Seize This Moment!

Despite the relentless challenges we’ve been facing, we all need a pause, a moment to enjoy the precious gift of life.

July 1, 2011

It’s the best time of year in Rhode Island! My blackberries are ripe and ready for picking. Blackberry pies and pancakes are just a few days away. It’s the time of year for barbecues and clambakes; the time when we cele­brate together, family and friends; the time when we can put the harsh winter and other challenges into perspective.

For quite some time now, we’ve been talking about the challenges we face in real estate and about our efforts to write the future of real estate—and our own futures for that matter. Many REALTORS® I talk with are weary of trying to determine whether the economy has turned a corner. They’re tired of parrying with banks over financing and short-sale terms. They’re spent from trying to stay afloat in a sea of negative media.

Yet the REALTORS® I know also hold fast to their sense of hope, knowing that it’s sustaining, both for themselves and their clients. As real estate practitioners, we have a unique view of the world. We see people at their most raw, their most vulnerable. How many other people see clients or customers so intimately and so clearly? I’ve heard people say it must make us cynical, but that’s not my experience. Most of the people with whom I engage make me glad to be in this business and proud to be a REALTOR®.

It’s hard to hold the hands of people who are losing their homes. It’s hard to short-sell a house for a family whose breadwinner is out of work. It’s hard to be the one to recommend that owners do a deed in lieu of foreclosure. But we do it because we know it’s the right thing to do, and we know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for these families. We also thankfully experience another side to our business. It’s enjoyable to help families find and purchase their first homes. It’s satisfying to help people sell and move on. There is real stress in our profession, it’s undeniable, but there’s joy, too.

One of the joys for me comes from proactively engaging in the challenges we face as an industry. We are making real progress with our REALTOR® priorities. Regulators’ efforts to effectively raise down payment requirements to 20 percent (the so-called qualified residential mortgage) have been stalled; 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are still available; and we are working on solutions to other regulatory and legislative issues at all levels—national, state and ­local. As REALTORS®, we need to lead. At NAR, we do that on the national stage. But all of us lead in our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. We lead with each family we touch and help.

As we contemplate autumn, our annual conference, and the winter weather that will follow on its heels, it’s fitting that we take time this summer for ourselves—time to pause, to catch our breath, and to appreciate the people we love. Take time to celebrate this fragile gift called life. Seize the day! Seize the moment! Seize your life!

Ronald L. Phipps

Ronald L. Phipps was 2011 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.