Let Me Look into My Crystal Ball
Jill Coleman Webb
I think many of us may have a snappy little response in mind for professional questions we tend to be asked over and over again. As a real estate practitioner I am often asked (though seems like always), “When is the market going to recover?” Or, alternatively, “Have we hit bottom?”
I have worked in many fields within the real estate industry and have lived through market highs and lows. I remember the savings and loan crisis and its aftermath. I recall stuffing gift bags for the grand opening of a 200+ high-end condo development on Michigan Avenue in January of 1991 with the radio detailing the American bombing of Iraq (luxury condos didn’t sell so great after that). As a young woman, I observed my father and uncles selling real estate at 16 percent interest rates. I had a ball during the condo conversion craze in the ’90s. I have experienced a variety of markets. Yet, I am finding even my most experienced and brilliant colleagues are not able to answer the market recovery questions with a degree of confidence. None of us have a crystal ball. I know if I did, I would not be selling real estate; I would be having my cabana boy bring me another cocktail and living it up in Bora Bora.
With the abundance of information available, I am finding consumers taking the “Do It Yourself” approach to gain insight on market recovery. One could spend hours building investment models, market condition charts, compiling stats, scouring existing home sales and mortgage reports……….and perhaps even finding some market indicators through the morass. But to what does this all really boil down?
I think for the average housing consumer (as opposed to investor), the market question will be answered by looking into their hearts. Okay, I’m a business person and I know this might sound a little hokey, but stay with me here, I might have a point. In this market, I have certainly seen consumer confusion (which I sometimes recognize as fear). I’ve seen sellers turn down decent offers and ultimately settle for much less down the road. I’ve witnessed buyers who are all over the place looking at everything and anything just to get that “best deal”. Or missing out on that great move-up family home because concern over whether the market would drop further prevented the purchase of what was really their perfect house. In my opinion, this complex market is a time to get back to the basics. This is where the “looking into your heart” comes in not into a crystal ball.
I recently attended a fantastic goal-planning seminar and was amazed at the meaningful impact this has made in my life. I think many of us know the basics of goal planning (written, deadlines, measurable, detailed, etc.), but I believe the same goal-setting principles can be applied to big decisions in our lives. Defining specific goals of your truest desires for your housing needs (outside of selling high/buying low) will result in a tangible direction. Discuss these specific goals with your real estate professional. Your agent will team up with you to work toward realizing your exact needs and desires.
Cultivating and accomplishing goals helps to achieve a well-rounded, joyous life. What an incredible return on your investment of time. Looking into your heart and true-life goals may be the best market indicator of all. And for the love of all that is good, toss the crystal ball!