The verdict is in — the old way of doing business is over. Join us at Inman Connect New York Jan. 23-25, when together we’ll conquer today’s market challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities. Defy the market and bet big on your future.

Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: A big drop in mortgage rates resulted in holiday rejoicing for agents and hopeful buyers. Make sure you’re ready to work with them.

Each week in The Download, we bring you one of the Top 5 stories of the week, along with service-oriented content to help you make sense of it for your business. This week, however, we’re doing something a little different. While our centerpiece story was published just prior to our cutoff date, it made such an impact that it’s still holding strong at No. 1 — so we’re making sure you don’t miss it.

It seems we’ve talked endlessly about the market impact of rising interest rates combined with low inventory. Higher rates not only make buyers reluctant to search; they make homeowners reluctant to list and trade in their lower-rate mortgage for a rate that’s double or even triple.

Perhaps that’s why this story resonated so strongly with so many of you, offering a glimmer of hope that the bad old days of the 2023 market will give way to sunny skies ahead.

Mortgage rates post biggest 1-day drop since onset of the pandemic by Matt Carter

Mortgage rates registered their biggest one-day drop in nearly four years last week following an encouraging inflation report that convinced bond market investors the Federal Reserve is done hiking rates and may reverse course in the spring.

Homebuyer demand for purchase mortgages picked up for the second week in a row, even before the latest drop in mortgage rates, according to a weekly survey of lenders by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

EXTRA:  Homebuyers perk up as mortgage rates hit lowest level in 2 months

So if the buyers start buying again and the Fed stops raising rates every time we turn around, you may be having a lot more buyer consultations. In the aftermath of the big commission lawsuit news, of course, that’s a little more complicated than it used to be. We’ve rounded up some of the best recent insights from contributors on how to talk to buyers now.

8 things to remember amid market and consumer upheaval

Right now, agents are feeling overwhelmed by potential changes post-Sitzer. Coach Darryl Davis offers wisdom and action steps to shore up your business for the tumultuous market ahead.

EXTRA: Robert Reffkin: What we have now is a ‘connection issue’

18 ways to show buyers you’re worth every commission dollar

Broker Cara Ameer writes that, from a leaky icemaker to a stellar professional reputation, the work of a buyer agent can make or break a home purchase.

EXTRA: Playing the long game with effective lead nurturing

Distance yourself from disaster. 10 to-dos in the wake of Sitzer

Do you feel like NAR is playing a game of chicken with your business? You’re probably not alone, writes Rachael Hite. Here are 10 action steps you can take right now to build sustainability into your business.

EXTRA: Lesson Learned: Watch your mouth — and your face

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