“Build your network before you need it.” ~ Unknown
No that isn’t a technology quote (it actually may be but not to my meaning). It is a business fundamental in my opinion. The best time to develop key relationships is before you need them. With this in mind I decided to head to Dallas to the Five Star conference last week.
For those who don’t know Five Star is one of the preeminent distressed asset conferences in the country. It brings together a diverse cross section of industry professionals. Everything from realtors, to mortgage services, large institutional investors, government policy makers and much more.
I went with specific objectives to accomplish. For starters I wanted to make some connections and begin to develop relationships with asset management companies as well as bankers who are running their distressed asset sine. Secondly I wanted to meet with large institutional investors to get a better understanding of their needs and how we could fit in. And lastly I wanted to watch the Raiders go for two with almost no time left on the clock to win the game and I wanted to do it from a hotel bar (ok… That last one wasn’t on the list but it happened… And it was amazing.)
Bankers: I made some great contacts with people that I can nurture. It was a much more low key environment than in years past or at the peak of the REO business. But like most conferences and networking it actually isn’t as much about what you do at the conference as it is what you do after. The real key will be to invest in nurturing these contacts with regular follow up and really invest in the relationships so that if the need arises in the future I have already made the motional deposits in our friendship bank account so I can then make some withdrawals. (we all hate the friend we haven’t heard from in months but then wants us to help them move… Don’t be “that guy”).
Now I am a pretty positive person but also a pretty committed realist. That is the biggest reason I wanted to attend this conference now. I don’t think we are on the brink of a major real estate bubble. But historically our national real estate market has a correction about every 10 years, we have been going up (generally as a nation) since 2012. So it is just about time to start establishing some relationships to be prepared as the national hosing market moves into a more normalized phase.
Institutional Investors: I was interested in a couple of things here but the biggest was trying to evaluate their temperament. I think institutional investors can be a good indicator of what the next few years will hold. Are they getting skittish and backing away from real estate as an investment vehicle? Are they still seeing real estate as opportunistic or more normalized? Or are they actually backing away and taking some money off the table. I am happy to report that they were quite optimistic as a group. Some even expressing some optimism at a more “normal” market that could create some opportunities. Overall I didn’t hear any that were moving away from real estate as an asset class. To be fair though if they were I guess they wouldn’t be at this conference.
I just want to encourage you all to spend some time thinking about your business as a business. Sometimes we get so focused on working IN the business we forget to work ON the business. You could even schedule the time to really just mediate on what you see happening in your personal market and how you could adjust or tweak your business to prepare for that. Or maybe how to improve your listing presentation by 10%. Or how to increase your buyer lead conversion. The bottom line is every year your business should get better and it will if you work on it.
Oh… And the Raiders went for two to win by one and all was well in the world for a little while and whiskey taste a little sweeter after a win like that.