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Opinion Editorials

You’ll See it in the Mirror

Remember When…

…the real estate market was booming and the big question was “Is there a real estate Bubble?”

And then the real estate market started to slow down, the question was “When will the bubble burst?”

When there was acknowledgment that the market was in difficulty, the question became “When will we hit bottom? (When I think it should have been When will the market recover?)

Now we are in a surreal world where the Federal government has taken over Fannie Mae , Freddie Mac and AIG, while huge financial  institutions have been the victims of closings and fire sales to their competitors. Each time the stock market opens, it loos like a water slide, and mid-day rallies are the bright spots as people watch their pensions and IRAs dwindle.  Each day seems to bring new surprises – mostly unpleasant. And now the question is “When will this get better?”

Not My First Rodeo

Having been through other “economic readjustments” in the past, I thought I might share a couple of things I learned. Maybe they’ll provide you with some help, or at least a sense of perspective.

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  1. Nothing lasts forever. Good times or bad, our business has always been cyclical. The trick is to not spend it all when the times are good, and keep in mind that it will bet better when times are bad.
  2. If the news has nothing good to offer you, don’t watch it. You don’t need to spend a lot of time reading negative articles or watching prophecies of doom and gloom. They don’t help you do your job better, and may actually impede you
  3. Its OK if there are fewer homes selling in your marketplace as long as you’re one of the people selling them.
  4. If the prices on the properties you sell are lower than before, you need to sell more houses.
  5. If you only work as hard as you used to , you’ll make a lot less money.
  6. If you work harder than you used to, you’ll still make less money (but maybe not a lot less) and you might even make more
  7. If you work a lot harder than you think you need to, you will probably make as much money as you used to – and probably at least as much as you need to.
  8. If you need to go get a “real job” you probably didn’t treat this as one.
  9. Be diligent about looking for new ways to increase the number of buyers and sellers you work with without abandoning the old ways that work.
  10. When people ask you how the business is say “Unbelievable!” They probably aren’t interested except for shadenfruede (Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) – That’s why people slow down to look at the scenes of car accidents

You’ll Know When its Over

Real Estate is always an economic leader.

We were the first to enjoy the benefits of the boom. We were the first part of the economy to feel the slowdown. And we will be the first part of the economy to recover – possibly even while there are continued consequences being realized by other sectors of the economy. So you may see your business improving before the rest of the economy has completed this cycle.

You might remember late 2008 when the federal government announced that we were in a recessions – that started in 2007. You weren’t surprised were you? You knew we were in a recession, regardless of what the papers or television or the government called it.

Recovery will be the same thing. If you keep doing the right things, as exhausting at it seems at times, you’ll only recognize the end of the market in retrospect because you’ll be too busy making a living to concentrate on predictions. You’ll be doing the things that work for you, in the methodical and repetitive way that such things work, when you realize that the responses you’re getting are more frequent and more pleasant, and that there seems to be more money left at the end of each month.

Rates are great, prices have been readjusting, credit liquidity needs to improve, but that should be a matter of time. People still need someplace to live and we’re still here to help them find that place. Stay flexible, stay focused, and continue to work on improving your skills.

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Written By

Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.



  1. Lisa Sanderson

    January 28, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Thanks for the pep talk, o wise one! 🙂 You are so right. I’ve been filling my pipeline w/people just waiting for a reason to make their move. As soon as there is a little good news and they feel comfortable, they will buy.

  2. Vance Shutes

    January 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Bill – Perspective is everything, and I thank you for sharing the wisdom of your perspective on this market. My first broker always told me “Things are neither as bad nor as good as they seem.” We all know that this will turn around, but our crystal ball is a bit cloudy as to when. In the meantime, we sharpen our skills, push the frontiers of marketing, and keep up the communications with our clients, who so desperately need to hear from us on a consistent basis.

  3. teresa boardman

    January 28, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I like your first point the best. I live by that rule and it gets me through the bad times and allows me to put money away during the good.

  4. Laura Cannon

    January 28, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    -very helpful post. I think we need more voices of moderation and calm like yours. I have a relative who keeps sending me bad economic news every other day. What’s the point? News, good or bad, doesn’t sell houses; only hard work does. I need to be out there at open houses, on the phones, on-line, networking, and following leads whether the sky is falling or not.

    I appreciate your sobering comments and sensible approach.

  5. Russell Shaw

    January 28, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Bill, LOVE it! And very nice photo too.

  6. Sherry Baker

    January 29, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Those are wise words, my friend. Printing this one and pinning it to the wall over my monitor. Good stuff!

  7. Paula Henry

    January 29, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Bill – This is the shot in the arm we all need from time to time. Better still, is it coming from you, a veteran who has seen it all. We need more encouragement and positive messages in this biz.

    Working harder, smarter and keeping our eye on the task at hand will prove to be the difference between staying in the business or being one who checks out.

  8. Gary Ashton

    January 30, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I guess the one good thing about the bubble bursting is that the relative values of homes for sale will now remove a lot of the price barriers to entry level home buyers. Once the confidence of the consumer is re-established and the banks make the ability to buy a home a little easier I think we will see a return to the traditional real estate model where low prices leads to sales and a reduction of inventory and in the long run an increase in demand for the dwindling supply…which should raise home values…hopefully 😉

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