Who Should Get Out Of The Real Estate Business?

Dustin, Jillayne, Rhonda, Galen and I were all in San Francisco for a few days for The Inman Connect Conference.  One of the most profound and spot on statements I heard at the Conference was “If you do not have a listing, right now, in THIS market (top-heavy with inventory)…turn in your license!”. Sorry I can’t remember who said it.  In fact I think it was a woman in the audience and not on one of the panels.  But how TRUE is THAT!  With inventory at all time highs, can you say you are a real estate agent if you have NO listings?! I thought that was a punch in the glass jaw to some of the agents milling around the conference.

The highlight of my trip was when Pete Flint of Trulia came over to me at the Better Homes and Gardens Soiree and handed me his card.  He recognized me from Trulia Voices 🙂  I gained a huge respect for him given our conversation.  We were talking about Trulia Voices vs. Zillow Q & A, and I was impressed with his sincere level of interest in opinions on the subject. Trulia had the best party, BTW.  A funny in the Trulia Voices link up there.  One of the agents immediately gave my response a “thumbs down”, while at the same time the person who asked the question voted it as Best Answer.  Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

I still feel guilty about keeping Marc Davison of 1000 Watt Blog up so late that he missed his Panel Moderation the next morning.  Brian Boero filled in for him. Officially the reason for his missing the panel was related to his recuperation of severed finger.  But I can’t help but feel that had I let him get a little more sleep the night before, he might have made it.  Yet, I can’t say I’m sorry for detaining him for so long…I just didn’t want to let him go.  He’s an amazing person.

I’m hoping Inman or Sellsius will post a video of the panel I was on, moderated by Joe Ferrara.  I was a little nervous about being on a panel with THREE attorneys!  Russ Cofano, Joe Ferrara the moderator and the woman from NAR. I was told afterward that something I said was Twittered into cyberspace instantaneously. Not sure what it was…I wasn’t Twittering on my iPhone while speaking on the panel. I got visibly annoyed with Todd Carpenter during the discussion (sorry Todd). The Panel was on “How Not To Get Sued” as a blogger.  Todd was basically saying to be nice and avoid controversial topics.  But Russ and I had a really nice conversation and rapport on stage. (No Tim, no Punch and Judy show.)

I was the only one in the room that clapped for Frank Llosa on “The Future of the MLS” panel when he spoke of the button next to the Listing Agent info that explains why, as a buyer, you might not want to call the Listing Agent. Here’s a quote from Frank’s website that will give you an idea of why I like him ”

“TRUST ME, I’M A REALTOR” Yeah Right! When was the last time a REALTOR talked you OUT of buying a house or condo?…”

The big “visual event” of the trade show was a new Franchise called “BUG Realty”. “At Bug!…We are the “no hype,

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: ardelld@gmail.com cell: 206-910-1000

38 thoughts on “Who Should Get Out Of The Real Estate Business?

  1. Hi Ardell,
    It was a real pleasure to meet you as well!

    It’s been quite a journey for us all at Trulia over the last 3 years from a student project to having a packed party at our office last week and all the Connect razzmatazz! WOW. Thanks for being part of the voyage!

    We do think we can add real value to the real estate Industry and excited to be given the opportunity. I am genuinely interested in everyone’s feedback on what we’re doing at Trulia, so keep it coming.

  2. Pete,

    Rudy just sent me the link for Trulia Blog in Beta. I’ll be taking it for a spin as soon as I get a breather for “the learning curve” and I’ll let you know what I think of it.

  3. John,

    I think the point was that there are more sellers than buyers to go around, so if you don’t have a listing…you aren’t in the business (at hand). In our Seattle market it is a nobler endeavor to help sellers sell than to help buyers buy. I’m putting on two new listings this week and in the last 30 days have had more to do with renters than in the history of my 18 year career. Helped three people find a rental, and am converting one of my vacant listings to a rental property. I’ve never “done rentals”, but the times they are achangin’.

    The market determines what real estate professionals “do”.

  4. John wrote: “Who wants a listing with high prices, limited lending, and limited buyers?”

    This reminds me of a comment in January (probably in P-I land) where someone asked why we (agents) don’t just take an extended vacation, given the market conditions. The answer for me was that my wife and I were very busy at the time. We didn’t slow down to a reasonable workload until about a month ago.

    Of the three things you mention, the only real turn off is high prices. Too high of a price (for whatever reason) will make it difficult to sell a listing. So far limited lending hasn’t been an issue, except for the fact that some buyers think they don’t qualify (probably because they get their information from newspapers rather than mortgage professionals). And limited buyers is really sort of a spotty issue. There are some areas where there are not many buyers. But there are others where that isn’t the case at all. Look at Ardell’s “Sunday Night Stats” statistics for zip codes 98115 and 98103, where roughly half the listings are selling within 30 days. Again, you don’t get that type of information reading newspapers. Instead you get a distorted picture, which causes questions like the one I quoted and the one I referred to being made.

  5. When the going gets tough…the tough (…..?)

    At least “go shopping” is no longer apropos.

    I think the answer is “the tough” just keep working as hard they can, doing whatever they think can help the situation the best.

    It ain’t easy being a lender either, but somebody has to stay on the job and help people sort out the mess as best we can.

    I agree with the comment. People need RE’s help to sell their homes in this challenging market, and if you were there in the gravy times, you should step up and help in the soup kitchen, too!

  6. Thanks for coming to the panel, and telling others to come. I hope it wasn’t too boring.

    Too bad the audience kept their dropped jaws to themselves. I was hoping for some “How the hell can you do that?” questions regarding my Wiki MLS.

    Oh and that guy in the back of the room that said buyer agents are worthless and add no value. I hope I didn’t get too heated when I said that his must have “sucked” and how he should have just gotten a 75% rebater. Also nobody laughed at my “I used to Rebate, but then I good good” statement. Maybe my mic was off. 😉

    I wonder if anybody could see my checkered vans from under the curtain.

    Great meeting you,

  7. You were playing to a very tough crowd, Frank. The room was full of MLS staff and administrative people. I’m 99,9% sure most of them had no clue what a wiki was…let alone a wiki MLS. It wasn’t that they disapproved…I think you were just out in left field as far as they were concerned. But then I have a feeling you are used to being out in left field 🙂

    One of the reasons I go to Inman is to support people with fresh ideas. I wouldn’t have missed it. Though I surprised myself when I clapped so loud and no one else was clapping. I then crawled back into the corner and sat on the floor with Russ Cofano. I figured one outburst from the peanut gallery was enough. If you see that on video, Inman usually pulls some out after the conference, send me the link.

  8. Ardell,

    You didn’t keep me out too late! And even if you did, the conversation was well worth it. I missed the panels due to a bad reaction to the painkillers I was taking for my mishap a few days earlier. Thankfully, my business partner was there to bail me out.

  9. The funny thing was I had on my list to go to that one because you were the moderator and Galen was on the panel. Then it started and I thought I was in the wrong room…Galen was late for his own panel LOL! I’m thinking…no Marc…no Galen…I must be in the wrong “classroom”.

    I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. If you are ever in Seattle, Please Please…let’s go for…what else in Seattle…COFFEE! I’d love to have a real conversation when it isn’t so late and I haven’t been to three parties beforehand.

    Hope you are feeling better…though I think it will be quite some time before you are feeling “good”. That was a pretty nasty accident.

  10. Count on it Ardell. I owe my son a trip up to Portland – he recently got his real estate license and if I can make time, the two of use will take a ride up to Rain City. He loves it there.

  11. Ardell, this is such a great question…after meeting with mortgage professionals at RE Bar Camp & Inman Connect…there’s a “movement” taking place in our industry–and I like it. Many who have blogs are using their voices to call for change in how this biz was once commonly done by listening to industry “leaders” such as Barry Habib, Tim Braheam, etc. On a recent post by Matt Bowe (at Lenderama) he asks what LO’s should do to make certain they will thrive in this market… I think the first question should be “Should you get out now?” (BTW my answer is no–for me–but this could be the time for many to bow out).

  12. # 12 Rhonda, “the first question should be should you get out now” applies to LO’s, real estate agents … and sellers. I’ve always referred to people who hold real estate licesnses, and go to work, but rarely list or sell as “just being there for coffee” !

    It is now time for those who are just there for coffee, or don’t want to learn everything possible about their industry, or who can’t weather a bumpy cycle, or just want too much money (this point goes to LO’s, real estate agents as well as sellers) to bow out now. Just go do something different with your time.

    There is plenty of room in our market today for those who want to work hard, learn everything they possibly can about their industry, and plenty of room for success for sellers who price their properties well, work hard on their condition will find buyers.

    What there is no room for, is those who are “just there for coffee” or some of the predatory things that certain LO’s, agents, and even sellers & buyers were guilty of in previous years.

    Buyers are out there, and many want to buy, many are buying, but they are being extremely picky, and rightfully so. For the many buyers who are sitting on the fence waiting for the signal that things are calmer, or we are at a bottom — that signal rarely happens. You’ve got to find your own comfort level, and be sure you are getting the best advice you can find.

  13. Leanne, my response to this post was including LO’s too…those who entered into this business to “get rich quick”. I don’t think anyone becomes an LO for a cup of coffee! 😉

    National licensing will reduce the number of LO’s…there will be no where to hide and what will be required of loan originators will be much more than what we currently have in the State of WA. It’s my understanding that the new legislation will include EVERYONE (including bankers, lenders, brokers, etc.) and ANYONE who originates a residential mortgage.

    With that said, LO’s who are not committed to this industry should leave now before the exodus happens and their other job is taken.

  14. How much is your home worth? Well, it all depends where you live.

    The real estate market is still shaking. New data suggests that home prices have hit a new record low. In every new study that comes out, homeowners from Miami, to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles, have seen their home value go lower every time.
    Is that disappointing? Of course it is.
    Should we sell? Is not a good time.
    Should we stick to it? Yes, if you can.
    Have we hit bottom? Nobody knows.

    Banks are facing their worst foreclosure crisis.
    Don’t take me wrong, it’s good if you are in the market to buy a home for yourself or if you are an investor, but if you are not, and you own a home, most likely the value of your property is down at least 15 %.

    Why do banks care if you are loosing your home? By having to sell repossessed homes, banks have to literally slash their prices down. It gets very costly for them, after all, they have to pay property taxes, maintenance costs, and whatever utilities that need to be paid, all of this expenses for a house that it’s just sitting there, vacant, and the bank is getting nothing in return.

    The latest study by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index of 20 cities, revealed the news that for 22 consecutive months home prices dropped. Only from April to May, 2009 the decline was of 0.9 %

  15. 🙂 Rhonda, my phrase ‘there for coffee’ didn’t mean these people are motivated by the coffee! It just is my way of saying that’s all they are really doing: drinking coffee, but not being productive.

    In real estate, and maybe mortgage offices, where people are hired on a 1099 with no pay unless they actually do a transaction, there have always been certain offices with unproductive people. They show up at the office, pound away at a computer all day, talk on the phone talking the talk, but missing the walking-the-walk part, since they rarely go out to meet with potential clients!

    “There for coffee”, was just a term I coined many years ago when discussing a problem office with an owner who had 1/3 good agents, 1/3 new ones who were going to be good agents, and 1/3 just “there for coffee” … 🙂 … They had a nice office to go to, seemingly had no need for income, and rarely brought a client transaction into the office.

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