As the real estate market continued to drop, however, the rules continued to change and buyers are now weilding a heck of a lot more power. Whereas they once wanted to move quickly, they now have the luxury of taking their time. In order to succeed in the current market, agents must be certain they understand the elements of this market. While it was quite possible to make a large sum of money by simply showing a few properties back when it was a seller’s market, an agent must now be prepared to face the realities of existing market conditions in order to survive.
One of the realities that must be dealt with is the fact that current market homes will typically take at least six months to sell and in some cases, it may take much longer. Compare this to homes that sold in a matter of hours or days when it was a seller’s market, and it quickly becomes apparent how much the market has changed. There are steps that can be taken combat this problem, including steps taken to ensure that properties have the most exposure possible, including web exposure. Consider offering virtual tours and using multiple, high-quality photographs. You might also think about increasing commission fees to buyer’s agents who make your listings a priority.
In addition, as you face the realities of current market conditions, you must also make sure that your seller clients face it as well. Many sellers continue to operate under the idea that they will be able to achieve the same level of prices that were typical not that long ago. It is critical that you gently introduce sellers to the reality of the current market. At any given time, the current market has about a six month back load of housing inventory. Even in markets which have not experienced as much of a downturn as other markets, it is essential for properties to be priced accurately or they will usually remain unsold.
As the market shifts, you may also find that you need to shift your marketing plans. Specifically, it should be understood that since most areas are now in a buyer’s market, more time will need to be given to developing buyer leads in order to liquidate the bulk of inventory that is currently on the market. This is not to say, of course, that you should not take new listings to balance out those listings needed to bring in new buyers as well. One great place to look for buyer leads, especially first-time buyers, is actually rental properties. During a down market, there are usually more renters than homeowners.
Most people do not rent out of choice. If they can see that it is to their advantage to buy and can be provided information that will help them in that respect, they will choose home ownership over renting. One disappointment sellers and their agents must avoid is entering a contract to sell their home and because of the fragile economy and dismal unemployment situation which resulted, find that the once-qualified buyer no longer qualifies due to a job loss or other disruption in earnings necessary to obtain mortgage financing. This is also a very real possibility.