As time marches forward amidst one of the longest recessions in modern time, we are being forced to participate in one of the greatest balancing acts in real estate history.
Indeed we are engaged in our own industry Cirque du Soleil, a kind of three-ringed act that pushes us to the limits of our economic envelope.
How long can we strike the pose? What series of events will begin the process of reversing the downturn and return some degree of stabilization to the economy. Our collective muscles quiver under the stress of our rigid contortions.
Not too long ago we mistakenly thought, although few will now admit to their acquiescence, that TARP, auto industry bailouts, AIG cash infusions, cash for clunkers, first time home buyer credits, bank loans and the like would magically restore the economy.
Even the National Association of Realtors (NAR), our beloved national union and lobby force, with enthusiastic recklessness, endorsed just about every form of redistribution of wealth forced down our throats by President Barack Obama’s misguided group of tax and spend advocates.
Yes, ours is an industry not too unlike a three ringed circus. There are jugglers, tight rope walkers, clowns, acrobats, lion trainers and bare-back horse riders, all entertaining us while we sit in the grand stands eating our Cracker Jack and cotton candy.
Syndicated from e-Partner
For centuries the notion of turning lead into gold has captured the imagination of countless Alchemists, all of whom were doomed to failure.
The real estate industry’s economic model has been for decades akin to conjuring concoctions that claim to convert the weight of our tarnished enterprise models into shining bars of profitability.
We have not always understood the true alchemy of our industry and the relationship between the decline of profitability with the introduction and application of new technologies to our industry.
Each of the two great historical shifts (economic eras) in our industry have occurred with the rise of new technology, the independence of agents and the empowerment of the consumer. Consider the following diagram and then listen to the accompanying presentation.
This Post Syndicated from e-Partner
Ours is an industry with legacy. The brokerage business has seen many booms and endured many busts.
Many have come and most have gone.
Road kill has always been a part of the mix; the strong eat the weak and the weak find refuge in other endeavors.
The real estate industry has always been a town occupied by heralded gun slingers whose reputations have become the stuff of legends. Sometimes these are brands, other times they are movements, fads or personalities that come and go with the wind.
We have always been a tad reckless; that’s why we are a business model willing to predicate its economic viability on the unpredictable and unenforceable productivity of independent contractors. Let’s admit it, the business cultures we have created have typically been less than IBMish.
Nonetheless, we have moved from era-to-era, cycle-to-cycle and shifted from mode-to-mode, surviving the financial droughts of summer and living through the long, frigid economic nights of our many winters. We are an industry that could legitimately lay claim to squeezing blood from turnips.
We have historically endured and outlasted our most caustic critics who have mocked us at every turn and likened us to dishonest snake-oil salesmen.
Yes, we’ve been brought back from the dead a number of times. We are a cat with nine lives and most of them have been used up.
Are we now reaching the termination point? Are we, Tenus Terminatio Cuspis?
Let’s get down to some serious industry transformation discussions regarding the “Four Bs.” The Four Bs are the fundamental building blocks that heretofore drove the real estate industry’s models with respect to consumer relationships and Broker/Owner profitability.
Brokers, Boards, Books and Buildings remain the economic blocks that continue to drive our brokerage profit models. Three of the four are still alive and kicking. What are the Four Bs, how do they function and what, if anything, do they mean to us now? More importantly, how do they meet contemporary consumer expectations?
Broker/Owners are literally the financial backbone of the real estate industry. e-Partner and this blog, REALonomics, support the importance of sustaining the roll Broker/Owners play in perpetuating real estate transactions and indeed propping up the industry at large. It is Broker/Owners who literally guarantee the financial stability of the industry. They are real estate’s preeminent risk-takers.
They are almost always the sole guarantors of market presence and it is they who take most of the personal financial risk for the real estate organizations operating within thousands of communities.
Fact: Broker/Owners are losing their ability to produce and sustain profit for their local brokerage firms. The risks now out weigh the rewards, as many are discovering. TWe are facing the financial collapse of many Broker/Owners.