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Real Estate

Listen to your mom

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I was in New York City last week for our international Coldwell Banker convention and had the opportunity to sit in a number of excellent breakout sessions. The one I best remember, however, was given by a speaker named Zan Monroe — he's a regular trainer for our brand around the country. What impressed me was the subject of the session — “success is a belief system.” Zan shared a number of pithy teachings from his mother, who had to re-invent herself after being widowed in middle age with a farm and family to feed. For this week's column, I thought I'd touch on two teachings — the first being “Spend less than you earn.”

Well, duh … right? Not really. During the Real Estate runup, I watched as buyers literally ran up the credit card to get into the biggest house (and home loan) as possible. And you know, several ended up in foreclosure and walking away from their property in only a few years. One family I know actually moved overseas to avoid their foreclosure proceedings! While I'm in favor of leveraging your home's equity to increase borrowing power, it HAS to be within the context of having a monthly budget and being very aware of what you can afford. Live within your means!

The other teaching was "Real estate is the only REAL investment." Zan's mom used her smarts to acquire and rehab several rental homes in their area, and I think this is a wise strategy when you're ready to grow further in your investment holdings. Today, especially with the rebounding markets, real estate investors make up a large — and growing — segment of buyers. They know something we should take to heart: The land beneath us will always be with us and have intrinsic value.

So this is a small recap of some thoughts from our time in the Big Apple — which was awesome, BTW. Enjoy!

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