Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 1972 issue of the Real Estate News Observer.

The real estate industry can never become a professional in the true sense as long as we bow our knees in reverence to the all-important in-ven-tor-y!

The constant drive to maintain or build up our in-ven-tor-y robs us of any vestige of professional ethics or principles. This drive causes us to say and do many things to beat out the competition, to sell the seller on “trusting” us with the disposing of his property.

In a way, it is not our fault – we were born into it, so to speak. When we entered the real estate business, our brokers told us in no uncertain terms that, “You are not in the real estate business until you have an inventory of listings. Go out and get some!”

And, in a way, it is not his fault, either, because he was trained the same way by his broker. And it has become such a hypnotic creed that even sales classes conducted by highly reputable organizations preach the dogma, “Get that inventory!”

But I say to you that more people have failed in the real estate business because of their in-ven-tor-y than have ever become a success because of it.

On the principle that a glass of water is necessary to life, we dive eagerly into the ocean of inventory and attempt to drink it all. And need I remind you what happens to the individual who doesn’t keep his mouth shut while diving into the ocean?

Our concept of in-ven-tor-y must change to one of quality rather than of quantity. I doubt very much that anyone can dispute the fact that one well listed, well priced, well counseled listing is a sale or exchange – automatically.

What are the chances of a similar sale or exchange resulting from a dozen “doggy listings”? How many of our usual listings would we have to have before we would make a wager for $1,000.00 we would have one sale closed and settled within 30 days?

Just as long as we allow the seller and our competition to force us into listing property at unrealistic prices, on unrealistic terms, and under unrealistic conditions – just that long will we remain the huckster in the public eye.

John Q. Public knows that no real professional allows his client to dictate the standards of performance in the professional’s field. No real professional will stoop to cutting his competitor’s throat, or haggle over price, or argue as to the best method of solving the problem.
Until we can control our own operation, our own standards, our own methods of disposing of a well listed property, we are subject to the rules of the “jungle” – kill or be killed.

We will be forced to continue stalking our prey, using whatever means are indicated to make the “kill” so we can eat of the resultant commission – we hope.

We must consider the cost of our “bad” listings – the cost in time, energy, enthusiasm, and money. We must analyze the value of the minutes and hours spent placating owners of “bad” listings – to no avail.

We must learn to be selective -very selective – in choosing the listings we accept. They must qualify in all respects – including a reasonable and cooperative owner, a price which the current market will substantiate, on terms generally available, and in a condition which makes it valuable and useable to someone else.

We must consider and value the money spent on advertising property which will not sell at the price and terms offered, and which informs the public we are not experts in real estate – only opportunists. And who wishes to trust a large transaction to an opportunist?

Until we do learn to inventory this type of listing, we must continue the exhausting fight to keep afloat without too much of the ocean.

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  1. […] here by the Society Of Exchange Counselors which we were both members of from the start: S.E.C. Real Estate Observer ? The S.E.C. History Files Winter 2008 ? Inventory Most people do not realize, that 80% of the people that enter the real estate business will fail […]