After reading Brad Inman’s “Let’s revolutionize real estate industry leadership — who’s in?” article, I’ve decided I am on the “fringes” of the real estate industry.

After reading Brad Inman’s “Let’s revolutionize real estate industry leadership — who’s in?” article, I’ve decided I am on the “fringes” of the real estate industry.

There isn’t a thing I can do to revolutionize anything even if wanted to, and I don’t think I can help Inman with his mission and make a living, too.

I agree that the industry needs to be revolutionized, and I would need some specific goals and objectives to justify the revolution.

Buying a house isn’t like buying a cup of coffee or a car and selling a house isn’t like selling shoes or stocks. The real estate industry itself isn’t anything like the travel and hospitality industry. Buying real estate is exactly like buying real estate just like buying a cup of coffee is exactly like buying a cup of coffee.

On the fringe

Maybe I am a real estate industry radical on the fringe. I don’t even see the industry as a single entity that can be revolutionized. I see it as a huge collection of businesses and people. I am not sure where it begins or where it ends.

There are a few million people who are part of the industry, and I don’t even know what they all do.

Sometimes, I feel like our industry is lacking, but I have never felt as though I needed more leadership or better leaders. We are too busy being captains of our own destiny to really notice who is leading what and why.

It’s like reading one of those glossy magazines with movie stars in them. They provide a little entertainment.

Who’s my leader?

I am not much of a follower or a joiner, and I know there are others like me who are more client focused. I read a lot and take classes every year. I try to keep up on trends in marketing, in-home décor, home technology and home financing. I know my market. I volunteer where I can.

If I have a leader, I am not sure who he or she is, exactly why I need to be lead or where I should be lead to.

I can’t see my life being changed if there are better leaders or new leaders in real estate. To me industry leaders are not people that I really know or have contact with; they are names on a list.

Each day, I wake up unemployed and get to find my own work. I am responsible for my income and for my destiny. I get paid every time a sale that my company is involved in closes.

I am a hunter, and if I kill something, I get to eat it, and that is all the gratification I need.

It is a good life. There is no sexual harassment or discrimination. Absolutely no office politics, and I pretty much set my own hours. There is no hierarchy, and I don’t have to suck up to anyone, in particular, to get ahead. There is no boss’s nephew to ingratiate myself with.

Same old, same old

Through my checkered career in real estate, leaders have come and gone. I see new names at NAR and with some of the large real estate companies in my area. I picture these people working in offices somewhere giving orders from the top of the hierarchy that I don’t understand and am not a part of.

How will new leadership in the real estate industry impact my company? How will it impact my clients? Honestly, I don’t have a clue. All I can do is watch from a distance and see how it all shakes out.

Most of the time the real estate industry seems like a circus, and the conferences are like beauty pageants. The best, brightest and wealthiest are put on stage to be admired.

Without the lists of leaders and influencers that get published every year, I wouldn’t have a clue as to who they are. I don’t consider the volunteers or employees of the associations to be leaders, but maybe they are.

Large companies and corporations have hierarchies and job titles, and the people who are in charge are called “leadership.” They may have an impact on the company where they hold the title.

I don’t want to spend my time in a hierarchy, and I certainly don’t want to manage one or be at the bottom of one either. My world is large, and it is flat.

The entire time I have been in the real estate industry, I have been reading and hearing about how we need to change. So far, I haven’t seen a list of changes that we need to make.

Is this about answering the phone again? Do I need to wear nicer clothes when I am out with clients? Maybe my vehicle isn’t ostentatious enough?

Is this about requiring more education for real estate salespeople? Is it about getting agents to use bad technology because someone is paying for it? Is this about the customer experience? Is it about raising the bar?

When everyone comes back from the days in the desert at “Disconnect,” I’ll be around. I’ll probably read a few articles about the epiphanies people had while in the desert because I enjoy reading Inman.

Five years from now, people will be talking about how the real estate industry needs to change and about how it is being disrupted. There will be more of the same conversation, and video will be the next big thing (since 2002).

Maybe Brad Inman is making a difference in the industry, and it just hasn’t reached my corner of the world. Either way, I do applaud his efforts.

Taking on something as huge as the real estate industry is pretty gutsy, and I generally admire people who have the courage to be loud and bold.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of

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