Keep the Faith

From the Editor: How long will the slowdown last?

November 1, 2007

The holidays are approaching, and with them come the dangers of overeating, overscheduling, and overspending. If you’ve faced a slowdown in business this year, you may worry about disappointing your family members at gift-giving time, but loved ones have a way of rising to the challenge.

I have a friend who was afraid to tell his wife and kids that his business was slowing; predictably, they maintained their comfortable lifestyle while he plunged into debt. When his family discovered what was happening, they were happy to help bring the family’s finances back into line.

How long the slowdown will last is a point of some contention. To get the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’ take Senior Editor Robert Freedman talked with Lawrence Yun, vice president of research. You’d expect Yun to be positive, and he is, but his measured approach gives me confidence. Demand remains strong, he says; once buyers get past their fear of buying at the height of the market, they’ll return to the bargaining table.

We’re hearing upbeat messages from our readers, too.

Dennis Norman, president of the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®, sent us an article he’d written for the St. Louis Post Dispatch reminding readers of all the good economic news in their city. Gary Gracia, ABR®, CRS®, of Arroyo Grande, Calif., sent an article he’d written for his client newsletter reminding prospects that real estate is a long-range investment that has very likely brought positive returns for anyone who bought more than three years ago.

Dan Leahy, GRI, of Eugene, Ore., called to talk about how he survived sky-high interest rates and job losses in the 1980s. One technique that was successful for him back then was a guaranteed trade. It worked this way: A seller living in a starter home would buy a larger home. The owners of the larger home, relocating to another area, would buy the starter home and rent it out or sell it again.

Leahy’s approach may not be right for your market, but it shows that knowledge, creativity, and optimism will keep you in good stead, regardless of market conditions. I wish you an abundance of all three in this holiday season and beyond.

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Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is director of content strategy for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor-in-chief of REALTOR® Magazine. In addition, she oversees the quarterly REALTOR® Association Executive magazine and manages a variety of e-communications for REALTORS® and REALTOR® association executives. She has been with the NAR for more 30 years, starting as an associate editor with Real Estate Today magazine, where she covered sales and finance topics.