Pity the poor company that had a bold new marketing campaign scheduled to launch on Dec 7, 1941, November 22, 1963, or September 11, 2001. When the public becomes obsessed with an unfolding catastrophe, all the ads in the world won't draw its attention from the TV screen.

I have a feeling that Coldwell Banker may be caught in such a trap. Tough times in the housing market call for new strategies, and the realty firm today launches what it claims to be the first nation-wide sales event for property it represents. According to the company, 25,000 of its clients will be cutting the asking price of their homes up to 10% for this ten-day promotion.

The company is pinning its hope to move a great deal of property on the government's decision to take the riskiest existing mortgages off of the books of banks, theoretically freeing the banks to resume liberal mortgage lending. The new stimulus package also contains a $7,500 Easter egg for first-time home buyers.

One might claim that this is a great time to buy a home, with housing prices dropping dramatically in many parts of the country. One might also claim, for the same reason, that this is the worst time to buy. For Coldwell Banker's sake, I hope the former turns out the be the case.

But I wouldn't bet on it.


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