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At first, I thought it was a joke, something to lighten the mood of an otherwise dour real estate industry. Yet a few clicks of the email invitation told me it wasn’t a joke, it was actually back by “popular demand” of a lot of REALTORS.  If I hurried, I could save a seat at the “all new and updated” course that would unlock my power colors and align my compass at a very affordable price. I couldn’t help it, and just laughed out loud.

Feng Shui for real estate is back. It’s being conducted in the Temples of Real Estate Associations across America. Even more incredibly, in some states it has been approved for Continuing Education, a sanctioned topic that deals with “consumer protection.”

The high priests of Feng Shui contend it will help you be a better professionals, maximize referrals and increase . Their rites-of-passage into this Nirvana include:

  • Using “success colors” in pieces, like business cards and brochures
  • Conducting space clearing and blessing ceremonies to chase away stagnant energy
  • Written instructions on how to use “success symbols” to energize your office

Just bring your compass directions and floor plan and the Wizard will teach you how to rearrange your furniture and your career.

Make no mistake: This class will sell out. REALTORS who regularly turn their noses up to courses that teach them to use YouTube video rather than newspaper classifieds will create a waiting list for Feng Shui.

Remember, it’s back by “popular” demand.  And I believe it.

Nobody should be amazed that popular demand exists for wave-of-the-wand fixes for the housing downturn. Our current President calls it “stabilization” but a previous President more accurately called it “voodoo economics.” REALTORS just prefer a more ancient way of putting the world back into balance.

Forty years ago this July, Americans sent a rocket to the moon. Apollo 11 was a triumph of mankind’s use of reason, concepts, and science to organize the materials of the world to take him beyond his wildest imagination. Aptly named, the Apollo missions were modernity’s answer to what had held mankind stagnant for the previous two millennium: blind faith in the emotional, irrational, mystical forces of an uncontrollable universe.

Today, everything Apollo 11 represented is being reversed, flipped upside down and turned back two thousand years. In classrooms of adults with control of the largest sector of our economy.

It’s one thing to have fifth graders explore interesting cultural artifacts, such as tribal dances or Egyptian burial rights. Mystery stories featuring detectives unraveling the unexplained provide our children with a strong understanding of the superiority of reason. We learn at an early age that Sherlock Holmes’ power of deduction always discovered the truth – and those truths make it possible to create computers, cancer treatments and rockets to the moon.

So it is obscene, then, to see adults gathering in desperation, learning to recite incantations, perform spells and organize talismans to help the economy. Scarier still, that such ritualistic cabals are sanctioned by the state for continuing education.

One wonders just how far Apollo ii would have lifted off the pad had the engineers and astronauts spent their time focused on where to position the seats in the Lunar Landing module.

Were it true that sales, pricing, marketing and technology classes were filled with popular demand from  , then Feng Shui classes might be seen as an entertainment sideshow. Yet we know this to be untrue. Real estate classrooms across America are empty. Spring convention attendance is down. Designation programs barely fill thirty seats. And the simplest indicator of whether science is more popular than statue-burying techniques tells the entire story:

There are still virtually no real estate property videos on YouTube.

Search, but you won’t find, many property videos on major real estate portals. A mere 4300 on YouTube. REALTOR.COM shows 1737 listings in Boston; 70 have virtual tours. Check your own company’s website. If the digital camera is the modern mind’s answer to cave paintings, it appears we still have a long way to go.

Real estate who wish to survive into the of the business need to ask themselves some hard questions. Will they require serious standards of performance at their companies – or will any dance or gimmick do? Will they applaud their agents who use a compass to sell their listings, or a GPS? At what point will they accept that selling homes is a science – of marketing, prospecting, relationship – that requires highly developed skills in communications, technology and finance.

Successfully selling homes doesn’t come from correctly interpreting the stars.

Today, fear of failure has the real estate industry listening raptly to any demagogue. Politicians promise prosperity will fall like manna from heaven. PT Barnums will give you a peek, for a few coins, at the secrets of success inside the tent. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: The all powerful Oz will tell you your destiny!

For the last decade, real estate companies avoided making a choice: whether successful real estate business demanded systematic, scientific management techniques. While the gods smiled on everyone, shabby systems and stone-hewn tools would do. So the industry gorged itself, even eating its own seed grain.

Those days are over. Foreclosure fires are falling from the skies. The low-interest locusts have picked our fields clean. No longer will the worship of the “now” without any grasp of “tomorrow” create prosperity. There is only one question to be answered:

Will we turn our minds to the science of sales and build the rocket ships of the future? Or shall we simply rearrange our stones and sit down, stagnant, in the mud?