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It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

quotesFrom early September of 2008, our country began a ride like we had never seen. Crashing financial markets, staggering housing issues, stock markets in free fall all of which made for some extreme uncertainly heading into 2009. This past 12 to 15 months has brought out massive successes and crushing failures for many. For a number of us it’s also given us moments that will forever be etched in our minds. Moments that could have only been brought about by the extremes of what the world was foisting upon us.

I had one of those and I’m sure many of you did as well. As we wind down this year, I hope you’ll take a moment to relive one on my end and share one of yours as well. On a personal note, a huge thanks to those of you who have given this discussion of politics and business a chance here on Agent Genius. While the discussion has rarely arrived at a consensus, the issues before us have never been greater.

I’m humbled you chose to participate in the conversation. Please note that next week the ten year old and I will have some lighter business predictions for the year ahead….as only he can deliver them!

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Written By

Realtor, Speaker, former Indianapolis radio personality. Least prettiest person ever on HGTV. Crashed in a helicopter and a Cessna 182. Seven lives left. Blessed by an amazing family!



  1. Paula Henry

    December 20, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Greg –
    There are many stories of defeat and struggle to be pondered, to say the least. These are tumultuous times for many. To be sure, we have had our share of successes and failures. I’m not sure I can choose one. Working short sales has provided some raw emotion, which can rarely be captured in the written word.

    Watching a single mom pack up her home and children to move to another state at the 11th hour, forced into foreclosure when ATA filed bankruptcy and the PMI company refused to negotiate, was a heart breaker.

    As one agent said to me this week, “That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger”.

  2. Missy Caulk

    December 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I read a post this week, can’t remember where…but it was about the silence of NAR on the amount of Realtors that have lost their homes in foreclosure. I know it is happening in my area.

    Of course I for one am glad Ben and Lani stepped out of the box and started the Sunday morning political page. Even when I may disagree, because I trust the people writing it opens my eyes to different ways of seeing the same elephant.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. Greg Cooper

    December 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Missy….I too wonder how many R’s have left the industry this year. I also wonder how many have suffered health isses because of the stress. I have lost several friends in our biz this year for that exact reason.

    Paula….so many heartbraking stories like the one you’ve shared are out there. I’ve never had a year like this in which so many colleagues shared how hard business was. Not just the amount of effort but the emotional toll it has taken on many of us. It will get better…..slowly.

  4. Tyler Osby, The Wealth Creation Guy

    December 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    @ Greg — Great video, as usual. I’ve been a long time lurker watching in the RSS feeds, but I wanted to hop out and say something I’ve been wanting to say for quite some time….

    Now, I’ve only been in the *mortgage* business for six years — So, I’m not sure if things have been super easy/hard in the past, I have much less to compare from than others. So if my next statement is mis-informed, please forgive me.

    It bugs me every time I hear someone talking about “this market” as a tough one. I know that I’m in the mortgage business, so I have refinances. However, I get a pretty close look at how my local Realtors are doing. I can’t say that it’s been to tough of a year for Realtors really putting their head down and working. A few contributing factors may be:

    1) $8,000 FTHB Tax Credit.
    2) Home Prices Falling (for buyers, this has been huge).
    3) Sub 5% mortgage rates.
    4) The passing of the $6,500 move-up buyer tax credit.

    ….Among many other reasons… This has been a *GREAT* market to work in. Sure, there have been obstacles, both legislative and shifts in the market. But seriously, since when is a market when rates are at 5% is it a bad/tough market?

    I’ve had a record year and know many other Realtors that have done the same!

    What I think we’re missing is that right now, it’s easy. Seriously, it really is. If you figure out the small obstacles, it’s easy… People can afford to buy if they’re employed. The real question is what will our market/business look like when rates climb to 7 or 8% (which I know you agree will happen sooner than later).

    We shouldn’t complain/show concerns about the market when we should really be earning the income while we can. The market will always shift – but this shift has been profitable to agents/mortgage professionals that have figured it out.

    I’m sure the same will be true when rates go to 7 or 8%+, but it’s going to get a lot tougher. A LOT TOUGHER.

    Am I right, or am I crazy?

  5. Greg Cooper

    December 21, 2009 at 9:39 am


    Thanks for your kind words and thoughts on the year passed.

    I agree with a good part of what you say with a siginificant asterisk. Yes, there has been success but there has also been a price. Even with rates at incredible levels that doesn’t change the amount of hours you have to exert to have success. When you show a first timer 40 homes, get through inspections and have an appraisal come back $1800 off on a $159K home so that you can start ALL OVER, that is not my idea of a great market. That happened to me 4 times this year. Cost me well over 100 hours worth of work to accomplish the same thing. To work for months on a short sale when everyone believes there can be a reconciliation only to have the FDIC charge in and blow everyone up and throw the whole thing in limbo, that’s not a great market either. To have people losing their homes in droves that you seemingly should be able to help but can’t simply because of government red tape…..well you get the idea.

    I do agree on all of your points about rates, etc. Times are tolerable now with IR in the 5 range but things will get harder….and when they do 2009 will look like a cake walk. Perceived good opps now don’t change the current pressure on commissions, the extra hours spent, the fallen sales for appraisal issues, the homes gone into foreclosure when a solution was right at hand, et all. I suppose my point is that there is a tipping point between sacrifice and reward….and that point got moved a great deal in 2009. Regretably not for the better.

  6. Tyler Osby, The Wealth Creation Guy

    December 21, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I completely agree, Greg.

    Really, I just had to hop in and point to the reasons on why we’ll look back and say, “Maybe I should have worked more when rates were at 5%”.

    Too many agents are making excuses right now when they could be selling houses.

    I’m glad you’ve been one of the agents putting in the necessary time to be successful, even though it isn’t the norm. At least you’ll be able to “weathering the storm” when it comes, and it will come 🙂

    Thanks for not beating on a lurker too much!

    Keep up the great videos.

  7. Ken Montville

    December 22, 2009 at 8:24 am


    Interesting perspective.

    BTW, about the lady at the bank wanting cash. You kept mentioning that her money was there, it’s just that particular bank or branch had run out of cash. Well, I’m going to suggest to you that her money wasn’t there. This is part of the reason, in my view, that gold has seen new highs. People are scared to death that banks will eventually go under and all this “funny money” (aka electrons) will disappear into the ether.

    You and me and other members of your generation (and younger) can take it in stride. However, the more “creative” and “exotic” the banks get with our money the less we’ll have confidence in them and confidence is key (“full faith and credit of ….” yadda, yadda, yadda)

    About your response to Tyler. Wow! Talk about a hard year. Whew! Here’s my answer (and you won’t like it since it requires Government intervention):

    1. force (repeat: force) the banks to speed up short sales and allow the homes to be purchased by financially qualified buyers whether they are people looking to live in them or they’re investors,

    2. speed up the foreclosure process – we have enough data to show that loan mods and forbearance are not working as planned. Yes, work with people who are financially qualified and let the rest find a rental or their parents’ house. Sure. Have a moratorium from Dec 1. to January 15th and then put the machinery back in gear.

    Only when we have the inventory back in equilibrium will we see any kind of relief regardless of mortgage rates and tax breaks. If we had inventory equilibrium, rates could be 7% (8%!) without tax breaks and houses would sell.


  8. Greg Cooper

    December 22, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Ken…thanks very much for your thoughts. I hadn’t even considered that the bank not actually have the money. The teller told me they had simply gone through too much cash and were down to 20’s, 10’s and 1’s. Very frightening.

    For the record I’m not totally against the government! I am highly in favor of them doing things to stimulate the private sector in the right direction EXACTLY as you have suggested on points 1 & 2. But they don’t do that. Both parties have become such idealogues that they aren’t paying any attention to what’s best….just how much they can influence and control the process to make their core happy.

    Tyler….I’d never clobber anyone too badly….considering how some of us get clobbered every time we post here. (read…the NAR people are REALLY unhappy about me mocking the grave stone issue).

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