The Market is Always Honest
It’s not easy to understand the real estate market or describe what it’s doing or track which way it’s headed or guess how it might change. There are just too many factors floating around in the mix out there, clogging the ether with expert opinions, disparate data and blatant hype – all offering way too little local and personal context to do anyone much good.
Rarely does that firehose of information aimed at our heads deliver a drop of insight clear enough to help an individual buyer/seller make a sound, real-life decision. In fact, the deeper down the rabbit hole of TMI you go, the harder it gets to discern anything useful. Often less information is more when it comes to figuring out the market.
But after thirty years of swimming around in the deep end of the market milieu, riding out a few perfect storms and precipitous waves along the way, through osmosis, all that exposure has taught me a few basic truths about the market.
One is: the market is an incredibly honest feedback mechanism – as long as you’re willing to look at what it’s doing and hear what it has to say. That’s a huge caveat when it comes to your own house of course. It’s always easier to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to anything that hits too close to home. (Which is why so many Realtors are their own worst clients when they try to buy or sell their own homes.)
One way to imagine the market is that’s it’s a mirror that’s constantly reflecting back the vast web of thoughts, feelings, actions that are playing out all around us in real time. Homes are physical places we live in that have roofs, walls and windows. But they are also emotional spaces to occupy and populate with less tangible tenets like comfort, security, refuge.
In a way, the market operates like a huge tote board that’s continuously tabulating up the sum total of the cumulative decisions, big and small that all of us make. It doesn’t hold back. It doesn’t feel sorry for anyone. There’s no such thing as “fair’. You can’t out-think it or trick it.
And you can’t time it (even though some people who got lucky in the past are convinced that they knew exactly what they were doing when they made their last move). Sometimes waiting is worse than moving forward. And other times not waiting has unexpected consequences. And it is only through hindsight that you find out which was which.
Next week we’ll take a look at the very honest feedback that the market is giving us right now.