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Monday, April 7, 2008

Dancing in the rain...

“Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.” (Unknown) Those words from today's Jack's Winning Words blog certainly apply to real estate and to real estate agents.

From a home seller's perspective, we are in the midst of the perfect storm, as far as real estate is concerned. House prices are falling and here is a glut of inventory on the market. Realtors too are experiencing the stormy rain, trying to make a living with fewer buyers, and stretched out selling time.

The only people who appear, on the surface anyway, to have a reason for dancing are buyers, especially investors who have swooped into places like Detroit to buy up 50-100 foreclosed houses at a time.

So, how to apply the wining words? For many sellers who are in a position to sell (they don't owe more than they can get for the house), the challenge is to mentally get over the "paper loss" that most imagine they are suffering or the real loss that is just unavoidable in this storm. If you can exit your house without having to bring more money to the table, just do it. Accept the temporary financial set-back and get on with your life. If you are buying another place in Michigan, focus on the good deal that you'll get there. If you are exiting the state, too, then hopefully you'll be able to get a good deal where you are relocating. There are few places in the U.S. right now that aren't also suffering this housing downturn.

As an agent, I've had to refocus much of my time and effort upon the buy side of the real estate equation. I now work more with buyers than with sellers, although I am still accepting new listings. When I list a house I am very honest with the seller about how long it might take and how low they might have to price. Some are easier to deal with on those issues than others and some are impossible to convince about what needs to be done - those listings I turn down.

So, I'm learning to dance in the rain of this storm and I'm trying to get a few others (sellers) to join me. We can't do anything about it, so we may as well make the best of a bad situation and figure out how to live and dance in the rain.

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