Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher

Archive for May, 2008

Here’s a daily dose of Peter Drucker for you to consider: In some knowledge work – and especially in some work requiring a high degree of knowledge – we already measure quality. Surgeons, for instance, are routinely measured, by their success rates in difficult and dangerous procedures, for example, by the survival rates of their open-heart surgical patients. But by and large we have, so far, mainly judgments rather than measures regarding the quality of a great deal of knowledge. The main trouble is, however, not the difficulty of measuring quality. It is the difficulty in defining what the task  Read more

Memorial day traditionally honors those fallen soldiers of war in our country. Since the end of the Civil War, the holiday has been an opportunity for ordinary Americans to set aside some time – officially, without work – to remember those who gave their lives to defend our way of life. And while most wars are fought in defense of “liberty” and “democracy” and “freedom” they are all ultimately struggles for the one item on the planet that makes all of those concepts possible: Property. Jefferson’s famous statement in the Declaration of Independence – “life, liberty and the pursuit of  Read more

Well, thank goodness for someone who understands the markets – other than the lopsided “woe-is-us” viewpoint of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). In fact, when it comes down to it, maybe we should ask more Wall Street analysts and hedge fund managers to really monitor the markets for us. Here’s the good news, from the Wall Street Journal: The Housing Crisis Is Over By CYRIL MOULLE-BERTEAUX May 6, 2008; Page A23 The dire headlines coming fast and furious in the financial and popular press suggest that the housing crisis is intensifying. Yet it is very likely that April 2008  Read more

Real estate professionals should be upset today. A terrible blow for the integrity of the real estate industry – for housing as a foundation of personal equity and wealth, for the rule of law in mortgage lending, for simply doing good for ordinary Americans – has just been dealt by the government. A so-called “great compromise” has just laid $300 billion – financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – in bad debt at the footstep of the taxpayer. According to the Wall Street Journal: The legislation combines the regulatory reforms for government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with  Read more

In the technology world, nothing is dull like yesterday’s news; unless the old news was right. That’s the case with the story of a technology strategy that might have made all the difference today, if only more brokers had taken it to heart. So it is that the “virtual office” is back in the news, which too many going-broke-brokers and paper-drowned-agents wishes they paid attention to last time. Didn’t the virtual office take off, you ask? Doesn’t everyone have a laptop, PDA and wireless email device? Sure, if we’re talking about college kids – but not the average agent in  Read more

If you’ve ever wondered if your technology strategy really makes a difference, a article from the archives at should make the point. Titled Amid Slump, Real-Estate Agents Hang Up Their Blazers, authors Hagerty and Athavely provide a glimpse of a real estate industry filled with $37,600 average-income agents. Their brokers fare not much better, trying to carry the expenses of 20-25% agent over-capacity. Looks like another year where one out of four agents call it quits. Before you start jumping for joy, thinking that less agents in the business will mean less competition for you, reconsider: Less agents means  Read more

Here’s a really simple idea for REALTORS who are struggling to sell “mis-priced listings.” Just Say No! Call it the Nancy Reagan Rule of Real Estate: Some listings are “bad” for you – kind of like certain kinds of substances are bad for you. But sometimes, REALTORS just get on a “listing high” when they get a homeowner all geared up to sign on the dotted line. After pouring out their hearts in a listing presentation, filled with facts and figures and advice, they become vulnerable to a moment of insanity called “I’m gonna get this listing!” And that’s when  Read more

Regular readers of this column may remember the installment, No Photos, No Buyers, No Kidding, where I exhorted real estate agents to make every effort to upload multiple photos to every listing on their website. Back then, the argument was that online listings without photos were about as useless as jargon-abbreviated classifieds in the back of the newspaper. Truth be told, the consumer vindicated my efforts, with the NAR’s annual buyer survey reporting that the consumer ranks multiple photos as the single most important data they seek from online portals. Some real estate companies have gone so far as to  Read more