Happy last day of 2009. For many, this is a year they’d like to forget… for others it’s a year to remember. What ever your reflections of 2009 may be, I wish you health, happiness, and success in 2010! I decided to highlight a few things about real estate,. and a few things about my life in general this year. Good bad or ugly, these are the things that influenced my life this year.
In the real estate industry there have been lots of changes, not all for the good, but these were HOT topics of discussion, success and challenges of 2009:
- Tax Credits: The most tweeted about, discussed and rediscussed issue of 2009 in real estate. It is what helped first time home-buyers acquire homes in 2008 and what sustained many down-turned market area, including mine!
- Tax Credit Extensions: maybe redundant.. but deserves two slots in the top 10. Again, this extension and the credit for current homeowners was pivotal in 2009 for many home-buyers and the trickle effect of sales and tax rebate money was felt in many areas including Realtor commissions, home repairs, supplies, furniture sales, etc. Give people money, they will spend it.
- Social Media Marketing Infusion into real estate marketing plans. Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, Zillow, Trulia, blogging and sometimes public flogging..it certainly has emerged into a part of every forward thinking, insightful, and creative marketing professional. Here’s Mashables “10 of the Best Social Media Tools for Entrepreneurs”. Like it or not, technology is going to grow… and fast.
- Video: In my opinion video has opened the doors again for marketing, for communications, for sales and service. It’s a two way portal to the future and to every aspect of business and our lives. Look for more video Emails, Marketing, Postings, Documentation than ever before in 2010 as well!
- Foreclosures: If you can see, hear and have picked up a paper or magazine,you know the dilemma our nation has faced with the number of home foreclosures on the books. What you may not know, is how it has affected our markets… If you really want to know, ask someone who has a home for sale right now. Homes sold below market value simply because of overstock supplies have devastated equity nest eggs of those who have attempted to sell their homes in less than 7 years. Short term investments have lost money, just as the stock market and other investments. I agree with this article that Foreclosures in 2009 will top 2008. We can only hope that re-addressing ways to counsel those who have suffered losses and repair credit issues for those affected will be a focus of 2010 so that they can purchase again in good faith and with a renewed spirit and ability to own a home in the future. Seven years can seem like an eternity.
- Short Sales: There have been more short sales classes in my area and in my State than any other continuing education classes. As difficult as banks have been in handling these issues, some Realtors have been equally as difficult. Either they are uneducated.. or the rules keep changing. It’s really a little of both. However, you would think we have a duty as Realtors to “consult” with customers. Really? Who forgot that from real estate 101 anyway? for most Realtors who are sticking by their industry and who have a sense of the core of their industry, this is not new,.. it is simply an adjustment to business as usual. Sometimes we work harder than others, it’s just that simple. I’m amazed at those who say, “I won’t work with short sales.” That’s a bit elitist if you ask me. Get out there and let’s deal with this so we can all move on.
- Politics and the real estate industry. How about politics and every facet of our lives. All I can say on this.. is GET INVOLVED. If you want to say anything to me at all about politics, tell me first that you have told someone, preferably and elected or appointed official, about it first. Otherwise, you are part of the problem.
On a lighter note, there were a few really funny things that made me smile, and laugh, a lot in 2009!
- Sometimes you just have to take a break.. and YouTube certainly provides a few laughs. Several funny videos came to mind,.. or my mind at least, as you may not see the humor. Nothing cures a bad day like humor, and in most cases you have to laugh to keep from crying.. but these were particularly inspiring…. JK Wedding Entrance Dance, Bacon Is Good For Me!, and Susan Boyle’s success story. Lessons: Dance like there is no tomorrow, have your bags packed just in case things don’t work out,.. and never judge a book by it’s cover.
- Then there are the moments that inspire.. funny, most seem to come from children. The latest.. I have worked with customers for 7 years.. before this young man who is now 5 was born. So, when we finally see each other and begin our home search a priceless moment arrives. I hug mom first at our greeting, .. then little man,.. and he looks at me and says,..”What about him?”, pointing to dad…of course.. a hug for dad too!
- Of course, there are the moments that you have to laugh at yourself. I could probably write a book on dumb Realtor mishaps, but nothing takes the cake this year like the day I was previewing, alone, a house for a customer. Rule #1 always check locks before you let a door slam behind you. As I entered a second story porch, with no exit, the door slams behind me only to lock me out of the house. Oh, I am smart, I have a key, but the key doesn’t work for that lock. Thank God I have my phone,.. and I can call another Realtor who can come to my rescue! There are others I am ashamed to put to print, at least until I retire and need money for a comedy film or book.
A few really great things that happened, of course, center around the people I have met throughout the year. Not all are in person yet, but all have made a difference in my career and in my personal life.
- The “Twitterqueens” Twitter of all things opened the door that was partially cracked open for me early in 2009. In my quest for like-minded professionals I stumbled upon @HeyAmaretto and @LesleyLambert early in the year, and the adventures unfolded from there. We spoke many times on a personal basis, and many more times on twitter. I have learned from them, we have walked through some storms together, and we keep the lines of communication open for ourselves and others that are truly growing their businesses and social networks. My days and evenings usually involve a few shout outs to the ladies and gents of the Twitterqueens and often a few toasts for things unspoken.
- REBarCamps: I attended my first this year in Miami in September 2009. After following many of the speakers and social media presenters for months, I was able to make it to Miami for a day of networking and learning that brought all that I had been trying to accomplish together for me. My connections to these folks have gotten deeper, and my understanding broadened as a result.
- Ultimately, My website re-design and re-focus of my business and the scope of community that I was trying to accomplish all rolled together after this meeting and is on it’s way to being a great resource and a lot of fun for those looking not only for real estate in Tallahassee, but who want to know more about our community. It’s a work in progress, but it is my life. If you want to know about the Tallahassee, FL and surrounding area, give me a shout.
- And lastly..Cancer. Just the word makes me shake. This year, in May I celebrated my 7th year remission from breast cancer with people from my Board of Realtors at the Tallahassee Relay for Life. I walked beside survivors and I walked hand in had with my dear friend David, facing a struggle which took his life in September. By far, the most honorable, yet hardest task of my life to date, was speaking at his service. My father fought liver cancer this year and won his battle.. my Board President fought lymphoma and is winning his battle thusfar, and yet many more are still suffering. This is the one constant in life that we just can’t seem to shake.. the loss of those we love.. the battle with cancer. All we can do is fight, give..continue to research and come up with treatment that prolongs our time with those we love. If you gave towards this cause, I thank you,.. if you continue to give, I thank you.. and if you promise to give in 2010, you will receive thanks tenfold. If you remember nothing else about my ramblings today, remember this.. life is precious, it is to be sucked up, invested in our bodies, minds and spirits and those gifts are meant to be shared with others. Let none of us forget what we owe each other, what we owe this thing called life.
Happy 2010 Everyone!
From Debbie Kirkland… @FloridaSunSales