Recently, I attended a real estate leadership conference hosted by Brad Inman and his Inman organization. The conference was by invitation only for real estate leaders across the United States and was branded Inman Disconnect in the Desert as there were no name badges or noted hierarchy, and was held in the desert of Palm Springs. To begin, Brad Inman did a tremendous job of setting the tone so the egos of executives whose organizations compete with each other would be set aside, and attendees could have an open discussion on topics that are of importance to, not only the real estate industry, but also the socio-economic future of our country.

The premise of the conference was to gather industry thought leaders and have them openly discuss concerns that many have with the transparency of the real estate transaction, appropriate standards for REALTOR® members, commitments to improving local communities and the lack of available affordable housing, to name 4 of the 12 issues discussed. I personally have not been to a conference that I was not responsible for putting on or speaking at in some time, so the ability to just attend and participate as a guest, along with great weather in March, made it enjoyable. As an observer and ongoing student of not only business principles but of human nature, it was easy to see that there were two types of disconnects that were occurring. One being the verb usage – where you “disengage”, isolate or separate yourself from an activity or a thought process. The other, disconnect the noun, which we hear too often from large companies about their customers or a government and its citizens who are “disconnected” from the realities of their individual needs and desires.

I witnessed both, but it is the disconnect from what customers and clients want from their leaders in real estate, and what the leaders take a stand on, that I’ll briefly write about. Prior to the event, Inman polled its large online audience to ask them questions about what their concerns are for the housing industry and what they have witnessed their leadership get involved with. Here are two example questions and the answers:

What are the biggest social and economic issues affecting the real estate industry right now?

Out of 22 possible answers; affordable housing received the largest percentage of votes with 38.98%

However, when asked What social and economic issues has your leadership taken a stand on?

Again with the same 22 possible answers only 8.87% of respondents responded with the answer of affordable housing.

That disconnect is troubling as there are not enough meaningful conversations happening about the construction of new affordable housing. As per realtor.com, in March of 2018, the median listing price is up 8%, number of days on the market is down 7% and active listings for sale are down 8% over the year. It’s even worse when you look behind the data and discover that it is mostly homes priced over $350,000 that are being newly listed for sale. The price of homes for entry level housing is increasing at a faster pace and continues to outpace wage growth. It is beginning to look like a desert of doubt for many individuals wanting to own part of their American dream and purchase their first home.

There was no shortage of quality leaders attending the conference as it pertains to the active role they have towards their company’s goals. Good leadership is about influencing individuals to move and take action on the way people think about what is achievable, desirable and also necessary. Those leadership traits tied together determine the direction of a business, an association, government entity or society. We need more leaders taking an active role to influence change on how we are addressing affordable housing for a growing population. Please view one of my previous posts on this topic.

To read more about the topics of discussion at the Inman Disconnect Conference visit here

All the best,

Peter