Real estate words of past and future

Earlier this week, Stefan asked for words to describe the decade now nearing its end.

Many answered here.

My words are real estate focused, and the list is short:


It is likely that goldfish have no awareness of the world outside the bowl. It is unreasonable to expect a 3 year-old to understand that the world does not revolve completely around him.

These are facts that only evolution or age can change.

The real estate industry has endured both these past ten years. It became more aware of its connection to the world outside its own metaphorical fishbowl.

Of course, the Internet had a profound influence on this. It allowed the industry to present itself to the world. Many within the industry gazed into the monitor at their reflection. And for the first time perhaps, saw themselves as others do. When the shock, the disgust and the embarrassment passed, they set out to alter that perception. For many, this was, is and will be a saving grace.


War, economics, politics and the liberation of opinions, data and information are just some of the things that have shaken housing’s foundation. The real estate industry you work in today is new in strange ways.

Sure, there have been down markets before. But this one is different. It’s having compounding effects, like a fire following an earthquake.

This is hard, but for those with an abiding commitment to this business, it’s a great thing.

You leave this decade bruised but better.


Those who give, get. People understand this. But the sentiment often alludes an industry.  We’ve used words like “transparency”, “publishing” and marketing to describe actions that are, in some ways, simple acts of generosity.

It matters little what forces drove our industry to participate in such changes. The generous amounts of listing data, market data, and decision support content that exist today didn’t come easy. It took a considerable amount of cajoling by the few to inspire the many. That’s fine. It’s how it works.

The result, though, matters: Competitive organizations are collaborating with each other. Some fuse their proprietary code. Merge their platforms. And share information to create better products. Others simply publish ideas, techniques or opinions – bits of intelligence shared with others. The reasons so many in our industry do this today are unimportant. What is, however, is what we’re learning through the process.


All the world’s a stage, right? On it, we have become actors of one kind or another. Writers. Builders. Critics. We can comment, “like”, review, rank and influence each other toward better outcomes.

Lennon once waxed on about giving people more power. Had his life not been cut short, he’d have read today about Zuckerberg pledging half his wealth to charity – one of many young success stories – people – dedicating their time and energy to enable social good.

Within our own industry, a bar is being raised right in front of our eyes as the pouring out of ideas, challenges and indictments force those who care to react and respond.

Power, to the people.


Recently I was in a meeting where the owner of large real estate organization referred a group of vendors working together to provide a solution to his company as a “dream team.”

In many other discussions, the once despised or feared “alternative” brokerages are now welcomed into the “traditional” conversation. Or, at least, they are paid the compliment of having some of the edgy ideas they’ve advanced stolen.

The traditional, nuclear real estate family is no longer a one-dimensional entity. All are welcome. Included. Part of a wondrous community that is a great American institution.


For all the work our industry needs to do to improve, I believe, right now, that it’s better than it has ever been before.

And I’m pumped about what’s coming next.

Some of you are busy attempting to create the products and services that will drive that “next.” Others will use these products and employ these services to bring it to life. Still others will write about it and provide insights to improve upon it.

If the last ten years is any indication, it’s clear you all should stick around.