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REALTOR® Resiliency: Finding Success in a Challenging Market recap

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Today’s market presents an array of unique challenges REALTORS® must navigate in order to find success in the industry. According to C.A.R. Chief Economist Jordan Levine, we’re in the midst of a big market shift and only just beginning to come out the other side.

To support REALTORS® through this time, C.A.R. 2023 President Jennifer Branchini led a virtual townhall on Monday, July 31, 2023 with Jordan Levine and a panel of REALTORS® to assess the most recent changes to the market and discuss ways in which some REALTORS® are dealing with these continuously evolving conditions.

The conversation between Branchini and Levine highlighted the importance of looking at data, including the latest market updates on Smart Zone, rather than headlines that continue to convey a pessimistic outlook despite transaction numbers continually improving. According to Levine, mortgage rates could go up to 7.5 percent and home prices may first go up rather than down, but he predicts that the bottom isn’t going to fall out of the market because it continues to improve as the economy stabilizes. Levine offered C.A.R.’s Purchasing Power Calculator, an interactive tool that helps homebuyers understand the impacts of changes in mortgage interest rates to purchasing power, to help clients make sense of the market’s impacts. “We don’t want to pop the champagne cork, but we do see things continuing to get better,” Levine said.

The discussion with the panel of REALTORS® focused on the importance of staying persistent in the face of adversity. Branchini cited the quote, “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan; don’t change the goal,” to summarize her take on perseverance.

Felicia Mares Villa, a REALTOR® with Abio Properties in the East Bay, spoke of the value in showing clients empathy and understanding about the difficulty of the moment and advocated for agent-to-agent networking opportunities, including getting involved with your local association, as a key way to expand your support circle and build your referral business.

“It’s musical chairs, and clearly, there are less chairs,” said Stephanie Vitacco, a broker associate with Equity Union Real Estate. Having recently increased her physical mail campaign to account for fewer buyers on the market, Vitacco said she practices an abundance of honesty with clients from the beginning, so expectations are set early. She always follows up with former clients and highly recommends connecting with other agents for support and to share what you’re going through. Meditation, Vitacco said, has been instrumental in helping her quiet her “monkey mind.” She said she lives by the life advice, “Pick one thing, and do it well.”

For Kris Everett, a new agent with Bond Street Partners at The Agency, it comes down to sticking to the basics, doubling down, and being consistent. Everett found success in working with a business coach and attributes his morning routine of waking up early, exercising, writing down affirmations, practicing gratitude, and meditating with keeping him grounded and present. Real estate, he’s been told, is much like surfing, saying, “When the wave comes, be ready to ride...”

Now that he’s seen the cycles, Eric Martin Johnson, a REALTOR® at Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco, said he’s grateful he’s been building a business with a built-in referral system, so he’s not always needing to hunt new prospects. He advocates for staying in touch with past clients on the phone and always remembers that because people are at the heart of every transaction, some grief is likely associated with every home sale, so to treat clients with compassion. Johnson credits his business coach for helping him achieve his goals. “We’re all leaders in this business,” he said. “And how we show up for ourselves is mirrored in how we show up for our clients.”

The panel concluded with participants underscoring the importance of mental health, including working directly with a therapist, as well as participating in your local community and leaning on one another for support. Some resources highlighted for REALTORS® to use in the face of today’s challenging market include Smart Zone’s Wellness Resources, CRM tools such as Monday.com and Follow Up Boss as well as the Housing Matters podcast, NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development Podcast, and the book, Exactly What to Say for Real Estate Agents.

View the slides and the full recording here.

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