A challenging market is exactly where real estate agents provide the most value, writes The Agency’s David Walker. Here’s how to become stronger as the market gets harder.

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The real estate market’s activity over the past few years has been unprecedented. The pandemic directly affected our industry, fueling bidding wars, ultra-competitive offers and all-cash deals.

Over the past two years, homes sold in record time, with many buyers placing offers sight unseen or within the first day of the property coming to market. As our industry begins to see a down market in many major markets across the nation, this adjustment presents agents with the unique opportunity to hone their skills, provide value and become the client’s x-factor.

After all, a challenging market is exactly where an agent provides the most value. Here are five tips for becoming a stronger agent, especially as the market gets harder.

Start with mindset

The most important mindset an agent can have in a down market is to view the situation as an opportunity to provide maximum value. The best real estate agents take the challenges that make other agents nervous and use them as fuel to be even better.

As a result, these agents thrive in conditions where others falter. If you know a listing is going to provide challenges, agents should adopt a growth mindset and think “This is an amazing opportunity for me to prove myself and show my value and expertise in this market and for this type of property.”

The mindset you employ trickles down to everything you do, and your clients will feel it, too. 

Be proactive — it’s never been more important

Being proactive goes hand-in-hand with mindset. In challenging markets, agents can never assume that clients are interpreting the signals in the market in the same way we are. Agents should pick up the phone and touch base with all their clients on the intricacies of their specific market.

The most important thing agents can do is understand what each client’s specific goals are and when or how we can help them achieve those goals in the current economic and market climate.

The best way to do this is to be proactive — pick up the phone, and have a real conversation and serve as an adviser to your network.

Double down on local knowledge

In a challenging market, every buyer and seller is reading the same headlines about the current market. Not only are most of those headlines national, but they often don’t reflect what is happening on a local level.

One of an agent’s greatest points of value comes from interpreting market data for their clients on a property-by-property and micro-economic basis. I always recommend getting as specific and detailed as possible when sharing insights.

Once you’ve reviewed the latest market data for the regions you serve, let your clients know that you’ve analyzed the market for the best comps for their specific home, and explain what you’ve been seeing over the past three months and how to position their home based on the latest activity and movement.

Diagnosing the specifics of your local market and translating that clearly and concisely to your client is one of the best ways to add outsized value to each client despite market conditions.  

Remember, positioning matters more than ever

In today’s market, understanding the competitive landscape for each property and creating a strategy to help your seller stand out and maximize their home’s value is more important than ever.

For example, do all the competitive listings lead with very similar-looking photos? Perhaps there’s an opportunity to stand out by highlighting something different like an incredible backyard or outdoor terrace.

Do all your comps list at just over $1 million? Think about pricing slightly below so that it shows up in online searches of $750,000 to $1 million to drive more traffic.

There are many ways to position your seller’s home that will help it stand out and have more visibility. Now is the time to think outside the box and leverage those unique marketing and sales strategies. 

Leverage your professional sphere

A challenging market provides the opportunity to become smarter and more informed, especially when there are varying sentiments and projections from industry professionals.

Leverage your industry relationships, and ask other experts in the field — agents, mortgage bankers, title officers and developers — what their view of the market is, where they see it headed and why.

Although none of us can predict the future, seeking out and listening to a variety of perspectives will help to educate and inform, thus ultimately putting you in a position to add greater value to your clients.

Down markets provide the biggest mobility opportunity for agents to dramatically shift their business and how they stack up in their local market. By adopting the right mindset and implementing growth strategies, agents can effectively grow their businesses and rise above the competition.

David Walker is Chief Strategic Officer and a founder at The Agency. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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