We Knew it Was Coming – Are You Ready?
September 1, 2022
Ah, we’re getting back to the “Pro Market.” What do I mean by that? It’s a real estate market that values and rewards professional REALTORS® Listings that don’t sell simply because they exist. They have to be priced right, put in optimum condition, and marketed effectively. The escrow period will require effort keeping the “meeting of the minds” that the contract established from spiraling into something akin to road rage. Our state borders are no longer being flooded with migrants from Cali, Chicago and other urban hubs. It’s time to get to work REALTORS®. Not that you haven’t been working. You have! And most of you had better income years than ever before. This work will be different.
I guess I’m writing this mostly for the people who got their licenses since 2019. You haven’t seen a “normal” market yet. And for others, maybe you’ll find some good reminders here.
The market is adjusting to a variety of factors; higher interest rates, less Buyers, more inventory and an economy that is rife with inflation and predictions of recession. Employment is very low nationwide but that means companies who might consider expanding will have workforce issues. There are a lot of issues at play here. When I sold real estate I kept up to date on economic factors that influenced our industry but I always figured that regardless of the market, there were enough Buyers and Sellers out there for me. As a manager I knew there were enough for my office and as the leader of a company I know there’s enough for my company. We just have to get them.
That takes me back to the “pro market.” If you work real estate like a job, if you’re well informed and good at what you do, you will succeed. If you make sure that every client you work with is satisfied and impressed with your work you will always have more work to do. If you stay in touch with past clients and your sphere and are “their trusted real estate advisor” they will think of you when they or anyone they know needs exceptional real estate assistance. You can’t just throw up signs and hold an open house in this market. You need to visit every active listing in the area, invite the neighbors, know the neighborhood and have a financing plan for the home. Remember, not every Buyer’s agent knows enough to help them with that. You have to make your listing the easiest one to buy.
How do you find Buyers? Do well with one and others will follow. Do well with more and more will follow. Buying leads doesn’t guarantee you’ll sell a house to them. Making effective and genuine contact and providing excellent service creates Buyers. Being enthusiastic, flexible, and fun to hang out with will win you more Buyers than chest pounding will.
It’s not too early to do your business plan for 2023 and hit the ground running. Choose a geographic or social farm. Research the group and then develop a plan of contact for the next 12 months for that group. First, determine how much potential business that group might provide. If there were 8 sales in that community and you hope to represent 25% of the next 8 sales how much time and money should you invest there? If there were 34 sales it’s a different story. Then look at who is selling. If one single agent has a large percentage of that market and has for quite some time, that may not be your best target group. If you’re thinking of farming your Mahjong club and there are 4 REALTORS® in the group, you may want to consider another group that isn’t saturated.
Once you have your marketing plan for the year, stick to it. Sending a mailing out once or making one round of phone calls isn’t worth it. I asked a Seller once how she came to list with one of my agents. She explained that the agent had contacted her when her former listing expired. They had decided not to sell after all because they were expecting a baby. Here’s what she said “Rebecca called me every month to check in and say hi and see how we were doing. When the baby arrived she sent a card. She kept calling and writing regularly for 18 months. I listed it with her because I owed it to her.” Wow! That agent created a relationship that caused the couple to list with her. She had never seen the house or met the Sellers. She just stayed in touch.
Here’s another trick I learned while selling and it also applies to managing. At the end of each week ask yourself what percentage of your time was spent reacting and what percentage of time was spent on being pro-active. Were you doing paperwork and attending home inspections more or less than you were calling people to “check in.” You should always be able to answer that question and make sure it’s as balanced as can be. If you neglect either side you will either lose future referrals from satisfied clients or future business from the people you’ve reached out to.
What are you striving for? To have more than you need. To be able to refer out the excess or find a Buyer’s agent to work with. You want to be able to turn down the potential client who you can tell will suck your soul dry or the one who your gut tells you is a lawsuit waiting to happen. More business than you need and being choosy is the key to happiness in this business.
One more thought to consider as you devise your business plan. Reverse mentoring. We’re all used to the concept of experienced agents mentoring for new ones. But keep in mind that some of those new agents know things we veterans don’t. That new agent may be the one who can show you how to expand your business through social media, do video updates with TicTok, or use a CRM to stay in touch with your sphere. Mentoring can go both ways. Pay attention when new agents join the ranks and be the first one to welcome them. You may be able to help each other in meaningful ways.
If you’re reading this article you’re already a Pro. You’re reading, taking classes and paying attention to this “normalizing” market. It’s YOUR market. Be ready for it and have fun.
Laura Kelly Mance, President
Long Realty Company