Anticipating What’s Next

If you believe the media’s packaging of economic news you’d expect America to be on its last legs, soon to be a second class province of China.

That’s the news biz for ya.

They’ve discovered that we love to be scared nearly to death (that’s why we go to see horror films), so anything they can slant in the direction of gloom and doom, they will.  It’s just packaging;  and come on –  we’re all in sales: we know you can package or spin almost anything any way you want.  The info-tainment people (what we used to call “the news”) want as many viewers and readers as possible and they believe spinning the economy into the dirt will do that for them.

Walter Cronkite would not be pleased.

I don’t buy the vision that it can only get worse from here.  I believe positive change is already occurring and will only accelerate in the months ahead. Instead of devastation in the housing market, I’m looking for (gulp!  dare I say it?) a housing shortage!

For six years, we’ve barely added any new housing units at all.   Each year we’ve created less than 50% of the new homes and condos we have historically needed just to keep up with the demand of new buyers coming into the market and obsolete units being demolished.  Today, while we have substantial inventory of resale homes (including REOs) , we also have a home building industry at a near total stall.  Nobody’s building anything.  When the tipping point of low interest rates and rising consumer confidence is reached (and it will be reached), I expect buyers to flood into the market, quickly deplete the resale inventory that is there and clamor for more.  Honestly:  we could suddenly be in a sellers’ market!

Let’s define a couple of time issues.  First off, when.  I don’t know?  Late 2012?  mid-2013?  Nobody knows when homebuyer collective consciousness will give the signal and the multitude of people with jobs and credit will emerge.  The other time issue is the word, “suddenly.”  How “suddenly” will we roll from an inventory glut to a sellers’ market?  Relatively quickly compared to the six years it took to get us to this point.  A year, maybe.

I posted a NAR Research piece from Lawrence Yun documenting recent declines in inventory on Facebook earlier today and chimed in with my housing shortage prediction.  Steve Vincent from Help-U-Sell Triad in North Carolina responded with a street wise perspective:

James Dingman:  At Summit, I talked about the potential for a pending housing shortage. For six years we’ve created very little new housing and when the tipping point is reached and buyers flood back into the market, a shortage could develop quickly. Mr. Yun adds fuel to that fire.

 

Tom Burdine:   That is probably true, but it sounds amazingly impossible right now!

 

Steve Vincent:   I’m concerned that at the first hint of good or improving news there will be a rush of new listings from people who have postponed marketing their home. No one talks about that potential ‘shadow inventory.’

 

James Dingman:   Don’t you think we’d have to see a 10% or more increase in values before fence-sitting sellers came back? My guess is most are waiting because they don’t think they can get enough for their properties. What they’re waiting for is for values to return, but that’s going to take YEARS.

 

Steve Vincent:  Certainly truth in that, but my day-to-day experience makes me think there are plenty of sellers just avoiding the long, slow market for reasons other than current value. Many just don’t want the hassle in what they perceive to be a losing situation. In our market the “move-up buyer” has largely disappeared. Combination of reasons: job insecurity, waiting for the market to bottom before purchasing, avoiding marketing their current home. I think there are lots of these would be sellers who are just waiting for good news – a better mood. My guess is the election could turn the tide for these folks.

 

James Dingman:  Ah – so the real world (that’s you) sees a lot of sellers in ‘Hibernation’ during this economic winter. When the thaw begins, and when they rush in, we’re going to sputter and lurch like a cold Model T. Ok, I get that. Sometimes, up here where the rubber meets the clouds, we can miss the nuances.

Steve Vincent:   I think hibernation is the exact right term. When these folks return to the market it will have a supressing result. Hopefully, their numbers are less than I fear.
I can see Steve’s point and agree:  an improvement may create new challenges as well.  But the key is, there will be movement in the market place.  Movement creates momentum and opportunity.

 

We’re heading into Thanksgiving in a few days.  I love the Holiday because I love food.  I also love it because it’s all about Gratitude.  If you believe we create our own reality, if you buy the idea that we attract what we think about, you know positive change begins with gratitude.  Good things rarely come to people who are obsessed with what they don’t have.  Good things rarely come to people who are unhappy with what they do have.  (As I’ve said before:  Money Loves Happy).

 

So this Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for a housing market that is better than it was, for buyers who can buy, for sellers who can sell and for lenders who can lend.  Let’s rejoice that we are doing better – even if it’s just a little better – and set up the Universe to create that buyer tipping point soon.

Money Loves Happy

Indulge me for a moment.  After all, I’m probably a lot older than you — which means I might be wiser or maybe just senile.  In either case the proper thing to do is to cut me some slack, give me the benefit of the doubt, go easy on me.  I say all this because I’m about to become  less business-like and more personal and it makes me a little nervous.

I’ve spent a lot of time wandering this world and I have come to believe that abundance is pretty much all around us.  I picture it as a great river of money flowing just above our heads.  The trick is to find ways to reach up and pull some of it down.  That’s what we’re all trying to DO:  pull some of that money down and put in our pockets.  So we set goals and work long and hard, we practice, drill and rehearse, and constantly work to improve our performance . . . and so on.   

What I’ve noticed is that working to create abundance (jumping and grabbing at that river), while necessary and important, isn’t nearly as effective as attracting it.  And nothing attracts abundance better than Happiness.  Money loves Happy.  It longs to be with Happy and is constantly looking for a time and place where they can be together.  It’s a love story. 

Happy people have abundant lives; and it starts with getting Happy. 

In other words:   Abundance doesn’t create Happiness.   Happiness attracts Abundance. 

I call Help-U-Sell brokers every day and, as I’ve said, I’m always blown away by the Heroes I find out there.  This Happiness theme runs through those conversations and it comes out as optimism, determination, faith and confidence. 

But let’s also acknowledge reality:  it’s been a very difficult couple of years in this real estate business and the chaos of the recent past has left some wounded and bleeding.   I’ve talked with a few who are so down, so depressed, so defeated that getting anything started is . . . well, it’s probably not going to happen. 

If this is you, if you are one of the crawling wounded who has lost your faith and your hope, then I have something to tell you:

You don’t have a business problem.  You don’t have a sales problem or a market problem.  You don’t have a recruiting problem or a support problem or a cash flow problem.  What you have is a Happiness problem.  And if you can’t find a way to get Happy now, you’re probably not going to turn things around.

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How do you get Happy when you’ve forgotten what that feels like?  Well, once again, being positively ancient, I have some ideas.

1.  Move!  Really:  get moving!  If you want to change your emotion, change your motion.  Run.  Dance, Work out.  Walk. Bike. Climb.  I do yoga.  It keeps me from becoming a question mark shaped fossil and makes me sane.

2.  Revive Grattitude.  You want to nurture a spirit of continual gratitude for all of the wonderful blessings you have in your life.  What?  You can’t find any?!?  Then do volunteer work somewhere every week helping those who really have nothing:  orphans, victims of abuse, homeless, mentally ill, infirm, elderly and alone.  Opportunities to reconnect with just how lucky you are, are all around you. 

3.  Picture a positive outcome.  Spend a little time each morning quietly sitting and thinking about what you’re working on.  Picture things working out.  Picture successful results.  Picture these things in detail.  Taste it, feel it, smell it.  It’s unfortunate, but most of us spend much of our quiet time doing  exactly the opposite.  It’s called worry.

4.  Put your subconscious to work.  As you close out your day, take a few minutes to plan the next day.  What are you going to do, when will you do it and what are you trying to accomplish.  Do this within an hour of going to bed and do it in writing.  You may find a good Day Planner will help or you might do better with a yellow legal pad.  If you do this exercise, your brain is going to work on all of that stuff while you sleep through the night.  You’ll find it easier to get started the next day, easier to stay organized, easier to get to yes. 

5.  Get Connected.  Everywhere.  Plug in.  Connect with your family, your friends, your colleagues.  The natural tendency when times are tough is to withdraw and it’s probably the worst thing you can do.  This is especially true with Help-U-Sell family members who are scattered across the country.  You have to seek out ways to connect.  Join the teleconferences on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 11am Pacific Time.  Get a Facebook account and join the 100+ brokers who have become a friend of Help-U-Sell Real Estate.  Every day you’ll get an update of who’s doing what and what everyone is thinking . . . and  you’ll feel part of something bigger than yourself.  Above all:  next time you hear of a Help-U-Sell rally near your home, make reservations and get to it.  Really:  a day spent in a Help-U-Sell rally is better than a whole bottle of Valium! 

Your job is to find a way to get Happy, then stay Happy, then turn Happy into a habit.  It’s step one to an abundant life.