Monthly Archives: March 2013

using the principle of UNIVERSAL DESIGN in your home ……..

If purchasing a home or need to make your present home to handle special needs, particularly as you get older, the principle of UNIVERSAL DESIGN  simplifies life  for you and those around you.  Universal Design actually benefits all ages and abilities.  A home with a ground-level entry provides easy access in and out and wide enough to accomodate a wheel chair.  Also check width & slopes of sidewalks around your home to ensure that they, too, have easy wheelchair access.  Single-story homes give better maneuverability if you become physically impaired.  If you must use steps be sure they are covered with a non-slip surface and are well-lighted.  On the ground floor is there a bedroom or bath to use if you cannot climb the stairs, even for a short period of time.  Kitchens have become FAMILY ROOMS.  Again ability to get around in a wheelchair or walker.  Push-pull lever faucet handles are better than standard knobs.  Need easy access to drawers and cabinets.  In bathrooms have handrails and grab bars, but be sure walls will hold these when installed.  A chair or bench could be used in a tub or shower and handheld shower heads are good if you cannot stand to shower.  Keep UNIVERSAL DESIGN when you buy a new home or remodel your present one.


The Realtors Land Institute is composed of men and women who sell dirt, which is a good investment these days.  There are 3 investment categories of land:  agricultural, recreational and transitional.  Transitional land is land on the suburban outskirts of cities that will converted from ag use to new homes in the near future.  During the great collapse of 2008 to 2011, there were NO bidders, so prices plummeted.  Could not get loans to develop.  Americans are buying houses again, so DEMAND IS UP.  Lot prices could increase to meet this demand.  Recreational land are toys for both boys & girls & a pretty lake, stream or mountains adds value.  During the great collapse, bidders for these properties disappeared.  Prices didn’t fall hard, but few buyers.  Recreational land is awakening, as thousands of families started receiving massive payments for the minerals under their properties, the economy has recovered & business profits have improved so the recreation market is reawakening. Farmland is on fire?  Corn ground in Iowa that was $7,500 per acre a few years ago is now selling for $17,000 per acre.  Other states similiar & cropland prices in the Texas Panhandle have skyrocketed as well.  The land market in America is COMING BACK STRONG.  Where do you put your money, but into land?  This is why foreign investors are buying U. S. dirt, according to Dr. Mark Dotzour, Chief economist & Director of Research at TX A&M Real Estate Center.



The last 4 years have been full of dour news about the slow growth of employment in America.  The unemployment rate remains high & labor participation rate is low.  There are a lot of  “long-term unemployed” workers in the country, but true.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes their J.O.L.T.S. report each month.  It’s call the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.  BLS reports job openings, hires, quits, layoffs, discharges & other separations each MONTH.  As of January 10, 2013 there are 3.7 MILLION JOBS open in America looking for a worker.  They are (1) construction – 93,000 openings, (2)  manufacturing – 276,000,  (3) trade, transportation, utilities – 720,000, (4)  professional & business services – 584,000, (5) health care – 643,000,  (6)  leisure & hosopitality – 479,000 and (7) government – 355,000.  Listening to the news would give you the idea that the future of our country is bleak, but according Dr. Mark Dotzour, Texas A&M Real Estate Center the economy is growing, inspite of the incompetent governance in Washington.  There  are JOBS FOR THOSE WILLING TO WORK!



LEVERAGING is when a household or a business borrow money to spend or invest and there has been an increase in household credit debt from the 1950s until 2008.  It means you are spending more than you bring in.  DELEVERAGING is the opposite.  It occurs when you pay off debt rather than take on more and that means you are spending less.   When the entire country deleverages, it means economic growth is going to be slow.   Economic growth will continue to be slow as long as the outstanding debt continues to shrink.  Deleveraging does not happen often and when it does it is painful for the national economy.  The good news is that the deleveraging cycle appears to be ending.  As Americans spend then the economic output comes from consumption.  Almost 65% comes from economic output.  All this from Dr. Mark Dotzour, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the TX A&M Research Center.

TRAFFIC CONGESTION – time it takes for trip measured in PTI

TTI (Texas Transportation Institute)  report includes a new measure of travel reliability called the PTI (Planning Time Index, which illustrates the extra time needed to arrive on time to priority appointments, such as airline departures and medical appointments.  A PTI of 3.00 means that a traveler would need to allow 60 minutes for a trip normally requiring 20 minutes.  Nationally, PTIs range from as low as 1.31 (about 26 minutes for a 20 trip) in Pensacola, Fl to 5.75 (nearly two hours for that same 20 minute trip) in Washington, D. C. In Texas, Austin faces the longest potential delays (its PTI is 4.26), followed by Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (4.00).  Houst0n ranked 6th-worst among the nation’s 498 urban areas for overall congestion.