LRE® Blog

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October 15, 2008

Farewell... and thank you for your kind words

By Robert Lockard This is my last blog entry in this luxury real estate blog. After more than a year and a half of blogging, I'm afraid my time has come to an end. I'm about to move on to something new and scary, but I suppose change always involves some degree of fear and discomfort. I will no longer be the editor of the Luxury Real Estate Blog. Thank you very much, everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts on this blog. I'm sorry if I wasn't able to respond to all of your comments, but I definitely read them all and tried to incorporate what I learned from them into future posts. I have grown a lot in the past year and a half and I think you can definitely see that by going back through my many blog entries and seeing me try to articulate my feelings and ideas.

October 15, 2008

Some in East Bay real estate are on the slippery slide of FEAR!

By Jim Walberg From his blog: Some East Bay Real Estate Is On The Slippery Slide Of FEAR! Once you get on the Slipper Slide of Fear, it is difficult to get off! Please stay off that slippery slide! So, I picked up USA Today last Saturday on my flight to the Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference in Philadelphia where I was a presenter. The USA Today headline was, “FEAR is a slippery slide!” In some of my past comments I have used the sailor’s mantra, “Do not be fearful!” It still applies today, in spite of an almost 900-point recovery on the Dow Jones the past two days. Don’t forget… once you step on the “slippery slide” of fear, the momentum carries you away very quickly. The voice of experience, the voice of the local authority, and the voice of credibility can still prevail. And we are the ones that need to be that voice. I just completed a walk from the Philadelphia Ritz Carlton to Constitution Hall, the Liberty Bell, and other reminders of the work our founding fathers did on our behalf 230+ years ago. What an inspiring day! (You may recall this is the organization that is the acknowledged authority of luxury real estate! It was founded by John Brian Losh with a vision of connecting the best luxury brokers and agents in the world – 1,900 members from 65 countries.)

October 9, 2008

New Cuba Gooding Jr. movie films at Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan estate

By Robert Lockard I have some very fun news to share. A new TNT movie starring Oscar® winner Cuba Gooding Jr. is currently filming in the Detroit area, and part of the filming is being done at a waterfront luxury home on Windmill Point Drive in Grosse Pointe Park. This property is being represented by Higbie Maxon Agney, Inc. Realtors, a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate and the Board of Regents. Check out this wonderful story in the Grosse Pointe News that I received earlier this week. Sorry I don’t have a link to the story online. Apparently, that newspaper doesn’t post some of their stories on their Web site, but luckily I have a PDF version of the printed article. The movie is called “Gifted Hands: The Story of Ben Carson” and it follows the life of Ben Carson, born into poor conditions, who was able to lift himself up and become a famed pediatric neurosurgeon. It’s scheduled to debut on TNT on Feb. 7, 2009. I love inspirational stories about good people triumphing over difficult circumstances. Actually, this discussion reminds of a blog entry that Jim Walberg, the co-Owner/Broker of The Bay Area Team, just wrote about not giving in to fear despite our difficult financial market.

October 9, 2008

Economic meltdown causes fear in East Bay real estate community

By Jim Walberg From his blog: Economic Meltdown Causes Fear In East Bay Real Estate Community! No matter how positive and resilient one is, we are in stormy economic times! However, opportunities abound in the midst of this economic hurricane! I was chatting with my friend, Bob Waun – president of Vacation Finance, which is headquartered in Michigan – about the financial meltdown going on in the credit markets and the stock markets. He asked if I was afraid for what is next for our real estate businesses in the Bay Area and the Caribbean. I told him, “Nah… we are still having the time of our life!” The mantra of a sailor is…, “Do not be fearful!” And, the definition of FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real! If you didn’t know, my favorite condition in sailing is with the gunnels (side rails on each side of the boat) in the water and salt water spraying all over me. You can’t imagine the big grin on my face while I am sailing in those conditions. However, it is not the time for the faint of heart if you are a sailor in stormy seas. It is the time when experience pays off. Both our Bay Area and Caribbean real estate businesses are thriving… however, it is taking all hands on deck to pull it off. We are blessed with a great team who only look at the glass half full, and are committed to creating a GREAT experience for our customers. Many of our competitors are running down to Starbucks talking about how the sky is falling. The vacuum they are leaving within our real estate community is amazing, and whoever fills that void today will have a larger market share when the market shifts again – which it will. In order to make it through these tough financial times we all need to work together, side by side, realizing storms don’t last forever. At the end of Bob’s and my conversation, he left me with these thoughts:

October 6, 2008

Caribbean fractionals expanding to Botany Bay Resort!

By Jim Walberg From his blog: Caribbean Fractionals Expanding To Botany Bay Resort! St. Thomas, USVI is the location, and the former Preserve At Botany Bay is the spot! Caribbean fractionals continue to be THE real estate choice of thousands of Caribbean buyers. Last week David Burden – founder and CEO of Timbers Resorts – announced that the ultra-luxury resort located on the western tip of St. Thomas will be managed by the international hospitality management group – Jumeirah Group, which is a member of Dubai Holding. This announcement was made at the signing ceremony with Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of Jumeirah (Remember my past article about the Virgin Islands fractional market?). “We selected Jumeirah as the ideal hotel company to partner with at this unprecedented resort on the secluded western tip of St. Thomas,” remarked David Burden. “Based on their internationally renowned hotel experience in luxury service, they will be a perfect match for our discerning owners and resort guests.”

September 25, 2008

Australian luxury real estate agent in final four for international award

By Michael Marquette From his blog: Australian Real Estate Agent in Final Four for International Real Estate Award Australian Michael Marquette, founder of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, is one of only two non-American Award Nominees at the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Conference to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on Saturday, October 11th through Tuesday, October 14th, 2008! One of only four international real estate agents nominated in the category of Outstanding Rookie, Michael Marquette will be joined at the award’s conference at the Ritz-Carlton by fellow agency founder Simon Turner. The Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network is the most prestigious luxury real estate organization in the world, and its website is the most-viewed luxury real estate portal in the world. The invitation-only industry peak body is made up of almost 6,000 offices worldwide. Marquette comments that “It is such an honour to have been initially invited to be a part of the exclusive Who’s Who, so to have been nominated for an award is truly humbling.”

September 25, 2008

Credit lenders suffering from withdrawal

By Robert Lockard I am sorry to keep talking about sad things in my luxury real estate blog entries, but I just read an article in CNN entitled “Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt” and it once again brought up many familiar concerns to my mind on the topic of consumer debt. I wish that I could talk about happy topics. I would much prefer to discuss luxury properties or any other topic, including how getting adequate sleep can lead to more success, but, alas, I feel it much more pressing to focus on the problems upon us. I am absolutely disgusted by the state of our financial markets. It seems to me that dishonesty is rampant and the very people who are responsible for this mess are asking for a great deal of money to supposedly solve the problem. But I care about people much more than institutions. And, based upon the testimony of the two honest women in the CNN article, who both have good consciences, I see little difference between the practices of certain banks and lenders and the practices of drug pushers. Many lenders trick people into taking more money than they need, they strive to get young people addicted and they keep people in a state of dependency for extended periods of time. All of that adds up to trouble. Debt is a plague that, when handled unwisely, can lead to all sorts of problems that I think are even worse than the horrible effects of drug abuse. People can at least stop taking drugs and eventually go through a process of withdrawal and recovery. But with debt, even if a person stops going into more debt, they still have interest building up on the money they owe and they face all sorts of roadblocks on the way to recovery.

September 24, 2008

Decorati designer feature: Robert Passal, style infusion

By Donna Sapolin From her magazine article: Decorati Designer Feature: Robert Passal, Style Infusion Welcome to a designer feature by Decorati, the online resource for high-end interior design. In this post, we are featuring New York-based interior designer Robert Passal, who has transformed this 2,200-square-foot apartment on Manhattan’s tony upper eastside. See below for some tips that you can use for staging your next home. His mission: to diffuse the banality of new construction by administering a healthy dose of visual intrigue to heartily lived-in, white-box rooms devoid of interior architecture. Designed for a couple with two infants, his furnishings plan shuns the sort of precious, hands-off quality that some elegant schemes engender and, instead, welcomes the thrills and spills of everyday life with wear-resistant surfaces and a few colors that politely refuse to show the (sometimes grubby) touch of human hands. Passal’s design concept focused on the creation of dimension and interest through geometry and texture.

September 23, 2008

The Russians are coming to the U.K. luxury market

By Jason Leach From his blog: What’s the market doing? And the Russians ARE coming There are a lot of mixed signals out there and different people have different angles on the French property market at the moment. The Brits are still buying, but not in the numbers that they used to. But then again July and August are generally quiet months for the Brits to buy. On the other hand, there is still, and increasingly more so, lots more interest from the Dutch, German, Belgian, Swiss and Scandanavian countries, but more than ever it’s the French. France hasn’t really been affected by the credit crunch due to the fiscal regulations that exist. We did see some small protests when the fuel prices were increased but even that’s come down again now to a more reasonable level.

September 22, 2008

Caribbean real estate: U.S. financial crisis has created great fear throughout the islands!

By Jim Walberg From his blog: Caribbean Real Estate: U.S. Financial Crisis Has Created Great Fear Throughout The Islands!!! In the midst of the biggest financial meltdown since the 1930s some hard questions are being asked of Jim Walberg this week. My email box is overflowing and the phone has been ringing off the hook. The people who have an interest in the Caribbean real estate markets are afraid. They are asking some very hard questions that need to be immediately addressed by our Federal government as to how a further financial collapse can be averted. You may recall my past article about the mantra of a sailor as he sets off on a voyage – Do Not Be Fearful! Well, it is a challenge to get to that place when the walls or the U.S. financial structure seem to crumbling down before our very eyes. There is no getting around the fact it is a historic financial mess. My focus is to always get to “what is” as fast as possible, and start making lemonade out of the truck load of lemons that has just been dumped on our front porch. When I want some well-thought-out ideas on National financial issues I call my REALTOR® friend in Naples, Florida. His name is Mike Lissack. He is one of the smartest financial minds that I know. He came to real estate from a long and successful career on Wall Street where he was named by Worth Magazine as one of “Wall Street’s 25 Smartest Players”, and is one of the top 100 Americans who have influenced “how we think about money.” Before he retired from money management he directed more than $25 billion of investments, supervised their financial reporting, and assisted in the design of their risk management and investment operations. So we have been corresponding about the financial meltdown that is surrounding all of us. He has some pretty interesting ideas as to what he would do if he was in charge of the direction our Nation takes next, regarding making sure these events never happen again. I felt it was important for you to also review what he has been proposing to me. Here are his latest thoughts, given the events of the last few days. Mike’s view on the financial solutions of our current crisis is we need someone in our government to take proactive action NOW! Here are some more of his suggestions for your consideration, and those of my Caribbean friends asking some very hard questions:
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