Talking Turkey About Real Estate…

I hope most of you out there are still floating on a warm, post-Thanksgiving high after pigging out on too much turkey. Tripping in a mellow sea of tryptophan, eyes glazed over in reverie like soft candied yams. A welcome sense of euphoria acting like a soothing balm placed over the lingering malaise of worry and exhaustion that has been gnawing at our bones for quite a while now.

Tryptophan is euphemistically known as “nature’s own prozac”. It is an amino acid found in large quantities in the indigenous bird we have coincidentally chosen as the centerpiece for our distinctly American feast day. When digested into the bloodstream it has the magic effect of releasing large amounts of serotonin into our brains. And with more serotonin cascading through our synapses…well… events cascading around us in the middle of the biggest recession since the great Depression don’t really seem so “immediate” or “overwhelming” anymore.

Better living through modern chemistry. The more we consume, the better we feel. Hmmm. That sounds vaguely familiar… Let me chew on the meaning of that in between mouthfuls.

Meanwhile, just ignore the 5,000 pound turkey buzzard still circling over the marketplace. It can decide how dead or alive real estate really is later on. We’ll continue to relax and go with the flow of the slow. Give ourselves permission to sink deeper into the lazy bubble of couch world where we can grab second helpings of leftovers and watch brightly costumed characters on TV beating the stuffing out of each other and dishing out concussions. Who needs bread and circuses when there’s turkey and football available in Hi Def!

This is the perfect time for real estate to take a recess from the recession. Real estate can officially declare itself on holiday until well after the first of the year – or in the case of you wanna-be sellers biding your time – until that surge in the market you are so desperately hoping to see next spring either arrives in full bloom or decides to pull a no-show of conspicuous non-consumption.

For now at least, there aren’t going to be a lot of expectations about the state of real estate. If higher sales numbers don’t materialize, if prices don’t keep edging up over the next few months. – that’s ok. We are all conditioned to believe that they aren’t supposed to. Part of the holiday tradition is that nothing happens in real estate around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. Everyone just figures that everyone else is staying home for the holidays rather than running around trying to buy one or sell one.

The only significant buying and selling supposed to happen is up to small time shoppers and big box retailers. Black Friday was yesterday, I’m assuming you got off the couch long enough to do your patriotic duty to shop till you drop and spend the economy back into existence. Today is Black Saturday. Get busy. Only real estate is on vacation.

This year’s Thanksgiving has been a tough one to figure out how to carve. It isn’t easy to rattle off a long list of things we should be eminently thankful for after going cold turkey from the all-you-can-eat, buffet of debt that everyone had such an inexhaustible appetite for not so long ago. These are leaner times.

But maybe these are the best kind of times to give thanks in. Thanks we have to think about. Thanks we have to tweak our perspectives to see. There are all the obvious little thank you’s: Thanks for the extension and expansion of tax credits. It is great to get paid to buy a new home. Thanks for extending the conforming jumbo loan limit for another year. Maybe more higher end sales can happen. And special thanks for the low interest rates that soften the sad fact that prices haven’t really fallen into the range of more first time buyers yet.

And thanks for the bigger things too: I’m thankful that the entire real estate market didn’t collapse like a house of cards along with the entire global financial system. I’m thankful that this time of trial and testing gives us a chance to re-vision what it important in our lives and how our relationship with the world can change.

And now, finally, it’s time for the best part of the Thanksgiving ritual – the wishbone. Before you make any split decisions, close your eyes and dream up a few new things that will be good for everyone. Not just Buyers. Or Sellers. Or you. Let’s imagine and wish for a very different kind of market than the one we’ve had. Then we’ll start talking turkey again when real estate resumes after the first of the year



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