“What Does “10x” Mean?”

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By: Seth Lejeune

If you follow me on social media, you will often see me comment “10x”. Many have asked me what I mean. Talking about parenting wins? 10x! Talking about business success? 10x! People are crushing their personal goals? 10x! People are hitting the gym? 10x! What the hell am I talking about? Glad you asked.

It is in reference to the book “The 10x Rule” by Grant Cardone. Let me explain…

The book’s premise is this: Your success is directly tied to the amount of effort you put forth. In other words: Everything you want is on the other side of massive amounts of effort.

See, once you realize that the effort most people expend is not enough to reach their goals, you also realize you can outwork them…creating a massive advantage. This concept also explains a lot of why people are unhappy in this world. In my opinion, most people aren’t working toward their full potential and many of the ones who find something they’re passionate about don’t realize what is required to make all their dreams (if they have them) a reality. I’m not saying people don’t work hard… I am saying they may not be working toward the thing that will get them to where they truly want to go.

The 10x Rule doesn’t speak about finding your purpose or your life’s mission… one knows there are plenty of books that can help with that. This book is about understanding the amount of work and consistency needed to get what you want. Upon reading the actual book and re-listening on Audible several times, his philosophy became mine and the rest is history. This isn’t for those who wish to dabble… this is for those who wish to go for it.

Furthermore, Cardone leaves the 10x Rule purposely ambiguous so that it can be applied to many things. Whether training for a triathalon, starting a business, repairing a relationship, learning a new skill, developing a new idea or starting a movement, the common theme is that massive amounts of action are necessary. Through that ambiguity, I have turned it into a bit of an “attaboy” response that I can type quickly. A “congrats” or “way to go” so to speak. So there’s your answer. So if you see that comment, you now have context.

But let me ask you something… Are you “10xing” or are you languishing? Are you going for things or just waiting “until”? Are you working toward the thing that makes our wanna get up in the morning? Last week I wrote about productivity (HERE) which I hope you read. After reading that post, I realize that almost everything I was suggesting for being productive during COVID are the same things I would have recommended a month ago before all this started. So I ask you again, are you working as hard as you can on the things you need to do to be successful through this period and beyond? I sure hope so… I know I am.

Whether in paper form or on Audible (recommended), the “The 10X Rule” might be worth a look… (Order here)  It kicks you in the ass and it could change your life. It changed mine.

Operating Partner and Leader of The Seth Lejeune Team at RE/MAX HOMEPOINT. Founding Partner at BWB Capital – asksethanything@gmail.com / 610.804.2104

“HELP! How in the World Do I Stay Productive Right Now?”

 

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By: Seth Lejeune

It’s a very common complaint right now and if the picture above looks like your new daily work schedule, then keep reading. Like me, if you’re confined to your home office, homeschooling, landscaping, cooking, cleaning all in any given day, then you need these tips even more.  Many of our lives and our routines have been thrown into chaos and hardly anyone’s life is as it was 30 days ago. Below are some of my thoughts: 

Sleep – Keep your sleep schedule. It matters… a lot. The initial two weeks it felt like a good idea to binge on Netflix and hit the snooze button. But here’s the thing: your body doesn’t know about the pandemic and your concentration and discipline is being affected. This leads to all types of non-constructive behaviors. Sleep is vital to keeping your brain chemicals (and mood) balanced. 

Morning Ritual – Tying this into the above, we are creatures of habit. If you had a morning routine that you’ve since abandoned, revert back to it and keep it. How you operate in the morning sets the compass for the rest of the day. Waking up late and groggy is not a recipe for success (or productivity). Wake up with intention and you’ll be better for it. Also, get dressed every day. 

Kids – Kids are people too… LOL. Get them up and moving (within reason). If you wake up at 5am, you don’t need to get them up that early, but letting them sleep the morning away isn’t always the best thing either. If they have schoolwork, get that done first and let them play the rest of the day. This rule is age dependent… teenagers generally sleep later than the little ones. Conversely, lower your bar for their achievement. This is not the time to be raising Doogie Howsers . I have witnessed parents in their attempts to incorporate strenuous regimens into quarantined life and it isn’t fun for anyone involved. Power down those expectations and realize that everyone is winging it. 

Time Block – Pandemic or not, this is a great idea. For those juggling a lot at the same time, being able to focus on one thing can make all the difference between productivity and “busy work”. Make your schedule the night before and stick to it. Tell the people in your home of certain times you cannot be disturbed and reciprocate that courtesy. If a block gets delayed, that is fine but then return to it with the same intention of completing it. Who knows… you may build a great muscle that creates tons of productivity for years to come. 

Limit Digital Devices – Not always easy, but spending the better part of your most productive hours scrolling away on social media can be the difference of getting your stuff done and always playing catch-up. A screen is the way we are getting stuff done and staying connected these days but too much is still not good. Never forget that almost no brilliant ideas are realized while looking at a screen. 

Say “No” to Zoom – Ahhh ZOOM… the new platform for those people who love to meet and discuss EVERYTHING. These calls have been extremely important in keeping companies and teams together, but for the love of all this is holy I don’t need to hop on a ZOOM to discuss something that could be solved in three text messages. Jim Rohn has a great quote that says “Stand guard at the doorway to your mind.” I would also say, “Stand guard at the doorway to your schedule.” With a finite amount of time to get things done, resist the urge to hop on those useless ZOOM calls filled with people who want to “catch up”. If you do ZOOM, ZOOM with purpose. Perhaps replace those with a call in the evening with your favorite people in the world instead (i.e. friends and family). My wife and I do trivia nights with friends after the kids go to bed. 

FINALLY: Don’t forget to keep it simple and give yourself a break… everyone is doing the best they can. 

“Will COVID-19 Permanently Change Cities?”

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It was a question that came from one of my #asksethanything sessions on Facebook and it made me pause. Even in these times, I am able to handle most questions pretty easily since this is a temporary (hopefully) situation, but this question has larger implications and requires some imagination. Could COVID-19 fundamentally change how and where we live when it comes to city vs. suburbs? That’s essentially what this question is asking and I love the big picture thinking!

My response can be found on Facebook, but it goes something like this: “It depends” LOL.

I know, that’s a nonsense answer, but it really does. I guess it really depends on the duration of this event. For example, if businesses begin opening back up in the next month, the answer is a resounding “NO”. While disruptive, it will take a lot more than that for people en masse to emigrate from the cities into the burbs. My sense is that for a mass exodus to occur there would need to be a sustained event where people had to consider an urban setting hazardous to the long-term health of their family. Don’t forget, moving to a new area involves more than packing your bags and loading the car. In most cases, this would mean changing jobs, school for the kids, moving away from friends. I don’t know about you, but going back to those familiar things will be really great for my family and I.

While cities are generally more prone to outbreak of this virus, this question is actually asking more fundamental question: Will we no longer wish to live in close proximity to each other after this. 85% of the world’s population lives in cities, so my thought is that if this were to occur, things would have to get devastatingly terrible around the world since this be a universal demographic shift across the world. Keep in mind, since the very beginnings of civilization, humans have concentrated in towns, villages and cities to organize themselves.

Thankfully, it is the humble opinion of your real estate agent that this too shall pass. As I write this, we are sitting in Early April of 2020 and our leaders are telling us to brace for the worst, but even the most dire projections have our situation improving by May and further into the summer. Therefore, it is unlikely this projected short term disruption would be a catalyst for a major demographic shift described above. Fun question for sure. Keep ’em coming and don’t forget to Ask Seth Anything!

Operating Partner and Leader of The Seth Lejeune Team at RE/MAX HOMEPOINT. Founding Partner at BWB Capital – asksethanything@gmail.com / 610.804.2104

“Is Mortgage Forbearance a Good Idea?”

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In this time of COVID-19, our society is temporarily in uncharted waters. With a shutdown of most business and commerce, this means income in some cases have been paused as well. Inevitably this begs the question of whether people will have the cash reserves to service their debts and cover their living expenses in the meantime. As a result, you may have heard the term “Mortgage Forbearance” recently in the news and I will attempt here to explain what that is.

**There are large amounts of misinformation and blanket statements circulating about this topic and this article is not intended as specific advice for your situation. It is up to you to do your own homework and seek guidance from your specific lending institution.**

According to Investopedia: Mortgage forbeareance is “an agreement made between a mortgage lender and delinquent borrower in which the lender agrees not to exercise its legal right to foreclose on a mortgage and the borrower agrees to a mortgage plan that will, over a certain time period, bring the borrower current on his or her payments.”

At first glance, this sounds great to many and absolutely a necessary to some. However, there are caveats…they are listed below:.

  1. This is forbearance, not forgiveness. This is a suspension (or deferment) of your debt obligations, not a cancellation of it. It is not free money or a “freebie”. Banks will expect to be paid; and will collect. Forbearance typically means at the end of the term (3, 6 or 12 months), a balloon payment is due. Are you certain you’ll be able to afford such a payment?
  2. Not all servicers are alike, so be sure to contact them (if you can get them on the phone). Being proactive here is key since millions of Americans are calling their lenders. Be prepared to wait on hold.
  3. Forbearance is not a loan modification, the latter is a more formal and permanent scenario which restructures the loan. Forbearance is inherently temporary.
  4. There is some dispute on whether forbearance will affect your credit which could make it more difficult to buy another home in the near future. As of this writing, loan servicers and credit bureaus have not given crystal clear guidance on this aspect, but it should be considered if you expect to take out a loan in the near term.
  5. Forbearance doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay your escrow obligations such as taxes and insurance. A lot of loan servicers are not going to pay those for you.
  6. Beware blanket statement from news outlets about this topic. As I said above, your specific lending institution are going to give you the parameters of what they’re willing to offer.

For some people, even with all the above factors forbearance is something they must do. Many of my colleagues and I agree that this isn’t a decision you should take lightly and Gathering the facts from your particular lending institution and keeping an eye out for new information is extremely important right now. Many conscientious lenders I know are saying your mortgage is the last payment you should consider skipping and I tend to agree. Not only from a potential credit standpoint, but a financial one as well.

As always, I am happy to help anyone who may need it and will continue to keep you all up to date on this evolving scenario… and don’t forget to Ask Seth Anything.

Operating Partner and Leader of The Seth Lejeune Team at RE/MAX HOMEPOINT. Founding Partner at BWB Capital – asksethanything@gmail.com / 610.804.2104

 

“How Do I Adjust to My New Normal?”

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People all over the country are going through this COVID pandemic in their own way. Some areas are deeply affected while others are questioning whether all this is real at all. I went through a rather rigorous thought process. I deliberated the pros and cons of certain real estate topics. What could I write this month? Hmmm…

It then occurred to me that since our world has changed in the near term, so would my approach to this article. As always, my primary mission is to keep you informed and provide value. Therefore, I decided upon this question which isn’t from a specific person, but rather what we are all wondering. How do we adjust to this new normal? Someone once told me to focus on what I can control, so that’s what we’ll be talking about here.

As a 40-something realtor with a full-time working wife, two young kids and a house to take care of, I am now a teacher, cleaner & landscaper. An adjustment to say the least… Below are some things to consider for constructing your new normal.

  1. Be Productive: Get up, make your bed, get showered, get dressed. When one does this, you’re telling your brain to be productive. I’ve experienced those days where I never really got out of those super comfy pajama pants and know my productivity was less than ideal. In fact, as I write this I am fully dressed in work clothes. This will also ensure you’re not reacting to your day and getting a handle on it before things spiral out of control. I don’t know about you, but controlling as much of my day as possible is a happier day in my book.
  2. Take it Easy: Give yourself a break. As the news and closures came across the news, I stumbled upon an article from Rome, Italy that had interviewed moms in that city. At the time, these moms were about two weeks ahead of what we were experiencing in America. One of the moms said “don’t beat yourself up with regimented schedules and itineraries”. It won’t last, you’ll experience burn out and you’ll frustrate everyone around you. Sure, some might be able to do this for the long haul, but most of us can’t.
  3. ZOOM (a lot): Most people think this digital platform is just for conducting business, but it’s not. Our friends and I did couples trivia (we call it Quizzo in Philly) over it and it is really easy to use. I connected my Mastermind Book Club and 422 Business Alliance groups through it. Connection in this time of isolation is really important. Lots of people think social media, text and email is a substitute, but it’s not. Seeing a face on a screen and interacting with that face activates a higher part of our brain and releases brain chemicals which make us feel better. Give it a try and connect.
  4. Take Advantage: You see and hear this message constantly and I will be reiterating here. This time has forced all of us to slow down to some extent and we should be taking advantage. Is there a hobby you want to get into? A book that you haven’t read? A project with your kids? Exercise more? Whatever it is, this is the time to get it done (or started).
  5. Trust History: Some of you may know that I am a student of history. Whenever I can, I lean on the past to guide my future. 12 short years ago, the sky was falling and people were in extreme distress. I remember my father saying, “This is a bad one, but do you know how many of these damn things I’ve been through? It always comes back, people will go back to work and things will return to the way they were.” He was right. Sure, it appears that hardship is waiting for us in the coming months (some more than most), but I know we will rise again because we always have.

Finally, I wanted to say that if you are receiving this, whether physically in the mail, via social media, via email, etc, that means you are in my “sphere”. In the real profession, this term means the people who I have chosen to let into my world. Please know that my wife and I are here for all of you if you should call on us. Take care of yourselves and each other.And of course, don’t forget to Ask Seth Anything!

Operating Partner and Leader of The Seth Lejeune Team at RE/MAX HOMEPOINT. Founding Partner at BWB Capital. asksethanything@gmail.com / 610.804.2104

“Why Did You Leave Berkshire Hathaway for RE/MAX?”

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Hello All! 2019 was a crazy year with my business continuing to grow, moving my family, acquiring (and rehabbing) & selling a home. In all the hustle and bustle, I also decided to change brokerages and buy into a RE/MAX franchise!  Naturally, this is my most asked question by far right now. Why did I move? Believe me, it didn’t come lightly and I spent several months deliberating the decision. Ultimately, there are many brokerages in the Philly area and almost all of them called me over the course of the last two years trying to get me to come over! However, I do believe there are only a handful of brands that stand out above the rest. Both RE/MAX and Berkshire Hathaway fall into that category.

My move to RE/MAX HOMEPOINT in the end came down to the ability to grow my business through a real estate team (The Seth Lejeune Team) and to own a portion of the franchise itself. These two things will also provide opportunities to help others not only on my individual team but on a company-level. One of my main purposes on Earth is to help people in their businesses and this clears the path to do so.

**It’s only appropriate to take this moment to thank the extremely fine people at Berkshire Hathaway. In 2015, I joined that company for its reputation of professionalism and competence and it did not disappoint. It was extremely important to me to learn this business the “right way” from the start and the mentorship I received there was outstanding.**

Unfortunately, the structure of Berkshire Hathaway is more of a corporate style and doesn’t allow me to play the role I’m most accustomed to which is a business owner. Therefore, moving to a franchise model was the logical next step for my career. This will have zero effect on my real estate services going forward but rather add lots of tools for your real estate needs. With my move to RE/MAX HOMEPOINT comes the following advantages:

  1. Outstanding Real Estate Services
  2. The Seth Lejeune Team has a commercial/multi-family specialist for you investors out there.
  3. REMAX is partnered with an established property management company, BIG Realty, for all of your landlord & tenant needs
  4. BWB Capital Partners are collaborating with REMAX & BIG Realty for what we’re calling “micro-syndications” investment opportunities. (If you have no idea what that is, then inquire with me and I can walk you through it)

The bottom line is that my new setup has me equipped for anything you might require from a real estate professional. If I personally don’t have the expertise, I have someone within my immediate network of partners or on my team who does. This has always been my vision for how I wanted to operate my real estate activities in true, #asksethanything fashion. LOL.

Finally, a part of this new role will be recruiting, so I need to tell you that not only are we onboarding new agents for the team, but also I now have employment opportunities across all sectors of real estate. Whether you wish to simply get your license and sell real estate, do administrative work, find properties/land for investors, I’d be open to have some conversations. So if you, or know someone you know, like the way I do business, want to be part of something bigger, escape the rat race of the 9-5 or all of the above, please reach out. My NEW info is below and don’t forget to Ask Seth Anything!

Operating Partner and Leader of The Seth Lejeune Team at RE/MAX HOMEPOINT. Founding Partner at BWB Capital. asksethanything@gmail.com / 610.804.2104

 

 

FAQ – Ask Seth Anything Edition

Words cannot describe my gratitude for the many contributions to this article. I truly enjoy answering dozens of your questions on a monthly basis but there are some that are fan favorites and I get regularly. I thought it’d be fun to compile some of them here. Here goes….

Q: What is one misconception you could change about your profession? 

A: That we’re not all sleazy salesmen. Most realtors are well-intentioned and care about their clients.

Q: What is one thing you’d change about the real estate industry? 

A: Definitely the barrier to entry. It is way to easy to get your license and it contributes to poorer performance by some realtors. It also gives all the full-time, established realtors (like me) more challenging reputation to overcome.

Q: What’s the craziest thing you ever saw during a showing? 

A: So this could be an entire year’s worth of articles, but there was the time where I am pretty sure there was a recent murder/robbery in a home in Bucks County. Then of course the “50 Shades of Maple Glen” listing which I actually went to see. Then there was the room in Pottstown which was completely carpeted — even walls & ceilings. I really try to document as much as I can on social media for all you. LOL.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you give your clients?

A: DO NOT BECOME HOUSE POOR. Do not keep up with the Joneses. It will feel great for a little while and then you’ll set yourself back financially. That’s when the fights and stress start. It’s just a house.

Q: Are we headed for a recession? 

A: “Recession” is an awfully strong word. I would rather say correction or slow down. We are in one of the longest periods of economic expansion in US history. The economy, although it doesn’t feel like it at times, is a natural system. Contraction always follows expansion. How much that contraction affects housing? Time will only tell.

Q: Should I make improvements to my home? 

A: I don’t know…call me and I will come over and tell you.

Q: Is flipping homes hard? 

A: Yes, it is also time-consuming as hell.

Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned by being a REALTOR?

A: Tough to pick one but when push comes to shove, 99% of my clients need a problem solved and they have entrusted me to handle it for them. This job is serious business, but can be a fun & enjoyable experience at the same time.  Ensuring a smooth transaction comes with actually knowing what you’re doing which thankfully I do!

Q: What’s the biggest mistake your clients make?

A: I would say it relates to my previous answer. Too many people bring an adversarial mindset to the transaction. They sometimes forget the ultimate goal which is to buy or sell the house. I can safely say that without the presence of real estate agents, a LOT more deals would fall apart. When a seller says, “You can tell them to go to hell!” I kindly translate that for my buyers to say, “They rejected your proposal, so let’s regroup and really nail down what’s important here and if whether can still move forward.” Going under contract on a home is no small thing and I always cringe when a deal goes south over something silly.

 

 

“Wait…What’s a Hot Water Heater?”

A short (and very true) story:

There I was with my new seller. We were touring the home where I look for defects and ask questions. Upon entering the basement storage room where the various components of the home are located (HVAC, electrical, radon system etc.), I immediately asked my seller how old their hot water hear was. They came back with “Wait…What’s a hot water heater?” I pointed. “That”. Even more confused, I had to explain what it was and what it did. I went on to say they only last about 10-12 years… maybe 15 with a water softener. Out comes the flashlight phone and I go to work trying to find a manufacture date. Rare these days am I shocked and terrified at the same time in this business, but it can happen. And it happened on this sunny Thursday morning. The label read “1992”. Now I am no math expert, but I was in 7th grade when this thing was installed and it is about 15-17 years past its recommended replacement date. For those of you who are lost while reading this, let me clarify the problem. A hot water heater is a large tank filled with water which provides, you guessed it; your hot water. When it fails, instead of simply not heating your water, it usually leaks all over your basement. This is a problem for any basement but especially so for finished ones. It won’t just leak what’s in the tank… it will continue to leak until the water supply is turned off. Several people have horror stories of coming home from work to 2-3 feet in their basement. 

Now, my point is not to make fun of this certain client, but to point out that you must be aware and vigilant of the various components and aspects of your home which can produce devastating repair costs and unwanted hassles. See the list below for the main ones I encounter:

Attic Spaces: Homeowners often tell me they haven’t been in their attic in years. Not until they go to sell their home and have a home inspection do they find a problem. Either a slightly leaking roof or mold or both. Generally mold forms from either a roof that is actively leaking or not properly ventilated. Older building codes didn’t require ridge vents or vented soffits, so if your roof is on the older side, it might be worth busting out the flashlight and getting up there once a year to make sure things are in order.

Hot Water Heater: There’s practically no way to know when a hot water heater will fail, so it’s best to be proactive and replace every 10-12 years depending on how hard your water is. People I find most susceptible to being complacent on this one are people who bought new construction. Since everything is new when they buy, the psychology is that things will stay that way.

Crawl Spaces: Much like roofs, they’re areas not regularly visited by homeowners. Mold can form down here just as easily as attic spaces for the same reasons: water infiltration and/or poor ventilation. Again, grab a flashlight and get in there…

Underneath Sinks: Americans love their stuff and they love to stuff their stuff anywhere they can… including underneath sinks in kitchens and bathrooms. I’m assuming you don’t regularly empty these areas and inspect them but even a small drip can produce some really costly damage. Water destroys everything.

The Trees: Most realtors won’t mention this to their buyers, but do not forget to look up at your trees if you have some. Various invasive insects (Emerald Ash Borer, Spotted Lantern Fly, etc) & diseases can greatly affect their health. Little known fact is that if a tree falls on your house, your homeowner’s policy will cover it, but if it falls in your yard or on your driveway, the cleanup cost comes out of your pocket. A certified arborist can usually give you some guidance here.

If this seems daunting to you, there’s always the option of getting a home inspection even if you have no intention of moving. Like most inspections, they are worth their weight in gold as they almost always find something.

I would be happy to showcase your question in my next installment. Go ahead…Ask me anything! If I use your question, I will send you a gift card of your choice or donate money to a charity on your behalf.

Seth Lejeune – 610.804.2104 – seth.lejeune@foxroach.com / Berkshire Hathaway – Fox & Roach

Seth is a licensed REALTOR  and small business owner based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

“50 Shades of Maple Glen”: Good Marketing or In Poor Taste?

There I was sitting minding my business on a Friday morning when all of a sudden my phone started blowing up. Texts, emails and FB messages were basically telling me that a very special home had hit the market. I checked my FB feed and almost every 5th post (I counted) had to do with this listing about 5 miles from my house. The agent had dubbed it “50 Shades of Maple Glen” and it boasted what they called a “sex oasis” in the basement fully outfitted with equipment and accessories. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then google it.

In a matter of hours, Buzzfeed (Here)and Barstool (Here – WARNING EXPLICIT) had picked it up. I even heard a rumor that a journalist in New Zealand ran a spot on it. A friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood said the local news knocked on their door to get more info on the homeowners. Reaction was swift… many were intrigued, some asked to see it and others outraged.

As the day went on, I began to wonder more and more about this house. No…not its contents; more the marketing of it. I pondered whether this was a good strategy. The old adage in PR is that “All Publicity is Good Publicity”. I happen to completely disagree with that saying, but is it applicable here?

At first, I thought this was pretty brilliant. Perhaps falling into the trap of the adage above which is to say that all publicity is good. However, I reconsidered that notion and asked who exactly is the buyer for this house? Would a person looking for a $750,000 home want to inherit this story and stigma? Would a homeowner want to mention while having dinner guests that this house was the “50 Shades House”? I’m not so sure. Yes, more eyeballs on the property is better, but most will never buy it anyway and it might detract some otherwise well-intentioned purchaser.

Within real estate agent circles, there’s another conversation happening about whether this was good for the agent. Ultimately, I think it definitely raised her profile and generated a lot of buzz and interviews. Will it lead to more listings for her? Not sure, but I suppose it won’t hurt. Does this realtor have more tricks up her sleeve or was this just a “being in the right place at the right time” scenario? Needless to say, I am looking forward to finding out and truly admire her guts. Lots of realtors would be most concerned with their brand and reputation, but even people with a “sex oasis” in their basement need to sell their home too.

So I guess my question is what do you think? Has this been an effective means for marketing a property or do you think it tarnished and ultimately dissuaded buyers? If money were no issue, would you buy this property? Leave a comment below and weigh in!

And to answer your question: Yes, I previewed. Yes, I took selfies. Yes, I have an opinion on whether it’s priced right. 😉

I would be happy to showcase your question in my next installment. Go ahead…Ask me anything! If I use your question, I will send you a gift card of your choice or donate money to a charity on your behalf.

Seth Lejeune – 610.804.2104 – seth.lejeune@foxroach.com / Berkshire Hathaway – Fox & Roach

Seth is a licensed REALTOR  and small business owner based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Are We Headed Into a Recession?

growth-recession-750x296By far, this is the most asked question these days. I would be remiss if I didn’t address it. As I said in my last article, I have no “crystal ball”, but since that time there have been some developments which are affecting the real estate market.

  1. Interest Rates – This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the marketplace as we have reached the 5% mark for the most part on a conventional loan. The reason for this increase is a more robust overall economy and the FED’s decisions in 2018. They have laid out a pretty ambitious plan for further increases in 2019 and I believe we should take them at their word since they did what they said they were gonna do this past year. Keep in mind that interest rates are historically low still but I know relative to where we were a year ago, this rise hurts for some.
  2. Less Confidence – This is an obvious one since the entire premise here and the frequency with which I am asked this question suggests people are less sure than they have been in the past few years. Interest rates have played a part for sure, but overall sentiment is waning a bit as people become cautious. Comments about a “red hot” market have now lead to questions about whether the market is “cooling”. I have always said the market depends more on the average citizen’s desire to book a vacation, buy a home or a flat screen TV than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Simply put: If people don’t feel secure, they will conserve their money.
  3. Buyer’s Disengaging from the Market – Whether strictly a math thing where the buyer is now priced out of their dream home or simply exhausted from running around and not able to compete for a home with their fellow buyers, these are having an effect. Fewer buyers mean less competition which ultimately means fewer offers for sellers. Don’t get me wrong, there are some areas which still red hot (like my listing in Glen Mills with 9 offers where I got my clients close to $30,000 over ask with a waived appraisal), but overall the market can only sustain this behavior for so long.

So what does this all mean for the real estate market? I do not like using the word “recession” because it is an economic term which is far too broad and I believe to be really premature. What I would say is the market is indeed “normalizing” a bit in certain parts of the Philadelphia area and the country as a whole. This means it should behave in a way where buyers and sellers can still be very successful in achieving their real estate goals. A normalization will simply mean that buyers might have a few more options and sellers might have to wait a little longer for the buyer to make that offer. It also means that home price growth will slow; this is basic economics. What I can say for sure is that 2019 will tell us a lot about the ultimate direction the economy is headed and whether what is now a normalization will turn into something more serious.

I would be happy to showcase your question in my next installment. Go ahead…Ask me anything! If I use your question, I will send you a gift card of your choice or donate money to a charity on your behalf.

Seth Lejeune – 610.804.2104 – seth.lejeune@foxroach.com / Berkshire Hathaway – Fox & Roach

Seth is a licensed REALTOR  and small business owner based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.