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Real estate consumers tell it like it is

Panel of buyers, sellers, renters share 'war stories'

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NEW YORK -- While there are plenty of real estate industry discussions and reports focused on consumer trends, demographics and behavior, a roomful of real estate agents, brokers, executives and technologists got to hear firsthand about consumers' hopes, dreams and fears during a session at the Real Estate Connect conference last week. Dora M. Abreau, a software engineer, had tried to buy a property via auction, but that didn't work out. "I don't have the time to do all the research to know what the market is doing," she said, although "it's pretty obvious now is the time to buy -- the market is low." Economic uncertainty is a very tangible factor in their real estate decisions, said Abreau and other panelists. "People are losing their jobs, and that can happen to anybody. It's very real. You want to get into a situation where you know you can handle -- sustain -- a mortgage if you get downsized or not. That's something factored into where I would l...