As a resident of Massachusetts, I admit we do things a little different up here. Yes, we’re the colony that launched the first tea parties. We recently revived them to remind government that we haven’t forgotten our Founding principles . But it looks like the Massachusetts time-machine is going way, way back – at least in the housing industry: The latest REALTOR education class makes one wonder whether Salem Witches will be making a comeback?
Look, I get it: Times are tough in the housing industry. The market fell more than 17% in December and an era of free Federal money is coming to a close. Even with a vote to curtail inflationary spending by big government, Massachusetts still leads the nation in housing inflation. Case-Shiller’s latest report puts Boston housing at 153 on the scale – meaning homes are up 53% from the 2000 baseline. Nobody can possibly believe that’s a realistic level of appreciation, even if liberally applied.
But just how far will the real estate industry go to turn things around? Will they start by keeping overpriced homes on the market? Will they try finding buyers with more than 3.5% down? Might they even stop shilling for the government’s tax credit program, which merely transfers dollars from one part of Massachusetts’ economy and to another? All of these seem like good places to start – but to try any of them, agents would have to agree that markets are ruled by the laws of supply and demand.
Not the stars and planets.
Enter the witches. Forget economics! Massachusetts real estate agents are getting serious about turning around the market. They are calling upon powerful forces – on broomsticks no less – to descend from the heavens and restore balance to the housing market. Relax everyone: The housing problem is about to be solved.
Back by popular demand: The “all new” Feng Shui class at the local Association of REALTORS. (I am purposely omitting the hyperlink to the actual class, for fear of creating a negative psychic link between the class and my blog.)
Now, I admit I’m not a very superstitious person. I think it’s bad luck to be superstitious. Plus, I went to a school where we read books – you know, those things that teach you ideas like the principles of economics, marketing concepts, reasoning and trifling other things to help mere mortals cope with the modern world.
Apparently, however, I missed all the really good classes. I’m going to call my old college advisor and find out why he didn’t sign me up for a potions class. And defense against the dark arts – I would have enjoyed a class with Professor Snape. Herbology with Professor Sprout might have come in handy with all the headaches these days. And who wouldn’t have enjoyed a few semesters of transfigurations with Professor McGonagle, turning buyers into closings?
Funny thing, though: my invitation to the newest Feng Shui skill-builder came to me by email. I would have thought I’d have received a scroll by owl. Or at least had a premonition that the class was coming up. I must have missed the divinations class, too.
No matter! I can make up for it all now as a Professional Real Estate Witch or Wizard! Years of wasted time learning about things like supply-and-demand be damned: All I had to do was burn some incense and cleanse the bad spirits from the marketplace to increase my referrals. My personal success would have been assured by now, if I’d only used the right colors on my business card, with a few carefully inscribed success symbols. Just how many points are there on the pentacle? No wonder I failed geometry – I should have been taking neuromancy!
I assume if I take the class that I’m going to become powerful enough to help others, too. I should be able to call up the forces of the four winds, the earth and the sun – and restore the entire housing market with a wave of the wand. Maybe my compass can tell me how to realign and balance the entire economy!
Of course, signing up for the class is not as easy as I thought. No, I can’t register online. Nor could I register by email. I actually have to call the Association to reserve a seat. You know, make a call on a device of science, which operates by the laws of physics and makes possible affordable communications according to the laws of economics. Seems a bit ironic, but I’ve tried to conjur up a reservation through telepathy for almost an hour and all I got was a headache.
Maybe there’s a Feng Shui incantation that eliminates headaches along with bad housing markets?