C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Momentum After The Tax Credit Expires? Seriously? Suffering From Lookie-Lou-Itis?

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

Momentum After The Tax Credit Expires? Seriously? Suffering From Lookie-Lou-Itis?

This is why I don't do a lot of interviews. I am not into stupid questions. Markets are local. The only thing that can move a market is the buyer's ability to complete the transaction and the seller's willingness to enter into a contract to sell.

"If housing is unable to gain recovery momentum before the tax credit expires, where will demand come from afterward?" is a question being bandied about the net as if that piddling $8K really matters if a person is trying to secure the roof over their head.

We all know the market tanked. We all know it is struggling to stabilize. Every dime counts and we want all the credits and deductions we can get.

We all know the prognostications are coming from the same people who during their majority rule professional assessment claimed there was no bubble. I'm not into romanticizing the collapse of the empire. All I want to do is make a living and get my clients what they need.

What they need may not necessarily be what they want. Lets face it: we all have experienced that one buyer with limited funds who asks for the moon because they believe it's your job to get them their dream home no matter how much they can't afford it. They pass up perfectly nice homes with a reasonable amount of equity because they compare reality to the fantasy in their head and let that fantasy lead them about by their nose. Keeping the fantasy alive means jumping from brokerage to brokerage looking for Realtors who will play the game of trying to make unhappy people happy. 

Quit it. Until you do you will continue to waste a lot of people's valuable time... I am not here to hold your hand and make you happy. I am here to fight for your interests and guide you through a complicated business deal.

When you call me as a buyer and ask me "will the momentum continue" it leaves me wondering if you're snorting your corn flakes. What "momentum" would that be? Your lookie lou stats? Are you a media sound bite trying to engage Realtors in industry speak to show how prepared you are to jump into the fray? Most people start their conversations with "Good morning." (LOL) Dialing my number and blurting out "I want to buy a house but will the momentum continue?" is gonna get me blogging in my undies before I hit the showers (LOL).

It made me wonder how many people you called before you decided to ask me that question without so much as a fare thee well (LOL). "Good morning. How are you?" is always nice when one is in the middle of contemplating their Frosted Flakes. Since we are dispensing with polite niceties, let me cut to the chase:

Quit it. Be yourself. TALK ABOUT YOUR NEEDS AND FIND OUT WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOU. Don't introduce yourself to me with industry speak. I am very easily amused and likely to spoof on you if I think you are trying to be something you are not.

The only momentum you should be concerned with is how well your team is working on your behalf to get your business done, not some stat that is forever in flux that doesn't help you enjoy your potential new home.

Look around you... People need housing. The "momentum" is predicate upon life being lived by the individual people who decide how and where they live is worth their efforts. Wanna blame the underwriters? Wanna blame the Realtor? I think some of you need a scapegoat for sitting it out. Unless you get off the fence an decide to go buy/sell a house because you like the house or believe you'd like to move, you will sit out this lovely buyer's market trying to do something incredibly stupid: time the market for the hypothetical better deal.

The only good deal is a done deal within your budget that makes you happy. Buy outside your budget, that's on you. You are responsible for your actions. Budget changes? Sorry. Fact of life. Do the best you can with what you have and start over with your dignity in tact if you have to start new.

Times are hard. This recession whomps. We're all struggling because we all have fears of the future. Face your fears and make a decision. Change your mind if you have to but stop wasting time trying to time a market. Every guess you make has a 50/50 chance of being right so do you really think my unsubstantiated opinions are going to make you feel better?

I was on the debate team. I can argue both sides of the issue so I tend to not bother arguing about market momentum because it's a circular fallacy that keeps the media conversations going. Some of them are great conversations while others are not worth the digital paper they are written on...

Here's an idea: Why not spend your energy researching the homes you can afford and try making one of them  your own. Start with a little paint and work your way around completing your makeover. Your real estate transaction should be the most important thing to you, not my cute line charts, stats and 50/50 opinion about the industry I work in. I like targeting properties and doing my research based upon what is happening to actual homes on the market, not unsubstantiated allegations of what may or may not be happening to potential homes down the road... Sorry. I don't know what every buyer and every seller in the world is thinking about doing so why waste my efforts speculating on so many unknown minds?

Wanna know what a Realtor like me cares about?


I negotiate for you.

We care about what you want... If you don't know what you want you are wasting our time. I will be taking you out for nothing if all you ever do is squabble with your significant other over knobs you can swap out at Home Depot. You do not have to know every detail of what it is you think you want but you have to know something. You have to be able to realize that every home has potential if you let the home features speak to you rather than the sellers furnishings and paint job you don't like. imagine your furnishings. Imagine your paint job. Imagine living your life when you visit a home...

If phantom momentum and timing the market is a primary goal I'd rather be at the petting zoo with my kids than waste my time. The bottom line for both of us is can the people involved complete the transaction. Can you actually buy a home? Will you trust your professionals long enough to find out?

Funding is a moot point if people are walking around pretending to be buyers when they know their credit sucks and the professionals start acting desperate to make a commission. Saying you can because you'd like to do something is not the same as knowing you can actually do it. Don't want to bring me proof of funds, a preapproval letter and enter into a representation agreement DON'T call me. I represent clients. You get to decide if you want me or not as a prospect shopping around. You become a customer when I start working with you and a client when we contract for services. Then we move on to our business relationship (or not).

Pssssst... I am not that desperate so if you like hoop jumpers who allow you to engage multiple Realtors simultaneously I'd rather you go with the other Realtor and not waste my time. I am into being exclusive because my time is very valuable and I get paid to work.

I say these things up front so you can pass me over if you want to play the free ride game. No hard feelings (LOL).Seriously. It frees me up to enjoy my family and friends. :-)

Wanna buy or sell a property? Cool. Call me. Wanna engage in cerebral debates to see if I'll stroke your ego and subscribe to your school of thought to get hired? Hahahahahaaaaa! You are sooooo wasting your time sweetie pie. If you need me to mouth off a bunch of assurances regarding how hard I work move on. The only people who get to find out what a hard worker I am are the people who actually hire me. Looking for a representative by playing industry speak is not a true barometer regarding what a practitioner brings to the table. Go read some blogs, find a writer you like and have an honest conversation. I have issues so I can afford to be blunt because Ive been through a lot. The current market trends indicate my life is going to get even more interesting as I hang out in this industry. How interesting it eventually gets always depends upon my buyers and sellers. We all play off each other while trying to create a meeting of the minds to get what we both want.

Seller wants to sell. Buyer wants to buy. Professionals want to negotiate. Banks need to make money.

You're playing the media's game instead of securing your purchase with the professionals of your choice if you bog your thinking down with talking heads spewing off national, regional and local stats. The trend has been leaning towards people listening to the talking heads, reading a few websites, then industry speaking us to death rather than engaging in family speak. You need to pause and think about the vocabulary you use when you are having a real estate conversation. Is it you talking or that article you read that has you convinced to wait for prices to go lower. Interest rates are rising so what if the prices don't drop the way you think they should drop. What then? No yard for your kids because you don't want to pay PMI insurance? Crabby because the guy who makes less money than you at work just brought a house?

Talk to me about your family's needs and I can find you something to suit you. Talk about your financing and finances and we can work within the confines of your budget. If you don't talk to me like a person asking another person for help then I either can't or wont help you. After all, I don't have to accept you as a client the same way you don't have to accept me as your broker. It's a two way street not your way or the highway. If we can't work together we ought not to.

BTW, I got the client because I was blunt, direct and to the point about how to make their specific transaction feasible. People need to understand the process if you want them to join the ranks of the pending home sales statistics, not some Crystal Ball reading regarding the sway of momentum after the tax credit expires.

Whether it does or doesn't expire will not change the fact that families need housing. I can help you with that if you want help buying or selling a home. I can not help you feel better about the loss of equity or drop in new home sales. What I also can't help you with is your fence sitting lookie-lou-itis. Only you can get off that fence. It is not my job to push you.

For those of you who have lost your homes, I am sorry for your loss... If you are thinking about starting over keep this thought in mind: Don't let anyone push you into buying or selling if you are not ready to buy or sell. Don't let someone force you to do a short sale without first trying to do an under-market value sale. Don't let the expiration of the current Tax Credit signal the death of your potential real estate deal.

Last thought for buyers: Are you buying a home or an $8K deduction for $699,000? That was the question that got me hired (LOL). I figured it might help some of you if I shared this conversation. :-)

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010


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Comment balloon 35 commentsC Tann-Starr • April 06 2010 08:07AM
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