5 Things I Learned From the Debt Ceiling Debate

America and the world have waited on pins & needles for our democratic process to make a decision.  I’m not sure how much I’ve slept over the past week, but […]

August 1, 2011 // Tracy Shaffer // No Comments //

America and the world have waited on pins & needles for our democratic process to make a decision.  I’m not sure how much I’ve slept over the past week, but I know Anderson Cooper is now firmly lodged in my dream center.  This morning, as I drove to my appointment, I wondered what I might have learned witnessing this 3-ring-circus. Here’s what I know for sure:

1. The United States Congress seems to function (or dysfunction) a lot like a Thanksgiving dinner with my family.  When the California Democrats sit down with the Texas Republicans, they talk a lot more than turkey. Opinions fly faster than the mashed potatoes with neither side of the table able to convince the other of their “rightness”.  The big difference is that we don’t go all ‘meet the press’ and broadcast what a tool we thing the other is for their viewpoint and we end up with enough love, laughter and respect to manage to gather again the next year.

2. Congress seems to believe that the American populace runs its household finances differently than they run the government. If this were true, the entitlement programs would be a moot point.

3.  If I handled my real estate business the way they handled their “negotiations” I’d be in the unemployment line… except that there is no unemployment for the self-employed.  Working as a Realtor, it is my job to represent my clients, advocate in their best interest, and I have a fiduciary responsibility to do so.  If their needs are not firmly in front of my own, there is no possibility of a referral or future business now, is there? My one goal when negotiating a contract is to work toward a win-win situation that my clients feel good about. Yes, compromise is often needed and the spirit of compromise is critical, but getting the deal done at the risk of making my clients feel compromised is never an option.

4. Interest rates will rise, and sooner than you’d like. We’ve been living with these historically low interest rates for so long now, I believe we’ve begun to take them for granted. When they rise, which they are bound to do, buyers and sellers will regret not having made their move while the real estate market is working in their favor.  I know my sellers wouldn’t exactly call this a “favorable market” but when rates go up so do mortgage payments, leaving buyers a smaller pool of homes to choose from.  This week I had a lengthy conversation with Kris Andrea, my trusted lender.  Kris is a very knowledgeable man where money, mortgage and real estate investing are concerned so our discussion veered away from the hand-wringing and focused on strategy.  Since the real estate market (like politics) always works for somebody (buyers/sellers/investors), we agreed that the time to buy, sell and invest is now, as no one can accurately predict the full recovery of the housing market.

And lastly…

5. There may be some big money to be made by opening an S&M fetish kiosk on the steps of the Capitol. From what I can tell, they’ve all decided that extending the whippings through the fall is a great idea.