Select Page

by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Richard Gibbens, the MLS Director for Southwest MLS, the MLS of the Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS®. Prior to that, he was the MLS Director at the Central Panhandle Association of REALTORS® in Panama City, Florida.

Q1: Like many in our industry, you have spent time at multiple MLSs. In your experience, what can you say has felt the same or different from one to the next?

Richard: I have a dirty secret to share: I do not like the adage that “all real estate is local.” It’s really not that different.

Between my experiences in New Mexico and Florida, I can tell you that there are different styles of homes, for sure. There is a difference in access to waterways and other physical things. Other than that, at least in terms of data in an MLS, a house is a house.

I don’t think we’re all as different as we like to think we are. We’re about 90% the same.

Q2: You have been a tireless contributor to the RESO Data Dictionary Workgroup. Why is it important for you to directly contribute to the process?

Richard: I believe that we all need to be the ones affecting change in our industry, instead of change affecting us. If you’re not part of the process, then you’re along for the ride.

Like with the Days on Market Business Descriptions Subgroup, people didn’t want to touch it because there are so many ways out there to determine days on market, but it’s been a smooth process. Every vote has been unanimous after intelligent discussion and a desire for consensus. It’s like, “Check. Let’s move on.”

To me, as with my answer to the first question, this is further proof of the fact that we are all more alike than we think we are and can find agreement more than we think we will.

When RESO’s new certification tools are released, I predict that we’ll find that we’ve all been using similar names for even more fields ready to be standardized.

Q3: You have shared your personal weight loss journey on social media, and it would appear that our real estate community has been among the supporters of your efforts. How do you feel about mixing personal and work lives in social media, and what do you think it takes to make it a positive experience?

Richard: I think it’s about vulnerability.

Being a leader, regardless of the type of leader you are, takes showing that vulnerability. It shows that you’re human, you’re approachable and that you also make mistakes.

Basically, everything Brené Brown says rings true – being vulnerable and open has been life changing for me. It took something that I was very self conscious about – my weight – and it built a tribe of amazing supporters around me, both emotionally and even financially through the GoFundMe that financed my weight-loss surgery when insurance wouldn’t.

Positivity is important, too. When COVID-19 first came around, I did a daily “Good News Update” online to help offset the fear and crisis, which resonated with people and helped them “look for the helpers” as Mr. Rogers put it. It’s important to stay aware of what’s happening, but you don’t have to wallow in it.

I want my life to reflect a positive energy, and I believe that the best way to do that is to allow myself to be vulnerable and to prove myself worthy of your trust and friendship.