Monday, January 26, 2009

What is to Come

I am often asked "What do you see in the future for real estate?" Obviously I do not have a crystal ball, but when I received an email today imploring me for some input on the subject, this was my response:

No honest person can claim to know where it is all going, for sure. This is because there are over 5000 "local" markets, each with its own, unique factors to consider. That is why some are still hot, while others will continue to sink for years to come. More important is the part that Congress takes in this. If they do the right things, much of this could blow over in 6 months. If they do the wrong things, as they are prone to do, it could take years.

The only thing we can and should do is find ways to cope with the realities of today. Think outside the box; learn new methodology. That is how I conceived the reverse mortgage in '85. We were just coming out of some rough times, and many retired folks were really in a bind. I developed the concept (which I called The Golden Years Project) to help the elders, and make a profit for myself in the process.

Regardless of the economy, it is innovation that will fix it, not government bailouts. I recall in the recession of '89, home sales were stagnant in eastern MA where I was at the time. I still had homes to sell. While everyone else was doing the same old thing the same old ways - listings, ads etc., I decided to try something different. I contacted the personnel directors of the large corporations in the area and let them know I had a few, select executive homes available, and if they had any new execs transferring into the area, please invite them to attend a Wine & Cheese Party at - and then I listed the addresses and dates/times of the Wine & Cheese parties. Execs came. They did not just see a house. They saw a home that was a super place to entertain their society friends, because they were already in such a party. Of 4 homes, I sold three on the very night of the parties.

Innovation. Sometimes as simple as Wine & Cheese. Other times, it takes developing an entirely different strategy.

Good Luck. Remember - no matter what the economy does, trust in America, and Americans. And trust in yourself. I do not consider myself as someone who just invests in real estate, stocks, bonds, gold. Instead, I see it as investing in the strength of America, and the hope that is tomorrow. Helps keep a clear perspective.

Bill