I’d rather be lucky.

I have been disturbed for the past few months after receiving a phone call from a very good friend’s wife that she had put her husband into hospice and my distress was only amplified after visiting my friend the next day and seeing him in a terminal condition.  As there was nothing I could do to prevent the outcome, I began to write this blog to vent my anger and frustration.  In the middle of this task I received a phone call that he had passed away.

I first met Joel and his family shortly after moving to Florida thirty-two years ago and our families have been close ever since, in part because we are very similar.  We are the same age, born one month apart, we were both raised in Chicago and married at about the same time, had two sons of close to the same ages and shared similar lifestyles.  Our children grew up together and we socialized frequently over the past few decades.  When their children and ours were grown we became empty nesters together, rejoicing in each other’s children’s weddings and we became regular dinner companions and enjoyed traveling together on several vacations.  

Joel had been in poor health for several years, suffering from a wide variety of ailments, maladies and illnesses.  He probably spent more time in than out of hospitals in the past five years and we often joked that he was the sickest human being we knew that was still alive.  But in the past he always managed to pull through, albeit with an increasing number of surgical scars and missing pieces.

Prior to the past few years Joel had enjoyed what I believe would be considered by most people to be a good life.  He was a good person, honest, caring and giving with a unique sense of humor.  He had a loving and dedicated family which now included two grandchildren, had assembled a very large group of good friends, achieved substantial success in several businesses and reached a modicum of financial comfort but serious illness seemed to plague not only him but also his entire family.

Thinking about this made me remember and appreciate two basic truths in life:

1.     It is essential that we always live in the moment, cherishing each and every second of our lives and making certain that we remember what is really important and act so that there are no regrets;  I wrote about that subject in a prior blog – http://www.residentialmarketingblog.com/2011/10/what%E2%80%99s-really-important/

2.     There is no substitute for good luck. 

According to Wikipedia, luck is good fortune which occurs beyond one’s control, without regard to one’s will, intention, or desired result. Most people refer to luck in the prescriptive sense, the supernatural and deterministic concept that there are forces (e.g. gods or spirits) which prescribe that certain events occur very much the way the laws of physics will prescribe that certain events occur.

While I am not necessarily a determinist, it is obvious to me that some people are luckier than others and there does not appear to be any obvious or visible reason for the selection by the Fates of who is lucky and who is not.  Certainly honesty is not a determinant, nor necessarily is intelligence or loyalty although they are all desirable traits and generate their own benefits.  Neither do lucky charms nor amulets appear to be successful in generating luck.  What often does seem to influence luck, however, is hard work and preparation. And that is especially true in the homebuilding industry.

As the markets around the country show visible signs of recovery, I am often surprised when a homebuilder or developer refers to a successful competitor as “lucky”. One such instance occurred last week when a new client was touring me through his market and, as we stopped at one competitive development, he said how lucky “XYZ” builder was to have acquired that property at such a bargain price and at the exact time when the market began to heat up.

Not wanting to lose a new client on the first day, but also not being able to speak anything but the truth, I replied that instead of or perhaps in addition to being lucky, this homebuilder had done his homework, researched the market and found that demand was increasing.  Having identified this demand potential, the builder probably then researched available property and found that this site, previously a distressed development, was now available for sale by the bank at attractive price and terms. 

That process, which is known as strategic planning, is essential to success in the homebuilding business – first you need to identify demand and then take the necessary steps to satisfy that demand.  As demand cannot be created, we must all work to manage the naturally occurring demand, which we can quantify, and then channel it into sales of our homes.  I then reminded the client that this was the reason that I was with him looking at the competition and what I would be continuing to do during my ongoing visit to his market – assisting him in creating the appropriate strategy for his company to grow and prosper.

As the housing markets return to strength, let’s all become strategic thinkers and prepare for success and then we will not be surprised when we are blessed with luck. But that’s just my opinion!

Please visit our company’s website at www.levitanassociates.net. to learn more about our background, qualifications and services to the homebuilding industry and how we can assist homebuilders, developers, lenders and Realtors© achieve success.

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And if you are planning to attend IBS (the International Builders Show) in Las Vegas, please consider adding an event on Tuesday night, January 22nd and attend The Nationals – the National Sales and Marketing awards that will recognize the best and brightest in the housing industry during this year.

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