The Perfect Storm Rages On

 By: David Reinholtz
It wasn't all that long ago when the real estate market was flourishing. For many seasoned veterans, it was a time that they had long worked hard for and they were reaping the benefits of those long hours, weekend days away from the family, and the countless calls and showings and listings when times were a bit rough. It was the culmination of a lifetime of dedication and perseverance.

Not even the band of wagon jumpers could rain on that parade and we, as an industry, were so caught up in the positives that most of us refused to see, or simply missed the signs, that it would come to an end someday. After all, when times are wonderful, why would we want to think about what might go wrong?

Then the wheels came off

Ultimately, though, the old adage proved right once more -what goes up must come down. The market took hits from more than one front and they came at us in waves, one after another, and continue to beat down on the market and as we look back, all we can do is summarize what's transpired during the past few years as the perfect storm. The storm that simply refuses to relent, move on, or let up.

Defaulted mortgages, adjusting rates, and property values plummeting was the tip of this proverbial iceberg. Unemployment rising and an economy that seems destined to stagnate for a long time have continued to pound the market, removing millions of potential buyers from the market, leaving sellers and foreclosed homes stuffing the market with under-priced and under-valued homes.

Too many cooks in the kitchen

And still, with all the trouble the industry is facing, it seems that there are more cooks in the kitchen for the dwindling market and revenue. As millions of Americans have lost their jobs and are seeing a bleak work market, many of them turn to the real estate market as a potential way to take control of their financial futures. They hear to promises from Washington, D.C. about how the market is rebounding, how the incentives for people to buy are coming, how TARP is working, and all that political rhetoric.

They don't see the reality; times are changing and when people don't change with them, then the trouble continues to brew for those stagnant souls. The reality is that even through all of these fires, through these ragingly difficult times, we could survive. The strong real estate agents and brokers, the ones with experience and perseverance, would survive, and we have. But now we face the next wave of the Perfect Storm and this one can threaten all of us.

Technology sticks it nose into the fray

As if times weren't bad enough, the traditional agents and brokers who have worked so hard to build their clientele and identities, who work for the biggest and most reputable names in the industry, are facing a technological shift that can leave us all reeling, even long after the long-touted 'recovery' actually begins. This article is not about the technology -that is covered in more detail in the next article- but rather how technology is the silent killer, the wind that is ravaging the calm, or the illusion of calm.

If you haven't noticed the impact that the Internet has had on businesses across the world, then it's time that you woke up to this reality and faced it head-on. If you're a dinosaur and still want -or need- to compete in our modern society, then you can no longer hide from technology. The Internet has changed how people shop for and buy goods and services, and it's changing how they find homes.

When you add up all that we've endured for the past three years, and you're still kicking in this business, then consider yourself a survivor -you will endure. But it's time to face the next phase of this storm and if you don't have a web presence or are not technologically savvy, then you might very well be in trouble in the future.
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