AUGUST 15, 2009

The "Value Added" Proposition
Great news! Real estate transaction count is up in almost every market. Bad news! Real estate values are still falling in most markets! Both statistics are true and both are occurring simultaneously which means that most practitioners are working longer and harder..for less. Depending on your marketplace and which reports you read short sales comprise 17-47% of all transactions and REO another 10-35%. Translation: somewhere between 27-82% of your transactions put a lender in charge of your compensation amount and further weaken the marketplace. Due to Lender failures, RESPA changes and short sale negotiations, even when your listing goes to contract, transaction time can be 90 days or more. Most real estate practitioners need more business than they currently have, lenders need more qualified applicants and most real estate investors need more tenants. In response, new internet services have popped up offering real estate, lender and tenant lead generation services for a referral fee, enrollment or membership fees. Many of these services are new, unregulated and have little control over lead quality or quantity. To survive and thrive in this marketplace many practitioners have invested in lead generation services, education, newly created designations, hired marketing staff, SEO professionals, Branding experts, multiple website development, slicker e-fliers, photography and technology, while investing hours in social networking and blogs. All of these are done in an effort to accomplish more with less.

The Solution Has Been Around For Decades
The fastest way to increase your sales, no matter what business you are in, is to join an established network of businesses, who need and want what you have to sell and prefer to use your services over those of anyone else! How do you find such a network? Join an active Barter Exchange. There are currently about 400 registered barter currencies in the United States but the quality, diversity and activity of the Businesses in the network you join, together with the necessity of the service you provide will be the final arbiter of the revenue you will generate from your participation. The degree to which you will make it profitable will depend upon your willingness to add other businesses you currently work with to the network.

Itex (International Trade Exchange) is an organization of member businesses who use a debit/credit accounting system for transactions between it's members. This creates a network of Buyers and Sellers who deliver their surplus products, goods, services and unsold inventory into the network, accept network credits for the sale of those goods/services to other members, then spend the credits they accrue for the products and services they need from other member companies. This Barter System is validated by the Internal Revenue Service (Section 420 of the IRS Code) of the United States and transactions are valued at dollar for dollar parity. My company (with 45 agents) has been in this system for 12 years and these bartered transactions account for almost 20% of our annual revenue. If a Buyer needs a service and has the choice of spending Itex Credits or cash, most will hire the Itex member and pay with credits, thereby conserving their cash. This makes my company the preferred provider of real estate services for 535 local businesses, their owners and employees. We deliver real estate marketing and buyer representation services, property management and leasing services into the network and accept Itex credits for our fees. We have used our earned barter credits to buy; office furniture, equipment, computers, copiers, printers, office supplies, signs, autos, trucks (purchases, maintenance and repair), carpet, lino, drapes, blinds, appliances, advertising, janitorial, yard care, windows, doors, trees, artwork, mirrors, wallpaper, painting, blacktop, concrete, electrical, plumbing, general contractors, architectural design, engineering, property maintenance, repairs and cleaning, pest services, appraisals, structural inspections, loan fees, accounting, tax prep, legal fees, travel, hotels, meeting rooms, restaurants, catering, promotional materials, trade shows, engraving, printing, mailing, secretarial, RV rental, vacation rentals, spa and salon services, dues, publications, photography, editing, checks, meats, gifts, clothing, medical, dental and vitamins. We have also used Itex as down payments for real estate, boats and RV's and to lease commercial space. This exchange is International in scope and the most active in the US. Take a look at: I will send the IRS reference by separate email upon request to

Many people have joined Barter Exchanges but have never been participants in the network. They have done a transaction or two, complained that they could not spend their credits and dropped out. If you approach any network this way, you will get the same result. When I joined Itex I opened my phonebook and invited the owners/sales representatives of every company whose services I used to a presentation party by the Itex Barter Broker in my town. We had business owners from the network at the presentation; caterers, advertisers, entertainers, professionals and retailers. Attendees listened to the presentation and had the opportunity to discuss Itex with the member/vendors, who in turn, had an opportunity to market their products and services. The result was fun and profitable for everyone. During the first 5 years of participation, my firm helped enroll over 100 new businesses in the local Itex network and reaped the benefit of incredible growth in return due to the over 100 new clients. As these were businesses I had previously hired for cash and could now pay with Barter credits, I always had a place to spend my barter. Each of these companies now had a huge source of new business and new Itex revenue. They became avid buyers of real estate, especially when I showed them how 10-20% of the purchase price could be delivered in Barter Credit. Now that times are lean for all business and consumers are hoarding cash, these firms can accept "other than cash" for their products, goods and services and are faring well. In this market a good Barter Network can make the difference between success and failure.

Now that's what I call a "Value Added Proposition!"


Magi Bird,
EMS Master
CEO, Realty Equity Marketor

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