Relativity in Real Estate

J Philip Faranda February 25, 2010

I’m not one to completely understand Einstein’s theory of relativity, but I do observe that, depending on context, some things seem like they occurred a far longer time ago than others.

For example: It seems like only yesterday when my daughter was born 6 years ago in early 2004. It was a remarkable day in many respects, as you can imagine. We didn’t know her gender until she arrived, and the nurses were all delighted at my shock, because I was expecting a boy. I’m no chauvinist- she was the first girl born in my family since the late 1800s. I even called her Gregory when she came out, as in “Gregory, what happened to your-“. I can still hear Ann’s laugh when the doctor told us we had a baby girl. A daughter. It feels like it happened only a few months ago, maybe a year. The surprise, gratitude and awe have never left me. A girl! A d-d-d-daw-tehhrrr. A Daughter.

Catherine, the once a century kind of girl

What will I do with her?

Now, when I think of real estate, 2004 seems like it was just after the Ice Age. Buyers were nuts. Sellers were nuts. Banks were nuts. The only reason a deal died was because a higher offer came in. People forked up extra cash if the house didn’t appraise. Buyers waived mortgage contingencies and home inspection issues to get the deal done. Agents walked into the office and made money just because they showed up. There was a mortgage program for dyslexic gnus, ambidextrous Visigoths, and investors with 5% down payment. They loaned you money if you had a job but no credit. Or credit and no down payment. People would grab you by the arm and ask how much over full price they needed to offer to get the house. All that seems like a different planet now, in a galaxy far far away.

Can you imagine walking into the office today and having people waiting for you, raring to buy a home by 5pm?

Can you imagine an investor telling you he was pre approved for 10% down and was looking to buy 3 multi family homes? That weekend?

In 2004, a waitress would tell you she was studying for her license, and you’d nod and guess what kind of BMW she’d buy. In 2010 if a waitress tells you she’s going for her license you nod and ask what the soup of the day is.

How is is that concurrent periods of time can seem so recent and so long ago at the same time, just because the subject matter changes?

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