changeWe cover a lot of diverse topics on The Jay Garvens Show, from mortgages and real estate to finance and global markets, but every once in a while it’s crucial to focus on a smaller and more immediate topic: ourselves. As individuals we seldom make headlines and therefore think our actions don’t matter; we’re more interested in the grand scale and scope of global markets, and so we put ourselves on the back burner. And so, for this week’s show, I pivoted away from our usual focus on markets and finance toward more personal issues.

But, before we pivot, I should offer a brief snapshot of our local real estate market as outlined on the show by Bill McAfee of Empire Title. The local real estate market is still healthy, if not red-hot as we saw in 2013. Listings are below the ten-year running average at 3,500 active listings, and there is a pronounced shortage of listings in the sub-$250,000 range. Overall, the local market is up 4% versus last year in terms of median home prices, but homes under $250,000 have appreciated even faster. This suggests a healthy local market that will continue to see consistent gains without any major surprises.

The consistency of the market, coupled with a pronounced drop in rates, allowed many people who had started seeking change in their lives to fully realize it. Through my radio show and mortgage company, I met dozens of individuals that became first-time homeowners, and I was fortunate to learn each of their stories—specifically, when they decided to pursue homeownership and what they changed in themselves and their lifestyles to make it happen. Through our periodic first-time homeownership and investment property classes, I got to meet dozens more who were just starting to implement personal change in their lives and who will probably realize their dream of homeownership next year.

I was also given a poignant illustration of all the forms that personal change can take when one of our clients had to cancel his loan application days before closing. I suspected something was slightly off when I first met him, and it turned out he was struggling with drug dependency and his family finally staged an intervention to get him into rehab. As excited as I was that this man was pursuing his dream of homeownership, I was humbled to learn of his personal struggles and thankful that he had a family in his life to intervene. It was a reminder that we sometimes have to take a step back to move forward—and I hope, eventually, he’ll use this step back to get a running start on his future.

Most people’s experience with change won’t be as drastic as this, and we should reflect on stories like this to understand that most of us are already starting from relatively good positions in life. Most of us aren’t struggling with dependency issues, and the worst we have to deal with is breaking bad habits and adopting better ones—for example, being more disciplined with our money and budgets, and using our leisure time to read rather than watch TV.

Earlier this year, I spent several shows discussing New Years resolutions, developing good personal habits, and so on. I figured I should get an early start for next year to let people go through the binge-spending and binge-eating holidays while keeping in mind the dedication and willpower than will be required to affect real and lasting change in 2015. I met dozens of individuals this year who completely transformed their lives, and I look forward to meeting dozens of the same next year, too.

11-22-2014 Let’s All Reach For Change

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