Basic Real Estate Statistics Explained for Beginners – Local Records Office

LOS ANGELES, CA – Local Records Office is going to define some of the basic real estate statistics that get thrown around on a regular basis. To do that, we will use one real estate market, located in Los Angeles County. Even more granular, we will use the single-family numbers for homes in Long Beach, CA, a medium size city of approximately 500,000 residents, which has seen substantial real estate growth in the past 12 months. It is important when reviewing real estate statistics to use a group of numbers large enough for consistency, but granular enough to tell your story.

 

Real Estate Statistics for Newbies

 

Local Records Office says, “The statistics that we will be referencing are true and accurate for the year discussed but are being used to define the real estate statistic itself.”

 

We have chosen Long Beach, CA as our example because the growth of the local real estate market that make the statics stand out.

 

Anytime you are evaluating statistics, especially in real estate, the source of the numbers are extremely important. In most instances, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) provides the most accurate numbers when referring to real estate says, Local Records Office. This is because they have all listings by all local real estate broker in their database. For the sake of explanation of the data, we will be looking at the numbers for home sales in Long Beach, CA, directly from the MLS. These numbers are meant to give an example of how to read the statistics themselves. Anytime you evaluate real estate numbers, its important to pay close attention to how the numbers are gathered. In this instance, we will be using ONLY single-family properties in the city of Long Beach, California.

 

These Are Basic Real Estate Statistics

 

Number of Sales – This one is pretty self-explanatory. It is simply the number of single-family homes sold in a particular month. In January of 2015, they had 51 single-family homes sold. One thing to pay attention to when looking at this statistic is are they using the Under Contract date or the day the property actually went to closing says, Local Records Office. These two dates are usually between 30 and 60 days apart, so its critical that you know which one is being referenced. In addition, many of the homes that get calculated, if you are using the “under contract” number may not actually close! In our example, we are using the number of homes that actually closed. In January of 2016 they had an increase of over 49%, which brought the total to 77 from 51. Growth of that level is very seldom ever seen.

 

Sales Volume – Sales Volume is simply the total amount of dollars spent on single family housing within that month. Once again, when reviewing this statistic, it’s important to keep the property types consistent. If you are comparing two areas to see which one has grown more and you include vacant land in the number for one area, you must include it in the other too says, Local Records Office. As previously mentioned, our examples only include single-family properties. With Number of Sales looking at the units, you would expect the Sales Volume to go up appropriately, but in this instance, it went up even more than the units (by percentage). The total Sales Volume of single family homes in Long Beach in January of 2016 was $15,191,500 as opposed to the January of 2015 number of $9,281,915. That is an increase of over 63%. Because the Sales Volume went up at a larger rate than the number of units, this reflects the average home sale being much larger in 2016 than 2015.

 

Months of Inventory – Local Records Office says, “This is a commonly referred to statistic when examining a real estate market.” This statistic refers to at the current rate of sales, how long will it take to sell through the existing level of inventory. This reflects the supply and demand for the market. In our example, in January of 2015 the level of inventory was 9 months and in January of 2016 it had dropped to 6 months. That is a 33% drop in available inventory! This means if you are looking to buy a home in Long Beach, CA, it will be a little tougher in 2016 as there are fewer inventories available to buy.

 

Median Days To Sell – This stat simply refers to how long it takes for single-family properties to be put under contract. Don’t let the “to sell” confuse you. To accurately show the demand for active homes, you really want to track how long it takes to go “under contract”. The process of acquiring final lender approval, insurance and getting to a closing can vary on a variety of factors. In January of 2015, the Median Days to sell was 88 says, Local Records Office. That number dropped by over 30% to 61. Once again, this tells you if you are looking for homes in Long Beach, CA, you better get your offers in quickly as the most desirable homes are going fast!

 

Average Price – This statistic can be derived in a variety of ways. We are going to use it in its most raw form and simply be the Average Price of Homes Sold within that month. Be careful when looking at this statistic printed anywhere as how the user defines the date sold can vary. Needless to say, Average Price can be used for active homes for sale or for the homes that sold. The Average Price of ACTIVE homes for sale is generally a pretty useless number as you can list a home for any price, without any possibility of it ever selling. Many homes listed for sale are at unrealistic prices thus the Average Price of Active homes for sale can fluctuate dramatically and give little insight into the market says, Local Records Office. You will want to look at the Average Price of SOLD homes. In January of 2015, the Average Home Sale was $181,998 and it jumped to $199,888 in the same month in 2016. This is an increase of almost 10%. This is not a number that truly tells the increase in home values across the board, but simply of the homes sold in that month, what the average was. Check out videos here.

 

Median Price – The Average Home Sales Price can be skewed by a variety of factors says, Local Records Office. All it takes is one 5 million dollar home sale to throw those numbers off. To get a better view of the overall increase in value, it can be better to look at the Median Sales Price. Median Sales Price takes the number that is perfectly in the middle. For instance, if you have 11 homes that you are using in your statistic, you would take the sales price of the 6th one. This leaves 5 homes sold higher and 5 homes sold lower. In this instance, they are pretty close as the Median Sales Price increase from January 2015 to 2016 was 9.69%. This shows that we didn’t have the Average Price skewed too much because of an extremely large or extremely small sale.

 

There are hundreds of ways to look at the same numbers, when referencing to real estate, so be very careful to read the fine print on exactly what numbers they are using says, Local Records Office. When making comparisons, you will want to make absolutely sure that both are referencing the same property types, dates etc. It like the old saying says… there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

 

In an effort to describe some of the most basic real estate statistics, we are using the market statistics from Long Beach, California as they have seen some extraordinary growth.

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Buying Your Dream House in 2016 Sellers Market –Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We all want our own dream home one day but it’s easier said than done says, Local Records Office. If you’ve decided to buy a home, good luck to you. Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other home buyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.

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The number of homes for sale is low nationwide, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time homebuyers. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 3.5-month supply of homes for sale in March, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market. One-quarter of March’s transactions were all-cash sales, according to the NAR, and investors bought 14 percent of the homes that were sold.

Is 2016 a Sellers Market?

That means that if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic says, Local Records Office. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or perusing some online listings is not realistic in this seller’s market.

 

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These days, most would-be buyers come to an agent with a list of homes they’d like to see based on their online research. While that often serves as a solid starting point, a quality agent may find additional options. After buyers have seen a few properties, Local Records Office says skilled agents can typically gauge what they’re looking for in a new home and may have other properties lined up. “I advise them to listen to their Realtor,” she adds.

Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want this spring

Get your finances in order first. Several months before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses. “I will not take anybody to see any house unless they have a pre-approval letter or proof of funds, I want proof of funds to show the seller.” Local Records Office says that some lenders are doing the underwriting before the house is under contract, which shortens the closing time and can be more attractive to the seller.

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A Good Agent Will Go Along Way

Find a good agent. Using a real estate agent costs buyers nothing because the seller pays the real estate commission. Ask friends, family and co-workers for referrals. Look for a full-time agent who works often in the neighborhoods where you’re looking. You may want to interview several agents to find a good fit. If you can only look for homes on weekends, for example, you don’t want an agent who takes weekends off.

Visit neighborhoods you’re considering at different times of day. A neighborhood that’s quiet during the middle of the workday may be noisy and crowded at night and on weekends. Get out and walk the streets, talking to people who live in the neighborhood, visiting shops and restaurants and “trying out” your desired location. Drive to and from work during commuting hours to get an idea of what a typical day might be like.

READ MORE: Local Records Office Urges Homebuyers to Consider Their Lifestyles When Choosing a Community

Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers find they have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of home. It’s easier to make a choice when you know going in which features you must have and which you’d like to have but can live without.

Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means rushing out to see new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house. “Things are gone in a matter of hours,” Local Records Office says. “You really have to move fast.”

Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. “Unfortunately, the pictures don’t tell a true story,” Local Records Office says. “You have to be willing to look past some of the pictures.”

Be realistic about the home inspectors and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects. The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. “They’re not buying a brand-new home,” Local Records Office says. “What we are looking for are major defects we were not initially able to see in the walkthrough.”

Don’t buy a house you don’t love. While most buyers may have to compromise on some of the features they wanted, they shouldn’t settle for a home they don’t like. If you don’t find the right home this year, maybe you should start renting and try again later rather than make a purchase you’ll regret.

Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much. If you really like a house, include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer. “It doesn’t work for everybody, but I have seen it work for many, many people,” Local Records Office says.

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Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.

Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in first place if the initial buyer walks away.

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Offices.org

 

Secrets to Buying Your First Home in 2016 – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA- We all want the secrets to success and the easiest way to buy a home says, Local Records Office. For first-time homebuyers, the whole home buying process may look a bit daunting. You’re going into what could be the biggest purchase of your life with no experience to fall back on. The good news is a little preparation can go a long way and help you approach this major decision with confidence.

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Many things have changed in recent decades about the way Americans buy and sell homes, but one adage still matters, a lot: location, location, location.

While you may be happy living in any of several neighborhoods in your city, you won’t be happy if you choose the wrong location. And that’s where your research should start: deciding exactly where you want to live.

Talk to friends and co-workers, drive around town, visit restaurants and stores and talk to neighbors in areas you’d consider calling home. Go to open houses so you can view some houses. Look at homes on the Internet, evaluating style, size, price and how long they stay on the market.

 

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You can find a real estate agent while you’re still working on this process. However, your choice of agent also depends on where you want to live, because a neighborhood expert often can find you the best house at the best price. “You want people who have worked and have experience directly in the areas you’re looking in,” says Peter Hens, from LA Realtor Firm in Los Angeles, California.

If you’re a buyer, there is no reason not to use a real estate agent. It costs you nothing, and the agent’s job goes far beyond finding the house. In fact, it’s after you’ve found the house that you’ll most need the agent, both to structure and present the offer and then to troubleshoot issues that arise between contract and closing.

Here are 12 tips for buying your first house:

Make sure you’re ready to buy, both emotionally and financially. If you expect to relocate in a few years, this may not be the right time for you to buy. If you don’t have cash for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses, you may be better off waiting. Look at your life, your career, your finances and your future expectations, and determine whether buying a house is the right move at this time.

Find the right team. The difference between deals that close and deals that don’t are the professionals involved. You want to make sure you find a real estate agent who will move quickly when a new listing goes on the market, as well as an agent who will advise you honestly on preparing your offer. You also want a mortgage professional lined up before you start looking. “The lender is the most important person to closing on time,” Hens says.

 

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Get your finances in order first. Some real estate agents won’t even show homes to prospective clients who don’t have a mortgage pre-approval. You definitely should meet with a mortgage broker or banker (better yet, several) at the start of the process to find out how much house you can afford and how much cash you’ll need to close. Do the entire math. Just because a bank says you can borrow $300,000 doesn’t mean you should. If you have credit issues, realize that this part of the process could take several months.

Calculate each and every cost. The purchase price and the mortgage payment are just the beginning. Don’t forget homeowner or condo fees, homeowners insurance and real estate taxes. Plus, you’ll need to budget for utilities, repairs and maintenance.

Don’t spend all your cash. Avoid emptying your bank account for your down payment and closing costs. There will always be unexpected repairs. Plus, it costs money to move, change locks, put down utility deposits and buy things you never needed before, like a lawn mower.

When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.

If you’re buying in a condo or homeowners association, know the rules. How your association is run can make a big difference in how much you enjoy life in a development. You’ll want to know about all rules and restrictions, from pet ownership to who can use the pool. Condo buyers also want to investigate the association’s finances because a poorly run association can mean big assessments later.

 

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Visit your favorite neighborhoods at different times. Most neighborhoods are quiet in the middle of the day. As Glen Craig writes at the personal finance blog Free From Broke: “You need to see what the area is like on a Saturday night. Are there kids and such all out driving with music blasting? What’s it like in rush hour in the morning or in the evening?”

Talk to the neighbors. Ask about the neighborhood and about the houses you’re considering. The neighbors will know if there are foundation problems. They’ll also know about barking dogs, petty crime and the size of utility bills.b

Consider which contingencies you’re willing to waive. In the ideal scenario, a purchase offer is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, approval of your mortgage and an appraisal that equals the purchase price. In most parts of the country, a buyer is smart to keep all those contingencies in the contract. But in a competitive market, you may be competing against buyers who have agreed to waive contingencies. “You never want to [agree to waive them] unless you’re sure you’re 99% safe to do it,” Hens says.

Be ready to move quickly once you find the home you want. Good homes that are well priced nearly always sell quickly. It’s OK to take some time to think before you make an offer, but you might not want to wait a few weeks. Your agent can provide invaluable advice here.

Know what’s important to you. No house will be perfect, so where are you willing to compromise? If you want a specific school district, are you willing to accept a smaller house? If you want to be near the water, could you be happy with a condo? Are you willing to accept a longer commute to get a larger house?

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.biz

12 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Get Higher Offers – Local Records Office

Get a Higher Offer on Your House – Local Records Office (VIDEO)

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – You’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. And you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars staging their homes for sale, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands and thousands to spend says, Local Records Office.

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The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home without shelling out a lot of money.

“Updating isn’t as expensive as it used to be,” says Lori Matzke, author of “Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House” and a home staging expert in Minneapolis who teaches workshops nationwide. “There’s a lot of DIY information out there.”

First impressions matter, and that’s why you want to start by making sure your home exudes curb appeal. Go all out with small do-it-yourself projects. Cut the grass, trim the bushes, get rid of dead branches and consider planting some flowers. Replacing the mailbox and house numbers and painting the front door can also make your home more appealing to a prospective buyer driving by. If the house looks dirty, wash the siding or stucco.

“I’ve seen houses that look really frumpy on the outside and great on the inside,” Matzke says, “but you can’t get [potential buyers] in the door.”

Prospective buyers, particularly young ones, often can’t see past the homeowners’ decor to what’s most important about a house – the floor plan and the space. That’s why it’s important to make the home look as neutral and appealing as possible.

“People get so stuck on the negatives, all the homeowners stuff, that they forget to look at the property,” Matzke says.

Sellers should give themselves at least a few weeks to get their homes ready for sale, especially if they need to take up carpet or repaint. While painting is fairly simple and inexpensive compared with other improvements, a new coat makes a significant impact.

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“Fresh paint is a really good seller, if you don’t know how to paint hire a few handymen” Matze says. “Do it in trendy neutral colors.” Painting dated kitchen cabinets can also make the kitchen look fresh and new.

You also want to make sure your home photographs well. Most buyers start their home search online, and they may quickly reject a home if the listing photos aren’t appealing.

There’s no rule of thumb about how much you should expect to spend getting your home ready to sell because every house is different. But investing a few thousand dollars can potentially increase your sale price by much more than that, in addition to making your house sells more quickly. “Anything that you can do is only going to benefit you,” Matzke says.

Here are 12 affordable ways to stage your home for sale:

Remove all clutter, personal photos, knickknacks and other junk. “Cleaning out the clutter just creates so much space, and that’s what people are looking for – space,” Matzke says. “It just really makes your home look bigger and younger.”

Edit your furniture. If your rooms are crowded, consider putting bigger and less attractive pieces of furniture in storage. This will open up space and make your home look larger. Make sure there is nothing obscuring buyers’ eyes from focal points, such as fireplaces and views.

Clean, clean, clean – then clean some more. Wash the windows, clean the cobwebs out of the corner and scrub the grout in the tile floors. Even though you’re not selling the furniture, clean that as well because it adds to the overall impression you’re trying to give.

Spruce up the outside. Add a new doormat, new house numbers and maybe a new mailbox. Paint the front door. The little stuff matters here.

Refresh your landscape. Clean up flowerbeds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers. Make sure bushes are trimmed and neat.

Paint. In some cases, you’d be wise to paint the entire house inside and out. In other cases, touching up and painting the trim might be enough. Paint over your kids’ purple walls with a neutral color. If your kitchen cabinets look old and dated, paint those. You can never go wrong with white, cream or brown, but you should pick a color that matches the rest of the kitchen decor.

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Clean or replace light fixtures and cabinet hardware. “It’s not a really expensive undertaking, but it really makes a difference in how the home is presented,” Matzke says.

Don’t forget the small stuff. Pay attention to details, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “New, matching towel sets in the bathroom, accent pillows on the couch and fresh flowers can be welcoming elements to a homebuyer,” she says.

If you can afford it, replace old carpeting. If your home has hardwood floors underneath, that’s even better. Ideally, you should refinish wood floors but even just exposing them is good, Matzke says.

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Make sure each room has a defined purpose. If you’ve turned your dining room into an office, return it to dining room status, Matzke says. But Chris suggests putting up tent cards that say “Dining Room or Office” to point out alternative uses for the space. That would also work in a bedroom you’re using as an office.

Landscape. Make sure your front yard isn’t overgrown with uncut dead grass or ugly weeds. This is the first thing potential homebuyers see first when they first arrive. You want to give a good impression all around.

Dogs, cats and other pets. Most of us a custom to our pets unique smell since we smell them everyday but other people may think that your dogs urine smell is overpowering the house. Take your cats litter outside and out of view. If you have aggressive dogs like Pit bulls or Rottweiler’s you might want to get someone to take them while the open house is happening.

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Water damage – If you have any kind of water damage make sure you take care of it as soon as possible. Water damage is dangerous and may scare off potential buyers. Mold usually grows from water damage and may cause serious health problems to you and others.

To learn more about Local Records Office or real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.me

What REALLY Happens Behind Closed Doors in the Real Estate Market – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – The single biggest purchase that the majority of Americans will make in their lives is when they buy a house says, ‘Local Records Office’. Last year in the United States, over five million new and existing houses were sold. So what are these properties like, and who is purchasing and selling them? If you are interested in learning more about the housing market, read on. Here is a collection of facts about homes for sale in America.

Who Is Buying Houses?

One out of every three purchasers was a first-time buyer in 2015. First-timers are an average age of thirty-one and boast an income of just under $70,000 says, ‘Local Records Office’. The other two-thirds of purchases were made by repeat buyers with an average age of fifty-three. These experienced buyers had an average income just under $100,000. Purchasers generally financed about 90% of the cost of their purchase.

What Were Buyers Looking For?

When polled, buyers stated that the most important aspect of a property was not the structure itself, but the quality of the neighborhood where it was located. Buyers also stated that the proximity of the residence to their place of employment was more important than the size of the property. Other important features that potential property owners were interested in when considering homes for sale were security systems, extra storage space, exterior lighting, energy-efficient appliances, insulation, and flooring materials.

READ MORE: How to Avoid Buying a Money Sucking House – Local Records Office

Who Is Selling Houses?

The median age of homeowners selling was fifty-four years, with an income a bit over $100,000. Sellers had lived in their house for nine years on average says, ‘Local Records Office’. 89% of sellers used a real estate agent when they sold their residence, and it was on the market for approximately four weeks. Final sales prices were generally about 98% of the asking value.

What Is the Average House Like?

In 2015, the median cost for a house in the United States was roughly $175,000. On average, purchased residences were built in 1991, and ran about 1,900 square feet. Most residences sold had two bathrooms and three bedrooms. The most expensive state for acquiring homes was Hawaii, with a median price of $548,000, followed closely by Washington D.C. and California, at $489,000 and $448,000 respectively. West Virginia offered the most affordable properties, ringing in at $89,000 typically, followed by Mississippi and Oklahoma, tied at $113,000.

In conclusion, the variety of homes for sale is as diverse as the potential purchasers in the market for a new residence says, ‘Local Records Office’. Properties can be found that cost over $100,000,000, or less than $100,000. That said, the average residence is still a three bedrooms, two-bathroom structure.

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Want To Step Up Your Open House? You Need To Read This First – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: When someone wants to sell a house in the real estate market they will have a open house says, ‘Local Records Office’. Open house’s are important for many reason, in this list ‘Local Records Office’ has created a simple but effective to do list.

Has The Property Been on the Market Long?

Sometimes, you can judge how aggressive a seller will be by how long the home has been listed. If it has been on the market for a while then perhaps the sellers will be more willing to entertain a lower bid or cover the closing costs.

 

Homebuyers Unexpected Delays at Closing – Local Records Office Tallahassee Florida

Has the Price Been Going Up and Down?

Has there recently been a price decrease? You may want to find out why the price has changed says, Local Records Office. It could be that another interested party’s financing fell through and now they are behind on their moving timeline. If it hasn’t moved at all and the house has been listed for a while, the seller may be firm on the asking price.

Has the House Had Many Offers? or Any at All?

If there have only been a couple bites, but nothing has panned out the seller might be more flexible. If there are current offers then you likely need to prepare for a bidding war, if you really want the home.

How Desperate is the Seller?

If this is their second home and the seller is not actually preparing for a moving process, they may be content waiting for the right offer to come along. On the other hand, a seller needing to move by a specific date for a job offer across the country might work with you on the price, especially if you are pre-approved, and they know it is a sure thing says, ‘Local Records Office’.

 

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Has the Home Been Remodeled?

You can walk through and see visible projects, such as new cupboards and updated fixtures. However, maybe the home has a brand new central air-conditioning unit or hot water heater you should know about.

Is the Seller Moving Because the House is Giving Him or Her Problems?

Local Records Office says, “They could be moving for work or perhaps their family is expanding and outgrowing it. On the other hand, maybe cars have been getting broken into in the neighborhood or they are disappointed with the schools that the home is zoned for”. The agent probably won’t tell you, but you may be able to tell by their reaction if they are being truthful.

Are There Any Problems With the House?

As a buyer, you are going to be told about code violations or structural problems. However, if you are in a time crunch yourself, you might not want to wait for this information to make a decision.

Are the Utility Bills High?

Utility bills can really weigh heavily on your decision, especially if you are going from a studio apartment to a two- or three-bedroom home. Alternately, the home could have a number of energy efficient upgrades that keep the utility bills lower than anticipated.

How is the Neighborhood Crime Rate?

Don’t expand on this by offering any extra information. You don’t want to imply that you are looking for a tight knit community with lots of kids or that you are hoping for a quiet senior you will barely see says, Local Records Office. Let the agent do the talking without you providing any hints to guide their answer.

Are Any Amenities Within Walking Distance?

They should be able to tell you about the closest café, market, park, etc. You may find that there is a bar with a patio and live music at the end of the road, which may be great for some people, but you could be concerned about how sound carries at night says, Local Records Office. If you work at 5 am, you don’t want to listen to a band all night through your open window.

Buying a home is a huge decision. An open house gives you the chance to explore the home, but it should also be viewed as an opportunity to find out valuable information that should be considered in your decision.

 

Asset Management in 2016

WIRE TELEGRAM: Asset management is the financial umbrella term for any system that monitors or maintains things of value, whether for an individual or a group. An asset is anything that has actual or potential value as an economic resource. Anything tangible or intangible that can be owned and produce a profit (turned into cash) is considered an asset. Tangible assets are physical items including inventory, buildings, trucks, or equipment. Intangible assets are not physical items, and include copyrights, trademarks, patents, stocks, bonds, accounts receivable, and financial goodwill (when a buyer purchases an existing company and pays more than it is worth, the excess is considered the goodwill amount). Both tangible and intangible assets work to build the owner’s financial portfolio. While this concept has been in play for more than a hundred years, recent developments have lead to several shifting variables worth considering. The following are recent management trends and some of the implications for asset investment.

The Globalization of the Market

Even as recently as 20 years ago, the majority of investments were made in U.S. based companies. As technology expanded our range of communication and information, our interest in investing in overseas companies expanded as well. Until recently, most investing in international assets was pooled into mutual funds. Those mutual funds were typically run by a manager who specialized in the country and made all of the decisions. However, the rapid development of previously underdeveloped markets, such as those in Eastern Asia, and the formation of the European Union, has made international investment less daunting. Recently there has been a large shift to investing in individual companies instead of the previously dominant international mutual funds. This allows the assets to be managed as the investor sees fit.

Use of Index Funds

The rise of technology has not only affected the global market, it has also affected the way we invest in our own stock market. There has been a large shift away from the fund manager driven investments of before and into index funds. Index funds are a group of investments that align with the index of a specific market, like the Dow Jones for instance. As they are primarily computer driven, index funds remove the need for an asset manager, which allows for advantages such as lower costs, turnovers, and style drift. They are also simpler to understand as they cover only the targeted companies and need only to be re-balanced once or twice a year.

Drop of Interest Rates

Traditionally, stocks and bonds were the ideal assets. However, with the severe drop in interest rates that has occurred over the past 7 or 8 years, many investors are looking to alternative assets. Bonds are not providing as steady returns as they used to, and the constantly changing risk and volatility of the stock market is turning those looking for higher returns towards alternative investments. These alternatives include hedge funds, private equity (stocks held in private companies), and real estate. These have become popular as they offer relatively greater returns in a shorter time frame. However, these alternatives also carry a higher long-term risks.

While these are all trends to take into consideration when examining your investments, the key to good asset management still lies in diversification. Any investment, no matter the type, comes with some degree of risk. The best solution to limit the risk is to spread out your investments over different types and reassess as needed. A balanced portfolio and good asset management leads to a happy investor.