Lima Beans--My Newfound Joy

Yes it’s hard to believe that anyone could love lima beans – they sure take a beating in the forum of public opinion. I grew up hearing horror stories about how everyone hated lima beans, but mothers everywhere seemed compelled to buy them and force kids to eat them all up so there was not one left on the plate. I guess it was mothers’ way of getting even for all the crazy stuff kids did. For most of my life I was only exposed to them when I had my vegetable soup. There was sure to be one or two floating in the bowl somewhere. I thought I liked them, but there were never enough to know for sure. One time I bought a bag of frozen lima beans. That was a disaster! They tasted like sludge mixed with wet cardboard. From that point on I was curious but simply ignored them.

This past year my wife Ninon got us involved in a community gardening project. She managed to get a 25 X 25 foot plot and we plunged into gardening in Maryland. One of our plot neighbors, Bob, is a gardening expert, and also works at the University of Maryland in their Agriculture Department. He is an encyclopedia of great info and has been an invaluable resource to us this past summer. One day he mentioned in passing that he was growing lima beans. He said he loved the taste of fresh cooked lima beans in butter along with a little salt. I filed that info away and never thought much more about it until we were visiting a garden stand in Delaware close to Bethany Beach. As we were purchasing corn and tomatoes I noticed boxes of lima beans still in the pod – big hairy green pods! So I decided to buy just one box and give them a try. A few days later I shelled them, boiled them and put on a little butter and salt. They were simply delicious! Before I knew it I had eaten them all without sharing any with Ninon. So the next time we went down to the ocean we bought some more. This time we made a dish called Succotash which is made with fresh corn (not on the cob) mixed with lima beans in a cream sauce.

Well for those of you old enough to remember Sylvester the Cat in Bugs Bunny - Suffer’n Succotash! – It was wonderful! Way beyond excellent! So, if you are interested in a new food adventure here is a recipe for Succotash and if you are quick (because they are almost finished for the season), go down to your local farmer’s market and pick up some lima beans and give ‘em a try. Your mother will be impressed!

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Facebook Faux Pas

I recently came across a situation where the widely expanded use of social network sites can create some problems. The buyer of a property decided to post his negotiating strategy on his Facebook wall. Unbeknownst to each other, the buyer and seller had a mutual friend, so the seller could see the buyer’s Facebook page. The buyers had posted that they really liked the home, and were willing to go up to $xxxxx for it. When they made a lower offer, the seller refused to come down in price knowing what the buyer was really willing to pay.

This is a good reminder that what is posted on public sites is, in fact, public - and could come back to haunt as it did in this case. Developing negotiating strategies is one of the important values we bring to real estate transactions. Confidentiality is a key component of this process, something that we guard very carefully. This example reminded me how important that can be.

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Regional Housing Report

Here is the latest MRIS Trends in Housing Report that is published quarterly. It notes some interesting factors at play in our market.
  1. Prices seem to be firming a little based on 2nd quarter improvements. Prices in some areas could drift lower by year end, but lower listing supply seems to indicate pricing traction.
  2. Days on Market are down sharply from this past quarter and a year ago. Homes are selling more quickly than before.
  3. Ratio of Inventory is showing continued decline. This is an indicator that demand is beginning to outpace supply.

What does all this mean? Well the simple answer is that these are early signs of an improving market. Since housing decline led us into recession, it makes sense that housing recovery will lead us out. I have picked up on some early signals in the overall market that indicate we are beginning to emerge from recession although the job market continues to be a little soft. These are national indicators and I still maintain that our regional job market is stronger.

What have I seen? I have been busy with both buyers and sellers since late 2008 continuing through into 2009. July and August typically see significant slowing in real estate sales but this year July has been busy. August seems to be building strong as well. Prices have not increased but levels of activity are up sharply.

We are not out of the housing correction period but I am certainly seeing our market shift from an aggressive buyer’s market to a more moderate buyer’s market. Interest rates remain very competitive and that factor along with the $8,000 first time buyer incentive will continue to encourage buyers to move into the market.

Click Here for the Report.

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