I attended a 90 minute webinar yesterday, designed to get me straightened out about the importance of social media and how to use it effectively in my business.  The presenters are somehow experts (though obviously they’ve only been doing this for a few years).   They spoke about LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogging and how to position yourself on all of this media to gain massive lists of people who will magically consider you the go-to person for your specialty.

My mind is reeling.  First of all, I consider myself very good at what I do, and pride myself on the service I provide to all of my real estate clients.  But I don’t take myself so seriously as to think that there will be 30,000 people just waiting for my next tweet!  And even if I did, do I really want the responsibility of keeping-up this continual stream of content bits and pieces? 

The experts pointed out that the average user spends 55 minutes on Facebook every day, not to mention time spent updating LinkedIn, sending tweets, uploading a new video, or of course, composing a new blog post.  Besides feeling that I am totally failing Social Media 101, I came away from the webinar wondering when I’m supposed to actually do any of the real work I’m trying to promote!   Having thousands of people like me or what I do is useless if I don’t have the time to do it.  So I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but don’t expect a tweet any time soon.

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For the first time since June, pending home sales (number of contracts signed), dropped in September by 1.8% according to the National Association of Realtors. The report was unveiled on Friday as the Association began its annual convention in New Orleans.  This came as a surprise to many as a group of Reuter’s polled economists had recently anticipated an increase of 3%.  So why the drop?

Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics surmised that the lower number was a result of the recent foreclosure mess; deals signed in September, might have fallen apart in October as banks pulled some foreclosures from the market and buyers got cold feet.  But that doesn’t really make sense as the September drop occurred before any of the problems with foreclosure affidavits came to light.

I think that one of the most obvious factors is the continued unemployment rate that has now been at 9.5% or higher for the past 15 months.  People who aren’t working, or fear that their employment is tenuous don’t buy houses.  Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist also pointed out that “tight credit and appraisals coming in below the negotiated price continue to constrain the market.”

So as noted in my post on November 3, Capital Economics continues to predict a bit more of a gloomy future for the housing market.  Dales says that “existing sales may well fall back,” and described housing activity as “bouncing along the bottom.”  NAR on the other hand continues to be a bit more optimistic, forecasting an increase in existing home sales in 2011 to 5.1 million, up from 4.8 million this year.  I’ll keep you posted as soon as I have the San Diego numbers for September, but I’m siding with NAR and remain cautiously optimistic about sales in America’s Finest City, especially if lenders loosen their stranglehold on the market by approving more home loans.

If anyone had told me four years ago that today over 90% of my business would be short sales and REOs, I would have said they were crazy.  The reality of course is that the boom of those days is the bust of today, and it doesn’t look much brighter on the immediate horizon.

According to California Association of Realtors Vice President and Chief Economist, Leslie Appleton-Young, “The wild cards for 2011 include federal housing policies, actions of underwater homeowners, and the strength of the economic recovery.  What is certain is that favorable home prices and historically low interest rates will continue to make owning a home in California attractive for those who are in a position to buy.”

 OK.  Sounds like a glimmer of hope….unless you’re one of the homeowners that is underwater with no life boat in sight.  Knowing that you can no longer afford your home is incredibly stressful, and for most home owners, their lenders offer little help, despite federal programs.

This blog is dedicated to every homeowner who can’t sleep at night and is asking themselves, “What do I do now?”  My goal is to provide information that will help homeowners understand their options for buying, keeping, or selling their homes in this troubled market. With the banks and the government changing the rules every day, I’ll help make sense of the news, share my experience and insider perspective,  and have some fun along the way.  Most fear is based on lack of knowledge.  By sharing what I know and being here for your questions, I hope to take the “stress” out of distressed property sales, whether considering a short sale, or an REO purchase. 

So let me know how I can help.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find a reliable source that does.  It’s that simple.  Over the next two weeks I’ll be adding some good resource information about short sales, so check back soon!  Looking forward to sharing and hearing from you!