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Despite the historic speed of year-over-year declines in both foreclosure and unemployment rates in the U.S., whispers among our industry tell a tale that we’re all feeling anxious of what 2020 could bring.

A presidential election year is known to only have a macroeconomic effect on residential real estate. Multiple studies show that the biggest correlations the housing market typically sees during a presidential election year are slight drops in home value appreciation and inventory. While that can add up to statistically significant numbers, local markets won’t feel this pain as severely or even at all.

However, for broker/owners, there are concerns for the upcoming year that will affect other aspects of our business, including concerns that affect consumer confidence. Take a look at CRE’s (The Counselors of Real Estate®) list of 2019-2020 issues affecting real estate: neglected infrastructure; climate change and weather-related phenomena; and affordable housing across all income levels. These are going to be influencers of brokerage business, not just key political debate topics. Fear or worry about how a new administration will address these woes may cause some business owners to become reluctant to make changes—choosing rather to “wait it out” when reviewing their spending. An election year is not an excuse to miss out on opportunities for growth. Your competitors are challenging you because there’s something in your current practice that needs fixing. Success in 2020 will come from innovative solutions transcending these challenges.

The 3 Questions
Even though we can see the threats, how do brokers take action ahead of next year’s concerns? Innovation. You can be a catalyst for innovation in your company, in your team, in your relationships. The following three questions can guide you as you plan for 2020:

  1. What does your current process look like?

Think about recruiting, retention, investments or budgeting and how your company currently addresses these goals. Consider all the assets involved: policies, assumptions, actual workflow. Now, take the time to reflect. Are any of these processes becoming old-fashioned, redundant or obsolete?

  1. What external opposition have you been facing in 2019?

Perhaps you’ve seen profit loss due to changes in the market, local effects, new technologies/services or even competing to retain your own agents. Which of these forces are the strongest, putting the most pressure on your company?

  1. What are you going to do about it?

This is where the innovation happens. Look at the internal disruptions in question one and the external disruptions in question two. Brainstorm ideas that can solve internal and external disruptors for your brokerage.

We all know there’s no silver bullet to running a brokerage successfully. This process and these innovations are unique to your company and your agents. By addressing these disruptions now and forming a plan, your brokerage will remain successful and lucrative no matter the effects from the election year. By taking action to solve the strongest challenges your company faces, you’ll see positive returns in 2020 undeterred by market changes.

Bill Yaman is president and chief operating officer at Imprev, a marketing automation provider for real estate. He is an empowering leader with deep experience in general management, sales and marketing, product management and business development. Learn more at www.imprev.com.

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