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Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings.
Is the real estate market starting to cool off? As Inman reported, “a new report released on Thursday by tech-powered brokerage Redfin suggests that things might finally be starting to calm down a bit.”
Which is why, last week, we reached out to our readers and asked: What nuggets of wisdom do you have for new real estate agents entering a shifting market? Turns out, you had plenty of advice to give. From pushing forward with your marketing and joining a team to offering top-notch customer service at all times, here’s what you had to say:
- There will be houses priced high, priced low intentionally, priced low by accident. Get to know the differences, learn how to spot them and how to educate both sellers and buyers about them. Be a likeable agent. Be the agent the other side wants to work with — this is a huge important step. Understand why a seller is moving, not the fake reasons they give you, but dig deeper and get to the real reasons. Often, it will be related to money. Be empathetic, and find creative ways to get deals done. If a seller is asking $700,000 and is having a tough time financially, and your buyer is only willing to pay $680,000, find ways to bridge the gap that don’t include increasing the sale price. When you have to determine a price on a house for a buyer, be sure you have seen it in person. When you have to determine a price for a house for your seller, do everything in your power to see it or at least drive by it. This is crucial. Not all comps are real comps. Stay in your lane, and don’t take clients in areas you don’t know because you are are needy. It won’t end well, and you won’t build the business you want. It’s better to be a local expert and sell in a few towns with similar client makeups than it is to be everywhere and not have a following. Down markets are when long-term business is built. Help someone who’s struggling, and they will remember you forever.
- When everyone else cuts back on marketing, you go the opposite direction. Spend to stand out!
- Don’t use outdoor signs, as the more outdoor signs a buyer sees, the weaker and more vulnerable they believe the block, street or neighborhood is. Everything’s accessible to everyone in year 2021. I once had a $2 million townhouse for sale with a $1.5 million neighboring townhouse for sale that no one wanted (eight rent-stabilized apartments, etc.). The $1.5 million townhouse had a sign, and visitors would then wonder “What about that?” This lengthened the time it took to sell this $2 million townhouse in year 2010. Signs cause a negative effect in any market — but a much worse effect in a softer seller’s market.
- Work on your database every day. Feed it, nurture it, and follow up with it.
- Always live within your means. No matter how successful you are, a shifting market (hello, 2008-2010!) can take you by surprise. Spend and save strategically.
- Articulate the shift in simple terms to your SOI as to what opportunities that presents for them. Stay diversified with your business generation efforts.
- Come from [a place of] contribution. Know your market data, and what it means for each type of potential client. Create opportunities to share that message as often as possible.
- [It’s the] same advice, regardless of the market. Build relationships, solve problems, and have fun. You’ll be surprised at how much of the rest of the “stuff” happens if you do those three things consistently.
- Ensure you have strong systems in place that constantly nurture and feed your leads pipeline. That way, in any market, you will always have business coming in to keep you going, giving you a position to launch from rather than figure out how to survive.
- Know your market. In times of craziness, in times of turbulence, in times of uncertainty, and in times of normalcy — product knowledge is key. Understanding your market is as vital as being able to share this information with your clients. I built my business on client education, and “explaining everything expertly well,” so my clients are well-equipped to make life changing decisions they can stand by. Clients who feel confident in your abilities (confidence rooted in knowledge) are likely to work with you, send you referrals, and talk highly about their experience in rooms you haven’t yet entered. Empower your client, and help them win. That’s the only way to get and grow your business.
- Real estate is local. Stay on top of conditions in your market.
- Always provide the best customer service you can no matter what the market is doing. You’ll earn a professional reputation that will carry you through any type of market.
- Prepare today to be strong tomorrow. Anticipate what the market is going to do, and market to your buyers or sellers accordingly. Always prepare, plan and market at least six to nine months in the future to continue to push your pipeline full. If you are not sure how to gauge the market or what the tells are for your specific market, find a mentor, coach or broker who’s continually pouring into your career teaching and training you to learn the tools of your trade. Be humble. Ask questions. See education. Study your market. Know your data. Apply it with anticipation.
- Be proactive, and study your craft. Make good relationships with experienced agents who have books they are looking to sell and use all of your networking prowess.
- Study the market in detail. Understand what communities are closing at a faster rate, which ones are slowing down. Then reach out to your sphere, and start having informative market conversations. This will lead to referrals or potential listings.
- All of the above, plus don’t neglect your income statement and balance sheet. Track your finances. Review frequently. Adjust as needed. It’s not about how much you make; it’s about how much you keep.
- Work hard, and you will succeed in any market. The best time to learn selling skills is in a challenging market. And make sure you have enough resources to take you through at least a year, but challenge yourself not to dip into that pot. Your focus will crystallize or you will fail.
- Get involved at your association. The laws are changing, and so is the way you represent your clients. Be a part of those changes rather than subject to them.
- Join a team. The best ones will keep you flush with opportunities.
- Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and focus on business opportunities that fit well with your strengths. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Find a coach or a mentor, and get to work.
- Invest heavily into your SOI. They already know, like and trust you. Build on the rapport you already have established with them, and stay top-of-mind for their real estate needs. Ask them for referrals or testimonials.
- Make sure you are staying in touch with your past clients. You never know who is contemplating COVID-related changes for themselves or their extended family. You want to be top-of-mind so they call you for advice — not anyone else.
- Hone in on communications skills. Seek relationships, not transactions. Broadcast your messaging with uniformity across all platforms. Focus on personal branding that is consistent and gives service with value first. Don’t distract from the core task of lead generation.
- Work your community and build relationship with local businesses. They will remember and appreciate your effort. Continue to keep in touch with your database, but do it with your heart. Care about them, and add info about their family. Truly care, and it will come back to you.
- Be intentional and make a plan to connect with everyone you know. Don’t make the contact about real estate. Make it about them, not you. Be a giver, not a receiver. Operate from a position of generosity. Ask them what you can do for them. Not what they can do for you. Business will flow to you naturally if this is truly your intention.
What did we miss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and, therefore, are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method and regulations may vary from state to state.