I actually ran into him the other day at a coffee shop, and asked him what he thought about this current marketplace. He said he’s never been busier! For him, that’s saying something :)
He was killing himself 5 years ago when we bought, and now with all the foreclosures and short sales, he’s been running all over the place closing deals! And interestingly enough he says he’s primarily only dealing w/ two sets of people right now: the REALLY rich ones, and the REALLY hard on their luck ones.
It makes sense if you think about it. The Rich are buying up all the homes with depressed values (and I don’t blame them – it’s a smart move!) and the less fortunate are losing them left and right while struggling to keep afloat. Much different than when we first spoke years ago and he was closing deals across ALL classes — including us, who were just about middle class back then. It really adds to that whole idea that the rich keep on getting richer, and the poor keep on getting poorer. (They actually had something on that, too, in TIME mag the other day – the fact that the middle class is starting to disappear more, and the gap between wealthy and poor widening. Freaky stuff.)
So what does that mean for people like you and me? Well, house prices sure are cheap! And if you happen to be looking to buy right now, you can count your blessings that you’re getting in at a damn good time to do it. Lucky bastard ;) I still wouldn’t jump at it cuz of my own personal realization w/ home ownership, but for the majority of people out there I’d say it’s probably a good investment. Though I’m obviously not a pro, as I sit here in my $60,000 underwater townhouse! ;)
It all just goes to show that life’s a ride, man. Sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re down. But if you can get that good structure underneath you (and by that I mean a good financial game plan – whether that’s a budget, increased savings, a better job, etc), the odds that you’ll be thrown for a loop decreases significantly. At least when it comes to money. Think about where you were 5 years ago, and where you’re at now. Are you a lot more farther along? Do you have more of a cushion underneath you in case something crazy happens? I know we do. And I’m sure that if we keep on hustling, and workin’ the plan for ANOTHER 5 years we’ll be even BETTER well off. I think that’s the goal we’re all shooting for.
So when you’re out and about there making decisions, ask yourself if it falls under your “larger picture” umbrella. If it does, great! Keep on moving right along. But if it doesn’t – ask yourself if it’s really *worth it*. Sometimes it will be – like, for example, treating yourself to something fun like a vacation or nice pair of shoes – but other times it won’t. And the trick is catching yourself before you’re convinced it totally aligns ;) Believe me, it’s hard as hell to catch MYSELF sometimes! Haha… I do a lot of things to trick myself into thinking lottery tickets and Woot.com are my friends ;) It’s only natural.
At the end of the day, though, if you can make sure you’re just ONE more inch closer to that finish line as you drift off to sleep each night, the progress you’ll make after the next 5 years, and the next 5 years after that, will turn out phenomenal. And it all starts with acting TODAY. The years are gonna pass by no matter what we do, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared for it! Get out there and impress yourselves, friends. If you don’t watch your money, who will?