a Realtor’s perspective of the Zeitgeist
Ah, yes. The age-old mantra of Realtors the world over. However, I am asking myself if this is still relevant in today’s buyers’ market.
It’s the best of times, and it’s the worst of times. Or, if you’re experienced, it’s just normal times (albeit a different, older normal). Given the complete and accelerated swing in the residential market from favouring sellers to favouring buyers (a process that normally takes approximately two years), it’s postulated that many of the Realtors who joined during the recent boom may self-deselect from this line of work if unable to thrive in these more challenging times.
It used to be that acquiring a listing was the holy grail for any Realtor as it afforded the greatest opportunity not only to advertise oneself but also to obtain new potential client leads (i.e., prospective buyers who were not yet working with a Realtor) most easily. This was a main strategy in obtaining new, future business, and still holds true, if only to a lesser degree.
Ups and downs
But today, we’re in a different phase of the cycle and buyers are hesitant. Inventories (i.e., properties for sale on the market) are growing, mortgage rates have yet to peak (or, in the least, evidence of same has yet to be clarified and confirmed) and prices have corrected accordingly. After all, household monthly cashflow can sustain payments only so high. Listings are sitting and taking much longer to sell.
So, this leaves everyone a bit nowhere; people are watching and circling but not doing much of anything. All this results in far fewer transactions taking place. After all, from a buyer’s perspective, nobody wants to pay more for something than they might have to.
What’s old is new (again)
During these times, real estate professionals simply need to apply themselves more diligently; you might start to see what’s old is new again, with a particular focus on visible, deliberate, in-person efforts to provide outstanding client service. This has always been my approach.
For example, in-person open houses (for both realtors only, before a property goes to market) and those for the public are back in full-force, often with incentives for simply showing up (i.e., free food & give-aways). Professional networks among Realtors will pay dividends as the reach afforded by extensive associations will cast a much larger net and provide valuable access to a larger potential client base. Word of mouth and trusting relationships between professionals are valuable assets and lubricate the negotiation process – I suspect emphasis on these aspects will stand clients in good stead.
The way I see things
Personally, I advise my clients to look favourably on the current landscape of residential prices; there is an incredible opportunity to purchase property at what, in the fullness of time, will be shown to be an incredible discount (we have already seen how high local prices can – and will — go). As soon as interest rates level (let alone decrease), consumer confidence will return and market forces will once again be under the influence of a supply shortage (not that this ever really disappeared… but rather fell out of the headlines) with resulting upward pressures on prices.
… but that’s just my $0.02