“… and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” –Lennon/McCartney

As the tectonic shift in the housing market grinds beneath our nervous feet, this lyric spins in a loop — the soundtrack to what was, what is and what soon will be in our industry.


I don’t wear Birkenstocks, or snack on brown rice with mushrooms, chard and fresh tofu. There’s no haze of Nag Champa or cloud of bong smoke wafting in my den. Not that there is anything wrong with any of that.

But I do believe that in the end, you simply reap what you sow. It is the law of the land.

Our industry has sown quite a field these past 10 years. Its boundaries envelop banks worldwide and the fate of hundreds of thousands of consumers who find themselves foreclosed upon and forsaken by their trusted advisers.

I don’t mean to gloss this over or simplify the matter. It’s just the best I can do short of publishing a book detailing each seed we planted to bring about this blighted harvest. And I don’t want to do that. I want to find the silver lining — the thing to which we might look forward during the tough times ahead.

Quiet celebration

What’s happening was bound to happen, and really, folks, needs to happen. Let’s not fret over those inside the business who will exit. Truthfully, they need to go. They’re the coal hiding the gems inside: The best agents. The best brokerages. The best lenders.

My sympathy is saved for the thousands of moms and dads, immigrants and working stiffs now facing the reality that “the dream of home ownership” was oversold.

Maybe, for those of us who care about the real estate industry, this can be a time of quiet celebration. It’s the end of the old, the ordinary, the questionable and the compromised and the beginning of something new: an industry that lives up to the trust of its clients.

Let us celebrate:

  • The end of real estate as the career of first and last resort.

  • The end of referring young clients with aspirations bigger than their savings accounts to guys who can get them a zero percent down, interest-only, two-year adjustable-rate mortgage.

  • The end of writing loans for people with no jobs.

  • The end of advising sellers to buy a home before they’ve sold their existing home.

  • The end of getting away with unleashing an undertrained sales force to cut their teeth on the most important transaction of peoples’ lives.

  • The professionalism of the agents and brokers who remain after this reckoning.

  • The Web 2.0 flowering that will make the transaction better for both the industry and its customers.

  • The healthy airing of grievances about the industry’s most egregious lapses.

The love you make

It’s what comes next — the good stuff that’s already starting to emerge despite the news. It will come by way of an unspoken apology of change. The love will bring about an industry that’s transparent. True. Simple. Real. Honest. Social. And smaller.

I see it coming in the eyes of a broker friend who tells me he’s mandating service standards that could drive many from his stable. In the blog posts of agents who speak candidly to their clients about what’s going on. In the wisdom of the pros that bear scars from earlier shakeouts that kept them from losing their head in the run-up to this one.

It might take a quarter, a year, maybe two. Who knows when, really? But it’s coming for sure.

So I’m perched on the hill looking out toward the horizon, waiting for the new real estate business about to unfold.

Marc Davison is a founding partner of 1000watt Consulting. He can be reached at marc@1000wattconsulting.com.

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