What a week! After a weekend in Cumberland on Vancouver Island doing our last adventure race of the year, I had to jump on a plane and fly to Calgary for part of the week. When I finally got my weary body home, the last thing I felt like doing was getting up Saturday morning to go to a real estate conference… but I did.
The conference was the 2009 Real Estate Market Outlook put on by Ozzie Jurock. Now here’s the full confession… I have never been an Ozzie Jurock fan. I have recommended his book, Forget about Location, Location, Location but more because it’s from a Canadian perspective and made a few good points than because it was my favourite real estate book. I notice his column’s in the paper and have heard him on t.v. and the radio. But I didn’t really find him worthy of following. I can’t tell you exactly why, but I just felt that way. Maybe it’s my past experience with real estate gurus or just something he said once that I didn’t like. I don’t know. The point is, I’ve mostly ignored him. But, an e-mail I received about his outlook conference caught my eye and I signed Dave and I up.
So… Saturday morning we pulled out our umbrellas and braved the rain to trek to the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Vancouver to listen to what Ozzie and his experts have to say about the 2009 market. It kicked off at 9am, and I was definitely bored at first. Mike Wintemute of Re/Max Whistler had some interesting numbers on Pemberton, Squamish and Whistler, John Tansowny of The Corporate Coach was a great speaker, and Ralph Case of AMG Investments told a compelling story to make me want to invest in Pheonix, Arizona. But, for me, the great part of the event was when Ozzie took the stage.
He told a few jokes and then flashed headlines on the screen announcing great doom and gloom (markets crashing, real estate crashing), and then to our shock he would flash the date these actual headlines appeared in the paper… 1941. He’d repeat, and then it would be 1981, or 1991 or some other date in history. His point was that every few years something in the world happens that sends fear rippling around to everyone. And every few years, someone declares that “this time it’s worse than any other time”, and every time we pick up and carry on. We get through it. Ozzie said it doesn’t matter what the paper says:
You aren’t buying or selling a market, you are buying and selling a deal.
I could have run up to the podium and kissed him! He went on to say that he’s never had anybody tell him that they made a lousy deal but the market was good so they made a killing. He has heard a lot of people say they made a great deal in a lousy market. The market doesn’t matter – it’s all about the deal.
I’ve said this before too… I lost money on a condo in Toronto in the hottest condo market phase in history… and it was a good little unit to live in. It’s just as possible to lose money in an up market as it is to make money in a down one.
So, I signed up for Ozzie’s weekly newsletters. And in that package I also receive tickets to another one of his conferences…I think I am becoming an Ozzie Jurock fan. I’m definitely a big fan of his message:
Forget the Market – Focus on the Deal.