This week: Falling pending sales activity, another option for convenient rent payments, and Left, Middle, Right.

New markets require new approaches and new tactics. Experts and industry leaders will take the stage at Inman Connect New York in January to help you navigate the market shift — and prepare for the next one. Meet the moment and join us. Register here. (edited) 

Byron Lazine and Nicole White are two agents in Connecticut who give us their thoughts on the week’s news every Friday in “The Real Word,” a weekly video column on Inman.

Major drop in pending sales

According to a new report by Redfin, pending home sales have dropped 35.2 percent year over year. This is the largest annual decline since January 2015, when Redfin started gathering this data. This drop is supported by similar indicators in relation to Google searches, home showing requests and mortgage applications.

White said that while she didn’t realize the numbers were this low, she’s not surprised by the drop. Lazine said that in some markets, the drop can be partially explained by lack of inventory, though in some markets, inventory has been on the rise, and the drop in pending sales is aligned with a large number of price reductions.

Disruption to paper rent checks

JPMorgan Chase is piloting a program to automate rent payments. The bank is hoping to incentivize its platform by providing analytics and tenant screening. Lazine said that this functionality is similar to that provided by services such as Buildium. He said that it would be interesting to see if JPMorgan Chase’s product will provide a variety of payment options for tenants, like Venmo or credit cards.

According to JPMorgan’s research, 78 percent of rent payments are paid with a paper check, representing $500 billion annually. Lazine said that landlords should be looking for platforms that provide this functionality to create added convenience and encourage on-time payment.

Left, middle, right

When Clients Talk Politics, Stay Above the Fray

If clients or leads are constantly bringing up political and personal beliefs, be aware that you shouldn’t openly discuss politics, either in person or on social media. White said she had never been asked by a client about her politics and avoids talking about politics, and Lazine said that he has been asked and has had healthy discussions with people he knew well.

Lazine said that people on the left tend to be more open about their political views because they believe they are standard and more widely accepted. White said that while people don’t need to talk about politics, they should absolutely be talking about voting, including where to go and how to register.

Americans Flocked to Red and Purple Counties in Key Senate-Race States During the Pandemic

Pandemic-fueled migration to red and purple places may create increasing diversity and could swing some elections in this year’s midterms. For real estate agents, it’s important to understand who has left your market and who is moving into your market from other places. This can give you insights into the values of those who are coming into your area and help you find places to connect with newcomers to your market.

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