An Uptick in Multi Units


by Dave Miller

After a year or two of stagnation the Lancaster PA rental properties are on the move again. Ron Shepherd was telling me few months ago that if I have buyers or sellers in this market I should inform them that the market is moving up. So I kept an eye on that particular market and was amazed. Not amazed at the upward movement but Ron’s ability to once more accurately gauge a trend.

Here is my analysis of the trend for multi-units in Lancaster City:

2011 and 2012 YTD comparisons:

Average Sale Price: 2011; $132,463.00 2012; 141,126. That’s a 6% price increase.

Number of sales: There were 10% more sold in 2012

Average days on market for the sold properties is up extremely: 2011; 73 DOM, 2012; 103 DOM that up 43%. I do not have an explanation for this spike as it seems to contradict the other numbers.

Here a link to a freshly listed city property. I’ll also have two more till next week. Stay tuned.

Recent blog about residential prices increasing: Refreshing! Home Values First Annual Increase In Nearly Five Years

 

Published in: on September 15, 2012 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Get Closer to Your Asking Price


By Dave Miller

Is the real estate market getting stronger? Here is a graph that would support that claim. This either supports it or tells us a whole other thing. This could mean that the sellers are being more realistic with their asking price.

This graph is Lancaster County home sales for the last year. It is saying the average home is selling at 93% of the asking price vs 90% in Feb of 2012.

Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 7:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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As Barren Ground Gets So Goes Lackadaisical Investing


by Dave Miller

The bare ground of the empty garden was being overrun by weeds in a short few weeks. So I tilled the ground last night and scattered the Jerry oats. With the dirt knocked loose and the weeds stunned the oat seeds I spread can find a hold and quickly overpower the weeds.

  The seed is planted and has a good chance to grow. No weeds to hinder the growth. Fertile ground to root into. At the sight of the greenness we will see the fruits of the labor, our toil combined with productive soil coming to fruition.

Is neutrality possible? The first law of motion says: The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. So something at rest stays at rest. Unless an outside force affects it. It stays at rest if nothing affects it, but something is always affecting something.

To invest or not to invest. That is the question.

When I say invest I mean good investing, not the I’m-too-uncertain-so-I-will-stick-it-in-bank flavor of investing.

Good Investing; By making good investments of time, money and knowledge you will grow in confidence and intellect. When you see your seeds multiply, your heart will be happy and content. This is not always easy, it’s work, but it’s rewarding.

Bad Investing; When investments go bad they deflate the morale, they squash and humiliate. Your attitude and life will be affected, like it or not, it just will.

Neutrality; By not investing your money, holding it in cash or putting it in a savings account for ½% interest a year, you are not moving. As Isaac Newton said, a body at rest stays at rest unless affected by an external force. The external force is never at rest. If you are not investing wisely you can go backwards, but if you do not invest, you will also go backwards. Neutrality is not an option. The outside force is in motion and if it is going faster than you then you are going backwards.  

Here a few reasons why “neutral” money holding doesn’t exist.

  • If you invest at a ½% in the bank you are (1) not keeping up with inflation (2) your reward sucks so the incentive to save more is squashed.
  • When sitting on cash you (1) are not keeping up with inflation (2) are prone to spend more than needed because it’s visible and accessible. Money in your pocket has a way of disappearing.
  • Did I mention inflation? According to our government inflation has been around 2% to 3% but has jumped to around 3.75% last month. Now we could spend a whole paper on the inaccuracy of these government statistics but we will let it go for now. Nevertheless, they may be inaccurate but the experts agree they are pushed down, meaning in reality they are higher. So if you are not making in excess of 4% to 5% you are floating backwards. Your money will buy less in the future.

The ground does not like to be barren. It will cover itself. Its default is weeds. So if you choose to sit by idly it will cover itself with weeds. Do I want weeds?  No. I will work, till, and plant to create an environment that allows the ground the produce. Today it’s raining steadily. I smile because I planned and prepared.

Related posts:

The Club


 

by Dave Miller

The Club House Meeting Room

Every two weeks we meet, the clan and I, for our book club. The topic of discussion is the latest book that we are reviewing. Our motivation is to invoke discussion and thought. And successful we are. The discussions run deep and are extremely thought provoking. It is up building and educational for the most part, even though some of us shoot an occasional fiery dart. 

We fellow contrarians meet at either my house or the Kingsway Realty office depending on the weather. If it’s too hot and air-conditioning is needed we head to Kingsway. They allow us to use one of their conference rooms thanks to Curvin Horning, one of their agents and a member of our group. Otherwise the meeting place is at my house with a few cool summer evenings spent on the deck with the tiki lamps burning.

As time goes on the bond between members grows stronger. The camaraderie has grown to the point that I feel I’m really going to miss a good evening if I can’t make it. So attendance is high. Everyone enjoys seeing the others as we arrive. And we always leave in peace. Okay, my mind is usually still spinning but I depart holding no grudges.

Here is a list of topics we have covered thus far

  • Theology and economics; Calvin and Commerce
  • Building a master plan for life; The Pledge by Michael Masterson
  • I Pencil  by Leonard E Read
  • How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes  by Peter D. Schiff
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E Woods, Jr., Ph.D 

Our group is well versed on debate and if the point you present is weak you will get shot down. So making a good case is essential to survival. That or asking questions to tap into the knowledge of the group is a great way to sharpen your awareness on a particular subject.

If a question is presented, someone in the group will usually have good response. Whether or not the view is accurate the rest will critique it to verify its validity or to uncover the errors.

 It was a dream of mine, to create a group like this, for years. In 2008 I talked with a few people and in March of 2009 we got together. We discussed Gary North’s book Mises on Money. It was a great book for the time, being about monetary cycles and we were experiencing the beginning of this recession.

The group was not interested in continuing. So it came to a screeching halt. I was disappointed but not ready to give up. I picked away at creating this group, talking to more friends of like mind. Now in 2011 we have a group that looks fit to last.

If this is something you have interest in doing I encourage you to create a group of your own. With the reactions I have gotten from people it seems you could easily to start another group. Don’t let it take four years like it did me. If you have even a small urge, then start talking to people. You will soon have a group formed.

Related post: Intellectual Exercise Machine

 

Warren Buffet – Just Shut Up


by Robert Ringer

As much as I dislike being harsh to my elders, sometimes you just can’t control yourself.  That said, though I mean no disrespect to the man, I have to get something off my chest that I’ve wanted to say to Warren Buffett for at least two decades:  Warren, will you please — PLEASE — shut up!

I’m tired of hearing about how you’ve lived in the same modest house since 1958.  I’m tired of hearing about how you plan to give away 99 percent of your fortune, primarily to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  And, most of all, I’m tired of hearing your pleas for millionaires and billionaires to pay more taxes.

I found it sad that when you finally bought a private jet (through Berkshire Hathaway) in 1989, you were so guilt-ridden that you named it “The Indefensible.”  Sorry, Warren, but when I was in the real estate business in my late twenties, I bought a private jet, and I found it to be indispensable. What a great moneymaking tool a private jet is for a high-flying (excuse the pun) entrepreneur.

Don’t be embarrassed about your jet, Warren.  Enjoy it.  You earned it.  And, best of all, it helps you make more money, which in turn creates more jobs and helps grow the economy.  The only private jet I know of that does not do any of these things and is truly indefensible is the one your pal, the White House Whiner, flits around on.

Speaking for millions of Americans, we don’t want the government to have any more of anyone’s money.  Boehner & Friends have already screwed us yet again and given our make-believe president the right to print trillions of additional paper dollars and thereby reduce the value of what money we have left.

And what will that additional funny money be used for?  Not to pay down the debt, for sure.  The debt will not, and cannot, ever be repaid.  Let’s stop the let’s-pretend games.

The money will be used by BHO to start and expand more government agencies, hire more government workers, give Jeffrey Immelt and his other sugar daddies more government subsidies, increase his record-breaking food-stamp binge and other welfare programs, and promote his reelection campaign.

There is a misconception about money and morality, money and intelligence, and money and common sense.  Buffett clearly has a genius for making money without dirtying his fingernails.  For that, I tip my hat to him.  But it says nothing about his common sense or knowledge in other areas of life.  I’d venture to guess that he has never read Ludwig von Mises … or F.A. Hayek … or Ayn Rand … or Murray Rothbard … or Harry Browne … or even Ron Paul.

What Warren Buffett needs to do is educate himself on history, morality, philosophy, and ideology in time to bring about a deathbed conversion.  Does anyone really believe he has ever thought about the basic question of whether it is moral for the government to take people’s property by force?  Does anyone really believe he has ever given any thought to the concept of Natural Law, which gives rich people the same rights as poor people?

Until and unless you do, Warren, I again urge you:  Please, shut up!  Write the government any size check you feel is necessary to soothe your neurotic guilt feelings about your success, but, please, leave everyone else alone.

If you want to pay more taxes, I call your attention to the fact that there’s a place on your tax return that gives you the right to do so.  If you don’t feel that the nearly $7 million you paid on your taxable income in 2010 was enough, there’s absolutely nothing to stop you from paying more.  All you have to do is do it.

Copyright © 2011 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is the author of three #1 bestsellers and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. Ringer has appeared on numerous national talk shows and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron’s, and The New York Times.

To sign up for his one-of-a-kind, pro-liberty e-letter, A Voice of Sanity, visit: www.robertringer.com


Published in: on August 20, 2011 at 5:38 am  Comments (1)  
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Lazy Politicians or Just Weaklings?


by Dave Miller

Are politicians weak or just lazy?

Barry Goldwater said: “To my mind the power possessed and exercised by the bureaucrats in Washington represents the most dangerous situation in America.  If the wrong man should come along and be elected president, we could see a dictatorship erected almost overnight, and it would stem from Congress’ failure to live up to its responsibilities.  Because the power held in these bureaucratic agencies is power given to them by the Congress which — and I must tell it like it is — was just too damned lazy to take on the job itself.

Barry calls it lazy. I was calling it weak, the lack of a backbone. But I think Barry is right. Which came first, laziness or weakness? I’d say laziness.

If you are too lazy to work out your muscles will become weak. Laziness promotes weakness.

The same goes for mental weakness. People are choosing the easy way with social benefit programs. As the choice is made to take the easy way the mind deteriorates. Each lazy choice weakens it.

Barry also said: “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size.  I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom.  My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.  It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.  I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.”

He’s saying reducing legislation will extend freedom. It is either consolidated power or freedom for the people. The more power surrendered the more freedom to the people. The transfer from Congress to the people, us, makes a nation healthy.

My question to congress, “Do you want a fat, lazy and weak nation?” The scary part, I’m afraid the answer would be yes. Lazy people are so much more easily controlled.

Related post: O Big Brother Thou Art.

What the U.S. Debt Looks Like to the Smith Family



by Dave Miller

How big are the cuts? How big is our debt problem? Here are the numbers. But they are bigger than our feeble minds can comprehend.

  • U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • April budget cuts that averted a partial government shutdown: $38,500,000,000 (about 1% of the budget)

Let’s eliminate a bunch of zeros to help our little minds grasp these dollars.

It helps to think about these numbers terms that we can relate to. We will remove eight zeros from the numbers above and pretend this is budget for the fictitious Smith household.

  • Total annual income for the Smith family: $21,700
  • Amount of money the Smith family spent: $38,200
  • Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
  • Amount cut from the budget: $385

Now I can understand why the S&P cut the credit ratings on US debt. If I were the Smith’s credit card company I would be doing more than cutting their ratings. I’d be cutting their credit card in two.

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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What Obama Told Us and What Really Happened.


 by Dave Miller

At times I am glad the economy is not recovering. If it were, the people would believe it is because of this nonsense we hear from these politicians.

The debt ceiling is the latest dog and pony show. The media is rambling on and on. Praising and criticizing. Just talking heads selling their hogwash.

I’m talking to both sides of the aisle here. They make it sound like they are doing the country a service. Doing their duty. Sacrificing for the good of the people.

The truth of the matter: this is the largest increase in debt allowed.

Ever!

When I hear them talk about sacrificing for the good of the people, I want to roll my eyes loud enough so you can hear it on paper.

Be careful what you listen to.

Here is some of the useless gobbledygook we have been fed in the past. Obama said we would lose a bunch of jobs unless we dumped a boatload of money into the system. We did. What happened?

Here are the results. Visualization is a great way to illustrate the point.

Selective hearing is the key.

Related Posts:

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jack of All or Master of Two?


by Dave Miller

Take a look at your career path to see which of the three roads you are traveling. Will mastering one skill outperform becoming a jack of all trades? Should you master two skills?

Master of One

Gary North says, in order to move into the upper levels of your industry you need become an expert in one field. Learn the industry, study the trade, educate yourself, get in the top 4% of your field. If you can become better than 20% of your competition you will survive and do well. If you can get better than 20% of 20%, being 4%, you’ll become an expert.

By focusing on one area you can devote more time, thus getting there sooner. The compounding effect works in your favor here. The more effort you put in the more there is to compound.

In order to master one trade you need to devote 10,000 hours. This is a serious commitment. It will be your life’s work. Think long and hard before making this pledge.

Many college graduates think they know what this one area of mastery is. They change their mind. They lose precious time.

Look before you leap. Check how deep the water is before taking the plunge.

Jack of All

These people have amassed knowledge on many subjects. They are extremely handy to have around. Every business should have one.

A Jack-of-all-trades guy usually gets hung up in the details. He focuses on fixing the problem which must be done now and puts his effort into finding a solution for the problem. He isn’t happy unless he is fixing something, anything. Just give him something to fix.

There are exceptions but most of these guys fail to delegate thus limiting their leadership skills.

Master of Two

I call this the Dilbert method. The author of Dilbert talks about combining two skills.

Specializing and excelling in one area is better than being good at two areas that do not merge. Devoting more time to one thing rather than multiple will speed up the process and get you farther. Yet he says if you can combine two skills that you are in the top 25% in both you can do well.

“I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare.”

The comic, Dilbert, was born.

The Dilbert method creates a niche not easily matched. It creates a unique mix of two or three talents.

If I want to hire a mentor to teach me public speaking for an event on real estate, rather than hire a top 4% speaker, I would hire a really good speaker that specializes in real estate. The combination of the two skills is more valuable to me than the guy who is better at speaking but knows nothing about real estate. After I have mastered the basics for the mentor I hired and still want to elevate myself I may go hire the 4% guy.

What is your focus?

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My Barter List. You Want to Trade?


by Dave Miller

Here is my barter list. It lists the items and services I am offering then it lists the items I want. If it’s not on the list just ask, barters are usually flexible. By creating this list I have already saved myself 450 out-of-my-pocket dollars.

Craigslist offers a barter column to post items for barter.

Items Offered                     

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  • Kayak, Dagger Element 112 with accessories      Very good condition.        (Value $600)

Life Vest

Paddle

Skirt

Fishing Gear

Helmet

Around $1000 invested

Used 10 to 12 times

  • Business Consulting

Business Coaching

Marketing Strategies

Consulting

Bottom-line Improvement

Advertisement Writing (Ad copy)

  • DVD player (value $35)
  • Wind Turbine (24 volt) New $2700, trade or cash $1200
  • 23’’ TV (Value $75)
  • 12’’ DeWalt sliding double compound meter saw (Value $425)
  • Goose decoys ($25)
  • Lawn Boy 4.5 hp lawn mower (works great) ($150)
  • 3G iPhone with brand new screen (value $180)
  • 60+ wooden shipping pallets ($2. Each)
  • GPS (dash mount) paid $299.

Items Wanted

  • Exterior of Barn to be painted, mostly block.
  • ·         5 Maple trees to be trimmed
  • Taxi services
  • Make new flower garden
  • Fence in play area around child’s swing set
  • iPad
  • Patio dining set
  • Outdoor Kitchen to be built
  • Firearms
  • Gold and silver

It’s time to make a list if you want to save some cash. Make it, post it, save cash.

Related posts: Does Barter Work? How I made it pay better than cash.

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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