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.)

LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine supplement: “Green” Web sites and resources

By Robert Lockard In the winter 2009 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine (this link will start working in December 2008 when the magazine is published) I wrote an article entitled “Seeing Green: Living eco-friendly without sacrificing luxury.” In that article I mentioned a number of links and resources awaiting readers online. As promised, here they are! Check out the following Web sites for valuable information on what you can do today to start enjoying the benefits of “green” homes. In addition, I included links to the personal blogs/sites of the five Luxury Real Estate members and Eco-Brokers who I interviewed for this article. They were very helpful in the writing process and I’m sure you’ll find them to be extremely helpful in the home buying and selling process:

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.

HGTV and R. CHAYLA Immobilier team up for “House Hunters international”

By Benjamin Pradel From his blog: [TELEVISION 3] HGTV & R. CHAYLA Immobilier - "House Hunters international" Pie Town Productions est une importante société de production américaine basée à Los Angeles et à Chicago. Elle cumule aujourd’hui plus de 3200 émissions de télévision de tous les styles. Elle s’est tournée ces dernières années vers des émissions de décoration et de rénovation qui font fureur actuellement dans tous les pays anglophones et dont on commence à voir quelques exemples sur nos chaînes françaises. De leur série d’émissions House Hunters international (n°1 aux usa) diffusée sur la chaine américaine HGTV (Home and Garden Television) ils parcourent le monde à la recherche d’agents immobiliers spécialistes des transactions internationales. Cette émission au format Télé réalité, diffusée dans de nombreux pays anglophones (USA, Grande Bretagne, Canada, Australie, Nouvelle Zélande & Finlande), détaille les différentes étapes de l’acquisition de biens immobiliers par des clients étrangers. Pour les besoins de leurs émissions dynamiques à très forte audience, (91 millions de foyers rien que sur les USA), que vous pouvez revoir sur leur site internet www.hgtv.com ou sur celui de la société de production Pie Town TV (www.pietown.tv), ils filment des achats de biens immobiliers à Paris pour un appartement ayant vue sur la Tour Eiffel, ainsi qu’à São Paulo, Prague, en Jamaïque, Hollande, en Ecosse, aux Bahamas... et en passant par cet épisode qui vient de se tourner au sein de notre agence de Limoux.

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.

Fear of falling

By Robert Lockard As promised in my last luxury real estate blog entry, here is my discussion of some meaty topics I’ve wanted to talk about for a little while. The past few weeks have been pretty thrilling, wouldn’t you say? Wall Street dropped an incredible 504 points on Monday and 449 points on Wednesday. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, organizations designed to create stability, have failed. Other financial institutions, once seemingly healthy and sound, are facing bankruptcy and other troubles. Think that’s bad enough? Russia’s stock market is doing considerably worse. Okay, that’s the bad news. Now let’s take a step back and switch gears a little. I am an optimist. I believe that good wins in the end. I think that right now many bad companies and practices are facing the fact that they have built upon a sandy foundation and they are in danger of falling. All of the companies that are failing are doing so because of their own greed and recklessness. Home loans were turned into investment packages and many other bad ideas were allowed to come about because of greed.

Manmade global warming a costly deception

By Robert Lockard I recently finished writing an interesting article for the winter 2009 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine. The article is on “green” homes, and it was a challenge to write, mainly because I have a number of concerns about the current global-warming scare. I was able to find a lot of good in “green” homes, especially their energy savings and positive health effects on residents. I shied away from discussing their environmental effects, since I am unconvinced that they will have any real ones, and saying that they will might give people a false sense of security. To be sure, I am all for conservation and avoiding the waste or misuse of our resources. But something is very wrong with the current debate, or lack thereof, on global warming. I bring this up, not only because of my magazine article, but also because I read a very informative article entitled “Hot air over global warming” by Jerome Delvin in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer this morning. I highly recommend checking it out. As I noted in the Editor’s Note of a July 31, 2008 post to the Luxury Real Estate Blog by Jean-Yves Piton entitled “Green luxury real estate,” many climatologists and other scientists are speaking out about the fallacy of manmade global warming. You can find a great deal of accurate information from top scientists who spoke at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change. It is clear that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming, but there is actually little evidence to suggest that human activity is the main cause.

Higher education is becoming worthless

By Robert Lockard A while ago I stepped back from writing about luxury real estate to discuss a terribly destructive force that threatens to destroy families and make people miserable: debt. I would like to discuss something that I find to be just as dangerous as addiction to debt – the illogically high cost of earning a college degree. I read a potentially explosive story on CNN yesterday about a bubble in the cost of higher education that makes the real-estate bubble or the tech crash in 2000 look tame in comparison.

Ed McMahon and Donald Trump: Is this justice?

By Robert Lockard Nick Antonicello, Director of Sales for Unique Homes, pointed out an interesting story to me last week in the Los Angeles Times Blog. You might have already heard about it, but I just want to put in my two cents about the whole affair. Peter Viles, Senior Producer for Real Estate at LATimes.com, wrote in his blog entry that Donald Trump, possibly the best-known real-estate developer in the world, is seeking to buy Ed McMahon’s mansion to save him from foreclosure. In an even more bizarre turn of events, Mr. Trump now might be having some competition for buying Mr. McMahon’s luxury home. That’s according to a new blog post today by Ann Brenoff, author of the Los Angeles Times’ weekly “Hot Property” feature. As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

View from the bridge: Michael Marquette’s comments to the Australian Financial Review

By Michael Marquette From his blog: View from the Bridge: Michael Marquette’s comments to the Australian Financial Review Homeowners and investors have welcomed suggestions that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates this year, but will the banks pass the rate cuts onto borrowers? Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told Australians to change banks if they fail to pass on rate reductions. The banks have had no problem increasing rates to levels higher than official rate increases and have even increased rates despite the Reserve Bank keeping them on hold.

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