As I peruse the emails coming to my inbox from all of the people trying to sell me the magic solution to riches I begin to understand why we as Realtors are considered a less than professional industry. The biggest offering today is "How to make a fortune off of people who are losing their houses" i.e. short sales, pre-foreclosure, foreclosures, bankruptcies and the list goes on.
In today's uncertain economic times it seems to me that we should be thinking more about what role can we play in providing a viable solution or solutions to the uncertain economic times in our country. History shows that the real estate industry has often brought our economy out of economic downturns due to the huge impact it has on providing jobs and generating a strong after closing economy because of increased retail sales at a number of levels, furniture, landscaping, painting, decorating, home improvements and the list goes on. It seems like our Associations, NAR, State Boards and Local Boards should develop task forces that will be working hard to develop strategies that will provide positive ways to help Real Estate recover at the national, state and local levels. You know I should have said that the other way around, "At the Local, State and National level", because the approach needs to be bottom up rather than top down to be totally effective.
As I look at the short-sale, foreclosure, bankruptcy market it becomes pretty clear, if someone doesn't start trying to solve it rather than make a killing off it we will never see an economic recovery. These two approaches, lets just call them "Economy Killers" for the rest of this discussion, from a lenders standpoint are the same as they have always been and they are outdated. We have more and are creating more vacancies in the housing market than I have ever seen in my 36 years in the real estate industry. Look at what is happening, people are being pushed out of their homes in record numbers and then told they have to sit on the sidelines for the next 2,5,7 years before the lending industry will "let" them buy a home or have credit again. So a large part of the population that have been homeowners are taken out of the equation for recovery. As more foreclosures and short sales take place its like building a snowman, you start to roll out the first ball of snow and it starts getting larger faster and faster as it gets bigger, this is what is happening in our real estate economy because of Economy Killers as more come into the market they drive prices and values down even further causing local values to go down, causing more people to become affected by the declining values bringing more people into a short sale or foreclosure situation causing further declines and so on and so on and so on!!! Ooopps now our get rich Economy Killers have totally denigrated the housing market leaving a bunch of vacancies, a huge supply of potential homeowners who have to sit on the sidelines for a number of years deflated home values and now the recovery we have counted on in the past will never get off of the ground because there aren't enough buyers to make an impact and more importantly there is no "push" up in the market because all of the vacancies are dead end deals rather than creating a push which in the past has counted for anywhere from 2 to maybe six or seven upward sales!
If we want to be thought of as Professionals, maybe we should start asking the serious questions, what can we do to help this industry turn our economy around, how can we stop this downward spiral of property values, how can we stabilize home values, what can we do to contribute to a plan that will allow the real estate industry to do what it has done so successfully in the past, bring our economy out of decline into recovery and stability? Let the discussions/actions begin....