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Is your Office Shifting?

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I am pretty sure that by now, there is not a single organism living and breathing in the United States that doesn't know the real estate market has shifted.  The competition for qualified buyers and sellers has become greater as we wait for the law of equilibrium to kick in, to a point where the average number of closed transactions per year balances out.  We are seeing drastic drops in agents staying in the business, and as a result not only are the wallets getting thinner of many associates, but many brokers are also feeling the purse strings tighten. 

I am regularly visiting with agents and coaching them on re-margining their business, upshifting their lead generation activities, and being relentless on lead follow up.  We believe it will take twice as many leads in order to close similar numbers of units in previous years.  In order for you to survive and thrive in 2009 you need to be willing to be flexible enough to adapt your business practice in a fashion that will enable you to plow through these next few years and to come out on the other side with a smile on your face and the medal of survival proudly pinned to your lapel.

So it stands to reason that if you have to be flexible enough to adapt then your broker needs to be able to do the same.  I have spoken in the last few weeks with several independent broker/owners who more than ever are trying to retool their business model in order to eek out a profit.  It has become a time of lowering splits, or raising expenses, or decreasing amenities for many of them or they will suffer losses that may not allow them to stay in operation.  Many agents are beginning to question the value they receive from their organization and are expecting more.  It will be interesting to see what companies are left standing after the next 12-18 months.

This market is one where the swift to adapt will survive and grow, much like evolution in the environment this will force evolution within our industry.  It is one that I welcome and I must say I feel incredibly blessed to be with an organization that embraces change, that listens to the heartbeat of the associates on the streets, and that strives to implement the changes required to help our associates survive and actually increase their market share during this down cycle.  Because after all, it is just a cycle, but if we learn from history and don't simply sit on our laurels, we learn it is during adverse times that greatness develops!

Always Remember, There Are No Limits!


Joe and Molly Murphy
Coldwell Banker - Bradenton, FL
Put our Team to work for your Family

I saw the shift coming back in late 2005.  When I was having more sellers calling then buyers, and when our inventory tripled in 4 months.  This is a reason that I decided to stay put with my large well established company (coldwell banker), vs. starting my own company.  I am glad I did as I am seeing, and hearing that all local brokers are in the red.

Mar 17, 2009 09:44 AM
Highland Beach Condos David Serle
RE/MAX Services - Highland Beach, FL
Boca Raton Agent David Serle

I have seen a shift, and you can not do business as usual.  In order to be profitable as a broker you have to make very tough decisions these days by taking the emotion out of those decisions and replacing the emotion with profit. 

Mar 17, 2009 09:50 AM
Christopher Lotte
Lottes of Leads - Columbus, OH

I think you are right on Jeff... I generate a lot of leads for agents, but I am seeing more and more of those leads being buyers that can't get qualified when before they could. So its taking more leads, time and energy to power through those unqualified buyers to find the qualified ones. I think its very important to get those leads prequalifed by a lender before spending too much time with them. I think there is also a shift of successful agents to the agents that embrace the internet and its many methods of generating leads. The agents that are waiting for their phone to ring are often sitting around their computer playing solitaire, where the agents that are getting internet leads are way too busy to be playing on their computer. 

Mar 17, 2009 09:52 AM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I agree "twice as many contacts to do the same amount of business". We are doing just about that now.

Mar 17, 2009 12:35 PM
Jeff Bonham
The Real Estate Masters Institute - Springfield, MO

Charles, good for you.  Sometimes it hurts pushing through this cycle, but I'm glad to hear you are doing it.

Christopher, absolutely right on pre-approvals and embracing the internet.  I've found with any system, whether it be online, in person, or on the phone, it's about mastering whatever system you are using and taking it to a high level.  Those with superior skill sets are going to thrive in this market.


David, you're exactly right.  It's tough because we have a heart and tend to make decisions emotionally, but if we even want to stay in business for years to come we have to do what we have to do.  Unless one has an extensive amount of dough in the reserve capital account and feel as if one can justify riding this wave out doing business as usual, a serous re-margining is neccessary.  I recently slashed our business expenses by over 50% and my personal expenses by over 25%.  In Gary Keller's book, "Shift," under expense management he basically says that no expense is sacred during these tough times. 

Mar 18, 2009 07:03 AM