Let's spin ahead a bit. "Living in the moment" was so 1970s. I don't know about you, but for me, the present just may be vastly overrated. What's so great about right now, anyway? April is the cruelest month, after all.

We've got an inverted yield curve and a protracted–some would say, distended–period of economic growth. Both of these conditions have historically led to an economic "landing." Those who tend to look at things optimistically will add the word "soft," and those who don't will affix other adjectives. And in such an economy, economists thrive–apparently an affirmation that accuracy and credibility are not as tied together as one would like to think.

John McManus What's also going on now is the mess that is the sub-prime market, and what that mess did and does to production home builders. Today's reeling sub-prime market is a result of an intertwining of three climbing ivy vines. One is as simple as people's credit histories playing out true to form–i.e., a 580 FICO score means that said borrower has a chronic predisposition to make credit card payments 90 days late. So what's one to expect, a sudden need to be punctual just because the stakes are the borrower's shot at the American dream?

The second is deflationary pressure on housing prices. The once overflowing ATM that was the house is finally signaling it is out of service, which, in turn, means no more pain-free re-fis to further avoid paying the piper.

Last, but not least, the velocity of program-trading financial markets will forevermore make bad go to worst in a heartbeat. The "new normal" will almost always have to wait for a scary overcorrection before sanity prevails in the markets.

In spite of the doubling and redoubling in rates of delinquencies, defaults, and foreclosures, speculating on the ultimate extent of damage caused by loans granted over the past 24 months is just that, speculation. Whether that will wreak havoc on the housing market, stall closings set to occur in the critical months ahead, add to the glut of for-sale inventory, or subtract from the pool of pent-up demand for new homes by disqualifying would-be buyers with tougher borrowing standards, is really unknown.

When money's cheap and big risks have virtually no penalties, Wall Street investors view the unknown favorably. But now that risk has re-sprouted fangs, investors will overcorrect for any downside because they lack fundamental knowledge of how financial markets work.

Fortunately or not, the same risk aversion that's started squeezing home mortgages has not yet begun to tighten loans to businesses. That's not to say that private home builders reliant on project construction loans haven't been upstanding managers of their debt during the past few years. But who knows how many companies–including some fast-growing private builders in what were the hottest markets–are stretched, having qualified for access to capital at terms that made perfect sense if things kept going fast and furious.

So, as is typical when the markets take a complicated path to equilibrium, government makes noise. Candidates angling for platform planks have already started weighing in on issues that six months ago were off their radars but shouldn't have been. Talk of bailouts, punitive measures for predatory lending practices, white knights, evil villains, etc., will become an enormous distraction.

So think ahead. Cut your costs. Keep your talent. Sustain your relationships.

Execute. Switch things up, as the "House Blend" story starting on page 36 suggests. Lisa Marquis Jackson's analysis highlights the interdependence and ultimate merging of disciplines of sales and financial advisory service in delivering a customer experience customers want to experience.

Meanwhile, open neighborhoods and sell homes, and if you have to, sell the same homes again and again. Real buyers in the market, with real, documented capacity to pay for their homes ? imagine that. They may be who you want your customers to be.