Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 1 of # 44

Love him or hate him, we have a new President now. As you most likely know, I did not vote for Obama, but as far as how I think of his performance (let's see, he's been President for 4.5 hours or so : ) I was impressed. Yes, his speech had some undertones that I expected but overall I think his message was that of inclusion and "healing". We have had nothing but devisive politics for the last 8 years (as a sidenote, what are all the Bush haters going to complain about now??? : ) and Obama's tone was that of inclusion and 'let's all get along'. Bravo! We need that, not more to split us apart. I contrast that with Sean Hannity today--I still had my radio on AM (from listening to the entire inaugural address) when Hannity came on. I figured it would be entertaining to hear his take (figuring it would be 'middle of the road' and 'let's wait and see') but was disappointed to hear him trash PO's speech (PO=President Obama : ) and talk incredibly negative about him. How disappointing! I will try to listen to Boortz tomorrow--he's actually quite sensible; will be interested to hear his take as well. Today's "Neal's Nuze" was spot on in my opinion (you may have to look up "archives" and 1/20/09; not sure how the link will work).

Bottom line: He's my President even though he wasn't my Candidate. I will give him the benefit of the doubt for now. I hope for our country that he actually took his "swear words" serious as he held his hand on Lincoln's bible. We'll see. Four years, President Obama; you've got that much time to prove the naysayers wrong. Make us proud! God Bless America!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thoughts on Home Warranty Companies

I was surprised to read this story in the news today--while I was not surprised at the issues presented, I WAS surprised to read about companies that were previously unknown to me. My wife used American Home Shield for years at her prior home (a lovely 1970's "cottage") and was able to keep her ancient 1970's HVAC system running. It's funny-they did the typical 'band-aid' style warranty work versus spending more to actually FIX something for good. They fixed bits and pieces of her HVAC but her original compressor remained outside as well as some other internal bits. To contrast that, I pass signs on I-75 noting they can replace an entire system for $1599--so AHS spent more than that to fix the "single" problems piecemeal. Oh well, I'm sure they have some CPA figure all that out... We now have Old Republic Home Warranty and to date we've had no issues with them at our new home (fridge repairs, HVAC fuse, and oven element repair). I bought a warranty for my old house (rented through March, so make me an offer : ) with HSA--they were not so helpful. All I will say is make sure to read the fine print with any/all warranty company. As an example, I think HSA was the only one of the 'biggies' used in metro-ATL (ORHW, AHS, First American, HSA) that did not cover the ductwork with an HVAC repair, so to compare apples to apples, repairs using that warranty would cost me more out of pocket (then there is the issue of customer "service" from them). Suffice it to say that I will offer a different home warranty when I market it this Spring!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Random 2009 thoughts

Yep, I'll join the masses in saying GOOD RIDDANCE to 2008 (though I cannot complain as we opened our new firm last year and saw some decent success out of the starting gate!). So HAPPY NEW YEAR, right? Sure! Rates are under 5% (as of this afternoon that is) and I see that the Metro Mike billboard shows that home sales have dropped the inventory down to a little over 81,000 homes in the metro ATL area. What's the big deal? Well, it was over 113,000 at one point last year! Yes, we have a glut of empty lots ready for new homes (try an 18 month supply???) but if you want to buy there are huge opportunities! Stocks are up a bit, we're getting rain again, heck, I'm thinking it's all pretty great right now! With that being said, we're not out of the woods as of yet. Good things may be on the horizon, but we're all apparently 'hunkering down' and spending less (or not as the case may be, take a look at my Economics blog). I know, that's "un-American" but it's a great change from the go-go 00's, mortgaging to the hilt. I think that 'hangover' is almost over and we'll be in good shape again by the end of this year. So mark my words down today: 2009 is going to be a great year! I look forward to hearing YOUR thoughts on this! Cheers, Bo