Archives January, 2009

Real Estate Conference Draws Industry Heavyweights to NYC

Sessions Probe New Innovations In Technology,

Social Networking, Dealing With Foreclosures;

And Share Expectations For The Future

NEW YORK, New York—(January 21, 2009)—Amid one of the most challenging real estate markets in recent memory, more than 1,000 of the top minds in global real estate gathered in midtown Manhattan in early January to participate in the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference, held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square Hotel, on Broadway.

Representing Michael Saunders & Company at the conference were its founder and chairman Michael Saunders, executive vice-president, Drayton Saunders and the company’s vice-president of affiliated services, Ann Stickel.

Stickel was one of the four panel members headlining the event’s most eagerly-anticipated breakout session, “Clearing the Decks: Dealing with Foreclosures in Your Market.” Given the historic levels of nationwide foreclosures troubling the real estate market—and economy in general—the packed house hung on every word as Stickel and three other national experts in foreclosed properties discussed how to help buyers and sellers work through short sales, REOs and bank-owned properties.

The other breakout session that attracted a standing-room-only audience was a roundtable of global market experts discussing the state of the worldwide real estate market. In general, interest in worldwide market conditions, social networking and how to shape your customer service model and marketing strategies to better come to grips with real estate’s new world order dominated the conference’s three-day agenda, presented by Inman News.

Keynote speakers included Craig Newmark, founder of, who revealed how the Internet culture is changing America; Robert Shiller, co-creator of the Case-Shiller Home Indices and Professor of Economics at Yale University, who discussed short and long term solutions for dealing with problems in today’s housing market. Leading market watchers, including Spencer Rascoff, COO of; Carter Murdoch, senior vice-president of marketing and compliance for Bank of America; and Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® shared their observations about the state of the market and cited their predictions for 2009.

Founded in 1996, Inman News is the leading source of independent news, information, advice, research, opinion and commentary for real estate industry professionals and consumers. Its founder, Bradley J. Inman, is an Internet entrepreneur who founded several online and offline companies including Inman News,, and Inman’s knowledge of the real estate industry dates back to his days as a syndicated, real estate columnist with the San Francisco Examiner. Mr. Inman has been a visiting fellow at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism and a lecturer at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.


Photo Cut Line: Drayton Saunders, left and Michael Saunders, center, join Inman News president, journalist and technology entrepreneur Bradley Inman at Inman Connect Real Estate Conference in Midtown Manhattan.

About Michael Saunders & Company:

Now in its fourth decade of service to Southwest Florida, Michael Saunders & Company has grown from a single small office into a network of 16 full-service offices—with more than 500 professionally trained associates and 200 staff members. Powerful world-wide affiliations—including Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio, Christie’s Great Estates, the European Real Estate Network (EREN) and Mayfair International Realty extend the company’s message to qualified buyers globally, ensuring the broadest possible exposure for our properties.

Michael Saunders & Company is ranked as the 75th largest brokerage in the nation in the 2008 Power Broker Report compiled by RIS Media, the and is included among the 35 most influential Realtors in luxury real estate.

Customers of Michael Saunders & Company are assured of a comprehensive array of real estate services that will address every need and exceed all expectations. These services include commercial sales and leasing through the company’s Commercial Division, along with mortgage loan origination and full title and closing services. MSC Mortgage provides a full array of mortgage products through its partner, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; while the expert team at MSC Title includes title examiners, processors, and closers dedicated to building on the reputation of Michael Saunders & Company for unequalled service and solutions. Backed by the underwriting strength of First American Title and Chicago title, MSC Title provides peace of mind by assuring that a buyer’s new property is free of liens and title defects. The award-winning MSC Relocation Division provides corporations with a wide range of relocation services to smooth the transition and assure immediate employee productivity in the new environment.

At Michael Saunders & Company, ours is a company-wide commitment to enrich the lives and culture of the communities we serve. Each year, the company makes significant contributions to more than 75 charitable, educational and cultural institutions throughout the region. These include Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota, Junior Achievement, Child Protection Center, The Dyslexia Foundation, Florida Studio Theater, Mote Marine Laboratory, Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, Manatee County Schools Foundation, Manatee Community College, University of South Florida Foundation, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Community Foundation of Sarasota.

For more information about Michael Saunders & Company, please call 1-888-552-5228 or visit us on the Web at

Life, Confidence; and the Real Estate Market

Nick Churton, the managing partner of Mayfair International Realty—our exclusive brokerage partner throughout the U.K.—contributed an interesting op-ed piece to the London media last week.

Founded in 1995, Mayfair International Realty now represents 350 geographically dispersed real estate offices throughout England, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Its main office is located in the exclusive Mayfair section of London, a few short steps from Grosvenor Square and the United States Embassy.

Here’s what Nick had to say:


Nick Churton

The start of this fresh year is a good time to reflect on the turbulent months behind us in the real estate market, and to look ahead. It is surprising how similar the US real estate market is to that of many European countries right now. But perhaps this year we ought to think twice about trying to second-guess the future.

It is fair to say that we have endured a year of rollercoaster news and extraordinary financial events, with the banking system turning cartwheels and the real estate market suffering one of the harshest periods of trading for over half a century. Many of us in the real estate industry will be relieved that 2008 is over.

The media in the US and Europe seems to be full of ‘expert’ opinions about falling real estate values, when the market will turn and how long any period of recovery will take. From newspaper and broadcast journalists to eminent economists, they all have something to say. The trouble is few seem to agree. This is hardly surprising as none of them is a clairvoyant and none has ever encountered this sort of crisis before. So, no matter how expert anyone thinks they are, nobody really knows. With so many people conjecturing different things (and by the law of averages one of them will eventually be right) forecasting appears to be a rather fruitless exercise.

But we local real estate experts do know a thing or two. We know what is going on in our particular market place. We know we are still agreeing sales and, whilst it is fair to say that prices need to be realistic, buyers are returning to the fray. There has certainly been an upsurge in activity following dramatic interest rate cuts on both sides of the Atlantic, and we think this will increase with further rate cuts as banks slowly relax their stranglehold on mortgage money. Also, no matter how eroded confidence is across the real estate and financial worlds, people do still leave the family nest, co-habit, get married, give birth, separate, divorce, get new jobs, lose their jobs, win the lottery, hit the jackpot and, sadly, die. Despite low property transaction volumes there is still movement. There always is.

So now is the time to look forward, perhaps with just a little more optimism than in recent months. Low interest rates will attract buyers, turmoil in financial markets may just turn investors back to the safety of real estate, money will need to be lent to ensure the banking system begins to move again and, most importantly, life and the real estate market will go on.

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