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How Much Home can I AFFORD vs. QUALIFY for?

by Jeremy Larkin

So in case you've been living in a cave or as Castaway on a far-away island, you're very aware that the US Housing Market crashed big time in the past few years. There have been many, many arguments over "why" this foreclosure crisis is the way that it is.

Some have blamed Lenders, others Real Estate Agents, many the government, and of course many feel is was just our good old fashioned American "greed" that caused the markets to puff up like the Goodyear Blimp. 

Did banks prey on unwitting consumers, or did households “overreach” and borrow more than they could afford? Economists at the University of Arkansas recently completed a study to answer that very question.

So what did they find? While they do NOT excuse the behavior of banks and other predatory industry idiots, they found that the #1 cause of the foreclosure crisis was that CONSUMERS JUST PLAIN OVER-REACHED in their borrowing. Here is a link to the full report: University of Arkansas Foreclosure Study

I'm not surprised. I happen to know a little bit about consumers since I AM ONE!

What you can AFFORD vs. what you QUALIFY FOR

That is the real question of the day, and the two are very different. Understanding the difference, will make the difference in being a happy, contented homeowner pursuing the American dream, and one who is facing the pains - financial and social, of foreclosure.

Here is a fantastic video clip by one of my favorite Mortgage Professionals in the world, (Blake Bench of First Colony Mortgage), on how to avoid that very same over-reaching. Check it out!

Click on this link:  How Much Can I Qualify For?

Lesson? Know what you can really afford, not just what some online mortgage calculator says you qualify for, then stay within that affordable range on your next home purchase!

Feel free to contact me directly with questions - larkin@gostgeorge.com, or shoot Blake Bench an email: blakeb@firstcolonymortgage.com

This Month in Real Estate - May 2010

by Jeremy Larkin

GREAT report! In this month's issue enjoy tips & info on the following key points:

  • 1st-Time Buyer Tax Credit Expired on April 30th - What will this mean for Sellers and Buyers?
  • What the #'s are telling us about the current market: 1st-time Buyers made up 42% of all purchases in February, and Investors made up 19%.
  • 3 Key Tips for Selling Your Home in this current housing market

 

Keller Williams "Red Day" Coming to St. George!

by Jeremy Larkin

In a brief and important departure from regular old real estate stuff, I wanted to share with you what might be most special and unique about the Brokerage I work with - Keller Williams Realty International.

It's called "Red Day" and will be taking place in every single city in the United States and Canada where there is a Keller Williams Realty Office.

What is Keller Williams RED Day? 

(Renew, Energize and Donate) Day is a Keller Williams Realty service initiative dedicated to improving our local communities. Keller Williams Realty asks all of their associates in the US and Canada to donate their time on May 13, 2010 to renewing and energizing aspects of their local communities.

On May 14, 2009 we logged over 100,000 community services hours on Red Day!!!

Our vision for this day is that all Keller Williams associates will actively engage in a coordinated effort to improve their local community. Activities may include rehabbing a house, cleaning up a local trail, providing food for the homeless, or any other service related activity needed in your community. This will be one of the single biggest events ever undertaken in the real estate industry.

Keller Williams Realty St. George Project

Our St. George Keller Williams Realty office will literally be CLOSING ITS' DOORS on Thursday May 13th to complete our project - The planting of a full garden at Porter's Nursing home, located at 126 W. 200 N. in St. George.

The people at Porter's have told us that a garden is exactly their their residents need to keep themselves busy and feel like their time and existence has "value." We are SO PLEASED to be doing this! I dont' know much about planting a garden, but I can use a shovel, rake and hoe!

We are inviting ANYONE from the community to is interested in participating to join us! Just shoot me an email: larkin@gostgeorge.com, and we can discuss the opportunity.

Watch out this Thursday cause we're painting the town RED!! If you'd like to see a REALLY neat video about this special event, here it is, just don't forget to grab a tissue.

PSS - Check out this video invitation our C.O.O. Mary Tenant sent to Michelle Obama! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wg1uDCItgNU&feature=related

The REAL Winners of Ironman St. George

by Jeremy Larkin

Video of my day at Ironman (if you can't see it, try clicking HERE).

Wow, WHAT A WEEKEND!!!! It's amazing to see our community buzzing like never before. I have talkd to person after person who were literally moved by the event. The St. George marathon has always had that effect on St. George, but never quite like this.

Volunteers and "Dixie Spirit" were the glue

My theory on the raging success of they day is this: Volunteers + "Dixie Spirit" = indescribable community synergy.

Alot of (negative) people want to brush off "Dixie Spirit" as something of the past and often focus on the connotations of the "Dixie" of the deep South. We're talking about the "South" of Utah - St. George, which got the nickname hundreds of years ago when Pioneer Settlers left the Salt Lake Valley to head far south and begin harvesting cotton.

The St. George energy and spirit is palpable and quite frankly, indescribable. It just...."is" and very few communities enjoy something like it. It's what causes thousands of people to show up in town for a vacation, marathon or golf trip and say, "we better move there!"

The Ironman St. George event required nearly 4000 volunteers and their the Ironman volunteer recruitment effort was different than anything we've ever seen before.

What they did was recruited sector "Captains" for each area, aid station and segment of the race. For example, I was over the "wetsuite peeling" crew at transition #1, someone else was over the men's change tent, someone the womens, etc. 

Those individual Captains were in charge of recruiting their needed # of volunteers - 20, 60, 40, whatever the #. So, when race day came, volunteer director Colby "Bags" Neilson (who was incredible by the way), was able to actually smile and enjoy the event because instead of worrying if 4000 volunteers were showing up, he simply had to ensure that is Captains showed up, who ensured that the others showed up.

The other benefit of this system was extreme loyalty. A good percentage of the Ironman volunteers knew their Captain personally and thus took greater ownership in showing up and doing a good job. It's brilliant!

Regarding the Ironman St. George volunteers, Paul Huddle, former professional Triathlete and Event Director told me in an email after, "We need to clone all the volunteers here and take them on the road."

They told us off the record that they had NEVER seen such a great volunteer effort. That speaks volumes about Utah's Dixie and the people of our great community.

I rec'd this message from a buddy after the race when I asked him how his volunteering effort went: "I will never forget that day, from life guarding on the finish dock and seeing every swimming come through and do everything you can you encourage them to the finish and then to top it off helping them at the end.  I didn’t want it to end, to be able to share that time with them right after what they had gone through was truly amazing.  To see how thankful each finisher was of all the help through out the race was great and how they couldn’t have done it with out all the support."

Who really won?

The winners of the race were Michael Weiss of Austria in 08:40:08, and Heather Wurtele of Canada in 09:35:25 That is FAST. SICK fast. I had the chance to talk with Weiss on two occasions and he is a class act. When my kids wanted a picture with him after the victory he threw my 5-year old right on his knee!

From what I read and hear about Heather Wurtele, she seems just as classy he. Congratulations to the two of them for their amazing victories.

But the REAL winners of the innaugural Ironman St. George are the volunteers, directors, city officials and staff who all combined efforts, manpower and brain power to put together a world class event that wil have people talking about our area for generations to come.

Congratulations Ironmen, local race and volunteer directors Jeff Gardner and Colby Neilson, and all of Washington County for an incredible event. I can't wait for next year either!

*For more Ironman, Real Estate and other St. George area videos, visit us at: http://www.youtube.com/larkingroup

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

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