Through The Glass Darkly: Real Estate for 2012

What’s ahead for real estate in 2012? Tough question. Gazing into the old crystal ball feels more like the looking through glass shards darkly these days.

But here goes… I picked up one of those old cans we’ve been kicking down the road and converted it into a homemade collide-a-scope. I’ve got it pointed forward towards the light and here’s what my own colorful, mosaic view of the future looks like:

– More big banks will convert their shadow inventories of foreclosed homes into long term rental properties offering attractive new incentives to subprime renters – like low 3 month teaser rate rents and negatively amortizing rent-to-own programs.

– Disenchanted Agents will join the Occupy movement. Calling themselves Doc-cupy Real Estate they’ll begin camping out at Bank of America branches until underwriters agree to approve loans and generate loan documents for well-qualified borrowers already in their queue.

– As more Americans adjust to simpler lifestyles in the wake of economic recession a dramatic increase in the number of Near Life Experiences will be reported.

– More Sellers will purchase Do-It-Yourself Home Cryogenics Kits – vowing to dig in even deeper for the long haul waiting for prices to return to 2005 levels.

– Sweeping new legislation designed to protect future homeowners will require builders to install Air Bags in all new homes.

– In a desperate move to counteract tanking sales, a local Real Estate Brokerage will substitute Nitrous Oxide for Helium in all Open House Balloons.

– Realtors will expand efforts to lure Gen X home buyers with cutting edge branding techniques like company tattoos and personal marketing piercings.

– A large pharmaceutical firm will begin clinical trials of a mourning after pill designed to relieve symptoms of Buyers Remorse.

– When Baby Boomers universally declare that old age doesn’t start until 75, defiant members of the Boomerang Generation will immediately proclaim that adulthood does not begin until the age of 35.

– Agents holding Open Houses will begin handing out insulated booties to encourage more buyers with cold feet.

– The Letterman Show will feature an ongoing series of bits called Stupid Lender Tricks.

– A new pest control franchise called The Termite Whisperer will promise to rid houses of termites without the use of toxic chemicals – by convincing them to leave voluntarily and move on to neighboring houses.

– When neuro-scientists discover that consumer brains respond most directly to smells rather than sights and sounds, Aromatherapists will be in great demand as Home Stagers. Sell the Smell will become a common catchphrase..

– More frustrated home buyers will turn to online Virtual Dream Homes in the coming year, where their Avatars can easily move into custom comfort. California will also begin exploring a Virtual Property Tax.

– In a massive effort to transform societal stigmas about the homeless, self-styled Homeless Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen will invite tens of thousands of homeless families to hotel-hop and couch-surf with him at 5 Star Resorts.

– EXTREME MORTGAGE: HOME EDITION will make its debut on Realty TV this year. First time buyers will compete for loan approval while a panel of celebrity underwriters comes up with a new set of performance anxieties each week.

– Remote Viewing will be just one of the innovative new forms of Psychic Marketing that begins to replace old fashioned, web-based, virtual tours in the coming year.

– A prestigious group of spin-doctors will accuse the National Association of Realtors of implanting false market memories in the minds of vulnerable and unsuspecting members.

– The Conversation Pit will make a comeback in American homes. More and more of them will be located in lead-lined safe rooms, where no electromagnetic television or cell phone frequencies can penetrate.

– Al Gore will once again rise to national prominence with a new film exploring global financial weirding and the meltdown of the international monetary system – called An Incoherent Truth.

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