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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kung Hei Fat Choi, Year of the Ox, Happy Chinese New Year 2009!

What better place to celebrate the Chinese New Year than be here in Asia! Yes, I am currently in Manila, Philippines and the buzz in the news and papers is all about celebrating Chinese New Year, the year of the Ox!

To celebrate the New Year, the Chinese believe that eating certain foods bring them good luck. For example, eating noodles brings longer life; round items such as hopia or siopao symbolize a coin which brings prosperity; fresh food brings healthier life; and seafood ie a prawn showing a smiley face brings happiness.

Are you an Ox? The year of the Ox is said to be a lucky year for businesses which are based on its element which is the earth. These are businesses related to REAL ESTATE, construction and farming. Fantastic! As for me, I was born in the year of the Horse (if born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 or 2002). If you think I was born in 1990, that makes me 19 this year. It is said that the horse must be cautious this year and be focused on their goals (so as not to waste energy). Helpful people will help come in pursuing projects. So far, this has been true as I am out of the country on family leave and I have hired an assistant to take care of my pending transactions, or projects. The horse’s career and wealth will increase and dreams will come true. Well it’s about time! Do you think Brad Pitt will ask me to marry him this year? LOL! The horse must be humble to avoid envious people who will get jealous and bring trouble. Okay, Angelina, hope you are reading this! Be careful in taking medicines and exercise regularly and avoid unhealthy and junk food. Okay, I am listening. The most favorable dates are 3/5 to 5/4, 7/7 to 8/6, 9/7 to 12/6; meanwhile moderately favorable dates are 2/2 to ¾, 5/5 – 6/4, 8/7 to 9/6.

I will let you know at the end of the year if my fortune has become a reality. After all, we could all hope that real estate will turn around for the better. Hurray for the year of the Ox!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pearl's Odd Joke on my 2009 New Year's Resolution

I like to think that I am an organized person but once in a while I forget. If I don't write it down, it's pretty much lost in (brain) space. Many times, my kids find me in the kitchen scratching my head. I knew I got up from my office for something and just can't seem to remember what I needed, only to go back to my office and get up again. I hope I am not alone. Here's my Odd Joke for January. Can you relate?

Ridge At Alta Vista, Enclave at Alta Vista, Alta Vista at Lakeway YTD Real Estate Statistics

Many homeowners from the neighborhoods mentioned above follow my blogs to see the statistics in their community. I ran the YTD statistics and overall, in the Ridge at Alta Vista neighborhood, the average price per square foot is 2% lower in 2008 compared to 2007. That is expected but still not too bad. But in the Enclave Condominiums, the average price per square foot is 18% lower than last year. As you know, Toll Brothers has completed the project and only has a handful of completed condominiums to sell.

These are Year To Date numbers, so when averaged, it doesn't seem too bad. I want to point out that it is important to take into consideration how Central Austin's real estate has been doing the past two months when the bank crisis and mortgage bail-out started. The sales every where in Austin became sluggish (view my blog on November statistics).

If you are thinking of selling in Austin at this time, please have your real estate agent, run your neighborhood statistics since October, 2008. You need to have an understanding of the current market.

If you would like me to run the statistics for a specific neighborhood, like the one in this blog, please give me a call and I would be happy to provide this information to you for FREE.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Austin is #8 in best places to live in US

Hurray! We have done it again. Our wonderful and beautiful city has been ranked #8 by as the best metro places to live in the US in 2008. #1 is Raleigh, NC. Other Texas cities named in the top ten are Houston (#4) and San Antonio (#7). The site has taken the rankings from,, Money magazine, Fortune Small Business magazine, and, merged them whoalla, this list.

Today, it is 78 degrees in a beautiful January morning. Anywhere else in the US would probably not be this clear and warm. How about you, what is your reason for moving to this beautiful city?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a TWITter!

Sometimes, I am a TWIT, but today, I am a TWITTER! I just joined another social networking site called TWITTER.COM. My username is ahhh "ARealEstateGeek".

Funny you should ask why I chose this username. For one thing, my 20 years in computer science classifies me as a geek. I graduated with a BS in Computer Science when I was in 19, which makes me a nerd. But I don't really want to go with that name. #2, defines geek as an odd person (which I AM); computer expert (which I like to think I was at some point in my career). Then under the website's notes, they explain: A geek is a smart person with an obsessive interest, a nerd is the same but lacks social grace, and a dweeb is a mega-nerd. If we really need to dissect this note, I do have an obsessive interest in real estate; I usually have social grace and I am definitely not a mega-nerd, though I snort when I laugh!

If you are a twitter, please follow me at my site: and I would love to reciprocate the link.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Listing Agent goes MIA, who will take care of the offer?

I recently read a Real Estate blog post about a terrible Buyer's Agent that lost a deal and it made me think of a similar situation I had.

In this experience, I was a buyer's agent. I wrote an offer for a willing and able buyer on a Sunday evening. The buyer was very anxious and needed a place immediately. I absolutely love motivated buyers. I left several messages that evening with the listing agent. The following morning, I did the same. My client had already called me 4 times by 1 pm the following day and I pleaded to give me till 5 pm to receive a response from the other agent. I spoke to the agent's broker and the office had no idea where the agent is, though, they think that the agent is on vacation. I asked who may be taking care of the agent's business, unfortunately, the listing agent did not tell anyone from the office who that may be.

2 pm came and the buyer was furious! The buyer actually fired me, thought I wasn't doing my job in contacting the other agent. I gave the buyer a few minutes to calm down, called them back later, and we were back on the road looking for another home. Thank goodness, the buyer was easy, we found another home and that deal was sweeter than pie.

How many listing agents are there who go MIA (Missing in Action) during the holidays? I worked this Christmas and New Year's weeks and I would say I was extremely busy. I had several buyer appointments including one listing appointment. A comment I received was from a seller who wanted to terminate their agent and was looking for another one. They said that I was the only one who responded within one hour from their call, while they are still waiting for responses from calls they made from a week ago! I asked the seller what was important to them as far as their listing agent, they said good communication. I asked them how often their listing agent called them, they responded, 'only when they called him'. Two internet inquiries I received during the holidays commented the same thing. They were inquiring about a listing they saw on one of the websites I advertise, I responded within minutes from receiving their email. They have not heard back from other inquiries they placed days ago.

If you are a seller, is communication important to you? You need to ask your agent how soon will they return calls and how often you expect to hear from them. If you were the seller and you found out that you could have had a deal going while the agent was away, how would that make you feel? I have several listings and I assure each of my clients that they will receive an email from me weekly and receive feedbacks as soon as I get them from the showing agents. On New Year's Eve, I actually wrote and entered on the MLS 2 listings. While everyone was planning their parties, or getting ready for one, I was working!

You could learn the easy way or the hard way. Now tell me, knowing that you could always reach me and count on me, how about that listing appointment?