Zero in on the 10’s – Diversify
by Bob Corcoran

At last! The nightmare of the first decade of the 21st century if is over! Aside from 9/11, the housing boom and bust, foreclosures, lean times for real estate agents marked the decade.  In addition to everything else, the decade didn’t really even have a handy way to refer to the block of 10 years. After the 80’s, 90’s, we had 10 years starting in “0.” What could we call these years?  The Zeros?  What a downer!  The Oughts?  No one aside from accountants has widely used that word since the beginning of the 20th century.  Now we are in the 10’s and all is well.  The 10’s roll off the tongue!

So what will come of these promising 10’s?  As we know from the last decade, many unforeseen things occurs that are outside our ability to control   In the middle of the decade, many saavy observers could have predicted that there would be no long term good from the crazy loan products and the subprime mortgages offered at that time.  The average real estate agent, busily writing contracts, could do little but promote responsible loans.  This decade may have some of the same mix of the controllable and the uncontrollable. As I saw the other day, our best shot is to control what we can – and to plan to it.  Write your goals! Plan your strategies! 

The last decade left another lagging question.  Should you diversify or should you specialize? For the last few years and for 10’s, diversifying is a great way to protect your business in case of shifts in the economy. But remember – Diversification is the first step to becoming a specialist.  Taking course or getting certifications is great first shortcut to learning the basic issues and language of an area like Green Housing, Senior-oriented real estate, First Time Homebuyers, but that is only the beginning.

Many agents turned their attention to short sales and foreclosures as housing values declined and payments increased.  Acquiring expertise in different areas that can help clients but the old adage of being “a  jack of all trades, master of none” can apply in real estate too.  Some areas like short sales are not for neophytes who have taken a short course.  The health and well being of clients depends on having experts at their side to give advice and do all the legwork involved in short sales.  Doing well requires commitment.  

Interest in diversifying?  Great! Write that into you plan.  If you want designations, take a few courses, then find an area to hone in on!