Greater Texoma Association of REALTORS®
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Today, it seems all the news we hear about is something to be afraid of. We are running
out of oil, the economy is in the tank, foreign relations are the worst they have ever been,
each of the presidential candidates is the “scariest” for someone or some group. The
news is so bad that I am surprised the sun came up this morning.
Fear of our personal economic future, job stability or family welfare causes people to
stop making decisions. If we don’t know the outcome of a decision, we tend to avoid
making a decision and risking the outcome. We have all seen a child who was afraid to
try some new food or activity for fear of not liking it or getting hurt. Adults act in similar
fashion but with bigger issues. Collectively, our group avoidance of decisions can be a
self-fulfilling prophecy and, sure enough, the bad outcomes we fear happen.
I think that is what is driving the real estate industry today. People, as a group, are
hearing about the real estate slump in one part of the country and interpreting that news
as being appropriate to their individual situation. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
A real estate expert on television in New York City or Los Angeles, during a 30 second
sound bite, cannot provide accurate, relevant advice about homes in north Texas. Yet,
individuals use the group statistics to justify their personal, individual decisions.
Today, the Internet has made it possible for everyone to access a huge volume of data
about every subject one can think of. If you want to learn about real estate, there are
literally thousands of websites claiming to provide the answers to your investment
decisions. We are inundated with appeals to: “buy a home with me; sell your home with
me; don’t buy or sell your home, invest in the stock market with me; don’t invest in the
stock market, buy gold, instead.” The Internet noise is deafening. There is so much
data (and opinion), people become paralyzed with fear, avoid making informed decisions
and do nothing. Guess what the media reports…housing is in a slump, buyers are afraid,
sellers are afraid. The media reports bad real estate news, the public believes the report,
fails to make informed, personal decisions and sure enough, the media report is correct.
We hear more bad real estate news. The self-fulfilling prophecy comes true.
How do you avoid being a victim of the group mentality? The answer is simple; before
you make any major financial decision, educate yourself. Search for experts that can help
you interpret all the Internet data noise and convert it into information you can actually
use. Interview and seek counseling from a knowledgeable accountant about the tax
issues involved with homeownership, speak with several mortgage professionals about
financing options for your particular situation, ask your friends or neighbors about their
home buying/selling experiences and, interview several REALTORS®. Hire a
REALTOR to assist you who is well versed in the total real estate process including
LOCAL market conditions, market practices, contract provisions, title insurance and
closing practices and negotiation techniques. Select a REALTOR® who understands the
total picture of your wants, needs and goals regarding your particular home
buying/selling situation. Let him/her act as your head coach and direct the team efforts.
Buying or selling a house has always been one of the biggest, most personal, financial
decisions adults make. Should I buy, rent, move, sit-tight, finance with a fixed-rate loan,
use an adjustable rate loan, change cities, etc? These are major decisions we all face at
some time. Your answers affect your short-term and long-term emotional and financial
well-being. Why would anyone base a decision with such great personal impact, on the
group mentality reflected in a 30 second sound bite?
If you approach your real estate decisions from an informed position, you greatly increase
your chances for success. You will complete your move and enjoy an enhanced lifestyle.
While the thought of making a big financial decision is frightening, it is not life
threatening and you will survive. Today’s real estate climate is full of opportunities to
buy, sell or invest. Don’t let the fear of making a decision paralyze you and stop you
from achieving your real estate goals. Remember, as President Roosevelt said, “The only
thing we have to fear is fear itself.”