Today’s real estate market is different than just a few short years ago. Before the downturn, seller’s knew they could sell and buyers didn’t worry about risk in real estate because everyone believed prices would always go up. If Buyer A didn’t want the house, you need not wait long before Buyer B submitted an offer. When the market began the turn as demand shrank and prices began falling, many agents made, what I think was a big mistake – they acted like cheerleaders. Instead of offering professional advice to a growing number of upside down homeowners in a confusing market, it seemed as though agents across the country were using their marketing materials to look out for a paycheck more than trying to help consumers
You may remember ‘Baghdad Bob’ from the Iraq War days holding press conferences where he would tell everyone how the Iraqi Army was destroying the infidel Americans and pushing them back to the sea. You could also almost hear the American tanks rolling by in the background as he was on TV. He wasn’t telling the truth. Everyone new he wasn’t telling the truth. Jay Leno had a great video of Baghdad Bob if you don’t remember.
Even in today’s real estate market, it’s still common to see agents say “It’s a great time to buy!” That has to be the worst possible thing we can say in this market. It’s so transparent – and it appears to be looking out for the agent and not the consumer to market with this message. Don’t be a real estate Baghdad Bob. The market may not be great for many potential buyers. If a consumer asks about the market or you are trying to convince someone that this is a great time do buy, you have missed the mark. Consumers want and need information more now than ever. They seek out agents who can distill information in a way they can understand and they want the truth. They also can sniff out Baghdad Bob the real estate agent a mile away. The truth is, it may not be a great time to buy. Maybe it is, may it isn’t. Don’t you think you should find out a little more before spouting off like that? Be real.
Instead of acting a fool as a cheerleader, brand yourself – position yourself – as a “Market Expert.” Learn the market, preview houses, understand the statistics and have the heart of a teacher. Consumers need consulting about their purchase or sale. In cities across the country, the market can be up, down or flat in hyperlocal markets, neighborhoods and subdivisions which may be different than the generalities found on the evening newscasts. They need our experience and expertise more now than anytime in the last decade. In some places, you may need a really great reason to buy while in other areas, prices are going up and it really is “a great time to buy!”
One of my buyer specialists last week showed several $500,000 – $600,000 homes in a highly sought after school district. She took a lot of time to convert them to an appointment and more time showing houses. They sent her a long email about how great she was and how thankful they were. But…they were afraid the market was still falling and they didn’t want to risk losing money. My agent was devastated. This would have been a great sale. I got her to go back to 2008 and check comparable home sales and to do the same thing for 2009 and 2010 as well as what is happening currently with pending sales with the stipulation that all of the listings she pulled are truly good comps. She found that prices are rising and have been. She then presented this information to her client who was relieved and didn’t really want to rent a house! They wanted to buy a house, but were afraid. It turns out they were afraid of agents telling them to buy as had happened to them before, but presented with relevant information, they were convinced and she has submitted an offer. We don’t know if they are going to get the house, but the point is that her expertise was what they were missing. She wasn’t acting like a cheerleader. What she did was to act like a true professional by providing important information.
In this market, you have a chance to help consumers who desperately need the advice of a competent real estate professional. Set yourself up as that agent and you will be on your way to success!