Lessons of 911


Today (September 11, 2011) as I write this I am preparing to board a plane bound for Hawaii. Part vacation and part work this trip in and of itself is a statement to those who would bring America to her knees if they could.
We as a country have never settled for defeat. And, I pray we never will. Ten years after the last plane fell from the sky. Ten years from the time the last tower fell. Ten years from the time the last hero breathed his (or her) last breath. We continue to remember those who we lost, and those who were saved.
As I await takeoff I cannot get enough of the television coverage marking this historic date in a most appropriate manner. And, front and center in the celebration is arguably the most famous piece of real estate in America, Ground Zero.
Ten years ago almost to the minute this hallowed ground having just seen her twin monuments to capitalism fall, and the land now intrinsically holding little value.  In the world of commercial development the value of land is offset by the cost of preparing the land to be developed and the cost of rebuilding was incalculable. However, on that moment the value of that land was that it held the collective pride and resolve of each and every American man, women, and child.
Today, from the ashes and the rubble now mostly gone, on this once devastated piece of ground rises  a statement to the world. America has not forgotten. We have however recovered.
And, on this most sacred anniversary, I want those of you who say that after the crash of 2007 when for a moment (just like the land at Ground Zero) our homes seemingly held no value, that they could never put the true value of our homes at zero.
I lecture all the time that the true value of a home is the sense of security that the family  feels when they know where they will live tomorrow. It is in the memories we have of our past, and it is in the security  that our home gives us today.
Now, all that being said, the truth is that unlike the stocks of companies of which we have no control, our homes can never be zero. And, our best indication of future home values is the past. In virtually every housing collapse given proper time to recover, housing has always bounced higher than it has fallen.
And, I promise that the market malaise that some relish the opportunity to tout as a reason against homeownership, will someday be but a faint memory. And we will most certainly see better times.
For those who are capable of buying, today is a day full of opportunity. And, for  those who would like to sell and move up to a larger home, but do not want to sell at the price your home
Would sell for today, I offer you this thought. Let us say that if you sold today it would sell for three hundred thousand. And, that this is twenty percent less than you could sell it for in two years. This would mean that if you waited for values to rise you could make sixty thousand more then you could today.
However, that new home that you ultimately would like to purchase would have also increased by twenty percent. So if your new home could be purchased for four hundred thousand today, you would pay four eighty in the future. Simply stated you would lose twenty thousand in this transaction because you waited to sell.
Now let’s say that you sold it today for three hundred thousand and moved up to that new home for a purchase price of four hundred thousand, and two years later it is worth four eighty. Even considering that you could have sold for sixty thousand more by waiting, your net increase in equity is twenty thousand today with the potential for far more.
Ten years ago we thought our country’s finest days were behind us, and yet we (like the site at ground zero) have risen from the ashes and are now well on our way to recovery.
Four years ago we thought our housing industry had been decimated beyond all hope of repair. And yet today opportunities abound. And, for those willing to dream, dreams are becoming reality. And, the family histories of tomorrow are being built on the foundation of our homes today.
Finally a personal thought. God bless this country and keep her strong. And let us always know that the price of freedom is never free. Special thanks to those who pay the price.

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