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Ask McEnearney: In this changing market, is becoming a Realtor still a good idea?

This week’s Q&A column is written by Karisue Wyson, Director of Recruiting & Agent Support at McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article, contact Karisue at 703-615-0876 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: In this changing market, is becoming a Realtor still a good idea?

Answer: For many years, and even more so in the last five years, real estate nationwide has been moving at a breakneck pace. Low mortgage rates coupled with low home inventory plus four main generations of buyers (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z) has meant a lot of people scrambling for their own piece of the American Dream of homeownership. (Source: The Motley Fool)

More recently, the Coronavirus pandemic added more complexity to an already energetic market, with employees making remote working permanent and taking their lives outside of the normal employment hubs. The pressure of available and affordable housing is felt nationwide, not just in hot urban markets.

All this activity has attracted thousands of new agents to the business, ready to assist eager but anxious clients while making entrepreneurial gains of their own. After all, who wouldn’t want to jump in and take the market by the horns and reap the rewards of this fire-hot real estate market? In fact, there are more licensed agents in the country than are available properties to sell. (Source: BusinessInsider.com)

Now, with interest rates the highest they have been in decades, inflation, and worries about a recession, it’s been like pouring cold water onto hot coals.

So where does that leave those who are considering becoming agents and may be worried that they have missed the boat? The good news is new agents will be perfectly fine… provided they want to be Realtors for the right reason.

Be confident in your reason “Why?” for getting into real estate, because when the going gets tough you’ll lean on that mission statement to get you through. Understanding your competitive advantage and how you will stand out in a field of crowded agents is also key. But most important of all is to know that lucrative markets will come and go, but the best agents are those who know that putting clients first is how to weather any kind of market.

If you are thinking about getting into real estate right now, here are a few things to consider and click here for additional information on getting your license:

  • Have a business plan. The only way to plan for success is to plan for success, and that means understanding what it means to create a business, scale your business, and protect your business from competitive forces. The Close has good tools to help get started.
  • Develop your Sphere of Influence. The people who know, like, and trust you are the foundation of your real estate business. Create an electronic contact list including email, phone and address info that can be easily transferred to a Client Relationship Management system (CRM) and used for your marketing efforts and prospecting calls. A good CRM is critical to keeping track of your customer pipeline and ensuring tasks are completed on time, and most brokerages either offer an in-house CRM or have recommendations as to what to use.
  • Make listings a priority. Inventory will continue to be limited for the foreseeable future and most new agents start out by working with buyers. That combo can mean a lot of effort for limited reward, when agents may have to write multiple offers for a client in hopes that one of them will beat the competition. Consider how you will actively seek listings through referrals, neighborhood farming, and data research to ensure you have a good balance of both sellers and buyers.
  • Sock away savings. That’s good advice no matter what you do, but in an industry where sales are often seasonal, and you are paid at the end of a transaction — with the caveat that not every transaction makes it to the settlement table — your income stream can be erratic. And this is even more important in your first years of real estate when you are building up your reputation and client base. Having a good nest egg will allow you to weather the ups-and-downs of a challenging market and keep your business thriving instead of worrying how you will pay your bills.
  • Choose a brokerage that will support and nurture your real estate goals. Not all brokerages have the same business model and it’s important to understand how they are different and what that means for how they help their agents regarding education, marketing, technology and data.

The bottom line: being a Realtor is one of the most rewarding careers you can have, allowing you to become the CEO of your own company, build wealth, and help people achieve a huge milestone in their lives. But it requires hard work, planning, dedication to clients, and a fantastic support system. And that’s true for any market.

McEnearney Associates has a time-tested philosophy and approach to real estate and systems that are built to help new agents hit the ground running. Visit www.JoinMcEnearney.com to see more and call me at 703-615-0876 to learn more about how you can achieve real estate success in any market.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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