As a student of history and the markets, I believe the real estate industry is the healthiest it’s been in more than three decades. Although sales and home prices are close to where they were before the housing boom, there’s more economic stability.
Overall, I expect the housing market to remain solid, led by a slight uptick in sales, the national economy and interest rates, and a small decrease in first-time buyers. Millennials, many of whom are feeling the pinch of student loan debt and relatively low wages, may find it difficult to purchase a home.
Many areas may be experiencing a slight squeeze on inventory; however, the speed of the market is good, which acts as a stabilizing force. With the economy expected to grow 2.7 percent by the end of the year and interest rates ticking up slightly, I anticipate that we’ll continue to enjoy a healthy housing market in the year ahead.
How does this translate for the average real estate professional? Here are three timeless strategies for success, regardless of the market:
Invest in your relationships. Agents are spending a staggering amount of money on purchasing leads when their best leads are already in their databases. When you invest time into your relationships, you get it back in the form of referrals. Connect with past and current clients over the phone, with a personal note or even a monthly marketing flyer.
Stand out with service. If you want to be great in business, become a great servant. It’s the small things—the unexpected extras—that help you stand out. After you’ve spoken with a client on the phone, follow up with a handwritten note. Show your favorite clients that you’re thinking of them by delivering a small, thoughtful gift to their home or office. People will be touched that you took the time to think of them, which will set you apart.
Sharpen your skills. While sales skills are important, there’s more to a transaction than listing a home and negotiating on a client’s behalf. A true professional also has skills pertaining to listening, understanding and relating to clients, as well as business skills that help them generate leads and create a lasting business. When you take the time to develop your skills, you can serve your clients at a higher level and become the true real estate professional your market needs.
How can you boost your skills this year? Go to real estate-focused events and network with other high-achieving professionals. Also, focus on lead generation and continue to build relationships with the people in your database.
To reach your financial goals, it’s important to generate at least 40 percent of your leads within the first quarter. While that may sound intimidating, it’s not impossible. In fact, we’ve developed a program comprised of three productivity sprints throughout the year to help agents generate a large number of leads within a short amount of time by just leaning into relationships.
The American housing market will continue to thrive this year. Take the time to foster your relationships, deliver great service and sharpen your skills and you will build a strong business in the process.
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