Preparing for a real estate downturn

Part 1: Will you be ready if the bubble bursts?

(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. See Part 2: Survival tips for a down real estate market.)

The debate about the real estate bubble wages on – will it burst? Will it be more like a soufflé that collapses when the air is let out? Will the market simply level off and hold steady?