The Holiday Season is approaching its end. Hopefully, you’ve been able to relax a bit and spend time with family, friends and the people whom you love most. The end of this season signals the rapidly-approaching end to yet another year. A year that most of us are more than ready to put behind us. We’re all looking forward to the promises of the new year. A fresh start. New possibilities. To 2010.
But let’s take a moment to reflect on the year that was 2009, and how it shaped us and our industry.
2009 was a year of change. A change in the way people shop for homes. A change in the way real estate professionals do business. A change in the way we look at things.
Certainly, the economy and its woes played a major role. While there are glimmers of light and signs of improvement on the horizon, rising unemployment (that will likely worsen a bit more before it gets better) and more stringent lending standards continued their stranglehold on the real estate industry.
Mortgage rates found themselves at all-time lows in 2009, but with underwriting restrictions and tightening standards, including tougher rules from places FHA, typically thought more “understanding”, very few people were able to qualify. With the Federal Government’s loan modification program, short sales and a flood of foreclosures with which to deal, banks are not likely to loosen these standards anytime soon.
Of course, the news wasn’t all bad.
With those foreclosures and short sales came some incredible opportunities for those looking to buy a home. For those with open minds and who were willing to exercise a little bit of patience, deals, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in decades, were ripe for the picking.
For those who were really lucky, those deals could be combined with what was (and will likely continue to be) one of the biggest stories in real estate: the Homebuyer Tax Credit. Recently expanded to include a far broader pool of buyers, the HBTC, in 2009, gave first-time homebuyers a credit of up to $8000 when they purchased a new home. For many, this credit was just the boost necessary to get them toward their share of the American Dream.
While 2009 saw nowhere near the panic and angst that riddled Wall Street and the entire real estate industry in 2008, it was a year of sobering news. A year of goodbyes to the old way of doing business. It was a year for real estate professionals to reevaluate their priorities. To rethink how they did things. It was a year of separating the wheat from the chaff, as many Realtors left the profession altogether. Those who dug in their heels, who opened their minds to new practices, who opted to help, rather than hinder, will rise to the top. They will reap the fruits of their labor.
As you’re making your resolutions for the New Year, think about where we’ve been. About how far we’ve come. Think about how you’ll do things differently. Think about the possibilities before you.
Yes, 2009 was a hard year. But remember our theme for 2009 – “Adversity is your asset. Things turn out BEST for those who make the BEST of how things turn out.”…AND WE DID! So rather than looking back at 2009 as just a “tough year” let’s make it a year in which we have learned. A year that strengthened our resolve, and our collective character. 2010 is OUR time, now let’s go out and TAKE IT!