Editorial by Stefan Swanepoel
I would like to share with you the fantastic afternoon I had this last Saturday. My wife and I had the privilege of being invited to the two hour Saddleback Civil Forum with Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. This was the first time these two presidential hopefuls, and expected nominees for the Democratic and Republican Parties, shared a public stage.
Rick Warren, author of “A Purpose Driven Life,Ã¢â‚¬Â and pastor of our Church, Saddleback in Lake Forest, had organized for Obama and McCain to come and present their views on important issues.
The Atypical Conversation. This was not your usual political debate with read-the-teleprompter canned speeches on pre-approved political questions. No sir. This was about the real stuff Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the big subjects Ã¢â‚¬â€œ topics we usually do not hear about in a presidential face-off.
On Sundays, Rick is usually dressed up in a Hawaiian shirt, but this Saturday was different Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he was in a dress shirt, no tie and suit. Rick himself is an excellent and inspiring speaker but the afternoon wasn’t about him.
During the forum Rick first posted questions to Obama before asking McCain the same set of questions. Topics covered aspects such as personal values, religion, abortion, marriage, education, evil, stem cell research, energy and their respective vision for the United States.
When the economy did poorly, real estate introduced wealth.
When 911 all but destroyed our faith, real estate restored the American Dream.
In many occasions, and in many years, real estate has been the rock to depend, or in some cases even the rocket to ride to riches. But times have changed and the bright years of 2000-2005 have become a dull memory.
It’s not really that real estate itself crashed and burned, but that with new construction out of control, speculation spiraling and lending becoming irresponsible, the burden real estate had to carry became to heavy and the first nail in the coffin ground what was a good thing, to a halt.
Collapsing financial institutions led to immense write offs, allegations and actions of improper conduct led to finger pointing and investigations that in turn led to layoffs and disaster.
With unemployment steadily rising and home prices in a constant month by month decline, the real estate market is brittle and cautiously teetering on which way to go.
With the unprecedented rally of crude oil tethering at $150, and now two government-sponsored entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac possibly requiring government bailout. The pair guarantee around $5 trillion worth of mortgages Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that’s almost half of the $9.5 trillion debt of the United States. I think we have just witnessed the second nail being hammered into the heart of real estate. Not good at all.
Let’s pray and hope that we don’t have a third nail Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a major terrorist attack on local soil in the foreseeable future. Barring the above, the road to real estate recovery is going to be a slow and bumpy one. Most likely it may only pick up momentum during or after 2010 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ especially for areas such as Florida, California and Las Vegas.
So for those of us that earn our daily bread from real estate my message is a simple one: Batten down the hatches, expand your horizons, re-engineer your company, automate your business, market more online Ã¢â‚¬â€œ yes, maximize every opportunity. Survive the years 2006-2010 and come out the other side with an automated, more efficient, new paradigm, consumer focused real estate model and you may very well find yourself in the front row to become the Amazon, EBay or Google of real estate.
This post is also posted in Inman Community under the title: Three Gold Stars and Two Rusty Nails.---------- View Marketing Messages Below ----------