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2008-11-03 19:34:27

Why You Must Take Charge of Your Local Real Estate News


The real estate industry is in a crisis. You may believe that it’s a crisis of credit, brought on by crooked Wall Street manipulators tainting mortgage-backed securities with subprime loans, touting them as AAA investments. Now investors don’t want to buy them anymore, and banks are failing while crooks are going uninvestigated and unpunished. 

But it’s worse than that. While our government searches for taxpayer-burdened solutions, the real estate industry and its consumers are paying the price – a crisis of confidence.

Over the boom years following 9/11, consumer attitudes changed toward homebuying, thanks to dangerous support from lenders. Easy loans and equity lines of credit that weren’t available 10 years ago caused buyers in such a homeowner-friendly culture to treat their homes as liquid investments. Banks encouraged them to ignore time-tested formulas for buying homes within their means at rates they could afford long-term.

As we enter the fourth year of a national housing correction, where home prices have ceased escalating on a median basis, homebuyers all over the country are on the sidelines. They’re being frightened into making any sort of move by a relentless national press that repeats misinformation without confirming facts.

While it’s true that many areas are in deep trouble with housing prices rolled back to 2003 prices, and inventories rising with as much as one-third in short-sales and foreclosures, it’s also true that local real estate markets vary widely. 

The problem is – there’s no one to tell the positive side of the story. The solution is – MLSs/Associations, brands and brokers must do what the media refuses to do - tell consumers the truth about their local markets.

To give you an example about how insidious negative drumbeats can be, The Dallas Morning News just published an October 10, 2008 editorial by its real estate editor, Steve Brown. Stating the obvious, Brown intones that the “fast and loose real estate market is history ” and that there will be a “fundamental shift in how people look at real estate.” He goes on to say that 25 to 30 percent of peak demand for housing “is gone and won’t be coming back.” Buyers who are left will have to “make true down payments and show real repayment ability” resulting in “fewer home sales, fewer home starts and less appreciation.”

What Brown fails to mention is that Dallas didn’t participate in the bubble. Home prices in Dallas have been below the national median for over 17 years. Further, he fails to relay the good news about the area.  

On the same day, Forbes.com released its “Best/Worst Bang for the Buck” cities to live in. Guess where Dallas ranked? Number seven for affordability, liveablity, jobs, etc.

Dallas is reinventing itself, and its downtown. This past year, downtown added 20,000 new jobs from corporate relocations. Dallas-Fort Worth leads the nation in job creation. Yet median homes are $150,000, more than 25 percent below the national median.

What did Brown say in a previous Sept. 12th column, after reporting the good-news gains? That they “can’t last.” 

Geez, Louise! What does this guy want? If Brown is so averse to real estate transactions in his own city, what effect do you think he has on readers?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know. We only know what buyers (who aren’t buying) are telling their Realtors about their fears.

One thing buyers believe is that there is no money for mortgages. That’s because the Wall Street Journal and other “authorities” keep repeating the phrase “frozen credit markets,” so many who would qualify don’t even try to get a loan. But according to David Reed, author of Mortgages 101 and contributor to The Evans Ezine, “Don’t believe it. Mortgage money has always been available and it’s still available.”

You can do something about this. You are in the position to fight back.

You can give consumers a better balanced view of your community by publishing your own news and advice.

That’s why we created The Evans Ezine – to give MLSs, Associations and practitioners  the tools they need to fight back for their brokers and agents. We give you national and local news, mortgage news, remodeling news and other articles that put your market in true perspective.

Edgy, eye-catching and informative, the ezine is written by award-winning journalists. The articles are timely, compelling and designed to get consumers to do two things: 1. rely on you and your broker, MLS and association for the real story on the local market, and 2. take action – buy or sell a home.

If greed and fear move the markets, you’ve got to take fear out of the equation. Take control of misinformation. Give consumers the complete picture. 

Only you can get your market moving again.

Blanche Evans is the co-founder of evansEmedia, inc., publisher of The Evans Ezines. She is a nationally known journalist, author of five real estate books, and a popular keynote speaker for associations and brands.  For more information on evansemedia and The Evans Ezine, please contact her at blanche@evansemedia.com, or call 214-686-4202. Visit evansemedia.com to view the first edition of The Evans Ezine.

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