Turn out the Lights, the Party’s over

“My sales people sell nothing.” “The bank is our customer.” In one day, I had a phone meeting with one title executive and a face to face with another (both in the Mountain Time zone). I had worked hard to score these meetings and they represented an opportunity to do business with some very big people in our industry. One said the first thing the other said the second. It was as if I had just arrived to the party, but my hosts’ insight told me the party was already over. No goody bag, no party your ass off ’till the sun comes up, the party was over.

I saw the writing on the wall. The “leadership” of a once proud trade began believing they had something to do with their success. They could repeat it. Keep your staff numbers in line, keep the magical 19:1 ratio, and everything would be fine. If you needed more business, steal an office and then pare back to 19:1. Title executives really believed that they could make money on the way up, make money at the top and make money on the way down. They weren’t smart enough. They money made yesterday didn’t make tomorrow better. Tomorrow was going to look like today, except we’d be a day older.

These guys congratulated themselves for being so smart. They didn’t realize they built big, powerful, consolidating houses on quicksand. As soon as home values stopped rising, they were in world of hurt (at least their employees would be). Home values had already stopped rising. Resets were on the horizon in numbers that were too big to understand. The party was over.

I left the title industry, after 16 years, to re-join my hi-tech homeland; Silicon Valley. I found other housing ex-pats all around me. We looked as shocked as newborns. How’d we’d end up here? The next week Alliance Title failed. I tried to reason it. I searched the web for comment and understanding. I found PBE.

I’m thrilled to be a contributor here. Wine Dog’s perspectives are right on the money. I hope to listen, to read, to comment and to provide all of you another perspective to think about. Thank you for inviting me to write with you, Wine Dog.

The party’s over, but tomorrow’s another day.


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