Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Growing up in Silicon Valley you always had this constant feeling of bipolarism when it comes to the economy. Euphoria marked by downturns. Here, you always know a downturn is right around the corner. If you've lived here long enough. It's why the recession took me by such surprise. We always expect recessions here. At least I do. I just didn't believe it could be so deep. There has always been periods of sadness for whatever company just didn't make it. Only to see old buildings being torn down for new to repeat the process. It's the normal here.

So when I started seeing pockets of commercial real estate being town down, I took note. It feels like I've been seeing it for about a year. But the recession has turned time into dog years. I know this has been going on only for about 6 months. Around the time I tried to refi my house the first time.

You see...I have a special insight into the real estate market. My house, I bought about seven years ago. And the economy had already turned. I remember talking the guy down by a lot. I even remember telling my agent - that guy sees the market has turned. Right?

Then I bought my crapshack two years later. I was bottom feeding. Trying to soak up inventory. The worst of the recession hadn't hit yet. It took me about 6 months to gut my crapshack. I had it on the market for four months, and I bailed and installed a renter. Within a year the market was crushed. I was in this awkward position that in 2007 I could afford this shit, but in 2009 the banks would have never lent me this kind of money.

For the next four years I spent basically in an out of body experience. I wanted nothing more than to shed that anchor.

Skip forward to today.

All of a sudden I want nothing more than to keep that property. It's sort of a mind fuck actually. I refi'd at 4.25%. Which is pretty much the cheapest money you can get on a rental. And you can't help but see all of the real estate news. I have many thoughts on that of which can't all be put into one post.

Keeping time in relation to my houses is the only way I can keep track of what has actually happened with the market. I know the market in my town almost better than any agent.

So, a couple of weeks ago I'd noticed the lady who used to live in my house put her new house up for sale. We'd accidentally found out where she lived because I was putting in stamped concrete at the time. We drove around the neighborhood trying to find examples and good contractors. Of the three or so so houses we stopped to inquire about the workmanship - one turned out to be the lady who owned my house previously.

Her house that she just put on the market went in a week. I think she must have walked out flat, because I obviously know when she bought. My house is still underwater, so I know what her situation is. If she put down 20% like I did, she might be about flat. The place she moved to is smaller than this one.

To tell you the truth, a lot of houses that were bought in the 2009 time range are starting to come back on the market. And I can understand why. These people are finally able to move. And they probably want to shed that anchor like I did. Which frankly makes me want to do nothing more than keep my rental.

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