Real Estate Word -- Taking Advantage of the Slumped Market February 2009   

Hi Paul,

As if buying a home for the first time wasn't daunting enough, buyers now have to decide whether they should take advantage of low prices and exceptional interest rates or wait to see if the market softens further.  Our first article highlights some considerations for buyers who are thinking of purchasing a home in the near future.

Planning a honeymoon often takes a back seat to the wedding but this is a significant trip for newlyweds so it's important to take the time to plan it properly.  Our second article offers some tips on how to organize the perfect honeymoon!

Finally, email is an excellent means of communication as it's easy, free and eco-friendly but if you aren't organized, it can take up a lot of time.  Incorporating some of the tips in our third article will help you keep your inbox in order.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this month's newsletter.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles or real estate in general -- we always love to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
A Window of Opportunity in a Slumped Market 
The once sizzling housing market has slowed down and no-one's sure which direction it's headed.  There's no way to determine exactly when the market will hit bottom but if you're considering home ownership, this is a great opportunity to at least see what the market has to offer.  Here are a few points to consider before starting your search:

  1. Use an Agent - Have a real estate agent guide you through the home buying process and provide you with a market analysis of the homes recently sold in areas you're interested in as well as an idea of community trends.

  2. Do Your Groundwork - Research local amenities including shopping and public transportation.  It's important to plan ahead so if you're hoping to start a family, consider features like local parks and school zones.

  3. Financial Accountability - Ensure you're financially ready to buy a home and aren't just getting carried away with getting a great deal. There are many other costs in addition to mortgage payments such as taxes and insurance so know what you're getting yourself into.

  4. Take Your Time - Don't rush out and buy the first deal you come across.  There's less competition in a slow market so you'll likely have a bit of time to think things over.  Some sellers even offer incentives such as furniture, appliances or help with closing costs.

  5. Stick to Your Budget - Be sure to examine your individual needs.  Make a list of the features that fit your family's lifestyle before looking at homes and stick to it.  Don't overextend yourself financially just because properties are less expensive.

  6. Think Straight - It’s normal for home buyers to experience a full range of emotions when going through the complex real estate process. Remember not to take things personally or let your emotions rule every decision.

  7. Inspect the Unexpected - Just because you've looked over the home with your real estate agent doesn't mean all is well behind the scenes. Making an offer conditional on a home inspection ensures there won't be any nasty surprises that could end up costing you thousands.

An uncertain real estate market makes it hard to know if you should hold off in case prices continue to fall or jump in before things turn around.  With low prices and exceptional interest rates, it certainly may be a great time to purchase a home but don't move ahead just because it's a buyers market.  Consider your personal circumstances carefully before making the decision.

Planning the Perfect Honeymoon 
The big day went smoothly and the guests have all gone home.  Now it's time to relax on vacation with your new spouse!  Your honeymoon's a trip to remember as it's your first trip as husband and wife so take time to carefully plan things out.  Here are a few tips that'll ensure you enjoy the trip of a lifetime:

  1. Share the Love - Start your marriage off on the right foot by ensuring your honeymoon appeals to both of you.  Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, you should both have a say when planning things out.

  2. Stick to the Budget - You don't want to worry about credit card bills while relaxing on holiday so make sure you have a budget in mind.  You can save a remarkable amount of money by booking in the off season.

  3. Register It - If you don't need (or want) housewares, create a honeymoon registry with your travel agent so that guests can contribute to your vacation costs or purchase extras such as a day trip or spa treatment.

  4. What's In a Name? - Brides, make sure your tickets and passports are in the same name to avoid major problems at the airport.  Consider changing your name on all your legal documents afterwards.

  5. Shout It From the Rooftops! - Make sure your travel agent mentions your honeymoon on the reservation.  It can result in lots of freebies and upgrades so don't be afraid to broadcast it!

  6. Relax - Give yourself a day or two to recover from the wedding before setting out on your honeymoon.  Knowing you've tied up all the loose ends before you go will allow you to completely relax.

The most important thing during your honeymoon is to have fun and relax with your new spouse after all the stress of the wedding.  This is an exciting time so plan some special, out of the ordinary experiences, treasure every moment and you'll be sure to create lots of fun memories that'll last a lifetime!

How to Organize Your Emails 
When it comes to keeping in touch, email's an important part of our life but it can be very time consuming.  Just as you need to organize the flow of paper coming into your home, you also need to organize the constant influx of email.  Here are a few tips on how to keep your inbox from overflowing:

  • Devote one block of time each day to respond to emails so you can focus on important tasks rather than constantly being distracted by messages that could've otherwise waited.

  • Creating folders such as “coupons” or “bills” will keep things organized.  Don't just hide messages in folders though if they can be deleted -- this isn't intended to be a “hide it under the bed” solution.

  • Deal with emails as they come in by immediately deciding what to do with each and every message.  Either delete it, reply to it or file it into a folder.

  • Take a moment to find out if the chain email promising a free laptop is legitimate before forwarding it to friends.  Just search online for the email's subject line and you should be able to tell right away if it's a hoax.

No-one wants to waste time dealing with an out of control inbox so take immediate action with each message rather than putting them off until there's too many to cope with.  By implementing these tips, you'll be able to organize and process your messages quickly so you can spend your time more productively.

PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
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