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The Recession is Good for Communities

For the established neighborhoods that are in turnover mode, perhaps new people will (get this) move in and stay for a while rather than buy, slap up some contractors’ grade paint and put a new “for sale” sign in the yard. … I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s newest offering, Outliers , and the Introduction is about a particular community’s collective health and the reasons why – Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn’t be able to understand why someone was healthy if all they did was think about an individual’s personal choices in isolation.

For the established neighborhoods that are in turnover mode, perhaps new people will (get this) move in and stay for a while rather than buy, slap up some contractors' grade paint and put a new "for sale" sign in the yard. ... I recently read Malcolm Gladwell's newest offering, Outliers , and the Introduction is about a particular community's collective health and the reasons why - Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn't be able to understand why someone was healthy if all they did was think about an individual's personal choices in isolation.

Balance.jpg

Balance and stability – those are the new buzzwords for buyers.

Really. In the long run, communities will benefit.

Communities will be able to grow organically – many are already seeing this shift . Rather than focusing on the next house, the next rung, the next something, neighborhoods will be able to develop and grow by the people rather than artificially by the developers. For the established neighborhoods that are in turnover mode, perhaps new people will (get this) move in and stay for a while rather than buy, slap up some contractors’ grade paint and put a new “for sale” sign in the yard.

What does this mean for those associated with the buying and selling of properties? We can to help build these communities – we’ve seen what works elsewhere – and we can help by getting involved.

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Less transience is a good thing.

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s newest offering, Outliers, and the Introduction is about a particular community’s collective health and the reasons why –

Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn’t be able to understand why someone was healthy if all they did was think about an individual’s personal choices in isolation. They had to look beyond the individual. They had to understand the culture he or she was a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town their families came from. They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.

The first time I read this, the lightbulb went off.

Look beyond the immediate or even the foreseeable transaction and work to build a better world – be it two blocks, two miles or twenty miles wide. A lot of you are or have the potential to be much more than “Realtors” – you can be community organizers, development advocates – people who work to make the (local) world better.

Think big(ger). We will all benefit.

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Written By

Dad, Husband, Charlottesville Realtor, real estate Blogger, occasional speaker - Inman Connects, NAR Conferences - based in Charlottesville, Virginia. A native Virginian, I graduated from VMI in 1998, am a third generation Realtor (since 2001) and have been "publishing" as a real estate blogger since January 2005. I've chosen to get involved in Realtor Associations on the local, state & national levels, having served on the NAR's RPR & MLS groups. Find me in Charlottesville, Crozet and Twitter.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Jonathan Dalton

    April 1, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Went to take my wife to dinner at a local chain Mexican food restaurant last night. Found it odd that the parking lot was empty. The sign on the door explaining the lease had not been paid explained it all.

    This restaurant had been on the corner for the 18-plus years I’ve lived on this side of town. Never mind that I didn’t much like the food the last decade and went only for the sake of my wife … 18 years.

    I don’t see the good in it.

  2. Jim Duncan

    April 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I think we’ll be able to see the good once we are on the other side. Decay and renewal are part of the ecosystem, and nothing lives forever.

    No business is entitled to success or continuation … and painful as it is, I sincerely believe that we will be better for it.

    That restaurant’s vacancy creates an opportunity for someone else.

    God willing, I’ll be on the other side.

  3. Missy Caulk

    April 1, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Personally the only good I can see out of all this is that buyers who were shut out of the market can now enter with good interest rates and a choice of homes. This was not possible for many years in Ann Arbor so buyers had to move out of the city to afford a home.

    The other good thing is the amount of Realtors is decreasing.

    Oh yea, one more thing the Automotive Industry NEEDED restructuring and were not capable of doing it themselves.

  4. Bob

    April 1, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Sorry, but I don’t buy this. I find the assumption that an economic tragedy which has destroyed countless lives has an upside, as incredibly offensive.

    During the boom I saw older neighborhoods see renovation take place as first time buyers lowered their sights and non-profits invested in these neighborhoods with funds from philanthropists. Now I see these same folks watch their hard work and both real and sweat equity go down the drain and the non-profits struggle to stay afloat.

    I believe that good things can come out of bad situations, but I don’t believe seeing 45% of the world’s wealth disappear in the last 18 months as something that should be characterized as a good thing.

    Not at all.

  5. Danilo Bogdanovic

    April 2, 2009 at 8:00 am

    If every great society such as the Ottomans, Romans or Greeks had prospered forever, we would never be here on this continent as part of the “United States of America”. The same is true on a micro-level.

    People want success and properity and not failure because it suits them. But failure and recession is a necessary evil and part of life.

  6. Jim Duncan

    April 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Bob –

    Please don’t mistake my attempt to see an upside as taking joy in what is happening …

    But there are going to be upsides –

    – more local food and a focus on “local” (“victory” gardens are coming back)
    – Neighbors are actually going to know each other – and the sociological benefits of this are tremendous.
    – A renewed focus on intrinsic value of homes rather than solely “equity”.

    I would argue that the “wealth” that has been lost was never there at all. I wrote in 2006:

    A sign of the out-of-balance perspective is a ditech commercial where the borrower says, “I just refinanced and got rid of all of my credit-card debt. If feels great to be out of debt!” If this isn’t a sign of a market screaming for normalcy, I don’t know what is.

    Cycles are natural, and every up must have a down.

  7. Ken Brand

    April 8, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Intersting perspective. I believe one important thing is to really realize that things have changed forever. If ever there was a time to open our minds, re-evaluate and recreate how we approach building our business, deliver our services and nurture our relationships, this is it. Many slow to think and move will be left crying on the curb.

    My 3cents.

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