This week I attended a real estate conference that was attended by approximately five thousand real estate professionals. The function included top CEOs and Managing Directors of some of the leading real estate companies and brokerages. There were tech experts from Google and Zillow, economic authorities from CNBC and Bloomberg, and many industry veterans sharing their intelligence with all.
I love attending such venues. It allows me to meet and hear from not only individual local real estate agents – who have their feet on the ground in their marketplace, but also the senior executives, who navigate macro and broader levels of the business. Some of the many topics included - updates on the state of the industry, market conditions, forecasts for 2020 and beyond, housing statistics, economic and market condition outlooks, current real estate trends, new authentic innovators and disruptors, unique industry strategies, existing and developing technologies – basically, everything that a successful real estate agent needs to know.
The atmosphere was energetic and motivating, as many contributed, and looked to absorb the sessions and education. I was speaking with a woman at the conference, and I handed her my business card as we were departing one another. She surprisingly looked at my card and asked me, “If you are a mortgage guy, what are you doing here?” She realized that as much as my business is “referral-based” from professionals, this was more of an instructional gathering than a networking event, so that couldn’t be my primary objective. She was right. Although I do maintain an active real estate license, my primary business, as you know, is mortgage banking. As I explained to her, my motivation was not to get new business, but to equip myself, my clients, and my business partners, with critical real estate information and insights.
I spend a great deal of time speaking with people - advising them, guiding them, and helping them make the best financial decisions with their mortgage funding. These discussions are not only with consumers. I work with real estate, legal, financial, and other professionals with whom I share intelligence on not only “getting” a mortgage, but also apprising them on marketing, economic, and financial circumstances – as well as how best to incorporate homeownership into short term and long-term financial objectives. One cannot do that adequately without a steady commitment to learning everything about the industry and marketplace.
Although thousands of real estate professionals attended the conference from across the country, the small turnout compared to the actual amount of licensed real estate agents is telling. I am not reprimanding real estate agents at all; In fact, it is very much comparable to how the mortgage industry works, where there are hundreds of thousands of mortgage loan originators, but only a small percentage of those who invest in educating themselves on all of the components of the industry to best advise their clients.
As one industry expert said on stage, “Today, most consumers are more knowledgeable than half the agents in the marketplace.” Although that was my favorite line of the conference, we all knew it was a rhetorical jab at some of the uncommitted agents who get into the industry with the wrong intention and motivation. The bottom line is: markets have changed, consumers have changed – and those experts who are committed to their trade with an untiring level of service, integrity, and passion – are truly the ones that provide authentic value to the end-consumer. I was happy to be a part of this bunch.
Shout out and Happy Birthday to Heather Corrigan, Tamara Scheinman, and Josh Weisberg.
Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected]