January 16, 2013
Here are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.
Everyone’s favorite VP of digital innovation, Baird & Warner’s very own Eric Bryn has been selected to join a panel with 5 others to talk about how to make buying a home “as easy as buying a latte” at Real Estate Connect in New York City from January 16th – 18th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Bryn and the other panelists will discuss their experiences and insights as to how to achieve what some are calling the “Latte Vision.” This vision is based off one of the most successful coffee companies of all time, Starbucks. It involves a fast, easy, and efficient relationship between the barista and the consumer. The panel will focus on how Real Estate can be made this easy.
Bryn credits his biggest success at Baird & Warner to what he is calling, “Web+social+mobile+integrated.” This CRM system began with a small group of agents as a prototype to work on and test the program, and it will eventually be accessible to all of B&W’s 1,500 agents. This CRM program will include several Google applications, making the process smoother and easier. It will help clients and agents get immediate, and relevant results. Bottom line, it all revolves around exceptional customer service.
Bryn joined Baird & Warner in October 2010, which was chosen by the Chicago Tribune this year as third best place to work in the Chicago area. After working for eight years for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, he moved to Baird & Warner where he now focuses on data systems that can deliver a better experience.
You can find more information about Eric Bryn and his thoughts on web and social media integration in customer relationship management here in an article from Inman News written by Andrea Brambila or on his personal blog here.
It seems one of the buzz-phrases I heard a lot in 2011 and will surely hear in 2012 is “Strategic Defaults (SD).” By now you’ve surely heard of a strategic default – In essence, where a homeowner who can afford their mortgage chooses instead to stop paying on it, and is willing to “take the hit” on their credit as opposed to paying on what they consider an investment gone bad.
A quick google search of the phrase brings page one results (which I will not promote by linking to) including web pages promising help for homeowners who are consider a strategic default, including such pithy headers as “strategic default v. moral obligation” and “quit feeling bad for the banks.” Or there’s “How to strategically default and make life miserable for the banks.” Wow. Sounds like the seeds of an “Occupy (insert mortgage company name)” offshoot. The “Joanie loves Chachi” spinoff from “Happy Days.” I hope they bring drums. I love drums.
My professional colleague Steve Harney has a number of great posts on this topic at his blog – kcmblog.com (Keeping Current Matters), including “Will Falling Values Lead to More Strategic Defaults” which provides some pretty startling stats from FannieMae, including the fact that ”The number of underwater homeowners who believe it is okay to default on your mortgage if you are under financial distress has almost doubled in the last twelve months (14% to 27%).” So not only do we have more people under water (the audience for a SD) but twice as many think it’s OK!
And in his article “One Thing That Still Concerns Us” Steve discusses a related factor – Consumer Confidence – That has the ability to further push SDs “mainstream” while causing further delays in the housing market.
Personally, I understand the professional logic of “cutting bait” when an investment has gone bad. But to stop owning (i.e. selling) your losing shares of ABC widget company because they have less value than when you bought them is not the same. Why? Because you didn’t borrow the money (hopefully) from ABC to purchase their stock, which is what you do with a mortgage.
Shame on the banking system for going along with the over confidence of the real estate bubble, and turning a blind eye when they should have been a bit more parochial us? Sure. Government intervention to force the re-working of loan terms? Well, that’s a point one can argue.
Let people walk away from debt that they signed their name on? I can’t agree with that. What do you think? Maybe we’re all in it together, because when one person defaults, we all pay. Reminds me of a poem. Ask not for whom that bell tolls…
It tolls for thee....