Posted by: realtormarkpalace | September 9, 2010

From “Double Dip” to Double Opportunity

From "Double Dip" to Double Opportunity
by PJ Wade
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The "double-dip" threat of further economic downturn reverberates through the media, online and off. However, the more significant threat to property owners—and wanna-be owners—may lie in applying short-term, recession-focused thinking to long-term real estate investments, like their home and cottage, therefore, creating a personal financial "double dip."

Panic reactions and short-term thinking can be expensive in times of change. By over-reacting to declining property values, rising costs or slower selling times in the short term, some owners can make decisions that increase losses in the long term—the double dip. It’s like selling otherwise-solid stocks when the stock market experiences a downward correction, and, thereby, compounding losses.

Regardless of national forecasts, it’s what happens locally that matters to you and your real estate. It’s at street level, that the value of one property is established over its neighbours. The local economic impact on income and cost of living are felt directly in your pocket.

Yes, today everything is electronically-interrelated in ways that are just becoming evident, like the domino-effect of the economic meltdown. However, your reaction to these times, and those of local governments and citizens, make the real difference to you and your situation. Your words, actions and inaction dictate whether you’ll give up and be conquered, or rise up and conquer.

Waiting for things to go back to the way they were, and other "caught in the headlights" reactions, waste time and use up valuable resources. These "victim" strategies can make financial matters worse, as you lose more ground than you can gain back in good times. Are you prepared for the possibility that when prosperity returns—and it will—it may not look anything like the "more is more" pre-recession world?

"The same brilliant minds that got us into this, don’t seem to know how to get us out." That’s the sentiment repeated over and over, in different words, strong words, as I listened to Canadians from all walks of life during my summer tour to find out what’s really happening behind the headlines, viral blasts and government pitches.

What’s happening in your neighbourhood usually has more direct impact on your bottom line than what pundits predict on global scales. How you make the personal decisions that change the path of your life can make a greater contribution to security and financial well-being than whether you save by skipping lattes or go "green." This column regularly examines fresh perspectives on those and other real-estate-related decisions, and this article is no exception. Keep asking yourself "What’s my point?" when you consider actions and reactions. You’ll join those who have discovered they have more to contribute to their own success than they had given themselves credit for.

For instance, one of the most common reactions to financial stress is the flight to cheaper locations. Like all good ideas, this once can have negative repercussions if all aspects of relevant change are not considered. That’s the potential for double-dip.

After a long hot summer in the city, many urban dwellers start to dream about leaving the concrete behind and buying their own picket-fenced rural property. Moving away from urban rents and premium-priced housing may seem to open up a bonanza of value, but consider the risks. Ignore the risks, and you may find costs are greater than rewards—the double dip.

  • In some locations, a condominium can be purchased for monthly costs equivalent to city rents. However, monthly maintenance fees for the condominium may become prohibitively high.

  • A rural or suburban house may be purchased for a fraction of the price that the same structure would fetch in prime city locations. There is value in moving outside urban areas, but there is also risk. Research the full range of implications in a move and you’ll come out ahead financially, because you’ll understand the impact of the compromises you make. Scroll through the list of articles in this column and you’ll discover some of the financial hazards of life outside the city. For example, returning to an urban lifestyle comparable to the one you left may become a financial impossibility since rural property does not always appreciate in value as quickly as urban real estate.

Real estate is the investment you can live in. This double opportunity can be used to weather economic storms and achieve financial goals if you don’t let short-term thinking overshadow long-term gain. Look beyond immediate solutions, and consider possible long-range positive and negative effects of today’s choices to avoid the double dip. "Act in haste, repent in leisure" is not an effective real estate strategy.

Published: September 7, 2010

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