Archive for September, 2010

It’s All Relative, A Long Term View

by, Susan Herst

New York Times article a few weeks ago prompted me to check out the recent S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.  For me, and my spatially oriented mind, a picture always is worth a thousand words.  Taking a look at the below graph, obviously national home prices have declined since their peak in 2006, yet look at how rapidly they climbed from 1998 to 2006.  Are we not where we would have been had we had the same modest price increase from 1988 to 1998 instead?

So, as Karl Case points out in this New York Times article, A Dream House After All, yes, the American dream may no longer be “owning property that appreciates by 30 percent a year, making a house into a vehicle for paying bills,”  but it still can be “having a solid and fairly safe long-term investment that is coupled with the satisfaction of owning the house they live in.  That dream is still alive.”   Thanks, Karl, for the reminder.


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Riding the Downtown Durham Range!

By Jessica Sadler

Bill wrote recently about Durham’s new downtown/Duke free bus: The Bull City Connector( The office decided to take our first collective ride this past Tuesday and enjoy a lunch out in place of our weekly meeting. Most of us had used it already on our own but it was nice to give it a ride together. Personally, I had taken the Connector from my house to Locopops ( and my husband had used the service to attend an appointment at Duke. We have found it to be fast, simple, and clean.

The office all hopped on at Corcoran and Main and headed East. The bus stopped right by Golden Belt ( which should make getting to Third Friday ( even easier. We stayed on headed west and pulled the string to get off right in front of the Federal. In order to celebrate the weather we’ve been having we sat outside the Federal (  and enjoyed fried oyster salads, burgers, and grilled cheese.

I hope you’ll give the connector a try this weekend- Durham is becoming less car dependent all the time.

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How Living in Durham Pays Off

Nowadays it seems that Durham is receiving positive, national, recognition on a regular basis, which is wonderful.  Here are just a few examples from the past few weeks: just named their 25 Best Places to Retire and Durham, NC is #1 in the country!

The Wall Street Journal cited Durham, NC as the #1 best city for real estate investment in the country.

The Only Burger truck is one of the top 3 contenders for winning the Best Food Truck in America, a contest hosted by the Food Network. Winner to be announced during the Great Food Truck Race Finale on September 19th.

Through word of mouth, and because of the national recognition, more and more people are moving here not necessarily due to a job but due to a lifestyle.  In essence, they are choosing Durham and then they are finding a job here in order to make the move happen.

In the past 6 months I have had clients that have or will be moving here from San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City specifically to live here because of what Durham offers and not because of a job.  How wonderful is that?!  Not only will this make it an even more vibrant city but the people moving here have the same vision for Durham as all of us Durhamites.

What does this mean for you?  (1) Increase in home values throughout the years, (2) Increase in amount of money that is spent locally, (3) Increase in the allure for companies to move to the area and create more jobs.

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Marketing Like an Ice Cream Sundae

By: Courtney James

I read a book recently by Seth Godin called Meatball Sundae.  The book is about how much marketing techniques have changed in the past few years, but that the corporations trying to use the new techniques have not changed.  The theory is that just like a meatball sundae, the two don’t seem to mix well together.  It’s astonishing how much technology, and social media specifically, have changed the way that companies can market themselves.  Quite frankly, it’s astonishing how it’s changed our daily reality in general.  Take a few minutes and check out this video on youtube:

After reading Meatball Sundae, I was thrilled to realize that I am not a meatball!  Urban Durham Realty was founded on the premise that we wanted to be different from the traditional real estate companies, and I think we are. Our website is not the typical real estate website, we’re located in the middle of downtown, we don’t have headshots on our business cards, we have progressive policies regarding dual agency (we don’t practice it), we require each agent to make a charitable donation with each transaction, and heck, we even use an orange ceramic chicken to help market our listings!  I am not going to tell you that we are better than all the other guys (because there are a lot of great real estate companies in the area), but we are definitely different and I think people appreciate that.  I also think that there are other companies that share our desire to jump out of the box.  Our friends at Go Realty in Cary have certainly caught on to the idea.  At Urban Durham Realty, we’re coming to the table with a lot less baggage and a lot more flexibility, both of which allow us to better utilize many of these new marketing techniques.

So, yes, I’m glad to say that we are not a meatball.  Maybe we’re more like a “Fro Yo”, and don’t sundae toppings sound so much better on top of that?  Yummm…makes me want to head over to Local Yogurt!

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