Check out this blogpost by Sean O'Toole, CEO of Foreclosure Radar.
If you look at his website and his past blogposts, you see a thoughtful, intelligent person who has studied and understood more of this real estate market than most. I know that I have done what he suggests, talked to people who are in trouble with their mortgages, and I've tried to help them find solutions. Unfortunately, if they are in real trouble with no equity, I can't help them effectively because they have to negotiate with their lender--and that, as Sean eloquently points out, is where the trouble lies.
More thoughts on my chosen profession:
As I reflect on my year in real estate, 2009 has certainly been a challenge. But last year at this time, it was even more frightening. Would I ever sell another house? My notes from December, 2008, show that was a real concern to me. To relate back to what Sean wrote, I did feel like the best thing I could do was to be as helpful as I could. I wrote about the government programs in my blog, I took flyers around the neighborhood, I met with people to discuss their options even though they couldn't sell. But I felt powerless in most cases to effect positive help.
In hindsight, it looks like the real estate market in our area bottomed out in the first quarter of this year, so I was trulyÂ facing a very dark time ahead. But as I looked around at other people going through that dark time, I could see that I had a huge advantageâ€”I am my own boss and no one can lay me off but myself.
Imagine how vulnerable employees feel, not knowing if they will have a job next week. Even public employees are feeling the pinch with unpaid furlough days, frozen wages, pay cuts. It may not be easy to go out and sell another house, but at least I have that possibility in my day.
I have a full-time assistant and I have a family and a household to support. This has been both a burden and an inspiration to me through these difficult times. As my income was drastically reduced, I had to make a number of budget adjustments, but I always felt it was very important to make sure I kept my employee. Imagine how tough it is on a person who relies on an individual person for their livelihood. I have seen many Realtors decide that they canâ€™t afford their staff anymore. Is that a really wise economy? There is the saying, â€œIf you donâ€™t have an assistant, you are an assistant.â€ If you spend your time doing administrative jobs, when are you going to go out there and do your real job, which it to make deals? The temptation is really strong to spend a lot of time on administration since it feels like work. But itâ€™s not our work. Not if we are really doing what we need to do.
When the market is so difficult, itâ€™s really easy to decide any effort you make is useless and you might as well not try. But with an assistant to keep busy and a family to support, I went ahead and got out there and looked for deals. The key to success is to be there the moment the decision to buy or sell real estate happens. If you are back at the office filing your paperwork, how will you be there with the buyer or seller?
What if we were out in our neighborhoods helping people get to the truth about what they really could and couldn't do with their homes and providing them with achievable options?