REALTOR® Sales Tip: Keeping Your Foot on the Pedal into the Fall

 Bob Corcoran  |    October 09, 2014

It’s hard to believe, but summer is now gone. Goodbye sunscreen, swimsuits and flip flops! Fall is here, and the leaves on trees are performing their annual show of spectacular colors. Traditionally, many REALTORS® see the end of summer as the end of the selling season, but this year, that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, various indicators in the market are pointing to a healthy fall market. 

Mortgage rates

Take mortgage rates, for example, as one sign of a healthy fall market. Rates have surprised naysayers who predicted a rise this year. Current rates still remain near historic lows, and
analysts say rates likely won't stay that way through for long.

What’s more promising is the loosening of lending standards. Sure, getting a mortgage now is tougher than it used to be during the housing boom, but many borrowers are reporting more flexibility among underwriters. And some lenders are allowing lower credit scores on FHA loans. In addition, Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency that which oversees Fannie and Freddie, says his office is changing guidelines to allow lending to borrowers with slightly lower credit scores.

Housing sales

Also this summer, home resales on the national level rose to their fastest pace in eight months. The National Association of REALTORS® reported existing home sales increasing by 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units. This increase was above analyst expectations and marked the third straight month of acceleration in the pace of home resales. It appears home prices are taking a break with more inventory entering the market — which is great news for buyers.

Specifically in Wisconsin, housing sales have generally lagged behind a very strong market one year ago. Median prices however have modestly improved, growing at a sustainable 2.4 percent over the eight months of 2014, slightly ahead of inflation. Housing remains very affordable in Wisconsin, with the state Housing Affordability Index* at 211 in August, compared to the national index of 151. Inventories are tighter in metropolitan areas with 7.7 months of supply compared to rural areas with 16.6 months of supply.

Put the pedal to the metal

So how can you make the most out of these market factors? Here are a few tips to keep your momentum going full steam through the rest of 2014.

Use this market to your advantage: I know there are many agents out there who have bad attitudes, and they’re sulking, “Oh, this market is bad. I can’t make a living with the way things are now.” Baloney. Every story has two sides, and every market has two sides. You have to look at the realities of the market and create the game plan that fits your abilities. One reality is that interest rates are still low — no one can deny that. Use this to your advantage. Business author Jim Collins said something I love that rings true with your attitude: “Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.”

Get the word out: One of the best things about living in the 21st century as a real estate agent is that you are a publisher. I hope you realize this. You have more avenues to connect and communicate with buyers and sellers than your predecessors ever imagined. Share news about market specifics — such as mortgage rates or pricing trends — on your website, on Facebook, via Twitter, through email, e-newsletters, and the list goes on. But also don’t ignore traditional media. Talk to your local newspaper and other media outlets about what the market is doing — reporters always want good sources. Be one, and make yourself the expert. 

Commit to making your fourth quarter a record-breaker: Get fired up. Reignite your passion for your profession. Look at what your market is presenting you and then develop a record-breaking goal. Hey, if you don’t reach it, at least you’ll go down swinging for the fences — and you’ll probably end up better than you would have otherwise. Part of reaching these kinds of goals is laying the foundation for accountability. Share your goal with someone you trust and who can help you stay on task for the rest of 2014. When there’s accountability, action follows. 

What’s happening in your market as you turn the page and head toward fall? You may find specific opportunities to increase your business through fall and establish a realistic fourth quarter goal for you to reach. The end of 2014 may be here, but the end of your success isn’t!

Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized leader, speaker and author, and is CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc., an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into real estate companies, mortgage companies and small businesses. 

 *The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index shows the percent of the median-priced home that a household with the median family income and a 20 percent down payment can afford to buy at current mortgage rates.

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