“Game of Realtors, Season 6”

I'll bet most of you tune to HBO on Sunday nights to see the latest exploits on “Game of Thrones.” For those few of you who have missed that series, it deals with various power and domination games among generally amoral people who behave very badly. In that way it is sort of a “Real Housewives” with wars and violence rather than sarcasm and shade.

While it's true that we don't lose our lives or body parts, real estate brokerages find themselves in what I call a “Game of Realtors” world. Meaning, as monarchs (owners) they need to know who stands where, who's up, who's down, who's growing or shrinking, and what they choose to do about it to build their “kingdoms” (if anything).

The table here, though with “disguised” names, shows the “kingdom size” (market shares) of the lands (brokerages) within about five miles of the Classic Gateway Theatre. As you can see, there are lots – Lots! – of small communes and collectives, and a handful of slightly larger duchies and estates.

Say you are the ruler of one of these units. Does science and theory suggest optimal strategies to follow? Whether we are talking about the HBO series or the Fort Lauderdale real estate market, there are four optimal strategies, any of which can produce a measure of longer-term success.

  1. Devour or Be Devoured. Maybe you're the leading kingdom (brokerage). Even so you only control 10 percent of the territory (market). Uneasy is the head that wears that crown. The monarch in this position can choose to openly or stealthily increase its dominion, by various means of “acquisition.” Otherwise, some of the lower principalities may ally or build their armies to take the leader down.
  1. Secret or Somewhat Open Alliances. These will look to most people like independent realms, but behind the scenes there are other things happening – shared resources, common administration etc.
  1. Super Efficiency. Bring in the leading wizards (best consultants) to drive down taxes (operating costs), in order to increase trade and thus the coin in your treasury.
  1. Small Corner Domination. Find some crop or resource (market niche) that you can produce better than anyone else, focus on that, and hope you are too small for the larger kingdoms to notice.

Which strategy do you think will fare best in Season Six? Or, for that matter, in a rapidly changing real estate market that may be headed sideways or down again?

James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is a Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Preferred. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).


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