Best-of lists are tricky and divisive. In fact, I have a pet theory that the only reason Rolling Stone puts out articles that list, say, the 100 greatest guitarists of all time is to rile up music lovers who object to the ordering, or the fact that their favorite virtuoso got snubbed.
That’s why, when I approach our annual Real Data issue, it’s with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Data is just numbers until people begin to give it meaning.
One element that gives me pause is the perceived dominance of real estate teams. Our excellent partner in this venture, Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, is still working on solving the sticky problem of group versus individual reporting, so we’re not quite at the point where we can offer a list of top teams and a list of top solo producers. But we hope to do more on that front in the future, and we’re dedicating our very next issue to top producers who don’t have a team, so please stay tuned for that.
In terms of processes we are changing this year: Those of you who appeared on Real Data lists last year might recall being contacted by our editorial team to confirm your numbers and add any off-MLS sales that you could prove. We decided to end that practice this year for a few reasons: It’s tough to track down dozens of agents, and if we happened to have the wrong email address or phone number for someone, perhaps a person who’d recently switched companies, they would be denied the opportunity to weigh in. Another point that stopped me in my tracks is that agent No. 21 (who wouldn’t show up on the list we get from MRED) might have more off-MLS sales than the agent who’s ranked No. 20. But how would I know to contact them and ask if they should be moved up in the ranking? Those are just two reasons why we simplified the process and we’re rolling with the MLS data as it came to us.
Still, I think of Real Data as a work in progress, and I want to hear from you. If you have any feedback about how this issue is produced, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.