The Blue Funk or that Writer’s Block Thing.


It’s been a couple of weeks since I really thought about anything that seemed significant  to me in the world of Real Estate. I have been pretty much absorbed by the antics of my grand kids.  Grace the oldest at 3, leaves me laughing with her “Hey Pop-Pop can’t we just go get “free fries” or “I want a lot of cookies” and “sit down and help me do these 97 Disney puzzles.”  Sure honey have all  you want.  What your parents don’t know won’t hurt them. Until now of course. And Curtis at 6 months can’t stop eating; mom’s milk, formula, baby food squash, carrots, fruit, and anything else he can scream for.  The kid is amazing.

My new office that I joined in January is rocking along and I have to say that my job as the office manager is primarily to help them get up to snuff on tech things and  keep  transactions  together. Most of them have been around for awhile and prospecting and closing business is right at the top of their list.  It’s interesting to note that I have seen them really do old fashion things like;  sending out post cards,  talking to people on the telephone, doing buyers seminars in the office, where real people show up and  oh yeah open houses….lots of open houses. You know, rubbing elbows with clients.  I try to keep up to date on  new tech ideas and I participate in  a lot of real estate  groups on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other “Social Networks”. But I am amazed how effective some of the old techniques are.

Don’t get me wrong. As I look around my office, I see smart phones, I Pads, laptops and digital cameras. Texting is going on and all of our legal  forms and agreements are available on line. So no dinosaurs here.

I don’t know about my brothers and sisters in the real estate business, but I ventured into Real Estate some 34 years ago because of a couple of different reasons. I wasn’t real good at the corporate thing. 9- dark PM, punching a clock, taking orders from a boss, or waiting for the next cost of living raise. But I thought I would like to sell something. Something tangible, something that people could use my help in buying or selling  and where I could  meet people  face to face,  and call my own shots. Wala..Real Estate.

I have no regrets, pretty much seen it all.  Up, down, round and round, a real roller coaster. But I have to say I love it. It is what I make it.  And I have encountered a lot of nice people. Clients and colleagues, some better than others. Oh I have met some…lets just say…. empathetically challenged individuals.  I guess you might even say some flaming narcissists. But who could stand it if we were all the same.  Boring!! The job is challenging.

I am rambling. But you were warned by the domain name.  In order to provide some real estate relevancy, its time for me  to prognosticate for our clients and customers. Everything I read  for the Lehigh Valley gives me the indication that we are on the mend. Our pending sales as a  Board of  Realtors are up over 60% from last year for the first 2 months of the year. The majority of those under contract were between $100,000 and $200,000. Average sold price dropped from $193,000 to $181,000.  For the month of February the  drop was even more dramatic at $163,000.

The key thing in my opinion is that most of those homes from 100-200 are in range of first time buyers. That’s a good thing. Those are the folks who will get the market rolling. If they buy, then those sellers will hopefully move up into the higher price range. But there are a few big caveats that we have to deal with.  Are the sellers underwater? That is, do they owe more than the home is worth. If so, that’s a problem.  Short Sale, maybe. I am seeing more of those than ever. Or worse, are they in foreclosure? Or do the banks already own the home?  Also if the sellers are so beat up financially and emotionally, do they really want to buy again or will they just take a breather and rent for awhile.  All I can tell you when I put a house on the market for lease, the phone rings off the hook.

There is a culture shift going on. We  can’t deny it. Kids are not moving out of the house.  If they went to college, they already have a mortgage. It’s with Uncle Sam for that tuition they borrowed. If they have a job, more than likely its not in the field they studied.  And they sure as heck are not getting married right away.  The brakes are on. Plus the fact, that old guys like me want out of our big houses.  I remember in the heyday saying to my wife “When we want out ,who is going to buy all of these 2 story colonials?” Well now I know…Fannie Mae and  Freddy Mac. Throw in all of those FHA foreclosures and we have enough potential inventory to rival our natural gas supply.

There is a savior out there waiting in the wings.  These folks will probably have the largest effect in leading us back into the promised land.  The “New American Immigrant”.  Forget your politics for the moment. These folks, however they get here,  for the most part want a piece of the American Dream. They are working their butts off. Doing  jobs that you, me, or our kids want no part of.  I rented a house to a group of new Americans who owned a restaurant. They threw up the mattresses in the house  and basically just slept there and were working 16-20 hours a day to keep the business going. The guys that drywalled my house had to be told that they couldn’t work on Sundays and that it was a day of rest. So they had a part time construction business on the side. Guess what, they all want to own a home.

I said culture shift. But is it really? I think back to my grandfather who survived “The Depression”. Worked for 42 years in a steel mill and was a mason on the side. Or other relatives of mine who had to quit  school to go to work to support  the family during the ’40s. Or yes, even me. Started working at 13 as a Caddy, at 16 as a grocery bagger, at 18, summers in an iron foundry, at college in the cafeteria as a dishwasher. You know, you’ve been there.

Its more a return to values that made  the dreams come true. Kinda what those kids who wear the  military uniform exhibit.  Working for the dream, for themselves and for us.

Hey, I think the blue just turned bright  red and the block  just popped! Amazing!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,