About 20 years ago, there was a popular book called, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. The book’s premise was a business parable about how the characters dealt with changes they had no control over. Sound familiar? The recent rise in interest rates and other economic factors impacting the housing market may have you wondering who moved your cheese, and questioning how you will navigate these changes successfully in your business.
It’s time to flex your professional development skills and ensure you are prepared to offer your clients the best advice and guidance to navigate today’s market. Preparation is key — the conversations you had six months ago won’t apply to the decisions facing buyers and sellers today. As a trusted advisor, you need to be ready to have the following conversations.
1. Addressing interest rates and affordability
A Cost of Waiting Analysis is a tool lenders use to calculate the amount of equity a buyer would accumulate if they purchased a home now, versus the amount of equity lost by waiting to buy. This can also be summed up with the phrase “marry the house, date the rate,” which has become popular recently. There are several key elements to having a cost of waiting discussion with your clients, and it’s time to make sure you understand each of them.
2. Will housing prices go down?
The best way to address this concern is to look at the data. For example, if a buyer plans on owning a home for seven to 10 years, even a short-term dip in house price appreciation will not impact the equity built over the long term.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is a great resource for data to include in consultation materials you present to buyers and sellers.
3. Is now a good time to list?
Today’s homeowners have benefited tremendously from the housing market over the last decade. As a result, many people have large amounts of equity in their home.
Working through a Move Up Comparison can help your clients determine their options. For example, if a client owns a $750,000 property and owes $450,000, they have $300,000 in equity. They could sell their current home and buy a $900,000 property, with 25% down ($225,000) and still have $75,000 in cash. Now they’re living in a new home that better matches their current needs. This is an appealing option to many, but clients need help working through the math to truly understand the opportunity.
4. Renting versus buying
Renters who are considering a home purchase should look at a Rent Versus Buy Analysis. In 2021, about 28% of the market was attributed to first-time home buyers. Helping these buyers understand the impact of renting versus buying is essential. It’s helpful to have several comparisons of these costs worked out and presented in tables for easy discussion during your consultations with buyers.
5. Price reductions
Real estate agents haven’t had to deal with price reductions much recently. The best strategy is to get the property priced correctly from the get-go — however, some sellers will want to “try” a higher price, which is understandable. We can debate whether you should walk away from an overpriced listing another time. But, for now, you’ve had the property on the market for a while, and it’s not selling. Your seller is getting anxious, and you know it’s time to have the price reduction conversation. How will you approach this often challenging topic?
Are you ready to have these five fierce conversations with your clients? Then check out our download 5 Scripts You Need Right Now, where we elaborate on each conversation, provide details on how to structure the dialogue, and share the resources available to help you advise and guide your clients.
About Wendy Forsythe
Wendy is the Chief Strategy Officer for Fathom Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: FTHM), a national, technology-driven real estate services platform integrating residential brokerage, mortgage, title, insurance, and SaaS offerings to brokerages and agents by leveraging its proprietary cloud-based software, intelliAgent. Wendy has spent her career helping top brands, brokerages, and agents build their businesses. She has become a branding and growth leader by combining operational excellence with an agent-first philosophy. You can reach Wendy at Wendy@FathomInc.com.