What I have learned from boating

Compare real estate to boating? There are amazing similarities.

In my spare time, I love to be on the water. An afternoon with my husband in the sun on a boat is about as good as it gets for me. I learned a lot about being a Realtor from boating.

Ocean tides are like the real estate market. When the tide is in, water is deep and forgiving and you are unlikely to run aground. But when the tides are out, water is shallow and hazards are everywhere. It is easy to run into serious trouble.

Experienced boaters are always trying to help less experienced boaters navigate around the rocks. Helping each other is a way of boating life. We help each other into the dock, tie off at our favorite swimming spot, tow each other in when we have engine failures and batten down the hatches when it storms.

When the financial tides are in, as they are now, the real estate market is good, values are increasing, jobs are plentiful and people tend to be less vigilant about watching for pitfalls. These are the times when people take greater risks, sometimes ignoring the fact that sooner or later the tides will turn.

Tides have turned before. I keenly remember the great recession. The financial rocks were everywhere, just below the surface. One careless or accidental move and people could easily be on those rocks. It is the memory of those times that remind me to be prepared. We work to keep three to six months of house payments safely squirreled away in a bank account. With my Realtor hat on, I remind buyers to always be prepared for a furnace or hot water tank that could fail. I counsel them to be prepared to help a neighbor who might need it.

Chances are that neighbor needs your help too. By helping him maintain his yard, you are helping him and you. Improving his home helps your home’s value. Keeping lights on or removing accumulated newspapers from the porch while they are traveling is a great security tip. Making it look occupied keeps vandals away and further improves your property value.

By helping that neighbor steer through the rocks, you help yourself more than you can imagine. First, it makes you a part of a community. By creating and participating in a community, you help each other through the rocks while the tide of the market is low. You will create a community strength that can weather any storm — a strength that can enjoy those bright and sunny days when the tide returns.

While the tides are high right now, we boaters and experienced Realtors know that the high tides will turn. What we do now will make our communities much better when it does.

Darlene Mink-Crouse is the 2018 president of the Warren Area Board of Realtors.