Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the ability or right to control people or things.” Of course, that raises the question of what is meant by “control.” Control is defined as directing the behavior of, or to cause a person to do what you want. Power can also exist even though it may not be exercised, because simply having power can discourage others from challenging it. So you could just imagine the healthy debate we had as to what criteria should be used in creating a list of the most powerful people. Although we are the leading researchers on real estate trends (25+ publications on trends, including the annual Swanepoel TRENDS Report) we still had serious difficulty. So for the Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200), we defined “Power” simply as “the ability to make things happen.”
We decided to create benchmarks and algorithms that take into account the individual’s personal influence, his/her tenure in the industry, the office he or she holds, the decision-making power of said office, the financial resources of his or her company or organization, that company or organization’s significance and contribution to the industry, the company’s geographic reach, and his or her recent activities, growth and potential. And then the SP200 editorial team debated each person extensively, making adjustments based our multiple decades-long experience and knowledge of the people on the list. We know this is more art than science, despite our hours spent on numbers and computer models, and like art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We recognize that long after publication, each of us will have at least a dozen individuals we think should be higher on the list.
Real estate is too broad and includes multiple verticals, and it would be almost impossible to include all occupations and businesses in real estate. It was therefore decided to more accurately define real estate as “residential real estate.”
Residential real estate is an enormous industry with some $55 billion being earned just in real estate commissions every year. We therefore focused on those individuals/companies who generate most of their business or income, in one form or another, from the residential real estate industry.
There was some heated debate on whether we should include company individuals in finance and government. Obviously, major mortgage banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo have incalculable impact on residential real estate, and they do generate significant revenue from the financing of residential properties. They, however, also have significant other revenue. A similar situation arises with powerful regulators and legislators. Our solution was to acknowledge these types of powerful individuals under the “Outsiders” category without including them in the overall SP200 ranking.
This is the first issue of the SP200, the most comprehensive analysis ever published of the most powerful key decision makers, trailblazers, influencers, company chieftains, thought leaders, and innovators. And as we locked this list on New Year’s Eve, we look back on our own unresolved debates as to who should rank where, and realize that your input will be huge to help us build SP200 into the definitive list of real estate’s movers and shakers. So join us at Facebook and share with us who and why you think someone was possibly overlooked. The discussion will be a lot of fun. Trust us, we know from personal experience over the past few months. With that, we present the Swanepoel Power 200: The Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate in 2013!