Customarily, your business would be winding down by this point in the summer. The buying season typically slows before school is back in session. However, this year is anything but normal, and the housing market is reflecting that fact.
While schools debate reopening and parents stress over how they’re going to get through more remote learning, homes are flying off the market. The inventory may be low, yet demand is going nowhere but up.
After the spring hiatus caused by COVID-19, it’s certainly nice to see such a robust market recovery. But if you’re a bit burnt out and in need of a breather, you may be wondering how you’re going to get through the fall. Here are 5 tips to help you stay competitive as buying season continues.
1. Team Up With Other Agents
If your day-to-day is getting hectic, it’s time to team up. While some of you may already work with other real estate agents in your firm, those of you who don’t should start thinking about it now. After all, with the buying season continuing well into the fall, you don’t want to end up spreading yourself too thin.
“In this tight seller’s market, teaming up with another agent can be advantageous in winning more listings,” says Kimberlee Meserve, CEO and lead agent of the Street Property Team at Keller Williams. “The seller will feel they are getting twice as much value for the same price.”
Meserve adds that working with other agents can also help you manage the increased buyer demand currently being seen in the market. If you need a day off, your teammate can cover, ensuring that the buyer doesn’t lose out on a property.
Partnering with seasoned brokers or energetic salespeople can help you provide all your clients with the best possible service. If you’ve been holding out because you don’t want to split your commissions, remember that teaming up will allow you to expand your clientele and benefit from other agents’ skills and expertise.
2. Make Sure Your Office Set-Up Enhances Your Efficiency
While many agents used to work out of an office, most are now trying to make do from home. Some of you may be lucky enough to have a separate room that you can dedicate to your business, but others may be forced to work out of whatever corner lends itself to the most peace and quiet.
Presumably, most of you have discovered the importance of having a sleek – or at least, tidy – background ready for your video conferences. Such backgrounds are crucial for presenting you in a professional light.
However, keep in mind that cluttered surfaces can not only hinder your professionalism; they can also diminish your productivity. To enhance your efficiency during this busy season, declutter all of your desktops. Your computer should be as neat a workspace as any.
“Real estate agents are amazing multitaskers,” says Bruno A. Fernandez, founder and managing broker of Imagine Realty. “In my opinion, having two or three monitors available makes navigation flow smoothly, and information is available without the need to search through the 100 tabs that you have open at once.”
You’re most likely going to be working from home for a while, so treat yourself to a set-up that’s more conducive to your business. By purchasing an extra monitor or two to hook up to your computer, you’ll find that you’re more efficient, productive and on top of your to-do list.
3. Establish Boundaries With Your Clients
Since real estate is a service industry, agents are often assumed to be reachable at all hours, day and night. However, if you try to live up to that expectation – especially during this market frenzy – you’re more than likely going to get burnt out.
“Set a schedule. Set boundaries,” says Trent Beaver, REALTOR® at Better Homes and Gardens BloomTree Realty. “Know to best serve your clients, you also need to serve yourself. In real estate, you’re always going to be working 7 days per week, but set yourself up so that calls and emails stop being responded to at certain times.”
If you want to stay competitive throughout this extended buying season, you must establish boundaries with your clients. Be clear with them about your working hours. Explain that you’ll be there for all time-sensitive needs, but ask that they respect your schedule for anything that isn’t urgent.
There’s no question, being upfront may feel uncomfortable at first. Yet, creating a work-life balance will make a massive difference in your stamina and overall sense of well-being.
4. Continue Using Virtual Tours
You may be able to show homes in person and host open houses again, but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t provide customers with the ability to virtually tour your listings. Remember, there are still new cases of COVID-19 arising every day, and people are still, rightfully scared.
Some buyers still may be concerned about entering sellers’ homes, and some sellers may feel uncomfortable with buyers exploring theirs. It’s crucial that you make the home buying and selling process accessible for all clients and customers during this time. That’s why virtual tours continue to be a useful tool.
“Buyers want to see fewer houses but more of the right ones,” says Meserve. “If you can filter that through utilizing a virtual tour, you can eliminate less-serious buyers from coming through your listings, which can help alleviate concerns that sellers have around exposure to COVID.”
Allowing buyers to preview your listings ahead of time can also help you keep your schedule more manageable. With only serious buyers attending in-person showings, you’ll have some much-needed time to take care of other aspects of your business.
Furthermore, Meserve adds, “We are seeing a lot more buyers and sellers relocating because of job or life changes right now, so the virtual tour is a great tool for those buyers who are out of town.”
5. Know When It’s Time To Give A Referral
With the buying season extended, you know there are busy times ahead. Of course, you always want to help every buyer and seller who comes your way, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day.
“The last thing you need for the longevity of your business is a client to feel abandoned, frustrated, left with questions or feeling like you don’t have enough time for them,” says Matthew Griffin, REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty Intown Atlanta. “Know how much you can handle. If you can’t best serve them, find an agent who can.”
There’s no need to overextend yourself and risk your reputation in the process. Don’t shy away from sending referrals to experienced brokers with whom you’ve worked in the past.
By giving a referral, you’ll do right by your client and still earn around 25% of what would’ve been your commission. Meanwhile, the agent you refer your client to will appreciate being thought of and likely return the favor when struggling to make time for all of their clients.
Even if you don’t need a breather, it’s advantageous to broaden your referral network, especially since homeowners are now rethinking their locations. “Having a referral partner agent in other cities can greatly increase the amount of business coming to you and can help form great relationships with agents across the country,” says Griffin. “With the number of job relocations that we’re seeing, these relationships can yield great results.”
Summary: To Stay Competitive You Must Set Yourself Up For Success
The housing market doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, which is why you need to be prepared for what lies ahead. If you’re starting to feel burnt out, don’t ignore the signs. Remember, to stay competitive, you must take care of yourself, as well as your clients.
To find more tips for enhancing your business, explore Zing Blog’s Industry Insider articles.
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