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What I’ve Learned: England and the United States

Balm Real Estate didn’t just sell three properties in June.  We also traveled to London, England for a wedding and to Austin, Texas to attend a racing school.  Did we learn anything applicable to the real estate business?  Not enough to claim the trips as business expenses, but enough for an interesting blog…

  1. The average days on market of a home in North Carolina is 180 days.  They put a home on the market, and buyers could come visit the home over 10 times before making an offer.  An offer FULL of conditions.
  2. In London, a seller can accept an offer from one buyer but then accept a (higher) offer from from another buyer at the last minute (“gazumping”).  In a depressed market, a buyer can make an offer but at the last minute threaten to withdraw unless the seller lowers the price (“gazundering”).  
  3. One of the (many) issues Mercedes Benz is currently examining is that a child born in 2017 will likely never (need to) have a driver’s license.
  4. Chatting with a commercial lender from San Francisco, Canada’s home prices, debt load and comparable GDP are soberingly close to the US before their crash.
  5. Uber did not operate in Austin in protest of a municipal ordinance requiring all carriers to be fingerprinted.  An NFP called “RideAustin” was started to help those who were stranded or out-of-work.
  6. None of my friends in London saw Brexit coming.  NOT ONE.  And those of them who are small business owners in the labour sector fear a huge spike in the costs of doing business.
  7. I sat with an owner of a factory that is the largest employer in a small Utah community.  He hates Trump, but voted Republican.  And he put together a pretty compelling argument on why hundreds of small towns in the US feel the same way.
  8. That same employer pays an average salary of $40,000USD.  The average home in his community is $200,000.  Now think of what you make and where you live.
  9. The average price per square foot for a condo in Chicago is around $500.  In Toronto, we have hovered around $700PSF.  Despite the resale market taking a dive in April, the preconstruction prices have soared to $1000.
  10. One of the most common misconceptions about racing cars is that the person who drives the fastest around the track wins.  In reality, the person who has the most patience and discipline in dealing with adversity (with their car, the other driver or the pits) in the race will win.

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