I Have Issues
I'm in a foul mood. Last week I went to our city's 'State of Real Estate' conference. It was depressing. Lots of stats. Perfectly dressed people with perfectly coiffed hair gave us 94 minutes of bull roar in neatly packaged speeches. Just once I wanted someone to walk to the edge of the stage and talk to me. No notes. No cards. Just speak from the gut about the mess that was 2008 in Real Estate. Unfortunately there were no takers.
Seems like our industry takes one step forward and two steps back. At the very least there is a widening gap between those real estate professionals who understand where the future is going and those who have no clue. It's not that hard but there are plenty of people 'in the biz' that are headed for a rude awakening and a career change VERY soon at the rate we're going. Consumers...you need to ask more questions than ever before. Do you really need representation? Yes, but be careful where you tread or you may just end up in that gap between those that get it and the clueless who hang a license on the wall and want to collect a check from your sale. Yet there is hope. Last week the best and the brightest in the real estate profession also gathered in New York for the semi annual Inman Connect Real Estate Conference. Some stunningly great real estate minds. Some truly great solutions to the overall market's woes. So where are they in many local markets? Few and very far between. That's why, today, I'm irritated by how, on the local level, we practice real estate.
1) Where's The Transparency? We don't get it in the Real Estate Industry. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nuttin' but the truth. Stop spinning the data. Stop giving sellers false hope. Stop encouraging buyers to offer 50% when the prices are already down 30%. Whether you like it or not your cred, your very survival depends on it as a real estate professional.
2) What happened to the Media? What the heck does the media want? You give them the straight scoop and still they twist it. Right now there are clearly two sides to the market. Great buying time. Tough selling time. Challenges mean opportunities...really REALLY great opportunities. Media reporting of anything has become totally about the agenda of the author.
3) Why the confusion about Marketing (industry)? I had reps from one of the major 'homes' mags tell me they would be around for 10 years (hard copy). I told them they should just focus on the next 10 minutes (if they were lucky). Print is dead. Broadcasting has terrible R.O.I. Online is the key to the immediate future.
4) Why the confusion about Marketing (sellers)? Quick - Mr. and Mrs. Seller. Can you name 10 web sites your home is advertised on? Can your agent? Think about it.
5) Social Networking Technology. Most Realtors don't even know what Social Networks are. Many Seller's kids are more proficient at this than those who are the professionals. If you don't know what they are, how can you leverage them to market real estate?
6) Proprietary Information is Dead. Real Estate, like many other businesses is no longer about being the 'gatekeepers.' It's not about the info...it's about knowing what to do with it. Clients no longer pay Realtors for their time but their expertise. If you don't have it, get it or practice saying 'welcome to Wal Mart, can I help you?'
There's plenty more....and I'll probably add to this list. For now, as my good friend Steve Simpson from WIBC says....'It makes my hair hurt thinking about it.' There's growth and opportunity ahead...as well as tremendous challenge. Step lightly and do your homework consumers. Much of the risk in the market is up to you to find.