SE MN Real Estate Summary

If you’re a Realtor in SE Minnesota you get a newsletter every week updating you on the status of the industry in your area.  Personally, I’m sick of constantly reading that I don’t realize the dangers to my industry.  Without belittling the true giant disruptors that approach (and I’m aware of), I don’t think someone who doesn’t sell real estate knows the most dangerous threat to our industry is in the mirror when we get up in the morning.  We are constantly berated to reduce our commission without sacrificing our services.  We are surrounded by colleagues that reduce commission to get a listing with no thought of how it will effect the future for everyone with our occupation.  We see billboards with guarantees that seem too good to be true – because they are.  We started to lose the battle with moral solvency in our industry when it became about how much money we could make.  Some Realtors view success as what makes them more money whether or not it harms the industry in the process.  It’s cliché, but success in service is how many people you’ve truly helped.  We get to do it for a living.

At the college I attended to obtain my license, the educator mentioned that the reason the Agency Relationships in Real Estate transactions form exists is to explain to the sheep that we are the wolf.  We know more – it’s why we have jobs.  It’s also why the code of ethics exists – to protect us from each other, and to protect the public (sheep) from the wolves (us). I just don’t believe selling your own listing to your own buyer before the public sees it (pocket listings) is in the best interest of your seller.  I don’t believe there should have to be asterisks or fine print when you market yourself to anyone. 

The moment our focus is anything but service in a service industry, we’ve lost ourselves.

Our area has gone through some changes recently, with our local MLS dissolving and/or merging with NorthstarMLS which primarily serves areas north of here.

Some of the objections to the switch have been proven merit-less and some have been confirmed.

An example of the former is the stark contrast of Northstar’s leadership.  John Mosey’s openness to listen to what we want is the exact opposite of their former leader, John Smaby’s bullying style.  We went from ‘Fine, we won’t fund our portion of SASI, then.’ (Smaby) as a retaliatory response to us not wanting to merge at the time to ‘We’ll see if we can make that work for you.’ (Mosey).  It’s a promising sign of the future.  I’m excited for leadership that doesn’t think some of us are crazy, and listens to us even when it doesn’t affect the world they live in.

An example of the latter is Matrix’s very obvious inferiority to the software we currently were using as an independent MLS.  No, it’s not a learning curve.  No, it’s not because we’re stubborn.  Forgive us for liking a software that was built for a wide, flat screen monitor, not a square tube style.  Forgive us for not wanting MLPS/ST. PAUL fields on our screen all the time.  Forgive us for wanting to see our back-end changes go live instantly.  Forgive us for feeling that Flex’s system was more intuitive.  I was worried about the software after my experience with it on the tech committee when we chose Flex over Matrix years ago.  I was even more worried when I brought it up at the International Event Center meeting last year before the merge happened and was met with “They have more advanced technology than we currently do.”  We now understand that they meant third-party apps (which we could have acquired without merging), not the actual utility we all use daily for our real estate businesses.

Opinions deserve opposition.  Facts don’t.  It is the leadership of our Association’s job to represent those of us that want FlexMLS to be an optional software just as much as they represented fringe agent’s interests when they pushed so hard for the merger.

I don’t think less of you if you disagree.  I just believe everyone’s interests in our Association of Realtors should be represented equally.

~ Justin

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