My Holiday Wish for NAR in 2010, Posted by Ron

We celebrated Thanksgiving a month ago and are about to step over the threshold into 2010. As I get older, it seems like the holidays are closer and closer together and the years get shorter. This one is no exception. It is simply unbelievable that we are already here at 2010.

In truth, this topic was suggested. It is a great topic, but as a Realtor®, we both know how hard it is to ‘stay in the lines.’

This topic is particularly thought provoking, because 2009 was a year with accomplishments and brutal challenges. As an association, that is together, we logged an amazing number of successes: a permanent ban on banks in real estate, extension and expansion of the homebuyer’s tax credit, launching our consumer website, the establishment of the Realtors Property Resource (RPR), delivery of the Right Tools, Right Now initiative, extension of the higher conforming loan limits and the selection of the Game Changers winners. By any measure this is a bold and impressive list of accomplishments.

On the other hand, it has been an extremely challenging year for us as individual Realtors®. Yes, sales statistics show improvement in most markets, specifically more sales, but prices continue to correct.

What has changed is the work required between the sales agreement and closing. It has increased exponentially. 30 years ago when my real estate career began, the signing of sales agreement would lead to closing 99 percent of the time. Now, that percentage is closer to 80 percent, especially this past year. In every instance, the challenge has been financing. 30 years ago 90 percent of the work and time required in a transaction was prior to sales agreement. Once it was signed the details were clerical. Today, 60 percent of my transaction time is spent on pre-qualification, search, and negotiation. 40 percent of my time is now spent on inspections, FINANCING, APPRAISALS, conflict resolution, title search issues, closing logistics, and last minute lender requirements. In the digital age, how has the process become so ‘inefficient?’

So, my wish for the association is that our members engage the tools and the information that are in front of us. And that we look forward, patiently, to the future of our association and our industry, particularly with things like RPR on the horizon.
We have been through the worst of the economic storm. We thought this was going to be a 10k endurance event; it has become an economic marathon. We know there is finish line, but we still cannot see it. We are really ‘digging down deep’ to get there.

This business challenge has evidenced itself in the mindset and the health of Realtors®.
We are told that” what does not kill us, makes us stronger.’ We are now strong enough.
We as people and as professionals are ‘can do’ individuals and team members. We are positive and confident, but mature. We are also pragmatic and goal oriented. (We are also tired and the stress has evidenced itself in the overall health of many of our members).
There is a life lesson, not just an economic lesson, for us: Marathons are completed one step at a time. They are about endurance and persistence. Results driven Realtors® are not very patient. We want it yesterday. It is coming tomorrow; or rather we will get there tomorrow.

This market is changing and improving. 2010 will be the year of improved sales activity, but also an improvement in average price. It will be a true turning point.
All the best, brother and sister Realtors®. Our best days are before us. – Ron Phipps, 2010 NAR President-Elect