Blowing the foreclosure opportunity?

Someone sent me this image the other day. It’s the back panel of a Realtor’s moving truck. I thought about it often as I flew around the country last week.


Look, I know everyone’s got to make a living. I am also aware that conclusions based on style are useless and some may like this ad. But I keep thinking about how our industry, right now, as I write, seems to be squandering the chance to reconnect with a cynical marketplace, to redeem the excesses of the past — both perceived and real — with discretion and excellence in the face of crisis.

The foreclosure opportunity is real. Realtors who know — or take the time to learn — the intricacies of the foreclosure process can help clean up the housing mess. They can also materially impact the lives of families in a positive way.

But in my opinion, pitches like the one above (which is just a sampling of what we see all the time) take this “opportunity” to extend the stereotype of the opportunistic, tasteless Realtor still lodged in too many consumer minds.

Leveraging a child’s image … really?

Yet another designation … please, please, for the love of god, no.

On a truck? Dude, we can do better.

There are very few agents that are truly qualified to handle pre-foreclosure counseling, short sales or REO brokerage. The gentleman driving this truck may indeed be one of them. But I suspect most of the real pros are among a silent minority that quietly work this market based on demonstrated mastery built over time.

If you’re a broker, or running a brokerage company in a market hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, there are things you can do. Hire a short sale specialist to help your agents and their clients navigate this process. Have them host a forum on your website where consumer questions are answered credibly, without a sales vibe. Display a feed of foreclosures on your company’s website so buyers and sellers get a full picture of what’s happening on your market.

We’re working with a couple of companies to put similar practices into place. It takes work and investment. There are no shortcuts.

But the expectation is a dividend of trust paid for years to come.

— Brian Boero