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4 ways listing agents can navigate change in the housing market

If you’re a real estate professional — in sales, mortgage, title, marketing or even insurance —you’ve likely felt the drastic impact that hasn’t even hit the consumer yet. But, based on how things feel on the streets, we’re officially shifting.

First, let me preface this piece by saying — I love market shifts. 

I truly believe that, even though seller’s markets are 100 kinds of wonderful – fast-paced, satisfying, and, yes, frustrating in their own way, a housing market that’s more neutral is actually where real estate professionals have the chance to shine

Of course, you’ve been hustling as a buyer’s agent, and you’ll still need to because we’re far from an actual balanced market, where inventory matches demand (which only usually lasts about a minute, by the way.)

As a listing agent in a shifting market, you have the chance to showcase your knowledge and skill-set. 

Instead of being at the mercy of a multiple-offer spreadsheet and a phone that never stops ringing, you’ll now get to flex those muscles as a pricing expert, someone who advises their customers on how to time a sale and as a knowledgeable, connected, thoughtful, dedicated and passionate pro who will help your customers navigate this situation as it evolves.

Here are four things to keep in mind as you approach this pivot (By the way, these are best practices in any market!):

Spend the time and money to prepare your listings (and your sellers’ expectations) for sale.

Be honest, you’ve likely been skimping on the extras – which are now must-do’s if you want your listing to sell quickly and for top dollar. I’m talking about activities such as providing professional photography, impactful interior and exterior staging (including de-cluttering and pre-packing), Coming Soon marketing (be mindful of your local Clear Cooperation Policies), Broker Open and Open House events marketed well in advance, and social media exposure and signage.

We’re in a weird place right now. You likely started talking to your current and upcoming sellers a couple months ago about what to expect while selling and that might have included conversations involving dozens of showings, multiple offers, and a fast-moving contract where sellers were predicted to have the upper hand. 

PIVOT: Reset your sellers’s expectations. It might take several weeks for a listing to sell now, and maximum exposure will be key to selling at all. 

Position your listing with pricing and timing.

We’ve been living in a world where it was basically OK to let sellers dictate the listing price because in a high-demand low-inventory atmosphere, it’s easy to let the market determine the actual sales price.

As inventory increases, buyer demand dips and homeowners are still shocked when their home doesn’t receive a well-over-list-price offer within hours of hitting the market. It’s more important ever to get the list price right from the beginning. 

This is not the time to “test the price.” As is always best practice, recommend a list price right at estimated value for the best chance at highest return. If the demand for the product drives that price up, great. But if you receive one offer right at list price and it appraises in this new normal, you’re winning.

Also, make sure to keep an eye on your summer calendar. Federal holidays like Juneteenth, Labor Day and Independence Day obviously have a big impact on showing activity, but so do Hallmark holidays like Father’s Day. If you’re planning on launching a listing during one of those weeks, it might be beneficial to list earlier in the week.

PIVOT: Reset your seller’s expectations. They probably won’t get offers that are tens of thousands of dollars over list price, but if they do, awesome!

Build relationships.

If your MLS provides reverse prospecting lists, or if you’re able to gather data regarding online listing activity (agents whose clients have favorited/saved or even just clicked on your listing), it’s time to hit the phone. If you’re not reaching out personally to every agent who has a customer property search that matches your listing, you’re missing an important opportunity to promote your listing and deepen or establish local Realtor relationships.

As a listing agent, it’s important to block time to connect with every agent who might have a buyer for your property. Reach out via email, text, invite or even in-person office visits to make sure that as many buyer agents as possible have seen your listing.

Host a Broker Open House, ask them why they aren’t showing the property to their clients, offer to meet them for a private tour to make sure they know all the special features. Most importantly, just make the connection to ensure that any possible co-op transaction will go smoothly!

PIVOT: Real estate is a small town, no matter where you live, so make sure you’re treating other agents with respect in every interaction.

Communicate your value.

In public speaking and teaching, there is an age-old practice that helps presenters prepare a speech or lesson for an audience:

First, tell them what you are going to tell them. Next, tell them. Finally, tell them what you told them. 

This is really excellent advice for handling sellers in a more normal market:

First, tell them what you are going to do to get their house sold. Next, actually do those things. Finally, show them the results of those efforts.

By preparing your sellers for the entire process, you’ll deliver value before you even get started. And, as your marketing plan is executed thanks to your hard work, but the property still doesn’t move, following this process will make it much easier and compelling when you ask for a price reduction. They are becoming more common as the housing market changes and days in the MLS start racking up. 

PIVOT: Your income per hour is about to go down as listings take longer to sell, so protect that commission and know your own value.

There is opportunity in every market. Whether you’re a new agent with only a few transactions under your belt, or you’re a seasoned agent who remembers 12% mortgage interest rates, remember that hyperlocal knowledge is everything.

Keep the stats handy and know how to articulate them. Be the calm voice of reason in a fast-moving storm and just know that as soon as you get really comfortable in this new normal, it will all change again — isn’t that part of what’s great about real estate, after all?

Stacie Staub is founder and CEO of West + Main Homes in Colorado.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Stacie Staub at stacie@westandmainhomes.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tracey Velt at tracey@hwmedia.com

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