Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

For over eighty years in good times and bad Jensen's Inc. has tried to stay focused on our customers. We believe that the best way to take care of the residents in our manufactured home land lease communities is to:

1) Provide good value,

2) Provide good customer service, and

3) Provide assurance that our communities will stay viable for the long haul.

If you or a family member is looking to buy a home in a land lease community, why would you want anything else?

Jensen partners with its residents to achieve our interdependent goals. People want a nice, friendly and affordable place to live in their own home and Jensen wants to provide such a place for a fair profit. Everyone wants to enjoy pride in ownership as well as at least steady and over the long term appreciating property values.

This year more than most, we are all happy to have a roof over our heads and bright prospects for the future. Better times are on their way but Jensen communities aims to be there for its customers through thick and thin. We offer an affordable option to live in your own home in some great neighborhoods. We hope that you will visit one of our communities to see how you can "Get in on the Good Life!"

In the spirit of the holiday season, we hope that you enjoy the comfort of family and friends, but remember those less fortunate with a toy or food donation with so many in need.

Peace and good will to all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Energy Star Homes and Appliances

Lowering monthly expenses is on everyone’s minds these days. A dollar we don’t have to pay for electric, gas or oil each month is a dollar we can use to pay down credit card bills, the mortgage, or into our bank account.

Buying a new Energy Star Home complete with Energy Star rated appliances reduces your monthly expenses below that of comparable homes and appliances. In fact, buying an Energy Star home may even qualify you for a larger home and mortgage due to the expected lower expenses. And once you have made the modest upfront investment, and energy efficient home is the gift to your family that keeps on giving every month and every year you own the home.

Manufactured homes are inherently tighter and less drafty than many site built homes. They are built in climate controlled environments, the framing lumber is more typically cut on larger and more accurate saws, and floor, wall and roof systems are framed on jigs to ensure good fit. The additional sealing, gasketing, and insulation typically needed to make a manufacturer’s homes Energy Star are easily completed in the factory setting.

So besides the money you can save with an Energy Star Home, you get the added comfort of a tightly built house. More information on Energy Star (including New Homes, Home Improvements, and Products can be found at:

Find out more at and “Get in on the Good Life!”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Understanding the Land Lease

It is important for prospective buyers in a manufactured housing community to understand the benefits of the “land lease” concept before they become residents.

Because the majority of prospective buyers have owned their own homes and land, there is a natural assumption that the two are inseparable; that it is better to own your own land and unwise to build a home on land you don’t own. Leasing land is a totally new concept to many even though it has worked for Jensen customers for decades. And because people are unfamiliar with it, they are initially wary of it until they learn more.

What many people don’t initially appreciate is that a Manufactured Housing Land Lease Community (MHLLC) is able to give you more home for your dollar exactly due to the land lease. By owning your own home and leasing a home site, you are able to get a dramatically better lifestyle for less. You get more home, a private community with amenities, and the best neighborhoods for the money anywhere.

The desire to purchase both home and land is driven by past experience and the absence of a true, in-depth understanding of the multitude of benefits associated with leasing and private community living.

Jensen communities’® approach is integral to our mission to ensure our residents enjoy the comfortable, carefree lifestyle they seek. It delivers value and significant advantages that far outweigh any perceived disadvantages.

Without the land leasing arrangement, Jensen Communities would have to sell homes at much higher prices that would include the cost of the land and development. The land lease also allows for common services and recreational amenities to be used and paid for by the entire community. And very importantly, the land lease establishes Jensen as the manager for the community so residents don’t have to manage it themselves to ensure a high standard and protect their investment and ongoing enjoyment.

More and more homeowners (especially “Boomers”) have experienced, or are at least familiar with, leveraging their home equity to improve their lifestyle. Whether consolidating bills, paying college tuition, buying a new car or making home improvements, they understand the advantages of putting their equity to work rather than having it sit idle.

Similarly, Jensen home buyers achieve greater value because they are not burdened with adding the cost of the land to their purchase price. They can buy more home with more of the special amenities they desire and often bank a surplus that can be saved as a nest egg or for emergencies. This is especially appealing to our customers who are generally living on a modest fixed income.

For most people, home and property ownership is really nothing more than a perception. In reality, no one with a mortgage truly owns either until the mortgage is fully paid off. But despite this fact, even with huge 30-year mortgages, people view themselves as “home owners”.

So why such a fuss about buying the land your home is built on? This desire is really based on a perception. When this is clearly understood, freeing capital and improving lifestyle through land leasing makes absolute sense.

One of the biggest concerns often expressed is “What if the land my house is built on is sold to someone else?” Jensen’s core value is its integrity. We’re not in the business of building communities to turn around and sell the property upon which they’re built for another use. In over 80 years in the business, we’ve never done it and have no plans to do so in the future.

Quite to the contrary, prospects view our collective investments as an extremely positive benefit. Naturally, it’s in Jensen’s best interest to protect our investment by creating and enforcing rules and regulations designed to ensure a quality lifestyle for our residents and keep them as long term customers. It’s these rules and regulations that ultimately guarantee a resident’s high level of satisfaction.

Homeowners have an equal incentive to keep up their home and sites to maximize their investment and enjoy the pride of owning their own home. Without our collective investments through land leasing, we would be unable to maintain (and guarantee) the high standards we’re all so proud of, and that have become the hallmark of our success.

Leasing the land means Jensen does the heavy lifting. People who have owned their own home know that it comes with responsibilities: grass, trees, shrubs, wells, septic, water and sewer services, power lines, driveways, foundations, walls, and fences all mean maintenance and eventual replacement. While residents are responsible for their own homes and typically some site maintenance, Jensen’s does the most burdensome of it so that they can enjoy the more enjoyable aspects like flower or vegetable gardening. There are no extra payments or special assessments for replacing a driveway or removing a tree when that is needed.

Leasing land in a MHLLC provides great value for our customers. The advantages, in terms of an improved, carefree lifestyle alone, far outweigh any initially perceived disadvantages.

Find out more at and “Get in on the Good Life!”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good Neighbors Make for Good Retirement Community Living

One thing not to overlook while investigating a retirement home is your future neighbors. Since an enhanced lifestyle is usually a motivating factor in making a move, you want to make sure you find the people to enjoy it with. Are your future neighbors at your same activity level? Will they be exercising outdoors or inside with a Wii? Will they be ready for a 7:00 AM Tee Time or readying the paper on the couch (not that there is anything wrong with that)? Are you likely to find fellow golfers, bikers, fisherman, tennis players, runners, walkers, gardeners, wood workers, or other people interested in the same activities you like to or plan to pursue? Meeting new and interesting people will greatly increase your satisfaction and acclimatization into your new home and community. Simply look for enough people to do what you want to do and at the level you want to do it.

Part of the people decision is whether or not you want to move to a community with an age designation. Bt law, communities must either be open to all ages, 55 and over, or 62 and over (age designated communities have additional requirements per Fair Housing Law). If you are looking for more peace and quiet, a 55 and over community will provide more consistency. If you like to see more activity and have regular interaction with families with children, you may find an age restricted community too sedate and prefer one for all ages. If you are moving to a new area, a 55 and over community may help you to meet more people at your stage of life than you would otherwise.

People move to a specific location in part to be near what they want to do. If winter sports are your thing and you want to be around others who enjoy them, the northern climates will be just for you. Many really enjoy not owning a winter coat so they can be outdoors for most of the year. Other location options include being on a lake, ocean, bay, near a college or university, military base, small town, major city, or in a “transit oriented” community so a car is not needed. The decision you make on where to live will tie you in to the people you want to enjoy. It may be obvious but boater may want to be near other boater, golfers near other golfers, crafters with other crafters, hikers with other hikers, scholars with other scholars, etc.

Good rules also make good neighborhoods. Everyone does not enjoy living on a smaller home site in a retirement community when they have owned a large home on a three acre lot all their lives. Have a good understanding of your future community’s rules and regulations so that you will be comfortable in following them once you’ve made your move. The positive aspect of having sound rules is that everyone and especially your next door neighbors know what to expect. You don’t want hassles with your neighbors; the community owner or home homeowner’s association should be ready to solve the problem should one arise.

Jensen communities® offer some of the best neighbors around. They are a real added bonus to great homes in great neighborhoods. See for yourself at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simplify without Compromise

Over decades in the manufactured housing land lease community business, Jensen has helped people to simplify their lives without having to compromise on living in a single family detached home. When most people think about comfort, privacy and independence, they want to live in a single family home with a little space around them and their neighbors. Early in life when we need the room and have the energy and money to afford it, a large home on a big old lot is just what the doctor ordered. As time wears on, we can become slaves to that large home and big old yard.

It’s hard to keep that feeling of independence when you’ve painted, cleaned, raked, replaced, caulked, trimmed, planted, washed, paved, and installed things for the umpteenth time. It can wear you out. And with the children now gone and the neighborhood changing, you begin to dream that there may be a better place and way to live. It is time to be proactive. Look around at your alternatives and take control. You need to get back to owning your house and not letting your house own you.

We are all entitled to decide how we want to live a more independent lifestyle. This means very different things to all of us. Some may desire to slow down at work but still keep working in a reduced capacity. Some may want to retire but volunteer with a nonprofit they have never had time to support the way they would like. Others may want to work part time but pursue a lifelong passion by learning to fly fish, built their own sailboat, learn to speak a new language and travel, anything their heart desires. And there is really nothing wrong with sleeping late, reading books, and generally taking it easy! The realities of life may also mean spending more time with and caring for an ailing spouse, helping out an aging parent, or providing child care for grandchildren.

Moving from a large and high maintenance home to a smaller more manageable home can free up time, money and effort to pursue your needs and/or dreams. You decide on your standards, needs, and desires. You decide on your financial priorities. A very small resale home on a modest lot may be just what one person needs to free up more income but still enjoy a home and yard. A new home with garage, sunroom and upgrade finishes and features may be more suited to a family coming from a larger home and perhaps still planning on working into retirement.
The simplify part generally takes some physical effort to sort out “stuff” but is well worth the effort. The “without compromise” part takes some reflection in order to define your own path and determine what is central to your new lifestyle.

The important thing is to decide what is right for your family and then go after it.

See how Jensen communities can help at:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time to Get Off the Fence!

Have you seen the TV advertisement with the family literally sitting on the fence and the little girl saying, "Mommy I want one"?

For those who have been sitting on the fence waiting for the "bottom", their wait may be over. Although no one would say we are completely out of trouble, it is a great time to buy if you are confidently in a position to do so. With a strong equity position and secure source of income, what better time to purchase a first or second home than right now with interest rates as low as they may ever be and home prices at their lowest levels in years?

Some might say that they will wait until the market actually bottoms out but history will show that most people buy on the upswing when the market has already started its upward climb. If you are planning to buy, use, and hold the property for at least five years, it should be better to buy as close to the bottom as possible and take advantage of today's low rates and prices.

Sellers are more eager than even six months ago to make a deal. Thoughtfully consider your reasons to purchase a new or additional property. Make sure you would buy the property regardless of whether or not it may appreciate. Take a sober and realistic look at your resources. And then armed with rational reasons and the steam to back it up, jump right off of that fence and make the deal of a lifetime!

"Get in on the Good Life!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pride In Ownership

Pride in ownership is what sets a Jensen community apart from other manufactured housing land lease communities. We pride ourselves on distinctive entrances with clear signage and colorful plantings.

All common areas in each community from New Hampshire to Georgia show regular attention to detail. Our clubhouses receive regular updating and even replacement as is the case with our new Community Building at Crestwood in Concord NH.

People move to a Jensen community because they see the pride in ownership. Resident's take both pride in their homes and yards. Green thumbs abound! Drive through any Jensen community to see how well kept they are. Special gardens, patios, decks, and plantings make each home distinctive. It is great to have your own yard as long as you don't have too much to maintain!

Community rules and regulations help to ensure that everyone is on "the same page" when it comes to upkeep. By knowing what is expected, all residents can enjoy a nice, peaceful, quiet and safe neighborhood.

As you look for a new home and place to live, consider the pride of ownership of your propective neighbors as well as the developer or community manager.

For information on Jensen communities, please go to

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Factory Built Housing

There is a lot to know and like about the homes that are being constructed by the many factory housing builders across the country. When you start to think about it, most homes have numerous factory components including trusses, cabinets, pre-finished floors, railings, tubs/showers, and other items commonly used in today’s homes. The quality, ready availability and the time builder’s save on site make factory components a logical extension of the “site built” products of yesteryear. Whole or half houses are constructed in factories for the same reason.

The construction of a fully factory built home is very much like that of a home completely constructed on site. The order of operations may differ as allowed by the factory setting but the results are more alike than different. For instance, interior walls are generally erected before exterior walls and the roofing systems may be built at the same time as the floor/frame systems and walls rather than in traditional sequence of bottom to top. Both factory and site constructed homes are “stick built”, factory built home just happen to be constructed in a climate controlled setting and shipped to a home site.

Of the two main types of factory built homes, the most widely used are manufactured and modular. The difference is the code that they are built to. Manufactured Homes are built to the “HUD Code” (otherwise known as the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1976 and as amended). Modular homes are built to state specific codes.

When selecting a factory builder, consider the reputation of the builder/dealer as well as the factory. What type of homes does each build (entry level, active adult, move up, luxury, etc.)? Are you satisfied with the options and finishes available? Ask about the building process and how they service warranty items after the sale.

Factory built homes are a logical extension of the component building process. When you start learning more, you find out that they have been around longer than you might expect and are located in more places than thought. And that is the beauty. A well built and sited factory home should be indistinguishable from one built on site.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sellers Need to be More Realistic

We hear all the time how well educated today's consumer is. This is especially true of home buyers. With all of the information available on the Internet, buyers have all the ammunition they need to hit a seller head on.

Unfortunately this isn't usually the case with today's seller. Most sellers don't arm themselves with research or objectivity. They are more likely to use "what their neighbors got for their house last year" or "what they need to pay of their mortgage" or what they need for a down payment on their next home" to justify what they "want" for their home.

Even an appraisal is just an estimate of fair market value which can only actually be determined when a willing buyer and willing seller come to a meeting of the minds and sign a contract (and actually close) onr a home.

So for all you sellers, please do your homework. And please understand that what you want is not usually what you can realistically get.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Homeownership Should Provide Freedom

After taking a summer hiatus from writing I’m back at trying to provide some useful insights into the benefits of living in a manufactured housing land lease community. At Jensen communities we believe that homeownership should provide you with certain freedoms. These include:

· The freedom of your own home with no one directly above, below or beside you.
· The freedom of your own yard to work, play and enjoy.
· The freedom from all the responsibilities and heavy lifting of land ownership – Jensen takes care of the underground pipes, shrubs, trees, driveway, water, septic/sewer, and even the land taxes.
· The freedom of a smaller and manageable yard that’s a snap to maintain.
· The freedom from a large mortgage and financial burden of a large unwieldy home.

Many of our customers are “rightsizing” from various forms and sizes of previous homes. Most have owned their own place before and want the benefits of homeownership, but also some of the advantages of community living. They are pleasantly surprised to find the best of both worlds in a manufactured housing land lease community where they can own a generally smaller, well constructed and energy efficient home on one floor but on a cottage size lot. Great neighbors and community amenities are the icing on the cake!

Buying a home that is well within one’s financial and physical means allows more time and money to do what you really enjoy. Don’t take a step down; take a step into a rightsized home and the Good Life.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Manufactured Home can be a House within your Means

Trailers, coaches, mobile homes, single-wide, house trailer and the like have all been used to name movable dwellings since the inception of the factory built housing industry. Indeed the first homes were truly a unit that you would pull behind the family car. Measuring 8’ x 32’, it could easily be moved and sited.

The villages where these units were placed, either for temporary or long term use, became known as camps or parks. Unfortunately, some became notorious for low grade living as in the “other side of the tracks”. Many of these places earned their reputations. But others thrived and became known for “easy living”.

Today there are two main categories of factory built homes that are shipped over the road in one or more sections and erected on a site. Manufactured Homes are built in a factory to the nationally pre-emptive Construction Safety and Standards Act commonly referred to as the HUD Code. Modular Homes are also built in a factory but must be built to the state code in which they will be sited. The level of quality and finishes are set by the manufacturer just like any home builder. There are actually books available that rate the quality of today’s manufacturers like the one written by John Grissim called “The Grissim Rating Guide to Manufactured Homes”.

Over the history of manufactured homes, the better communities have created permanence for their residents. As long as rent was paid, rules were followed and homes were maintained, residents and/or their homes could remain in “perpetuity”. This would not only create a desirable and affordable place to live, but would allow the homeowners to build equity like any property owner. This creates the best of both worlds where those who take care of their property are rewarded and obsolete homes can be removed so as not to ruin a neighborhood.

This scenario continues to the present in Jensen communities and other stable and well run manufactured housing land lease communities. These communities allow you to buy a home that is both physically and financially manageable. They further allow you to live in your own home and enjoy your home site to garden or play.

A house within your means keeps stress from your life and allows you to enjoy other opportunities. Get in on the Good Life! ®

Friday, July 17, 2009

Accessible EasyLiving Homes-cm

Most all Manufactured Homes are built on one floor. By their very nature they are more accommodating than older homes with multiple floors and narrower passageways.

Customers routinely request changes in specifications to help them live more comfortably in their homes. We are pleased build any feature into a home to make it more accessible and livable for the resident or their guests. These changes typically include ramps to better access the exterior doors to the home, wider doorways to suit their needs, more spacious bathrooms and kitchens, installing select showers or “walk-in” bathtubs, blocking for and affixing grab bars, higher commodes, drive under sinks, lower counters, lever locksets, and numerous other changes as needed by the resident.

We recently encountered a program that sets basic standards for builders to build EasyLiving Homescm. The premise of EasyLiving Homescm is to allow builders an alternative to fully accessible homes that not every customer desires. EasyLiving Homecm features are:

· Easy Access with a step-free entrance from a driveway, sidewalk, or other firm route into the central living area.
· Easy Passage because the exterior door that provides the step-free entrance and EVERY interior passage door on the main level (including bathrooms) is at least a 3’0” or 2’10” door, or a 2’8” pocket door, or other solution that provides 32 inches of clear passage space. Closets are not required to meet the 32-inch clear passage standard, but this can be an added advantage when feasible.
· Easy Use with no less than one bedroom, a kitchen, some entertainment area, and at least one full bathroom with sufficient maneuvering space… all on the main floor.

Jensen communities will be offering EasyLiving Homescm at our Brook Ridge Community in Hooksett NH along with fully assessable homes customized to a buyer’s individual needs. We welcome our customers’ input on how we can make homes that better suit your needs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Market Timing

Are we near the bottom of the real estate market cycle? If we are at the bottom, would you be ready to buy a new or resale home?

Without the confidence that the market is at or near the bottom, many buyers have remained on the sidelines or on the fence. They want to buy, see homes that would fit their needs, but are not ready to act for fear of missing the lowest price possible. Some buyers have time to wait, but is waiting at this point in the market really a good idea?

For the same reason that market timing is usually not a good stock market investment strategy (most financial planners would say that “dollar cost averaging” will win out for the average investor in the long run), it is important to understand the emotions most buyers go through in real estate or financial cycles.

Our retirement plan investment advisor uses the following chart to illustrate why waiting too long to get back in the market may make you miss out on increases in value.

It takes financial security to buy homes or stocks on the way down but buying near the end, through the bottom of the trough, and/or into the recovery period is a great way to buy low with an eye for the best returns. Apparently most people don’t jump back in until the prosperity period starts and they have missed out on the typical appreciation that takes place in recovery.

Everyone needs to carefully and conservatively assess their own personal situation. This may be best done with the help of financial and legal advisors. But once you know your financial abilities, consider taking advantage of a buying opportunity of a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What a time to sell a home!

When selling a home it is important that it stands out above the competition in the marketplace. This is not easy (or is it?) with so many homes, short sales, and foreclosures on the market for sale.

Unfortunately for many sellers, they are not thinking businesslike about the sale and putting their best foot forward. This gives those who have the right mindset and are willing and able to do some extra work a chance to make their property shine for a quicker sale at a higher price.

We have been well educated by Barbara Sperry of Relocation Strategies to get sellers to think of the home they are now living in as their current property. “Home” is where they are moving to. By focusing on the sale of their current property as a business transaction, they are more likely to be successful in making the right moves to sell their home.

Please keep this in mind: Buyers are more in tune with the market than sellers. Buyers know a good price when they hear it and know which homes are in the best shape. Sellers typically know their own house and not the market. Sellers tend to think more of their homes than buyers will. In other words (and especially in a buyer’s market) sellers are not fooling today’s buyers.

Before putting your home on the market:
· Get a realistic assessment of price by obtaining an appraisal or a number of broker assessments.
· Clean and freshen the outside of your current property by washing, weeding, mulching, painting, sealing, cleaning, planting and anything else that will give it curb appeal.
· De-clutter the inside of your current property including rooms, attics, basements, shelves, closets, cabinets, and any other overstuffed space.
· Remove excess furniture and stage your home in a way that will best show the room available.
· Remove outdated wall paper and paint in an earth tone color.
· Remove outdated carpeting and stick with neutral replacements.
· Eliminate pet, smoke and other odors.
· Keep the house clean and ready to show. Turn on lights and open curtains and blinds before each showing.

Buyers are looking for homes that are in “move in condition”.

When you think of it, these items don’t need to cost a lot of money and are a small investment when you consider what not doing them will mean for the number of days your current property will be on the market. So get busy and good luck getting to your new home!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

Owning a home and living in a manufactured housing land lease community offers residents the best of two types of home ownership. You get to own your own home and enjoy the benefits that typically only come with a multi-family complex. Best of all a home can be purchased and the site leased well within one’s means.

Given the choice, most people would choose a single family detached home. Without someone on the other side of a common wall, you really have your own place. Who wants to worry if someone will hear them just trying to live in their own home? And while a large lot is not always ideal, having a small yard to garden, work in, play on, and simply relax outdoors is part of the American Dream.

A small manageable home is a given in a land lease community. They provide for small homes and sites where people do not have to be burdened with all the responsibilities of land ownership. In a land lease community it is common that “everything below the ground or permanently attached to the ground” is the responsibility of the community owner. That means no pipes or leaks to worry about. When your driveway needs repaving or a tree needs removing, the community owner does the heavy lifting at their cost.

When some people hear the term “land lease” they might think its a bad deal. After considering the benefits of being able to make a much smaller housing investment, not having to worry about the problems of owning a lot (well, septic, tree trimming, replacing driveways, etc.), having common costs included like trash collection and land taxes, not getting involved in a homeowners association, and being able to enjoy any recreational amenities that are provided, the land lease has many advantages.

So consider a house within your means in a manufactured housing community near you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Wish We Had Moved to a 55 and over Community Sooner

When Jensen sales representatives sit down to learn about a potential buyer, we find they often feel all alone with their quandary over whether to sell the family home and make a move for themselves to a 55 and over community. We typically hear that the children have left the house (presumably for good!), the yard is getting too much to maintain, climbing stairs in the cape or colonial is wearing them out, and some more modern conveniences would help make cooking, cleaning, working and living a lot easier (like a first floor laundry, island kitchen, new flooring, better storage, etc.). They don’t need so many rooms and would like to reconfigure others to have open living/kitchen/dining areas, a first floor master bedroom/bath, and a home office or hobby space. If we only had a nickel every time we heard this…

Beyond the house, the old neighborhood holds great memories but has changed one too many times and they are now ready for a change. Yet, it is hard to give up the house and place that has meant so much to them. We understand what you are going through. Jensen is here to listen and help you find a more accommodating home and neighborhood.

You are not alone! Many Jensen residents have made the journey before you. A house within your means is more important today than ever. Making a move needs to be a step forward to a more secure and comfortable lifestyle. Using one’s equity to buy a new or resale home, perhaps being able to keep some funds in reserve for emergencies or that special trip, and having the income to cover monthly expenses allows for a good night’s sleep. Getting in on the Good Life in a right-sized and more manageable home is a dream come true.

Please keep in mind another statement we hear all the time: “We wish we had done it sooner!”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Time to Test the Market!

Selling a home or other property in today's market takes a dose of reality and commitment.

The dose of reality comes in the form of the selling price. If the seller is not facing the reality of Fair Market Value the likelihood of a sales happening is slim to none. FMV means what a willing buyer and willing seller agree to in a free market. Until a sale has been consummated, we are talking about an estimate of FMV. Actual FMV is only determined once the sale goes through.

No on likes to see how their home has lost value from the peak. And if we don't want to sell, then we don't have to face it. If we do want (or need) to sell, then we need to face reality or face months or years of being frustrated without a sale. If we are not committed to selling at FMV, leave the property off of the market.

A qualified appraiser using relevant comparables can perhaps provide a better FMV than most agents who are motivated by obtaining a listing. Spend the $300, it will probably save you money in the long run. If you don't want to spend the money, talk to at least three qualified agents who have had success selling in the current market.

This is no time to test the market. Loosing the initial month or two with an over priced property thinking that coming down after you have lost all interested buyers is no way to sell in today's market.

Good selling!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Great Time to Buy a Home!

We are very much in a "buyer's market". According to a Buyer's Market is:

•A market which has more sellers than buyers.
•Low prices result from this excess of supply over demand.
•Also called a soft market.
•Opposite of Seller’s Market.

Obviously if people had more confidence in their income and equity, homes would be selling at a fast and furious pace until demand caught up with the supply. Buyers need to consider their own comfort level and confidence in their "means".

But, if you have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a better deal please consider that the combination of choice, price, interest rates, and seller incentives may not get much better. And if you have not owned a home for the past three years, you should be eligible for the Federal Tax Credit which will expire by year end.

Have a house to sell and don't want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire? I don't blame you! We all need to buy a house well within our means. Seriously consider how you can rightsize into a better home and community. Small manageable homes have always been in fashion at Jensen communities. And although they may be smaller, they are big on comfort, efficiency, and as carefree as a home can get. The planned simplicity in floor plans meets the needs of those looking to rightsize their lives in a safe and friendly neighborhood setting.

It is time to get off of the fence and get looking at the great homes on the market!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Federal Tax Credit to Stimulate Home Sales

The revised Federal Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers provides a potential $8,000 incentive through 2009. Please follow this link to find more detailed information:

For those who have not owned a home within the last three years, have some equity and are confident of their income source(s), this provides an additional reason to buy now to take advantage of the great home prices, low mortgage rates and this tax credit. You should of course consult with your advisers to understand how you go about ensuring the credit.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are Bailouts Sending the Wrong Message?

Every American is looking for the economy to turn around. As job losses mount, the impact to people and families becomes more real to more people. Most citizens realize at this point there are no silver bullets or easy answers. The real question is whether the billions of dollars being thrown at potential solutions are really going to bring us back from the brink or are they just going to saddle future generations with more debt they will not be able to afford.

More importantly, should bail out funds be used to compensate for self inflicted problems or should market forces be allowed to correct the housing and credit markets? Also, responsible homeowners, borrowers, savers, and taxpayers are feeling doubly screwed. For those who acted responsibly throughout the good times, those that bought homes within their means, borrowed within their capacity to repay, kept saving for the future instead of mortgaging against it (and their home's value), and paid taxes are now going to feel the brunt by paying for the bailouts. I don't even want to talk about what has happened to retirement plans.

Most people who have been responsible with their finances and who don't loose a job (through no fault of their own) are generally going to be able to weather the storm. They have planned for it albeit not for this magnitude but they will still get by.

Hopefully the Federal Government bailouts can 1) Stop the fall, 2) Begin a recovery, 3) Help individuals and families that truly deserve the help, 4) Not overly benefit those who created the mess, 5) Still convince people that they must live within their means.

When you borrow against your future, you take a huge gamble and should be expected to suffer the pain of the risks accepted.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Real Neighborhood

Enough with the rants on the economy! I hope to soon see most elements of the Stimulus Plan passed that will help people in their current homes (if they deserve it) as well as help those who are ready to buy a home.

Sales traffic at Jensen communities includes people who are very interested in scaling back their finances for obvious reasons. What they will find once they move into one of our manufactured housing land lease communities is a real sense of neighborhood. Throughout 28 communities in seven east coast states there is one common denominator: great people.

Good neighborhoods have always been created by people who care about their homes, care about keeping a nice yard, and caring about the people around them. They don't have to be close friends; they do need to watch out for each other and each other's families.

Getting in on the Good Life means getting into a great neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time to Get Back on Solid Ground

Hard working people should be able to rely on income from a steady job to pay for food, clothing, shelter, and a few niceties. A moderately paying job should allow the average person to buy a house with a down payment and be able to build equity over time. I don't believe that these matters should be a thing of the past or just things that our parents or grandparents believed in.

Our business and political leaders as well as our regulators have in many ways let us down. It is high time to get back on solid ground. Although I certainly hope that the Federal and State governments do their part to straighten out the mess we are in, each of us needs to take responsibility for our own solid ground. We create our own financial foundation by not getting in over our heads and not letting others entice us to get in over our heads.

Every generation has its challenges. For those of us living and working in todays economy, we will surely have stories to tell our offspring. Hopefully we will be able to tell them how we challenged the norm, took control of our future and set a path that provided current enjoyment and fulfilment of our lives but also set the world straight again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Personal Responsibility

The sobering message that now President Barack Obama delivered last week asked us all to take more personal responsibility.

This message should hit home hardest in the real estate and financial sectors. Personal responsibility should mean that we live within our personal resources. With all that happened in 2008, we get to redefine how we look at our homes and finances in 2009 and beyond. We can choose to live on the edge or we can choose to be edgy and follow a different path. This path can most certainly be better than spending money on things that we don't really need.

The real challenge is to define our own standards in relation to our means. With personal responsibility comes personal freedom. Why get tied down to a house with high monthly expenses?

2009 will undoubtedly go down in history as a belt tightening year. Buying a home and making a change to a less costly house could be one of the best moves you make for your financial future. 2009 will be one of the best years to buy a home in history with low borrowing rates and dropping prices.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Get In on the Good Life!

Jensen communities provides the best quality of life in your own home.

There are very few places today that people can choose to live well within their means. Perhaps the McMansion craze is over due to this wonderful economy but the fallout will appearantly be felt for years to come. Home prices and square footage increased to the point where it became hard to truly downsize or rightsize to a home within one's means in retirement (or just when the nest is empty so one can better prepare for retirement).

A bigger, more expensive home with an unaffordable mortgage does not lead to financial freedom. A home paid for (or mostly paid for) with equity from one's present home or savings can provide more personal freedom and peace of mind.

My Grandfather liked to say "that a loan well made, was a loan half paid". He was obviously not a fan of "no money down" home purchases and we have stuck to his wisdom these many years later.

The troubled economy has created tremendous house buying opportunities. Define your own standard and sense of financial freedom. Get in on the Good Life!(TM) in a house within your means.