Yesterday I was asked by the real estate company I work for to participate in a panel and speak on a couple subjects. The first topic was on how to successfully create a business based listings and the second, on blogging and writing about real estate. Every Realtor knows, that a successful real estate practice requires an ability to get listings. It truly is the bread and butter of the real estate trade. Why you ask? It’s really pretty simple. Take any given weekend. A Realtor who is working with buyers can show, what, maybe 3 buyers a few homes in one day? So by really hustling, a good agent might be able to represent 6 clients in a weekend and that’s if all the stars align and you find each client a home in the first or second property you show. Contrast that with listings. In theory I could have an infinite number of listings, all being marketed simultaneously and being shown by anyone of the thousands of Realtors showing property over any normal weekend. 6 vs. infinity, hmmm… pretty easy to figure listings are the name of the real estate game. Thus I spoke about how I market myself and what it is I do for my clients that gives them the confidence to hire me to list and sell their home.
After my panel participation, we moved to break out groups, where I was asked to speak about blogging and writing for real estate. If you’ve read any of my posts in the past, you know that I am passionate about real estate and economics and like to share my views through my blog. I was flattered to be asked and even more flattered by the number of people who came to my table to hear me speak about blogging.
I explained how you start a blog, where to get a domain name and how to use categories and tags to get noticed by the search engines. But one of the questions really rang out and that was, how did I get my ideas for content. I said many ideas just come from our day-to-day dealings with clients and transaction and other ideas simply come from the news. For example, when I called the bottom of the real estate crash on May 28 2011, (http://therealestateconversation.com/2011/05/20/real-estate-good-news-just-keeps-coming/ ) it was based on my “boots on the ground” experiences and attention to the numbers that the market was producing. When I wrote about, “How to successfully get a loan mod,” it was from my experience of helping some family members and clients to navigate through the morass that was the modification process. The fun thing about putting thoughts and opinions on paper or in cyberspace, is that I can go back and look at things I’ve written. By and large I’ve been pretty accurate and there’s no blog that stand out as, “oops, missed that one.” In fact I’ve been right a lot. Which brings me to today.
The first thing that happened today is that I read about a Palm Springs subdivision that is building tract homes based on the designs of the mid-century modern architecture of Ain, Eichler, May and Wright. And that made me go back over my old blogs to find an article I’d written back when the housing market was in some of its darkest days and builders couldn’t give away homes. In that, I put out a challenge to tract home builders to stop building ticky-tack houses and lean on these giants of modernism (http://therealestateconversation.com/2011/03/29/new-home-sales-a-creative-cure/). Today’s L.A. Times article tells of this Palm Springs builder (Palm Springs, a city long known for its affection towards modernist and Googie architecture) doing just that and selling out every phase. While not terribly surprising due to the hot market we are in, it none the less speaks to the new-old aesthetic that the young, Prius driving home buying population is seeking.
While going back over those articles I also found another assessment I made, that provides a gloomy and foreboding indication of what we as a nation should expect in the coming months. As it turns out, according to the national media, the Republican led Congress is preparing for an all-out budget war and fight over the debt ceiling (again) with the President come this October. And although both parties have pretty much stayed out of the way of our economic recovery, we better prepare ourselves that this behavior is going to change and it’s going to hurt us and hurt us bad. Why, what’s supposed to happen you ask? Put simply, the Congress is preparing to shut down the government if the president doesn’t either, put an end to ObamaCare or gut agencies like the EPA and National Endowment for the Arts in an effort to drastically cut government spending. I’m not here to defend or critique ObamaCare, but it’s ironic that more economists than not want more government spending not less, yes more, because it will further stimulate what is largely accepted as a rather listless recovery and provide more good paying jobs. Austerity does not a job create the reasoning goes, rather it puts more people out of work. And while perhaps in the long term, smaller government is a vital step towards national economic health, the near term effect of austerity is not in the nation’s best interest in my opinion. That said, we have weathered the “Sequester” and one can only hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. Consider my blog when the Congress last acted juvenile with our debt ceiling, (http://therealestateconversation.com/2011/08/02/glad-thats-over-with-now-lets-get-back-to-business/) and nearly allowed our nation to default on our creditors. In that blog I wrote this about Congress’ action: “By leading us down the debilitating path of uncertainty, Congress has single handily set back our hopes of economic recovery months and may have even pushed us back into recession. If we are lucky, it will only mean greater pain and suffering for a short while, but if we don’t get back to business quickly, we may look back at July 2011 as the month Congress brought the world’s greatest economy to its knees.” I was right then and the recovery ended up stalling that fall and didn’t start to pick up steam again until 9 months later in spring of 2012. Now I may or may not be a soothsayer, but this much is clear, in looking back over nearly 4 years of The Real Estate Conversation, I can confidently state that my “boots on the ground” opinions have been far more right than wrong and I’m telling you here and now, if Congress goes forward with a government shutdown, we better be prepared to see our national debt explode with all the handouts we are going to have to give the unemployed. We should expect real estate to slow down, construction to slowdown and our fledgling recovery to maybe do a 180 and run right into another recession. So there it is, I said it and I stand by it. In a year we can look back at this blog and see if my sky is falling prediction was just Peter calling wolf or a call to action that should have been headed. So write you Congressional leaders and beg for common sense because I wouldn’t bet against me.