Abstracts & Observations: In down market, relationships rule the day

We read a lot these days about the “consolidation” of the real estate industry. Usually, that means that the big fish are gobbling up the little fish, and that’s a natural part of business everywhere. Technology and other processes are being used to improve efficiencies. From a positive perspective, that means working smarter in an industry with historically narrow margins. For the naysayer, that means jobs are being eliminated. Both are true—such is business.

But don’t believe for one second that everything we’ve come to know and believe in the real estate industry has gone by the wayside. It hasn’t. Even the largest firm, using the very latest technology, will never be able to accommodate an eccentric county clerk’s unusual rules when trying to juggle thousands of counties. Even the very latest technology can’t provide a common sense-based reality check that an abstractor, appraiser or title agent with decades of experience can. Things are changing, to be sure. I welcome the change, and the world is indeed getting smaller. But relationships, from vendor/customer, peer-to-peer and so on, still rule the day in this business. Use new technologies, work more efficiently where you can, to be sure. But never forget that there’s a person on the other end of that process, and that he or she is the greatest asset to be found.