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Between the natural disasters we’ve recently experienced to the more mundane items like the potential increase in interest rates, there’s no telling what will happen to home sales in 2018. Are you prepared if the bottom drops out of the market and home sales slow to a crawl?

No one likes to think about a worst-case scenario, but now’s the time to make sure you have a backup plan in place. So where do you begin? With your smallest expenses. If you’re like me, you’ve undoubtedly accumulated small charges that are automatically deducted from your credit card on a monthly basis.

I learned the trick I’m about to tell you the hard way just last month (at press time). My credit card number was fraudulently sold to unscrupulous people who used it in other parts of the country. My credit card company canceled the card (luckily, they didn’t hold me responsible for the charges), then issued me a new one. While I was angry at first, I began to realize that the process was helping me purge some of the vendors I no longer needed. For example, two of the website companies I use hadn’t produced any leads in months. Since I wasn’t under contract with them, but rather a month-to-month agreement, they were terminated.

The process also helped me think about what to do if the market changes for the worse. What I’m about to suggest will help you sort through what’s important to your business so that you can get rid of the things that aren’t.

At the end of the year, cancel the credit card you’re using. It’s the easiest way to identify all your charges. Remember, you’re doing this at a time when business is typically slower. You’re going to need to re-authorize each company with your new credit card number (this will not apply if you’re under a yearly contract to a company). As a company tries to charge your credit card and finds that it’s declined, they will reach out to you to get the new credit card information. It’s then up to you to determine if you need that charge on a monthly basis.

If the bottom drops out on the market, here’s a guide:

  1. If the charge doesn’t make you money every month, you don’t need it.
  1. If it’s a lead source, reduce the cost by 50 percent.
  1. If you’re experimenting with lead programs, eliminate them.
  1. If you’re paying fees for your agents, have a meeting with them and explain that you need to tighten the belt to continue operating and require they pay their own fees for one year. This will give you enough time to determine if you need to restructure your business.
  1. Review staff and eliminate anyone not pulling their weight. Combine jobs and look at the job description for each employee. Determine what can be eliminated or combined with another employee.
  1. Reduce your salary accordingly.

Let’s hope backup plans like this are never needed, but if 2018 becomes a repeat of 2008, you will be ready.

Bob Sokoler is the owner of The Sokoler Medley Team at RE/MAX Properties East in Louisville, Ky., which has ranked No. 1 in the city for sales volume six years in a row. His team sold more than 404 properties in 2016, and more than 340 properties in 2015. Contact him at

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