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real-etate-webRISMEDIA, April 8, 2009-If “rebound” means getting back to the sales levels and home values experienced just a few years ago, then the answer to the question: What will it take for the market to rebound in 2009? is “nothing,” which is not necessarily bad. If the definition of rebound implies simply returning to sales volumes and prices more in line with historical norms and growth patterns (normalcy), the situation is not nearly as bleak as daily headlines lead many to believe. For a rebound to occur, growth in existing home sales will need to occur. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) projected a 1.4% growth in existing home sales in 2008 (5.18 million). In addition, NAR has previously estimated 2009 existing home sales at 5.91, which will represent a sizeable growth over 2008.

And if Florida, California and a few other culprits that contributed to the speculation frenzy were deleted from current statistics, the picture of the overall market changes dramatically. A rebound is coming, but who will rebound quicker, stronger and more profitably depends on one major attribute-people.

Therefore, the better question is not “What will it take?” but rather “for whom” will a rebound occur? The rebound will not be an all-or-none phenomenon-not every brokerage will rebound. This challenging real estate market will continue to lead to consolidation, where only the stronger brokers and agents will survive.

Therefore, it is ever-increasingly important to make sure you have the right people-those who can produce, sell and perform. And it will be similarly important to have the right tools and technologies to support and differentiate your brokerage. But I caution you-it is not better to have “anybody vs. nobody.”

Those firms that identify the agents that have an aptitude to sell will be positioned for growth. And don’t ignore the Gen Y folks-you don’t only need experienced agents-you just need the right agents.

Brokers should target career-minded prospects rather than simply hire as many as possible; differentiate your value proposition to prospects; and use professional hiring tools to better assess prospects. Brokers should provide training and mentoring to enhance effectiveness versus simply acquiring meaningless designations. Brokers should also focus attention on performers; non-producers can’t be allowed to remain because “they don’t cost anything.”

If you want to rebound, you’ll have to make it happen; you can’t just wait for it to happen on its own. The time is right; the market is poised to rebound with first-time buyers and previous renters as home prices settle at more affordable levels and historically low interest rates. Remember, people are the lever that will allow you to rebound.

Cabot L. Jaffee is president and CEO of AlignMark, Inc. For more information visit