More March 28, 2011

March Perspective

Some things change . . .

Late one evening at the office, we wandered onto the topic of college applications and the sheer amount of paperwork involved.  A session of family one-upmanship ensued:  Who dealt with the most convoluted stack of forms?  With a collective sigh, we finally agreed that all of them are tedious.  But they just have to be done.

This led us back to where almost all of our conversations do: To the family business. Specifically to the paperwork involved in real estate.  And another collective sigh.  Thirty years ago, Windermere’s founders did not have to invest in infinite reams of paper.  (Those little red and yellow stick-on arrows we use to designate places for myriad signatures ­– they hadn’t even been invented.)  Not that the past was as ideal as a 1950s musical – think Von Trapp family –  but when Windermere began, agents could and did write transactions on napkins.

Over the years, more and more companies entered real estate.  Of course, rules and regulations followed on the heels of growth.  Followed by attorneys.  Followed by legalese and the aforementioned reams of paper.  Even though Windermere didn’t need any documents to ensure best business practices, and even though these additions would be onerous to us and to our clients, there was no choice.  Never whine.  Just figure it out.  That’s in our DNA.  The solution was and is education.

To begin with, we hire people who value learning and understand that it equals success.  Then we offer experts, special programs, seminars, mentoring, even old-fashioned libraries.  Continuing education means that, even if paperwork attains the length of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, our agents can guide clients through with ease.  Knowledge makes Windermere smart, savvy and trustworthy.  And yes, we’re very proud of that.

Some things stay the same.

So, the era of Windermere contracts written on napkins is gone.  Yet the most fundamental ethos will not change:  The integrity that fostered transactions based solely on honor.  Trusting relationships built this company.  Trusting relationships will sustain it.  And this has nothing to do with signing and initialing a bunch of paper.