I've called out real estate agents in this space in the past, asking them, in effect, when they thought they might start learning to sell real estate again.
My comments were motivated in part by observing an industry that seems to be waiting around for the government to give would-be homeowners another good enough reason to buy. Our motivation, in short, should not hinder on answers to questions such as, "Will the tax credit be extended?"
While I think that selling real estate is the job of the real estate agent and what they do to earn their commission, I also realize that it's no easy job, not in this market. I don't think mortgage lenders are doing anything to make it any easier.
If you read the news as often as I do, you've probably noticed the same trend. Many of the stories I see in the mainstream media—and all of those that deal with the federal government's approach to the economy—seem to be offering readers a view into when the government might step in and make their lives easier. If not TARP or HAMP or HAFA then some other program is bound to come down the pike to make it possible for people to feel successful again.
This is ridiculous to me.
At the risk of annoying loyal readers, and not all of you are sitting back waiting for your own personal bailout, but I feel compelled to point out that we'll all be a whole lot better off when the government quits trying to fix things and lets us all get back to work.
For real estate agents, getting back to work means getting back out into their neighborhoods and getting all of the answers to the questions prospective homeowners are likely to ask when they look at a new piece of property. It means getting their databases back in shape and calling on old customers for leads and listings. It means putting some ads in the paper, getting that Website spruced up and reconnecting with a community that wants to be growing, as all communities do (even if their residents do not want them to).
For lenders, it means putting down the newspapers that talk about what the government is going to do next and refocusing on the borrowers in their communities, the renters that still have some faith in the American Dream and who are just looking for someone trustworthy to help them navigate the process.
Waiting around to see if the government is going to offer a new tax cut for first time homeowners is not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about getting back to work.
I was as happy as the next journalist to see that mortgage lenders, free of the bad influence of Wall Street investment bankers, were tightening up their guidelines and making more loans using more common sense and some human underwriters. But the industry must not forget that their business isn't just risk mitigation. It's mortgage lending.
To make that happen, we'll need to quit waiting on some federal agency and get back to work.