Thursday, August 19, 2010


There is a saying “If you are lucky enough to live by the water, then you are lucky enough.” Many residents of Rock Pond in Georgetown are among those folks who are lucky enough and they are in the process of saving their sweet little beach from being taken by the town for back taxes.
Decades ago funds were left in trust by a private party to maintain the Rock Pond Beach for the enjoyment of those who had deeded rights to the beach. What has happened to those funds is yet to be discovered, but the story behind the movement to save a special place in the sun is as American as it is heartwarming.
For years the little beach was the focal point of summer where families and friends gathered to relax and enjoy the beauty of Rock Pond. It was so adored by the community that beach chair and blanket space was at a premium and one had to get there early to stake out a spot. The beach was kept clean and a shed was built to store equipment such as rakes and floats that cordoned off the swimming area. The neighbors knew and cared about each other and the Rock Pond community was “lucky enough”.
As happens with the passing of time, children grow up and move away from sweet little beaches. Parents grow older and their needs are often better met in other locations. The dynamic of whole communities can change to the point where neighbors no longer know each other and the only gatherings that take place on sweet little beaches are those of geese and ducks.
The beautiful Rock Pond Beach was left to ruin for years and it was becoming a junk yard filled with trash. There is a sadness associated with the ruination of something beautiful and timeless. Busy with their separate lives, Rock Pond residents continued to drive past the sad little beach every day as it became more of an eyesore than the gem it always was. The task of cleaning up the beach seemed overwhelming anyway and where would one begin if one did? One did.
Kris and Nicole Owens have four children and they live across the way from the beach. Kris began riding his lawn mower over to the beach to mow the grass. He and Nicole then began to clean up the beach by raking up trash and glass particles that would hurt their children. When asked what made Kris begin such an undertaking Nicole said “Oh, he just generally does things that feel right.”
Close neighbors and friends joined them with rakes and trash bags. They made a path to the old shed and rummaged through forgotten floats and equipment. Soon they had the swimming area cordoned off and as more neighbors began to take notice, the old dock began to see kayaks and canoes. One day several weeks ago as Kris was raking, a passerby stopped to ask why he was “bothering to clean up the beach” that was being “taken by the town for back taxes to be sold off as buildable lots.” Kris did not know the man and has not seen him since, but for those who do not believe in “coincidence”, this chance encounter certainly was “meant to be”.
Kris went to Town Hall and found that in deed, the town was preparing to take back the
beach that would be turned over for development. Quickly a committee was formed and fliers went out to nearly two hundred homes that have deeded rights to the beach. Most residents were not even aware of those rights, but many were pleasantly surprised to learn of the additional value to their properties.
The town is now working with the Rock Pond Beach Association who have collected funds sufficient to stave off the taking for the time being. What has happened at Rock Pond, however, goes beyond taxes and taking, raking and cleaning. Neighbors are gathering with friends and families. Children are learning a sense of community as they see neighbors, once strangers, now waving on the way by to each other. What began with one mower and one rake is not so far removed from the barn buildings of centuries ago. People needed each other to develop as part of a whole rather than to merely exist in isolation. There is as much laughter as there is splashing now around Rock Pond and it is absolutely intoxicating.
Perhaps being part of something so uplifting during such difficult times will be a driving force behind many “Rock Pond” movements throughout the country. The Rock Pond neighbors have become “lucky enough” again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


We are approaching that time in our country when the voting booths will be opening again for us Americans to control our own destiny. Professional commentators are all over the map with predictions and there is rarely a shortage of propaganda to support claims that further a political agenda.
Propaganda that espouses “how well” we are doing in the ant farming market can hurt ant farmers who rely upon such faulty information. Propaganda that leads consumers to believe that the housing market is improving right now or in the near future is dangerous and can cause the loss of fortunes.
Experienced Realtors have the means by which to provide Clients with information that exists outside the political arena, the TV, radio, print media or internet. Painting a rosy picture of the housing industry may work in the voting booth for a temporary period of time, but in Real Estate, the truth will set you free indefinitely. Here is the truth:

1. The Housing Market continues to decline. Eighty percent of Contracts to Purchase single family homes go to closing within Sixty days. In order to determine the value of a property, all who work in the industry look backwards to compare prices of those comparable properties that have SOLD. We consistently see that the prices continue to decline.
2. There are indicators that can be used to determine future changes. One of these indicators is a “future contract”. When Realtors and industry related professionals such as bankers and appraisers look at the declining number of contracts that have been written for the purchase of homes in the coming weeks and months, the news is instructive. The number of sales continues to decline as do the prices.
3. The leading economic indicators (LEI) show unemployment stats hovering at 10% and despite some reporting to the contrary, the Stimulus Package has not produced the jobs needed to bolster the housing market.
4. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares fell to their lowest since 1992 and 1994 respectively as reported by Wall Street. The sharp decline is thought to be a direct result of proposed legislation that would require the mortgage giants to raise huge capital sufficient to give a break to homeowners whose loans are too burdensome. When investors get spooked, it becomes more difficult for consumers to obtain a loan to purchase a home.


As long as a consumer has a handle on what is true, he/she can move through any market and achieve the optimum outcome possible (most amount of equity out in shortest period of time). If you want to (or have to) sell your home, do not wait. You are living in your own bank and it is shrinking. There is nothing you did to cause it and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You must price your property correctly and it will sell. Every property sells at the right price and time.

Know that if you sell one property and purchase another, you may be among the many consumers who refer to your selling and buying as a “wash”. The market decline is across the board. You do not sell “too low” and buy “to
If you are a buyer, there is hardly a better time than these times to make a purchase. The rates remain historically (or hysterically) low and the banks are doing what they should be doing. They are loaning money to folks who can pay them back.

If you are planning to retire in the near future, downsize and you have a good bank account, you may be among those in the best position to buy. The housing prices will remain low. You can sell your home that has accumulated large equity over the years. You can purchase a home that meets your changing needs for cash or a smaller mortgage thereby ridding you of the burden of higher interest rates.

We are not near the end of this declining market and we who read the signs and practice within the industry every day know it. If you do not understand the economic facts that directly affect your fortune, you will lose money. It is that simple.

This is America, thank goodness. Information is free flowing. Read as much as you can and educate yourselves as much as possible about the Housing Recovery. There has never been a time when Americans failed to rise above any/all adversity. We just need to know the truth and no one makes better decisions collectively than Americans do.