We talk a lot about educating our clients about their options and best choices in making real estate decisions. But who among us knows it all? More to the point, who among us is adequately keeping up with all the changes in our industry these last three years?
Evolve or die! The basic Darwinian premise applies to every business and especially to those of us who count ourselves among the entrepreneurial class. The question is how do we best evolve?I am talking about becoming a proactive resource for our clients of WHAT MATTERS. What they NEED to know about their real estate transactions, not just what we legally must disclose on the GFE. For that we have our industry sources and regulating bodies.
Ethical dilemmas: For example, what do you do when a transaction you've been working on for say, three months, hits a rough patch at closing? Do you cast blame on the counter parties who didn't do their job (mea culpa) or do you pitch in and try to solve it? It's certainly not convenient to have to make new statements to an underwriter that could jeopardize the sale and our commissions. Solving the problems that do arise with your client's interest in the forefront of your mind makes what course you recommend much easier.
Continuing Education: Yes, we have Ethics and legal Courses now required for every licensed loan officer. What did you learn from your CE class beyond the basic 'must dos'? You quickly find out that every situation is highly subject to interpretation of 'what is best'. I find reading on subjects outside of my expertise very helpful in this regard. Philosophical books and Biographies of leaders are a great resource. Being more than a single dimensional human being certainly helps!
Becoming aware of broader market factors: During the last two plus years, with so much news about Wall Street landing daily --it become quickly apparent to me I NEEDED to know more about the workings of our financial markets in order to be a better adviser. So I subscribed to a couple of blogs focused on trading, investing and news outlets including external sources (international news) that would give me a better understanding.
Read and listen broadly! You literally have to compare notes to get a feel for what is going on. If for example, you only listen to one radio commentator, then you tend to become myopic in your view. A range of business to philosophy to political sites and news sources helps me reflect on how what is 'going on' in my world relates to the bigger picture. If CNN or Fox TV is all you watch, you will have a 'sound bite' mentality that tends to dismiss the deeper issues behind the scenes.
Be Professional! Becoming a better, more well sounded resource and perspective provider can only assist your profile in your community. As a wonderful side effect, you now have the power of information on your side informing your decisions.
Be a Citizen! I recently discovered (shock horror) that my own local and state and federal civil servants do NOT know all that much about what is happening on the street. It's up to us to inform THEM about these things. Being part of our community means speaking up about what can be done locally as well as to our elected officials. I am approaching our local councils to find out what can be done to assist local homeowners in distress in light of how foreclosures are affecting our local economy. I also recently joined an investor group and am reseraching more private options to help provide options for folks not being served by our banks. Once you make yourself known as someone willing to help you will attract natural referrals based on your attitude of service.
Some resources I recommend: sign up for news alerts on topics of interest. Many of these sites have riveting video sources and active blogs.
http://uk.reuters.com (note I read the British version first)
For example:Watch today's video on regulation of the 'hidden' aspect of mortgage backed securities owned by China: a topic you can easily research on Google or these sites above. I have set 'mortgage backed securites' as a news alert on several sites, so I get email notices when the topic is published.
I'd be interested in sources you find useful. After all, Active Rain is all about sharing ideas! Here's to our educational evolutional revolution in 2010!