As I survey the current real estate landscape I can't help but be fascinated by how people are and in many cases aren't adapting to the new rules of the game.
Surely as Sellers have come to find that positive equity is no longer a given, many of them are asking, "what the heck am I getting for the commission dollars I am being asked to pay?"
A very fair question and unfortunately, not a lot of good answers have been forthcoming. I have been trying to come up with some legitimate answers for most of a year now, answers I can share with my fellow Realtors through the ROCS Alliance as we begin the work of regaining the position of trust and confidence our industry fought hard to engender for many years. We somehow managed to piss it all away in short order when the free money started flowing and the internet offered up the spoils of anonymous commerce.
As things change there is a certain order to what comes next as we work our way through this. The Illustration above shows how the obstacles to change eventually synergize to actually coalesce the change.
The first noticeable change is going to come about regarding People. There will be fewer of them in the real estate business and that is all for the good. Too many people fighting over too few deals seems like a good thing for the consumer right up until the problems we face now are compounded by the hangers on who cut corners and even more people get hurt by poor representation in a tough market.
The Second change will be one of Process. The process by which we communicate, the process by which people make decisions, the process of securing financing and the process of accountability. Marketing for instance, is an art form that requires certain skillsets and is best left to professional marketing people. Sales are the other end of the elephant. If an agent is in the back room printing flyers or shooting photos on their digital camera to save money, they are already falling behind and selling the client short. The issue of investment and return on investment as it relates to the expense of proper marketing will become a more prominent part of the discussion in the agent selection process.
An finally, we will see a gradual but deliberate change in culture. Confidence will be the commodity held most dear in the marketplace. Confidence in the information being provided, confidence in the loyalty being proffered, confidence that the agent has a plan and a verifiable track record.
Unless an agent can instill confidence in the processes and people that he or she surrounds themselves with, the current culture of suspicion and distrust directed towards the profession will linger and the question will remain, "what do I get for the commision I am being asked to pay and what are my other options."
The survivors of this shift will be those that are not only agents of Real Estate, they must become agents of Change.