Plan Ahead to Get Ahead
As the year begins to draw to a close, savvy real estate agents are already looking ahead to next year. With slower sales in the fall and winter seasons, now is the perfect time to evaluate how the market has performed this year, how your business has performed and what you need to do to take your business and your career to the next level in the coming year.
On the whole, the real estate market has continued its strong upward path. Although some markets aren’t seeing as much growth as national averages suggest, many real estate agents have seen increased sales and increased home prices. According to NAR, existing-home sales increased 8.4 percent year over year this past second quarter, and new single-family sales increased a whopping 19.4 percent in the same time frame.
The median existing-home price also increased 7.6 percent this past second quarter, and NAR is forecasting continued price growth well into next year. In fact, as of this past September, median list prices stood at $231,000 nationwide, which is a 6-percent increase year over year.
But what do agents need to do to capitalize on these positive housing indicators? Maybe a lot, or maybe just a little.
Take a look at the work you’ve done this past year and evaluate where you would like to be at this time next year. Do you want to increase your overall sales figures or are you happy with the amount of revenue you have? Do you want to branch out into different property types or connect with a different type of buyer? Consider all these things and decide what strategy will best take your career where you want it to go. In other words, do you need to renovate, redecorate or simply rearrange?
If you’re doing the same amount and kind of business every year, you might want to take some time and look more closely at your work habits to see what you can change to give your business a boost. It might be time to do some serious work to overhaul your career. Ask yourself:
- How much time do you spend prospecting? Is it a daily activity?
- Do you keep in regular contact with your sphere of influence?
- Where do your leads come from? Are you using different sources?
- Do you use online leads? What are your strategies for converting them?
- Have you built an email list?
- Are you asking clients for ratings and reviews?
- Do you have a consistent branding strategy? Does your marketing reflect that?
- Are you using all the marketing tools available to you, including text, email and video?
- Do you have coverage on top real estate websites, such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com?
- Do you attend at least one networking event per week?
Spend some time thinking about and answering these questions, and then start planning how you want to change your activities to move your career forward. Try to focus on the areas that will bring the greatest returns and rewards.
If your business is close to where you want it to be, you may not need to seriously renovate anything, but just update and spruce things up a little. In that case, consider:
- Is it time to update your marketing materials? When was the last time you did this?
- Is your working environment counterproductive or stale? Consider where you do most of your work and if it have a positive impact on you.
- Is it time to bring in some new ideas about prospecting, marketing, technology or networking to get you energized and motivated?
- What are you doing in terms of professional development? Take time to read books, attend seminars and keep up with the latest trends.
- Whose career do you admire? Take them out to lunch and get inspired.
If your business is moving along a path you like, but you're still feeling a little stagnant, consider rearranging things to get a different perspective. This can give you an extra boost of energy and help create the next-level opportunities you desire.
- Use your daily calendar to block off periods of time to make sure you’re getting everything you need, including personal time, family time and playtime.
- Do you need a little help? Consider hiring part-time support staff or trying a virtual assistant.
- Take a break. Make sure you get several small breaks throughout the day to replenish your energy, and if it’s been awhile, consider taking a vacation or mini-vacation.
Today’s market is abundant with opportunities for real estate agents eager to move their career forward, and you don’t want to miss them because you are stuck doing the same old thing. Take the time to consider where you’ve been and where you’d like to go, and then plan the path ahead. With simple and clear goals, you can make 2016 your best year yet.
Wendy Forsythe is Executive Vice President and Head of Global Operations for Carrington Real Estate Services.
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