Monthly Archives: August 2010

Seven Big Questions: The MLS Edition

Riders on the storm....

I’m honored to be asked to give the closing remarks at the Council of MLS conference in Chicago this year at the end of September/early October.  Since I’m supposed to be wrapping up the discussions of those few days, I can’t actually prepare anything ahead of time.  But I can sort of cheat by putting out to the industry some of the bigger issues/questions I’ve been thinking about, in the hopes that the speakers, panelists, and participants at CMLS this year might talk about some of these things.

These Seven Big Questions represent some of the really fundamental challenges facing the MLS industry as a whole.  I do not (yet) pretend to have all the answers, or even any answer (at least, not in public, heh) but I did want to start posing them to my readers.  For those attending CMLS, please give some consideration to thinking about these questions.

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Now is Not the Time to be Reactive

Just got off the phone with a broker friend of mine who thinks I’m plainly nuts with all the fearmongering and paranoia about things that will never come to pass.  My recent series on real estate policy has him alternatively dismissive and wanting not to get out of bed in the morning.  So I’d like to tell all of you what I told him.

The reason why I’m being such a chicken little is not to have the industry up in a panic.  It’s to encourage everyone to start planning.  Now is not the time to be reactive, but the time to be proactive in thinking through some of the issues, making contingency plans, and putting a solid strategy in place so that you will know what to do if any of these things should come to pass.

And if none of them materialize, what have you lost?  Keep on keeping on with what you’ve been doing.

People often ask me what the hell I do for a living.  I do corporate strategy.  Part of that is precisely this kind of contingency planning in the event of X.  No matter how many gurus want to pretend that putting up a Facebook page is corporate strategy, it ain’t.  That’s more in the line of tactics and methods.  Strategy is about looking at the overall environment, thinking about competitive factors, assessing capabilities, identifying areas of strength and weakness, and tailoring a plan for imposing your will on the competition, while making contingency plans.

So some free consulting advice for my readers.

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Carnival of Real Estate Policy

It’s time, y’all.

Given all of the energy and action of late around housing, housing finance, and future of homeownership by the Federal government, I think it’s time the (and others!) put together a Carnival of Real Estate Policy.

I’ve organized one and will host the first one here on Notorious.  Submission deadline is 8/31/2010 and this inaugural edition will be posted on 9/5/2010.

I’m looking for blogposts that address the intersection of housing, housing finance, and government policy at all levels: Federal, state and local.  The posts can be mostly about housing, impact on price or sales, impact on consumers, impact on the industry, etc. but should at least address housing policy questions.  They can also be more about the politics — whether such and such a policy is a good idea or a bad one, or whether this policy or that one has a chance of success, or wider political implications, whatever.

This is the first edition; if there is enough energy around the topic, I’ll look to make this a regular monthly carnival, hopefully with other blogs hosting it as we go forward.

How to Submit

First, write a blogpost and schedule it for publication around 9/5.  Then email me the post and the permalink to  I’ll read it to make sure the post is on-point, then include it in the actual Carnival Edition post.  Readers will be sent to your blog to read the actual post.

Let’s get the conversation going on this all-important topic.  Looking forward to your thoughts.


Welcome to the New *#&@%@ Normal!

New Normal in Housing

It’s a chilly, rainy day here in New Jersey under iron grey skies.  If where you are is sunny, and you’re feeling happy and optimistic, and you want to stay that way, let me strongly suggest that you not finish reading this post.  This is where I engage in paranoid fearmongering speculation.

You have been warned.

Actual post continues after the jump.

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Book Review: Click, The Magic of Instant Connections

Click: The Magic of Instant Connections is a slim little volume that resists easy classification.  I suppose you could call it a book on psychology, as it explores a particular phenomenon that isn’t well-researched: how people connect with each other.  From Chapter 1:

This book is about those mysterious moment — when we click in life.  Those moments when we are fully engaged and feel a certain natural chemistry or connection with a person, place, or activity

Except it’s about far more than those “mysterious moments”.  And as it turns out, I think Click has a good deal of applicability to the modern practice of real estate in a bunch of ways.

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