Turning the Corner

20140309-080351.jpgIf 2014 was a one mile race, we would now be heading down the last lap. It has been an interesting year. We started with a long, cold and snowy winter. We then began to thaw out, and just as the sun started shining, the world seemed to erupt in crisis. But like many obstacles we have faced during the recovery, from natural disasters to fiscal calamities, we seem to move ahead slowly but surely. The big question is, will the last lap feature us gaining speed during the straightaway or will we be hampered by another road block?

If the year has been like a one mile race, then the recovery from the recession has been a marathon. Actually, 26.2 miles may not describe the trek we have gone through. But like the year, we are coming into the final lap, though this is a much longer lap. If we gain momentum during the last quarter of the year, we will be able to see, but not reach the finish line. This year we have marked a full five years of recovery, one of the longest recoveries from a recession in history, but also one of the weakest. Many predict two years or more before we can be considered fully recovered, but the last lap of 2014 could change that story. Continue reading

The Fed Transition

20140309-080351.jpgThe Federal Reserve Board is going through quite a transition. Actually, more than one. The first transition is one of secrecy to transparency. In the past we had to guess at what the Fed was thinking. If they were planning a move, they never wanted to leak the news ahead of time because of what the “anticipation” might do to the markets. Over the past several years, they have transitioned to a more open culture, telegraphing potential moves well ahead of time in order to take that surprise factor out of the equation.

The second transition is removing fiscal stimulus from the equation. The financial crisis and ensuing recession was so strong that the level of fiscal stimulus applied was unprecedented — from record low interest rates to the purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars of Treasuries and mortgages. The Fed has continued to remove the purchase of Treasuries from the equation and they also face the second decision — when to raise short-term interest rates. Because of the new era of transparency, Chairwoman Janet Yellen has been talking about dates from the time she assumed the seat.

At first, talk of raising rates caused the markets to react as long-term interest rates rose. But as time went on, this effect has diminished. We are not sure if that is because of economic concerns, world-wide conflicts which have flared up or because the markets just got used to the message. The latest meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee took place last week and the statement released told us that while the Fed thinks conditions are improving, they believe rates should stay as is for a “considerable time.” In many ways this statement tells us that there is “more of the same” coming from the Fed, at least for now. Continue reading

Employment Report Analysis

20140309-080351.jpgAt first blush, it appeared that the jobs report was disappointing. The addition of 142,000 jobs in August was much less than the average of over two hundred thousand for the previous six months. Yet, the day of the report, the stock market reacted positively and interest rates did not fall as expected. What could have caused this “adverse” reaction? To us there are three possibilities. First, the same day as the jobs report, a cease fire was signed in Ukraine. As we have said previously, the world news is over-shadowing our domestic economic news this summer. If the truce holds, this is a positive indicator for the stock market but not necessarily positive for the continuation of lower interest rates.

Secondly, the markets may be betting that the lower number of jobs added might be a one-time occurrence. The jobs numbers are often revised in future months and the markets are not likely to get upset over one report. Now, if we get two or three reports below an average of 150,000 jobs each month, this could be worrisome to the markets. Looking at other indicators such as first time claims for unemployment and the ADP private payroll report, there was no indication that the job creation machine slowed down last month. Continue reading

Let’s Review “Objections” in the Sales Process

Keep Calm and Handle ObjectionsA few months back (actually 7 months ago) we published a couple of blog posts about the types of objections you might face in real estate sales and how to handle some specific objections.

As the Fall selling season is upon us, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at objections again.

Here are links to my previous posts.  If you have a specific objection that you hear often or have any ideas that might helps our readers, please post in the comments below.

Handling Objections in Real Estate Sales

Types of Objections in Real Estate Sales


Bethany Beach Flood Insurance Information

Flood Insurance ProgramThe following information was provided by the Town of Bethany Beach regarding flood insurance:


Many areas in the Town of Bethany Beach are low lying and/or are located in Special Hazard Flood areas and are prone to flooding during storms and heavy rains.  Most areas lying north of Garfield Parkway (Route 26) and east of Route 1 are in a coastal AE zone. Properties fronting on the ocean may be in a coastal V zone.  If you are in a flood plain, you should know about services available to you and how to protect yourself and your property from flooding.


The Town of Bethany Beach offers the following services: Continue reading

Well, Perhaps Not The Best of All Worlds

20140309-080351.jpgLast week we spoke with optimism about the fact that the economy is indeed recovering but interest rates are remaining lower than most had predicted for this year. We wondered whether we might actually have the best of both worlds — at least for a short period of time. However, we have to recognize why rates are so low while the economy is edging its way back to normal. If rates are low because there is no evidence of inflation and the economy is not in danger of overheating, that is a good thing. As long as the economy keeps improving.

On the other hand, if rates are down because of the violence which is occurring in several areas of the world, that is another matter. When the world is in crisis, it is not unusual for U.S. Treasuries to be a safe haven for investors. While the effects of low rates are still positive for our economy, we can’t actually describe this as a good thing. And there is a connection between the economy and these events. For example, the economic sanctions levied against Russia are already affecting the European economy. During the financial crisis we saw how an under-performing economy in Europe can affect our economy’s performance. Continue reading

Gracious Ways to Accept a Compliment

Do you have a tough time accepting compliments?

Most people do have a tough time accepting compliments.

You may have said to yourself at one time or another:

        I don’t like to toot my own horn.


        I’m not the type to brag.


        I don’t deserve it.


      They must be exaggerating.

    They feel sorry for me.

A compliment is a gift. If you don’t accept it, in effect what you are really doing is turning the “gift” down, insulting the person giving it and subtly suggesting that you don’t value their opinion!

Break the habit of self-deprecation and consider doing this instead:

  • A simple thank you will do – Look into their eyes and smile! (Or email Smiley faces)
  • Be appreciative – “I appreciate the compliment, especially from you.”
  • Recognize others – If someone else was involved, mention them too.
  • Ask for advice – “Thank you — and I was wondering if you could help me…”
  • Make a special effort to share your accomplishments – “I’m proud of myself today because…”

The good news is that mastering the art of graciously receiving a compliment helps you become more self-assured. The more self-assured you are, the more compliments you’ll get.

So, let the warm fuzzies begin!

What’s the best compliment you’ve received lately? Let me know if the comments below or on my Facebook page here:  Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team Facebook Page