It's your lucky day. Well, do you feel lucky? Do ya, ahh...ahh sport? If you, ta da, had a million dollars. What would you do with it? As Joe and Josie Real Estate Broker, how would you answer that question today, right now, this moment? The money is yours. Surely buying up some real estate deals is where some of that money would be re-directed to beef up your portfolio. Or paying off debt the guy with the pencil that studies your taxes gives the green light with a nod to erase. But what about real estate "toys" or tools" ? If you had a major chunk of change to invest with the only strings attached that it was yours but had to be spent on your real estate office operations. Where would the dollars go? For starters, go out of your office, turn around and come back in. This time wearing a hat that says "real estate buyer, customer,client, tie kicker, seller". (I know I know big hat for all that information, but work with me, think Hoss on Bonanza, a big thirty gallon hat to fit the labels). Those are the guys and gals you deal with. You and I not operating a real estate office day to day in OZ. I live in Maine so how I spend the million might be different than your "application" in your real estate market in your state or community.
You ker-plop yourself in a chair in the lobby of Shoe String Real Estate. Looking around, what do you see? Magazines from three years ago scattered in a bean stock high pile and all old REALTOR editions? Is the picture board faded, not updated and boring? Is the furniture something Columbus used on the way over or a card table and metal chairs quality? Is the rug look ing like the Bagdad Highway crossed it and the "groove" smells like it too? Is the receptionist eye ball to eye ball so she can't get work done while Hoss is telling her his life story ashe waits for Mr Frisky Agent that is finishing up with a listing signing but slightly delayed? Or is she able to greet him, then sit back a little below his eye level with a bar that is not the wall of China but still creates space to work and pop up to greet at the same time? Peel off some of that million dollars for updates to make a good first impression since the remodeled 18 years ago. Not rich corinthian gold plated leather and crystal chandeliers that makes the client think whoa, these guys must be pirates or way way too expensive for me. But still with an air of success, quality to last and in thoughtful layout to create an atmosphere of comfort, efficiency.
Equipment, we have a clock ticking to spend some of that money before it expires and gets taken back when the spell wears off from Glenda, the Good Witch. New computers, new software, new conference room, updated tax maps and other vital information to save you and your agents time. Check. I know I would love to have a shoulder held video camera with on board lighting, shot gun directional microphone with a windmuff that could do National Geographic channel quality real estate and community videos. Peel off $35,000. Maybe the only time we see this kind of equipment. Throw in a high tech video switcher and heck, while we have the money, let's make a media room with sound stage/set, Chyron character generator to show the sizzle of your area in background images as you spin the tale of what a real estate buyer should consider when purchasing full or part time in your area of the planet. Or seller directed videos, podcasts, full blown media presentations for each property. Not just the high end nose bleed priced ones. That's the direction this industry is heading into. No longer plant a sign, sign a listing contract, tie 'em up, insert local ad and wait for buyer to grab the real estate hook. Instead of fishing for brook trout, you are casting way way out there for tuna. Big tuna.
Money still left over and time's running out. Deep breath as you mentally spend that pile of currency. New car incentives both from dealer and the government's stir up of the economic tax stimulus pot help you decide. Let's ride in something with that new formaldehyde smell. You look successful and getting rid of the rusted Yugo with the magnetic signs will make a statement you here to stay. Destined to be the last Realtor standing in the room, in this game of real estate survivor. In it for the real estate long haul. Maybe purchase your own Victorian home to house your office, especially if you are renting now and have to be a mountain climber to get to that second floor office. Stock up on new sign inventory, make some larger four by eights for that special commercial listing on a major highway or trade show. Purchase a year's worth of office supplies. Buy and erect a new street office sign with reader board, and purchase ad pre -paid contracts for the niche journals, websites and other media you never could afford or justify but always wanted to try out. Now's your chance with that million dollars you found on the ground on the way to work. Maybe Glenda should have made it two million dollars as you get the hang of this exercise. Did I leave anything out?
Oh yeah, in some markets, the new moving van with your billboard plastered on it for new home buyers to use free to shuttle their cargo from the old home you sold to the new one you found them. Every market has different needs tugging on that real estate dollar hiding in Joe and Josie's wallet. What's in your wallet crying out for real estate if-you-had-a-million-dollar-needs wish list? Better save a portion of that million dollars for tax time, Uncle Sam is taxing you like lottery winnings even though you "found it".