There seems to be some confusion on housing market statistics and as usual , it all depends on who is paying for the report. In my area of the Brainerd Lakes in Minnesota, the sales of homes under $150,000 is picking up. The median priced range homes have slowed and we are seeing a dip in the luxury home market. With that said - buyers are still buying lake homes on desirable lots, tearing them down and building even bigger and "better". Homes are still selling and people are still buying. It seems that more people are putting their homes on the market to test the waters and then pulling them off or not renewing their listing contracts.
For this reason, I am only interested in motivated sellers - need to sell or really are determined to make that move. I have now received certification through two programs on Short Sales and REOs as that seems to be what we will be dealing with more and more. To not be educated on these and to work them is a big No No in my mind. However, after the studying you do need to go for it. I see others comment that only agents experienced in Short Sales/REO should do them. They were not always experienced, but that is a good way to cut out any competition.
I am enrolled in the Harris Real Estate University Coaching program and have found that they do keep me up to date on any changes and hints of changes, along with the ins and outs of the processes. Let the 2010 games begin !