My late wife loved to have her future told. She couldn’t wander by a fortune teller anywhere in the world without longingly looking in to see what her future held. I guess that it’s a common human desire to have some light shine upon the murky waters of our future. Life, we learn at some point, is uncertain, and those of us that are prudent, eat dessert first. So every year, like clockwork, there are those who make predictions for a variety of reasons.
We have always held the oracles in awe, from the Oracle of Delphi to that weird looking, sort of faceless guy in the Vikings series on the History channel who predicts the future that the writers know is factual because they have gleaned those facts from history. And therefore, people that make such predictions can benefit from the mere act of making such predictions. In fact those who write such lists or make such declarations, often do so because it helps them appear prescient – as if they alone have the key to help you reach greater levels of success in your business because they have demonstrated their perspicacity, (or their vocabulary – see, I could have just used the word shrewdness there) by creating such a list of predictions. The best part is that even when they don’t score well, that doesn’t come to light for at least a year or more. Having made such statements with confidence, they have become the keepers of the light, and are made employable.
So here I go, hoping to entertain and dazzle you with my list of predictions for the real estate industry in 2018
- Rob Hahn will predict the end of the MLS, NAR, Realogy, or all three. I always enjoy reading Rob’s posts, and I have often said that he and our late lamented friend Joe Ferrara could have invented perpetual motion if it weren’t for friction. Using series of numbers gleaned from various sources, and combined with a wonderful vocabulary as well as a deep and abiding love of music, Rob will make a set of arguments, showing that these things are in danger (and perhaps that gravity isn’t really a thing). It could even be based on the impact of a large meteorite in the Midwest, which leads everyone involved in the real estate business to wake up one morning and change everything in their business, re-educating every vendor and consumer they deal with one transaction at a time. If the meteor fails to arrive, people will continue going to work every morning at Realogy, their franchisees will continue to do their jobs, and the staff and volunteer leadership at NAR will continue to help the industry evolve and to protect and educate real estate practitioners
- Inman News (or one of their affiliated companies) will do something unintentionally that brings them under attack for a lack of sensitivity, diversity, or general malfeasance – The actions or perceived actions of someone during an Inman event, or in one of their Facebook groups will annoy the crap out of someone, and a firestorm will start online. There will be hundreds of comments. As soon as he is aware of it, Brad Inman (who is a very well intentioned and sensitive individual should truth be told) will apologize and take steps to correct the problem. The community at large will pleased until the next thing happens. (This is not to say that there aren’t times that Brad, his organization or any other organization doesn’t legitimately screw up, it’s just to point out that there are a lot of conversations out there.)
- Bob Goldberg will take heat for something that has nothing to do with him. As the CEO of NAR, Bob has had a target on his back from the moment he took the job. Frankly, he wears it with grace and aplomb, but it still makes him the lightning rod for every criticism (informed or ill-informed ) of the organization (which, we might wish to remember is volunteer driven). In his first year, he has demonstrated balance, a willingness to engage, and the ability to communicate and articulate to help reduce the impression that the staff at NAR (which is, by the way, nothing short of incredible) is living in some sort of ivory tower. Bob will continue to work with his staff and volunteer leadership to move the organization forward in the best way possible.
- There will be a series of articles about how horrible RPR and Upstream are, and why they should be abandoned. This one is pretty easy. Because RPR was engaged by Upstream (a Non-NAR initiative created by a group of Mega-Brokers) to help with the development of Upstream, the two products are constantly being lumped together. As an active Real Estate broker, I use RPR a lot, as do many of my agents, so I hope it continues to be a tool for us – Upstream is still not a thing, and may never be one, but that doesn’t mean RPR isn’t an awesome product. Whatever happens to the two of them – it will be for different reasons because they’re different products with different owners.
- Some Tech Company will appear that promises to make every real estate agent rich – This one is the layup of all predictions, Every year new vendors, making incredible promises appear at all of the real estate events across the country. Agents rush to sign up to make themselves more competitive, only to find a few months later that they have waged a bucket of money. They cancel the service only to go on to the next newest thing at the next convention. This process, called churn, will kill some of these products and will result in others being sold to someone who sees them as an interesting piece of some other thing they’re developing
- There will be a huge investment by Venture Capitalists into some new way to do something and restructure the real estate industry. The real estate community will debate the “thing” endlessly, as they continue to do business much in the way it has been done for years. One client at a time buying or selling one home at a time, needing advice, assurance and assistance in going through the process.
- Someone who isn’t really making a lot of money in real estate will become a coach or a speaker – There are lots of speakers who have great experience in real estate, some who have other skills that can benefit their customers, but there are lots of people who haven’t done much in the business who become speakers or authors. For the good of the industry, these people (who are legends in their own minds) should be avoided by the young and impressionable agent.
- There will be an article about how little NAR and the state and local REALTOR associations do for their members written by someone with no knowledge at all of what they actually do! – There is something I call the arrogance of ignorance. People who know little about a subject, but speak with confidence about how that thing works. In our business, it seems that the people farthest from their local state and national associations are the most critical. It seems that you don’t have to have a clue in order to have an opinion and to trumpet it loudly in one of the online venues avai8lable to us all. I’m not saying that no one should criticize their associations, I am just suggesting that it would be best to spend the time to do the research before you voice the opinion.
- A real estate professional who doesn’t donate to RPAC will complain about the candidates supported by everyone else’s donation. – I’m a political idiot. If someone takes a position I agree with, I tend to like them, and I’m not one to spend hours and hours doing research on their overall political performance. Thankfully Jerry Giovanelli and his team do that for me and see to it that we as an industry have a safe space to do business in. They did yeoman work this year on Tax reform act, modifying sections of the act that could have been terrible for the industry, consumers, and the economy in general. I’m happy to give them money to do that on my behalf. If you don’t want to donate, then don’t, but remember you do so at your own peril.
- Zillow will initiate some program. Members of the real estate community will immediately assume that Zillow is going to open a real estate brokerage, and Jay Thompson will once again demonstrate how patient he can be – Zillow may or may not be the Great Satan or the Arch-enemy of the real estate industry, but whatever it is, they made the greatest hire ever when they chose to employ my friend Jay Thompson. He suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous people with an equanimity that is unmatched. Whatever he’s paid, it isn’t enough. My advice to people that hate Zillow? Don’t use their products, and don’t provide them with your listing data if you don’t want to, and then go about your own business and make a living.
And having counted to ten together, we have come to the end of this post – and the end of 2017. As we stare 2018 down the barrel, I hope that you enter the year intending on increasing your production, your income, the time you spend with your family and loved ones, and the happiness in your life. We each have within us the seeds of our success or our failure because those things are not determined by what happens in the world around us, it is determined by the way we handle that reality. I know you can be the hero of your own story, and I’m waiting to hear that story! Have a Happy and Healthy New Year.