Category Archives: Investing in Real Estate

A New Must-Have Book for Buyers

Over the past two days, I’ve had the pleasure of co-touring with Michael Corbett, best-selling real estate author and host of NBC’s Extra’s Mansions and Millionaires, to spread the word about his new book, Before You Buy, in which I was honored to be a contributor.

Jim Gillespie and Michael Corbett in studio for book launch

As many of you know, I have been in the real estate industry for more than 35 years now, and I still get the same thrill out of helping people achieve home ownership as I did when I began my career as an agent. When Michael asked me to write the foreword and share insight for this book, I was once again reminded of how satisfying it is to help people buy the home of their dreams and ensure they feel protected, especially in these tough times.

With so many choices and such a unique market, it’s more important than ever for buyers to be well-informed. During a media interview yesterday, Michael and I were discussing an interesting paradox: in spite of the vast and helpful resources available (especially online), recent surveys indicate that home buyers are overwhelmed.  They’re confused – and some of them are downright afraid about making a mistake in what could be the biggest investment of their lives. They need to work with a trusted real estate agent so they can make a smart decision.  Michael’s book Before You Buy breaks down everything buyers need to know, step-by-step, so they’re educated and prepared for every single part of the process. 

There’s no question that now is smart time to buy a home for those who are financially prepared, and Michael touches upon exactly how financially-ready one needs to be. For example, he recommends that ideally, buyers should be able to put 20 percent of the home’s value in a down payment. He also recommends that buyers look for homes priced less than the maximum their lender allows them to borrow.  For those interested in rental properties, Michael has a helpful section on becoming a landlord and “getting strangers to pay your mortgage.” He delves into foreclosures, and “bargain home buying,” among many other timely topics.  Thankfully, with inventory and prices where they are today, there are plenty of fantastic homes on the market for buyers in any price bracket.

Do you have questions about buying a home?  Let me know.

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Coldwell Banker Ranks College Town Affordability

Originally Posted by Jim Gillespie on Blue Matter

Fall is for college football…at least that’s the way I see it. And as I’ve mentioned before, I’m an Illini through and through. I have to say, it killed me on Saturday when Michigan beat us in triple overtime. We are 5-4 and should be headed to a bowl game. But there is more to college football than just the scores and records. It’s the pageantry of the game, the bands, cheerleaders and crowds. The unbelievable traditions that make the sport what it is. But it is also about the towns. Those quintessential American communities that are home to some of the great learning institutions in our country.

Today, Coldwell Banker explores these great towns with the Coldwell Banker College Home Listing Report. We rank the affordability levels of the markets that are home to the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. The most affordable market this year is Muncie, Indiana (Ball State University), and the most expensive is Palo Alto, California (Stanford University). Hopefully David Letterman will be happy to hear about how his Cardinals stand out. Check out the full listing to see how your school stacks up!

Why is this list important? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Homes in college towns can be a strong investment for many people. Say you’re a parent whose child is in or starting school. Instead of paying for dorms or rentals with zero return, many “parent investors” purchase a home where their child (and potentially other friends) can live during their school years. They collect rent from roommates who hopefully respect each other and the “parent investor” and maintain the home’s upkeep.

Our survey showed that two-thirds of Coldwell Banker real estate professionals in college towns are seeing a significant number of these “parent investors” in their markets. Who else is buying in these areas? General investors (73 percent of respondents report this), alumni (51 percent report seeing them) retirees (49 percent reported this trend).

Do you live in a college town? What makes your area special? Our team interviewed dozens of fans for their thoughts in this fun video. What do you think? Do you have a powerhouse sports program? An amazing academic reputation? A restaurant or coffee shop that’s second to none? I love Billy Barooz in Champaign. Chime in with your comment!