“I don’t think this recession is anywhere near over,” he said, “I was going to try to sell my house this year, but am afraid I won’t be able to buy again. You probably can’t relate to this so much since you’ve been renting for so long. I never liked renting. I don’t know what else to do besides owning, but can I keep this up?”
This was a response to a quick, “How are you?” It brought several thoughts to mind.
If you think about it, essentially, buyers, sellers and renters have a very similar dilemma: trying to fit housing within their budgets. Seen from this angle, the dilemma become more personal. The question “How will this affect me?” then becomes, “Given MY goals, how do I reach them within the parameters of this market?”
I would like to suggest that instead of assessing the market first and then deciding if it will allow us to “make it”, perhaps the first question to answer is, “What do I want?” Then, we can ask, “How do I navigate the current market so that I get what I want?”
This does not mean that we must disregard perfectly real warning signs; it means that we come to the market with targeted awareness. It is no longer the market out there; it becomes the market with relation to me, my goals and my options.
It is a very personal journey. This is why Realtors spend so much time working with individual clients, helping them determine their true starting point and tailoring a plan that fits their particular goals.
We perceive the market as a sort of cloud overshadowing a large group of individuals and raining down on everyone equally. Can you imagine a Realtor approaching Real Estate as a group session?
Standing in front of his audience, he might announce, “All right, I want you to form four teams. Those of you selling a house in the North end should team up with those wanting to buy in that part of town. The same applies for south, east and west.” He continues, gesticulating with enthusiasm, “Once you have formed these teams, I want buyers and sellers within each team to shake hands, randomly.” After giving these instructions and waiting for the room to return to relative silence, the Realtor would conclude, “Now, buyers, make an appointment to go visit the home whose seller’s hand you shook. That’s it. Thank you for showing up. Call me if you have any questions.
Clearly, buying or selling a home and “group therapy” do not go hand in hand. Likewise, not everything about the market is going to affect everyone similarly. Your job, and your Realtor’s job should you choose to employ one, is to determine which trends might affect your specific plans and how.
A bad or slow market is in no way an indication that your plans are not worthy of a good pursuit. In fact, if all pursuits came to a halt every time the market falters, recovery would be impossible. It never is.