Gain Control in a Slippery World

Challenges are inevitable when working in the real estate business. It's time to regain control when hurdles come your way.

August 1, 2010

Whenever I catch a glimpse of the live webcam showing crude oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, it reminds me of how little control we have over some aspects of our lives—and how important it is to control the things we can.

The oil spill, in addition to being an immense national tragedy, is an apt metaphor for the way many Americans have seen their financial stability slip away. Some have literally experienced ruptures in their lives and, like all those BP engineers, they don’t know how to close the gap.

If you’ve worked in distressed sales—and is there anyone in this business today who hasn’t?—you know what it means to sellers when you can help them regain some measure of control. Back in March, I chatted with Sacramento practitioner Julie Jalone about this. Nearly 60 percent of Sacramento area sales fall into the distressed category today. “If you can get through it,” Julie told me, “sellers really look at you as a hero.”

That sounded good to me. Who among us wouldn’t want our work to be regarded as heroic?

And while no magazine article can replace experience in the field—especially a field where the rules keep changing—for this month’s cover story, we decided to look at the hurdles that stand between you and the closing table and to seek out the best advice we could find on how to overcome those hurdles. Writer Mariwyn Evans didn’t focus only on short sales; she covered the gamut from appraisal issues to title troubles, problems that can affect even a traditional transaction.

While reading the issue, don’t miss this year’s Top 100 Companies package.

To augment our ranking of the top 100 residential brokerages in the country, senior editor Wendy Cole interviewed some of the owners who’ve achieved sales growth in the past year. Talk about taking control: These brokers are refusing to cede to tough times. Instead, they’re looking for opportunities and adapting their businesses accordingly.

Meanwhile, as we wrap this issue, we all continue to watch for hopeful signs from the Gulf of Mexico. One of our editors, Erica Christoffer, traveled to the Gulf Coast in mid-June to meet with practitioners who are dealing with the crisis head-on. Everyone Erica met on her trip was anxious for a resolution.

Until that comes, they’re taking control of what they can—including getting involved in beach cleanup. Erica’s special report will appear in the September issue, but you can read about her experiences now at our Speaking of Real Estate blog.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is executive editor of publications for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor in chief of REALTOR® Magazine.