Nary a day passes without some prognostication by our local realtor bloggers saying everything has turned around and the market is headed back up. What is most surprising about these is not that there are sales people who believe that they can still sell snake-oil but that there are sales people who haven't taken the time to understand that 2008 is not 2006 or 1989. Consumers are better informed and have access to more information than at any point in the past.
What is most surprising is that some of the very same folks who are trying to high-pressure customers into buying now are doing so online. In the very same environment that gives consumers access to the actual information about what is going on. Real estate sales people can say "the market is turning" till they are blue in their faces but we'll still know that the rate of foreclosures is increasing. We'll still see the new house each week that is bank owned on our streets.
When will somebody who wants to make a killing in real estate really get it right? Another recent example of how real estate sales people are stuck in a bygone era happened when I stopped in an open house this afternoon. I was told that leases were "prohibited" by the CC&R's for a community. Of course such a restriction struck me as completely unreasonable. Walking through one of the houses I took a moment to look at the CC&R's lying on the kitchen counter. Flipping through the book to the lease section revealed that there were no restrictions on leasing. There was a restriction on posting "For Lease" signs on the property and provisions that made clear where the responsibility lay in the event of a violation of the community association rules. So although a lease is permissible and although the owner of the building might be interested in such an arrangement the sales person was interested only in enriching themselves.