I just read this article about the recent settlement against Countrywide and it got me to thinking. I know that greed and immorality and unethical behavior is what drove the market and caused the crisis that we are currently enduring. Nothing can change history and eventually we will recover. It's like I tell the kids on my little league team, it's not the error that you focus on, it's taking every measure necessary to prepare yourself to not make the same error again that counts. In that same vein, it amazes me just how many Realtors don't quite seem to be willing to follow this philosophy.
First, we all need to admit that we were all contributors to the current state of the market. It wasn't just the mortgage bankers and brokers and the secondary market players, it was all of us. We were ticket writers doing a job that a trained monkey could have done and running to the bank to cash every check. Let's just call it what it is. No sin in admitting that we got caught up in the groundswell of greed.
Second, we aligned ourselves with lenders and appraisers that were committing loan fraud and we didn't walk away from the opportunity to make a paycheck. We chose our partners and they turned out to be partners in crime, literally.
Third, we didn't police ourselves and "call each other out" by holding one another to a higher standard of professionalism. We identified the symptoms, but allowed the disease to merrily carry on.
Knowing all of this now, it's not too late to be a Monday morning quarterback and correct our behavior going forward. Too many of the Realtors in our profession spend too much time touting their numbers and awards as if production was a measure of character, when in fact it has nothing to do with it at all. Yet, good character is the one element that our clients need the most from us and the very thing that will prevent another debacle.
So, let's start with standing up like we're attending an AA meeting and admit to the court of public opinion that we are accountable and culpable for our actions, that we made mistakes that contributed to the current state of the market, and that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
Let's also align oursleves with the right partners and walk away from the one's who don't want to do business the right way. Let's value ethics over economics.
Lastly, let's hold each other accountable. Don't be affraid to "call a spade a spade" and constructively criticize one another when we step out of line. We need to have convictions and stand by them no matter what.
It's a far fall from the top of this soap box, but I'm willing to stand here and take the shots if I must to convey my message and stand by my own convictions. Our industry has to change it's approach to doing business. We have to recognize what is and what is not important and we have to have a cause. To quote a famous movie, "The cause is caring about each other. The secret to this job is personal relationships."
In the grand scheme of things, this is just another blog, a blip on the radar on a day when thousands of messages will be penned and transmitted all across the world. If you are reading this, take what you can from it, but at the very least, take it seriously.
I'm "calling out" all Realtors, myself included. Look in the mirror this morning and shout out the truth, the God's honest truth, and see if you like how it sounds. Then go out there and hold yourself, and everyone that you conduct business with, to a higher standard, whether it means the deal will close or not. It's not about the money, it's about the people. It's about the very lives that we are fortunate enough to affect on a daily basis.
Being a Realtor is a privledge, not a right. Embrace it, don't abuse it. Go out today with conviction and make a positive difference.
The article that inspired this rant can be found below.