I don’t think I have to point out to anyone that the real estate market here in the Valley and across the nation has dramatically changed over the past 4 years. Not only has the market changed but people’s buying, selling, and investing habits have changed as well. Habits form who we are so essentially we have changed through all of this! The economic crisis unfolded on a national media stage for all to see, hear, and feel, pretty much everyone has been affected in some way! Some have lost their homes; others have tragically lost jobs, income and even their life savings. As a result of this crisis there is a general feeling that America got a raw deal somehow and the injustice our nation has suffered needs to be addressed and corrected. Whenever the topic of housing or the economy comes up tempers flare, people-including politicians, economists, and even neighbors make dramatic predictions and point fingers of blame to the left and the right. I get it, the real estate market hype and bubble left us all high and dry with a bitter taste in our mouths so someone has to get the blame! This mess has changed us as a culture, I think in a good sense it has made people a lot smarter, the average guy and gal have more financial sense, with technology and social media anyone can research and learn about any market. I think it also provoked the entrepreneurial spirit of this nation and its people and incited many to take action instead of moan about their country and its problems. I believe we will look back on this season and recall amazing businesses and non profits that were born during this challenging time birthed by entrepreneurs, some of whom were collecting unemployment checks. On the flip side it has brought out the worst in a lot of people across this country including fear, apathy, irrational anger and poor decision making! Our government and its leaders fell when they could have risen and tackled this nation’s issues head on instead they have argued like little boys over a video game. Overall I believe this crisis has humbled people and the real estate market bringing both to what I would hope is solid ground where we as a nation can rebuild. Because at the end of the day EVERYONE needs a place to live! Housing is something woven in to the fabric of this nation and people because it is essential to life, every human needs food, clothing and shelter-yep everyone needs a place to live and that will never change. A bad housing market isn’t the end of the world believe it or not, Armageddon is not here folks, what has arrived is reality! Reality in this present real estate market is doing what is affordable, and taking calculated risks. It means not buying when you are broke and have tons of debt, it means not buying when you know your company is going to downsize or your gut is telling you that a pay cut is on the horizon, and it means selling your home if you can’t afford it and downsizing if necessary. It also means buying a HOME NOW when prices and interest rates are very low, it means saving enough money for a small down payment and taking a risk within your means and budget, , it means buying multiple properties and investing wisely if you have the cash available-yep-back to fundamentals-buy low, it means buying the second home you always wanted and saved for-NOW is the time-don’t let irrational fear stop you from making wise financial and lifestyle moves. Housing this time around is more of a necessity but it is still a dream and if you plan before you dream you will dramatically reduce the risk of that dream becoming a nightmare! So don’t buy into the drama of media induced fear and panic influenced by political posturing- instead do your homework and move forward with confidence.