A Way of Life

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the January 1977 issue of the Real Estate News Observer.

The national Society of Exchange Counselors is to be credited with experimenting with and perfecting real estate problem solving. Problem solving actually is a result of brainstorming a problem wherein pros and cons are all brought out. In properly done problem solving, all minds in the room are centered on the same problem at the same time, with nothing else in front of them except the package that describes the property and the problem at hand … perhaps some scratch paper or a calculator and some blank Preliminary Exchange Proposals.

When the one who is giving the problem from the front of the room is telling about it, all should listen carefully. By experience and for best results, the following format seems to be the best to use:

  1. First, give any changes in the package if necessary. Other than that, don’t talk about the property unless there is some particular thing that must be clarified. We all attempt to hold the package down to a single sheet if possible, but sometimes in complicated situations, there is not enough room to explain everything, so such things as very complicated financing could be explained in detail so that everyone will understand the position.
  2. Next, the presenter should tell what he thinks the audience should know about the client and the primary problem he is trying to get solved. Telling a little about the client and his family often sparks some thoughts that otherwise might be lost.
  3. Now questions should come from the audience until everything seems clarified. None of these questions should be “wouldjatake.” If anyone is at the point of asking if a client would take this or that or the other, that thought and question should be put on a Preliminary Exchange Proposal or on a long form. It has been found, again by experience, that at problem-solving sessions, a Preliminary Exchange Proposal serves a better purpose than a formal offer, mainly because of time. By use of the Preliminary Exchange Proposal, in triplicate on NCR paper, it is nearly always possible for the writer to quickly find out whether a transaction is possible or probable.

    Now ideas should come from the audience — wild ideas, all kinds of ideas, whether they make sense or not. There should be no judicial thinking in problem-solving sessions; any judicial thinking must be done after the session is over. There should never be a negative thought in a problem-solving period. All must be positive. It is by the accumulation of many ideas that come forth quickly from the hunch, which is intuitive thinking.

  4. Now is the time to write the Preliminary Exchange Proposal, or at least jot down the thinking on it quickly, and perhaps complete it at a writing break.
  5. Sometimes the format might be varied and after every three, four or five presentations, the group breaks into round tables where each of the presenters up to that point conducts a roundtable and those interested in his package go to the table and in this way additional brainstorming of a more specific nature can be done. This system sometimes leads to a three, four or five-way exchange being started at the table.

Exchange counselors take the problem-solving sessions quite seriously. Why? Because today it is costly to move around the country, and results must be obtained … results that become transactions by problems solved.

Richard R. Reno, S.E.C. (San Diego, California) was the highly regarded founder of today’s modern real estate exchanging profession as a “people” business. Mr. Reno was president of the Society of Exchange Counselors, and past president of what today is the Commercial Investment Division of the Institute of Real Estate Brokers. His vast knowledge has attracted a national following over the years


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