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How to be Positive without being Pollyanna

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By Greg Rand

RISMEDIA, July 1, 2011—It’s getting really crazy out there. We have officially seen the start of a race to the bottom among economists, statisticians and spokespeople who are all trying to win the award for Chicken Little of the Year.

I recently took offense with Zillow’s depiction of the state of our nation’s housing debt in terms of the percentage of borrowers who are underwater (28 percent), without reference to the percentage of total homeowners with no mortgage at all (30 percent), in addition to their stories about the trillions of dollars in equity that have evaporated in the last few years, with no reference to the trillions that have been gained in the last ten. To his credit, Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries responded and has agreed to have a friendly debate on my radio show. That should be a good conversation.

Then the next round of contenders was at the starting gate. Trulia and RealtyTrac came out with their study that surveyed consumers about how long they believed the housing market would be in a slump (three more years), and whether the government was doing enough to prevent foreclosures (45 percent said no).

These folks have set the stage by putting talking points on the lips of media figures and armchair analysts across the nation. Their work begs for a response, but there is a risk of being branded Pollyanna to any real estate professional who dares to. Let me show you how to fight back and avoid that fate.

1. Come out swinging. Don’t be timid about your belief that American housing is the most resilient asset on the planet, be bold: “You are looking at this all wrong!”

2. Acknowledge that the market is the pits. “No one is saying those reports are factually wrong. I’m just saying they are focusing too much on the short-term and missing the real trend.”

3. Point the way through the fog. “I can see past this crisis and the enormous opportunity that will come next.”

4. Back it all up with historical facts. “American housing has appreciated in every ten-year period since the Great Depression, including the last ten years!”

The housing market, and the millions of homeowners we’ve sold property to, are counting on us to push back. If you are looking for support, look around you, and join the cause at OwnAmerica.com.

Greg Rand is CEO of OwnAmerica.com and former managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. For more information, please visit www.ownamerica.com.

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