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Featherston_John_2014Several real estate brands and networks are busy this month holding their annual conventions or network meetings, addressing issues directly affecting the effectiveness and profitability of their sales agents and their respective brokerage firms.

This year, the issues are quite a bit different than the past few years, and among the most significant of these issues are tight inventories and climbing interest rates. These two trends, along with the poor climate in Washington over the last several years—which has produced the newly enacted lending standards—are having a dramatic impact on the residential real estate sector.

This year—which is viewed by many as another in a series of important recovery steps for the weak economy—has started where 2013 left off. The horrible climate in Washington has been matched by unusually cold and overall poor weather conditions this winter, which are dramatically affecting the majority of the nation.

Unfortunately these are the facts facing the real estate community so far this year; however, real estate professionals are resilient and they have always risen to meet challenges and find new and innovative ways to prove their value to the consumer.

Last year’s Academy Award-nominated film, “Silver Linings Play Book,” focused on adversity and challenges and the need for professional help and self-examination. One of the themes from the film is, “You can’t always do it by yourself.”

Perhaps this theme will become a slogan for a real estate network or brand after all the conventions and network meetings unwind. Many in our industry like to compare themselves to medical doctors. The fact is, the value of an M.D. is always greater to the patient when the patient is in need of their help— their education, skills and years of professional experience.

In today’s evolving economy, can the same be said of homebuyers and sellers—our “patients”—and their need for a real estate professional’s education, skills and years of professional experience to find the best home or help them through the already-overwhelming mortgage process?