Gregg Fous Perspectives in Real Estate


The Longer the Drop the Higher the Bounce?

The Longer the drop, the Higher the bounce? 

Two weeks ago I received and email from one of my readers telling me that he was glad I was a salesman and not an economist. My writings and indeed my attitude were much too optimistic for me to be an economist. I wrote him and thanked him for his email and comment. I agreed with him, I would rather be thought of as an optimist than anything else.  

I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal last week and read something to the effect that all of the United States recessions have been followed by much happier times, and the deeper the valley the higher the following hill.  I cut out the article, carried it  around with me for a while so I could refer to it when I write on Sunday morning.  But I lost it. I probably scribbled a phone number on it in the car, carried it to the office, and lost it before I called the number back. 

No matter. I really don't need the validation of the Wall Street Journal to confirm what I am seeing with my own eyes. But I suspect there may be a bit of a perspective issue with the higher the bounce from the longer the drop theory. 

My father used to tell me the story about Herbert, the philosopher. He came upon Herbert one day in his garden. Herbert was beating his head against the stone wall beneath the oak tree in the corner. 

"Herbert!" exclaimed my father, "Why are you beating your head against that wall?" 

Herbert stopped, looked up at my father and said, "Because it feels so good when I stop." 

Today, belts have been tightened, literally, and spending is at an all time low, we have all cut back, economized, and retrenched. The clouds of excessive consumption have cleared and our minds have adjusted more clearly so that we can perhaps more wisely choose between needs and wants. I know my priorities have been altered, and I believe permanently, by this recession.

 We all seem better able to gauge others by our own experience and I am certainly no exception.  My experiences lately tell me that spending is on the increase. In my business we are expanding. I now have 14 agents and two staff locally and twenty or so more agents nationally. I am interviewing for an outside contractor for marketing. I bought additional capital equipment.  I am spending money on my website and some money on advertising. Yes, just a trickle, but it is a start. But I am spending the money differently.

 We added affiliates and now have Market America Realty and Investment Group - with offices in Punta Gorda, Sarasota, Michigan, and New York and soon in Germany.

 But instead of adding employees I am in many cases outsourcing.  Instead of long term commitments I am more conservative in my approach, cautiously optimistic, if you will.  My PR person will be an independent contractor; so too my content manager on the web.

My affiliate program is another example of a fiscally conservative approach. I have identified technologies that make my business run smoothly, but for growth in my business I am taking an approach my brother I used "expanding" our boats.

 Bill and I used to buy a boat with partners. Every time we need to spend money on the boat it would cost each of us just one fraction of what it would cost us if we owned the boat by ourselves, with three partners in the boat, that new prop was, in essence,  2/3  off.

 The approach I am taking for Market America Realty and Investment Group is similar. It is a marketing Co-op, so to speak, I am adding offices, but not expense. I am adding technology, and the expense of that technology will be shared among affiliates.  Now each office can afford the best support, advertising, and back office systems at a fraction of the cost for a single office. (The beautiful thing about today's technology is the low cost of scaling it for large growth. If you have a real estate office and want to talk about being an affiliate, call me).

 The point here is that we are spending money again, but in a fashion that has been adjusted by our experiences in the recession. I think there will be a bounce, but it will only seem higher because of our adjusted expectations and our new found appreciation for any upside at all.

 Folks, I am amazed at the prices, not just a Riva, but all over.  We are now at that time that is just at the end of the long off season for sales and the beginning of the new selling season down here - and prices are remarkable. In some cases as low as 40% of that they once were. Riva is in an unusually location - only unusual because they uniquely own the high rise market in South Fort Myers. Views are spectacular both day and night, the amenities are high class.


The individual condos do not have the layout and finish that Parkside does (Parkside is all granite and wood trim) nor the marina, of course,  but the amenities are done well.

Comment balloon 0 commentsGregg Fous • September 27 2009 09:23AM