What Real Estate Brokerages Can Learn from Spider-Man

Recently, Marvel Studios posted this image on their Instagram feed.


Thank you Steve. Rest In Peace.

A post shared by Marvel Studios (@marvelstudios) on

The photo, which shows our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, head bowed, standing in shadow, is the studio's way of honoring one of its own, Steve Ditko, who passed away at the end of June.

Even as a dedicated Marvel fan myself, I was unfamiliar with Ditko. Although he spent the majority of his career trying to stay out of the limelight, Ditko was the artist who worked with Stan Lee to bring Spider-Man to life.

Spider-Man made his debut back in 1962, and quickly became the foundation for Marvel's approach to superheroes. He was uniquely human, making him relatable and understandable for his audience.

Although Ditko didn't stay on with Marvel for long, his creations continued to have a big influence on the studio and the superhero universe as we know it today. Even though they’re fiction, there's a lot we can learn from them.

So what can real estate brokerages learn from Spider-Man?

It's good to stay local and build connections.

As his byline would suggest, Spider-Man is a friendly, neighborhood superhero. Sure, he has incredible powers—he's inhumanly strong, he climbs on any surface, and he swings around New York City on unexpectedly structural spider webs.

But he's just as likely to stand on a street corner, giving directions to passersby and helping elderly citizens cross the road, as he is to be doing epic battle with supervillains.

Where bigger superheroes like Iron Man choose to stay in the spotlight, well above ground level, Spider-Man stays on the ground with his fellow citizens—where he builds connections with the locals and becomes their go-to hero.

The moral of the story?

No matter how big you are, it's important to build connections with the people who need you most.

In terms of real estate, that means your clients. Today's largest demographic of homebuyers, millennials, are buying homes almost twice as frequently as the preceding generations, and for them, having a personal connection with an agent makes all the difference in the world.

Behind-the-scenes work makes a huge difference.

For decades, all kinds of superheroes have relied on the "guy in the chair." This person typically stays behind the scenes, managing the situation and directing the superhero so they can do their job without a second thought.

Historically, this wasn't a big feature for Spider-Man, who relies on his Spidey sense to alert him of not-so-great situations. More recently, though, Spidey has gone from operating solo to having two different behind-the-scenes characters over the course of the story.

When things became too much for him to handle by himself, he relied on "Karen," an iteration of the almost-human AI inhabiting Iron Man's suit. Later, he does the same with his friend Ned, who is exhilarated to get the role. In both cases, the "guy in the chair" guides Spider-Man through some tricky situations.

The moral of the story?

Even superheroes rely on someone who stays behind the scenes to do the heavy lifting.

Every real estate brokerage has its "guy in the chair," the in-house staff who do the heavy lifting. Maybe they're pulling important information from your data for weekly reports, or maybe they're keeping track of every transaction you make—but they're working hard behind the scenes to make sure you can do what you need to do without any trouble.

It's okay to think small.

Did you know? Spider-Man may be one of the biggest faces of Marvel, but he has never actually been an Avenger.

That's right—despite his power and his (albeit local) fame, Spidey has never joined the ranks of Earth's mightiest heroes, preferring to stay local and think small. In fact, in many of his publications, he's shown to help out the team, while expressing a stereotypical teenage disinterest in any kind of organization.

That has never stopped him from being an effective superhero.

The moral of the story?

Ultimately, it's about what's best for your brokerage—and if it's what you decide, then it's perfectly okay to think small.

In fact, we recently talked to a broker of record from Toronto, Ont., who has grand plans for a franchised brokerage with several little shops around the province. For her, the best strategy has been almost identical to that of Spider-Man—staying local, thinking small, and keeping at the ground level so no one becomes just another number.

With great power comes great responsibility.

This line is a huge trope in superhero movies, but you may not know that it started with Spider-Man. It's the first lesson our teenage hero learns after he gains his powers; it's a powerful line delivered by his Uncle Ben, and driven home by tragedy.

This lesson ends up being what defines Spider-Man and how he acts as a superhero.

The moral of the story?

Well, with great power comes great responsibility.

As your real estate brokerage grows, your responsibilities are going to grow as well. More success takes more work—and it's important to make sure your team is equipped to handle it, not just now, but for years to come. 

Now we want to hear from you. How do you relate to these little lessons from Spider-Man? Do you have others?