There I was driving home on Highway 1 the other night, ruminating about the future of real estate, when I came to a grinding halt in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As I sat there unmoving, I glanced up at the Caltans billboard near 41st Avenue and noticed a string of strange flashing lights and random words running across the electronic screen.
Suddenly my cell phone rang and an eerie mechanical voice on the other end said: “Pay attention and write.” I was so shocked I grabbed my laptop and for the next three hours a series of messages channeled through the traffic board as I feverishly tried to keep up with my meager typing skills.
What follows is only a small part of all I was shown and told. Predictions for the future courtesy of some Century 23 Agent traveling back in time? Who knows? Fact or fantasy? You be the judge. I’m just the instrument of some higher power with a heck of a cell phone bill.
• A missing Escrow Officer will be found alive under a massive avalanche of paper after surviving 6 days without food, water or a sanity check.
• Increasing numbers of Sellers will enroll in Mime School attempting to look more convincing while going through the motions.
• A study by the National Association of Realtors will conclude that making more Pocket Calls does not result in a larger inventory of Pocket Listings.
• The entire UC Merced campus will be shut down and leased out as a training facility for Real Estate Foreclosure Specialists. It will be unceremoniously nicknamed F.U. by the media.
• A blue ribbon panel of psychologists will declare a national epidemic of “buyer’s remorse” and the Surgeon General will require all forms of retail therapy to display prominent warning labels.
• Home Ownership will officially be declared an alienable right of the American Dream.
• An entire Cabrillo College class in Abnormal Psychology will apprentice at a local Real Estate Company for a year of in-depth field study.
• A rising number of mortgage defaults in Northern California will be linked to the plummeting value of home-grown marijuana on neighborhood streets.
• Practitioners of Transcendental Meditation will be paid 100 million dollars to meditate on the recovery of the National Housing Market in a stimulus program dubbed “Om for Home.”
• In a joint venture with PG&E, several large financial institutions will attempt to install Smart Meters on Consumer Bank Accounts.
• Pest Control Companies faced with lagging revenues in a slow real estate market will begin offering Bed Bug Extermination Service to 5 star resorts and hotels.
• Mass outbreaks of St. Vitus dancing will be traced to the hallucinogenic effects of a new strain of toxic mold found growing in vacant foreclosures across the country.
• Organic Sellers will attempt to secede from the market by forming a separate MLS where bank-owned properties are prevented from being listed for sale.
• Disenchanted Appraisers unhappy with new legislation will quit the business and flock to an evangelical end-of-days cult called Appraise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.
• New legislation to slow the mounting tide of foreclosures will require troubled properties to first be labeled Afault, Befault and Cefault before being allowed to go to Default.
• In November a local real estate agent will give birth to a 14 pound escrow file and be prominently featured on the cover of the National Enquirer.
• A local psychiatrist-turned-real-estate-agent will lose both of his licenses after he is discovered marketing pre-pre-pre-foreclosure properties on Craigslist using confidential client information.
• As the shadow inventory of homes held off market by the nation’s largest banks grows to record numbers Foreclosures will be re-named Noclosures. Lamont Cranston the Sixth will be appointed to get the bottom of it all.
• A radical cult of new age economists will flock to Sedona, Arizona to celebrate the advent of the Un-harmonic Convergence, otherwise known as deflation.
• New Fair Housing laws will require Short Sales to be called Chronologically-Challenged Sales in all real estate advertising
• Local Real Estate experts will issue a forecast guaranteeing that the market will be much better in 2011. When pressed for specifics a terse one page release will be issued explaining that “better” really means “less bad.”
In a related story, a record number of homeowners will burn their mortgages and declare their freedom in a series of celebrations modeled on the “tea party” movement. Freedom will be identified as “just another word for nothing left to lose. ”