for the real estate industry, the GCREP.GL. She worked for 14 years as a licensed real estate broker in Maryland and Florida, where she now resides.
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