FSBO in FSJ

cowboysunset1

The country’s most credible economist says we’re headed for the mother of a debt hangover. The country’s biggest province brings in the mother of all deficits. Just another day in paradise.

Actually, things are unfolding pretty much as forecast here, as I told a cow palace full of Albertans on Thursday afternoon.

The economy’s going to get worse. Jobless numbers will be appalling. The faux Spring housing market will turn to autumnal misery. The denial which is so palpable in places I’ve been this week – Vancouver and Edmonton – will be swept away. And there’s always the chance (still at 20%) that deflation will eat our leaders and lead to something far worse.

In the Q&A after my talk, I was asked that. If there is a depression, would things be better in the country or a small community, than in the city? And the answer, cowboy: you’re damn right. The last place I’d want to be when the Loblaws truck does not arrive, the banks close for an imposed ‘holiday’ or the grid fails is in downtown Toronto or Vancouver. Far better to be in a spot where you have your own water source, the ability to make electricity at home, a stockpile of food and fuel, dirt for a garden and cash buried in a coffee tin.

Self-sufficiency is the holy grail in times like these. But let’s hope for a gentler outcome.

Still looks to me like equity markets will recover first, and be joined on the ride higher by oil (did you hear about car sales in China last month?). Real estate will continue to sink, and a housing recession lasting several years will be a fact of life by this time next summer. Anyone thinking about selling a home who doesn’t try now might as well wait until, oh, 2014.

And that takes us to northern BC, where Tom says…

“5 1/2 years ago my wife and I bought a house in Fort St John, BC. It is a raised bungalow, 6 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 2300 sq. feet total. Over the past 5 years we have renovated it top to bottom, inside and out. We have done the renovations as we could afford them, and still owe about 100,000.00 on the house. I have read some of your work, and have believed for the past 2 1/2 years that this housing boom was unsustainable. Had I  been finished the renovations last year, I would have sold then. However, the reality is that we just listed our house this month. We have it for sale privately for 306,000.00 (It was appraised this month for 299,000.00) We are hopeful that we will get close to our asking price for it, as the market still seems pretty good here, although our appraiser has said that overall prices have declined about 7-9% over last year. Some prospective buyers have told us that they are watching the market, waiting for prices to fall lower. Any idea how low and how soon they will fall here in Fort St John?”

No idea, dude. I have been to Fort St. John only three times, listening to beer bottles kiss the sidewalk outside the Pioneer Hotel (where the guests are locked in each night). However, I can’t see why the local market would be stable when the main business – logging – is going to hell.

In any case, you have some challenges. First, what does anyone need six bedrooms for? Sounds like you’ve reno’d this into a bordello, rooming house or a B&B. That could make the sale harder. But more importantly, why are you selling it privately – just to save the commission?

If so, bad move. In a down market you need all the exposure and marketing power you can get. After all, FSJ is not exactly a metropolis – you need to expose the property to any and all people who might consider moving into town. So, how can you do that without being on MLS, and without a listing on realtor.ca? More than 80% of all real estate decisions are now made after web-based research.

So, what’s your marketing plan? How can you tap into a network of existing realtors without an MLS listing? How can you expect anyone to bring clients to your property when there’s no commission in it for them? How much are you going to spend on newspaper ads, and covering how big an area? And why would you possibly price the house above appraised value?

Tom, I hope you like that house. Cuz you’re stuck with it.

90 comments ↓

#1 smwhite on 03.27.09 at 12:31 am

The Chinese are promoting huge spending of their own. If you need to put money in the market, that’s the place.

As for FSBO, what about exclusive sales? I asked a RE friend why would anyone not advertise on the MLS if you were really serious about selling?

For those in Ottawa, I was also given the latest RE propaganda and will do my best to decipher and submit to the good folks here. Not to that Garth needs anymore ammo, but, its pretty scary to see the drop off in sales in October 2008 – December 2008, RIP 40 year mortgage. The future is becoming obvious and will become more obvious in the coming months.

Will the low interest rates carrying the housing market through the spring and summer?

#2 Devil's Advocate on 03.27.09 at 1:01 am

Pricing is EVERYTHING, especially in this market. For the sake of $6,000 FSJ has priced his/her home into another market segment above that which his/her home is clearly not a part of as attested by a certified appraiser. That certified appraisal was for less than $300,000 and did include the costs of professional marketing as “given reasonable exposure to the market”.

I see this all the time.

FSJ Buyers shop in price brackets and yours needs to be in that price bracket under $300,000. Either you are over $300,000 FSJ or under. If you are under, as has been professionally told to you by a certified appraisal, how possibly can you think you can compete with competitive product worth over $300,000 unless you do it on price?

#3 Sondra on 03.27.09 at 1:50 am

Thanks to poster 101 on previous post;

I had mentioned a few weeks ago some people with mortgages will not get their mortgage renewed even if they are current in their payments. I mentioned this was happening to some clients of mine.

A regular poster from Calgary insisted I was spewing hogwash.

It’s only the beginning.

“Xceed Mortgage Corp., say they have been forced to start foreclosure proceedings on customers who were current with their payments”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090326.wmortgage0326/BNStory/National/home

#4 HalifaxFamily on 03.27.09 at 5:37 am

Garth, just wondered if you could explain the paradox of why house prices have risen in Halifax/Dartmouth, yet our part of Canada is typically one of the ‘have-not’ places.

I think we’re still hooked on floating interest credit, which is shortly going to change (i.e. LOC rate readjustments, etc)….

#5 ts harpoon on 03.27.09 at 6:40 am

Bravo Garth Turner.

One must truly appreciate and applaud your continued ability to shed light on the Canadian living arrangement.

We may not agree on all points, but it needs to be stated there are allot of us out here, beyond the blogosphere, who agree with the collected earned wisdom.

Based on my experiences of discussing G.T. / Greater Fool.ca, I often witness (sometimes laughingly) a wide range of emotions: fierce resistance, self-delusion and denial, accusations of fear mongering (you are scaring my wife…). It is burdensome to hear the baseless accusation of G. Turner’s self promotion. The “Cornucopian” voice of madness usually dominates the conversation.

Others nod in agreement and take action. They ask questions. They take a moment.

For instance, a senior, cerebral, and hardworking (trust me) federally employed project manager who by definition has the securest of jobs, in one of the top ten best RE cities in Canada is carefully planning the back-up scenario. Rural Acreage. Well water. Solar Panels. Wood Stove. Just in case. Things should get bad before they get better he says. His privileged sources come from the upper echelons, coupled with keen observation. He knows the big oil issues and the impending financial outlook. We continue to collaborate on the technical matters.

The surprising aspect to this: He has never heard of Garth Turner’s newest and latest public service endeavours; maybe I’ll let him know.

#6 east of eden on 03.27.09 at 7:14 am

The fellow who wrote to you: before coming close to having no mortgage, they renovated the entire house as they could afford it. Perhaps I am too much of a stick in the mud but I have always felt that until the mortgage is discharged, a homeowner cannot afford renovations. Having a balance of 100k is pretty steep. Personally, had they held off on the mass renovations, the mortgage would be almost, if not all, paid off.

I owed a little under 30k on my house and had expected that my bank would lower interest rates in light of the low BoC rate. Not so – the lowest I could obtain was 4% and that was still higher than a couple of years over the last 10. So, I liquidated some paper which was barely earning me anything, bit the bullet, cleaned out my account save a thousand or so, and paid off the sucker. Can I now afford improvements to my house? No – I have to restore my savings first.

I work with somebody who paid around 75k over 16 years ago and she still owes around 40k on her house. It’s not easily saleable because it’s a 20-bedroom condo town home and it’s old and needs a lot of renovations. She’s going to retire this year and will be scraping by for a few years. As for me – well, I may be scraping but it won’t be to pay the bank.

The fellow who wrote the letter should not have spent on renovations but should have paid down his mortgage. My own parents did this on their home way back in the 1960s and paid it off in 10 years – a whopping 18k. When they did sell it in 1984, they received 135k for it – that was quite the jump. The house was completely re-done over the years AFTER the mortgage was paid and AFTER maximum RRSP contributions had been made. It may sound boring but that’s how I’ve done it as well.

No mortgage, no car loan, nada.

#7 cj on 03.27.09 at 7:15 am

garth do you think the bottom is in in the stock market or is this just a bear trap?

It is probably a bear market rally, but the ferocity of it shows a strong sentiment to buy. It tells me the market thinks the bottom is in sight. — Garth

#8 David Bakody on 03.27.09 at 7:29 am

Nice picture we all may be riding into the sunset soon. Another point: News from south of the border is many companies are lowering their share of input into 401K’s (RRSPs in Canada) so stay tuned. Many people here in Canada after all these years just do not get it, what happens south of border usually moves north, like the Red River dah! AND yet more people than before believed Harper/Flaherty when they said : “Our Economy is as strong as the Canadian Shield”

A quick note to your West Coast house flipper, take down the For Sale sign and put up a Boarding House sign, might be easier selling a business than waiting for a family of 8 with money to burn.

Stay tuned, IBM announced last evening they are laying off 5000 and sourcing out work to India after receiving bailout money ……. did I not mention Greed was alive and well …. and Harper just bought yet another full length mirror to admire his new plans to send a cargo plane over Quebec full of cash …. and now it appear the G&M and other news agencies are talking about Canada’s sub-prime loans …(????) ya know the ones we did not have that made our banks bullet proof…. so do y’all still believe Harper’s TV address (s): We were last in and will be first out? Hello by the sounds of things we are still sinking! I think many are staring to see the future ….. less work, more pay for the selected few, and a whole lot of less pay for many and profits for investors, big time! And the government just might have to bow to for real two tier health care system, just like Ontario ( and the west soon) accepted a combined PST/GST.

All things appear to falling in place as the world turns a new page into the age of Senior Boomers.

#9 TS on 03.27.09 at 8:00 am

Deflation is creeping into the Japanese economy …something to watch closely for potential global impact…

http://finance.sympatico.msn.ca/investing/news/breakingnews/article.aspx?cp-documentid=18783242

#10 Do it yourself on 03.27.09 at 8:12 am

Realtors don’t seem to make much effort in selling a house. Those realtors are people who couldn’t make it as used car salesman.

If one puts in a bit of effort themselves, they can do a better job of selling their house than they’d get from an agent. Post in places like Kijiji and Craigslist with LOTS of photos, link you your own website with additional pics and information. If you really want to, you can get listed on the MLS for a lot less than commission charged by a realtor (go for a 1% realtor). I’d skip this unless you’re house isn’t sold in a month.

#11 Sampson on 03.27.09 at 8:29 am

Currently have 1+1 condo for sale in downtown toronto. Expecting a child in a few months which is prompting the move to larger living arrangements. Does it make sense at this point to rent for a year or two or take the plunge and purchase a home given the Liberals new ridiculous tax increases on home ownership to come into effect next year?

#12 Chris in England on 03.27.09 at 9:02 am

UK house price decline accelerates!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7967715.stm

People will almost be able to afford them soon.

#13 lgre on 03.27.09 at 9:07 am

I am all for taking out the middle man in a house sale (realtor) but FSBO only work in a hot market…when there is alot of activity in your street and near it. One thing I also found with the FSBO sites is that these people have priced their house way out of the market..in many cases I have seen better bargains on MLS..dont be greedy..saving on commision is already a great feat, no need to oveprice ‘just for a little extra’

if you want to sell get a realtor (unfortunate) but without MLS exposure you will have a hard time selling if at all.

#14 Trekie2 on 03.27.09 at 9:08 am

Why no comments on the new budget?

Done in advance. — Garth

#15 Da HK Kid on 03.27.09 at 9:28 am

CJ, the rally suggested a big oversold scenario with undervalued stocks however it is a bear market rally not a bull market one no matter what anyone says.

This was only 3rd stage of denial facing investors to make something back desparately, likely boomers facing any reason to make money and try to retire to something.

On the post, why would anyone squeeze 6 bdrms into a 2300sqft home. Better change 2 of them into an office and workshop or the buyers will look at like it has two swimming pools.

#16 Chris in England on 03.27.09 at 9:37 am

“The Devalued Prime Minister of a Devalued Country”

Gordon Brown gets a public bashing – brilliant!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs

#17 Chris in England on 03.27.09 at 9:40 am

Ooops correction, he is the “Devalued Prime Minister of a Devalued Government” (not Devalued Country) although at the moment, who can tell the difference?

#18 Denver-Calgary on 03.27.09 at 9:43 am

Finally… a front page admittance of Calgary’s over-extended credit issue.

“Canadians, Albertans falling behind on mortgage payments”
http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/real-estate/Canadians+Albertans+falling+behind+mortgage+payments/1431948/story.html

#19 roops on 03.27.09 at 9:47 am

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090326.wmortgage0326/BNStory/National/home

Lenders seek Ottawa’s aid as thousands risk losing their homes.Some subprime lenders, such as Xceed Mortgage Corp., say they have been forced to start foreclosure proceedings on customers who were current with their payments for this very reason. Ivan Wahl, chief executive officer of Xceed, said the company has initiated foreclosure proceedings against 200 homeowners, mainly in Ontario and Quebec, because the company was unable to find new money to lend to them.

He said another 1,200 of his company’s mortgage customers will be in a similar predicament over the next four years.

#20 dd on 03.27.09 at 9:55 am

… Far better to be in a spot where you have your own water source, the ability to make electricity at home, a stockpile of food and fuel, dirt for a garden and cash buried in a coffee tin…

You forgot to mention the gold barried under the out house and plenty of buck – shot for hunting.

#21 Makeorbreak on 03.27.09 at 9:56 am

Why did this guy do so many renovations if he did not intend to stay in his house??? Renovations should be done when the mortgage is paid. What are his reasons to move? Get a bigger house? Too bad for him but he might just be stuck with it.

#22 dd on 03.27.09 at 10:01 am

” It is probably a bear market rally, but the ferocity of it shows a strong sentiment to buy. It tells me the market thinks the bottom is in sight. — Garth”

Seem like investors are believing that 2010 will be a turn around year. But there is still a lot of debate on the U shape vs L shape recession.

#23 Vankouver on 03.27.09 at 10:24 am

Dear Sampson – the question is this – can you truly afford to buy – i.e., could you buy the house without having to get a mortgage and would you be willing to commit to that house for quite a long period of time? Renting is the easy life – you could probably live in a much more upscale type of apt or townhouse, or even house without having to worry about roof repairs and the like. Rather than punt at you with sarcasm a la “if your friends jumped off a bridge….”- I’ll just say this….in this economy, unless you can afford to buy out your home and you have a tonne of cash stocked up for eventualities….RENT. The tax increases coming up could be laughable compared to the stress of debt a raising a little one. Oh and then there’s the likelihood of the stock market recovering before real estate…if you’re in a mortgage, that’s fine and well but you have to be willing to miss potential opportunities to make some money, pending a wise decision, of course. What can you live with?

#24 ralph on 03.27.09 at 10:25 am

I think real estate agents should do a better job in qualifying potential buyers. First thing they should do is see if they can even afford the property they want to look at. Weed out the tire kickers and those who want to list their own places after they have checked out the competition.

But that be might too much like work for a lot of agents. So instead they become glorified taxi drivers driving people around looking at properties.

#25 Smith on 03.27.09 at 10:30 am

Hey Garth, bought our first house last week! Got a super deal, and still have plenty of cash left over. Let’s see how many get burned on the latest suckers rally. lol

I’m young, but I’ve learned that recessions are great for people with no assets, lots of cash, and solid income.

I’m spending half what I would have 2 years ago on the house, services, and renovations.

The extra cash saved is in high growth GIC’s left over from a couple years ago. Gonna hold those babies as long as possible. This rollercoaster is so much fun!

#26 Makeorbreak on 03.27.09 at 10:34 am

http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13337869&source=hptextfeature&ref=patrick.net

#27 Got A Watch on 03.27.09 at 10:44 am

Sampson – real estate is falling in value now, and likely will for years yet.

There is no reason to buy. Rent and wait, then buy that house you wanted for half the present price in a few years.

The taxes are irrelevant at this point, except that bringing them in will cause real estate markets to slow further and prices to fall some more.

If you are lucky, the next Provincial Government will not be Liberal, and will reduce or eliminate those taxes.

#28 PTDBD on 03.27.09 at 11:24 am

A dozen or so alternative mortgage lenders are lobbying the Prime Minister’s Office to bail out subprime mortgages of some 25,000 Canadian families.

Taxpayers should step up to the plate, going forward, and do the right thing. All those mortgages should be completely paid off toute de sweet and the Mortgage Company magers and executives should be given a $12.5 million retention bonus to reward them for their remarkable performance.

To finance this generous gesture, just have the Bank of Canada create digital bonds, give them to the banks, and then immdediately repurchase them. It’s high time Canada left the dark ages and adopted the new millennium financing par at dime.

#29 dekethegeek on 03.27.09 at 11:28 am

#4 HalifaxFamily
I think the housing prices there dont rise too quickly or drop too quickly a la no real estate Bubble for the most part. Plus your municipal government ( Halifax and dartmouth ) consolidated unlike the IDIOTS in Vancouvers Lower Mainland.
Gee . Consolidation saves taxpayers money ! WOW what a novel concept.
The province wants to open a new Remand center ( read Jail ) in Burnaby so now all the NIMBY activists are screaming so what do the spineless Provincial Liberals( who are about to have an election in may) do?
Hand the descision making process over to the 22 Municipal mayors of the Lower mainland to pick a spot for the new jail.
Yes folks you read it right . TWENTY TWO different municipalities with all their silly agendas, police forces, bylaws, inspectors, TOTAL taxpayers WASTE OF MONEY.
ARE ANY TAXPAYERS READING THIS , GET MAD !!!!!!!!

#30 Colin on 03.27.09 at 11:37 am

Oh yea Garth?!?!?!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090327.reWhatsSelling0327/BNStory/RealEstate

All is well, apparently.

Pity them, for they know not what they do. — Garth

#31 Just a Girl on 03.27.09 at 12:16 pm

#6 east of eden, re: paying off mortgage and maxing out on RRSPs before home renovations

You are far more disciplined than most!

I think there can be a good argument for certain renovations before these other fundamentals, if you MUST sell, and if there is already a glut of inventory (read: plenty of options for buyers).

Sometimes you need to put your best foot forward, in order to get viewings, interest, and ultimately offers, in a very competitive market.

#32 aloha e on 03.27.09 at 12:35 pm

Use a flat fee MLS listing brokerage. You might pay $1000 but you save the 2.5% you don’t need to pay the listing broker.

http://www.macleans.ca/business/companies/article.jsp?content=20070101_138997_138997

#33 Irene on 03.27.09 at 12:47 pm

Sampson, I think you answered your own question. It does make sense to rent a ear or two until the economy settles and Canadians have work. I know if I had to sell, I would not be buying a house. Owning one isn’t the end of the world but buying another with no stability might be for you or me.

Have a great weekend.

#34 Jiminy Cricket on 03.27.09 at 12:48 pm

Garth – you’re confused. Logging isn’t the main business in FSJ any longer. Oil and gas activity is the meal ticket up here now, and business is pretty good, despite the backflips that the economy has been doing. Is it overpriced? Sure. Is the FSJ economy dependent upon the moribund logging industry? Nope.

Because there isn’t one. — Garth

#35 KenDa on 03.27.09 at 1:05 pm

I have been watching the Mississauga RE market for over a year now. I am presently renting and looking to buy an adequately priced house. Prices peaked last year but they have not really gone down. I know someone in RE who sent me a list of recently sold houses and they were all more than 96% of listing price. We keep hearing the market is headed downwards but now that it’s spring and summer coming, i dont feel this will be the case.

Sellers seeing the stats are not reducing their prices and still they find buyers (stupid??). Am I too optimistic that prices will fall and I can afford to own or will it be that others are too greedy and stupid that this idea of becoming an owner will not materialize. Coz I know that as soon as there are some good news (ie markets picking up and economy on the rise), house prices will start shooting upwards with the buyers-in-waiting jumping in and start a bidding war.

Views pls

#36 Alex on 03.27.09 at 1:07 pm

Garth,
there is still something I need clarification on:

In 1971 the price of 1oz gold was $35 CAD
As of this week after 38 years it is $1180 CAD
Then the price growth compounded annually is 9.7%

It means if I bought a 100oz bar in 1971 for 3,500CAD it would be worth 118,000CAD today!
And the most important, there are no capital gain taxes!!!

Can any investment be more reliable and profitable than this?
And does this mean that REAL inflation is also around 9.7%?
Am I missing something here or not?

#37 Darryl on 03.27.09 at 1:09 pm

#3 Sondra
It may sound harsh but I don’t want these people to be bailed out on my tab. The article said that these loans were originated from the early 2000’s. If these people are still in high risk territory after 5 to 9 years, that is their problem IMO. They have had plenty of time to make extra payments and bring their mortgages down to manageable levels. The only thing that should be done for them is to give them extra time (a determined amount of time) to sell . I’m sure a few may have good reasons to be in this position but the majority are probably driving Hummers and vacationing in exotic locations.

Again….Home is home , not an ATM!

We pay enough taxes and there is no need to pay for the extravagance of others.

#38 Realtor on 03.27.09 at 1:10 pm

#10

Your comments couldn’t be more incorrect. In these times of economic hardship realtors are having to work harder than ever to make a living, especially in smaller rural towns. Forget about trying to sell your own house right now, you need every advantage that you can get. I agree that not all agents have the same work ethics and that’s why before comitting to an agent you should talk to a few before signing on the dotted line. But to say that realtors are people who couldn’t make it as car sale people is just plain stupid and offensive to the many honest and hardworking realtors that are in the business. Give your head a shake buddy.

I also disagree with your comments about the 1% real estate companies. You get what you pay for and I can promise you that you will not be happy with the service you recieve at a 1% company. A veteran realtors services, networking skills, and ability to expose the property to as many people as possible, is worth every penny in this current market. Especially if you want to sell as quickly as possible.

#39 Greg W., Oakville on 03.27.09 at 1:12 pm

Hi Garth, FYI re: CBC radio ‘ideas’ last night.

I heard the last half of this, last night. It sounded interesting. I though other might be interested since it has to due with money and debt.

Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27
PAYBACK: DEBT AND THE SHADOW SIDE OF WEALTH: THE 2008 MASSEY LECTURES BY MARGARET ATWOOD
In the 2008 Massey Lectures, Margaret Atwood takes a wide-ranging, entertaining and imaginative approach to the subject of debt. Debt, she says, is like air – something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it. She writes, “These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they’re about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense – from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures.”
http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/

or same show, links to down loads of the 5 shows, see below
The CBC Massey Lectures 2008

Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air – something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it.

Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies.

Margaret Atwood writes “These are not lectures….
http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/massey/massey2008.html

#40 Realtor on 03.27.09 at 1:14 pm

#10

How many houses have you sold lately? One, none? I guess that makes you an expert these days eh?

#41 jess on 03.27.09 at 1:19 pm

years to develop /

Fan also said that China needed to further develop its financial infrastructure and its legal system BEFORE opening the country in a more significant way to international fund flows.
==============
Shifting China’s Export towards the Domestic Market

http://henryckliu.com/page176.html

#42 Jasson on 03.27.09 at 2:00 pm

Garth can you explain what is different ( if anything ) about Albertas “Forclosure” laws aka POS. I heard in Alberta you CAN walk on a mortgage with no big problems, where as elsewhere in Canada you cannot.

So do we have forclosures in Alberta, Power Of Sale, or both? What is the legal obligation to the buyer who walks specifically in Alberta?

You can POS’d anywhere. Try walking, and see what happens. Lawyers never give up. — Garth

#43 LS on 03.27.09 at 2:14 pm

Not so sure about the condemnation of private sales.. I read an article once (although go figure I now can’t find it) about how a study had found that there was no significant difference in sale price of private vs realtor sales of comparable homes. The only difference was that privately listed houses stayed on the market for longer periods. Which, if the market continues to decline, will likely be bad news. But in a flat market, it should be possible to save the commission on a house sale..

#44 Cowboy on 03.27.09 at 2:30 pm

hi garth, just read you book and you suggest NOT buying farmland in sask yet your bullish on commodities…what am i missing?

Commodity prices (esecially oil) will rise a hell of a lot soooner than farmland. Tried to get a mortgage on a section lately?– Garth

#45 jess on 03.27.09 at 2:47 pm

..”devastating to (predatory)lenders because they can be forced to sell homes for less than the value of the mortgage debt…

i don’t feel sorry for fee factories / loan to own schemes.

#46 Chris in England on 03.27.09 at 3:08 pm

My advice to Tom in FSJ is to lower his price below the level of comparable properties listed on the mls if he wants to sell it privately. Speaking as someone who has been watching the Canadian housing market for the past five years, I have included regular online trips to the various FSBO sites along with my mls monitoring.

Up until the end of last summer I felt that on the whole prices on the FSBO sites were reasonable, and in many cases lower, than those on the mls. Around October 2008, prices on the mls began to decline (albeit very slowly) but there was no similar decrease in the FSBOs. This difference became more marked as we entered 2009, and now I don’t even bother to look at FSBOs as they are filled with overpriced property. It seems that many of these owners are in denial about price reductions and don’t seem to understand the mls listing prices reflect a truer picture of how things are going.

===================================

Update on my own situation: my house sale here is almost in the bag (fingers crossed). Things are tough in the City of London and the firm I work for will either be announcing shorter hours/lower pay, or thinning out the workforce – we will hear which it is to be as early as next week. I am now hoping to be made redundant so I am paid to leave instead of helpfully giving notice for free. I am also busy sorting out potential rentals in ON, and no longer looking to buy for at least a year.

===============================

Tom, lower your price or bite the bullet and get listed on mls (preferably both). I really think this is the only way you are going to sell.

Good luck to all.

#47 David Bakody on 03.27.09 at 3:08 pm

11 Sampson on 03.27.09 at 8:29 am

Whats the rush, children can grow up in Condos just fine ….. you have until school time to make a move and that is about 5 years away, house prices are not rising anytime soon and you can be home every night with ease. I suspect you are living close to work and have no requirement for a car other than for pleasure. Then again you know all this eh.

#48 Gord In Vancouver on 03.27.09 at 3:09 pm

More proof that Garth was right:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601206&sid=aSBEFqSommTI

#49 electrician boy on 03.27.09 at 3:15 pm

Garth,
I observe a change in your way to transmit the messages form some weeks.Do they push you to mention good things or good times will come indeed? At least we know the truth

Huh? You been shocked recently? — Garth

#50 Nathan in Edmonton on 03.27.09 at 3:25 pm

east of eden
“Having a balance of 100k is pretty steep”… is it?
Many families in Edmonton would love to owe 100K instead of 300K to thier banks.

#51 Ralph on 03.27.09 at 3:43 pm

Can you imagine how bad the economy would have been if you and your cohorts would have formed government and implemented the greenshift?

Yeah, a $9 billion income tax cut. That would really have hurt! — Garth

#52 Charles T. on 03.27.09 at 4:21 pm

Daniel Hannon represents England in the European Parliament. The following link is a video of a speech he gave in the European Parliament a couple of days ago. The video is 3 minutes and 28 seconds long. Anyone interested in financial and economic matters (which is probably most of us now) should watch this video. I think a lot of people are going to ask Daniel Hannon to run for Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Daniel Hannon’s Speech To The European Parliament

#53 peter on 03.27.09 at 4:21 pm

The following fact is interesting and speaks against to forecasted flood of MLS listings this spring.

I have been constantly watching MLS listing in W6 area, Toronto (bungalows, $350K-$400K):
Dec 2008 – Feb 2009 there were about 25 houses for sale, but now March 2009 there are just 10. And the number is decreasing every day!

How it could be explained?

#54 john m on 03.27.09 at 5:19 pm

Well the stock market took a dive today,it appears everytime our governments (US and Canada) pump a few billion (a trillion for Obama) into the assets of the incompetents who got us in this situation the stock market does a half assed rally. Jobs are disappearing,wages are being cut etc,etc,i really don’t see any comfort zone in the future,the implications of our real estate crash have yet to be seen. Just wait till our powers that be try to bail that baby out……… they can’t!………..what then?

#55 jess on 03.27.09 at 5:26 pm

mls has competition – sell it yourself sites.

#56 mike from oakville on 03.27.09 at 5:54 pm

“Realtor” sounds scared and angry.

Good.

#57 Shawn on 03.27.09 at 5:58 pm

Garth: Saw you in Edmonton yesterday…really good presentation…nothing boring and very informative.
I would recommend that anyone with a McMansion go see you..LOL. How does one go about investing in China? Do you recommend the same types of investments (oil & gas, green energy, commodities) there as here?

Thanks again for educating us…Canadians really need you.

#58 jwk (nee jwkimba) on 03.27.09 at 6:04 pm

#53 I have also been watching W6 -I think I have been in every house for sale there. What happened was they slipped below your price range. Try searching at 250-400 and see what comes up…there are now 8 between 250 and 300 alone…

As garth has noted there isn’t much price pressure in the 300k range – the pressure is on those houses on 31st for 550k (brand new, never lived in on 25′ lots) they have to come down to sell.

#59 George on 03.27.09 at 6:06 pm

From Bill Bonner, dailyreckoning.com “the medium inflation adjusted return over the last 30 years in housing is negative 1.6%. Hopefully no one bought their home during the height of the housing boom back in 1979 in the US

#60 Increasing that 1% on 03.27.09 at 6:29 pm

In my local paper’s real estate section there has been a full page ad for months, putting down selling a house yourself. Guess those Property Guys are posing some threat (no I don’t work for them), …but signs are almost @ a third of Real Estate Agencies here. If you’ve got the time and priced right….good lawyer….hey

#61 Da HK Kid on 03.27.09 at 6:53 pm

#53 Peter, agree with #58. Just checked out the same in Ottawa. Seems many have dropped below the $400 range from $450+ so around 10-12% however not one has sold even though some have disappeared. When questioned through an RE friend of mine, said buyers were either in denial so took them off the market OR believed they would take a beating in a competitive downward spiral for buyers and wait it out. Some may make it others will have made a big mistake by not getting out now.

TO ADD:

The official US unemployment rate is 8.1%. However, if you start counting all the people that want a job but gave up, all the people with part-time jobs that want a full-time job, all the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls because their unemployment benefits ran out, etc., you get a closer picture of what the unemployment rate is. That number is in the last row labeled U-6.

The government is reporting 8.1% but a far better approximation is 14.8%. Many economists expect the “official” number to hit 10%. If and when that happens where will U-6 be?

#62 Investx on 03.27.09 at 6:53 pm

Gord In Vancouver:

” More proof that Garth was right:”

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601206&sid=aSBEFqSommTI

Right about what? Subprime is comparatively small in Canada.

“Canada has largely avoided the subprime defaults that have crippled the U.S. housing market because the high-risk loans account for less than 5 percent of mortgages. ”

That is too narrow a definition of subprime. Add in 0/40 and we have a hell of a mess brewing. — Garth

#63 rory on 03.27.09 at 6:54 pm

#38 Realtor you said:

“I also disagree with your comments about the 1% real estate companies. You get what you pay for and I can promise you that you will not be happy with the service you recieve at a 1% company. A veteran realtors services, networking skills, and ability to expose the property to as many people as possible, is worth every penny in this current market. Especially if you want to sell as quickly as possible.”

What a load of crap …when everything comes out in the wash you got the MLS system and nothing else and so do the 1% guys.

Full commission Realtors work at not showing 1% listed homes ‘cuz it impacts your bottom line not because you guys are better able to sell. Yep …the client is king. BS. Just protecting your own ass.

Buyers and sellers are getting smarter …they are demanding Realtors take them to properties seen on the MLS …they don’t care who listed what.

Cannot believe the arrogance. No wonder you guys get the bad rap – it is self inflicted …IMO.

If I sound mad it is because I am …rant over. I am sure lots of other will rake you over for this one .

#64 Da HK Kid on 03.27.09 at 6:58 pm

For some interest have a look at San Diego’s #1 RE agents headlines

Check Out Our Foreclosure Hot -List
Looking for a deal? 25+ of my REO (foreclosure) properties have discounts of 10% to a whopping 49% from their previous values. Click on http://www.foreclosure-hotlist.com/ to check out my brand-new Foreclosure Hot-List website. We’ll update the site regularly, so be sure to bookmark it and return frequently. And forward this link to a friend!

#65 Grumpydawgs on 03.27.09 at 7:06 pm

.” No one said this was going to be easy, but the only way to rebuild a viable economy is to let the phony one collapse.

Peter Shiff said this today. When we get back to the fundamental income/price ratio back in line with traditional norms the market will recreate jobs by the hundreds of thousands. Right now we have a government policy which is artificially supporting asset values in the mistaken aim to fight deflation that can only excaerbate the recession. This poicy is a massive job killer. Lets let the prices fall, clear out the dead wood and recreate a healthy market based on fundamentals again. The government doesn’t seem to understand that housing prices falling is not deflationary and in fact is going to be a boon to the Canadian economy to get the bubble price regime wiped out completly.

#66 Do it yourself on 03.27.09 at 7:36 pm

Realtor – How many houses have I sold lately? Two. For more than what the realtors said they could get. Also bought the two homes privately. Very little effort for a large reward. The effort made my most in your profession is minimal. Sorry to have insulted used car salesmen.

#67 Argentum Aurum on 03.27.09 at 7:39 pm

Garth,
where do you see Ottawa RE this time next year?

Thanks

Check this out – Ottawa avg RE prices
http://orebweb1.oreb.ca/avg_oreb_sale.shtml
year price change from previous year
1998 $143,953 0.1
1999 $149,650 2.4
2000 $159,511 6.6
2001 $175,971 10.3
2002 $200,711 14.1
2003 $218,692 9.0
2004 $235,678 7.8
2005 $244,531 3.8
2006 $255,889 4.7
2007 $272,618 6.4
2008 $289,766 6.3

Meaningless numbers. The city will not escape the multi-year real estate recession. — Garth

#68 Grumpydawgs on 03.27.09 at 8:34 pm

Deleveraging the real estate bubble will take place over a decade long period. Prices will continue to deteriorate unti fundamental values replace the phony bubble prices. Only by letting the phony prices created by the phony economy collapse the recession can only drag on. Many of you may remember how we in the west poo pooed Japan for not cleaning out it’s dirty banks of over leveraged real estate loans on thier books.

Well look what happened to Japan for not doing just that, 16 years of recession. we now have deniers trying to tell to do what Japan didn’t do. Without a collapse in real estate bubb;e prices we will NEVER see the economy regain traction.

The phony economy is what is destroying jobs and the maintainance of the phony price regime is what is going to keep the economy from creating jobs in the future, Just like Japan. We should be taking a lesson from the Japanese mistakes, but that may come too late for the Canadian economy.

Kee-rist kids, just let it go. The people that are whining about losing equity on thier houses and going underwater on thier mortgages are just the dead wood that is dragging this country down, we have got to burn these suckers up and get back to recreating jobs on thier ashes. Thats just the way history works. Why fight it? Would you rather lose your phony equity or lose your job, not put food on the table and worse?

“What took place from the bursting of the stock market in 1929 to the onset of WW II was a long and arduous deleveraging process in which debt levels relative to incomes were reduced. The deleveraging cycle was not a single event but more than a decade long process. As such, the stock market remained in a secular bear market until balance sheets stabilized to levels that were healthy enough for them to expand once more. It was at this point the secular bear market in stocks was over and a new secular bull market began. However, during the long secular bear market were several cyclical bull markets that lasted several months to years with impressive returns, but these cyclical bulls were not enough to overcome the secular bear brought on by the deleveraging cycle. You can see this in the figure below of the S&P 500 from 1936 to 1945 compared with the image above, where the S&P 500 peaked (1937) a few years after the peak in household debt service levels (~ 1932) and bottomed roughly in line with debt service levels early in the next decade (1942-1945). ”

http://www.financialsense.com/…../0325.html

#69 Argentum Aurum on 03.27.09 at 8:34 pm

Garth,

Many in Ottawa believe that this is a government city, solid employment base and relatively well paid, and that is why RE would have a different fate here. What do you think about this point of view?

Thanks

#70 jess on 03.27.09 at 8:41 pm

ask your agent to show you the other data site …
the one that tells you
how many times the house sold
how much
what the other houses sold for etc

when i asked my agent she got very frustrated with me especially since it shows if it is a schedule b –
=======
also some of the sell yourself sites are keeping prices off (do you think they are selling their data?)

#71 john m on 03.27.09 at 8:57 pm

Canada should be the richest country in the world,we have a wealth of natural resources,we have “homegrown”everything necessary to sustain life without needs to import anything (what other country has that?)……….it has been sold off for pennies on the dollar by political greed. Garth you stood up for the country and the people (and you stood alone) no one can dispute the facts….you offered salvation and will be remembered in history………the lack of courage or wisdom of everyone in Canada’s parliament on the day you objected to 40 year mortgages will be their cross to bear for eternity. People will remember!

#72 Torquemada on 03.27.09 at 9:11 pm

So do we have forclosures in Alberta, Power Of Sale, or both? What is the legal obligation to the buyer who walks specifically in Alberta?

S. 40 of Alberta’s Law of Property Act indicates that a mortgagee’s only recourse is the property itself. The lender cannot go after the buyer for a deficiency between the mortgage and the eventual sale of the home.

So in Alberta, you can send “jingle mail” to the bank. However, as I understand it, the above law only applies to principal residences and only if the property is in your name. No help for speculators or those who put the property in a corporate name.

#73 Average guy The Third on 03.27.09 at 9:29 pm

Garth, I really enjoy your blog. Your articles are interesting and educational and the ensuing discussions are informative, with links to many pertinent articles. However I have noticed a very pronounced bias against Real Estate Agents by a small but persistent group of posters who take every opportunity to bash realtors. Although I try to maintain an open mind, some of their comments sound just plain dumb. Take #63 rory who says “full commission realtors work at not showing 1% listings because it affects their bottom line.” Rory, to me that sounds accurate and logical. Why would they work for someone who wants to pay them 40% of their regular pay? Would you? It’s like you showing up for your job monday morning at The Oil and Lube Shop and the boss says starting today I’m no longer paying you by the hour. Starting today, you will be paid 50% of all the money you can bring in and since you have the most seniority with 13 years you can choose which bay you work in. You can take the all-day special bay where it costs $15 or the regular bay at $45 which accounts for 3 times the income. Rory, which bay would you choose? (this isn’t a trick question)

#74 Colin on 03.27.09 at 9:37 pm

Hey “Realtor”

It’s called the internet!

#75 905er & Spouse on 03.27.09 at 10:03 pm

#35 KenDa

We too, are looking in Mississauga in a couple of neighbourhoods we have been keeping our eyes on for a few years. Hang in there as it seems that TSHTF not quite yet. We are disciplining ourselves to not look seriously until this fall at the earliest and perhaps early spring 2010. We are seeing promising signs though. In the pricey South Mississauga neighbourhoods, homes used to sell in days but are now taking many months which is a bad sign (good for us!). I recognize some homes that have been for sale for a year or close to. (Obviously overpriced and will have to come down).
I viewed one home under power of sale that was abandoned by a speculator. There are also many new homes for sale not even completed yet, even in the “affordable” $500 range which would have sold last year. But now they just sit. No buyers. Hang tight, lots of people held off listing last fall hoping for this spring, but things are not moving there at all, hardly any sales from what I can see. By late fall and Winter, I truly believe there will be much lower prices. BTW, most of the homes I’ve seen selling in the 350-550 range have sold about 20-25 under asking price which was unheard of until now. This also means sellers are entertaining offers perhaps 50 below asking price. Just wait for it, don’t jump in yet…….. Patience my friend….

#76 905er & Spouse on 03.27.09 at 10:08 pm

#35 Ken Da – One house I looked at in South Mississauga just sold after being for sale over a year. Was originally listed at 625, then 599, then 525, now 489 and finally had an offer. Probably went for mid 400s. That is a pretty significant decline from peak, hang in there…. We are not close to the bottom….

#77 Canada Mortgage Hub on 03.27.09 at 10:56 pm

I tried to sell my condo a month ago without a realtor for $20,000 less than I would list for in MLS, and people inquiring were either too skeptical for thinking it’s too good to be true, or they simply bargained lower prices. I was trying to sell it for $313,000.
I finally listed on MLS with a friend who’s a realtor and sold it over list price of $330,000, enough to pay realtor fees plus pocket a few thousands myself. My realtor’s phone kept ringing the whole day with so many inquiries, on a supposedly slow market. Bottomline is, a good realtor can market your place well. Forget about giving a bargain to people, I was willing to do that selling on my own and making the place more affordable, but at times people just don’t see a GOOD deal even if it was staring them at their faces.

#78 Realtor on 03.27.09 at 11:12 pm

#63 Rory you said: “What a load of crap …when everything comes out in the wash you got the MLS system and nothing else and so do the 1% guys.

Full commission Realtors work at not showing 1% listed homes ‘cuz it impacts your bottom line not because you guys are better able to sell. Yep …the client is king. BS. Just protecting your own ass.

Buyers and sellers are getting smarter …they are demanding Realtors take them to properties seen on the MLS …they don’t care who listed what.”

Well, you’re right about one thing Rory, buyers and sellers are getting smarter. That’s why over 80% of my business is repeat customers and referals from past clients because they know that when they call me Iam going to show them all the listings not just the full commision listings.

There’s more to life than the bottom line Rory , I learned that years ago. Real estate is still a people business. You’re obviously spending your time talking to the wrong realtors……kind of says alot about yourself don’t you think?

#79 Realtor on 03.27.09 at 11:16 pm

#66 Do It Yourself, you said: “The effort made my most in your profession is minimal. Sorry to have insulted used car salesmen.”

You’re painting all realtors with the brush with your comments. The effort made by SOME in my proffession is minimal but not ALL. This could be said of any proffesion.

#80 Jackie_Tranvestite on 03.27.09 at 11:38 pm

Northeastern BC has some very respectable resource deposits which are just becoming widely known. After the next imminent hydrocarbon price spike (coming soon to a country near you) Fort Saint John will start looking like Fort Mac.

Problem is, a property owner there will not be able to profit from it anytime soon. It will be like the gold bugs who had to hold their breath for 30 years to see substantial prices again. By that time these house holders (heh) could be long since broke, retired, and their house depreciated into dilapidation.

#81 Increasing that 1% on 03.27.09 at 11:52 pm

#73. Average guy The Third…9:29pm
…”However I have noticed a very pronounced bias against Real Estate Agents by a small but persistent group of posters who take every opportunity to bash realtors. Although I try to maintain an open mind, some of their comments sound just plain dumb….”
——————————————————
Always amazes me how Real Estate Agents justify the amount of money sellers (and therefore buyers) pay them.
You forgot to use the example of if a seller doesn’t use an agent they don’t get paid ANYthing from them.
And if an agent is too busy that they don’t care about that, then the seller may be better off paying someone who would appreciate their business anyways, and does have the time to work for them.
Maybe many more people would try to sell if they didn’t feel they had to pay so much, so agents are also not getting that business.
No ‘trick’ scenarios here.
Just another ‘dumb comment’ from someone who has sold privately in the past without incident, but the brainwashing must go on

#82 rory on 03.28.09 at 12:28 am

#73 Average guy The Third

Actually it is more like you show up at the lube shop and they say we are the only people in the whole world that can change your oil and because of that we are going to charge you 3 x times as much …must feel right ‘cuz we keep doing it to ya.

Selling RE is the easiest thing in the world …it sells itself. Open the door to a home, the client says ya or na then it is just paperwork after that. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. Is that worth 20K plus …speak out now it’s only your money.

#83 gold bug on 03.28.09 at 3:13 am

@ Realtor #38: You can’t promise anybody anything, much less the level of service a seller gets from a value-priced real estate brokerage.

Two things sell real estate: exposure and price.

This being 2009, not 1959, the MLS and mls.ca put a single agent working out of his home office on the same footing as an agent working for the Red, White and Blue Balloon company. A realtor is a realtor is a realtor. For all intents and purposes most will work at a RE board-associated brokerage, which means they’re on MLS.

So you want to get on MLS and mls.ca for as little as possible. A 1% realtor still doesn’t charge any fees up front, and the back-end load is minimized.

Then there’s the price. Pick the right price (and given proper exposure) somebody will buy your house. No realtor can make your house worth more than the market is willing to pay for it. Talk about outrageously over-inflating your own importance.

A value-priced realtor has access to the same MLS information as the inflated-commission realtor. He offers the same price advice. And offers the same exposure on MLS and mls.ca.

#84 yukon Don on 03.28.09 at 10:39 am

Sold two houses starting in Nov after reading this site and being lured by my girl friend to Van Island. I started in Nov. , sold one Jan and one Feb. Did it all my self , by giving the commission to the buyer. “Here I am giving you the commission.” When I first listed for sale by owner , gee thats a good price is what I heard. A little while later it was replaced by , gee you sold your houses? I look back and see many of the same houses sitting unsold , that were listed way before I started to sell mine. The 6% commission is a great selling tool in a falling market , price sells your home.
If you get an appraisal and take off the commission , you are under priced , but will get more money , because you will sell without lowering your price , no middleman realtor , bingo house sold. Less time wasted in a falling market. Just waiting for over priced Van Island to crash so we can get some land for growing our own food , cheers Garth……

#85 Jacques on 03.28.09 at 12:16 pm

re: the Ottawa RE market question. The numbers up to 2008 seem useless to me except in so much as they show the bubble over that time period. In fact the Ottawa SFD avg price is already down 8,4% from its June ’08 peak and is deflating at a rate of 12,4%/yr, a faster rate of deflation than even Toronto or Calgary based on February’s month-end numbers. source:
http://www.canadian-housing-price-charts.235.ca/

#86 Bobby on 03.28.09 at 8:34 pm

It has been my experience that using a realtor has not brought any added value to the sale or purchase of any of the homes I have had.
In some cases, I never heard from the realtor until the listing contract expired. On other occasions they have gotten in the way so I chose to deal directly with the developer when buying. In others they wanted full commission even though I brought the buyer.
Once I considered purchasing a home listed by 1% Realty and asked the realtor that showed me the house, how he would fit into the equation given that I had ironically found the house. His answer, he would write the commission into the offer. My response was that it was my money and given that he had only given me less than 6 hours work he wasn’t worth $2000 an hour so thanks for his time. He quickly came around.
I quickly see a time coming when you will employ agents by the hour to either show you homes or to list and show yours. You will be effectively paying for their experience. The weak ones will quickly fall by the wayside. It will be a benefit for both the agent and lister/buyer as it will take out all the misleading dynamics associated with commission sales.
It’s really getting ugly out there.

#87 Ed on 03.29.09 at 12:51 am

Choosing a Realtor you can work with is like choosing a good Doctor or Lawyer. They can be invaluable. I wonder Bobby if you are the best in your own profession? are there others that are better then you? When interviewing an agent always look for the exchange of value you are going to being paying for. If your private for sale budget is $200, $600? compared to some Realtors who will spend upward of $2500 Its hard to compete. Choose a great Realtor who can prove value and demonstrate their marketing plan (not just a sign on the lawn) No doubt some will sell privately and fast, But in this market its a crap shoot for many. The overwhelming experience for most is to use organized Real Estate. Over 500,000 homes sell on the MLS in a good year. That’s not luck. Its because most sellers know that the MLS brings more predictability to the outcome of their sale and they have a great experience.

#88 wondering on 03.29.09 at 12:39 pm

FSJ is more oil and gas than timber, although that isn’t exactly a strike in its favour right now. Town motto is “The land of the new totems” – a reference to oil derricks. The local college specializes in trades training for the rigs.

Also quite a bit of agriculture.

#89 Too Old Bob$ on 03.29.09 at 7:44 pm

“That ended the steady stream of the young and the stupid willing to sign anything to get a house”

Ha he he!! gotta love how you make a point. Did you use the word stupid to replace the “old” person here, or anyone else that the “young” doesn’t refer to. lol. Anyways, it doesn’t matter, I agree. Regardless, young, old, male, female, who cares. I can’t figure out why people thought (still think) a house is a must need investment. It’s like, I need one now and will do anything to get one. Geez! where’s the patience. Gimme, gimme now, I can’t wait.
Of course the Lenders and 0/40, 5/25, doesn’t help neither. These tatics just help put bait on the hook. Where’s that bait now. Oops! cost too much, must remove bait and just go back to hook. Dam! still too much, ok, remove hook too.

What ever happened to earning and saving, then eventually justifying your purchase. I guess those days are gone. Some of these young people and their purchases. What ever happened to their parents giving them advice on some of their actions. Oh wait! some of these same parents did the same, if not worse. So much for the teachings of the young.

Let me relate a story.
My Father in law. Semi retired Doctor. 43 years of service. Only works from computer now. Does online ECG’s, cause his brain is still very active.
Builds a brand new house. 1650 sq. ft. Upstairs, one bedroom, library room, kitchen, dining, living. Finishes basement for Office and 2 bedrooms(for family visits), hobby room. Beautiful back yard for gardening and little dogs to run around. No neighbour’s in the back yard. Open space looking over a old abandoned ski hill with lots of hiking, skiing paths. Blah blah. Very beautiful house, well setup. Reason, his retirement dream.

He says to me one day “Too Old Bob$, this is my retirement dream that I have wanted all my life”. 43 years of working, saving, scrimping, living low and living within their means. Paid cash. About $450000 at the time. First new house, all others were used. I looked at him and I could see it on his face. A very proud man. One last chance to treat himself to something nice before the ending. 4 beautiful daughters and 12 grand kids. Life has treated him well.

I looked around and noticed there were other houses beside his and around the cresent. More beautiful homes. Some were nicer and alot bigger. We went out to the front of the house and chatted a bit. I noticed the garage door open about 2 houses over. Out comes a BMW. Guy gets out to wash it. Here comes 2 kids. I’m guessing 5 and 11 years old. Here comes the wife, about 35 or so. I looked at their house and it was a hell of alot bigger and nicer looking than the Doc’s, but so what. I said to him, “Doc! this is your dream house, yet those two over there have the same if not more and look at their age”. I felt bad after I realised what I said. He looks at them, then at me, shrugs his shoulders and says” Lets go look at the Green House”.
This has been on my mind for about 5 years now and still bothers me. Actually it kinda pisses me off, but then really who cares.
Now the old Doc. has had a bit of a scare lately health wise. Needed a son in law (not me) to look over his estate. To put it simple, he could have spent a hell of alot more if he wanted, could have built that house and a few more with it, but still had that “old school” spend it wisely syndrome in him.
Yep! a proud man with a simple plan on how to live at the game of life.

#90 sandy on 09.19.09 at 7:41 pm

I realy didnt like the picture u painted of fsj . It is nothing like that. Please becarful how you talk about places. it gives people a bad idea. And logging isnt all we have . We have plenty of people move here to work where they cant find work where they are.