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Courage is not the Absence of Fear

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Here we are in late 2008 and believe it or not we’re finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and see market activity begin to pick up after a slow summer and fall. Since Oct. 1 alone, over 2,500 properties have sold, just in Worcester and Middlesex County – a statistic which I’m sure will shock many of my readers this month. In short, the smart Buyers are out there right now snapping up property, many in anticipation of future investment potential. As a veteran of over 20 years in the real estate industry, this is the third of these recessionary periods that I’ve been through, and I recall well that it was in times just like these that many millionaires were made. Back in 1992, things were far more bleak than this. Digital, our largest employer, was on its way out, taking with it the investment hopes of thousands of local employees who watched their 180/share stock options dissolve. Local banks were dropping like flies – names like Home National, Bank of New England and others were on the front pages every day. Back then, my lovely neighborhood in Shrewsbury was being built, and had gone under for the third time before finally being taken over by the FDIC.

Yet it was in the midst of all that made 1992 a scary year in the financial markets, that more millionaires were being seeded than you could possibly imagine. People with the courage to step up to the plate that year found their homes double in value, in many cases, within 36 months. I can still remember the people I was working with in 1995 and 1996 looking at homes in my neighborhood in the mid 400’s, wondering in disbelief why they hadn’t bought a few years earlier. Investors who snapped up packages of 10 condominiums, at $50K each, were popping them out at $100K just a few short years later. For others, it was the acquisition of multi-families by the dozens that made them into the millionaires I know them as today.

Nobody can possibly speculate as to what the value of a home will be three or four months down the road, any more so than we know what the value of a stock will be at the end of the next quarter. Warren Buff et, the proclaimed Oracle of Omaha, has been plowing billions of dollars into the stock market in the past two months, based on that very same principle. He said that he doesn’t know, and doesn’t care, what the value will be like next month, because he knows where it will be years from now.

If your investment horizon is under a year, then my best advice as one who sells real estate is NOT to buy real estate. On the other hand, if you’re planning for a future, then you’ll probably never see a better time than right now to make your move.

The pent-up demand in the consumer market is unbelievable. You can actually “feel it” in the air when you’re in a room with potential clients. They all want to buy, but have been just too afraid to step up. Ultimately, that’s the first clue that we may have reached a turning point in the market. The American consumer just doesn’t like to be denied, and will sit by only so long. My best guess is that we’ll see a catalyst of some kind, perhaps something as simple as the inauguration, and that it will cause a domino eff ect in the industry. Once that happens, there will be a mad scramble for the existing inventory, and then a delay for a few weeks as the Sellers try to cope with the reality of what they’re seeing going on, and deciding whether to believe it for themselves. The instability in the inventory levels will probably cause some slingshot eff ects in the local market, probably starting right after the New Year, and stabilizing in the early spring.

In the meantime, thousands of Buyers are stepping in, even while all the signs around them seem to be telling them otherwise, and they are likely to be the ones regaling their friends down the road with stories of how they made it all happen … just as I was back in 1995.

Contrary to popular belief, mortgage money is out there for Buyers who are looking to make things happen. While there are plenty of marginal homes out there, inventory of cream puff homes is lower than it’s been in a long time. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the mastery of it. The year 2008 will be talked about for many things – but mark my words now – a few years from now we may be talking about 2008 as the year when more new millionaires got their start than any other single year in history. Opportunity knocks … Do you have the courage to open the door?

Steve Levine is President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent for REMAX First Choice. He’s been ranked as the top REMAX Agent in New England for nine years, and can be reached by phone at 508-845-HOME or online at www.stevelevine.com.  

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Posted by on Nov 28 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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