The local real estate market, by any measure, has been on a strong bull run for well over a decade now. Not surprisingly, some people might begin to worry about the security of their real estate investments, and those of us on the front lines of selling those investments ( for the purposes of this article – all forms of real estate) ought to be confident that the product we are helping our clients acquire are indeed good investments. Nobody of course, has a crystal ball. Yet occasionally a little perspective is useful. Our market, is really a market for land. The forces that affect the value of raw land in city are more immune to local or regional politics than we might like to think. And those forces are conspiring to put upward pressure on land values. To over simplify our current situation: more people + less developable land + increased environmental restrictions and bureaucracy can only equal one thing – upward pressure on land values. Whether this is a good thing or not, is, like beauty, and entirely in the eye of the beholder. However, lest we think that we are charting new territory, a little reflection can come in handy. A former colleague of mine, who years ago moved on to a different arm of real estate, shared with me poem that helped him in times he feared the market had gone crazy. A framed copy hangs in his office as a subtle reminder that the emotions that occasionally bring him fear, are not unique to him or our times.
Prayer of the Procrastinator
I hesitate to make a list
of all the countless deals I’ve missed;
Bonanzas that were in my grip
I watched through my finger slip
The windfalls which I should have
Were lost because I over thought;
I thought of this, I thought of that
I could have sworn I smelled a rat,
and while I thought things over twice
another grabbed them at the price;
It seems I always hesitate
then make up my mind much too late.
A very cautious man am I
and that is why I never buy .
How Nassau and how Suffolk grew;
North Jersey! Statton Island too!
When others called those sprawling farms
and welcomed deals with open arms;
A corner here, ten acres there,
compounding values year by year,
I chose to think and as I thought
they bought the deals I should have
The golden chances I had then
are lost and will not come again
Today I cannot be enticed
for everything’s so overpriced
The deals of yesteryear are dead
the market’s soft and so’s my head.
Last night I had a fearful dream
I know I wakened with a scream
Some Indians approached my bed
for trinkets on the barrelhead
( in dollars bills worth twenty-four
and nothing less and nothing more )
They’d sell Manhattan Isle to me,
the most I’d go was twenty-three
The redman scowled: Not on a Bet!
and sold to Peter Minuit.
At times a teardrop drowns my eye
for deals I had , but did not buy;
And now life’s saddest words I pen,
IF ONLY I’D INVESTED THEN
Farm and Land Realtor Magazine
( October ,1917).