The buyer’s market is maturing. Be ready to change your mindset, and prepare to look for opportunities in the tumult of change. Here’s how.

Planning for the future can be tough because the economy can change so quickly, and the real estate market tends to run in cycles. The current buyer’s market is maturing. It seems as if it will last forever, but of course, it won’t.

Recessions tend to come along at regular intervals, and we are currently overdue. It was actually a recession that got me started in real estate almost 20 years ago. For me, that recession presented an opportunity.

It was a recession that changed my plans shortly after I graduated from college and looked for a job when the unemployment rate was 13 percent.

I have never figured out what was good about that recession. Maybe it taught me how to handle rejection as I applied for at least 25 jobs before being hired.

Be resilient, flexible and willing to take risks

As the real estate market changes and shifts, there are two personal qualities that will come in handy: resilience and flexibility.

There are strategies for future-proofing most any business, and when that isn’t enough, it is time to look at ways to use skills and experience that can be transferred to other businesses or that could be used in a new job.

While the economy is good, and the real estate market is fairly strong, is the perfect time to put some money aside. Pay off credit card bills and put aside some “opportunity money.”

If you are a licensed real estate salesperson, consider getting a broker’s license this year. Check with your state department of commerce, and find out what is needed to qualify for the license. Having a broker’s license means more flexibility and more opportunity, and in most states, it’s inexpensive and fairly easy in most states.

Be willing to take risks. We don’t have to do things a certain way because that is the way they have always been done. New business models come from trying something different. Look for a better way — there is always a better way.

We don’t know if an idea will succeed in the long run, but new business models exist because someone was and is willing to take a risk. Failure is always an possibility.

Risks can be huge, but they don’t have to be. They can be small, like investing in new ways of marketing your services, or trying new technology, or conducting a little testing and some experimentation.

Challenge assumptions

Now is the perfect time to start challenging old assumptions — especially your own. Is being on a team the best way to be successful? Is that technology your broker is offering making a difference in your business? What else is out there? Who else is out there?

Listen to your clients. Ask them what they are looking for from a real estate professional. Ask specific questions about services. There may be a need for a service that isn’t being offered in your market.

Read the news, and read articles about technology and about trends. Read articles on a variety of topics from a variety of sources. Understand the economy and your local housing market.

Changing demographics means a changing real estate market. Baby boomers currently own a lot of real estate and won’t live forever. When will the great selloff of real estate owned by baby boomers happen? Will it be a gradual sell-off?

When will we see a buyer’s market again? When it comes along, will real estate professionals be ready for it? Who will teach the agents who have only known a seller’s market?

Will the many products and services that have been launched during the seller’s market work as well in a buyer’s market?

The number of Realtors has been growing while at the same time the number of home sales have been declining. The median age of Realtors is rising again. It had peaked at 57 in 2015, and then it dropped to 53 just a year later and rose to 54 years in 2019.

Will the number of Realtors fall again? Will that create some opportunities?

As Realtors retire, who will work with their past clients? I know that some real estate companies are working on ways to bring some of that business back into the company. Real estate agents thinking about retiring are looking for ways they can continue to benefit from their hard work building a client base.

How will climate change, zoning law changes and the outcome of class action lawsuits affect the real estate industry and individual real estate salespeople?

It is possible that we won’t see a lot of change in 2020, but what about 2021? There is always change. Watch for it like a surfer watches for a wave, and be ready to catch the wave to take advantage of new opportunities.

Learn to recognize opportunities — those disguised in a recession, in the form of a new competitor or that may come along as a result of failure.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

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