Homes for rent

My son is currently working for a place which looks like the BuyMore from the TV series Chuck.  No, he’s not at Best Buy, but your mental image is definitely in the right direction.  My son, who in homage to the great James Delingpole, I will now call Boy, has a degree in Audio Engineering.  Yes, you are correct, he is a geek.  He even has a geeky girlfriend who takes him to Sakura-kan.  I’m sure I spelled that wrong. 

Boy, as previously stated, works at Geek Central.  He deals with technical issues of products which customers have previously purchased.  He is good at what he does.  He is also frustrated because he does not want to spend his life telling people that despite their protestations the camera was never used and defective when purchased, the frosting from the birthday cake UNDER the lens is pretty much a dead giveaway. 

Boy wants to play with sound.  He wants to manipulate it, warp it, amplify it and use it to make people’s visual experiences enhanced.  But he works at Geek World.  But maybe not. 

Boy did an amazing thing today.  He chose the old fashioned method, physically walked into a music emporium and asked about available positions using his skill set.  ProTools?  Check.  Sql server?  Roger.  Coding this and hardware that and the owner said, “Hey, fill out an application and let’s talk!”  Boy is excited.  The old fashioned non-geeky way worked pretty well!

In the olden days of Real Estate, of which I was not a part except as a consumer….wait, let me tell you about my experience as a consumer.  We drove to a place which had a sign saying Real Estate, walked into it and talked to an Agent-thingie.  The Agent-thingie got in her Carbon Fuel Combustion Device and we went to see some domiciles.  We liked one of the domiciles and she got out some paper and we scratched our name on the pieces.  The MLO (mortgages we love to offer guy) fudged our numbers around.  “You work occasionally as a substitute teacher with no benefits?  I’ll just write down full time teacher with an imputed salary to match.  Way to go stud!”  After all, this was 1980 and at 14% interest, he was going to get this house sold, no matter what.

The olden days of agents with their printouts and a lot of miles under their belts gave way to readily available information.  Houses could be identified as desirable much faster, more information could be gleaned without having to drive to see them and all this ultimately gave rise to (with a doff of the cap to Kris Berg), sites such as what she calls BlueGill

We could sit at home and search properties to our heart’s delight.  Our agent could sit at home, usually in her slippers with that telltale splash of coffee on her flannel pajamas and send us properties via a funky little nicety called email.  It was great!  I’m guessing the mechanics of transitioning real estate agents wept at the advent of the Internet and lower mileage usages of those CFCD’s (Carbon Fuel Combustion Devices).

And now?  Webhits statistics tell us that social media is a driving force in real estate.  Visits to traditional real estate sites are down and searches of Craigslist, Oodle, Front Door, Trulia, Zillow and HotPad are on the increase.  No, I didn’t say Facebook or Twitter.  Stop spamming my accounts!  Oops, did I say that out loud?  My bad.

That’s part of the story.  The other noteworthy statistics are what they are searching for.  Homes for ……. aw you cheated and looked at the blog post title.  Yes, Homes for Rent.  Townhomes for Rent.  Condos for Rent.  Empty Storage Units for Rent.  Cardboard Boxes Under the Freeway for Rent.  The reality of the downturn is people are not buying homes, they are weathering the storm waiting for better times when the American Dream of homeownership and the ability to eat a Big Marc at least once a week, comes within their reach again.

I think it’s tragic, because now of all times is when home ownership becomes affordable.  Our primary home’s ARM just adjusted to 3.25%.  Are you kidding?  Beeline to our friendly banker to have it rolled into a 30 year fixed.

By the time the economy gets rolling again, we’re going to see inflation.  Remember that 14% mortgage above?  Yes, that one, the one with 2 digits before the decimal point.  Somewhere between here and there will be the reward for homebuyer’s abstinence.  All the perceived savings will be eaten up in a conventional loan at a much higher rate than can be had today.

Suggestions?

  1. Work with a reputable lender to have him/her clean up your credit. 
  2. Lower your expectations.  Are you choosing a 2 bedroom apartment overlooking the Cineplex now in order to save up for the $600K house you can’t afford?  Better to consider the 2 bedroom house for $250K, which isn’t your ideal solution, but which fits your budget.  If you miss the popcorn smell, either make some in the microwave or go to a baseball game.
  3. Find a way to make your home affordable.  How about a townhome with a bedroom/bathroom on a totally separate level which you can rent to students?  Be creative!

Gourmet kitchenAnd Boy?  I think he and Geek Girl have a good future.  His credit is good, his work ethic impeccable and if all goes well they will call their local real estate agent (me), who is sitting in her coffee stained ‘jammies.  We’ll probably have lunch and watch a couple of YouTube videos, before we head out to find their piece of the American Dream.  It better have CAT6 already in the walls.

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