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From skyrocketing demand in the Hamptons to an exodus from cities like San Francisco and Boston, sudden shifts in local housing markets can be impossible to predict — especially amid a global pandemic.
But with the right tools, pivoting amid change is possible, Amie Quirarte of Tahoe Luxury Properties and Nina Dosanjh of Vanguard Properties told a virtual Connect Now audience Thursday sponsored by BoomTown.
“Reshuffle is a great way to think about 2020 and all of the twists and turns that it has had,” Quirarte told the audience during a workshop entitled “How to Prepare for a Market Reshuffle.” “The first word that comes to mind is flexibility and adaptability and I think that this year more than ever we were all forced to adapt when perhaps some of us may have been resistant.”
Quirarte and Dosanjh shared five tips for anticipating a market shift and thriving during a reshuffle:
As things return to normal, don’t lose your early pandemic drive
Looking back, the beginning of the pandemic felt productive for most agents. If they weren’t filming video tours and sending check-in notes to clients, they were launching new video series or streaming on Instagram. As Dosanjh pointed out, that early drive has faded for some amid extended lockdowns and pandemic fatigue.
And that’s a shame, she said, since that sense of urgency can often be what propels your business forward most.
“I’ve been on so many calls throughout the year in the early part of 2020 and shelter-in-place where people were very much on video and present and then you saw people taper off and be present in meetings but have their video off,” Dosanjh told the virtual audience. “I think in 2021 it’s going to be more important than ever to actually show that presence.”
Amid uncertainty, keep clients posted
Markets shift in unpredictable ways — how many of us could have foreseen the coronavirus pandemic? Quirarte recalled that in Lake Tahoe interest skyrocketed overnight as affluent Silicon Valley buyers fleeing dense cities began snapping up property with all-cash offers. Even clients looking for a vacation home in the area may not have been aware that interest had intensified so quickly and to such an extent. As an agent, it’s your job to keep them posted with regular market updates to minimize — if not entirely avoid — surprises.
“You end up doing a disservice by not being honest with people from the get-go,” Quirarte said. “If [a buyer] is standing in the living room and I’m saying you need to make a decision right now… because there are 18 cars outside, you’re asking who this agent is and why she didn’t prep me for this.”
Don’t shy away from tough conversations
In unprecedented times, admit you simply don’t know what’s going to happen next. Admitting as much will earn you respect among clients and prevent a loss of credibility over time. As part of keeping clients informed, agents shouldn’t be scared to pick up difficult topics, anything from discussing a drop in local rental rates to telling clients that the market has become too competitive and those who cannot make all-cash offers may not be able to buy.
“There’s so much uncertainty that you really have to prepare the buyers and the sellers for that conversation and for anything that could take place,” Dosanjh said.
Form your own opinion based on data
Contrary to popular belief, agents shouldn’t shy away from forming their own opinions and sharing them with clients. More than simply showing a home or helping with the closing process, honest, personal advice is precisely what many clients are looking for. Treat each real estate transaction like it’s your own, Quirarte said. Look at historic prices while also staying up to date with day-to-day events affecting the market. And while you shouldn’t push your client to buy or not buy outright, you should discuss those feelings and concerns with the buyer, she added.
“It’s always a tough question because you can’t give a yes or no or a ‘you should wait’ or a ‘you should buy right now,'” Quirarte said. “But you can come up with your own opinion based on data and share it.”
Prepare for the unexpected
The future will bring changes you can’t begin to imagine. Those changes can pose major challenges but also provide silver linings, Quirarte said.
Prior to the pandemic, Lake Tahoe was a sleepy upscale market where listings lingered for months. Now, Quirarte said, homes are scooped up in days. Don’t be scared of the future but learn how to adapt to different situations. As this year has shown, real estate can thrive even when it feels like the rest of the world is falling apart.
“We went to this totally brand-new world of seeing 25 offers all in cash, no contingencies and sitting in the living room [telling clients] that you have to make a decision right now,” Quirarte said. “What that really caught me as an agent was that we can’t ever get too comfortable in the market you’re in.”