I've promised my wife and myself that I'm going to go into 2008 on a more positive note and find that ray of sunshine in the midst of all of the doom and gloom in real estate these days.
I suppose that my ray of sunshine is that I'm relatively busy showing houses these days, albeit mostly foreclosures. The good news that I can take away from that is that people are out buying houses or trying to anyway. There are just too many great deals on foreclosed houses to ignore these days. I also have a few buyers who are looking at normal for sale houses, so that's good, too.
I made a conscience effort to balance my listing business with my buyer business and that has paid off. I still have a nice inventory of listings and fortunately none of my current clients is in foreclosure. That makes it tough on one hand (competing in this market isn't easy), but it also means that I don't have panicked sellers (or ticked off sellers, depending upon how they react to the foreclosure process). Been there and done that, and it wasn't fun.
Most buyers are fun to work with, especially if they have the wherewithal to be looking for investment properties. Some of the foreclosed properties that I've been through lately are in pretty rough shape or have major issues and lots of them have no power or gas, so it's a cold experience. My buyers and I have had some good laughs at what we find and we've both wondered about the fate of the past residents and what caused them to fall on hard times. It's also amazing to see what people strip out of houses when they leave and wonder what they did with all of the toilets that they took or with the kitchen sink.
So, I'm off this afternoon to visit a bunch of these sad homes, including a HUD home (always a favorite) with some of my buyers. I'm not sure that things in the real estate market are gong to change much for 2008, so I guess I'll just have to change how I deal with it. I'll dress warmly and take a flashlight, so that I can provide my own little ray of light in the darkness.