Friday, October 24, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins--An Alternative Housing Mantra?

Okay, I am not a metal-head but I do enjoy alternative rock from time to time and have teenagers so 93X is one of the preset stations on our family vehicle. Yesterday, while driving through Forest Lake, MN and flipping stations away from the annoying recorded political ads, I paused on the rock station and heard these lyrics: “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”. It was the chorus so the mantra was repeated a few times. Although catchy, I know from experience, the rest of the song might not be as lyrical so I laughed as I switched the station, but the line stuck in my head.

It started me thinking about all of the rage I have been hearing lately. Not teenaged angst but rage at the housing market. It’s in all the papers and on the news, hundreds of thousands of people enraged at the current financial crisis and the housing/mortgage mess that was the catalyst of it all. I get calls from potential home sellers who are frustrated when they hear the number in their market analysis and realize their homes are not worth as much as they thought. There are homeowners contact me angry at the low value received on an appraisal for a refinance and wonder where these numbers are coming from. There are upset foreclosure buyers who didn’t do their homework prior to closing on a “deal” and realize the “As-Is” bargain of a property has problems that were not fully disclosed. And there are those homeowners who are panicked, frustrated and resigned at the reality of being foreclosed upon.

So I started thinking, maybe these alternative rockers are on to something here. Because despite all the rage that surrounds us, many people are feeling caged in a situation they cannot control.

When I reached my office, the first thing I did was Google search the lyrics and discovered
The Smashing Pumpkins and their song, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” was the catalyst of my muse. (October is the perfect time to showcase the song of a band with the name Smashing Pumpkins too, don’t cha think?) According to Wikipedia this song was a Grammy award winner in 1997, but this part of the song lyrics speaks to me a decade later regarding the financial situation of today. It was very ironic that the chorus also included the line, “someone will say what is lost can never be saved”. How profound. Consider this, some seniors facing retirement will not have time to wait out the current financial crisis for their biggest investments: real estate, usually the family home and the stock market, usually in a 401K or mutual fund to comeback. What has been lost cannot be saved.

So as rats in our cages, what can we do? It’s time to rethink rather than be enraged. Anger does not solve any problem. We need to refocus; to shift our way of thinking. Pick up that much acclaimed self-help book,
“Who Moved My Cheese?” and change how to think about your life.
  • Sellers forget what you think your home is worth…It is only worth what a buyer will pay today.
  • Buyers need to do their homework with their REALTOR® and trusted mortgage professional to find the right home and right loan.
  • Homeowners facing foreclosure cannot stick their heads in the sand. Take a realistic look at your situation and contact professional agencies to come up with a solution that fits your specific needs.
  • Buyers looking at foreclosures and short sales need to be patient and do their due diligence on every purchase because some of those bargains have “skeletons-in-the closet”.
Rage and anger gets us nowhere. It is impossible to move forward if you are angrily looking in the rearview mirror. Look at where you are today and make a move to pull yourself out of that financial cage you feel trapped in. The sooner you assess your current situation and make moves to change and improve it, the sooner you will recover from the crisis. By taking one positive step at a time, one person at a time, we as a nation will find a way out of this crisis.
If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
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