Fear Never Sleeps

C’mon fellow Realtors.  Fess up.  Who doesn’t relapse into moments of fond reverie for those thrilling days of yesteryear ?   When greed was good. Money was no object. Liars loans were handed out like Halloween candy. And transactions flowed like manna from heaven.  Even if our  “mantra of more”  was really just the soundtrack behind Wall Street’s thorough mugging of Main Street.

I catch glimpses of my inner-Gekko staring sideways at me in the mirror sometimes.  He whispers naughty things in my ear.  He wants me to get up in front of that crowd of Buyers sitting on the sidelines and exhort them all  to get off their butts. Step up.  Grab those low interest rates spread out on the buffet table.

Wouldn’t a little bit of greed (for lack of a better word) do us all a lot of good in this impasse? Money can’t wake up if fear never sleeps.  As a further act of insidious manipulation, I could summon the pop-wisdom of Deep Pockets Chopra and urge Buyers to “Embrace Uncertainty.”

But apparently, they aren’t ready to “buy in.” They are afflicted with Intention Deficit Disorder. They seem to want to play the part of Buyers without actually having to consummate the act – no matter how low rates and prices limbo down.  For now, they are content to reside safely in the bosom of their own fear.

How can you  truly avoid risk? Easy.  Call your worst fears something else.  Rationalize them. Evade them.  Circumvent them in advance.  Make sure you always leave the back door open so that nothing can continue to happen. It’s called hedging. And today’s Buyers have designed some incredibly creative hedges for all that fearful baggage they are dragging around.

Here’s a short list:

BENEATH THE MEANS TIDE:  Get pre-qualified. Then decide to buy $100k below that, just to be “safe.” Don’t worry, you won’t find the champagne you want on the beer budget you’ve given yourself.

DOWN-SIZE ME:  Decide to leave a smaller footprint.  3 bedrooms, 2 baths.1100 sq ft and 3 kids.  Keep trying houses on for size with your mental shoehorn in hand. You may want to save the planet but you can only sacrifice so much sanity.

LIVE FOREVER:  A great ploy.  Decide you are going to live the rest of your life in whatever home you buy.  Then it has to cover all contingencies until the day you die.  Relax. You’ll never find it.

THE IDEAL DEAL:  Make a list of 100 priorities.  Perfection for $600k. Single-level,  3 bedrooms plus office. Total privacy. Move-in condition. Huge lot. Great views.  You can stall forever because it ain’t there.

THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER: From Bonny Doon to Rio Del Mar, rural to city, total fixer to small remodel,  make your search parameters so wide that neither you or your Agent will ever zero in on something that fits your fuzzy lack of specifics.

BAIT YOUR SWITCH: Insist on finding your perfect replacement property first. Then put your house on the market.  Make a low contingent offer. The odds are in your favor that nothing will happen.

SHORT STUFF: Get into a short sale. That will make you feel like a real Buyer. You can get out anytime.  It could take months to get a first response letter from the lienholder(s).  No pressure to perform here.

NON-COMPETE CLAUSE: Vow not to participate in any multiple offer situations  that arise – “on principle.”  Take them as a personal offense to a Buyer in a Buyers Market. That way, if anything really good comes on, you are already out of the running.

WAITING GAME GAMBIT: Sit and wait for price reductions.  Wait. Wait. Wait.  Not doing something can easily be construed being “active” in today’s and tomorrow’s market.

THE LOW BLOW: Wait until a big juicy price reduction arrives and then offer them $100k less the next day.  They are sure to reject your offer.

The CHINA SYNDROME:  Arm yourself with every economic factoid your analysis-paralysis can muster. When the right house arrives,  simply cite your concerns with currency pressures from the Yuan and blow the deal out of the water.

GROUND MEAT:   Just in case you actually find yourself in escrow, you better have an exit strategy.  There is always some excuse to get out of any transaction but it can be embarrassing to make an excuse that everyone knows is an excuse.  Better just to grind on inspection issues. Big. Small. Doesn’t matter. Just keep grinding until  the Seller says good bye instead of good buy.


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