The news just keeps on flowing — and almost all of it bad. In real estate, as in financial markets, there are always the people and companies that focus on the other side of bad news: I’ll call it the "Street of Opportunity."
If you sit and listen to the commentary on the current financial crisis, 98 percent of the information flowing is about why it happened and who is to blame. The funny thing about the "why" and "who" conversation is that there are hundreds of different opinions. Many of these opinions emerge from very smart analysts and commentators. This is the same group of very smart business leaders who drove their companies right out of business. If we have learned anything from this crisis it’s that you do not have to be dumb to lose lots of money.
While there are hundreds of different opinions on why this happened and a vast number of people, firms, institutions and government agencies to blame, no one on this so-called Street of Opportunity even cares.
On this street, people and companies respond with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm. On Wall Street, meanwhile, you can find various types of people leaving the Lehman Brothers building: those who are angry at the company for burning them and those who are grateful for what they gave the company and what the company gave them. There are those who are mad at all the years wasted. And others who will take the experience, leverage a better career from lessons learned, and end up making more money.
There are those who, despite all the warnings that the company was in danger, are disappointed that the company let them down. And others who blame only themselves, taking full responsibility for believing that the market would change — they accept the fact that as individuals we make right decisions and wrong ones. There are people who thought that a 150-year-old company could never go out of business, and there are those who accept that in business today longevity is no guarantee of a future.
Sure, we can blame the rating agencies, the SEC chairman and regulators. But on the Street of Opportunity, people and firms place a high value on time and know there is not much money to make in the Complaint Department. In addition, no one ever smiles in the Complaint Department, and who wants that?
Real estate sales operate in very much the same way today as they did before the financial crises. There are agents who leave the business and blame the market, and companies that have been in business for decades yet still fundamentally operate the way they did when they opened their doors. And then there are agents who have seen their income drop and move from firm to firm searching for the answer, and companies that change their business plans to match the changing times.
On the Street of Opportunity, there are agents who will make more money in 2008 because they worked instead of making excuses. Their definition of work developed a new meaning of accountability, action, quality, time planning, results and authenticity. They did not listen to all the commentary on who or why things are bad. Instead, they sought out new solutions for their clients and customers. They got out from behind their computers and started shaking the hands of real people.
On the Street of Opportunity, agents became true experts in short sales and bank-owned (REO) properties. They developed a stronger financial knowledge. They embraced mortgage portability and learned how agency and non-agency mortgage products can convert buyers into real contracts of sale. They reacted quickly to the fact that the value of a lead has never been higher, so they raised the level of "quality" in which they respond to it and nurtured it. They found sellers who wanted to list with them and only them!
The real estate market has never been more fertile to provide the public with direction, great advice and education. The public is screaming for authentic and transparent help. There has never been a more abundant supply of leads — just look out your window. Brokers and managers need to respond to the fact that their agent team has never been more receptive to new and real strategies. It is a golden time to raise the bar of professionalism.
So the next time you listen to the segment of bad news flowing from CNBC, know that there are countless people who are excited about what tomorrow can bring. The next time you hear a broker, manager or agent complaining about why their income is not at a level they are happy with and who is to blame, take them in your car to the street called Opportunity. The beauty of our country and this business is that the Street of Opportunity is everywhere, both on your street and on Wall Street! The only roadblock is your mind.
Scott Einbinder is a national real estate speaker and trainer.
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