What an honor it is to serve the Society of Exchange Counselors as president for 2008. Founded almost fifty years ago, the organization is still thriving, growing, and creatively marketing real estate in all fifty states, Canada, and other places in the world. Our founders would be pleased that the vision they had did not die but flourished into the leading real estate marketing organization in the country. When I look back on all the individuals who have served and led this organization, I am humbled to be asked to serve.

As we begin our year together, it seems like the word to describe the times we are in right now is “uncertainty.” We are in a political season of uncertainty about whom Democrats will nominate. Furthermore, this uncertainty may continue until the convention. Even the process itself is plagued with uncertainty–just ask Democrats in Florida and Michigan or ask a super delegate about the process.

We are uncertain about our economy: Are we in a recession or not? The stock market seems to be headed in a different direction every time the bell rings, and we are uncertain what the Feds will do to try to put some certainty into the economy. Likewise, we are uncertain about the effects of the subprime mortgage situation. How do we correct it? We are uncertain about global warming and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, how do we deal with spiraling health care costs and make health care available to all Americans? The list of uncertainties has never been greater in recent history.

However, is uncertainty a bad thing? I believe certainty has a tendency to breed complacency and when we become complacent, small problems go unnoticed or not corrected. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes uncertainty and mounting problems to motivate us to be our best in correcting our course and setting our sails to lead us in a direction that is even truer than it was before.

As Americans, we all need to be an active part of the solutions to our various uncertainties and problems. As real estate practitioners, we need to use our tools of creative real estate and problem solving to keep our sector of the economy healthy and strong so that once again, the real estate market will lead the way to a healthy overall economy for our great country. One thing is for certain: If we pay attention, remain diligent in our efforts, and become a part of the solution, we will no longer use the word “uncertain” to describe our state of affairs–or at least not until we once again become complacent. May our best be yet to come!

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