( The following is a reprint of the annual holiday letter I wrote for my clients, friends and real estate associates. A few of you suggested that I publish it on the blog so at the risk of going a little personal, here goes! I hope you find it helpful as we move forward into a healthy, happy and prosperous 2009…. )

Dear SFHotlist reader and San Francisco real estate devotee,

Every year, I write a holiday letter. And, as is my way, it is usually geared more towards the New Year and its hope of renewal, growth and change than any particular religious holiday.

This year, the letter is difficult to write, and I have procrastinated for weeks. After such a tumultuous & challenging 2008, what can I say that will be sincere, forthright, and dare I say even helpful?

Maybe I should begin with an honest assessment? My job is tougher. I work harder yet earn less money. The transactions are more complex. The sellers, buyers, agents, lenders, and everyone else are stressed.

In 2 escrows, the lender closed shop days before the closing. The competition is fierce. Desperate agents on the edge of leaving real estate are willing to do anything for a listing and are often scared to tell their sellers the truth, thus clogging up the market with overpriced properties.

(This is bad for all of us and will slow our market’s recovery. Check my blog for more info.)

I have lost money in my retirement and savings account. The value of my house is less than what I paid for it two ½ years ago. (Of course, as a SF Realtor I must point out that my stocks lost WAY more value than my house.)

Sound familiar?
I know I am not alone. Most of us have faced similar challenges this year. Who has been immune to the economic meltdown? It has been broad, swift and in many ways, unimaginable in its breadth & depth even to the smartest of experts.

Yet, I remain both optimistic and grateful.  It will get better. The economy will recover. The real estate market will turnaround and prices will head back up.

(No, it probably won’t be the rabid growth of the 2000s but in San Francisco, we will see consistent appreciation, and real estate will prove, yet again, to be a wise investment.)

Buyers and sellers will get used to our more balanced playing field and work together towards mutually beneficial results.

In the face of all of these challenges, I had a very good year in real estate. (Toot, toot! Yours truly is a Zephyr “Top Producer” once more. By hook or by crook, I tell ya!)

I have helped folks successfully achieve their goals and navigated them through today’s choppy waters.

To name a few, I’ve helped first time buyers who see their golden opportunity, past clients ready to benefit from a property “trade-up”,  investors who know that it is the right time to buy & hold, sellers who have owned their homes for 5+ years and are ready to move on with a very healthy profit and families who need to sell a loved one’s home.

Some of you may be wondering what to do. Is it time to “trade-up”? Is it time to invest in real estate? It is time to “down-size”? Is it time to talk to your lender about loan modification because your situation has changed?

My pledge is to consult with you to come up with the best plan of action for you.

I will negotiate fiercely on your behalf, and oversee the transactional details so your money, time and energy are used efficiently to achieve your goals. Real estate is my profession, and I am in it for the long-haul.

Most of my clients find me through your word of mouth, and I am extremely grateful.

Please know that I continue to improve, educate, and grow. I bring my “A-game” and that game gets better every year so I can always be the best possible real estate consultant for you and for all those you introduce to me.

As 2008 draws to a close, let us dream of a fantastic 2009 full of health, recovery, happiness and prosperity for all. Happy holidays and yes, happy new year!

Your real estate consultant for life,

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Do you have questions about your situation or just want to know what’s really going on? I am here to help in any and every way I can. Talk to you soon!

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