Nicole Solari is a top-producing broker-owner in Northern California whose regular bimonthly column, which covers real estate marketing, selling strategies and working with clients, publishes regularly on Tuesdays.
It’s been a long, strange year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have ample reasons to give thanks.
Here are a few thing all agents can be thankful for this Thanksgiving:
1. A better financing environment for buyers
Thanks to down payment assistance programs, lower interest rates and new, more flexible, loan products, a higher percentage of buyers were able to purchase homes in 2019 than last year.
First-time and other entry-level buyers specifically got a huge boost this year when FHA re-entered the existing condo market.
2. The lowest foreclosure rate in years
Who becomes an agent to sell distressed properties? It’s agony! We’re doing far fewer short sales (and dealing with far fewer heartbroken sellers) now that interest rates are near historic lows and values generally support refinancing.
So, it’s no surprise foreclosure rates are down nationwide. Unfortunately, there are still markets where things are less rosy.
Yes, they are picky. But, they’re willing to pay the price to get the features they want. So, what’s not to appreciate?
4. Savvy clients
Smart buyers and sellers — or those willing to learn and get smart — are such a blessing. And we’re perennially grateful for clients who work with us so we can actually do the very best job possible for them.
We understand that buying and selling is stressful. But the clients who manage to get through it without our having to peel them off the ceiling every week are the best!
Remember the days (not that long ago) when we had nothing to show buyers and couldn’t get sellers off the sidelines because prices were still rising? The inventory shortage finally eased last fall and kept rising through the end of June.
It narrowed a little again this fall, but we still had a good September. And we have high hopes for year-over-year stats in October and November as well.
6. A balanced market
Housing is affordable for more than half of all buyers nationally and 43 percent of buyers in California. Though price increases have slowed, valuations still reward sellers who’ve taken care of their properties. If Goldilocks was an agent, she would think this market was just right.
7. Active national, state and local associations
We don’t give thanks often enough for the support that Realtor associations consistently provide to Realtors and property owners. That FHA move back into condo financing? You can thank NAR for pushing that for years.
Among its varied slate of on-going efforts, NAR’s done some heavy lifting to get FEMA to recognize where flooding does and does not actually occur and to align its policies and decisions with that reality.
Like Realtor Associations in many other states, California’s CAR launched a Housing Affordability Fund (HAF) more than a decade ago and, this year, initiated its “Let’s Get Serious on Supply” program urging state legislators to support policies that increase housing production.
If our local association didn’t make it incredibly easy to access useful (and often required) continuing education, many of us would be constantly engaged in fruitless, 11th-hour searches for essential classes.
Plus, local regulations on everything from open house signs to building codes would lack the professional input our local associations provide while their members take care of business.
8. Our support systems
Including transaction coordinators, buyer’s agents, assistants, managers, colleagues, friends and understanding families — real estate is a group effort. Even if you’re a sole practitioner, no one does this work successfully alone. It’s simply not possible.
9. Current and emerging technologies
Today’s agents also rely on tech to free us to go where we’re needed most. It wasn’t that long ago when agents were tethered to physical offices because that’s where our hefty, paper-stuffed transaction files had to stay.
Now we could do at least 90 percent of our work sitting on a beach in Cabo, and our clients would be none the wiser. We’re hoping for even better tech in the near future.
Dictating texts while in transit, for example, is efficient now, but what we say and how the text reads are often so not the same.
We look forward to voice recognition technology getting way better soon. And, who knows how future technologies like virtual reality might ultimately serve us? Maybe they will upgrade actual reality.
We love our colleagues, our clients and our business. But, sometimes, we need a little break. We’re grateful Cabo is so near and yet so far away — even if you can review files sitting on the beach there.
From all of us to all of you, our best wishes for an abundantly happy Thanksgiving. Gratitude is its own gift. We hope you savor it. We sure plan to!
What are you thankful for this year? Please share in the comments section below!
Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.