In a recent industry magazine I saw the word "resilence". It immediately sent my mind down a winding path thinking about its definition and my world. Indeed, this one word summed up the last three years of my career in real estate.
re·sil·ience noun /riˈzilyəns/The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Truthfully, it summed up a majority of peoples' lives over the last three years. The capacity to recover has been and is being tested in every possible way. In early 2008 we recognized the real estate world was changing. Sometimes changing so fast, it was difficult to sit down at a kitchen table with a seller and explain that their house value had not only decreased but was actively decreasing at a rate of 2% (and sometimes more) per month.
In 2009, the reality of AS IS became clear as REOs and short sales hit the market and buyers looked at me puzzled by the definition of this new market's affordability. Yes, you may now get a deal but you have a ton of work to do before you can move in. Furthermore, the return of FHA loans into the California market sent agents reeling into new requirements applied by appraisers and underwriters. But, we recovered and quickly became experts at anticipating issues and added to our daily calendars meetings at homes to provide the out of town appraiser with comps and data related to our local market.
Moving into 2010, buyers saw the tax incentives as a way to hedge their bets against predicting the bottom of the housing market but were still very surprised when their offer was 1 of 8 on the REO they found. The "believe it or not" speech I gave over and over to first time buyers explained how their offer was beat out by all cash. Even when they had offered over a half-million for the home.
Resiliency is not only required on each spoke of the real estate industry wheel (loan officers, escrow officers, painters, etc) but of our customers who have given up after draining their savings account, their retirement account, and maxing out their credit cards in futile attempt to save their home. After working with many home owners, feeling their stress, their shock, their embarrassment, and their defeat, I find myself part counselor and part miracle worker. Resilience is a gift I try to provide my clients when I help them move on to their next home and leave all the daily phones calls from the banks behind. I haven't lost a client to foreclosure yet and hope I never have to give that news to a client.
I would like to believe that our nation and our economy knows the definition of resilence. Because the one true enemy to resiliency is the seemingly never ending beating we are taking on our hope for a better day. I meet clients everyday that tell me, if they could just catch a break, they could bounce back. The right attitude burdened with a never ending, always changing, challenge can certainly wear even the "Suzy Sunshines" of us down.
In speaking with friends, getting up each day, staying busy, making the best of each moment is our resilient testament. The long haul, has become a very real truth to many of us. A test of determination. A test of integrity in who we are as professionals, Americans, and humans.
So when you set out today, whisper the word RESILIENCE to yourself. Take the hits the day will offer and rebound. Take the gifts today brings and celebrate. Help your clients see possibility as well. At the end of the day, the week, the year, the decade, it will be about recovery.