December, 2010 - There are at least two anecdotal items that will signal the business cycle is back on the road to long term recovery.
1)  When the length of a mortgage goes back to being only slightly longer than the length of the companion warranty deed.
2)  There will be a time again when a person's credit score will improve when they cancel a credit card instead of the other way around.

August 25, 2009 - Within the next 60 days the stock will peak - probably less than 10,000.  By Christmas of 2010, the Dow Jones will be under 5000.
February 26, 2009 - Sometime during March, the Dow Jones will bottom between 6750-7250 and rebound for a few months to over 9000 - maybe even closer to 10,000 during 2009.
February 2, 2009 - The Dow Jones Industrial will trade below 7500 - probably closer to 7,000 sometime in February.
August 31, 2008 - The Dow Jones Industrial will fall by 3,000 points by March 1, 2009.
October 2008 - The Jeep Commander, Nissan Armada and Dodge Nitro model designs are going to be redesigned or abandoned in the near future. The Hummer-like body style is now so yesterday.

The use of the words vet, vetted or vetting will disappear from the vocabulary after November 4th. (Maybe that is more of a plea than a forecast.)

The National Association of Realtors will be sued for their irresponsible television advertising. "On average, the value of your house will double every ten years." Come on. If that were remotely true, the first house we bought near Mercy Hospital would now be worth $312,000. Trust me. It isn't - not even two years ago, not even in California.'

November 2007 - The number of "E85" fuel pumps will peak over the next 18 months as the biofuels industry shifts their focus back to the original plan which was to view ethanol and biodiesel as a fuel additive.
August 2007 - Perhaps you've already noticed that different forms of bottled water fill an entire aisle in the grocery section of the Mason City SuperTarget. The cycle is peaking for this poster child of our pop culture. The grocery stores and convenience stores will be devoting much less precious shelf space to bottled tap water in the not-too-distant future.

Also in the not-too-distant future, will be changing their advertising slogan.The slogan has been, "When banks compete, you win." AND, the name of the arena in which the Cleveland Cavaliers play their NBA games is going to be changed back to the Gund Arena from the Quicken Loan Arena.

Bill O'Reilly of FOX NEWS fame recently wrote a book titled "Who's Looking Out for You?" In the book, O'Reilly singled out big corporations, the national media, politicians and government bureaucrats as the some of the groups from whom the individual needs protecting. These groups aren't evil, but what is best for them may not be what's best for you.

The same thing is true in the real estate industry. Every week we get involved in situations where the scales need to be tipped in your favor.

Let Benchmark look out for you. Here are three examples of how we can help:

Benchmark was recently involved in negotiations between an 86 year-old widow and a young beginning farm couple - to sell the widow's farm on a short-term installment contract. The young couple's banker, advised them to offer only 3% interest on the contract for deed. The banker's logic was sound. That rate was competitive with certificates of deposit at his bank with similar maturity. The lower interest rate also helped the profitability of the young couple - his customer. However, it wasn't in the best interest of the widow. She only had one farm to sell and one chance to make the best deal. Benchmark helped her do better.

Another example - Benchmark recently watched as an auctioneer pushed a family during a recess in the bidding, to accept the high bid. The auctioneer was quick to point out that his contract with them still required them to pay his commission and his expenses even if they didn't sell the property that day. The family agreed to accept the high bid of $1,995/acre. That buyer subsequently enrolled the cropland in the Wetland Reserve Program for almost $2,350/acre. Wait. There's more. That buyer still controlled the WRP residual rights, which would have been worth an additional $500/acre.

That auctioneer is an honest man but, on that day, he was looking out for himself more than his client.

Still another example - Benchmark recently advised an absentee landowner to expect to receive $5,000/acre for a valuable property. The owner had already been told to only ask $3,000/acre by his real estate broker. The broker wasn't familiar with that type of property, but he knew Benchmark was. That broker was also honest and he quickly proved he was the right person to sell the property. They eventually listed the property at $6,000/acre and received $5,700/acre in less than a month!

Then, there are those times when YOU aren't looking out for you! You can't be expected to know what's right when you're not in the business. We see people several times a year be "penny wise and pound foolish". These are the folks who saved a few hundred dollars on an appraisal or a consultation, but sold their property for several thousand dollars less than the full market value. Or, they saved a thousand dollars on a survey, but they sold the pasture and the woods along with the cropland for the same price the cropland would have brought by itself.

We value our relationship with the local lenders, lawyers, real estate agents and auctioneers. Those relationships are based on mutual respect. They can't be expected to know everything we know just as we don't know everything they know.

What's the bottom-line? Sometimes you need more than one person looking out for you. Put Benchmark on your team.