Thursday, June 5, 2008

Be the Change

There have been a significant number of lessons learned this week. It has been a roller coaster of a completely different sort than I am used to, and it is not over by a long shot. The message through it all is perseverance, the unflinching faith that tomorrow will be better, and renewing the commitment to being the change that you want to see in your world.

On the business front, this has been a pretty dark week in Ann Arbor, and southeast Michigan. Borders Group, one of the areas largest employers, cut 20% of it's corporate work force, Spirit Airlines is closing it's Detroit hub. Pick up Truck and SUV Sales are down double-digits. Even our real estate office has seen administrative and corporate staff cutbacks. Heck, we are even trying to sub-lease some of our office space because there are no new people coming into the real estate business. Trying to sugar coat this challenging state of affairs serves no purpose. Wallowing in it is less productive. The only good that can come out of it is figuring out what we can learn from it, and how can we take what we have learned to make things better in the future.

On the real estate front, we like to think that Ann Arbor is one of the first markets on the rebound. Actually being on the rebound really requires the concerted effort of all those in the real estate transaction being part of that rebound. Unfortunately, that scenario has not played out in our most recent transaction. Long story short, an appraisal came in $35,000 below the sales price. Now this was not a home in a cookie-cutter subdivision. This was a great home which was meticulously cared for in a great neighborhood. The appraiser had many factors to consider, many metrics and comparables which could have justified the agreed on price, yet he chose the 'safe' route of the lowest comparable sales. Perhaps this is the result of being beaten down for the past 18 months of market decline, but the net result is that this action actually perpetuates the downward slide when there are indications of recovery, and is very unsettling to all parties concerned.

Anyway, this Post has been a bit of a ramble, as the situation is both complicated and distressing. I guess my underlying prayer is for people to have the courage to be part of the force that makes positive change. It is way too easy to follow the momentum of negativity.

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