Flight 168 touched down at 2 a.m., many hours past the time printed on my boarding pass. There’s no do-over. No "fly the next time on us" hookup. The airlines dish out bad times and we accept it.

I sat in the middle seat, wedged like a cold cut between two oversized slices of human bread. Each time I leaned forward I had to dislodge myself between two doughy arms on either side that encroached upon my space over the armrests.

The plane sat at the gate for hours while my empty stomach held a press conference. Captain Sprague periodically served up apologies like tapas. In a variety of small and unfulfilling portions he kept assuring us that we’d be cleared for takeoff "momentarily." That seemed to pacify everyone.

Sucking on real estate’s Binky

Real estate is no different than the airlines or the government or any entity that doesn’t recognize the benefit of being square with its customer. It does the airline no good to tell us we’ll be grounded for three hours while they fix the tire. And real estate has found it’s far more advantageous to lull us into certain beliefs by shoving as many real estate "Binkys" into our mouths as possible.

I cite the "now is the right time to buy" Binky fueled by the NAR — one of this country’s biggest Binky warehouses. They distribute Binkys of all kinds to sales agents to pacify us into buying homes, believing all Realtors are saints and spending money we (and, turns out, our banks) don’t have.

Four years ago we sucked on 0 percent ARMs because "money was cheap" and "the home can only appreciate." The Binky lulled us to sweet dreams of homeownership.

When isn’t it the right time to buy, I wonder?

Binkys ‘R’ Us

I learned about WaMu Friday morning as I arrived early at a conference. I overheard a presentation from someone advising agents to tell consumers all will right itself by late 2009.

I wondered how those agents would back that statement up. Maybe they won’t need to. Maybe we’ll all be too eager to accept the succor.

I looked through the conference brochure and searched for panels on sensitivity training. Or panels that discuss the difference between a huckster and a real estate professional. Or panels on fundamentals of economics.

I looked for panels that taught the people who handle the most delicate of transactions to drop the economic futurist bit and just do sales. And treat people with dignity.

Not here. Or anywhere. Agents attend these Binkys ‘R’ Us conferences to get their Binky continuing education points. Jewelry. And cheap advice from other Binky salespeople.

I need a new Binky

I’m frustrated by the war. Gas prices. A government that shoves rhetorical Binkys into our mouths to distract us from the dirty economic diaper in which we sit.

I’m frustrated trying to find ways to explain it all to my children, especially the older ones who are caught in a midlife crisis. They aren’t yet even 21.

I’m frustrated that I can’t assuage their confusion or my wife’s, who has this sinking feeling that we are all teetering on the edge of collapse like a cliff-side home in Laguna Beach during an El Nino.

I’m frustrated that our industry doesn’t provide something better than a bunch of Binky platitudes, Binky ad campaigns and Binky conferences that serve to simply pacify all of us rather than dish out cold, hard reality.

Maybe instead of telling us now is the right time to buy, how about explaining why it is the right time to buy? How about explaining every nuance of the bailout and what it means for me, your customer? How about placing that information on a spreadsheet, or on your site, or have the National Association of Realtors back it up with fact rather than some air-spun ad campaign.

People need more from real estate than just a big Binky to suck on. They need the truth. Those who toss the old Binky in favor of a new truth Binky will be glad they did. The public cannot only handle it, they’ll reward you for giving it to them.

Marc Davison is a founding partner of 1000Watt Consulting and national speaker. He can be reached at marc@1000wattconsulting.com.


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