Report: The Real Estate Market In Panama

Most likely, you have heard of the recent real estate BOOM currently occurring in Panama. Perhaps, there are several internet sites you have read or visited searching for further information on the topic. Or maybe you are one of those persons that have taken the decision already of buying an apartment or a beach house, but you don’t know where to start or wish to start your own real estate project in Panama, yet still need more information. Well, I have prepared this article in a practical and simple way in order to guide you in our real estate market. You will find this paper helpful, whether it’ll be for the direct buying of a property or to start your own real estate project in Panama or simply to have a more complete notion of this rising real estate BOOM.

What is happening in the Panamanian Real Estate market?

What is going on in Panama is without any sort of precedent. The market is growing rapidly and such real estate development has never been experienced before in our country. Monthly, we are visited for hundreds of foreigners interested in buying real estates in Panama, in the City, the coasts and the mountains. The constant rising of the value per square meter is almost in a monthly rate. For example: in January, 2006 it was possible to find apartments in Panama City for around US$ 1,000.00 per square meter, which is nearly impossible nowadays (US$ 1,200 – US$1,400 and rising). This has generated the value per square meter to triplicate in the city and even to quadruplicate in the rest of the country. The main real estate broker associations have foreseen that the general value of the land in Panama could rise up to 30% to 40% in the next three years, due to this price increasing flow.

Extreme luxury towers of over 100 stories, residential houses of over a million dollars, yachts and marine clubs, huge luxury hotels, golf camps designed by well-known international specialists, as well as top of the line malls, are currently under construction or in process of delivering in the next couple of years; renovating the face of the city into an international and cosmopolitan metropolis. Promoters, private investors and international real estate companies, from United States, South America and even Europe, have started the construction of real estate projects of great impact. Also, a great number of international real estate broker companies are currently setting up businesses in our country per month. Specifically we could say that seven of the highest towers under construction in Latin America are being built in Panama City, within the areas known as “Avenida Balboa” (this area is projected as the skyscraper in front of the sea in the city). We could mention, among others: Aqualina, Aquamare, Vitri, Ocean Two and One, Los Faros de Panama and Ice Tower, ready to be delivered for the year 2009; besides the hundreds of apartment towers bring developed around the city. Great beach lot projects, island resorts, as much as in the Caribbean Sea (Bocas del Toro) as in the Pacific Ocean (Pearl Islands); as well as delightful retirement mountains (Boquete, Altos del Maria) are part of the avalanche of real estate projects that seems just to be starting.

Which are the real factors that caused this real estate boost?

We all know that after the hostilities occurred in Panama in 1989, the Panamanian real estate market remained hesitant and the small amount of inversions in this sector were led in its majority into commercial projects. Eleven years had to run by after this event (year 2000) for the leaders in the tourist sector of the Panamanian government (led by the well-known Panamanian singer Ruben Blades) to take action initiating a serious campaign for the enhancement of the country’s image. Panama was shown as “the path less traveled”, stressing not only in the advantages of being and international banking services and offshore center, but also in the social, tourist, ecological and geographic elements that until then were unknown to the rest of the world. This successful campaign was promoted worldwide in the main international television chains, in Europe as well as in the United States. Added to this, something that has to be acknowledged, for the year 2003 Panama comes back to the international field with the announcement that a young Panamanian lady (Justin Pasek) won the Miss Universe contest, situation that allowed by extension the range of advantages of our country as a tourist and commercial destiny. Between the years 2003 and 2005, little by little the number of visitors increased as a consequence of these two important catalysts.

Meanwhile, small groups of professionals (lawyers, brokers, and independent professionals) were offering seminars about the Panama’s advantages or organized small real estate tours to foreigners. Several articles published in international retirement magazines (generation known as “Baby Boomers”) and second residences abroad, started to acknowledged Panama as one of the best countries in the world to live at high standard levels, but with low costs; all of this caused due to excellent projects addressed to this market, as “El Valle Escondido” in Boquete – Chiriqui or “Altos del Maria” in Panama. One of the main triggering factors of this real estate boost in Panama occurred last April 24th, 2006, when Donald Trump announced in New York City the construction in “Punta Pacifica” area in Panama City of a 65-story tower branded as “Trump Ocean Club International Hotel”, with a cost of 220 million dollars. Further more, on October of the same year, the national acceptance for the enlargement of the Panama Canal was given, initiating construction works in the year 2009. Starting from this point, there is no doubt that Panama would become the centre and role model of real estate investments in the area, situation that has been increasing exponentially.

Which are then Panama’s advantages as a real estate destiny?

Well, let’s get into the subject. Let’s study those advantages that Panama offers and that will allow you, effectively, to take the decision to buy a property in our country, as many foreigners have done. From the real estate point of view, we could mention:

-*- Panama offers the best banking center in the region, with the use of the American dollar as legal currency and with top of the line banks (HSBC, CITIBANK, BBVA, etc.) which will facilitate the process of obtaining mortgages for foreigners, offering a fast international bank transaction process for deposits and reservation of properties.

-*- Panamanian immigration law has one of the best retirement programs in the world, which will allow you to become a “resident” in less than two months. This program offers several incentives as the possibility to import goods and personal values into your new properties free of import duties, as well as motor vehicles also free of import duties.

-*- An outstanding service, utilities and infrastructure system for properties, such as: high speed Internet (there are five of the main Internet interconnection Networks crossing through Panama), Cable and Satellite TV, public potable water, wide range of telephony offer, fixed and cellular.

-*- The opportunity to buy extreme luxury apartments with ample spaces to a price amazingly low compare with apartments of the same quality in USA and Europe.

-*- The opportunity to acquire properties exempt to the 0% of property taxes for a period of 5, 10, 15 and even 20 years (depending on the date of construction’s commencement).

-*- A vast variety of companies and bilingual professionals involved in the real estate market.

-*- If you are a businessman, Panamanian law has fiscal benefits to constructors and promoters that start real estate projects in the country.

Additionally, there are other advantages to take into consideration that even when you are not directly involved in the real estate business, they can become helpful at the moment of taking the decision of buying a property:

-*- Panama has been acknowledge for companies as Pinkerton Intelligence Agency as a high standard security country in contrast with the current situation in neighboring countries.

-*- You can hire house keeping services for a low cost (around US$ 150.00 per month)

-*- Up-to-date high standard technology available.
-*- The opportunity to acquire products from all over the world in the Colon Free Zone, due to the noticeable position of the Panama Canal and the transit of over 14,000 ships per year.

-*- The conditions of Panamanian taxation law allow the tax payer not to pay taxes on bank interests or even income taxes when the service and/or business are performed abroad.

-*- An exceptional geographic position to perform international commercial transactions, with fast access to the Pacific Ocean as well as to the Atlantic.

-*- Panama has a low-risk profile in regards to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

These are some of the many advantages that Panama can offer if you decide to acquire a property in our country, whether it is to invest or simply to relocate and enjoy life.

Which are the most attractive places to buy properties?

To better answer this question, we have to divide our answer in four groups: Panama City, the mountains, the Pacific shore and the Atlantic shore.

Panama City

The main seaside view luxury condos are found in Panama City, distributed as follows: Balboa Avenue, Punta Pacifica and Costa del Este. The region known as “Avenida Balboa” has become the icon of real estate development in Panama. The reason for this is due to the current construction of luxury residential apartment towers with an outstanding architecture with a height of over 100 stories, to be concluded in the year 2009. Balboa Avenue offers quick access to the whole city, the banking area, as well as to the main avenues, given that it is the coast boulevard. One hundred meters away from this area you will find restaurants, bars, hotels and several facilities. European promoters, American and South Americans have foreseen the real estate potential in this area, equivalent to condos phenomenon occurred in Miami during the eighties. “Punta Pacifica” area was developed over the old City airport (for the reason that it was next to the pacific coast and inside the city). This region was designed specially to provide an answer to the upcoming real estate demand. The area offers beautiful projects and high standard apartment towers. You will also find in “Punta Pacifica” malls (Multiplaza Pacific), Hospitals (John Hopkins Hospital), corporate buildings and access to highways (Corredor Sur) which will grant you fast access to the international airport in 15 minutes. Is also in this sector where the Trump Organization and K Group will raise their promoted real estate project. Another of the desired areas for foreigners is Costa del Este.

The “other city” as is referred to was also conceived and designed for the development of apartment buildings and closed residential communities. It is the perfect place for a foreigner to completely relocate in Panama. This region has it all schools, malls, wide avenues; this sector offers several real estates with a gorgeous view to the sea or to the city, located five minutes away from the city and only ten from the international airport. It also important to stress out that this luxury tower’s development is not circumscribed to these few areas. There are also urban projects in the region of Punta Paitilla, Coco del Mar and San Francisco (all of them in front of the sea), as well as beautiful developed residential areas in the surroundings of the Panama Canal, such as Albrook, Clayton and Quarry Heights.

The Mountains

Gorgeous mountain projects with cool, fresh weather from 18Cº to 20Cº (64ºF to 68ºF) have been developed in the provinces of Panama, Cocle and Chiriqui. In the province of Panama, the most representative mountain project is found in the region of Sora, 75 minutes away from the City and known as “Altos del Maria”. This project consists of a well-organized foreigner’s community with utilities and spectacular landscapes. Another region of urban development can be found in what is known as “Tierras Altas” (High Lands) located in the province of Chiriqui (Volcan, Boquete and Cerro Punta). Among these places, Boquete has become one of the most relevant real estate centres in the whole country, given that it counts with a wide supply of real estate projects, residential houses in the mountains with amazing landscapes. Boquete has been recognized by specialist in the subject as one of the best places for retirement in the world, fact that has generated in this region the highest concentration of retired foreigners in the country. Finally, in the province of Cocle, you will find the region known as “El Valle”. Located in an extinguished volcano, El Valle offers the perfect weather, rivers, waterfalls and tourist attractions. El Valle is at present taking measures to become one of the most wanted regions in the field of mountain real estate properties, owing to its facilities and infrastructure, as well as to its proximity to Panama City (1hr. 45 mins.)

The Pacific Shore

The supply of lots in front of the sea starts in the pacific coast line of the Province of Panama, and it goes all the way until the mid-country provinces. Most Panamanian high-class families have their beach houses on this sector; due to its proximity to the City (45 minutes). This coast line offers residential areas such as Came, Coronado, Punta Barco, San Carlos, Gorgona, among others. Within these beach residential areas we have to remark the region known as “Coronado”, region which counts with one of the best professional Golf camps in Latin America, pools, beach clubs, equestrian clubs, several restaurants and great supply of houses and apartment buildings in front of the sea. Additionally, further on in the pacific coast line, we can find the region of Playa Blanca. Since the development of the macro hotel project known as “Royal Decameron” in the area, the infrastructure and general surroundings have grow significantly. In Playa Blanca, you will be able to find casinos, swimming pools, restaurants, bars and discotheques, beach clubs and a great variety of real estate projects just right next to the beach. Finally, we should also mention the recent development experienced in the seaside areas the provinces of Los Santos (Pedasi) and Veraguas, such as Playa Arenal, Punta Mala and Playa Venao, among others; which have become the new destiny for many foreigners (mostly Europeans) that are searching for great extensions of lands in front of the sea.

The Caribbean Shore

In this area, we can find a similar supply of real estate properties to the one found in the pacific coastline of the mid-country provinces. There are several properties in front of the sea, as well as vast extensions of hectares next to the beach. This region is located two hours away from Panama City and it offers the option to buy in the well-known Colon Free Zone. On the west side of the country, you will find in the Caribbean coastline, the spectacular region of Bocas del Toro, where properties next of the sea or in the middle of an island are simply astounding. A great variety of international real estate companies have started projects in the crystal clear waters of Bocas del Toro. Bocas is one of the most known tourist destinies in Panama, located only 1hr and 45 minutes away by plane. It offers an amazing night life, restaurant, hotels and tours around the different islands of the area. Bocas del Toro coastline has become the most wanted real estate choice for retired or pensioned foreigners in the Caribbean. Among the best areas of Bocas del Toro you can find Isla Colon, Boca del Drago, Red Frog Beach and Playa Larga. The residential project known as Red Frog is of renowned reputation in the international spheres, given that it offers an incredible exclusively designed development for foreigners in one of the most beautiful islands in Bocas del Toro, Bastimento’s Island. The project has marine clubs, restaurants, houses and a dazzling infrastructure.

Islands

The most notorious group of islands is found in Bocas del Toro, given that, as we already mentioned it offers a wide variety of real estate projects in the Caribbean, scenario of several TV series broadcasted around the world. The most important islands of the archipelago are: Isla Colon, Isla Bastimentos, Isla Solarte, Isla Cristobal, Isla Popa and Isla Zapatilla. Likewise, we can found several small independent islands for private projects. Bocas’ islands counts with an astonishing ecosystem for scuba diving, marine activities and bird watching. Another group of islands that is raising popularity is the real estate market found in the archipelago of Mosquito’s Gulf, in front of the pacific coastline of the province of Chiriqui. This Gulf has been granted by the Panamanian government the title of Ecological Reserve, as a consequence of the great diversity of marine fauna found in the area. Most of the islands have registered real estate titles, which allow its prompt buying. The surroundings of these islands are famous for being one of the best places in the world for Black Marlin fishing. The Pearl Islands are located within the Gulf of Panama, three hours away from the city in the open sea, offering a group of more than 35 beautiful islands with spectacular landscapes, surrounded by coral reefs and vast vegetation. The beauty of this area attracted the production team of the popular reality show “Survivor”, who has filmed several times in this region. Finally, you will find the island of “Coiba” in the Pacific Ocean, formerly a prison already abolished and currently a National Park. The main island and its small islands such as Isla Iguana have become in top destinies for scuba diving and water sports.

What should I and should not do when buying a property in Panama?

As a final tip, we will recommend you some practical advises in case you decide to buy a property in Panama:

Recommendation # 1 : You can visit the projects on your own, but it is advisable to be assisted by a professional who could properly introduce you to the promoters, avoiding the pointless increase on the price.

Recommendation # 2 : If you are not fluent in Spanish, you should ask the promoter to get you the contract both, in Spanish and in your native language, for all legal transactions to be performed.

Recommendation # 3 : Once you reserve your property, immediately ask for a receipt and the signature of the Promissory Purchase-Sale agreement.

Recommendation # 4 : Once you have signed this agreement, double-check the deadlines for the subsequent down payments of your property. If you miss one of these, you are exposed to lose the money already paid to the promoter.

Recommendation # 5: Try to take a quick decision on acquiring the property; given that once you reserve it, the price is then frozen. Due to the current demand in the market, prices on apartments rise at a monthly rate.

Recommendation # 6: Once you reserve your property, look for the professional advice of lawyers or real estate brokers, in order to verify all documentation and contracts are due to the procedure of registration.

Recommendation # 7: Think about the possibility of acquiring your property through a Panamanian corporation. They are of fast incorporation, considerably cheap and easy to manage. Using a corporation to acquire a property in Panama will ease a future transfer of it, if that’s the case.

If you need any other assistance in acquiring a property in Panama, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The Real Estate Blog Alphabet – 26 Benefits and Best Practices

This alphabet lists 26 key benefits and best practices of using a real estate blog. Not all of these entries will apply to every individual blogging scenario, but they all apply to real estate blogs in general. So you are bound to find something useful here that you’ve never considered before.

Here you have them, real estate blog benefits and best practices … from A to Z.

Authoritative

Everyone knows you have to understand a subject well in order to write about it or explain it to others. When agents blog about the real estate scene in their cities or towns, they position themselves as authorities on the subject. In this way, a real estate blog can be a useful tool for positioning, branding and differentiation.

Believable

If used properly, a real estate blog can make the agent (or company) behind it more believable. And let’s face it … in the post-Enron, low-trust world of corporate skepticism, a little believability can go a long way. Use your real estate blog to communicate openly and honestly with your audience. Lose the fluff and the jargon. Be candid and sincere. And speaking of being candid…

Candid

It’s a mistake to treat your real estate blog as “Website, Part 2.” Blogs are easy to publish, so you can publish to them more frequently. In this way, a real estate blog can become an ongoing dialogue between you and your audience (potential clients). To get the most out of this dialogue, and to achieve the believability mentioned above, a real estate blog should take on the candid, heartfelt voice of the author.

Direct

Real estate blogs are direct-to-reader / direct-to-consumer. You simply type your message, click the “Publish” button, and your message becomes instantly viewable online. Unlike other forms of business communication, there are no journalists or editors to put their own spin on things. Your message goes from you, directly onto your blog, and directly to your audience.

Enthusiastic

In a perfect world, only the truly enthusiastic bloggers would publish real estate blogs. But this is not the case, and as a result there’s a lot of “half-hearted” blogs online today. Half-hearted commentary stands out like a purple elephant in the blogosphere. This kind of blogging actually does more harm than good. On the other hand, enthusiasm comes across in blog posts — but enthusiasm is both positive and contagious.

Flexible

The number of ways you can use your real estate blog is limited only by your imagination and energy. Maybe your blog will be a source for local real estate news. You can do that. Or maybe your blog will cater to a certain niche, such as condo buyers or home sellers. You can do that too. With the versatile publishing capabilities of most blogging programs, you can set up your blog to support any business, marketing or communication objective.

Google-friendly

A real estate blog can help you increase your online visibility in several ways. For one thing, a blog can help you expand your website with new content, easily and efficiently. Blog daily for a year, and you’ll have 365 new pages of content. And search engines love topical content. A real estate blog is also more “social” than a regular website, so with time and effort your blog can acquire links from other blogs. This “link popularity,” as it’s known, can do wonders for search engine ranking.

Happening

Generally speaking, real estate blogs are much more “happening” than their website counterparts. Blogs are easier to update than regular websites, which is important in the ever-changing world of real estate, interest rates, etc. When you update your blog often with quality content, it becomes an active resource that people are more inclined to read, revisit and recommend.

Informative

When you keep people in your area informed about the local real estate scene, you increase the usefulness of your real estate blog. You also increase the likelihood of future business from those readers, not to mention the likelihood they will recommend your blog to others. Blogging is a simple but effective way to keep people informed. Before you publish a new post, get in the habit of asking yourself, “How will this blog post help my readers?” If you can answer that, publish a way. If you can’t answer it, rethink the topic.

Jargon-free

In general, blogs are not the place for corporate speak or “fluff” content. This applies to the real estate blog as well. Write your blog in your own voice. Don’t try to impress people with your vocabulary. The best blogs convey quality information in a conversational style. This will increase your readership, the level of dialogue, and (ultimately) the blog’s profitability as a client-acquisition tool.

Knowledgeable

Dr. John Tuccillo, former Chief Economist for the NAR, recently said: “With the expansion of the number of Realtors, the level of competence has fallen to its lowest point ever.” If this general perception spreads to the public in general, it could cause real problems for real estate professionals. This is another area where a real estate blog can benefit you. Use your blog to show readers how knowledgeable you are on your subject. Just remember, some of your readers will know as much about the subject as you do. So check your facts before posting!

Lead-producing

You stand to gain a lot from the interaction and trust mentioned previously in this list. When you interact with your blog readers in a positive way, you have a much greater chance of turning them into clients. You can also configure your blog to allow reader comments, which is another way to generate leads and start a dialogue.

Manageable

Blogging programs simplify the web-publishing process to such a degree that anyone can do it, regardless of their web experience. In fact, a single individual could easily manage a large web presence if it were built on blogging technology. This is ideal for real estate agents who operate independently, without the benefit of an I.T. department.

Non-invasive

A well-written real estate blog will “pull” readers into the message, as opposed to pushing the message on the reader (like magazine ads). People can sign up for your blog in total privacy, either by using the blog’s RSS feed or an email subscription option (if you provide one). The readers come to the blog — it is not thrust upon them. As long as blogs in general adhere to this non-invasive, respectful approach, they will be held in higher esteem than other communication channels like email.

Operational

A real estate blog is more than a simple communication tool. It can serve operational roles as well. This could include internal collaboration (like an intranet) or outward instruction (like a home buying seminar online).

Purposeful

Before you publish your first blog post, you should determine the purpose of your real estate blog. Sure, you can always dive right in and figure out your purpose as you go. But your blog will be more effective (and easier to produce) if you have a purpose and plan ahead of time. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with my blog? Who is my ideal audience? What information would they find useful?”

Qualitative and Quantitative

When real estate blogging is done well, it has both a quantitative and qualitative affect. The quantity of content will increase your website’s usefulness and search engine visibility. The quality of content helps you position yourself as an expert and differentiate yourself from other agents in your area (see entry for “Knowledgeable” above).

Recyclable

Blog content can be reused for many purposes. For example, you could expand your blog posts into article-length and publish them online for additional exposure and web traffic.

Straight-shooting

This point is somewhat repetitive of ‘C’ for candid. Guilty as charged. But it’s worth repeating, so I’m repeating it. The most popular real estate blogs got to where they are partly by being straightforward. In this context, straightforward refers to both the design and the content of the blog. Real estate blogs that are “overly designed” tend to look more like websites than blogs. I truly believe this reduces their candidness and authenticity. The same goes for the blog’s content. Blog postings that are straightforward and candid will generate more interaction and “buzz” among readers.

Thoughtful

The best real estate blogs are thoughtful. I don’t mean thoughtful in the sense of “kind” — although kindness does go a long way on the Web — but thoughtful as in “full of thought.” Each time you publish a blog post, put some thought into the content. Make sure it (A) supports your overall blogging goals, (B) gives your readers useful information, and (C) reflects well upon you as a real estate professional.

Usable

When you first set up your blog, it will be straightforward and easy to use. The default settings of most blogging programs are designed this way for a reason. But some people feel the need to clutter up their blogs with all kind of nonsense, reducing the blog’s usability and readership in one swoop. Avoid this. Keep you blog clean and easy to read. Web readers and researches are skilled at hopping from site to site. They don’t need much of a reason to bail out on you, and they’ll do just that if your blog is hard to navigate.

Voluntary

You should blog because you want to, not because you think you have to. If you start a real estate blog just because everyone else is doing it, it will lack the heartfelt enthusiasm that’s a trademark of popular blogs. (See “E’ for enthusiastic above.)

Wise

Your real estate blog is the ideal place to share your wisdom about the industry. This will help you position yourself as an authority in your field (letter ‘A’ above) and foster the trust mentioned under the letter ‘T’ above. A “tip of the day” series is a prime example of this. It’s a great way to share your real estate wisdom, and it’s the kind of thing that will keep people coming back to your blog and recommending it to others.

Xstensible

Yes, I cheated with this letter. But real estate blogs are truly extensible (and you try to produce an adjective starting with ‘X’). Your blog can grow as your audience grows, or as your company grows. You can add additional authors, perhaps a colleague in the mortgage industry. You can add sections to cover additional topics. You can expand a blog however you need to support your objectives. And it doesn’t require an I.T. department to get it done. Blogging programs are designed to be extensible.

Yours

A real estate blog can have one author or several authors. I’ve seen popular blogs published by individual agents, as well as some published by teams of writers. But the blog has to belong to somebody. It should be yours, or his and hers, or all of yours. Somebody needs to own the blog. Otherwise, nobody will trust what it has to say.

Zippy

The dictionary defines zippy as “lively and full of energy.” These are great traits for a real estate blog. If you are passionate in the way you publish your blog, it will eventually connect with readers who are equally passionate about the subject matter. These are the kind of people who will promote your blog without being asked to do so! It goes something like this: “Hey, Barbara, you have to check out this real estate blog I’ve been reading lately. Let me send you the link…”

* You may republish this article online if you retain the author’s byline and the ACTIVE hyperlinks below. Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett.

Real Estate Website Promotion is Easy

If you are a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker, or provide a Real Estate service you know how important effective real estate web promotion is to your business. The large number of people searching the internet for local, national and international real estate information can simply not be ignored.

At the same time you may think effective real estate website promotion is too difficult to master, too expensive to afford, or just too mysterious to understand – an area reserved for experts in the field of search engine marketing.

Like most practitioners of highly specialized skills, search engine marketing specialists have a vested interest in making their field seem mysterious and difficult to master. But it is not really that mysterious. It is possible for anyone to dominate the search engines in virtually any local market. All it takes is a bit of common sense and some hard work.

The principles involved in getting good positioning for your real estate website are quite simple and straightforward. They are the same principles that apply to search engine marketing for any website and it is actually quite easy to apply these principles to real estate websites. Many real estate agents have simply given up trying to score well in the search engines for local real estate searches because they don’t properly understand the process.

But think about it for a minute. When you do a search in Google for “real estate Phoenix” or “Banff real estate” or “Halifax real estate” or “Fort Lauderdale real estate”, and you see the same real estate agents or agencies coming up on the first page week after week, how do you think they got there? What magical real estate website promotion formula are they using or who have they paid to get this high position?

Now before you answer that question, ask yourself how you think Google assigns these positions to different websites. Does their giant computer just pull names from a great big cyber-hat? Do they use secret rules that only a few insiders know about?

Of course not. All the major search engines make it perfectly clear what they are looking for – and especially Google. If you want to score well for a term like “real estate Phoenix” or “real estate Ottawa”, really all you have to do is pack your site with good information about Phoenix (or Ottawa) and focus your home page in a very deliberate way on those search terms.

The search engines like focused content. They assume if your site contains lots of content relevant to “real estate Phoenix” then it should be shown high in searches for that keyword.

Of course the problem is that there are already a number of other real estate websites offering good content focused on your favorite search term, so you are going head to head with sites that have previously established position, and it will take a bit of time and a fair amount of work to get past them.

That is fair enough. After all, if the real estate agent down the streat offers more focused and relevant information than you do about the market you are both chasing, she deserves to come up above you in the search engine rankings. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

That does not mean you should not keep on trying. It simply means you should be patient and work harder. Take a close look at her site and outdo her by refocusing your site and creating more interesting and valuable content. Focus is the name of the game. Make it crystal clear that you are the “expert” on “Calgary real estate” by offering the kinds of things that an expert would offer.

And please, do not hesitate to mention the search phrase you are trying to get positioning on. If it is “Kingston real estate” or “Sacramento real estate”, then use that term all over your home page. Say to yourself, “OK Google, so you are looking for real estate websites that have something to say about ‘Sacramento real estate’, well here I am. I breathe Sacramento Real Estate. I ooze Sacramento Real Estate. I AM Sacramento Real Estate.” This is called Search Engine Optimization.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for Google to come around on your primary search term, find some less competitive ones to focus on as well. For instance, if you want to service the entire Ottawa area, but most of your clientele is in Kanata or Nepean, focus some of your internet marketing efforts on those smaller markets. You have a much better chance of getting results in these significantly smaller and less competitive markets.

Chicago Commercial Real Estate

There is currently a booming market for commercial real estate in Chicago. There are local firms and brokers who specialize in commercial real estate in Chicago. In addition, there are online resources available that can help one buy, sell, or research Chicago commercial real estate.

Retail businesses occupy a large percentage of the commercial properties in Chicago. Because there are a numerous federal and state laws that must be followed when to buying or selling commercial real estate, it is advisable to ask the advice of a professional real estate firm and/or attorney before doing so.

A number of websites provide online listings of commercial properties for sale. These lists are regularly updated. One can search these lists to gain a general idea of the quality of the properties that are available within a given budget. (The prices of commercial real estate typically vary according to their location, size, and quality of construction.) If you are planning to put one of your commercial properties up for sale, it might be to your advantage to add your property to one of these lists.

Although it is often more convenient to do research online, there is no dearth of professional service firms that can help one research commercial real estate in Chicago.

Some Chicago real-estate firms deal with only premium commercial properties. Most middle and small level firms, however, deal with all categories of commercial real estate. There are many individual brokers and commercial real estate attorneys who can help a buyer or seller close a real-estate transaction quickly and efficiently.

An attorney will complete and verify the necessary legal documentation. Real-estate attorney fees are usually commission based. The rates of commission vary according to the price of the commercial real estate being bought or sold and the reputation of the individual firm or broker.

The Real Estate Bubble Fallacy

There has been a lot of talk lately about the “Real Estate Bubble”, and a lot of folks are asking the question: “When it is going to burst”?

They are saying that the market just can’t sustain this level of growth and appreciation much longer, and I heat them say that it is inevitable that it must come crashing down soon. People are worried. They don’t think it can last; That whatever goes up, must come down.

These folks have been conditioned to believe what they believe most likely from the experience of the stock market bubble of 2000, and maybe the 1990’s when the real estate market was hit hard in many large metropolitan areas across the country.

Its human nature to feel this way. We all know the saying (or the 80’s tune for you big hair folks), “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”. Or what about, “All good things must come to an end.”? Its how we react to almost everything that affects our well being and general safety. Its a subconscious reaction at the gut level.

Just like in the stock market, there are bulls and bears. Bulls are typically more optimistic about the market and expect it go up, and bears are generally more pessimistic and expect the market to go down. They will always be there to provide free advice and “expert consulting”. Remember though, who you decide to listen to will certainly have an effect on your decision making, and ultimately your success.

Well, I’m here to say that there is no real estate bubble! There never was a real estate bubble. Its a complete and utter fallacy.

“How can I say that?” you ask. I can say that because the real estate market is in reality, a Wave. Its a cycle, and we just happen to be riding the big swells, or the crest of this long, consistent, and fairly predictable pattern.

There is no doubt that real estate has been a rock solid investment for decades, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future and for many reasons that I would like to demonstrate here and now. Because you, as a real estate investor, must be able to move forward with confidence when deciding which projects and properties you want to buy and sell. That is the purpose of my website, www.realestateinvestment.net [http://www.realestateinvestment.net], to provide you timely information, strategies and techniques to help you succeed.

But first, what is a bubble? In terms of economics and markets, the best definition is probably something along the lines of “an isolated or ephemeral situation or condition with little support or substantiation from external conditions”.

The best example, and the one foremost in the minds of us all, is the stock market tech bubble of 1999 and 2000. We all rushed into the tech stocks and the stock market in general as we saw the .com millionaires being made.

Y2K was a big factor in the tech bubble. People were buying new systems at a unprecedented rate in order to prepare for doomsday. People were also buying consumable goods to stock up for the dreadful event that never came.

So what was holding up, or supporting the “irrational exuberance” as Alan Greenspan characterized it? Well, we learned soon afterward, not much. It was an isolated, temporary incident that had little support from the other conditions. It was indeed like a bubble that burst.

And it has had little support since then. Historically speaking, after the stock market crash of 1929 and 1987, it took decades for the market to recover, although it did eventually recover. Just look at the Dow average and the S&P average for the last hundred years and see the pattern of recovery. You can be sure that a slow steady rise for stocks is in progress.

Now back to real estate. Let me explain why this is not a bubble.

Real Estate is Cyclic

Real estate has had its ups and downs over the years, but it is generally stable, with no drastic swings per se. If you were to look at the cycles on a chart you would see a clear pattern of gently rolling swells. This pattern is consistent across cities and regions all across the United states, although slightly varied in degree.

In addition, the cycles tend to favor the ups rather than the downs. It is not uncommon to see large cycles of appreciation and much smaller downward cycles. In other words, the current double-digit growth we’ve all come to know and love in recent years will likely be followed by downturns of single digit declines. Its like taking two steps forward and one step back.

In the big picture you will still be further ahead than when you started. You may see slower growth, but it will still be growth.

Real Estate is a Basic Necessity

People need to live somewhere. They need a roof over their head and their children’s heads. Like food and clothing we must have a home. People don’t need stocks or bonds. Therefore, you can be sure that whether the market is high or low in growth, whether interest rates are up or down, people will be buying, renting, leasing, and selling homes. It is as perennial as the years.

This Real Estate Wave Has Been Around Awhile

I don’t know when you first realized we were in an up market in real estate, but it has been on a solid upward trend for at least the last 3-4 years. It didn’t just happen yesterday. Of course like anything else, awareness of the general public is a bit latent, and dependent upon the media. It has only been lately that the media has really focused on it and thrust it onto the front page.

The old adage “Success breeds success” is also true. The momentum will grow as other more traditional investors continue to jump on the band wagon and pour their money and resources into real estate investment. It tends to create a perpetual, self-feeding market that is ideal for more seasoned investors.

Real Estate is Local and Regional

It is true that even in today’s real estate boom, there are areas in the United States that are not enjoying the high rates of return that others are experiencing. California is a fantastic place to invest, so is Arizona and a host of other places.But the Rust Belt states are not as fortunate. Watch what happens to Florida home values after this horrendous hurricane season. This is because real estate is driven by the primary capitalistic force of Supply and Demand.

Generally speaking, property values increase in areas where the job market is strong, and where there are more people moving into than away from. Of course there are other factors to consider; including interest rates, availability of funding, climate, and governmental policies. These are all important and you must be cognizant of their impacts to your strategy.

However, it is true no that matter what the rates are or how nice the climate is, people will continue to migrate where there are abundant job markets and affordable housing. If you can stay just slightly ahead of that migration, you will profit immensely.

Real Estate Investing is Diverse

You can invest in so many different ways, from foreclosures and fix and flips, to buy and hold and everything in between. Right now the commercial space is relatively soft. It will recover no doubt, but people investing in single family homes are probably doing slightly better in returns. Vacancies are up and rents are down for commercial properties, but fortunately, the forecast is for this sector to improve over the next few years.

The key to successful real estate investing is to understand the forces, trends, and conditions that are driving the market. BE AWARE of your surroundings; Read articles and stay on top of industry news; Look in your own area at the job market and forecasts. Check my website www.realestateinvestment.net [http://www.realestateinvestment.net] for all the news and information you need to help you succeed in your real estate investing career.

There is no real estate bubble, but there is a real estate wave. Like any dedicated surfer, when the surf’s up, get in the water and catch a wave! But watch for danger, be flexible, and be smart. Invest wisely and you can prosper in any real estate market.