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RISMEDIA, Jan. 3, 2009-A year ago, we didn’t know it, but the beginnings of the financial meltdown we’ve now witnessed were there. The subprime mortgage debacle had already struck and the media madness was in full swing. Reflective of those events, our Viewpoints question in January ’08 was, “Where is the market going?” Our respondents had solid answers; however, they were in concert with the real estate industry’s frustration with the media and its continued perseverance through “a down market.” Now, 12 months later, we face these same issues-only the situation is even more dire. This month, five top-notch industry pros tell us what we may find over the next 12 months-and how to face it.

A new year-new president, new economy…new outlook? What does it mean for real estate?

kunz_tom_bw.jpgTom Kunz
President & CEO
Century 21 Real Estate LLC

November 4, 2008 may mark a turning point, not just in our national politics, but in our industry. Whether or not you agree with President-Elect Obama’s positions on the issues, you cannot deny the positive energy his campaign has inspired.

As I watched the news coverage on election night, I was moved more by the positive emotions expressed by the huge crowds gathered throughout the United States, followed by the gracious speeches given by both candidates.

Consumer confidence is challenged by the uncertainties in the financial markets and a prolonged downturn in housing. As real estate professionals, we have an opportunity and an obligation to carry this positive message and energy forward, and help drive consumer confidence by tapping into this renewed American spirit as we talk to buyers and sellers.

The President-Elect has repeatedly called for “Change You Can Believe In.” By championing customer goals and helping them overcome their unique challenges, we add value as professional advisors to the real estate transaction and we make a positive impact on consumer confidence. Our services are more important than ever as potential home buyers struggle to understand existing conditions, new legislation and the financial options available to them in today’s marketplace.

We cannot control what the government will do, and we can no longer afford to wait passively for the market to turn the corner. It is time for us to change the direction of the market by getting back to the basics-making contacts, aggressively pursuing every lead, and arming our customers with the information they need to either keep their home or take advantage of the incredible values that exist.

On January 20, a new administration will take over leadership in Washington, D.C. Will the economy turn the corner that day? Not likely. So, as entrepreneurs, let’s take advantage of this opportunity for a fresh start in the New Year and focus on what we do control-our effort, our education and the value that we bring to the table on behalf of each and every customer. I’m confident that we can make a difference in the market and restore the dream of American homeownership throughout this great country.