Interest rates are higher, home sales may slip lower and new unemployment claims last week dropped to the lowest level in three years. Will good news for the economy turn the housing market into a rotten egg? Either way, there’s no harm in being prepared. Here’s a handy list of 16 ways to get ready in case the market takes a dive:
1. Learn. A less hectic housing market gives salespeople time to catch up on post-license continuing education classes and professional development seminars. Take a class. Earn a designation–or maybe even get that long-postponed bachelor’s or master’s degree.
2. Network. More Realtors chasing fewer home sales means more competition for listings and ready-to-transact buyers. Networking can net more business opportunities, including more prospects and more referrals.
3. Market. Don’t make the classic business error of curtailing marketing just when marketing is most necessary. Spruce up that Web site. Pop those postcards in the mail. Make your presence known in the marketplace.
4. Strategize. Smart businesspeople know the importance of the right strategy and the right tactics. Identify the best opportunities for success, figure out how to counter the challenges, plan ahead, establish objectives and set goals, then get to work.
5. Innovate. What’s the next big thing in real estate? A more efficient process? A more effective business model? A new competitive differentiation? A smarter marketing tactic? Think big, think new, then go for it.
6. Diversify. Don’t keep all those oh-so-fragile eggs in one risky basket. If a housing downturn is on the horizon, it might be wise to add another business line to take the pressure off real estate.
7. Walk away. Veteran realty salespeople know all too well the high cost of an overpriced listing or unwilling buyer. Don’t spend money, time or energy on poor-quality or unqualified prospects.
8. Save. The beginning of the end could be a last-chance opportunity to build an emergency fund or start seriously saving for the future. It also could be an opportunity to earn higher returns on savings accounts and other low-risk investments if interest rates increase.
9. Cut costs. Less business means less income, and less income means a smaller bottom line, unless some of the pain is taken out of the cost side of the business. Shop around for the best deals and negotiate hard with all categories of suppliers. Now might not be the best time to buy that new BMW.
10. Retire. Successful executives, brokers and salespeople should evaluate whether a market shift is a signal to get out of the business altogether. Maybe it’s time to sell the company or book of business, cash in those chips and hit the golf course.
11. Downsize. Not quite ready for retirement? Maybe it’s just time to downsize and limit a larger business to more reasonable or modest goals.
12. Vote. Research the political candidates’ positions on housing and the economy. Who would offer the best plan for housing and real estate? Support candidates and initiatives that could create a better outlook for business.
13. Volunteer. Get active in local community groups, social clubs, religious institutions or whatever. Good works make people feel good, and it’s no secret that volunteer contacts can generate real estate business too.
14. Pray. If the seller’s market flips into a buyer’s bonanza, listings could linger on the market for weeks or even months. Agents may want to stock up on those popular–albeit decidedly dubious–St. Joseph statutes.
15. Reflect. A slower market is an opportune time for a slower lifestyle. Make the morning last. Stop and smell those proverbial roses. Refocus on what’s really important.
16. Relax. Go ahead and take that long-awaited and well-earned vacation. A business slowdown is the best time to spend some of that hard-earned money on a little R&R.