Opportunity is knocking. Are you going to answer the door?
Real estate agents, I’ve got some bad news: If you’re here to make a quick buck and thought this industry was going to be easy, the COVID-19 crisis might be your cue to exit stage left.
For close to eight years, we’ve been in the sweet spot for selling real estate in the Greater Philadelphia Area. I can remember the earliest signs of the shift in late 2012: Almost out of nowhere, it seemed, we started to receive multiple offers on our listings. Soon, multi-bid scenarios became commonplace. Homes began selling for prices well over asking. Agents battled to get their clients’ offers considered, and even great offers often weren’t accepted.
Until very recently, it almost felt as though the market was running away again, like it did in 2005 and 2006.
Enter the “Get-Rich-Quick” Agent
With a hot market came the perception of a spike in earning potential. For hungry salespeople and budding entrepreneurs in other industries, that earning potential proved extremely attractive. Suddenly the real estate industry started to see an influx of new licensees, many of whom thought it was going to be easy money. After all, went their common refrain, “I bought/sold a house, and it was easy—and my agent made $9,000!”
Then arrived the brokerages who promised to get deals done for next to nothing. “Full service brokers charge too much,” they claimed. “Sell your house with us and we’ll save you thousands!” Little history lesson. Most companies that operated under this model in the early-2000’s boom no longer exist today. And I’ll bet that many of the ones that managed to survive, or that have stepped onto the scene recently won’t be here in 2021.
Such brokerages won’t be the only casualties. The get-rich-quick type of agent will be right behind.
For the Rest of Us, Now’s the Time
So for those of us who have been at this for long enough to have made a living at it, to have built a business in real estate, think about it: When was the last time you had a month or more to really work on your business, instead of in it?
Let me be clear. Like everyone, I wish COVID-19 never made its way into the world. Its presence is tragic and adverse in so many ways. But it’s here. And with every hardship comes opportunity.
Real estate agents, consider this your wake up call: This is it. This is the time to develop your skill set, to learn, to implement new technologies, and to make your process the best it can be. I speak from experience: over the past few weeks, as it’s become absolutely necessary to rely on technology to get our current pipeline of pending business to settlement, it happened. And guess what? Many of these steps have actually made it more convenient for us and for our clients. They may be here to stay.
Trying times offer a better launchpad for growth than any other. This probably won’t be your best revenue season, but you can choose to make it a productive one. The sooner you realize this, the quicker you can focus on what you can control — and in turn, set yourself up for more fruitful seasons ahead.
Showing Up Now Will Pay Dividends Later
To that same point, for those of us whose primary source of business is repeat and referral, this is also a time when simply “showing up” will have a much greater impact than when all is well in the world. This can be as simple as making a phone call to check in on your clients, dropping a note to let them know you are there and thinking of them, and talking more frequently with the clients who are in their contract-to-closing phase who may be feeling nervous.
These are the times when true professionals show up with enthusiasm, perspective, and optimism for what lies ahead of us. This is the time to be a voice of encouragement to those who we influence and serve. We do it because we care. The fact of the matter is, if we take this attitude now, we’ll be rewarded greatly for it later. We’ll come out of this crisis with more momentum than last decade’s market boom awarded us. People will remember where you were, and how you made them feel in this moment.
In other words, this crisis is going to weed the proverbial garden. And frankly, it’s overdue. I love this business; I love the significance of the transactions that I’m involved in. I love working with other professionals in this business who view it the same way. The strong will survive this — the ones who make a positive impact on this industry and serve their clients well. Many others won’t make it.
Where will you be? Opportunity is knocking — are you going to answer the door?
“Real Time Real Estate” is a limited blog series by Paul Augustine, Associate Broker at RE/MAX Centre Realtors, written to help you navigate the good and bad in the era of COVID-19.