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The Brandon Green Report: May 2021

I said it last year as we went into the pandemic: We were entering the best and the worst of times.

You see it everywhere. From disparities in vaccine access to the acceleration of the housing and public equities markets, it’s a good time to live in the U.S. and have resources—if you’re so lucky.

But not everyone is—as evidenced by the line of people stretching five blocks on 16th Street for a pop-up food pantry I saw on my way home this afternoon. This brings up two important points that guide this month’s publication:

We must work hard to keep our businesses healthy, in part by staying in touch with current business data—ours and the markets’. I highlight some lesser-known statistics below and provide some guidance on a Q2 check-up for business owners to ensure your oxygen mask is secure so you can be in a strong position to help and support others.

To benefit from change, we need to have a long-term view on the markets and relationships and stay reflective, compassionate, and driven by learning. Below are some reflections on my lessons learned over the last 20 years.

Bottom line: I’m optimistic about your ability to have a great year. But I’m also pragmatic and think it’s a mistake to get too comfortable with easy capital and low-interest debt.

Stay on your toes, and remember things have a tendency to change very quickly, so be thinking now about how the next cycle might materialize—and begin working your business as if it already has.

The housing market is insane right now. 

We all know the stories of countless buyers competing for a single property. Logically, when things ramp up to this degree, we begin to worry about what’s coming next. Here are a few insightful statistics to consider:

Household debt increased by 16.3% in the last 10 years. Red flag? Not quite…

Because income in the same period grew 55.1%. Those that are buying have healthy debt-to-income ratios.

And debt as a percentage of disposable income is at 14.3%, which is the lowest the number’s been since before the 1980s—far lower than the run-up to the 2008 real estate collapse.

What about properties that went into forbearance at the start of the pandemic? In just the last few months, we’ve dropped forbearance defaults by half. That does not look to be the problem we thought it might be.

This doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges on the horizon. Housing supply will continue to constrict as homebuilding pauses to wait out the supply chain issues. That’s not good for anyone—particularly first-time home buyers. And real estate agents who are not listing-heavy will struggle, accelerating disruptive trends that are benefiting the top performers more than ever before.

Stay patient. The value of real estate over the long haul is secure.

And as Gary Keller has said many times, your goal is a great career, not just a great year.

If you want to dive deeper into some of the statistics referenced above, below are two graphs shared with us by Stephen Rifici, CFP®, CRPC® at Ameriprise, and here is a link to the Freddie Mac report.

I normally use this section to highlight other entrepreneurs making things happen. This month, I thought it most important to share a resource first published on my blog in 2019 to help you make more things happen for your business in the rest of 2021.

So, with 25% of the year behind you, how are you doing? 

The quarterly check-up is a defining milestone used to provide starting line data and predict the months ahead. Business indicators are rarely linear, so learning how to combine both quantitative and qualitative analysis to secure a grounded view of your business is paramount. 

The analysis of five key numbers could define your year.

For proper course-correction, it’s critical that we use the first few weeks of Q2 to conduct assessments and recalibrate. Gross revenue, gross profit, net profit, profit margin, and the number of unit sales will each play a vital role here. 

After all, large-scale changes will become more challenging as we enter Q3… 

Curious about next steps? Check out my Q2 Check-Up to secure your breakout year! 

– May 2021 –

This last week I had dinner for one at Matisse in northwest Washington, DC, which is located about a block from where I started my real estate career. I drive by that old office all the time, but sitting at dinner, staring at the building for an hour, gave me the opportunity to reflect on what has been a hell of a ride.

I wondered, Could Brandon Green in the spring of 2001 imagine the Brandon Green who would, 20 years later, enjoy dinner across the street?

What would I say to that younger me?

Set bigger 5-year goals, but be patient with your 12-month plans. You’ll fall short in 12 months, but go further than you expect in 5 years. Don’t get overwhelmed. The goal is a great career, not a great year.  

Never burn bridges, as tempting as that may be. Businesses, deals, roles and responsibilities will come and go. Play the long game with relationships knowing that today’s competitor is tomorrow’s ally. 

Go all-in on things. But be warned, doing so creates problems and unintended consequences—and it’s worth it. If you don’t give it 100%, you’ll never reap the full reward. 

Set boundaries or you’ll burn out. We’re quick to charge our phone but rarely give the same attention to charging ourselves. Know your limits and manage your energy. 

Hire people with the confidence to tell you what you don’t want to hear. You can hire people to tell you what you want to hear—that’s not hard. It is hard to find those willing to tell you the honest truth. But that’s the perspective you most need to hear.

Just because someone sucks at their job doesn’t mean they suck. Quite the opposite actually. Talent is relative to a specific need at a specific time. 

Being top of your game is temporary. Unless you develop an insatiable appetite for learning and a skill for change management.

Things are never as good or as bad as you think they are. 

Vision is useless, unless you learn how to communicate it and execute on it. Most vision dies in communication and execution. Don’t let it. 

EQ is everything.

What advice would you give your younger self?

– Brandon




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