No matter what the market’s doing, the way you show up is the biggest factor in determining your outcomes. Jimmy Burgess talks with Gino Blefari, CEO, HomeServices of America and Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going next as individuals and as an industry.

What decisions and paths should the real estate industry be prioritizing? And how can you, whether managing a team or an entire company, bring those best lessons to bear where you work? In February, in advance of building an industry blueprint at Inman Disconnect, we’ll plumb the topic of leadership with Q&As with top industry leaders, contributions from esteemed Inman columnists and more.

Gino Blefari, CEO, HomeServices of America and Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, says the current market environment should not be unexpected due to the cyclical nature of the real estate business. In this interview, he shares where we’ve been, where we are and what agents should be doing right now to find success.

Where we’ve been

Asked to provide an overview of the last few years, Blefari said:

“When discussing the market over the past few years we have to understand the impact the pandemic had on the real estate industry in a positive way. The federal government printed $6 trillion to stimulate the economy during the shutdown. More money was printed in June of 2020 than had been printed in the entire history of the United States prior to that month.

Of that, $4 trillion was printed in the form of stimulus checks, but we were all hunkered down. At the same time, we had historically low interest rates. This led to a pace of about 6.8 million homes sold when we had been operating with an average number of homes sold being in the 5.2 million annual range for the last 20 years or so.

People had the ability to move around and the value of homes was enhanced. It was a great time to be in real estate.”

Where we are

After explaining where we’ve been, Blefari discussed where we find ourselves now and where he sees opportunity going forward.

“The faucet of money was shut off last year and interest rates rose at the fastest pace they’ve ever risen. Sales slowed due to the higher interest rates and escalated prices due to rapid increases over the past few years. This resulted in transactions being off 30 percent to 50 percent in most markets year over year, starting in the back half of last year.”

He shared where he sees the market going in the future.

“Real estate cycles are much like the seasons in nature where there is a winter, spring, summer and fall season. Although we are now in the winter season in regard to the real estate cycle, spring always follows winter. Although we find ourselves in a challenging market right now, as Og Mandino used to say, ‘This too shall pass.’”

He then added, “Chaos creates opportunity, and the agents who put in the work now will not only survive but thrive both now and into the future.”

What to do now

This led me to ask what he would suggest agents do to take advantage of the opportunities he sees this market creating. He shared that the following five activities are always effective and are especially important in the type of market we find ourselves in today.

1. Control your mindset

With all the negativity in the world, Blefari suggested guarding your mind and avoiding the news. He said, “The old saying, ‘I hear there’s a recession going on, but I’m going to choose not to participate’ is the mindset agents should have. Flooding your mind with positive, uplifting and encouraging content increases the likelihood you will achieve positive results in your life and business.”

2. Control your schedule

“Make sure you control your schedule in a way where you time-block the most important activities like prospecting, client follow-up and the personal care activities needed to perform at your best.”

He stated if you don’t take care of yourself then it is impossible to take advantage of the opportunities your business presents. He said preparing to be at your best comes down to taking your MEDS. MEDS is an acronym for:

Meditation or prayer: Getting your mind right, whatever that looks like for you.

Exercise: Getting your body moving in a way that releases the endorphins to get you feeling good and prepared physically for whatever your day might involve.

Diet: What we put into our body has a significant impact on our health and performance. Providing the right fuel for your body is essential for success.

Sleep: Oftentimes underestimated, sleep gives the body time to heal and rejuvenate in a way that helps you perform at the highest level possible.

Having these keystone habits in place creates small wins that lead to big results.

3. Become the expert

“Becoming the local expert starts by knowing your market,” said Blefari. “Know the past sales and homes currently for sale. Understand the current market trends when it comes to increasing or decreasing inventory, interest rate changes and available loan programs. Develop your negotiating skills, your marketing skills and your follow-up systems.”

“This is the time to become the best agent you can possibly be for your clients.”

4, Build referral relationships with agents leaving the business

“We always have people coming into and out of this business, but during times like this we see a larger number of agents leaving the business. The agents leaving the business will often still have a few clients they could work with, but not enough to keep them in the business.

Farming these agents by offering to pay a referral fee for their clients is a great way to build relationships and pick up additional transactions. Using this strategy, I picked up 20 or so extra deals in one year during a challenging market.”

5. Take action

“There are so many ways to succeed in this business and so many strategies agents can use to find success in this business. We don’t lack for strategy in our business, we lack for execution. Call and check in with all your previous clients and your sphere of influence. Host open houses, work FSBOs, expired listings, or whatever other business strategy you choose to work. No matter what that is for you, put it in your schedule and do the work.”

“When I’m asked what’s working for agents right now, my answer is always, when they work. If they don’t work, it doesn’t work. When they work, whatever they’re doing works.”

Gino Blefari has been recognized as one of Inman’s Power Players for 2023, and he is ranked as the No. 1 most powerful and influential person in real estate in this year’s edition of the Swanepoel Power 200 list.

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