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My Heart May Be Two Sizes Too Small

Every now and then, something strikes me absolutely the wrong way. Okay, maybe more than every now and then. Maybe more like every few minutes. Some things roll on by, some truly stick in my craw – and I mean, “private jets to Washington to beg for money” kind of annoying.

While I could be missing the point, I always had assumed that Inman’s Real Estate Connect conferences were geared in large part to real estate agents and brokers. I’m crazy that way. Put the words in the title and sure enough, I’ll think that’s the actual meaning.

Which is why I really confused by this almost certainly well-intentioned offer …

In the spirit of keeping our community strong, we want to extend a special opportunity to any industry professional that has recently lost their job to attend Connect and take advantage of this unique networking opportunity.

Clearly, this offer is meant for those who are connected to the real estate industry – just not on the sales side. Because those of us on the sales side don’t “lose” our jobs. We either opt to remain in business or to not remain in business. Unless the person in question is a part-timer who lost their gig working at Wendy’s that allowed them the financial freedom to list their cousin’s house in the MLS.

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This strikes me as awfully similar to the “Slow Day Specials” I keep seeing at the local car wash. My own translation … “Business sucks, so we’ll knock $3 off the price if you’ll stop your car here.” Look around at the advertising these days and tell me how often you see that type of theme.

But back to Inman RE Connect.

Since real estate agents and brokers presumably are a large portion of the target audience, and since we don’t have the ability to lose our jobs and thus take advantage of this offer, maybe the folks at Inman ought to have some other, more real-estate specific, possibilities …

We understand it’s tough being a real estate agent. So if you’re one of the 400,000 members of the National Association of Realtors who did not and will not receive a commission check this year, we’re here to help.

That’s not a bad start. Maybe even throw in a line that says you’ll make up for the cost of the conference, the airfare and the reasonably priced NYC hotel room on the first transaction you close based on what you learn and the networking you do at Connect. Agents LOVE that line. Hell, we’ll buy almost anything when that kind of logic is presented to us.

It could just be that I’m cynical. Or maybe it’s that the sheer number of agents unable to put food on their families’ table has risen exponentially but, given the nature of commission sales, there’s no government bailout – or even an Inman discount – in sight for us 1099ers. “Can’t cut it? Go get a real job.”

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Not that a real estate agent bailout is a good idea in any way, shape or form. Quite the opposite, at least for those who want to see higher standards and to see those who maintain those standards thrive with less of the onesy-twosy competition out there.

The barrier for entry is low. The watermark for survival is much, much higher.

In case anyone’s interested …

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Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Bob

    December 5, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Oh dude, I busted a gut on that one.

    If it will make you feel better, I’ll hire you for a week, then let you go.

  2. teresa boardman

    December 5, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Jonathan there is a misconception out there that the best and most professional agents will survive this and the lousy ones will leave. I am not finding that to be true. A new batch of specialists have cropped up. They work with banks, they don’t market homes, they don’t remove the sign when the sale is over, they don’t return phone calls and I just had one lie to me and her lies hurt my clients.

    Like the post, agree with what you are saying. Wondering how many agents will be eligible for food stamps.

  3. teresa boardman

    December 5, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Oh forgot to mention. No way is your heart too small dude. 🙂

  4. Jeff Bernheisel

    December 5, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Hey Jonathan,

    Jeff from Inman here…

    Normally I don’t comment on posts like this, but feel the need to clarify a couple things.

    You are correct in that this specific offer is geared a little more toward our industry partners. Our sponsors, our advertisers, marketing partners, etc. But, if you were an agent that was working for a brokerage that closed its doors, or downsized, or whatever, feel free to contact us and take us up on the offer. We know times are tough for a lot of people right now, and we’re doing everything we can to help. (See below:)

    You are not correct when you say that there is no Inman discount “or bailout” for 1099’ers. We’ve offered some pretty steep discounts through NAR, several Realtor associations, Point2, ActiveRain, and will even have a similar offer here on AG shortly as well. We’ve also held our pricing instead of raising it like we normally do.

    To say we’re not trying to help is laughable in my opinion and we would NEVER have the attitude of “can’t cut it?, get a real job”. You guys are OUR clients, and we will do everything in our power to help where we can. I’m sorry we can’t give away tickets to everyone that can’t afford to make it.

    But, realizing the importance of this event, people are finding a way to come.
    We have over 850 already registered for this event, which in my opinion will probably be the best and most important connect event we’ve ever held. I hope you can make it…

    Take care,
    Jeff
    Jeff.Bernheisel@inman.com

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    December 5, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Hey, Jeff … didn’t mean to imply that the “get a real job” was Inman’s attitude. I know that it isn’t. I put two separate thoughts too close together. My mistaje.

    But I do believe there are many, many others who do have that thought when it comes to us on the sales side of things.

    Incidentally, if you are an agent and your brokerage closes its doors, you simply move on the next one down the block. You have to, because there’s no such thing as unemployment benefits for us. If you’re not in the business because your brokerage closed, it’s because you made the decision to walk away.

    You also can’t be downsized, though it can be suggested that you move on if you don’t produce.

    I’ll unfortunately be missing this one … I have an appointment with a Mouse with the kids for the same cost. They’ve earned the reward for putting up with a dad in this business.

  6. Benn Rosales

    December 5, 2008 at 11:17 am

    @Jeff & Jonathan

    I can totally see both sides to what’s being said here, and something came to mind while I was reading.

    One thing that really hit home when I was at connect SF was just how big the profession as whole really was. I mean, ‘real estate’ as a business is vast, laterally and vertically- When unemployed or job hunting, one of the things you’re told is network and be out in front of as many people you know, your 40 hour work week is now job hunting. So imagine you’ve been laid off in the tech world, and could be open to the opportunity of working within the real estate world, inman would be an awesome place to be. I suspect the same to be true for builders looking to parter to avoid going out of business, brokers looking to merge in order to hold off bankruptcy, developers looking for investors to complete projects in limbo and on and on.

    But just so everyone knows, we all know most of the folks that makeup inman news, and I’m willing to give the bene of the doubt where their sincerity is concerned.

    I also on the other hand get what Jonathan is saying- it’s just a really crappy world for a lot of folks in a lot of places right now, period.

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