Build a New Box

Over the past couple of years, we in the real estate industry have been caught in a whirlwind of sorts. We went from making deals to saving deals. Then we went from saving deals to pure survival mode. But — dare I say — is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel?

Judging by our most recent S.E.C. Marketing Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky , I would have to say yes. The activity and optimism in the room were palpable. We had folks developing, buying, selling, lending, and exchanging again. 2006 called and wanted its meetings back! Finally after a long, hard slog, buyers and sellers had come off of the sidelines. People could once again be heard sharing information on bank rates and lending environments. It was a welcome sound.

What is the cause of the burst of activity and energy? A number of factors are at play, all of them interesting. Partial credit can be given to everything from the expansions of the oil and gas fields to lenders coming back into the market to investors finally feeling the confidence to return to the market. However, I think the most important factor is the creativity of our marketplace. Under virtually any conditions, if you give our members and guests enough time, we will figure out ways to make the system work for us. If what’s inside the box isn’t working, we not only go outside the box, but we build a new one if we have to. Our folks are using everything from the tried-and-true, safety-first formula to franchise businesses to expand their real estate.

The point is that from the oldest formulas we have all heard of to the newest ones the more creative among us develop, we continue to find ways to make deals happen. The one thing we don’t and won’t do is allow ourselves to stagnate and do nothing. And that is what those in Louisville saw firsthand. Seasoned, successful members reassessed where they were, and where they want to be. First-time attendees, long-term members, and those of us in between all engaged in evaluating deals, partnerships, and future paths.

This kind of openness and thought sharing is what allows us to get creative when necessary and drive transactions over the finish line. And that is what the Society of Exchange Counselors is all about. Here’s to a productive 2014!


  1. Wes
    Good article. Sometimes we find ourselves in a box; sometimes we reconfigure the box. But there are always certain principals that remain in our box: honesty, standard banking restrictions, our partners’ interests for instance. These principals must come before our own interests. The SEC’s real quest is to keep the principals in mind but to find solutions to the situations that present themselves and represent our clients and partners in the best way we can. The box is life and without it, we would not be a civilized society. It is OK to be in the box. It is how we play within life that counts.

  2. Excellent article taking the pulse of our marketing sessions. The Society members are great at adapting to change sometimes before others even recognize that there is a change!

  3. Thanks Bill. And its true about our principles. I would call those the foundation of the box, without those any box would eventually fall apart. So we might build a new box, but it must always have that solid foundation.