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Op/Ed: Hallelujah! A Great Time in Real Estate

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The media has recently been having a field day with the real estate market. There are endless reports that as a result of the mortgage crisis, inventory levels will increase from foreclosures, while purchases will decrease since regulations on financing are more restrictive. Many service providers respond to this news like Chicken Little in the barnyard, panicking and squawking that the sky is falling.

I, for one, am excited about this market. I actually welcome it for what it is: simply another business cycle. And, this cycle is a market for true, “Professional Realtors.”

Gone are the days when listings sell before the ink is dry on the listing agreement. Forgotten are the times when list price, market value and market research had little to do with actual sales price. Goodbye to the era of showings that became like auctions-with properties sold to the highest bidder with no regard for value or data.
I say “Hallelujah! Good riddance!” Maybe, just maybe, consumers will feel they need us again. They certainly didn’t need us much when anyone with a license who fogged a mirror could earn a commission in real estate just by showing up.

First off, it’s important to remember that there is always a segment of the population who will be moving for one reason or another. Life changes happen. People get married. They have children and need more space. They grow old and downsize. Kids go to college and parents buy them a home instead of putting them in the dorm. People decide it is a good time to invest in real estate. Investors decide to do 1031 exchanges on their portfolios. Families decide it would be nice to have a second home.

I see an opportunity here. Opportunity knocks for those of us who are willing to work.

We hear a lot about the changes in the industry and the way we do business. Although we see many changes in how we market and communicate as a result of the Internet, the truth is the fundamentals remain the same. Those of us who remember the basics and apply ourselves to the business at hand will prosper and grow.

But what are these basic skills that will make us money? First off, we need to remember that real estate is a contact sport. Frank Bettger, in his classic book, How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling, said it best: a sales career hinges upon seeing the people. There are no two ways about it. Sales don’t happen in our office, by the coffee pot. We need to get out in the field and spend time with prospects. We need to have more face-to-face and voice-to-voice time.

The sales cycle is definitely increasing and overpriced listings won’t sell. So we need to do our homework. We need to price them right. And we need more prospects and more leads to make up for those that don’t result in a closed sale. Again, it’s back to that “seeing the people” thing.

We need to be experts at managing clients’ expectations. Yes, the sales cycle is longer. But that isn’t a problem if we’ve properly educated the client going into the process. A problem may arise mid-transaction. Heck, that isn’t even an issue if-again-we’ve pre-framed the experience so our clients expect that there are normal potholes in the road on the way to closing.

Our clients are looking to us for leadership. We know our business. We know what we need to do. We’re experts at marketing, pricing, and counseling. It isn’t rocket science. We simply need to lean into our skill set, focus, apply ourselves, be confident and get the job done for them. And then we need to stay in touch, work for their referrals and build our market share. Don’t you just love this market? Bring it on! RE

Judy Moses is the 2007 national president of the Women’s Council of Realtors.

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