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How to rescue the housing market: Foreclosures!

1 Sep

By Tami Luhby August 31, 2011: 5:27 AM ET

Delaying foreclosures is hurting the housing market, experts said.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If the Obama administration really wants to save the housing market, it should speed up the foreclosure process — not prolong the inevitable, experts say.

Four years into the housing crisis, the real estate market is still teetering on the edge. The Obama administration has tried one program after another to stem the tide of foreclosures with limited success. And it is continuing to look for ways “to ease the burden on struggling homeowners,” though no new initiative is imminent, the White House said this week.

But some housing experts argue that the administration should go in a different direction than it has in the past. Instead, they say it’s time to focus on pushing many of those delinquent borrowers through the foreclosure process and putting foreclosed properties back into use.

While some of the 2.2 million loans in foreclosure can still be saved, many are too far gone, they say. Some 37% have not made a payment in more than two years, while another 34% have not made a payment in 12 to 23 months, according to Lender Processing Services.

“Loans enter into foreclosure, but never come out,” said Thomas Lawler, founder of Lawler Economic & Housing Consulting. “If this keeps going on, you have a continual overhang that never goes away.”

Delaying foreclosure increases the percentage of homeowners who’ll likely never catch up, Lawler said. In 2009, only 6% of delinquent borrowers were more than two years behind. And it means vacant properties still in limbo could fall even further into disrepair, hurting the value of the surrounding housing market.

Lawler is not the first to warn about the consequences of slowing the foreclosure process. Since the housing crisis began, several experts cautioned that foreclosure prevention efforts may only prolong the pain.

Accelerating foreclosures is tricky, however, especially since it is largely the purview of the states. But the administration could work with state officials to speed the process, especially on vacant homes, he said.

The push would come at a time when many mortgage servicers have slowed foreclosure efforts as they resolve shoddy paperwork practices. Foreclosure filings in July dropped to their lowest level since November 2007, due to processing delays and foreclosure prevention measures, according to RealtyTrac.

Getting rid of the glut

Another key to helping the housing market is facilitating the resale of homes that have already been foreclosed upon, experts said. This glut of vacant properties will continue to weigh on home values until they are sold.

“They can’t be a glacier hanging over the market with everyone waiting for it to fall,” said Jim Gaines, research economist at The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Those properties have to clear the market.”

A first step could be to sell off the foreclosed properties owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. Collectively, they own 248,000 homes, about 31% of the foreclosure inventory.

The administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are already looking for ways to unload these foreclosed homes. Earlier this month, they put out a request for ideas, including possible bulk sales of inventory. Also, they are interested in turning many of these properties into affordable rentals, which are sorely lacking in many communities. Experts interviewed agree this would be a good move for the market.

To entice investors to purchase these homes, as well as other foreclosed properties owned by banks, the administration could advocate for changes to the tax code, Gaines said. For instance, more favorable capital gains or depreciation rules could attract buyers.
The case against foreclosure

Of course, not everyone agrees that pushing people through the foreclosure process is the best solution to the housing crisis.

David Min, associate director for financial markets policy at the Center for American Progress, argues that there are many homeowners who can be saved if their payments can be adjusted to affordable levels or if some of their principal is forgiven. This particularly applies to those who are only a few months behind.

Foreclosure is very costly for servicers, homeowners and neighborhoods, he said.

“There are a lot of other options that make more sense” than foreclosure, Min said. “It’s just so destructive to value. We should be pulling every lever we can.”

Mediation, for instance, could help some homeowners avoid foreclosure, he said. Some 23 states and the District of Columbia currently have programs that require mortgage servicers to sit down with borrowers and discuss the homeowners’ options, though many began only in the last year. More than 70% of mediations end in a settlement, often restructuring the mortgage to a sustainable level, according to the center.

Helping those still current with their payments can also give the housing market — and the economy — a lift, albeit a somewhat marginal one, experts said.

For instance, the administration could revamp its refinancing program aimed at allowing underwater homeowners to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates. Improvements could include reducing some of the upfront costs and underwriting requirements.

Lowering borrowers’ monthly payments would give people more money to spend. And, for those on the edge, it could make it more likely that they will stay in their homes.

“It would be helpful to some borrowers with high rates,” Lawler said.

What Does A New Historic District Approval Mean for Crown Heights, Brooklyn?

21 Jul

St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights - one of the more historic blocks in the area

The intrinsic value of a neighborhood cannot be duplicated. From it’s limestone and brownstone buildings, to its long-time inhabitants full of culture and yes, at times vitriol, Crown Heights is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the United States.   Will this new historical district approval mean rising rents or simply more pride?  Will it improve neighborhood relations in a place ripe for religious and racial differences?  I suppose we’ll see for sure in the next few years.

Read the full article below from WNYC.org  writer Marlon Bishop.

July 22, 2011

On Tuesday, the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission approved the creation of a new historic district in Brooklyn’s predominantly West Indian-American and Hasidic Jewish neighborhood of Crown Heights: the Crown Heights North II Historic District.

The new district includes 610 row houses, apartment buildings and large Queen Anne-style homes, most of which were built between 1870 and 1920. The area is bound by Bergen St. to the north, Brooklyn Ave. to the east, Eastern Parkway to the south and Nostrand Ave. to the west; and it borders a pre-existing, 472-building historic area that the Landmark Preservation Commission designated as a historic district in 2007.

“The neighborhood is really an exquisite mosaic of remarkably well preserved examples of architectural styles and building types,” said the commission’s chairman Robert Tierney.

Area resident Deborah Young created the Crown Heights North Association to help generate interest in landmarking in the community and to educate her neighbors on the benefits of a historic district, which she says include increased property values and protection from the kind of over-development happening elsewhere in Brooklyn.

“Look at what’s going on in Downtown Brooklyn with the building of these huge structures,” said Young. “Not that they’re not nice in their own right, but they’re keeping with the brownstones that you have in many of our neighborhoods. So, for us in Crown Heights, we want to maintain what we have.”

According to the Crown Heights North Association, Crown Heights was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn in the late 19th century. Eastern Parkway was lined with opulent mansions that were eventually torn down and replaced with townhouses. African American and Caribbean families began to buy homes in the area in the 1920s, even as the neighborhood became home to the Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch movement and several Yeshiva schools.

Opponents of landmarking argue that protected status makes renovation and development unnecessarily difficult for landlords. Others claim that the resulting increase in property values leads to higher rents, which accelerates gentrification.

Before the Crown Heights North II Historic District becomes official, it must be approved by the City Council. A third historic district in the area is also being considered by the commission.

5 cities where home prices will rise this year – New York Made the List

11 Jul

July 8, 2011, 12:27 p.m. EDT
5 cities where home prices will rise this year
In a surprising twist, a Florida housing market makes the list

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Despite recent price improvements nationally, only five markets in the country are expected to see home-price gains for the remainder of 2011: Washington, New York, Orlando, Dallas and San Francisco.

That’s right, Orlando, Fla., where prices have fallen 63% from their peak.

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• Organize your small spaces
• Kitchens that make cooking fun
• Homes that help you as you age
• Dream kitchen on a budget
• Say goodbye to McMansions
See the entire MarketWatch Guide to Real Estate

This is according to Clear Capital’s home data index forecast, released Friday. The company provides real-estate valuation and risk assessment information for financial institutions.

Granted, prices are expected to be up only 0.7% through the remainder of the year in Orlando, said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics for Clear Capital.

“This is really a drop in the bucket compared with where this market has fallen,” he said. Yet it’s an encouraging sign of stability for a housing market that suffered the majority of its losses in 2008 and 2009, Villacorta added.

On a national basis, home prices are expected to fall another 2.4% for the second half of the year, according to the report.
A return to normalcy?

Still, recently there have been some hopeful signs that housing is at or very near the absolute bottom, he said.

Home prices rose 0.9% in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter, following nine months of price drops, according to Clear Capital.

In the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index of 20 cities, prices were up 0.7% in April, compared with March. Read more: U.S. home prices up for first time in eight months.

Some may argue that the increases are seasonal and prices are up because more home buyers are in the market when the winter months end, Villacorta said. But even a seasonal blip is a good sign for a housing market that has been depressed for years now.

“We haven’t seen any seasonal blip in some time, so even if it is, it is a sign that markets are returning to normalcy once again,” Villacorta said.
Struggling markets

That said, not all markets have had a strong first half of the year.

Parts of the Midwest, for example, saw significant price drops in the first half of 2011. In Detroit, prices fell nearly 20% during the six months, with prices falling an average $12,000 on a typical $62,500 home there, according to the Clear Capital report.

On a national basis, prices fell 3.2% in the first half of the year.

A separate survey from Fannie Mae, released on Thursday, showed that a growing percentage of Americans aren’t optimistic about home prices in the year ahead.

Twenty-five percent of Americans expect prices to fall during the next 12 months, up from 19% who said the same in May, according to the Fannie Mae survey of 1,000 adults. Read more: Home price outlook worsens in June.

“We see a continued lack of confidence among consumers on home prices, the ability to sell their homes, and the state of their personal finances — all of which point to housing as a continued downside risk to economic growth going forward,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae, in a news release.

Here’s a look at the lucky five home markets:
1. Washington
Washington, D.C. is one of only five regions in the U.S where home-price trends are expected to improve during the rest of 2011.
2. New York
Home price trends in the northeast are expected to decline 0.8% overall, but in New York, above, real-estate prices should rise.
3. Orlando
The second half of 2011 could be good for hard-hit Orlando, Fla., where prices for homes and condominiums like this could rise by as much as 2%.
4. Dallas
A balance between prices and inventory could help support prices for homes like this one, for sale in Dallas.
5. San Francisco
San Francisco’s one of only five cities nationwide where home price trends will likely improve during the remainder of the year.

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The New American Dream Home

3 Jul

The new American dream home: Prices in 11 cities
Four bedrooms of domestic bliss

The dream has changed. Chastened by the housing collapse, middle-class Americans want a different kind of home these days. The McMansion, with its eight bedrooms, five baths and 10,000 square-feet, is out. A more sensible housing solution is in.

The average size of new homes shrunk by about 5% from 2007 to 2010 and far fewer mega-homes are being built. The number of homes 4,000 square-feet or larger built in 2010 fell to 35,000 from more than 120,000 in 2007.

Sure, some Americans still fantasize about buying grandiose dwellings — like Jennifer Aniston’s $42 million mansion — but then practicality sets in: Nowadays, the real dream house is a family-friendly, four bedroom, with two-and-a-half bath, 2,200 square-foot home.

But as Coldwell Banker’s 2011 Home Listing Report shows, what you pay for these more down-to-earth dwellings can vary dramatically depending on where you live. The report compared average prices of the homes in 2,300 town and cities across North America. Among the findings: At an average cost of $80,000, buying a four bedroom in Lithonia, Ga. is only a fraction of what you’d pay for a similar-sized dwelling in Newport Beach, California where the homes average $2.5 million.

Here’s a sampling of what the American Dream home costs in cities and towns across the U.S.

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/real_estate/1106/gallery.American_dream_home/index.html

By Les Christie

Reprinted from CNN Money
Last updated June 24 2011: 10:48 AM ET

Corcoran Forced to Correct False Neighborhood Boundaries in Brooklyn

15 Jun

We missed this story last month, but better late then never in applauding our Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries for representing his districts properly…

Residential real estate giant the Corcoran Group has been commended by King’s County Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries for correcting its advertising practices.

Corcoran, Jeffries said in today’s statement, had been falsely stating the boundary between Prospect Heights and Crown Heights in an effort to market Crown Heights’ properties as being in the more desirable Prospect Heights neighborhood. (TheRealDeal.com)

Read the rest HERE.

Knock, Knock… Who’s There? OPPORTUNITY!

19 Apr

Greetings Insider:

It’s amazing how the mind works. You know you are not happy with your current financial situation, and you know that if you do the same things you did last year your financial situation is not going to get better… as a matter of fact, it will probably get worse. Yet, you still find yourself creating excuses why you aren’t willing to sacrifice two hours of your time to find out exactly how you can turn your financial situation …around. This is insane, especially when there is nothing to risk and a world of OPPORTUNITY to gain.

I know it’s not easy to make changes, even if the changes are good for you, and I know having a job and a family is tiring. Before 2004 I was in the same boat as you. I had a job that didn’t quite meet my expenses, family obligations and zero energy left at the end of the day. It wasn’t until I was sick and tired of working hard just to not have enough that I was able to take the right action, connect with the right people, and walk away from being broke and miserable forever.

I want to share with you the hard fought knowledge that I gained while turning my life around from having a $45,000 debt and a dead end job, to retiring at age 36, acquiring millions of dollars worth of real estate, several successful businesses and the comfort in knowing that I will never have to have another job in my life.

I hope you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you decide to take action, but if you can find just one good reason to drag yourself to this workshop I’m offering on Wednesday (4/20) at 7pm (If you absolutely can’t make Wednesday, I have one more date on Saturday 4/23 at 1pm). I’m holding nothing back in this truth revealing workshop about how wealth is really created and how you can cash in on the trillions of dollars being left on the table because others haven’t cracked the code to profiting in this new economy.

Multilevel marketing will not solve your problem! Dumping money into a 401K or Roth IRA is not the answer! And trying to acquire properties using short sales or REO’s is not the solution either! To find out how REAL money is being made, register for this powerful workshop “Insider Secrets to Financial Freedom” at 216 Greene Avenue in Brooklyn on Wednesday, April 20th at 7pm .

For information as valuable as this, you could easily expect to pay a thousand dollars or more. But I’m offering it to you absolutely FREE so don’t waste time registering. Warning: Because of space constraints, this offer is limited to the first thirty people to respond. (This email is going out to 278 people. So, register immediately by emailing me back right now or calling 718-622-2271 to secure your seat!)

I can’t force you to come. It’s always going to be your choice whether you get wealthy or not. To be honest, making lots of money and having plenty of free time isn’t for everyone. Some people need to work for someone else for the rest of their life. Only you know if you are ready… If you are ready, then call now or email me. I look forward to sharing in your success.

SUCCESS!!!!!!
Heru Nekhet
Taking Ordinary People From Rags to Riches

PS – If you could discover how you can quit your dead end job and have a steady stream of income for the rest of your life, it’s certainly worth two hours of your time. But since you may still be skeptical, I’m going to guarantee that this workshop will absolutely blow you away. If you don’t agree that his is the most mind blowing workshop you have ever attended, I’ll give you a crisp $20 bill for wasting your time.

PPS – Feel free to pass this on to family and friends

Insiders Group, Inc.
216 Greene Ave., B’klyn, NY 11238
718-622-2271
http://www.InsidersGroup.com

We’re Revealing Our Biggest Secret!

26 Nov

Of Credit Default Swaps, Gov’t Responsibility and Being Non-Trendy: an OPEN FORUM on the Economic Crisis

7 Nov

Hello fellow Insiders!

What a great day we had on October 25th.The weather may have been gloomy here on the East Coast, but our members were ready to mix it up as we held our first OPEN FORUM on the State of the Economy.A number of our local members and their guestsjoined us at our offices as we held a friendly yet honest discussion on their concerns about this tumultuous economy.

Topics such as globalization, morality, personal fiscal responsibility, buying ‘puts’ and other more disciplined investing techniques, staying ahead of trends, and the true purpose of government were all discussed.While our President and COO, Heru Nekhet and Augustine Diji, respectively, opened with a detailing of the history of capitalism as well as a breakdown of where it’s going in the future, among the longest and most spirited of discussions was about Credit Default Swaps and just how convoluted the whole process is.It would take a long edition to explain these to you, but our forum was truly timely since the following night 60 MINUTES did a story on this type of investing.Check it out here for an explanation on just what ‘Swaps’ are:

Another of our most memorable exchanges focused on creating/re-creating your business to be Recession-Proof.As Heru explained, “The day of the 9-to-5 worker is dead. You can’t just go to college and then come back and run the steel mill in your town.You have to keep educating yourself.”He expounded on that by breaking it down that more and more big businesses will be hiring ”independent contractors”as opposed to regular staff in order to reduce overall costs.Another quality suggestion he presented is getting into services that use the economic crisis to your advantage, such as credit counseling, financial management, career counseling for people to learn new skills – as long as there is profit and need for it, you can be even more successful than you were doing during the ‘boom times’.

Everyone left with higher self-assurance that they can still succeed despite the recession.To get more advice on how to handle yourself and your money during this period, keep your eyes peeled to this blog and our email blasts.

two great new Insiders Group workshops!

24 Sep

Great news everyone!

Starting in October, Insiders Group Inc. will be offering two sets of workshops that are CAN’T MISS!

With all the craziness going on with the U.S. economy, we’re kicking off our Autumn series with a two-hour intensive Insider Secrets to Near Perfect Credit workshop. Where our Financial Freedom courses tell you how to alter your mindset in order to learn the proper, no-fail ways to clear your debt and get a better grip on your finances through employing the secrets of the wealthy elite, our credit repair workshop teaches you to:

  • obliterate bad marks on your credit report and significantly increase your credit score in only 91 days
  • discover the secrets to getting bank loans and lines of credit even if your credit stinks
  • gain access to the billions of dollars out there that creditors are willing to give you, and much more.

The small investment for this priceless program is only $27. Registration begins right now, so join us at 216 Greene Avenue in the historic Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn on October 15th at 7pm to start enjoying the privileges that come along with good credit. The program also has a 100% money-back guarantee. If you’re not fully satisfied, you will get a full refund.

Later that week, and two more times during the month, discover the secret, unfair advantage that allows you to rake in huge profits in today’s real estate market with no bank loan, no credit, and little or none of your own money.

A lot of people feel the real estate market has crashed. But any investor worth their salt knows that no matter what changes there are to the market, one has to alter their strategies. Insiders Group Inc. is a true proponent and example of that type of thinking, and so we’re offering a great workshop for you all to still make money in real estate.

First some facts: According to the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations, the rental industry’s trade association, the lease option business generates $4.4 billion in revenues for the industry, and serves nearly three million customers! It shows no signs of slowing down, in fact, all indications point to increased revenues for years to come. It’s time for you to take advantage of this high profit, proven method while there is still virtually no competition.

In the “Insider Secrets to Making Big Money In Real Estate With Little Cash and No Credit” we’ll cover in detail and reveal the insider secrets of using the “lease with an option to buy” basic strategies. When you walk away from this workshop there will be no guess work involved in making your fortune in real estate because we’ll take you by the hand and show you the way.

When you register for this real estate investing workshop you’ll discover:

  • How you can acquire a profit producing property for very little or nothing down quickly and easily
  • How to attract the best tenants who pay for the property while you pocket extra cash
  • Learn the only types of real estate to invest in and which types you should avoid at all costs
  • Fun, fast, step-by-step methods for attracting eager buyers and motivated sellers but more importantly, how to get them to sing on the dotted line —EVERY TIME. Hint: it’s easier than you think!

…and MORE!

So, who should come to this workshop? Any already established investor who wants to stay ahead of the market and boost their income with a powerful new strategy. Also, anyone interested in making huge profits acquiring a portfolio of valuable real estate without the headaches associated with traditional investing.

You’ll get two hours of ALL NEW money making real estate investing information featuring the best quick start information.

Oh, and did I mention? It’s FREE. WHY? Because we know once you see how powerful these insider money making strategies are, we’re certain that we will at some point work closely together and each make a fortune. But because it’s free, we have to limit registration to the first 30 people that are registered, and seats are already being filled.

Insider Secrets to Making Big Money In Real Estate With Little Cash and No Credit starts on Saturday, October 18th at 1pm, occurs again Tuesday October 21 at 7pm, then again on Saturday November 1st at 1pm.

Registration for both workshops is uncannily easy. Either call us Toll Free: 800–614-4018 or at 718-622-2271.

So Don’t Wait, Hesitate, or Procrastinate! It’s time for you to Take Advantage of These Risk-Free Offers Today!

www.InsidersGroup.com

How to Recession-Proof Yourself Like the Wealthy Elite

11 Apr


If you have been paying any attention to the news then you have heard strong predictions that the United States is about to enter a recession. Although most people fear these warnings, very few people actually know what a recession is or how to insulate themselves from the negative affects of a recession and even how to profit as a result of a recession. In macroeconomics, a recession is defined as a decline in a country’s gross domestic product, or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year. This still does not give the average person a picture of what a recession is or how it can affect the day to day existence of those that are not prepared for it. A recession may involve simultaneous declines in economic activity such as employment, investment, and corporate profits. Recessions may also be associated with falling prices (such as in real estate prices), or, alternatively, sharply rising prices (such as oil prices) in a process known as stagflation. A severe or long recession is referred to as an economic depression, such as occurred in the US from 1929 to 1941.

History, however, has shown us that not only can you survive a recession; you can actually thrive during one if you take certain steps.

The normal response to a recession is fear which causes people to “Freeze” and “Hoard.” The freeze affect is manifested by a sudden and sharp decrease in consumer spending. People tend to stop spending, stop investing, and begin to hold their cash “for a rainy day.” This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing during a recession. During a recession their will be inflation which means that the value of your dollar will decrease during the recession. Everyday that you hold onto your dollars they decrease in value unless they are sitting in a vehicle that is earning significant interest (interest greater than the inflation rate). The other way to increase the value of your cash is to spend less for more value.


Cut Costs Not Lifestyle

A recession can provide a great opportunity for you to increase your revenues if you change your mindset to reflect that of the wealthy elite. Let’s examine some habits that are common amongst the wealthiest people in America. Wealthy people do not expect to pay full price for anything. My friends tease me about my ability to find high quality items at discount prices. I refuse to pay top dollar when I know I can get it at a lower price. According to Thomas J. Stanley, PhD in his ground breaking book “The Millionaire Mind”, most people are shocked when they learn that many millionaires cut the operating costs of their households with the following practices:

  • Having furniture refinished instead of buying new
  • Switching long-distance phone companies
  • Never buying from telephone solicitations
  • Having shoes resoled or otherwise repaired
  • Using discount coupons when shopping
  • Buying household supplies in bulk

You should always be seeking to cut costs while maintaining a comfortable standard of living. Reevaluate your spending habits and see if you are able to reduce your spending while marinating your lifestyle. Get into the habit of haggling with sales people. During a recession it is harder for companies to make a sale especially on items that are not needed everyday like electronics, cars, etc. Insist on a lower price and threaten to go to a competitor. In most cases, you will find that the price can be lowered significantly.

Think Global

We truly live today in a borderless economy. To maximize your dollars, outsource like the big companies do. For small jobs that you need such as the building of a website or other work that does not need to be done on location, you can find service providers in other countries that provide less expensive labor. A great resource to check out to find such low cost service providers is www.elance.com. You can also search the internet for low cost products and goods that can be shipped inexpensively.

Another way to think global is to sell your skills in the open market to people in other countries, especially in Europe, that will be glad to pay you above average US wages because it will be less expensive than hiring someone in Europe. Consulting, marketing, writing, technical skills all can easily be marketed online to foreign markets. You can set up your own account on http://www.elance.com.

Invest in Tangible Assets

The US dollar continues to decline in value. In order to fight the loss, you should take your paper money and purchase assets that increase in value so that if you choose to or are forced to liquidate the asset, you will have more paper money than you originally paid for the asset. One great asset that has stood the test of time is gold. The price of gold has reached over $1,000 per ounce and shows no sign of stalling in growth. Silver has also hit a high mark. Precious metals have always been great ways to fight the decline of paper money. Bullion coins have a proven ability to protect wealth and preserve one’s purchasing power, and gold coins offer divisible size and are universally acceptable in a recognizable form. This makes the purchase of gold coins and the selling of gold coins convenient through reputable coin dealers. Buying gold coins is a convenient method for wealth protection and profit potential that doesn’t require large amounts of cash to invest or good credit. Check with a numismatic company online to get the best prices for gold coins.

Real Estate is still a valuable tangible asset that can provide good long term wealth. The tricky part is figuring out how to take advantage of the changing market. Two issues are significant. First, it has become increasingly more difficult to gain financing from banks. The second is the slew of properties on the market including those in foreclosure. The first issue presents a disadvantage. The second issue provides great opportunity. Let’s address the first issue. If you are very creditworthy, and have employment history, and can show heavy assets, then you can still get a mortgage from the bank. If you have issues in any one of those areas, you will have to get creative to finance your investment purchase. One great strategy is to offer a seller to do a lease with the option to buy. With sellers desperate to generate some income from a property, this can be easily negotiated. You lock into today’s low prices and have the opportunity to purchase the property over a period of time. Try to negotiate a 2-4 year lease-option. This gives you a longer time to purchase the property and to make yourself creditworthy. The way to maximize this opportunity is to include the right to sublet the property and have the tenants cover your costs. This could potentially provide monthly cash flow as well as the ability to acquire a property with little money out-of-pocket.

The second issue, which is the huge surplus of properties on the market including record numbers of foreclosures, allows you to negotiate to buy properties that had little or no equity at a significant discount. Banks are desperate to unload properties in the foreclosure process because they know they have little chance of selling most seized properties at the auction because they have no equity due to the overpricing and over leveraging loans that occurred over the past few years. You have an opportunity to negotiate what is called a short sale; meaning that the bank agrees to accept less than what the seller owes on the mortgage. Sometimes you can get the bank to accept up to 50% less than the amount owed on the mortgage. Although the seller is not able to receive any money from the short sale, it allows the seller to walk away without owing the bank and without having a foreclosure on their credit report which can be devastating when trying to start over.

Choose the Right Stocks and Bonds

Stocks

When investing in stocks during a recession, the relatively safest places to invest are in high-quality companies with long business histories since these companies are more likely to be able to handle prolonged periods of weakness in the market. Companies that have long term economic value with strong balance sheets, including those with little debt and strong positive cash flow, tend to do much better than companies with heavy operating debt and poor cash flow. A company with a strong balance sheet and good cash flow is better able to handle an economic downturn and should still be able to fund its operations as it moves through the weak economic times. Alternatively, a company with a lot of debt may find itself in trouble if it can’t handle its debt payments and the costs associated with its continuing operations.

Also, traditionally, one of the safest places in the market is investing in consumer staples. These are typically the last products to be removed from a budget such as toiletries, food, and other basics. In contrast, electronic retailers and other consumer discretionary companies can suffer as consumers hold off on these higher end purchases.

For this next recommendation, you’ll have to check your own comfortableness. History has shown us that “sin stocks” tend to do well during a recession. Hard times won’t stop gamblers from betting, partygoers from drinking and smokers from puffing. In fact, economic turbulence might give them even more reason to indulge. That makes so-called sin stocks, or shares of alcohol, gaming and tobacco companies, a safe bet as the U.S. economy slows. During the 2000-02 downturn, Standard & Poor’s Casinos and Gaming index gained 115%, while the S&P Shares of tobacco giant Altria (then known as Philip Morris) more than doubled, and the stock of Anheuser-Busch, the largest U.S. brewer, advanced 87%. A cigarette costs about 1.25 cents to manufacture. A single serving of liquor, including packaging expenses, costs 3 cents. An average casino slot machine keeps 12 cents for every dollar fed into the device.

Also, the mushrooming middle classes in developing nations such as China and India are boosting demand for alcohol, casinos and cigarettes. Although tobacco consumption in the U.S. and Europe has declined for decades, it continues to grow modestly in emerging markets. The prospect of expansion to Asia has been a key factor driving up casino stocks. Beverage and food companies are grabbing up small town brewers and distillers in fast-growing foreign locales.

Commodities

Another area of investing you want to consider in the context of a recession is commodity markets. Generally, these are basic resources and agricultural products such as iron ore, crude oil, coal, ethanol, sugar, soybeans, aluminum, rice, wheat, gold and silver. The general rule to understand about these investments is to keep in mind that growing economies need natural resources. As economies grow, the need for natural resources grows, and the prices for those resources rise.

During a recession, the demand for commodities usually slows and prices go down. Often, if investors believe a recession is inevitable, they will sell commodities, driving prices lower. However, commodities are traded on a global basis, and U.S. economic activity is not the sole driver of demand for resources such as oil, gas, steel, etc. So don’t necessarily expect a recession in the U.S. to have a direct impact on commodity prices, at least not as strong of an effect as we have seen in the past. At some point in time, the world’s various economies will separate from the U.S., creating a demand for resources that is increasingly less sensitive to U.S. economic health.

Bonds (also known as the debt, credit, or fixed income market)

As investors become more concerned about risk, they tend to shy away from fixed income markets. Practically speaking, this means investors steer clear of credit risk, meaning all corporate bonds (especially high yield bonds) and mortgage backed securities because these investments have higher default rates than government securities. As the economy weakens, businesses have a more difficult time generating revenues and earnings, which can make debt repayment more difficult and could lead to bankruptcy as a worst case scenario.

As investors sell these assets, they seek safety and move into US Treasury Bonds. In other words, the prices of risky bonds go down as people sell (or the yields increase) and the prices on Treasury bonds go up (or the yields decrease).

During a recession, structuring your portfolio is simple. Shift assets away from equities, especially the riskiest equities like small stocks. You should also move away from credit risk in fixed-income markets and invest in Treasuries. A portfolio invested 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds fell 16% during the bear market that followed the pop of the tech bubble in 2000. That compares with a loss of 48% for an all-stock portfolio.

Start a Business

Now more than ever you might be forced to start a business. This could be due to inflated prices that cannot be accommodated with your current salary or in the worst case scenario, you could get laid off and have a significant loss of income. Although a recession would in most people’s mind seem like a terrible time to start a business, success is totally dependent upon doing your research and understanding what the market will continue to spend money on and how you can provide it relatively inexpensively.

Internet Based Business

If we continue to follow the premise that emerging middle class markets in foreign countries with a strong currency are thirsting for goods formally consumed in US markets, then it becomes an easy choice for you to tap into that market via the internet. Foreign currency has tremendous purchasing power. If you provide those goods that can easily be shipped quickly around the globe, you can profit despite a local recession. Do your research and determine what is in high demand. Find out how you can get the product from a manufacturer and have them do the order fulfillment. You simply become a middle person and get paid for each transaction.

Travel and Tourism

Visit any tourist attraction in America and you will notice that there are a lot more Europeans visiting than last year. The reason is simple, Euros buy a lot more of our American stuff than they buy back home. Find out how you can tap into the travel and tourism industry. Explore the tour guide industry, vacation lodging, restaurants in certain areas, entertainment, souvenirs and any other area that would be attractive to foreign travelers.

Predicting the End

Trying to predict how long a recession will last has proved disastrous for many in the past. There is no way to predict the length of a recession, however historically the suggestions that I have offered above have allowed the wealthy elite to not only insulate themselves from the negative affects of a recession, but have allowed them to emerge from recessions more wealthy than they were when the recession started. If you follow the above suggestions, the length of the recession will not matter because you will profit whether the recession is short or long lasting.