Mar212017

Know when to fold ’em

Several years ago, I was playing craps in Las Vegas when the shooter went on a long, long run. After about 40 minutes without rolling a seven, I had about $750 I took off the table in front of me, and I had about $500 still sitting on the table from the numerous times I pressed my bets or let it all ride.

In the middle of the pandemonium at the table, I had a funny feeling. Despite the euphoria around me, I felt it was time to leave. Before I could think more about it, I found the words coming out of my mouth, “Please, take down all my bets.” Some of the people at the table ridiculed me, and everyone else thought I was insane.

It took two rolls for the pit boss to color me up; both were winners, and the gamblers at the table now openly laughed at me. I grabbed my $500 worth of chips and added it to the $750 I already had. Before I could turn away, the shooter rolled a seven, and a huge groan resounded across the casino. One of the players pointed at me and said, “He did it.” I looked at the $1,250 in my hand, smiled at him, and walked away.

When people are caught up in the excitement of the moment, or when they’ve been doing something out of habit for a very long time, it isn’t easy to decipher the signs that it’s time to quit — and it’s even harder to act on those signs. So what’s the point of this story?

It’s time for me to stop writing daily about the real estate market.

A difficult decision

I am a minimalist when it comes to possessions. Over the years, I threw away more and more stuff until now I am down to the essentials that I use every day. I have one indulgence that serves no practical purpose in my life: I have four framed prints that represent my achievements in life over the last 30 years.

Two of these items are my diplomas from college, the achievement of my 20s; one is the frame of the golf magazine that featured the golf course I designed in Florida, Mystic Dunes, the achievement of my 30s; and the final one is the book cover of the Great Housing Bubble, together with this blog, the achievement of my 40s.

I recently wrote Reflections on 10 years of blogging. I started blogging two weeks before my 40th birthday, and now, two weeks after my 50th birthday, I realized I am ready to move on. I blogged every weekday for 10 years, published a book, saved many people from buying during the bubble, and directed many others to buy investment properties at the bottom of the market. Whenever I look at the framed print of the book, I feel pride at those accomplishments.

Perhaps it’s ego and I should let go of my prints — and perhaps someday I will — but for now, I will keep my reminders of my accomplishments as I move on with my life.

When I thought about why I keep writing, I realized part of it was emotional attachment. The urgency to educate people about the volatility in the housing market is gone. I enjoy the comradery of the astute observations, and I enjoy the act of writing itself, but I don’t feel I have anything more I can accomplish with this blog, so it’s time for me to leave.

Going out with a bang

I don’t know exactly how I want to end things here. By far the best ending to any blog was the way Keith said goodbye at Housing Panic (And then, on the 5th of November 2008, three years and one historic worldwide housing crash later, HousingPANIC came to an end.) He left on top at the height of his popularity. He recognized the signs, so he picked up his chips and walked away.

I don’t think I will go out like Keith. Instead, like Douglas MacArthur, I will just fade away.

Ongoing Content

I will stop writing about current events in the real estate market. However, I do have an extensive library of timeless posts that I will repost, and I will also post more frequent updates on the real estate market from the housing market reports I publish. As long as it remains viable, I will maintain frequent posts and participate with any comments.

I want to thank you for your ten years of readership.

Larry Roberts