IS AMERICA OVER IT? Homeownership, I mean.
I'm just thinking out loud here, but perhaps the reason for the lackluster rebound from the market crash is that many Americans no longer have much of a taste for homeownership.
Still just thinking here, but why should they? After a couple of decades of deregulation, balloon payments, adjustable rates, mortgage backed securities and other schemes created by those in and outside the industry, I'm a bit surprised anyone is buying these days.
Yes, sales are inching upward. But they are nowhere near what they should be in many major markets. "Tepid" is the word I have been seeing to describe existing sales.
Are buyers waiting on the sidelines for lower prices. Probably not. Prices already are down more than a third since 2006. Are they waiting for lower interest rates? I doubt it. According to CNNMoney, interest rates just hit another all time low.
I THINK they are waiting for the industry itself to make some changes. People no longer trust the real estate market and to a large part, they don't trust the agents. And when they are considering a purchase of hundreds of thousands of dollars, trust is more important than a point in their interest rate.
There are too many homeowners with horror stories about a foreclsoure they, or someone they know, went through. There are too many stories about being underwater in a home someone bought at the height of the market.
Others, those thinking about buying, have stories of their own. There are stories about the nightmarish maze waiting for someone brave enough to try to purchase a short sale. There are other stories about how difficult it is to get a traditional mortgage. Some have stories about how some agents won't even take the time to speak with them until they show up with their "papers."
Really? With all that has gone on agents want proof of a buyer's ability to buy before they will begin working with them? It seems to me it may be the agent who should be providing some prequalification documentation these days.
This is a fine time for agents to revisit the notion of customer service and to remember they work in a service industry. That means, perhaps, helping a potential client become pre-qualified or answering other questions they may have about the process before moving on to dwell on the contract you want them to sign or the commission you hope to make.
Remember, it may or may not be your fault, but that new potential client walking through your door probably is packing a serious attitude - and may not be inclined to prove their pre-qualification, or anything else, until an agent takes the time to prove a few things of their own.
I suggest we begin by remembering the industry we work in is called the service industry for a reason.