I am writing this column from Realtor Ground Zero – direct from the site of the Florida Realtors 100th Annual Convention in Orlando.
The theme of the convention is “Celebration: A Century of Service.” And it’s true – a whole bunch of real estate has changed hands in Florida in the last 100 years. (A whole bunch of real estate has even been created in Florida in the last 100 years!)
At our best, what Realtors do is important, and can fill an important need, in my opinion. But the world is changing and Realtors are in a transitional space. And this very event spotlights it.
As Realtors, we straddle two worlds. I’ve written of it in previous columns, an old world and a new. When I was in college a famous “futurist” author came to speak at my campus and made the provocative comment, “I have seen the future, and it is Florida.”
It was not meant as a compliment. What he meant was, our country (like Florida) was going to be old, infirm, boring, conservative, unproductive, underinvesting in infrastructure…
As it turns out, he was right, but in a far different way than he thought. Florida, like much of America, is becoming more diverse, multiracial, multi-ethnic, and international. And several states have higher median ages now than does Florida.
Still, Realtors, as a lot, demographically skew older. But as I have argued before (in my prior column actually), I believe it is important to understand what it is the client wants, meet them where they are, and work to deliver the kind of experience they expect in their day to day life.
Here at the convention, the message on that score I would say is mixed. Some clearly “get it.” Many do not. Part of the convention is a decently-large trade show with various vendors selling products and services. Sometimes you can get an idea from the vendors; more likely you can learn what not to do. Many times I have said (to other Realtors, mainly) that there are a great many vendors with a high degree of interest in separating Realtors from their money.
Of more value at the convention are the educational sessions where demonstrations of cutting edge apps, and offhand comments from presenters and attendees, will usually more than pay for the entire trip. But if you don’t come, you don’t learn. And not all that many come.
Yes, Jay Leno came to help us celebrate Year 100. I don’t think a lot of the members see what is coming. Right now there are more than 160,000 Realtors in Florida – almost 70,000 between Miami and West Palm Beach. How many even know there was a convention
James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is Broker-Owner of New Realty Concepts in Oakland Park. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).