Home Buying and Rabid Raccoons
November 17, 2018
  The Lotto Curse How Expensive Can a Home Be Where real estate is heating up Blockchain Technology and A Very Quick Loan Process 4 Out of 5 Homes in this City are 1 Million Dollars Plus

Home Buying and Rabid Raccoons

Tom, here.

This is where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

Read the transcript version of this podcast if you want to learn more about the topics discussed.

Thinking of buying a home in Europe? How about Spain? This New York Times article is a great place to start. Why not? As there has only been an 8% increase in values since the post 2008 thirty plus percent drop. Learn what the “Golden Visa” program is and why, if you are a foreign buyer, it is important to you.

There is a housing shortage in many areas around the world but do you know in what Country the Public Housing shortage is expected to last decades? According to an AHURI Report, it is Australia. Of course, if you knew AHURI stands for Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, you knew the answer was Australia.

Where in the world might the next real estate gold rush be? Although inflation is at 19.9%, Argentina is the correct answer,

What percentage of homes in your city are worth a million or more? In Honolulu it is 19.8%. What City has four times that percentage? Seattle and San Diego are in the 13% range. If you guessed San Jose, you are close as it is at 70%. It is also close to its’ neighbor, San Francisco who sits at 81%. Even in Portland Oregon, 1 in every 40 homes is worth a million dollars or more.

The World’s Most Expensive Homes. We are not talking about millions, or even tens of millions, but rather multiples of hundreds of millions. How about half a billion dollars? If you want to spend between $400 & $500 million dollars you can choose from one of three homes located in France, Hong Kong, or the U.S.

In the U.S. foreign investors account for about 5% of purchases however in one particular state it was 15% last year and slipped to 13% this year. Can you guess the state? Florida it is!

In the last quarter of 2017 almost 1 in 4 people surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders expected to buy a home in the next twelve months. Of those responding in the 3rd quarter of 2018, it dropped from 24% to just 13%. Just half as many people are planning on buying a home in the next twelve months. Of those looking in the third quarter of 2018, 54%, over half have already been looking for 3 months or more.

So, if price reduced is becoming more common, but interest rates are climbing, how does that affect the number of loan applications? Purchase applications are the lowest since February of 2017. Maybe not so bad, right? Less than 2 years ago. What about this statistic: The number of refinance applications is at its lowest level is about 18 years.

If you are thinking of retiring and want to know where to move to, US News took the 100 largest metropolitan areas and ranked them in order. Six of the top ten were located in either Florida or Texas with number one being Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Real Estate Market is heating up in these U.S. cities according to Redfin. Speaking of retiring to Pennsylvania, Philadelphia was the second hottest market with inventory declining by 22.9% and prices increasing by 8.3% for the four weeks ending October 14th compared to the same period last year. Maybe the affordability of the $195,000. median sales price is a small part of the why.

Creative Way to make Housing More Affordable. With all the talk about rising housing prices and increasing interest rates, can anything be done to make housing more affordable? According to an article in the Sierra Sun, 1,300. Truckee and North Tahoe families would be able to afford housing that is currently beyond their reach if they would only do what? Shop at their local Grocery Outlet store. Sometimes the question of affordability is not so obvious. I wonder what other local businesses could help do the same?

Let’s look at another segment of the population who are thinking about moving. Or maybe not. 85% of the baby boomers (age 58-72) in this survey said they do not plan to move in the next year. It is interesting to see the cities where the percentage of baby boomer home ownership is increasing and where it is decreasing. Seattle Washington has the biggest increase between 2010 and 2017 whereas between 2016 & 2017 it is Atlanta Georgia. What cities are baby boomers leaving?  Salt Lake City Utah and Buffalo New York.

Modular Housing variations may be the Disrupter in the housing industry. It comes in many forms: prefab off site building components, cargo container housing, and 3D house printers. Cross Laminated Timber or CLT, is becoming the building product of choice.

What new technology may be the answer to wire fraud and other aspects of a real estate transaction? Learn why the biggest impact of this technology may be on the escrow and title portion of the real estate transaction. Forbes has a great article on expected changes to be brought about by “Blockchains” and if you want to get a basic overview of what Blockchain Technology is, BlockGeek has it for you. They also have a great 2 plus minute video that that does a good job of explaining Blockchain Technology.

What other areas of the real estate industry might be impacted? Imagine that thirty to forty five day loan process shrinking down to 10 minutes. Impossible! Not according to this article.

How far into the future is it until we are using Blockchain Technology? Already being used by China and Russia for Digitally issued mortgages and Japan and Saudi Arabia are heading that direction.

Residential Real Estate won’t be the only segment to be impacted. Blockchain may allow investors to buy and sell small pieces of Commercial Real Estate thus upending an entire segment of the real estate industry.

As you filter through information always remember that what at first appears to be the case, may, in fact, not be so. The perfect example? Those raccoons in West Virginia first thought to pose a big threat because they had rabies turned out to be curious critters drunk on crabapples.

So, when you hear something like this “Did you know that our neighbor John told me he sold his house for half a million dollars?”  Or “Jill said I should ask three hundred thousand dollars for my home because it is much nicer than the house down the street that just sold for $250,000.” and “I wouldn’t offer a penny over $400,000. because my friend just bought a house like this one and that’s all they paid”. You might consider the following….

That half million dollar house might have sold at that price because the seller carried the financing for a higher risk buyer who was willing to pay more than market value because they couldn’t qualify for their loan. Or maybe they sold six months ago and home values have declined five percent since. The house down the street may not be as nice as yours, but it could be bigger, have a three car garage instead of two or a larger lot. That house your friend just bought was the same floor plan but in a different neighborhood backing up to the freeway where prices are less. Don’t get drunk on crabapples.


I have always been intrigued by what happens to people who “win big”.

In an article on, you can read the story of seven lottery winners. Jack Whittaker was worth 17 million dollars before he won but said “I wish I’d torn that ticket up”. His granddaughter and her boyfriend died as well as his daughter. Some of them under suspicious circumstances. William Post III had three dollars to his name when he won 16.2 million dollars. He ended up having to declare bankruptcy and thirteen years after hitting the jackpot, he died penniless. Others committed suicide or were murdered.

Like much of the news today, little is said of those who win the lottery and are thankful and responsible with their winnings. Not a lot of sensationalism in being a responsible adult who quietly goes about their life.

But to be fair, the same website and author did publish an article entitled “7 Lottery Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Buy a Ticket.

So, what is the difference between “The Lotto Curse” and “The Lotto Gift”?

There is a book by Don McNay entitled “Life Lessons From the Lottery”. You can also read an article he wrote or listen to him speak on a youtube video.

I think there are several parallels between the lotto, real estate, and life. Whether it is your time, your money, or your real estate transaction, it should have a purpose. Purpose narrows your focus and keeps you moving in the right direction. Purpose give you perspective so you don’t get lost amidst the little stuff. You will also avoid that thing called “greed”, which blinds you by limiting your purpose and perspective to self.

May you look out at the opportunities this week holds and win the attitude lottery, where your purpose and direction encourages all whom you come in contact with.

Thank you for listening to and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.”