Agents are in the midst of an unseasonably cool housing market this summer. Coming off of a year that brought the highest number of home sales in 15 years, the market is starting to show signs of normalizing.
Agents who reveled in the red-hot market may now be wondering how to keep their production up, with sales falling about 10% from 6.125 million sales to around 5.4 million, more in line with the pre-pandemic numbers of 2018 and 2019.
With that in mind, here are some tools and tactics that real estate agents can use to stay on top of their game in today’s changing climate.
What does a winning offer look like today?
Most markets across the U.S. have started to normalize, but the previously record-hot market continues to present challenges to buyers and sellers. Rising mortgage rates are reducing competition and impacting buyers’ budgets. While higher mortgages tend to reduce home costs, prices are still rising, and the majority of properties were sold within a month of being listed.
These market conditions signal to buying and listing agents that they must communicate with customers what a winning offer will look like. On the buyer’s side, many markets have slowed enough that they don’t need to waive home inspections or other contingencies any longer.
There are better ways to quickly and persuasively close a deal — for example, in some cases a buyer can get pre-approved and even have their loan get fully underwritten (subject to finding a house) which can help streamline the closing process and put sellers at ease (many of them are buyers too!).
For listing agents, let customers know they are better off selling sooner rather than later. There have always been sellers who are willing to sit and wait for the “right” offer, and some of them will now have trouble accepting that they can’t control the negotiations like they might have a few months ago.
Explain that, with the conditions buyers are facing, sellers will likely get their best offer early on, and they risk lower home values or less lucrative offers if they wait too long.
One of the best ways to increase production during slower months is to collaborate with agents in your brokerage. Pre-marketing your listing prior to it hitting the market will allow for listing agents to gain traction on their listing, receive feedback from their peers on the property and ensure the property is ‘market ready’ to avoid the listing going stale when it hits the MLS.
This is also the prime time for buyers’ agents to employ the tips from above and present a compelling offer to sellers, while also ensuring their customers can close on a home before mortgage rates increase again.
This is a winning tactic for everyone involved. Collaborating with your fellow agents on pre-market listings will do wonders for the entire brokerage and give your customers the ultimate advantage in working with you.
Quick sales make for happy customers and improve an agent’s reputation, create lead generation through word-of-mouth, and offer more material for marketing. It also has the opportunity to increase market share within your brokerage, meaning your broker can invest back into your team and provide the resources needed to fulfill your potential.
Increase efficiency and prepare with tech adoption
There are two things technology can help agents do right now as sales slow: Increase production and make room for business development. There’s an abundance of tech solutions that can help agents stay on top of their sales game.
For example, accessing and managing buyer and listing info on the go means agents can work wherever and whenever they need — no more being tied to the office to develop leads. There are mobile apps available that allow agents to access their brokerage’s pre-market listings, automatically match buyers to relevant properties, and quickly communicate with other agents to put in an offer.
Agents that use this tech and receive instant notifications have an advantage over those who rely on manual processes, like Facebook message boards or the in-office whiteboard, to identify and act on leads.
Adopting technology now also means agents will be prepared for future fluctuations in their work. Over the last year, for example, agents who already integrated tech into their workflow found it easier to manage the higher number of buyers and offers than those who had to do more work manually. And in a changing market, those who adopt tech solutions that generate leads and create a higher client experience are better equipped to handle any challenges that may come.
Refine your toolbox
The past few years have brought many challenges, but that only means today’s agents are able to handle any challenge that comes their way. By evolving sales techniques and utilizing new tools, agents will be more than ready to handle any hurdles over the coming months as the market continues to adjust.
Linda Yacoub is the CEO and Product Officer of Listing Alert.