Watching the industry’s reaction to a changing, and what many people consider challenging, landscape has been interesting. Markets rise and fall, and that is the nature of our industry; but it’s how agencies react that will ultimately determine their fate.
WHEN THE market rises many hitch their wagon to the beast, but when it falters they find it difficult to unhitch themselves and discover that the changes they need to make are both difficult and unclear.
The first thing to go, and the most dangerous, is always energy. This shift in energy changes discussion and chatter within the business and results in a drop in enquiry and traffic.
This ultimately leads to questions like, ‘How were your open homes on the weekend?’ Or excuses like, ‘My stock is priced right; it’s just that there are no buyers at the moment.’
It requires a lot more focus and process to secure a premium price when the market changes than it does to get a record price when the market is booming. It requires a detailed approach to everything; no enquiry can be taken for granted! Fast and effective follow-up and an in-depth, empathetic approach to vendor feedback and service is required. Remember, you have to earn the right to have a difficult discussion with an owner by first providing outstanding customer service.
A great question to ask yourself is, ‘What is the discussion going on in my owner’s home tonight? Is it about me and my lack of enthusiasm and service?’ If it is, you have guaranteed that the owner takes no responsibility for the position of their home on the market. Or have you created an environment through information and platform that allows them to have a discussion on where their home sits in today’s market?
Once you are on the wrong side of this particular discussion, it’s a long road back. Make sure you remember that your homeowner should be making a decision based on facts and not on your opinion. Gather the facts for them. You should be providing the owners with properties that have come to market in comparison to theirs, what has sold in comparison to theirs (even though they may believe theirs is superior), what buyers who inspected their home have gone on to purchase. And the most important fact: offers.
See offers as part of the process, not the end of the road. So often the premium price has been achieved because the owner has been able to identify a great offer when it’s on the table. It is our ultimate responsibility to ensure that this occurs.
One of the great roadblocks in navigating a changing market is our opinion of price. Reflect on how often properties sold well above expectation when the market was booming. Ultimately, we were often wrong.
Consider this: we were wrong on the way up and we will equally be wrong on the way down. The difference is that we were delighted to be wrong on the way up but are indignant about being wrong on the way down! We have played no role in the economic factors that caused the rise in the market and have played no role in its change. My advice is to detach yourself from the issue of price and focus on the process.
Finally, provide an energy and tenacity for your owners. Leave no stone unturned, and accept when enquiry drops that maybe the buyers are still there but at a level below where your expectations lie. Stay positive and persistent – our owners need us more now than ever before so embrace the change! Don’t forget that being a real estate agent is the profession you have chosen. The markets are like the tide; they go out, but will always come back in.