Friday Flash: The things we accept

And so the year begins, as always, with a complex of hope, fear, goals and renunciations.

We turn the page. But in real estate we also start the year with a ritual resignation to certain uncomfortable realities.

I do it myself. I make an agreement, barely registered in my conscious let alone spoken, to go along with a lot of things in this industry.

It bugs me. Does it bug you?

I used to air this out a lot more here, railing against the prevalent stupidity we tolerate, or preaching on the sacred calling of supporting homeownership.

I believed, and believe, every word. But it wasn’t constructive. Helping good companies and good agents win was, and remains, the important thing. So I toned it down.

But it still troubles me. So let me state here just a few of the things we didn’t talk about around our industry holiday table but should probably confront openly before getting too far into 2020.

  • Hundreds of thousands Realtors will do not a single transaction this year.
  • Many thousands more will do one or two, dabbling in something that deserves passion, commitment and professional mastery.
  • Perhaps 500,000 (call me conservative) pin-wearing members of the National Association of Realtors have no business doing something so important as real estate.
  • Large numbers of bad, unproductive agents are often viewed as a profit center.
  • The software powering the country’s MLSs is (with some exceptions) inexcusably bad because of vendor arrogance and MLS’ need to keep dues low enough to keep the folks I reference above in the game.
  • A whole generation of agents have no idea how to sell a house in a buyers’ market.
  • Most real estate technology initiatives are, in reality, marketing campaigns. Those selling them to the real estate agent masses (again, above) know this.

There’s more, but you get the idea. We accept these things, defer the maintenance, move along. And it has been OK, because things kept on rolling, year after year, without a breakdown.

But it’s different now. What we accept are, fundamentally, weaknesses that others are exploiting with increasing effectiveness. The issues, as I have said, are being forced.

At this point, acceptance is peril.