If, as the old saying goes, there is crisis in opportunity, then there is some good to be found in recession, according to Janet and George Hilton.
The Hiltons own , which opened recently on Bay Road in Hamilton. It sits between and and means the space left empty is now filled.
How could anything good come out of the disastrous downturn of 2008?
“It got people talking,” said Janet Hilton, who in addition to being a Realtor is a broker and former practicing attorney.
The financial crisis, she said, challenged the public’s knowledge and assumptions about real estate, prompting them to become more aware of how national changes play out on the local level.
"People were, and still are, concerned about what they read and hear in the media - the national media especially - and they want to know what that means for real estate in and around Hamilton-Wenham,” said Janet. "The housing market is traditionally an indicator of the national economic picture."
For three years, stories have borne a sober similarity: home values will continue to plummet; young families can abandon hope of owning a home and homes are not moving.
Is that true?
"We don't believe so, no," said Janet. "The North Shore is a dynamic area, from a real estate standpoint. It is susceptible to fluctuations of the market, as is anywhere else."
The Hiltons encourage buyers and sellers to do their homework.
"Read all you can. Consult informed sources," Janet said. "All of us, not just those with an interest in real estate, have to become more proactive than ever in financial planning; We're in a new world with a new economy."
A popular destination
Since Country Crossroads opened a few weeks ago, the Hiltons said some of the recent questions have been about everything from tax credits to interest rates to foreclosures.
For example, some questions have included: "What if regulators make lending requirements too strict?" and "What if Congress eliminates the mortgage interest tax deduction?"
At first, the Hiltons tell them that homes in the area are still selling and people are still buying.
"There are all types of properties of appeal to all types of people, in all sizes and types of homes,” they said.
What’s in a name
The Hiltons operated ReMax in Rowley for 12 years and are well known in the North Shore real estate world. They are longtime residents and have a strong personal knowledge of neighborhoods and properties.
George is a former Lynn firefighter and Janet's father fought under Gen. George S. Patton.
The name Country Crossroads comes from the literal and figurative placement of the company.
“We have positioned ourselves exactly at the crossroads to the entire North Shore,” Janet said about the office location and the couple's vision.
Country Crossroads covers the North Shore and southern New Hampshire and handles the residential and commercial markets.
George, Janet and their employees try to incorporate good humor into their work to bring a refreshing take to an industry that can often be fraught with doubt and worry.
“We like to think we take the fear out of the buying and selling process,” said George.
Janet reaches out on her blog, Janet’s Open House, where she writes about everything from taxes to home aromas.
Recent posts include “Kwitcherbellyachin',” examining the (often overblown) worries some may have about fluctuations in the housing market, and “Happy Sales to You,” which instructs readers in what not to do if they want to own the home of their dreams.