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If Only We Had a Crystal Ball

Everyone subscribes to or at least has heard, “Buy low, sell high,” but the reality is that the masses tend to buy high because they are motivated by the hype, quick profit and instant gratification, however, when the market shifts they are usually the biggest losers. On the other hand, smart money waits until the market slows down and that’s when they start buying and then they express more patience with their returns.

One would say, “Well that’s great, but how does the average person do that?” After all, one would almost have to have a Crystal Ball to know when the time is right to invest. After spending more than three decades in the real estate business I can almost say that today in some areas of Florida, Nevada, California and Arizona this is the closest we will ever get to having that “Crystal Ball.”

Before we look at why we almost have this Crystal Ball scenario, it is important to understand that even the most sophisticated investors cannot predict the absolute peak or the absolute bottom of the market. The peak and bottom are only visible in your rear view mirror.

…it is important to understand that even the most sophisticated investors cannot predict the absolute peak or the absolute bottom of the market. The peak and bottom are only visible in your rear view mirror.

So back to our Crystal Ball, real estate prices have plummeted to extraordinarily low levels and the costs of borrowing are among the lowest ever and yet a lot of qualified people aren’t buying. (Qualified in this case, means good credit with adequate capital for down payment or cash buyers). From what I can tell, there are a couple of reasons. Some people have lost faith in home ownership altogether and believe that the real estate market will never come back or at least that it will be such a long time before it does that renting is the safer option. The majority though, seem to feel that the prices will go even lower and they don’t feel any sense of urgency because they want to wait for the –absolute- bottom. And yet, smart money IS buying now in many areas (such as those states previously mentioned) and are already dealing with multiple contracts.

If you decide to buy now remember that real estate is not a short term investment, so even if the prices drop further after you buy, in the long run, you will be a winner. Or, you can wait, but know that if you do you may end up paying a lot more for a property that you can have today for a lot cheaper. Don’t be one of those people telling us how you could have, should have, but didn’t.

Disclaimer: Prior to investing in real estate an individual should consult their accountant, attorney or any other professional, this article is only an opinion and is not meant to be taken as professional investment consulting.

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Microsoft Surface for Real Estate

Ever since the iPad hit the market Realtors have been asking me if they should replace their aging laptop with a newer and presumably better technology such as an iPad. My answer to this question has always been indirect because as much as I love the iPad and the thought of tablets in general they were never designed to replace your computer. As a result many of the daily operations that real estate agents perform were not possible from a tablet. So while I would often recommend an iPad as a secondary device I could not comfortably recommend it as a full laptop replacement. To this day, many of the real estate boards around the country continue to make it difficult for agents to access the necessary information to perform their duties via tablet or smartphone.

Windows 8, which will come out later this year, will operate not only on new laptops and desktops but also on tablets and smartphones. This will be designed to provide a seamless transition between devices.

On Monday, Microsoft announced their entry into the tablet world, and if you haven’t already seen it you should take note as they plan to change the way we think of tablets. While Apple and Google have created unique operating systems for mobile devices and are working on updating the desktops and laptops to integrate better with them, Microsoft decided to come right out with a new operating system for both desktop and mobile at the same time. Windows 8, which will come out later this year, will operate not only on new laptops and desktops but also on tablets and smartphones. This will be designed to provide a seamless transition between devices.

Getting back to what Microsoft previewed, there are two models coming out. Microsoft Surface RT and Microsoft Surface Pro. While we still don’t have all of the details, the early indications are this could finally be the perfect tablet for real estate agents and real estate brokers.

The RT version is roughly the same size as the current generation iPad. It is a hair thinner and heavier but for the most part identical in size. It should be noted that the screen however is almost an inch larger than iPad. The RT version will run a version of Windows 8 using ARM architecture which is essentially the processing technology commonly found in smartphones and tablets today. The Pro version, which will come out three months after the RT, will be based on the Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge which in English means that it will be running the same type of hardware as a laptop or desktop computer. Because of this, this tablet will be running a full version of Windows 8 and will be able to run all of your Windows programs. There was even talk that this tablet would be powerful enough to run Photoshop.

Possibly the best news of all is that Microsoft looks to be bringing forward some direct and legitimate competition for Apple’s iPad.

There are some other things that make Microsoft Surface a great choice for real estate.The tablet is comprised of a casing made from liquid metal which makes it very durable. The cover, which operates similarly to the Apple Smart Cover includes a full keyboard and touchpad with it and comes in two thicknesses depending on preference. The tablet itself has a stand built in which allows you to prop it up making it so when it sits on your desk it feels very much like a standard laptop. The tablets will also both come with USB and SD ports making it much more convenient for use with printers and digital cameras. It also appears as though both will have or run Microsoft Office.

There are still many questions about the actual performance of the tablets but at the same time there certainly is a lot of potential with these devices. Possibly the best news of all is that Microsoft looks to be bringing forward some direct and legitimate competition for Apple’s iPad.

Even if you prefer Apple and would rather stick with Apple than look at anything by Microsoft, the success of Microsoft’s tablet could push Apple to innovate further and faster which is good news for consumers of either product. So while these tablets may not specifically be what you will buy, they may finally be the tablets that real estate agents have been waiting for.

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