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Local Economies Need Realtors

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Real Estate: An Industry that Needs to Succeed

Many times the real estate industry gets blamed for a towns’ problems. Even recently in our local newspaper, I read that Realtors were “greedy” for supporting property rights of land owners to subdivide their property more than 5 times every three years. Mind you, this is after the real estate market collapse, after the stock market collapse and during the current employment collapse. One would think that real estate may actually look like a safer investment than the stock market in these times. But if a Realtor were to claim such a statement, we’d be labeled as ‘crazy’ or ‘greedy’. So, instead of pointing out how real estate tends to bounce up after stock markets collapse (remember the dot com bust?), I’ll just point out some basic contributions the real estate industry makes to a local economy. You can decide if it’s good enough for your town or not.

Real Estate Feeds Local Economies and Local Families

So many companies and individuals are feeding their families from Realtors’ entrepreneurial efforts
(I hope everyone realizes 95% of all Realtors are self-employed entrepreneurs). Here is a list of local businesses that feed their families by the efforts of the real estate industry:

– Contractors of all trades
– Appraisers
– Mortgage brokers and lenders
– Real estate brokers & agents (we have families too)
– Title companies
– Attorneys
– Inspectors
– Pest control
– Home Warranty Companies
– Appliance retailers
– Home improvement supply stores
– Gardening supply stores

In fact, it’s hard to think of a local business that doesn’t benefit from real estate growth.
– Restaurants (more people to dine & drink)
– Retail Stores (more shoppers = more sales tax too)
– City employees (permits, licenses, sales tax, etc…)
– County employees (fees, property taxes, etc…)

Be Proud to be a Realtor

Take pride in being a Realtor and be quick to remind people that you work hard to feed your family and in turn you help feed a local economy with opportunities to do the same.

Chaotic Good adventurer on a quest to optimize the lives of others. Husband & Father to Wolverines. Founder of RETSO + Managing Director at Path & Post.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Paula Henry

    November 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Recently one of the searches on my web site was “Realtors cause of housing crisis” It makes you think about how to educate others to the amount of good Realtors do for our communities.

    Most Realtors are hard working entrepreneurs who care about our communities, our clients and the economy. You have made some excellent points without sounding greedy or crazy.

  2. Mariana

    November 11, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I read that over 80% of the Colorado economy is tied in some way/shape/form to the real estate market.

  3. Paul Dunn

    November 11, 2008 at 8:16 am

    You can tie just about any job to real estate. One thing that isn’t pointed out is how many markets that have been hit hard are seeing a sloth of “deal shoppers” that are putting in multiple LOW BALL offers and wasting a lot of peoples time…

  4. Julie Anne

    November 11, 2008 at 8:20 am

    This is a great post. I am personally a single mom raising my 3 boys on my own and a have been in the business for 10 years, this is a career for me. We strive to help people everyday in: fulfilling their dreams, refering business to other local vendors and businesses on a daily basis, helping our communities through improving properties and fundraisers and charity work,and more. Many of the jobs we do, hours we work and people we help we don’t get paid for.
    Julie Anne

  5. Kent Shaffer

    November 11, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Great motivational post, Brad! In tough times like these, optimism is invaluable.

  6. Brad Nix

    November 11, 2008 at 8:26 am

    @Paula I am not surprised to see your search result. Everyone wants to blame somebody, being on the front lines means you catch a lot of bullets on your way to building up the local economy.

    @Mariana 80% doesn’t surprise me at all. If you can find the study, please share it.

    @Paul I don’t what low ball offers has to do with this post, but we tell our Atlanta customers to check their emotions at the door

    @Julie Anne You exemplify my point with your entrepreneurial efforts and unpaid hours of work. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Steve Simon

    November 11, 2008 at 8:36 am

    I am oft flamed for speaking in terms from the classroom but:
    Real Estate is not a primary industry it is a secondary industry ala the barber or the dry cleaner.
    You may not like to hear this, but, Primary industries import money into a community that would otherwise not be there. Secondary industries (restaurant, etc.) depend on the cash in circulation to survive.
    A “Baker of Bread” doesn’t import money into the neighborhood, he or she does business based on the money in circulation within the community. The only was a “Baker of Bread” goes from Secondary to Primary is when the “Baker” opens a wholesale division in town and now sells “Bread” to many other towns.
    Real Estate Agents and their peripheral industries survive based on the demand for space with their community, they however do not create the demand, they simply service it.
    The only way a real estate activity becomes a Primary industry is when the product that is being produced is so unique that the producer is actually drawing in buyers that would not otherwise be there.
    That is not the case i most instances.
    The other comments about additional services and vendors that work within the “Housing Umbrella” are also off the mark. The painters, the furniture stors, etc. all survive on cash in circulation within the community; they do not import additional money into the circuit, therefore they are not Primary industries. In order to grow and prosper it is a good idea to have a mix of Primary industries that all import small amounts of outside money into the local economy. There are ratios to measure this(locational quotients).
    But I am sure most do not wish to hear about them…
    Just my thoughts:)

  8. Brad Nix

    November 11, 2008 at 8:56 am

    @Steve If you want to get all ‘classroom’ on the topic, then you shouldn’t call real estate a secondary industry either. It’s actually a tertiary industry. Primary and Secondary industries tend to mean less and less in developed nations and often give way to Tertiary industries (services like banking, tourism, and real estate).

    The point is that the real estate industry constantly provides referrals and resources to most of the other tertiary industries in any town. It’s rare that tour guide sends an Inspector a referral, yet it happens everyday in real estate. Primary industry has been exported to developing nations for decades now. I wouldn’t hold out for agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, or quarrying to revive the local economy anytime soon.

  9. Steve Simon

    November 11, 2008 at 9:18 am

    @Mr. Nix; Your comments are without substance (relative to the discussion).
    Real Estate doesn’t bring money into the community, it survives on cash in circulation,period.
    Discussing referring from one secondary industry to another doesn’t address the problem of lack of Primary industry.
    Your referral ceases to exists when there is no money in the economy (local or National).
    As to your last paragraph, I never mentioned manufacture as the only Primary industry ( I merely mentioned whoesale baking as an example). I would personally prefer more inovative primary industrial applications:
    The US produces a tremendous percentage of the World’s Movies. The movie industry is a huge Primary application that is both a positive financial lever as well as a minimal generator of negative environmental byproduct. Intellectual products are my Primary product of choice.

  10. Brad Nix

    November 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    @Steve We can agree on intellectual products being the best remaining primary industry in this country. There is no doubt every town needs more of them. However, it’s not logical to expect every town to become Hollywood, yet every town can have a movie theater. Which brings me back to the point of my post…real estate helps the local economy more than most other industries. Real estate is designed to work with other business types and industries to help accomplish common goals for an economy – growth. Without this growth, we have the current the situation. Granted jobs usually drive the real estate market for an area, but what other industry collaborates or impacts a local economy more than real estate? (of course there are exceptions such as Hollywood, but most towns don’t have a single primary industry as the driving force and therefore real estate becomes a unifying tertiary industry) Whether we like it or not, as local real estate markets go, so do towns all across our nation.

  11. Steve Simon

    November 11, 2008 at 9:51 am

    @Mr. Nix
    I didn’t advocate for a single Primary industry. I mentioned a diverse base of many Primaries (and then I mentioned the ratio used to measure the economic benefit, Location Quotients).
    You either do not follow or just refuse to admit your position is in error.
    Movie theaters do not fill their own seats, the economy does. The movie theater owner is in competition with the local miniature golf course owner and every other recreational vendor for the recreational dollars in play in that community.
    Building a movie theater in a town without money is, well assinine…
    I guess the idea of real estate not being a primary industry bothers you? It doesn’t bother me, it has served me well for over 25 years:)

  12. Brad Nix

    November 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    @Steve I think we are misunderstanding each other. No doubt building theaters without a market demand would be assinine. I did not intend for my post to mean Realtors create market demand. They simply service it. Also, I have no problems with real estate being a tertiary industry, see my above comments. I was just making the point that as real estate goes, so go local economies. As you can see from the key points in my post:
    -real estate needs to succeed
    -real estate helps feed local families
    -and it’s okay to be proud to be a Realtor, even when the rest of the country is blaming you.
    I’m certain we agree on most items about industry and the causes of growth. Apologies if you felt I was being stubborn to your points. I was just trying to keep the conversation thread on my intent of the post.

  13. Steve Simon

    November 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    No apology needed! No offense has been taken.
    Being a Real Estate Agent should allow the participating party to be proud of their work!
    The difference in position is that I believe and have taught to mnay thousands of students, that the economy goes first, that stagnates the money in the local arena, those that want to sell are now coupled with those that must sell. The demand being down, and the supply being increased is what causes the inevitable real estate plunge. The real estate market is a lagging indicator of the fiscal health of an area; it does not cause the decline, it evidences it.
    Real estate is no more demonstrative of this fiscal health than the other service industries. In bad times, people get their hair done less frequently, they go out to eat but fast food and less than top of the line restaurants are now included in the mix.
    Ask any of these secondary (service for the sake of this discussion) business owners how things are and you will get an answer inline with most of the others.
    Florida is the worst example of fiscal planning I have seen relative to this…
    You have a State experience tremendous population increase and theensuing growth and wealth because of climate and tax structure. This continues for over fifty years. Not a nickel is spent in the entire time to diversify the Primary industries for the entire five decades.
    A storm or two, and a National slowdown and the State is almost destroyed.
    It was and is a predictable disaster. The citrus industry was going to South America. Not much took its place. The cash in circulation simply got used up. It was never replenished by the “importation effect” a good mix of positive locational quotients (Primary industry) can provide.
    That is why the Bailouts will all fail to impact for any sustained period, they (the bailout) will stimulate briefly and then be gone with no means of additional money making its way into the circuit.
    Better to offer free schools to the budding business tycoons; better to offer incentives for alternative energy commercial applications…
    It is sad that those that lead do not have a better understanding of basic economy.

  14. John L. Pehrson

    November 11, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Brad,

    I am an investor in vacant land. As such, I sometimes believe I have an effect on a local economy by finding a new use for the land that brings in buyers from outside the community, thereby adding primary spending power to the community.

    For example, I might purchase unused, vacant land, divide it up, and sell it as recreation land to outsiders who build cabins and cottages on the property. As they build, they utilize local retailers and service providers. As they use their property on weekends and during vacation, they spend money in the local economy.

    I understand that in some circumstances I might just be meeting a local demand, in which case I am not creating primary demand. However, in some instances, by changing the use of the property and promoting it outside of the local economy, I maintain that I am acting to bring in spending power to the community that would not otherwise exist. In this case, I am acting as an agent of economic development for that community.

    So, I believe real estate can be a primary industry under some circumstances.

  15. Rachel LaMar J.D.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:25 am

    This is a wonderful article, with some valid points that I plan to use in speaking with people. I just met a new client the other day, who told me he doesn't have a high opinion of our profession, and that comes from past experience. He didn't seem to think we were really needed. I plan to change his opinion. Thank you for writing this – it is just what I needed to read!

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Opinion Editorials

Online dating is evolving and maybe networking will too

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has the online dating industry been disrupted during the pandemic? And can we apply a few pointers from this evolved model to networking?

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Woman networking through Zoom video call with two other women.

We are often reminded that hindsight is 20/20 – a proverb that means “it is easy to understand something after it has already happened”, and how ironic that is since we are in the year 2020 and not sure we can fully comprehend all we are learning and what hindsight this will bring.

Reflecting back to six months ago, there were many of us that didn’t have much of a clue about what the rest of 2020 would look like and how we would have to adjust to a more virtual world. We’ve updated our ways of working, connecting with colleagues, socializing with friends, networking with those in our industry, or looking for a new job.

Microsoft suggested that we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in about five months. For example: MS Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet have become the new way to host networking sessions, work meetings, and “chats” with colleagues; Tele-med appointments became the norm for routine or non-911 emergency doctor appointments; curbside pickup at grocery stores and food to-go orders via online ordering became the new normal (they existed before but saw tremendous growth in number of users).

We also had to learn how to create engaging and interactive ways to connect solely through a screen. We are already Zoom fatigued and wondering how online meetings have zapped our energy so differently than in person. It turns out, looking at ourselves and trying to talk to a group is a lot for our brains to process.

The Atlantic shares a great article about why the Zoom social life might feel so draining, saying that “Attempting to translate your old social habits to Zoom or FaceTime is like going vegetarian and proceeding to glumly eat a diet of just tofurkey”. No offense to vegetarians, of course.

You could argue though, that we’ve all been interacting via screens for years with the dominance of social media channels – whether it was posting our thoughts in 140 characters on Twitter, or sharing photos and videos of our artisanal sandwiches/cute kid/pet pictures on Facebook. But this seems different. Times are different and we will not be going back soon.

In this interim, many people are trying to make the best of the situation and are figuring out ways to connect. We will always need human connection (and without the germs, even better).

What about our single friends? If they don’t have anyone in the house to already drive them crazy, then where can they go to meet new people and/or possibly love interests?

While many experts are trying to predict the outcomes of this global shift, it may be hard to know what will change permanently. We know many industries are experiencing major disruptions – online dating apps being one of them.

According to Digital Trends, Tinder still ranks as one of the top dating apps. However, now that people are sheltering in place and/or social distancing, there’s a new app taking over as a way to “meet” someone a little faster, while also allowing you to stay behind the screen, sans mask.

Slide is a video dating app that changes your first-date frustrations into real connections and instant chemistry. Explore video profiles, go on first dates via Video Calls at your fingertips, and find that chemistry before dating IRL.”

So, while Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge play quarantine catch-up, Slide is stealing their market share.

How? With video.

Slide recognized the massive success of short-form video platforms like TikTok, and have translated it to dating. They focus on features like:

  • “Vibe Check”, which gives you the option to video chat immediately after matching with someone to see if there’s chemistry. This will save you from long or misinterpreted text conversations and money you may have spent on that first date.
  • A video-first approach that lets you see the real people behind the profiles so you can pass if they aren’t really who they say they are.
  • AI-assisted creation of “future bae” profiles that help suggest your best matches and spare you extra swipes. If Netflix can find similar suggestions…

As of August 2020, the Department of Labor and Statistics estimates about 13.6 million people are currently unemployed and searching for a new j-o-b. Is it possible that some of these newer ways of connecting online could be included in how we network for a new job/career opportunity?

For example, instead of sending a connection or networking request on LinkedIn, what if we could send a quick video about our story, or what we’d love to learn from that person, or how we’d like to connect?

Would that create a faster, better, possibly more genuine connection?

This would seem worth exploring as many job connections are created by in-person networking or reaching real people vs. solely online applications, behind a screen. Some other formats that have seen increased use are Marco Polo for video chats (you don’t have to both be available at the same time) and FaceTime group calls.

It might be worth exploring how short-form video platforms could assist job seekers in networking, outreach, and connecting with others. These are just some ideas as we continue to watch this digital transformation unfold.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen overnight

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Minimalism doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything this instant – you can get similar benefits from starting on smaller spaces.

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Minimal desk with laptop, cup, books, and plant.

Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in 2019. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1. Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2. Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3. Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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Opinion Editorials

Your goals are more complicated than generalized platitudes, and that’s okay

(OPINION / EDITORIALS) When the tough times get going, “one size fits all” advice just won’t cut it. Your goals are more specific than the cookie cutter platitudes.

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Split paths in the forest like goals - general advice just doesn't fit.

‘Saw.’ – “Vulgar, uneducated wisdom based in superstition”, according to the good volunteer compilers at Wikipedia. See also: ‘aphorism’, ‘platitude’, and ‘entrepreneurial advice’. I’m not saying there’s no good advice for anyone anymore, that’s plain not true. SMART Goals are still relevant, there’s a plethora of cheaper, freeer, more easily accessible tutorials online, and consensus in April-ville is that Made to Stick is STILL a very helpful book.

But when I hear the same ‘pat on the head’ kind of counsel that I got as a kid presented by a serious institution and/or someone intending on being taken seriously by someone who isn’t their grade school-aged nephew, I roll my eyes. A lot.

“Each failure is an opportunity!” “Never give up!” “It’s not how many times you fall!”, yeah, okay, that’s all lovely. And it IS all very true. My issue is… These sunshiney saws? They’re not very specific. And just like a newspaper horoscope, they’re not meant to be (not that I’ll stop reading them).

Example: You’ve been jiggling the rabbit ears of your SEO for months, to no avail. No one’s visiting your site, there’ve been no calls, and the angel investor cash is starting to dip closer to falling from heaven with each passing day.

Does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you use your last bit of cash to take on an expert?

Or does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you go back to R&D and find out that no one actually WANTED your corncob scented perfume to begin with; algorithm tweaking and Demeter Fragrances be damned?

This is the thing about both your goals you make and the guidance you take—they have to be specific. I’m not saying your parents can put a sock in it or anything. I’m thrilled that I’m part of a family that’ll tell me to keep on keeping on. But as far as serious, practical input goes… One size fits all just leaves too much room for interpretation.

When you’re stuck, behind, or otherwise at odds with your growth, are you asking the right questions? Are you sure of what the problem actually is? Do you know whether it’s time to give up a failure of a business and ‘keep pushing’ in the sense of starting another one, or whether you’ve got a good thing on hand that needs you to ‘never say die’ in the sense of giving it more tweaking and time?

No one should have stagnant goals. A pool of gross sitting water is only attractive to mosquitoes and mold. ‘I wanna be rich’ as your business’s raison d’être is a setup for a story about the horrors of literal-minded genies, not an intention you can actually move upon. But that doesn’t mean you need to go hard the other way and get lost in a nebulous fog of easily-published aphorisms.

To be fair, it’s not as if saying ‘Ask the right questions’ is exponentially more helpful than your average feel-good refreshment article, since… This editorial column doesn’t know you or what pies you have your fingers in. But if I can at least steer you away from always running towards the overly general and into an attempt at narrowing down what your real problems are, I’ll consider this a job well done.

Save saws for building community tables.

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