Most every thing related to Real Estate sales is cyclical. Even if we had not had all the issues with the sub-prime market conditions…the bubble had to burst. The gains made by many here in Florida over the last year…at the height of the industry were rather ridiculous and I think this resetting will normalize things out.
During the Holiday’s I visited my ailing Father in California who at 90 still recalls his heyday in the market and also a large down turn. He was very big into Real Estate in the early to mid 60’s for about 6 years. He was active in the Oakland Bay Area Real Estate scene and even had his Brokers license. He recalls that about 3 years into his business that the market started a correction and prices and commissions went down along with many of the Realtor s.
The later 2 years, as a full time Realtor he took on odd jobs in the shipyards in San Francisco because he had a family of 6 to provide for. My mother was a stay at home mom with two toddlers and two other young boys just starting elementary school. My father was also a trained mechanic and a member of the merchant marines,so he would do his real estate during the day and at night would drive to SF and work as a first mate on several ships. When the market continued into it’s 2nd year of correction, he had to make a choice that I think was almost ordained for him. He did not make enough to pay the mortgage and keep 4 boys and their mother fed and clothed. At that time many women were not working, it was not the norm. He was offered a position to go back to sea. At that time my father was in his mid 40’s and he stayed on in the merchant marines until he retired in his mid 60’s as a chief engineer. He still dabbled in Real Estate through out his working time. When he retired he sold several duplex he owned and bought an apartment complex in Hayward, California that he managed for many years. He finally sold it about 6 years ago. Not something he wanted to do but age had caught up with him and my step-mother was afraid he would fall off a ladder trying to fix something. My dad did not like to hire sub contractors to do repairs. He did almost everything himself. I recall the week he sold the apartment…he was very sad and told me that he felt like he had lost a family member.
My wife is the Real Estate professional in the family. I am the Technical guru and having worked on the National Scene as a VP of IT for New Homes Realty, I know my way around the industry and have many contacts. If the market had not taken a down turn, who knows I might have even taken a license. For now I am happy to help my wife and her partner Marie get a leg up on their competition in the market and keep them at the cutting edge on the technology side.
This is a rather tough blog for me to write as my father is in the last stages of his life having been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer a few moths ago. So the lengthy discussions I had with my father over the holiday?s will be the last. He wanted to impart on me how tough he knows conditions can get, but said that the market will correct itself. He has had long discussion with Theresa as they connected a lot on the Real Estate front. So I know things will get better.
My Dad?s parting comments on this conversation were ?be sure to take care of your customers?. Which is something that we see a lot of comments about. I read a great article over at Inman news today written by Marc Davidson of 1000 Watt Consulting, (which by the way is another great Blog to read up on) Where he discusses among other things that 2008 should be the year of CEM or Customer Experience Management. You can read his article from the links I left but a few bullet points I think are worth repeating here.
2008 should be the year of CEM
2008 needs to be the year of crystal vision.
2008 is the year to reduce expenses.
2008 must be the year we begin to conserve.
I am also resolving here to not use the term down market anymore as it appears by all measures that the market is returning to a normal cyclical correction.