Wow! What a week.
Lots of changes have happened. Unless you were hiding under a rock, you certainly heard that the government has extended the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. Not only is it extended, but it now includes a $6,500 credit for homeowners who have been in their homes for five of the last eight years.
I am excited. This is amazing news for the real estate industry. The $6,500 is going to give a huge boost to sales. It will allow the middle part of the market to finally break apart. This middle part is the segment of potential buyers that has been frozen and stagnant. When it breaks apart from its frozen state, it will wash over us in a frenzy of sales. This “frenzy period” should last until contracts are finalized on April 30, 2010.
Not only will we have first-time home buyers jumping into the marketplace, we will also see other new activity. First move-up buyers and second move-up buyers will be galvanized into action. Investors will be snapping up second homes.
I am confident that this “frenzy period” will be one of the most exciting times in real estate in the last fifty years. I can’t wait to be a part of helping agents through this historic time.
With higher activity, though, comes a warning. This frenzy is going to require to you change the way you’ve been doing business.
You’ve been in low gear for about two years now. 2008 and 2009 represented a very different market than the one into which we have just been catapulted. This new market is going to move FAST. It’s going to force you to stay sharp and be at the top of your game. No more low gear. It’s time for super high gear.
It’s time to get ready. Get on the phone right now to every buyer you know and get them educated. Let them know what this new tax credit extension means for them. Most people aren’t aware of the program and it’s up to you to teach them how they can take advantage of the credit and put some cash in their pockets.
If a seller tells you that they want to wait until March to put their home on the market, tell them to forget it. NOW is the time, not March. You’ve got to make it clear to them that waiting means losing out. Get them on the market now.
We are all used to the spring market beginning in March and lasting though May. Well, here’s a newsflash: The spring market starts in January this year, meaning that you have to start TODAY to get into gear. This year, winter will be our spring season.
It’s going to be intense. It’s going to be exhausting. But the best part—it’s going to be profitable.
While this is great news, there will be some challenges.
First and foremost, competition is going to get tough out there. You’d better be giving your clients the most amazing five-star customer service and client care that makes their heads spin. If you don’t, then you risk losing them to another agent who IS willing to go the extra mile for them.
Be prepared. Now is the time to get your business in order. Get all your tools ready. Put all your systems in place. Make sure any and all forms you need are right there at your fingertips. During the frenzy, you don’t want to lose a minute looking for paperwork.
Make sure your follow-up is impeccable. Don’t let anyone slip past you and into the welcoming arms of another agent. Be on top of your emails and calls. Send out relevant and informative real estate information like clockwork.
Also, be prepared for buyers who are out shopping deals. They know the market is going to get fiercely competitive so they’re on the lookout for an agent who can negotiate aggressively for them.
If you’re not the best negotiator, now is the time to sharpen those skills. You’re going to need them. Being a powerful negotiator is a huge selling point for you and your services.
The holiday season is usually the time of year we kick back and relax a bit. Not this year! I can’t emphasize enough the importance of starting right now—as in TODAY—to get your business in order to prepare for the coming frenzy.
And I want to say—
I’m proud of you.
You have weathered this extreme two-year storm. You’ve stood strong as times got tough. You’ve been a rock in a sea of trouble.
Now is the time for you to be rewarded. The next few months will remind you of why you love this business so much. It’s going to be fun.
For so long, we were searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, it’s here. And it’s bright.
So, buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI