One great idea can change your life.

Did you know that one great idea can change your life, and the lives of others? It absolutely can. When I left high school, I wasn’t interested in college, and quite frankly, I wasn’t mature enough to be trusted with a $40,000 investment that might not produce a dollar. I can only imagine it would be have been a four year party with a long financial hangover.

Because of that, I entered the workforce as a clueless teenager. I went into amanufacturing job where I had no idea what I doing, but I maintained industrial equipment. While I worked there, I learned a lot and one day I received a phone call on the floor emergency line. I went to pick up the phone fearing the worst. Much to my amazement, it was a major US corporation calling me at my place of employment on the emergency line to offer me a job, sight unseen. I was 19. How did they even know I existed?

I took that job, and for the next five years, I loved my job. One of the greatest things about that job was that the company (and you would know them if I mentioned their name) allowed me to modify their equipment, redesign parts of their manufacturing process and create new machinery. I changed the way they did parts of their process. I designed equipment that was manufactured and put into service worldwide. One creation of mine improved their output from 100,000 to 1,000,000 units without changing their expense one cent.

I was still under 24. I had no education, no mechanical engineering degree and no idea of what I was doing. But, I could see flaws in their process and I corrected it while the engineers sat in offices trying to figure out how to make things better. The company sent a group of engineers in from their corporate headquarters to find out why my equipment was producing more products than they had calculated it was possible to create.

I felt like a rockstar. For fun, I wore a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and Mickey white gloves while they were there, and I acted like that was the norm. I was just messing with them, and they thought I was crazy, but what I was – was amused that the pros couldn’t accomplish the same thing from behind a desk. I realized that great ideas are not only within certain communities.

I finally left that job and went back to college. Four master’s degrees and mid-way through a second (and last) doctorate later, I still relish the experience at that manufacturer. I could walk back in there today and open my toolbox and do that job again. It is that ingrained in my pyschi. Why? Because I realized at that job that great ideas are not isolated within a small group of well-educated and brilliant people. No, brilliant ideas are born everyday within average people, and those ideas have consequences. Not only do they have consequences, but they change lives.

Some of the electronics you touch everyday started in a garage by a college dropout. There are far too many stories like that to deny the impact of a great idea. Within every individual is a seed of greatness. The challenge most people face is overcoming a life of training that tells them “You’re average, and average people do average things and have average lives full of average events.” If you choose, that can be true.

If you are wishing you could come up with something that could set you free financially, let me tell you this, you can. The biggest impediment to most great ideas is past training and fear that your ideas won’t be accepted. So what? So what if  they aren’t accepted. Anytime norms are challenged, there will be push-back, but when you know in your heart that your idea is a great one, you have to dig in your heels and push forward. Ignore the skeptics and naysayers.

But, I don’t have any education! Now, here’s the thing about education. Even with my 30 years of obtaining college degrees, the things that have caused me to be in the top 10% of my real estate market, and that has caused my contracting company to turn down 30 large commerical projects a month have nothing to do with college credits. No, it has everything to do with great ideas. I’ve done the college work to keep my brain exercising so that it’s always thinking, which opens the door to thinking about the next best thing. I taught a college class last week where I challenged the students to strive to allow their minds to dream of bigger, greater, bolder and more audacious ideas.

One great idea can change your life and the lives of many others. Don’t think you can’t do it, because if that becomes your norm, it’s likely to become your reality. But, if you realize that you have the ability to do something that is mind-blowing, even if it is small, do it. Some of my ideas at that manufacturer were very small, but they created great results. Your brain is in your head to be more than a tenant. It’s an inventor, an entrepreneur, a game-changer, a life changer, a magician. Use it and leave a legacy of greatness in your path.

This post was originally posted at One Great Idea Can Change Your Life.


Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA – Mid-Year Real Estate Update – 2018

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA – Mid-Year Real Estate Update – 2018

The Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA mid-year real estate update for 2018 shows a community that is hitting all the right notes. The numbers that need to be up are up and those that need to be down are down. The trajectory of the community is on an upward path and a great 2018.

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA: Growing Average Home Sale Prices

The average home sale price for the first six months of 2018 was $372,074. That is a Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA - Mid-Year Real Estate Update - 20185% improvement from 2017 and a 19% increase in home sale prices since 2014. Each year since 2014, the average sale price has risen. The smallest rise was in 2015 at 1%, but increases have been from 4% in 2016 to 8% in 2018.

That’s good news for homeowners who have waited for right time to list their homes. The continued good news coming out of the real estate market should bolster seller’s confidence that now is a safe time to sell at a profit. The pains of the 2008 market collapse are no longer on the minds of homeowners, and that is justified. The new market is strong, steady and moving in the right direction. There are no whipsaw features built into it and sellers and buyers can enter the market with confidence that the market has reached a healthy place.

Canter Estates, Stephens City, VA: Distressed No More

One of the most encouraging numbers in the Canter Estates subdivision is the number of distressed properties that sold in the first six months of 2018. Distressed properties are made up of foreclosures and short sales. Canter Estates had zero (0) distressed sales the first six months of 2018. That is a pattern that has built for the past five years. The neighborhood has only had three in fives years. That is an incredible number when comparing Canter Estates to other Stephens City subdivisions.

One last number that is showing a good consistent pattern is days on the market. The average days on the market for the first six months of 2018 was 36. That is consistent with the past five years. Days on the market is an unusual marker for any market health survey. It can give a false view or a very right view of the market. There are many things that affect the DOM. Location, condition and price all affect the price and sale-ability of a home. If a home is in good condition, it’s priced well and it’s in a desirable area, it should sell quickly, and the Canter Estates DOM shows those three are right where they need to be.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Canter Estates subdivision, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro.


Loudoun County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report – 2018

Loudoun County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report – 2018

The Loudoun County, VA mid-year real estate sales report shows a steady and healthy market moving into the second half of 2018. All of the numbers that should be up are up and the numbers that should be down are down. That is good news for Loudoun County, VA home-owners. There is one area that might cause limited concern for the market, but it really is small.

Loudoun County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report: The Market Slowdown

Real estate in the United States saw a slowdown in homes sales over the first six Loudoun County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report - 2018months of 2018. Forbes magazine and the National Association of Realtors both predicted a soft real estate market through the Spring of 2018. An average of 40% of all homes sold take place from March through June of each year. The Winter months do tend to see fewer home sales, traditionally. March saw a 56% increase in home sales from February 2018, and the numbers have gone up consistently since then.

The numbers are seasonably adjusted as the months go from cold and dark days of Winter to the warmer and lighter days of Spring through early Fall. January 2018 had 338 homes sales in Loudoun County, but that number jumped to 850 in June. That is a 151% increase over the first six months. Ironically, the number of sales are down 2.5% (3614 / 2017 – 3525 / 2018) from the same period in 2017. That’s a nominal change, and at this point in the year, it is nothing to worry about.

Loudoun County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report: Increased Average Sales Price

The average sales price for a single family home increased from $509,435 in 2017 to $527,148 in 2018. That is a 3.5% improvement in average sales price year to year. Again, that’s good news for home-owners who have waited to sell.

The numbers have been consistent in their upward growth pattern, but two of the first six months did see a pullback in average sales price. Both February and May had lower than average monthly sales prices, and they were lower than where the market started in January 2018 which was an average sales price of $523,633.

Multiple things contribute to lower prices and lower volume sales. Interest rate increases may cause some buyers to step back before they choose to enter the real estate market. The new tax law could easily have contributed to the 2018 lower sales volume. The uncertainty of the new tax law effect on home-buyers could easily have persuaded some home-buyers to take a “wait and see” approach to a home purchase. And, of course home affordability is always a factor in any housing market.

Loudoun County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Report: More Good Numbers

Two other numbers that can help paint a picture of a real estate market’s health are distressed properties and days on the market. The number of distressed sales in the Loudoun County, VA mid-year real estate market were 74. That was 2% of the total sales for the first six months. That is also a 2% drop in short sales and foreclosures year to year.

Another number that can signal a market’s health is the average days on the market. It is a number that may be deceiving because there are many factors that affect it. If a home is overpriced it will sit on the market longer. If it is in poor condition it can affect the amount of time it takes to sell it. Also, if it is in an undesirable area of a community it can stay on the market longer, but DOM can give some insight into how a market is moving.

The average days on the market for Loudoun County was 35. That is an excellent look into how fast the market is moving. The average for the first six months of 2017 was 39. The market has a consistent pattern of rapidly moving home sales. One contributor to the speed at which homes go under contract is availability. The fewer homes available, the faster they will sell. Loudoun County now has 1165 active listings on the market. There are also 31 “Coming Soon” listings and 931 homes that are pending a closing.

Overall, the Loudoun County, VA real estate market is healthy, strong and moving fast. It has followed a consistent pattern year to year and it is meeting all the common milestones as it progresses through the year. Home values are high and growing, distressed properties are low and declining and homes that are ready to sell – sell quickly. What’s not to love about those market conditions.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Loudoun County, VA real estate market, give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro, and he makes things happen everyday.



Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Market Update – 2018

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Market Update – 2018

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA mid-year real estate market update for 2018 continues to show promise of a good year despite the effects of a few headwinds. Throughout the country, many housing markets have slowed. There are many pockets of robust sales, but in a general sense, there has been a slowdown. Forbes magazine points to a housing slowdown in its six predictions for the 2018 housing market.

A Pull-back in Winchester-Frederick County, VA Home Sales

Winchester-Frederick Co., VA did see a slight pull-back from 2017 home sales. Housing Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Market Update - 2018sales were 827 for the first half of 2018. That is a 4% decline over 2017 sales (856). The majority of local sales were in the Frederick County side of the market, which is consistent year to year. Frederick County had 665 sales in the first half of 2018 and Winchester City had 162. The 2017 sales were Frederick County at 682 and Winchester City at 174.

There were contributing factors in the decline in sales. Low inventory continues to haunt the country. There are 365 available homes on the Winchester-Frederick County, VA housing market. That is a considerable improvement from the first of the year, and an even greater improvement from the Fall of 2017. With the market finding its most aggressive point at 500-600 homes available at any time, 365 is still only 73% of the low-side of a healthy market. The current number of available homes is 2.9 months of inventory.

Winchester vs Frederick County, VA Home Sale Appreciation

As inventory improves, other factors are affecting home-buyers. Local home prices have fluctuated both up and down over the year to year statistics. Frederick County, VA has seen a 7% price increase on an average home. The first six months saw an average home selling at $284,590, while 2017 was $265,844. That is good news for county home-owners who are in the market to sell.

Winchester City did not fare as well. The Winchester City market was off by 9.8%. The average housing price dropped from $270,575 in 2017 to $243,834 in 2018. Availability may have been an issue in the city, but for those who choose to live in the city, affordable housing may be another problem. Many of those who are now renting are having a struggle saving enough money for down-payments, earnest money deposits and mortgage payments. Local rental costs have soared in the past few years, putting potential home-buyers on the sidelines. U. S. News and World Report has predicted that climbing rental costs will keep more Americans in rentals in 2018. 

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Distressed Sales

One area of the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market that has not been Winchester-Frederick County, VA Mid-Year Real Estate Market Update - 2018a drag on home sales and value, has been the distressed property sales. Distressed properties are foreclosures and short sales. The 2018 mid-year average was at 6.4%. That is slightly higher than 2017, but it is small. The 2017 number was 5.7%. The local real estate market has hovered around 6% for many of the years since the recession of 2008 – 2013. The national average has fallen consistently and is at the lowest level since 2007. 

There are currently 232 pending sales in the local market. Of that number, 4.2% are distressed properties. A greater and more encouraging number is the number of new construction homes that are under contract. Currently, 14% of the pending home sales are new construction.

If new construction is factored into the local available housing numbers, there are 579 homes available. That is 37% of the local available properties. That brings the available properties back in line with a strong and vibrant market. The only issue with “to-be-built” homes is the waiting period. If a new resident, or a current home-owner who chooses to build a new home, the waiting period may force the new resident into a rental, and that same period may compel the home-owner to keep the current home off the market until a short time before the new home is ready to move into, stifling inventory.

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA housing market can be very static at times. After the challenges of the pre-and-post recession, a more steady movement in the market is welcome. It would be ideal to see an increase in inventory and sales, but as long as the critical numbers are moving in the right direction, the local market is consistently improving.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market, give us a call. Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., is your local real estate sales pro, and we can make something great happen with your housing needs.