Are You Riding the Wave or Treading in the Trough? | The Zebra Blog

Are You Riding the Wave or Treading in the Trough?


On the one hand, I love summer. Warm days and nights. Time out by the water. My dogs frolicking with abandon.

But I am always wary of summer because of what comes next. Once agents put away their swimsuits and flip flops panic mode sets in because they have been tending to their suntans instead of tending to their business.

Of course, every region of the country has their own “busy” season. Here in the Northwest and in many other locales, spring is very busy. We get a lot of inventory on, we have plenty of buyers, and those closings happen over the summer, allowing for a lot of moves to happen before school starts in the fall. However, as the summer wears on, buyers and agents tend to take a break to really enjoy those fleeting weeks of gorgeous weather, leaving inventory to languish on the market (that is a Zebra Report for another day). In Palm Desert and other snowbird locales, winter can be a very busy time of year. It just depends on your buyer and seller pool.

From my vantage point, what tends to happen is once that busy rush is over, agents are exhausted. Then summer begins, kids are out of school and schedules are awry. This begins the first of the two-real estate “troughs” as illustrated below (the second begins around Thanksgiving):

The waves represent activity – not necessarily closings. Activity is showing homes, writing offers, taking listings, negotiating deals, keeping transactions together, etc. Closings may occur weeks after the bulk of the activity.

Once the activity slows down, it is time to take a breath and regroup. However, because of the pace of the year, it is really easy for that trough to last a lot longer than is good for your business.

It is important to note that the trough is driven by two things – the pace of the market as well as participation of agents in the business. When agents tell their clients that summer is slow it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to truly understand what is happening in your local market, take a look at your market stats. When do your active listings peak? New listings? Pendings? When are price reductions most prevalent? How do prices fluctuate?

But despite the stats, this has been an odd year for real estate and you may truly just need a break. Transactions are tough. Buyers and sellers are on the edge. Pricing is a challenge. By all means, take the break. Tread water in the trough. Heck, you can even bring your inflatable zebra raft out there and have UberEATS bring you some lemonade! But take time each week to shorten your trough by:

  1. Reaching out to your potential clients, especially those ready to go in the fall, and make sure they are continuing to get great market information from you in order for them to make their move.
  2. Updating your sellers on market changes and traffic. If you need to do a price reduction, don’t assume they will be the ones to bring it up. Be proactive and communicate!
  3. Being in touch with your past clients and database once a month.
  4. Continuing your lead generation campaigns. If you blog, continue to blog. If you work a geographical farm, don’t make the mistake of skipping the summer. Stay consistent.

Don’t let an elongated trough cause your fall to fall flat! Keep your connections routine going, even if you are otherwise taking a break.

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