Our good friend who has a blog called http://discussionleader.harvardbusiness.org/silverman/
asked my wife some great questions regarding the 2008 and 2009 real estate markey. Here are his questions and her answers..................
1. How bad has the current downturn been? Can you compare it to this time last year?
From the real estate perspective it has been a significant change a very challenging market to be in, we (as brokers) are spending a lot more money on advertising because we have to. All properties are taking longer to sell. It is also a challenge to get sellers to understand that the market has shifted and it is currently a buyer's market. The upside is that sellers may be selling from 5%-20% less than they would have last year BUT it also means that what they will be buying will feel like a bargain and that helps soften the blow, but it is still very difficult for people. For us it is tough because we always want to deliver the best results for our buyers and sellers, their happiness means a lot to us because we are in it for the long haul. This time last year it was still a seller's market and the pace was much faster, which makes for quick transactions...now not as fast.... And in ny everyone wants everything yesterday. But in terms of brokers the strong will survive and this market will flush out the weak for sure.
2. Do you think all the worry about the financial condition of the US is overblown and that at the small business/entrepreneur level things are pretty much the same? Or is the real story of the financial meltdown actually much worse for small business than the reporters are saying?
I think it is accurately portrayed in the media (I do think the media exaggerates everything) but I think it is important to know that it is different out here in every business large or small. There is a feeling of tightening our belts and I don't think that is overblown. Our purchases and sales at every level in every business need to be more thoughtful. Do I really need 30oz of osetra or can I settle for american caviar... Am I ok without a sherpa this year!
3. Do you think it will stay this bad for 2009? Get worse? Get better?
What have you seen that makes you think this way? From a real estate perspective I think the deals will get better for buyers early in the year and then I feel they will stabilize mid year and stay flat not up or down just on the same level. If we get a lot more inventory in January on the market that will pep up buyers to buy because there will be more variety to choose from, but if there are not enough buyers to absorb all the inventory then it will slow it down again.
I have so many sellers who are waiting for January to put their properties on the market so more inventory is coming...
I think by the end of 09 the real estate market will back on an upswing, because these downward dips never last very long in ny and we are still the center of the universe!
4. Given how you think things will go for 2009, what is your plan?
Will you start any new ventures? Will you stop anything you've got going on now? Do you have some other plan for coping with 2009?
I have always worked really hard for my clients, now it is even harder and that is ok as long as I can get them the results they want I am thrilled. I will continue to go the extra mile; to say that my strategies would be different would mean I have not been doing my job all this time. So I think maintaining positive momentum is key and staying at the same top level of performance is important to us and very important to our clients. We will continue to spend $ on great marketing and we will be investing in a new property in NYC in the spring because the deals are too good to pass up. We'll also move forward on a hotel and vineyard investment in Argentina, because again the deal is too good to pass up.
5. Any other thoughts for 2009?
I think the start will be tough business-wise and everything-wise it can be difficult to stay positive in an environment where many are losing their jobs and homes...but strong focus and appreciating every moment is the only way I will get through it. This year has been one of our best (financially) and roughest (intellectually) years business-wise, restaurant-wise and real estate-wise I sometimes feel badly saying that because so many people in those fields are ready to jump off a cliff, but being focused and grateful has kept us on top of our game so if it works I'm sticking to it!