What’s changed in the last 15 years?
Drama. Everything is so dramatic now. The slightest slight is misinterpreted into something suspicious. More and more people seem to be creating drama where it doesn’t need to be.
I-Losers. Fifteen years ago at the corner of every traffic stop, drivers couldn’t help but notice all the “we buy houses” signs. Who knew at the time, rich folks would turn it into a Board game. The i-Buyer market has come and gone with billions of dollars being lost. Sad, but very predictable. https://wyndrealty.com/the-i-buyer-market-the-bad/. Can you guess what I saw at a street corner just last week? Yep, a “we buy houses” sign. We have gone full circle.
Zillow. Zillow had started two years before us. While “paying” for leads was a well-worn scam at the time, their “lead” program gave the scam new life. Slightly better than a telephone book, Zillow leads became a thing for many years. But Zillow’s biggest contribution is clearly their website. It’s as close to a national MLS as we will ever get. While you can’t take their “zestimates” to seriously, they put you in the ballpark and everyone loves it. Realtor.com had a ten-year head start on Zillow and still got smoked! Was NAR that bad, or Zillow that good?
The Boomer Way. Say what you will about the franchise system, but they led the charge on teaching agents how to behave and interact with each other. In this regard, they did a great job. Very professional. Wynd Realty always assumed agents would have a certain level of professional courtesy as a given. We are not a teaching brokerage. But with the passage of time, courtesy and professionalism have either faded away OR have simply changed with time. New forms of agent interaction are still evolving and are replacing the old. Today’s younger agents will work it out in their own way while the older agents will continue to complain it doesn’t meet up to their standards. Again, it’s a full circle.
Fear. Fifteen years ago agents were very afraid of doing something wrong. Agents “double-checked” things with their Broker often, because they didn’t want to “screw up”. This fear was reinforced by the franchises telling horrific stories of agent loss and despair. Most of these stories were nothing more than urban myth. But they worked in terms of establishing fear. Today’s agent is more apt to simply do things without asking. Their fear gone. This is good news—to a point. Filling in pre-printed contract forms isn’t scary. But operating outside of license law is. I have said: “you know that’s illegal right” more times in the last 12 months than I have in the previous 12 years. Oddly, the response I get most often is “how was I supposed to know that?” It’s almost as if there had been no real estate training at all.
Education. Education in real estate is as bad today as it was fifteen years ago. I have confidence in making this statement as I believe the training material is EXACTLY the same material we had fifteen years ago. Knowing your Metes and Bounds was stupid then and it remains so today. Real estate education is filled with useless junk that has no connection to real world scenarios. This has been an area of lost opportunity as long as I have been in real estate.
GREC. Something has gone horribly wrong. GREC is NOT what they once were. I don’t know what has changed, but I suspect budget cuts? It’s almost as if no one is there? You can’t call them, they won’t answer. Same with email. They NEVER reply. A simple “change application” that used to take 48 hours, now takes 3 weeks! Wynd Realty requested a GREC investigation into an escrow check that was stolen from one of our clients by another Broker. It was a blatant, bold crime done in the open. It’s been 10 months and GREC still hasn’t gotten to it yet.
I don’t know what the problem is, but GREC is failing our Community. And there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. Agents need to know this: The future is here, and we are it, and we are on our own! So be careful. There are cons and creeps among us and there is no longer a backstop. Protect yourself and your clients.
Short Sales. They were all the rage in 2008. It was terrible. We still suffer from PTSD from that era. I guess we will forever live with the sinking feeling that short sales will return. YIKES!
The Consumer. Today’s consumer is considerable smarter than they were 15 years ago. Everything from property searches through financing options are online in an easy and user-friendly format. Logistically, an agent’s job is much easier today. Customer acquisition on the other hand…. not so much.
Where will we be in another 15 years? Our culture will be in the middle of “the great wealth transfer”. I certainly hope we have many more changes by then.