As we are suddenly heading into fall and the future of the economy and talk of recession continue to be in the headlines almost daily, I thought I would highlight and share just some of the information and insight offered to our team by Robert Reffkin as it pertains to the fall market.
A recession may be inevitable at some point but no one knows with certainty when it will hit. There are enough indicators of a coming market correction, like the yield curve inverting and GDP growth slowing, that it would be surprising if one were not to come. Yet Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell just recently signaled that a recession is not imminent and that we can expect continued steady growth although at a slower pace. Whether that is accurate remains to be seen, but if a recession does come, it is also unlikely to be as rough on the housing market as the last recession. The last recession was catastrophic for the real estate industry but it was also much worse than the average recession. As a result of tighter lending standards and increased regulation, the next contraction will likely be much milder for the real estate sector.
In the midst of this macroeconomic uncertainty and market shifts at the local level, there are three things that matter more to us as agents than ever. The first is pricing. It is wise to put even more focus on pricing listings correctly, and in a bumpy market, pricing even more aggressively compared to your competition. While pricing conversations can be challenging, the more data you bring to educate your seller the easier the conversation will be. And after you secure the listing, your seller will be appreciative of the fact that you were honest and straightforward with them up-front.
The second is perfection in marketing. The presentation of a listed property must be perfect. All images, both photography and video, the home’s curb appeal and staging must look exceptional. Print advertisement, property brochures, property descriptions and word selection, social media posts, and anything else that the consumer may see must look exceptional. Today’s buyers are discerning and focused on quality and convenience. There is only one chance to make that first impression and the tougher the market, the smaller the margin for error.
The last is patience. What might have taken days before may now take many weeks or even months. As an agent you must exercise patience, plan for longer marketing terms, and budget accordingly. More importantly, you must counsel your clients to be patient at the start of the process, again sharing the appropriate data to demonstrate a realisting marketing period. While setting realistic expectations can be difficult in the moment, this honesty serves to build your credibility and may ultimately help create more trusted relationships with your clients.
Each of the above requires more preparation and more discipline as an agent. We should never be underprepared or undereducated about a property we are listing, the comparable sales, and overall market statistics but this is even more imperative in a shifting market. Despite the economic uncertainty and challenges we may face in a shifting market, there is opportunity in every market. And there is great opportunity for great agents, those who are prepared, who are focused on aggressive pricing and perfection in marketing and are exercising patience both in their own processes and with clients. In weaker markets, sellers tend to look for exceptional agents to guide them. While a shifting market may test your abilities as well as your patience, such a market may also inspire you to elevate the quality of your service even further and create even stronger relationships with your clients.