Times My Phone Rang This Weekend and It Wasn’t My Mom: 2
How Fast You’ll Get Slapped In a Real Estate Office If You Say, “Well it can’t get worse than this…”: 0.2 Seconds
Crafting Projects I’ve Taken Up To Distract Myself From Impending Doom: 37
So… Hi. I’m not dead. I know you were wondering. It’s been close to two months since I’ve posted. Let’s get the flogging over with. I know, I suck, you hate me, you never liked me much anyway. Are we done now? Or right, you also don’t think I’m nice or pretty or smart.
Basically, when things get ugly here in The Dominion of Real Estate, I get a little, ‘duck and cover till it’s over’. Your mom always says, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And there just has been really nothing nice to say about the state of Real Estate in the state of Arizona (I was trying to see how many ‘states’ I could fit in that sentence) lately. It’s dead and depressing and everyone is losing his house or not able to buy the house she wants or can’t even get into a decent rental.
Plus, there’s the whole Realtor unspoken code about how much business each agent actually does. The public has this idea that a successful real estate agent does hundreds of transactions a year, when in fact, the average number of transactions a year/per agent is closer to 2 or 3. Those of us who have to actually live on our income as a Realtor usually facilitate closer to between 10 and 30 escrows a year, but still, the number is miniscule in comparison to public perception. For some reason, we as agents think that the more people think we’re doing, the more faith they will have in us, and thus, the more business they will drive our way. There’s probably some truth in this. If you hear an agent had trouble closing 5 houses in the last year, you might think twice about hiring him. Showing weakness or failure is a detriment to future work and conversely, business builds on business. So if you don’t have any, certainly don’t advertise it.
Unfortunately, this blog is about the real life experiences and opinions of a Realtor. I’ve sort of made it my thing to not paint rainbow and unicorn pictures about real estate here. So for awhile there, I was really struggling with what to say. Do I risk scaring new clients away with horror stories about the market and how dead things are, or just stay quiet and try to wait it out? Clearly, I chose the second option.
And here I am, two months later, things are not getting more positive yet, and I’m tired of being silent. The economy is lousy. It’s not really super fun to be a Real Estate Agent at the moment. The opportunities to do things that I’ve always loved about Real Estate, like helping people find the very perfect home, are few and far between, and in general, the public feels very negatively about my livelihood. Lately, when I meet new people and they inquire about my line of work, when I tell them I’m a Realtor there’s a very distinct pause and they inevitably say, ‘Oh… so how’s that going for you right now?’ with a mixture of morbid curiosity and relief at not being in the same position. It’s sort of like a bear would say to another bear who’s caught in a trap in the middle of the forest. “Dude, that sucks. Well I gotta be going! Don’t want to get caught in the crossfire!”
But it is what it is. I know from the experiences I’ve had over the last two years in dealing with people and the intimate details of their personal finances that a lot of people are hurting. It’s a difficult and stressful time and it’s impossible to know when it will get better. Businesses have suffered and people have been laid off. Realtors (even the successful ones) are not immune. In fact, many of my real estate agent friends have lost properties to foreclosure and/or declared bankruptcy in the last few years. Pretending that it isn’t happening and that everything’s getting better and starting to look rosy again doesn’t make it go away.
That said, even though the bad is more numerous than the good at the moment, there is still good to be seen. I have helped several lovely families and people buy gorgeous, well-priced homes this year and even a few jettison properties in a positive way. Interest rates are rad right now and if you have money and are patient, you can get a steal and a half. The banks seem to be making strides to work with people in keeping their homes or short selling in non-ridiculously time-consuming manner.
So the point of all of this is, I’m back to blogging. I’m back to telling you the good, the bad, the frustrating, the ridiculous, the uplifting and the soul-killing things about my job as a Realtor here in Arizona. Thursday I’ve got a doozy of a story for you. If we can’t laugh about it, we can only cry, so I choose to laugh (with a large bottle of wine by my side).