Janice Bolton is optimistic about Natchitoches. She is also optimistic about the town’s survival through a recession. Bolton is one of the up-and-coming real estate heavy weights in an industry where light weights throughout the country have prospered on major real estate gains. Now that there’s a downturn, it takes someone with savvy, positive thinking and customer service orientation to do well. Bolton continues to succeed in her business, which is a statement about her abilities as well as the insulation of Natchitoches from the difficult economic conditions experienced by the rest of the country.
Take a walk down Front Street on any day and stop by the Bolton Real Estate Office. You are likely to see a customer, or two or three, making a deal, reviewing contracts or perusing listings. Bolton has new clients as well as referrals from all over the United States. Many of these clients are upbeat themselves about the Natchitoches economy and Bolton’s ability to do good business even during problem times.
Bolton says that since real estate in Natchitoches never was over-extended as markets have been in other parts of the United States there has been little, if any, price adjustments as a result of any economic downturn. Her clients still get loans, although these loans are relatively conservative and stable since Bolton doesn’t deal with substandard loan offices. She refers clients to local Natchitoches lenders that she knows and trusts, which is a boon for both the lenders and clients.
Natchitoches is a major retirement haven with folks coming from as far away as Hawaii to be part of “it’s a wonderful life” in this small Louisiana interior town. In other places folks with large amounts of cash bought many properties in ordinary neighborhoods as investments and with the hope of a quick-cash turnaround. This was seldom the case with real estate in Natchitoches where folks, like the retirees, select a house to settle down and live out the rest of their lives. In the investment arena, where folks want to make a little extra money by buying, upgrading and reselling, the prices have never been inflated to the extent that properties could not be resold at a reasonable price. This conservative way of doing business in real estate has been the Natchitoches triumph as prices have plummeted from Hawaii, the West Coast of the United States like California to the East Coast States like Maine because these areas had prices that grew exponentially in relatively short periods of time and that have dropped precipitously just as fast. The Natchitoches real estate stability means that the underpinnings of the local economy are stronger than they are nationally, and that’s a good thing for Natchitoches.
As Bolton celebrates her ongoing real estate achievements, Natchitoches folk can revel in the fact that although there may be economic sacrifices ahead, the foundation of the community and the strength of its businesses will likely prevent the town from suffering the severe consequences that speculation has brought to other communities.